- Mental Health
Growing up with ADHD My Story Part 1
Diagnosed with ADHD. Now What?
This page was originally titled Diagnosed with ADHD. Now What? It was meant to go with a different article. This has been corrected and you can now find the correct article here.
Before ADHD diagnosis
Feeling out of place when your growing up seems to be a common enough thing to hear most people tell it. And some know for a fact, that they are absolutely, positively different. The funny thing is, other people thought you were different, too. And some even said so! "You're weird. Do you know that?"
I used to get that often. My pastor even looked at me one day after service, and said, "Sister, you are rather eccentric." I know perfectly well what eccentric means and the different contexts in which it could be used. I have an excellent vocabulary when my brain works and I write a lot so, I'm not an idiot. Not that writing demonstrates intelligence. Clearly is doesn't demonstrate common sense, either. I've read some things that have been published, that in my opinion, didn't have enough real substance to have wasted the paper to publish it. Understandably, writing does not define intelligence, just an episteme for good grammar and a publisher that thinks someone might want to read it, regardless of it's ideology or it's lineament of quality information. Still, I never knew exactly in what capacity he meant it, and I did not ask. I couldn't tell you why it even came about, I don't remember talking about anything. It kind of hurt. But, then again, it was not something I had not heard before. I just kept it to myself and pondered it every now and again.
And yet, when people say this to you, it makes you feel even more cutoff from the, quote "NORMAL" people, putting you in the precarious position of trying to seem normal. Many say they didn't, or don't try to fit in, but the fact is; most of us were/are looking to fit in, somewhere, somehow. Even when we knew it was trying to squeeze a square peg in a round hole and it just didn't fit.
This is my first real post to this hub. As far as what this site is for, I am going to use this opportunity to tell my story. I will try to keep it simple. I will warn you upfront, I have ADHD. Okay, so you got that already. My warning is this; I hate the tediousness of grammar. Yes, I understand full well it's effect when used correctly. The biggest problem I have, is the part where I find grammar and punctuation a nuisance. Not because I never learned it, but because, it's one of those things that you have to pay attention to; I really just need to write this blog while I can focus. I may or may not clean it up later. Depends on what I have going on then. On with the story of my life and, maybe, yours as well to some extent if you feel you have this disorder.
Unfortunately, there was a fair amount of bad things that happened to me and I suffered some abuse as child. Those parts I won't go into detail about or talk a whole lot about. There's no sense dwelling on things that do not matter anymore, other than to use the experiences to grow. Sadly, those events tend to mold us into a path of slow destruction, rather than shape us into better people. If you have been diagnosed with ADHD some of this may be all too familiar. As I am aware of this, I am trying to write with a note of humor. Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying. This will be a multi part posting because it's lengthy, but I'm leaving a lot out at the same time.
When it comes to remembering my early years, I have an excellent recollection of my childhood. I have the long-term memory of an elephant. Notice I did not say just say memory?
"I can't breathe out of the right side, momma!" Something as simple as my nose being stopped up would cause me serious discomfort. I felt panicky, thinking I couldn't breath. It caused me to whine incessantly. "I don't like the way that feels when my fingernails touch it!" I would cry. The feel of a cotton sheet accidentally scraping across my nails was enough to send me into a frenzy that would make me climb the wall, and my teeth feel funny. I had constant tummy aches, my mom would tell me was growing pains...at 4 and 5 years old, and I almost never slept. "I hate you, stupid doll. Why do they make toys that don't do what they are supposed too!" I said, angrily ripping Barbie's legs off, and throwing her across the room, because she would not sit on Midnight. But, I never threw midnight. I couldn't even sleep without that hard piece of plastic horse. After the destruction of Midnight, (long story) I took to sleeping in a box. (don't ask! Laughs to self.) I was always attached to something. Granted...not strange when you are a little kid. I was 11 or 12 respectively at the time I slept in the box.
I started Kindergarten. Muahhhh!!!
Three years later, on top of tons of notes, early dismissals for using the bathroom on myself so my mom would come get me, and successfully making very few friends, I'd made it to the 3rd grade.
"Mrs. Gwyn, we are going to have to put her in a Special ED class. She is in the third grade and she can't read. She just will not sit still, or she stares into space and will not pay attention." Now that I know what ADHD is, I better understand the word "will". And I can promise you I did not have a WILL that was all mine. "She will be held back if she does not learn to read this year." "Talking to her, she is so smart, I just don't understand."
Later that year I was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder with occasional hyperactivity. I laugh at that now. So, we knew I had it way back then. "Now what?"
