Lauren’s Story

I was born in Seoul, South Korea, so I have no knowledge of who I am, or even my family’s medical history. I was raised in a loving, caring Christian family with an American brother seven years older than me.

All of my life, I have been told that I am so smart, so talented. But homework, studying for tests eluded me. It was so easy at first, in elementary school. I was the smart kid, with my family pushing me hard in flute, piano, tutoring (math), mime, and church drama.

Soon, I got tired of being the “smart asian”. I got distracted by television especially. My mother would let me take a half-an-hour television break when I got home from school, but yet two hours later, nothing was done. I would start cleaning my room, and surrounded by a pile of clothes and toys, walk off. The pile would sit there for days. My mother would sit in my room for hours, and I couldn’t leave until it was cleaned.

Middle school was a blur with my first ever C’s. I was still terrific in spelling, english and history, but I had no interest in math or science.

High school? My favorite teacher taught Creative Writing. I excelled in that, and everyone knew that I would be the first of our class to get published. I had to drop my honors classes (all of them) in the eleventh grade, and take remedials. At first, I was the top student, but soon, my interest wore off and assignments, tests, book reports were a “i forgot”.

College was a tail-spin. I have been in and out for three years now. I got frustrated by my parents. They never wanted to admit their daughter, who got a 24 on her ACTs (27 in English) had ADD. They denied it and treated it as a plague. Because they never understood me, I rebelled. I started drinking, which led to date rape, which led to promiscuous behavior.

Relationships? Hah! I had a new set of friends every day, and a new guy interest every second. After my rape, it was like everything started to spiral out of my control. I had a problem and I was no longer the only one who could see it. My parents were still in denial. Until…

I got so fed up from job-switching every couple of months, and I felt like such a failure for leaving college that one day, I couldn’t take it. Instead of cutting or anorexia (previous ways of “dealing”) I slashed my wrists. My parents rushed me to the “suicide hospital”. I spent four days there, and they diagnosed me as ADD/mood disorder/anorexic/cannabis abuse/alcohol abuse.

I got a medical card, but I kept forgetting to go to my counselor sessions so they cancelled my psychologist. They put me on Wellbutrin but it launched me into a six-hour panic attack so I ripped up my prescription.

I got a new job, and sometimes it takes so much to concentrate that I start crying. My boss used to yell at me for not listening or missing the point and thought I was dumb. I finally blurted out that I have ADD. His son has ADD plus he is mildly retarded. The good side is he is nice to me now. The bad? I’m treated like I am retarded, too.

Presently, I am in the process of getting new meds. I have a new boyfriend, who loves me and wants to marry me. But he has a short temper, doesn’t understand my ADD and yells because he is ignorant of what ADD is. If I’m having an off day at work, everyone calls it Lauren’s “ADD moment”.

Yeah, I still cry myself to sleep at night for being different. But mostly, it hurts me to know that even after everything, my parents still refuse to believe that I have ADD. At least they don’t treat it like a disability (my boss) or a joke (my co-workers).

But I’m learning how to deal. I set a budget (credit problems suck — I got evicted last year for quitting my job and not paying rent), I reward myself for the little things (when my purse has my keys, phone, ID), I got an apartment (I have paid three straight months so far), and I’m getting my life on track. I’m even thinking about going back to school…for something I am actually interested in.

At first, I saw ADD and everything else as a death sentence. But it’s part of my life, and enough of it has been wasted already. I just quit worrying about the inevitable, since it’s going to happen whatever I try to do otherwise. Yes, I am intelligent. And yes, I do have ADD. Those two things DO go together!