Sometimes I can’t hear people when they talk to me. I have to ask them, “Wait, can you say that again?” and deal with a pretty annoyed countenance that reciprocates, “Did you seriously not understand what I just said?” My answer would simply that it’s not that I can’t understand, it’s just that I didn’t hear it–I was too busy looking at how your upper lip folds whenever you say the word, “here” and how your hair is curly from only one spot—my ADHD overcomes me. As a student at Texas A&M International University, it has been quite the challenge dealing with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) on a day to day basis.
I can’t just ask every professor, “Wait, can you say that again?” because I was suddenly and immensely devoted to a black stain on the white board instead of the lecture. No, that is not how university environments work. As student of a university, I would know that we are expected to be full of awareness, tact, and poise. Any unnecessary question could potentially be detrimental to the education of my fellow peers. It is for that reason, my consideration of others, that I have lost out onon moments of enlightenment and growth. Many diagnosed with ADHD feel powerless against it.
I have battled it all my life; my worse times were as a kid. I couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting to move, needing something to fiddle with, wanting to run, talk, and play. When I was told to clean my room and obliged, it usually ended with staring at each part of my room and wondering where to start or getting distracted by a sketch or a long lost toy. My teachers endured frustrating times with me, and I could do nothing for them but feel horrible for having this condition that prohibited me from being a good and composed little girl like the others. I wrote on walls, I spoke aloud, I drew a lot of pictures, and I hated math.
Eventually, in middle school, I found my voice with writing, especially creative writing. It was the only thing I found that seemed to accept my impulsivity as I quickly changed stories around and molded them into new and exciting accounts. I got A’s every time, and I also got A’s in my art classes too. My hidden affinity for writing and art continued in high school and I became greatly interested in poetry. Poetry quickly became my passion because it is the one writing format that technically does not have a format. I read Plath, Sexton, and Williams, all so original and all so unique. I had finally found a place I could be myself and not be scolded for it.
As of now, I am an English major and a Studio Art minor at TAMIU, and I could not be happier with the choice I’ve made. ADHD has still been a challenge to me as a young adult. The staring at a dirty room has moved on and exists now when I have finished reading an entire novel and want to start my paper: where do I start? Oh, look pictures from 2010! In addition to making it harder to start tasks, ADHD has actually led me to risky behaviors because of my impulsivity, which has made it harder to maintain relationships and it is also difficult to encounter people who understand and accept my disorder. Though calling it a disorder may give it more or a negative connotation than it deserves.
I have to remember that if it were not for my ADHD a lot of my creative side would not be so readily available to me. I often remember being in a middle school witnessing classmates struggle to start writing a poem or beginning a drawing—something that was always so simple for me. It sounds like a contradiction, being able to say I am capable of creative tasks but not capable of starting. That is when I made a choice, a choice that is hard, and I constantly battle with it every time I reach a deadline. To push myself, no matter how long it will take, how many breaks I need, and how many times I’ve been distracted. I have made a choice to devote myself to those things most important in life.