Nothing. We were told I would grow out of it and all would well by the time I was in middle school...most likely. Dot, dot, dot. (A lone cricket serenades in the pause for clarification.) It was not Mrs. Woody's fault. She did not know that a majority of us DO NOT out grown it.
She was smart enough to know, that I was not dumb. She explained to me personally, I had been diagnosed with ADHD and I would grow out of it. Until then I had to work hard just keep up. And I did have to work hard. And I did learn to read that year. Again, thanks to her.
I learned easily, while laying in the floor under a table with headphones on, listening to words being spelled with my eyes closed. Imagine that. Not-going-to-happen in a normal class room. But most times I was the only one in the room. That's the benefits of a small school in a rural area, when you have teachers who care. And Mrs. Woody did. Thank God.
I was in her class four hours a day. And I didn't have to wear shoes.
It's no telling how smart I could have been if I had been allowed to continue learning that way. But then again, I might still be under a desk somewhere, laying on my back, playing with my hair, bare foot and listening to Tony Robbins, talk about how to be successful. Now if I could just use what I learned. I mean no insult to Tony. I love him and have learned a great deal listening to him. He's a genius if you actually LISTEN to what he is saying. YES, I said learn. I learn really easy, It's not always the learning we ADHD'ers have a problem with. That part of our brain works just fine. It's the application. Somewhere between what we know and how we use it—well it just gets lost in transit, or when the message does get there, it's usually missing half. Therefore if it's missing half and we can only apply part of that; no wonder people consider us a little slow. Geesh. it's tough.
Can you imagine? Well, if you HAVE ADHD, you don't have too. Sometimes it's like being paralyzed. Go into a restaurant, starving. The waitress brings you an awesome meal and places it in front of you with all the utensils and condiments and everything you could possibly need. Now image you go to dig in and your arm does not move. You try the other one. Nothing.You try to will it to move, You try tell it to stop being lazy and just work. Still no results. Well when all else fails...you have toes...wait...unfortunately you can't even feel those. Are they even there? Now what? Improvise.
ADHDer's are good improvisers. We have to figure out an alternative way around what normal people do normally. Ah....I got it! And idea. I wiggle my butt around in the seat and get right in front of the plate and lean forward, after I say my blessing and thank God for the food which I am about to literally dive into. And there you have it. I eat without using my hands and without the wonderful utensils that would make this so much easier. Drinking is another matter. Holding that heavy glass between your teeth and letting the liquid run down your throat takes a certain kind of finesse. Talented. The waitress comes back with the check and the food is all gone. She is completely unaware of how I managed to eat it. For all she knew I ate it the way everyone else did. And that is what it's like having an invisible disability. I once heard a woman say she wished her son had a visible handicap. That way she would not have to try to explain to people what exactly his disability was. No one is going to tell a child in a wheel chair he can walk if he would just stop being lazy and apply himself.
Setting my attention back on Mrs. Woody, for a second. Because, I learned to read that fast, I was taken from her class the next year, back to prison, released into the general population once more. I preferred solitary confinement to the horrible grind of being in a class room with people who made 'noises'.
One girl two seats to my left, made smacking sounds as she chewed on a waded up piece of paper in place of the gum we were not allowed to have, another boy in front of me kicked his desk, just loud enough to get on my nerves. I wanted to kick him. The teacher smacked her gum (she was allowed), and it was so painfully quiet, that I got on my own nerves just breathing. Not to mention, I had to get my shoes off. My feet felt like lava and my clothes were starting to get uncomfortable.
It was not surprising that I had not heard the teacher call my name. "Can you not sit still?" "You are disturbing the entire class with your restlessness. Have you finished reading your story already?"
'Story'—Oh... yeah. I was supposed to be reading. I forgot. With all the distractions around me, I had not realized I was distracting others due to my miserable predicament. Needless to say..the story did not get read. Not past that first sentence, when the boy kicked the desk, a door slammed somewhere in the hallway. Two teachers walked by talking about a trip they were planning, as a kid came out of the boys bathroom, ":eeeeeeekkkkkk" the door strained and he let it slam closed. "Wham!" "Who could read with all that racket?!"
(Continued in Part 2)
Growing up with ADHD. My Story (Part 2)
- Adult and Diagnosed with ADHD. Now What? Part Two
I managed to never do home work, get in trouble constantly for some small thing I'd done, or NOT done, and wrote more spelling words as punishment (as did my cousin), than I care to remember. He nor I went...