Amy’s Story

I have never submitted a story before, but I saw this site, and felt compelled to write.

At the age of 6 or 7, I can remember being in class and listening, or attempting to listen to the teacher, and nothing would get in. I would be handed a worksheet and be overwhelmed by the amount of problems or what to do. My parents and pediatrician knew something was wrong, so I saw a behavioral pediatrician who at the age of 8, diagnosed me with Attention Deficit Disorder, and a learning disability that affected the way I visually processed information. By that point, school was HELL. I still could not read, and most teachers (not all) would not take the time with me.

I began to take Ritalin 2x per day, and immediately my parents noticed a change. I just noticed that I was not hungry. I hated going to the nurse’s office to take meds, simply because it cemented that I was different. At the time I was diagnosed I went to a private school. I was called retard, special ed and host of other horrible names. By the time I was about to start 4th grade my parents had transferred me to another private school for students with learning problems and A.D.D

There I was allowed to be myself. I had to relearn everything over again, because the first 4 years of school meant nothing. By 4th grade, I still could not read. So, in fourth grade I started from the bottom up and relearned how to learn and be a student.

I stayed in that school for a year and a half and had more academic growth and success than my previous 4 years in regular school/. After that my dad had to go to a new job. So, we moved to a new town, and I went to a new school. From the first day I was a target of ridicule and being made fun of. I hated school and never wanted to go back. I was pushed, hit and called the most horrible names that anyone can imagine. I started to believe I was not better than the names I was called. I continued to go through junior and elementary school on medication. Once I hit 8th grade, I did not want to take medication anymore, and my parents let me make that choice.

Up until this point I had very few friends and very few positive interactions with adults or teachers because I thought they did not care.

I started high school and found an activity called color guard. For the first time I found success and real friends who accepted for who I was as a person. Learning the routines was not easy. It was sometimes very hard, but I stuck with it. A lot because, my instructor and band director pushed me to be better as a person and performer. I was hooked. For the first time I had people see what my potential was beyond my differences.

School was going great at this time, but math was my hardest subject. For me, my goal was to graduate highschool

I started high school not feeling sure who I was going to be or what I wanted to be when I graduated. For many years many people told my parents I would not go to college. I did not want to let people tell me what I could and can’t do with my life. I struggled in math, but I loved english and reading and was learning how to express myself through writing. Something changed when I turned 17, I no longer felt happy or sad. I felt overwhelmed by my day. I felt trapped in my own head and unable to get out.

By the time I turned 18, I was still having a hard time but able to maintain a 3.50 GPA in high school. I applied to college and was accepted. I graduated high school and left for college. I also left color guard, which by this point was a stability in my life. I left everything. I got through my first year of college barely passing and when I came home that next summer. I told my parents I did not want to go back. They were upset at first, but supported me.

I finished college by getting a B.A in Child Development and minor and Spanish. Math was my hardest subject. I can say I really earned my college degree. After graduation I began graduate school to get a Master of Arts in Counseling psychology so I can help others like myself.

Everyday is a new adventure. I have learned to admit success modestly and to fail with dignity. For me if I know I have tried, than I don’t feel as guilty. I talk a lot in conversations. I am learning to listen. I don’t tell people I have A.D.D until I feel comfortable because I refuse to live within a label. I have the best parents in the world. They help set myself straight and see me for who I am. I have learned to regulate my emotions. Oh, I also went back on medication which has helped. Sometimes I think that I have achieved something and success other times, I feel overwhelmed and alone by what I have to do in the day. I the best group of friends who accept me for who I am and my issues and that is why my friendships are so important.

The best advice I can give to anyone experiencing A.D.D is never give up. Try your hardest, because with effort comes success and better sense of self.