The truth about ADHD

Isabella Santoro

Photography Editor

Image via Tara Winstead/Pexels

Having ADHD sucks. It’s no walk in the park, but it’s something I have dealt with since I was 5. I can’t change it, so I deal with it and its challenges. Adderall can only do so much, then it’s you against a world not designed for those who aren’t neurotypical. Adderall can only take away so much of your hyper side and will make you remember as much as it lets you. You’re alone with a disorder that the world doesn’t really understand. What’s worse, is when your sibling has the same disorder and he’s worse. You’re left with everyone saying “I never would have known you had it. Are you sure you do?”

It gets tiring trying to explain it and saying, “Yes, I have the hyper part, but it’s different.” Oftentimes people see a condition and think everyone with it is the same, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s hard to explain to people that I’m not he same as your sister who can’t remember to brush her teeth or your neighbor who talks too much. Every diagnosis is different and it’s not easy trying to live in a world that says I have to act one way or else I’m lying about it.

While no one has ever tried to convince me I don’t have ADHD, they try to convince me it’s not a big deal, that I don’t have to lie about it because it’s “not as bad as you think it is. It’s not life altering. Don’t be dramatic”. It doesn’t have to be life altering for it to matter. It’s the little things that add up to become something so huge you can barely handle; when the barrel tips over and there lies everything you forgot to do and the reactions of others. Then depression sets in, knowing you can do nothing more than take Adderall every morning and hope it makes you less of a burden.

I feel invisible when people wonder why I don’t seem to act like I have it. It feels so invisible when you have straight A’s in school and you’re on the right track. You’re a good girl. You don’t act out. You don’t drink, you don’t smoke. Maybe you forget things and maybe you talk a lot, but isn’t that normal? Then the loneliness sets in, and I’m left wondering, “why can’t anyone understand I’m trying my best?”

It doesn’t go away with time. It won’t diffuse and it won’t be lacking just because I take a pill. It’s not a pity that my brain short circuits when I try to remember to brush my hair. It’s not a pity party when my mind won’t shut down at night when all I want is to sleep. It’s not a pity party when I become so impulsive I make bad decisions I can’t take back. It’s not a pity party when I can’t wait to get out of my chair because I can’t sit comfortably for five minutes. It’s life and it’s my world.

My life is forgetting to take my medicine and it’s forgetting to do my homework. It’s getting restless even after a minute. It’s talking so much and so loudly that even tape wouldn’t hold my mouth shut. It’s becoming bored, even though I have so many things to do. It’s fighting to let people know it’s real, that I have it and you can’t tell me I don’t. It’s becoming so irritated at a cough that, for no good reason, you want to slam your head against the wall. It’s being so unorganized that you’re called messy.

It feels like pity when I look down at that piece of paper that tells teachers that I’m different and need to be treated differently. Often, they ignore it because I’m such a good student and I wouldn’t dare show any sign of being different from the others. This also means working twice as hard to prove yourself, to prove you’re just as smart as the rest, to prove that you don’t need to be treated differently. It’s always about proving. What do I really have to prove to people? That I have ADHD? That I can live comfortably with this disorder? That I’m just as smart, even if my test scores think I’m just barely average, yet GPA is a 3.9? That I have accommodations and I can use them, even if you don’t want to let me because it's an inconvenience? It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s a struggle, and even if I can handle whatever comes my way, I know solutions vary and there’s no exact end.

It’s always a double standard for me. It feels like most people with a disorder have a double standard against them. You have to make sure everyone knows you have a disorder, but you can’t let them see it, because you can’t be different. And to this, I say, “So you want us to become invisible?” and society answers “Yes, darling. You don’t want to upset anyone.”


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