I have lived my entire life with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, the Combined type. Most people don’t know there are three different types: Inattentive, hyperactive, or combined, which is the worst of both all rolled into one beautiful disability. I was first tested for a bunch of things when I was in kindergarten, but I didn’t score quite high enough to be officially diagnosed, but one point shouldn’t have mattered because by the time I was able to finish all the testing again, I was in second grade and labeled the BAD KID. I was acting out and unable to control myself most of the time. Not everyone experiences ADHD the same, and the severity you have influences a lot of the accommodations you may need. ADHD for me was a curse when I was younger. It was wrong to have a disability; it was a dirty word that no one wanted people to say out loud. I was constantly told to hide and keep quiet so that no one could know, but I didn’t get why until it was too late. Peers in second grade started making fun of me for being different. I wasn’t like John the star student, or Athena the best athlete, or even Martin the know it all. No, I was Veronica the CRAZY GIRL. I hated being pulled out of class to go take my medicine, or when I struggled to control myself, even when trying my best, being moved in the classroom, or having my light color change. Yellow was sitting by myself in a corner without the things I needed to help calm me down. Red was sent to the principal’s office and my parents called for being disruptive again.
As I grew up I hid my ADHD because of what others would think. I would sneak to take my meds or just skip them completely because if I don’t take them then I can be normal, right? I was wrong. I had fallen back into the pattern of acting out again and began struggling in class. This time I had to go to therapy to teach me how to control my actions and behavior because the “medicine I was taking” wasn’t working. The therapist quickly figured out that I was not actually taking my medication and helped me work through what I was dealing with in school. It was a long process, but I learned that I wasn’t crazy but actually beautifully unique.
When I went to high school it was a new experience. Not just because it was a new school, but because I learned what accommodations I needed and how to control my ADHD, and most importantly that my disability didn’t actually define me. What defined me was being a two-sport athlete, math club president, playing three instruments and being able to sing in the top choir, taking advanced classes, etc. I knew how to advocate for myself and what I needed to help me succeed the most and prepare for college. Don’t get me wrong, there were still some rough days, but I was better and handling it.
Now I am in College! I am definitely not a traditional student, but I knew that was going to be the case. I don’t hide my ADHD at all. I don’t tell everyone when I first meet them, but I am open with who I am. I think battling my ADHD has shown me how beautiful it can be when you start to truly understand it. I have given presentations on my disability and I can proudly say that I have ADHD, but it does not define me. In college, I may struggle some days like any college student and my diverse ability has not made my journey easy. When people look at me they don’t see my ADHD they see a student, sister, future teacher, DEI Ambassador, Her Campus President, Campus Trendsetter, DAPi member, SAAT Executive member and so much more. My disability is such a small portion of me.
I want to leave you with one quote before I go that has been a part of me for a long time. If you have ADHD like me, even if your story is the same or different, I hope this helps or inspires you to keep fighting because you are beautiful no matter what your disability.
The truth is,
There is no such thing as “Normal”,
There are just a series of spectrums on which we all fall
And how “normal” we are is largely determined by how well
Our strengths and weaknesses match the social norms of the times we live in.