When I was little, I was a horrible child. Nowadays nobody will ever let me forget it. Everybody can tell stories about what a little terror I was. When I was little, my mom took me to a doctor, who told her that I have ADD, or attention deficit disorder. Basically, it means that I get really hyper, and I can’t control my emotions or actions. The problem with ADD is that people don’t believe it exists. Some say that it is a way for upper-middle class parents to subdue their hyper children. Being ADD is way more then just that. If it were just being hyper then I would have been a much happier child. Being ADD is being looked at differently, feeling and knowing that you are out of control, with your emotions out of control, not being able to do anything about it. Most people say that things like this go away with time. I agree that it gets easier as one matures, but traces of it are still to be seen. For one thing, it was impossible for people to understand me. I would say things that made perfect sense to me, but was another language for anybody nearby who heard me. The reason for this was that I would jump topics that would be closely related like something one friend did at lunch compared to another friend, but nobody would be able to follow. It’s complicated, nobody sympathizes much, not that they should, being ADD is not something like Down syndrome, but it still requires a certain degree of understanding. My step-dad for example would yell at me because what I said made no sense or what I did was completely ridiculous. I would strive for understanding but would never find it. Suddenly, I was over sensitive about it. When I would speak louder then what was appropriate for the situation, my mom would shush me in a kind and entirely inoffensive way. To me, however, she was saying something along the lines of “what the hell is wrong with you? Can’t you control yourself?” and, because when I spoke loudly, it generally meant that I was happy, it also meant “You have no right to be happy.” Naturally, my mother never meant any of these things. Now, I am doing better, but then looking back, anything is an improvement. I still take my meds to help me focus in school and to chill out a little bit better in social situations. I have to constantly make sure that I am not doing something too “out there” but all in all, life is good. I believe in ADD because it exists, it is very real and can seriously stunt a child’s growth and happiness. While some parents may use it as an excuse to medicate their children I know that it is a very real condition, but one that can be overcome with time and effort.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.