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A Teen Speaks out on ADHD

This post is written by a 14-year-old young man with ADHD.  In this short piece, he tries to give you a sense of how it feels, and how he tried to compensate.

Do you have ADD or ADHD?  If you have ADHD or ADD, then you probably wouldn’t want to put in the effort to read this.  ADHD is a more progressed and inconvenient form of ADD.  ADHD has both good and bad aspects infused in it.  ADHD often causes you to be very hyperactive, and gives you the burden of not being able to focus on a single task.  You can compare ADHD to unique personalities in that no one has the exact same case of ADHD that someone else has.  Everyone has aspects about themselves that nearly no one knows about, and they usually try to hide them.  The majority of people know that I have ADHD, but nearly no one knows how it affects me.  For whoever reads this, I would like to you know what ADHD is, and know that since no one is perfect, you do not need to feel ashamed of who you are.

I was most likely diagnosed with ADHD at birth, but it probably progressed after a series of events during my lifetime.  I was given a very controversial chicken pox shot before I was 3, and the dose was far too strong.  This made many things go wrong in my brain, and I could not fix it.  I also hit the back of my head on concrete at a very high speed when I was sent flying out of a trampoline, and this made even more problems in my brain.  The problem is that certain parts of your brain contain the brain cells that affect how hyperactive and smart you are.  When I woke up, I had a popsicle in my hand, and a cat on my lap.  I was happy when I woke up, but I had a raging headache, and my vision was gone for a short amount of time.  Probably the worst instance of brain damage in my life was when I was in Mexico with my family and friends.  My friend and I were wrestling on a bed, and before I knew what happened, I felt something hard and brittle scraping my vertebrae, and I blacked out.

When I woke up, I found out that I nearly had my spine broken, and I was very lucky that I lived.  I had a scar all the way up my back until I entered 8th grade, and whenever I was reminded of it, I became even more grateful that I am alive.

My form of ADHD causes my motor skills to perform differently than a person without ADHD.  For example, when I move my sight to focus on a new object, my head will automatically follow, unless I remind myself not to do that.  One good part of having ADHD is that you react to things much faster than usual.  When I’m trying to focus on a single task, I have difficulty staying on track with what I’m doing.  Multi-tasking usually helps me to focus more.  For example, chewing gum while doing my homework is a good way for me to focus better.  Another problem I have with ADHD is how I “zone out”.  Zoning out is basically daydreaming, but you leave your eyes looking at something that usually shouldn’t be looked at.  My zoning out with ADHD is what inspired the title of my essay.

In elementary school I didn’t really know that I had ADHD.  I had fun in elementary school.  I was fairly calm at recess, but I was rather crazy in the classroom.  That’s because at recess I felt at home because of the huge number of things going on at once.  In class, when I had to buckle down and do one assignment at one time, it was far more boring, I got off-task, and I got hyper again.  The teachers didn’t like this behavior.  They all gave ideas for help but none of them really worked.  My 5th grade teacher, Ms. Smith, was maybe one of the only teachers that really understood me inside.  She felt that I could grow up to be a kind, respectful and understanding man.  Still doesn’t mean she liked my hyperactive behavior, though!

When I entered 6th grade at Jefferson Middle School, I had no tactic to counter my ADHD.  I’m going to take mercy on you, and spare the details, but while I was going to Jefferson, all my friends from elementary school were at a different middle school, Washington.  Halfway through the 6th grade, I began to use a medication for my ADHD.  I began with a small dose of Concerta (18 mg.), and by 7th grade I was up to 36 mg.  Even on medication, I still have a lot of trouble controlling how I act.  It’s also hard to focus on a task, even if I’m on my medication.

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No Direction

See Kevin interviewed by Teen TV News:  Videogame Addiction interview

Every night as I slowly fall off to sleep, dreams fill my head about the life I want.  I think of books I plan to write, ideas to expand my business, and projects I see myself bringing to fruition.  I imagine a reality television show, and hosting my own radio show.  When I wake up, the vision of these grand notions unfortunately diminishes.  Disoriented, I often engage in a variety of distracting, unproductive pursuits:  Facebook clicking, email-inbox checking, reading blogs, etc.  As I sit here right now, I imagine what I need is a slave driver, someone to stand behind me, ready to intervene the second my attention veers off track.

Yes, I have had two books published, three books in process, and do have some interest from a publisher in doing an updated version of Cyber Junkie.  I have amassed numerous accomplishments.  But deep down, I feel I am capable of so much more.  I say this not out of insecurity.  Rather, casino online this feeling pulsates from my core, a nagging restlessness that longs for adventure.  While a Zen master might say that I need to learn to be with “the nothingness,” I believe that I am neurologically wired for adventure, and enjoy the most inner peace inside when I am fully engaged outside.  I do meditate, every day, but I also long to give my gifts fully to the world.

Today, I live at the nexus between having a comfortable life that I have worked hard to build, and a growing inner dissonance that tells me the next adventure is close at hand.   I suppose the way ADHD shows up is that my attention gets drawn to time-wasting activities.  Some of these actually have some use.  Earlier today, for example, I was possessed by the urgent necessity of buying a new recycling bin.  I went to Lowe’s first thing in the morning, and then when I did not find what I was looking for, continued the “quest” online.  With better executive functioning, I would plan to get several things at Lowe’s at the same time, and thus maximize the trip.  I would prioritize, concentrating on the things that offered me the most benefit.

In writing this today, I am following a piece of my own advice: open up to others.   I have also been talking to a few friends this morning about my inability to prioritize today, which follows another piece of my advice: reach out for support.  Finally, I am going to follow my advice to exercise my way through the problem.  I will report back on how I am doing after I get back from my walk.

I will be posting comments throughout my day, to update you on how my day is progressing. Please leave your own comments and check in on your day as well.

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