Why ADHD is the Greatest Thing in the World !
I’m gonna get a little personal, something I don’t do often, but this is something I have wanted to say for awhile. I have ADHD. I have lived with it since I was a little boy. Now if someone were to ask me what it’s like, I wouldn’t know what to say. That was if you asked me a few years ago. Nowadays if someone were to ask me the same question, my answer would be “IT’S FRIGGIN AMAZING!”! I love EVERY second of it. If someone were to offer me another portion of ADHD, I would accept it with no hesitation. ADHD has given me the personality I wear on my shoulder with pride and create some of the wildest, funniest and most absurd memories I will reminisce upon with adoration. Now society has told us all that ADHD is this “pernicious, debilitating learning disorder” and “these kids need special treatment.” These opinions are quite strange , especially for me who consistently maintained a B Plus- A minus average throughout High School, 3.61 cumulative GPA overall. I’m not trying to come across as a pristine goody two shoes, I did make some dumb mistakes in my youth which I laugh at today. I didn’t always think this way. I grew up believing that I was somehow cognitively inferior. From Elementary to Middle School I was terrified to raise my hand in class with the fear that I would be ridiculed by my neuro-typical peers or teachers. It wasn’t until my Freshman year in High School when I made the honor roll for the first time that I actually began to believe that I was smart. It wasn’t until I got involved in Athletics that I realized that ADHD is the greatest strength a person can have. Every “symptom” in the DSM-V is a tool that can bring every who has this “disorder” great happiness. If it weren’t for the inability to sit still, I wouldn’t have acquired my natural undying endurance and athletic ability. I wouldn’t be able to indulge my insatiable curiosity, pick up new habits, go for runs at anytime during the day or start a conversation with anyone. If it weren’t for the inability to pay attention, I wouldn’t have been exposed to the hilarious, unique , innovative thoughts that travel through my head twenty four hours a day. ADHD is a world of joy and wonder and I pity anyone who has never had the privilege to experience this oasis of free thought. Now nothing is perfect . There are some downsides. With ADHD comes a lack of a filter which has gotten me into some uncomfortable situations with parents, family members, friends, teachers and significant others. The inability to sit still for a one hour class can soil the relationship between you and your teacher. However, the rewards overshadow the peccadilloes. People with ADHD come from all walks of life, they are Harvard Professors, MIT scientists, Doctors, Lawyers, CNN Anchors and Nobel Prize winners. This should be enough to convince many that ADHD is not a “disorder”, however that doesn’t seem to be the case. It pains me to see so many smart kids out there who have learned to expect nothing of themselves due to the ridicule they experience in school or at home. A child’s desire to learn does not die out because of ADHD, it is due to the reaction teachers and parents have to the symptoms. I’ve observed the unprofessional way teachers deal with ADD or ADHD children. A slight tremble of ones leg and Armageddon breaks out in the classroom! The teacher has a near panic attack and continues to publicly castigate the child. Who would be motivated to put effort into their schoolwork after that? I consider myself lucky that for the most part I was exposed to supportive teachers who I still consider my role models today. In the rare occasions where I’ve gone head to head with a teacher who despised me for reasons unbeknownst to me, I was able to laugh it off and maintain high confidence in my academic ability. I want to address those who think they have ADHD or are already diagnosed. Hold your head up high and wear your personality on your shoulder. Channel your “symptoms” into a constructive outlet and you will thrive. Furthermore, you will encounter at least one teacher who is enraged that they are stuck with a non-neuro-typical child. Do not let their criticisms get you down, the problem doesn’t lie with you. Your are perfect, those teachers are LUCKY to have easy access to your amazing mind. The problem lies with your teacher and the mediocre program they received their education degree from. It sounds harsh but I use the adjective mediocre because any program that awards degrees without teaching their students that there is such a thing as different learning styles does not deserve it’s accreditation. My next piece of advice is to surround yourself with successful, driven people who have the same diagnosis. For instance, my two best friends struggled with this disorder as well. From elementary to middle school they were consistently ridiculed for their failure to demonstrate their educational skills in an orthodox manner. Now several years later, they are graduates of Brandeis University and Smith College, two of the most prestigious schools in the nation! If that’s not enough to encourage you, listen to this, I have two other friends with ADHD who graduated from Syracuse University and a family member who is pursuing a J.D at NYU Law! If A.D.H.D is so debilitating and damaging , why do the people I’ve mentioned exist? I would caution you to stay away from those who have completely lost their motivation because of their diagnosis. Believeme when I say these people are out there. These are the ones who believe that they have no value to bring to the world. These people will drag you down. Furthermore, as they loose hope in themselves , they loose the motivation to take care of themselves emotionally and physically. I can’t predict the future but these principles saved my life. I transformed from a C minus student in middle school who had no self esteem to a B Plus A minus student in high school who engaged in a myriad of activities and hobbies. I carried my newly discovered academic ability to College where I continued to receive strong marks. I want to conclude this by leaving everyone with one final message. ADHD will NOT ruin your life. What will is how you handle your diagnosis. Do you believe it is a limitation? When you get yelled at by a teacher for speaking out of turn or shaking your leg, do you believe that you don’t belong in a classroom? Blind acceptance to what teachers and society tells us about ADHD will hold you back and kill your motivation. As soon as you agree with that letter home saying “you don’t belong in my class” you have set off a negative cascade of events. One day you believe you don’t belong. The next day you begin to hate academics and start to blow them off. Eventually you’ll develop a mindset where you always find a way to avoid challenging yourself or improving yourself. When you lose the desire to challenge or improve yourself, you begin to not care about the quality of life you live. I do not claim to hold the solution for all of life’s woes, but what I previously mentioned worked for me. What about you? You may have a mindset or strategy that works even better! If so , use it as much as you can and never lose it. Till next time. Chinito is out.