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If You Took Away My ADHD...

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A fly buzzes on the windowsill, flitting back and forth, hitting the glass repeatedly. The air conditioning emits a low hum, reverberating through the room. Pencils scratch paper, etching out an underlying rhythm. Pages rustle, my peers flipping to the next sections, focused solely on the test. To them, the room is silent.

I have always disliked the cliche “you could hear a pin drop.” I do sewing for 4-H, and I have heard a lot of pins drop. They aren’t that quiet.

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I have ADHD, yet most people can’t even tell I have it. Many people don’t believe me even when I tell them; one of my teachers laughed at me when told, thinking I was joking. How could Kaitlynn, avid reader, fountain of random knowledge, euphonium section leader, 8th-grade-mock-election-proclaimed teacher’s pet, have ADHD?

People know — or think they know — how “ADHD kids” act: wild, hyper, out of control, unfocused, irresponsible or cavalier. I understand these stereotypes, I’ve seen students who act like that.

“You don’t know what it’s like.”

Yes, I do.

Yes, it is harder to focus.

Yes, it is harder to sit still.

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

“Nothing is impossible.” Another cliche, but with this one, I agree. Yes, there are hard times. Yes, there are struggles, but I can overcome. I have struggled with my ADHD, but through the tenacity and resilience of my parents, the support of my friends, and my curiosity to learn about the world around me, I have achieved the unthinkable: I am a top student with ADHD.

With each battle, with every time I remind myself I can, even while others and society tell me I can’t — I grow. I take one step further towards my goal — and with each step, the path ahead gets easier. I’m not perfect, I still struggle sometimes, but even if I had the option to somehow be “cured” of ADHD, I would turn it down. I am who I am today because of the struggles and trials in my past. You take away my ADHD, you take away a big part of who I am. True, I will struggle in the future. But without the pain of struggles, the joy of achievement would not be as sweet. Beating a personal record in the 100 butterfly isn’t special because I beat the person next to me. It’s special because I practiced every day to get there. Placing first at marching band festival isn’t special because we get another trophy but because of my sore arms from holding up my baritone. It’s not the destination, but the journey.

To me, the room is not silent. The buzzing, humming, scratching, and rustling emanates in my mind, a tapping pencil to me, a booming drum. I take a deep breath. You can do this. I pick up my pencil and turn the page.

Thinkstock photo by master1305

Originally published: August 12, 2017
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