I guess I always knew that I was different. I don’t remember too much about being a little kid, but I do remember that I didn’t have many friends. I was weird. I don’t remember why, except that I was little, smart and wasn’t good at sports. I was also hypersensitive. I took what kids said about me personally. I was shy, anxious, and spent more time reading than paying attention in class. My handwriting was atrocious and I had major organizational problems, I still do. But no one ever thought that I was ADD. In junior high I was either inattentive (reading a book or daydreaming) or a real class clown, blurting out inane comments or the answers to questions. I was so excited about understanding that I forgot to raise my hand. My 7th grade social studies teacher threatened to tape my mouth shut. My handwriting still was barely legible and I had a tendency to lose things, like books, in my locker.
As a matter of fact, on occasion I even lost my locker. The hallway was aswarm with people during passing periods, and I would get so uncomfortable about that that I would forget where my locker was, or would just forget to go to it altogether. But I was allowed to slip through the cracks, again. Why? Because I was smart. My grades were good, my personality nice and upbeat, my standardized test scores almost never below the top 5%. High school was when my problems started to catch up with me. I got lost in the huge building, couldn’t keep my stuff in order, still had the coordination of a 6 year old, blurted out random things in class, spent more time looking out the window than listening to my teachers, and came to the realization that something was wrong. My biggest problems, however, were social. I didn’t (and still can’t) read people well. I couldn’t tell if they were joking with me or being mean. I played soccer and nobody liked me there, either. I was intense, needing to get out my stored up energy. I was constantly reminded during practices that it was only practice.
Somehow during my junior year, pieces of the puzzle started to come together. I was frustrated with feeling stupid when I knew I wasn’t and got my hands on a book about ADD. I was amazed while reading the book, constantly saying “I thought that was NORMAL!”. After my senior year, I went to see a shrink. Sure enough, he diagnosed me with ADD, as well as generalized anxiety disorder, and put me on Adderall. I started taking it over summer break and was amazed with the results. I still had a shorter attention span than the 4 year old I babysat for, but I felt so much more settled down. Even my handwriting improved. I went off to colege a brand new person. I knew why I was the way I was. I thought that would be enough. It wasn’t.
One of my roommates hated me, told me I was loud, annoying, immature, messy and acted like her 5 year old brother. That crushed me. I knew how I could act, but try as I might, I couldn’t change. Eventually she moved out and I found myself with something new. Friends, most of whom were AD/HD or at the least knew of someone who was. It finally clicked in my head why I had been lonely and misunderstood so long. I needed people like me. And as hard as dealing with my ADD is sometimes, well a lot of the time, I know now that I have people around me who understand, because they’ve had to deal with it too. And I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.