Grade school was fine — easy enough to graduate top of my class and get into a really good college. SATs weren’t great, but I had the GPA and extracurriculars to make it happen. College was a different grind, though and the struggle became real. I couldn’t retain the info at lectures, couldn’t sit still flipping through endless textbook pages, and I could never organize my workflow.
To survive and keep the grades up, I found a working formula of magical drug Adderall (purchased from friends) plus all-nighters before my exams. It wasn’t the best, but it worked. It seemed so easy for other people. “What is wrong with me?” I’d ask myself. The constant grind, paired with this inexplicable struggle, resulted in depression during my sophomore year.
When I started reading up on ADHD, the puzzle pieces began to fall in place. When I first attempted to talk about my issues with my parents, and my desire to get tested, I received a bit of pushback. You see, my brother was diagnosed in elementary school and prescribed Ritalin. I was supposed to be “nothing like him.” But eventually, I got the appointment, took the test and received the diagnosis. ADHD. Boom.I wish I can say it was all uphill from there, but it wasn’t. I had this bit of clarity and could answer “why”, but my brain was still my brain. What I came to realize was that the more I understood how my brain worked, the better I could live with ADHD.
I can’t really blame them though. Everyone has their own struggles.
As I’ve gotten older, I now think of my ADHD as just another layer of who I am, mixed in with all the other layers that make up me. Some layers help, some hinder, some do both. And this goes for everyone — my layers are different than yours and we are all trying to get by in this complex thing we call life.
About the Author
Trent is an outdoor enthusiast working as a producer and advertising professional in NYC. He's wearing the ADHBees Mascot Hat.