Amy Liz’s Story

Hi, I’m Amy. I am 18 years old and I have ADD. Since I do have ADD, I am not sure if I will be able to actually complete this story in any sort of an organized manner. 🙂 ADD is something I have suffered with most of my life I think, but unfortunately I wasn’t diagnosed with the disorder until the end of my sophomore year. (I am a Senior right now.) I am not exactly sure how to explain how ADD has impacted my life. As a child, I was perfectly normal. In fact, I was probably a bit above average in a few areas. I read at the age of three and was a very quick learner in all academic areas. I always scored very high on standardized tests and I was probably one of the smartest kids in my class during my grade school years. I always had big dreams and goals about my future. I saw myself as smart, good looking, likable, and successful. Basically, I wanted to be the best I could at everything I did no matter what it took.

However, as I continued to see things in that positive manner, my life slowly began to change around the 4th grade. I don’t remember my actions really changing much, but according to my parents, I began to show some significant changes in my behavior. During this time, I began to draw away some from my friends, I would consistently overeat (which slowly lead to a large weight gain) and I became very defiant at home (I wouldn’t do my homework when told, I would forget to do things that I was asked to (clean my room, turn off lights, etc)). My parents were very frustrated and I remember long nights of arguing and fighting, ending in my upset and frustration. Many nights I would cry myself to sleep because I could not understand why people were angry with me. As I continued to overeat, my parents began to notice my behaviors and brought it to my concern. I believe eating was a way of coping with my feelings of hurt, sadness, and frustration so it was quickly becoming out of control.

My parents soon found that they could not allow me to continue eating like this, so they went to such extreme measures as locking the refrigerator and pantry. Yet, I always found a way to food. I was very embarrassed that my parents would have to lock food away from me, so that kept me fr! om inviting friends over. This began my hiding habits. I knew I couldn’t eat in front of anyone, so any chance I had at food, I would take it to my room, hide it, and eat alone. Occasionlly I would get caught, but I was usually pretty sneaky. After about a year of fighting it, my mom took me to an eating disorder clinic. Since my case was no where near severe and I was only 12 years old and maybe only 25 pounds overweight, no action was taken. For the next three to four years, the fights at home about my forgetfulness, procrastination, disorganization, moodiness, and overeating continued.

During those years, I remember many feelings of hate towards myself and others around me because I felt nobody, not even I, could understand me. By the end of my 7th grade year, I faced a very difficult change. My dad got a new job and we were moving. I hadn’t moved since about the age of 3, so I had been with the same friends and people for the past 10 years. I remember not feeling very sad about the move, like a normal kid, I was sad to leave my friends, but I felt more excited. I felt that moving would be a great chance for me to start over and become someone who was popular, skinny, and someone who could accomplish anything she wanted. (At that time, I looked in the mirror and saw someone who was overweight, unliked, and a girl with many dreams that she felt unable to accomplish no matter how hard she tried.) I remember the move – it was tough. We had to move into a smaller house and I had to share a bedroom with my sister. This created many problems and I think this was the point where my depression began. Being so close with all my family, they really started to see my annoying behaviors up close and personal (disorganization, irritability, stubborness, mood swings, etc.) By the time I was a sophomore in high school, my life had hit an ultimate low. My grades had dropped from a 4.0 to a 3.14. I couldn’t sleep at night, nor get up on time in the morning and I always slept through class. I had drawn away from my frien! ds. I always felt out of place because boys weren’t interested in me, always my friends; I didn’t feel sociable, because for some reason I felt like I wasn’t any fun to be around; and at 5’2″ and 175 lbs., I felt like the ugliest thing in the world. I absolutely hated who I was, and although I never thought a lot about death, quite honestly I did begin to think my life couldn’t get any worse. I was nothing near what I wanted to be. I was about ready to completely give up on becoming everything I had always dreamed about.

Thanks to the grace of God, this is the point where my parents realized that they could do nothing more to try to help me nor could I help myself. This is where my parents took me to the doctor so I could receive clinical help. My first appointment was with a psychologist, and after talking with us, I was diagnosed with depression. I was given monthly therapy sessions and daily medication. While this seemed to cheer me up a little at first and reduce some of my unhealthy feelings of inadequacy, it was not solving the problem. I don’t really remember the first time my mom brought it up, but I do remember her being the one who predicted that I had ADD. Since she was a psychologist, she was familiar with the disorder. After being brought up to my psychiatrist, I was then tested and later diagnosed with ADD. I later realized that people with ADD are often mistreated with depression because the two run hand and hand together, so thankfully my mother saw the ADD.

After beginning treatment my life completely turned around. I successfully (and healthfully) dropped around 40 lbs. through proper eating habits and exercise, my G.P.A. went back up to a 4.0, I became more self-confident, which increased my amount of friends, I quickly became quite productive and I actually began to tackle some goals that I never thought possible. I made the cut for the school’s Dance Team, in Volleyball I went from benching the C-team to a starter on the Varsity team, and I gained notable leadership positions in a variety of clubs and organizations. I couldn’t be happier right now. Instead of normally sitting around alone of a Saturday night, I am always out with my friends having a good time. Anytime there is a challenge or task of any sort, it is almost impossible for me to turn it down. I couldn’t be any prouder of myself right now in my life. I am proud not because of all of those things, I am proud of myself for never giving up. ADD is very difficult to live with and many people don’t understand it, even I don’t completely understand it or even understand why I have it.

All I can say is, without the love and support that I have received from my family and close friends, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Next year I plan to attend a small, reputable University where I will major in pre-law. I eventually plan to attend law school then. Although it may be a little more difficult for me, I now know that if I can find the strength inside of me, anything I dream and desire IS possible. Thank you for reading my story. E-mail me if you would like to share anything you know about ADD or would like anymore information. (Look: I actually finished this story!)