“Laura, please stop following me around, and go find somewhat else to sit.”
I should be used to this, but it still stings.
People have always judged me based on the small blue pill I take every morning to make my brain more neurotypical. I don’t think I’ve ever been neurotypical. I was diagnosed in kindergarten. Every year since, I’ve had struggles with ADHD and my social skills. Any teen who has ADHD probably understands the struggle. I’ve been left out even though they promised to be inclusive so many times that I’ve lost count. I’ve been talked down to by kids younger than I am who don’t understand or attempt to understand me. My parents have seen me go from popular to having zero friends and being bullied by people I considered “friends.” Sometimes, I could go a week with no one texting me back. I get ignored all the time. As Martin Luther King, Jr., says, judge me by the content of my character not my physical characteristics or the way my brain is.
The only two people who truly understand, appreciate and love me for me (besides my parents of course) are my two best friends. To my friends, be patient. My brain doesn’t always go the way it “should.” I will get distracted. You are allowed to gently (I do mean gently) put me back on track. However, I do not tolerate, “Snap out of it” or “God, do you ever focus?” Also look beyond the ADHD and look at the person. I can actually be a very funny and caring friend. I’m not expecting to be in every event or conversation ever. Just be more inclusive. If there’s a bunch of you planning something and y’all know I may be interested, text me. When I’m tuned out, don’t assume I’m automatically ignoring someone. Sometimes I space out. It’s normal. I guarantee you if you say my name a few times, I will tune back in.
To my teachers, I actually do have a lot of work ethic. Sometimes, I tend to lose stuff because of the ADHD, but I do work hard. I am a lot more intelligent than I seem. When we do partner stuff, don’t single me out or make little comments to your aide. Trust me, I notice that stuff. I do appreciate you helping me find a partner if I don’t know anyone. Also do not and I repeat do not go all preschool teacher on me. That is not necessary. I’m in high school. I can do it. Please be cooperative. My tutor isn’t trying to undermine your style. She is simply trying to help me. If she teaches me a way that works better for me and I still do it right, for the love of God, do not take off points for “incorrect method” or BS like that. To the teachers who understood and actually try to go above and beyond to help me succeed, thank you. It isn’t always a piece of cake being my teacher, but you saw the potential and ran with it. I am a better student and person because of what you did.
I’m a person, not a diagnosis. I have feelings and emotions like everybody else.
Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash