Declan’s ADD / ADHD Story

Of my mother’s 13 kids, to date, 4 of us have been diagnosed as ADD. I was the first, even though I’m the youngest. Why me first..? Well, I was always the type of kid who had to be the centre of attention. No-one really thought anything of it…I was more of a nuisance than anything, as my family is the type that believes ‘children should be seen and not heard’ (HA!). I would do anything to get my mother’s goat…and though it didn’t take much, I must admit some of the ideas I came up with were positively ingenious. I used to get bored very quickly with most things, so I spent a good deal of time with a few friends devising ways to irritate, confuse, and generally distress those around me, particularly authority figures. By the time I was 7 years old, nearly blacklisted by my mother, I was sent to a catholic boarding school. This didn’t improve the situation any, and the Nuns’ horrified reactions to the pranks implemented by me and my cronies made it all that much more fun. 

But the Nuns weren’t as dumb as I’d given them credit for being, and a few months into that school year, between the behavioural problems and my total and complete lack of interest in anything pertaining to studying or school work, I was sent for a psych evaluation. That was when it was confirmed…I was classic ADHD. Rather than talking about behaviour modification or compensation, they opted to start me on Ritalin. I didn’t like the effect it had on me, so I just didn’t take it. Sure they THOUGHT I was taking it, but again, I fooled them. I continued to get in trouble, and although I managed to keep my grades decent (I learnt the compensation part myself) I avoided school work as much as possible. I was still as easily bored as ever, if not more so, and being older, I found new and more dangerous ways to combat the boredom.

By the age of 16, ready to graduate secondary and intent on moving to the States (I grew up in Ireland, I neglected to mention) I was already abusing every drug I could get my hands on and was an alcoholic the likes of which would disgrace the ethnic stereotype. I applied to a university in the US, was accepted, and moved to NY at 17. I didn’t start school till the following year, though, because I was having such a tremendous amount of trouble keeping house. I was a mess, and at that point I decided to do a little more research on behavior modification. I knew damn well there was no way I’d be able to get through 4 years of university in that condition. 

Well, to shorten the story (it’s been long enough), with the help of some really great people (as well as God, we can’t forget Him) I have managed to obtain a BA/BSE, albeit in 4 and A HALF years….and am currently a first-year medical student. I’m 23 years old now, and about to get married in May. I’m still in NY, and still getting into trouble…don’t see that changing any time soon, either…but for the first time I actually feel in control of my life. So that’s my story. Hope you liked it…