Behind The Scenes Of My ADHD

Behind The Scenes Of My ADHD

ADHD or ADD is a common mental disorder that many children and adults struggle with. Even though it's existence has been proven there are still myths and misconceptions that it doesn't exist.

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What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder known as ADHD and is a highly-genetic neurobehavioral disorder found in people of all ages. According to the Vyvanse website, about 10.5 million adults suffer from ADHD.

Yes, I am one of those individuals.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that people think the ADHD or ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder is just having the inability to focus, but it is much more than that. According to WebMD studies show that neurotransmitters in the brain work differently in the brains of ones who have ADHD versus ones who don't. Certain parts of the brain of people with ADHD are also less active or smaller than ones without it. This does not affect their intelligence, this just means that part of that brain is smaller in size or less active.

Growing up with ADHD is a lot harder than it seems. Teachers would get upset with me in the classroom because I would not understand what they said the first time. People thought I was ignoring them or did not care what I had to say. This is not the truth, my brain was not able to absorb what they were preaching because my brain was somewhere else or their information was not registering.

I always struggled to follow the rules throughout my grade school years and pay attention in class, but that didn't stop me from pursuing my goals. I still get called out for excessive talking to this day, but I realized is not a bad problem to have when making friends. Even though ADHD has its flaws such as having a short attention span, forgetfulness and being fidgety it has its rewards.

My brain is always filling up with new ideas and theories around the clock. It can be exhausting but it makes me think so much more creatively. I watch movies and look at pieces of art and see how I can alter them in my own way. I have trouble sleeping because my mind is always motivated to take on a new challenge or project. I noticed since I change my mind so often it has prevented me from having addiction tendencies.

The great thing about being a talkative person with ADHD is that people see the positive in me instead of the negative. People think when I forget something they just think I am being funny, but deep down inside I know it is my ADHD. Even though it seems funny at the moment, I come home feeling ashamed later. I am not ashamed that I messed up, but that I am so different from my friends.

At times I have waves of low-self esteem because I always knew I was much different than my fellow colleagues. School would frustrate me at times because I didn't have the attention span to sit down and study for hours. I realized later in life that I wasn't less smart than the other students, it was just that I learned the material in a different way.

I decided to use my strengths. Instead of staring at a book I go to tutors and discuss the material out loud to learn it. My style of learning is much different than others, so I have to learn how my brain works to succeed in school. Collaborating with my peers has also helped me out throughout the years because studying alone is not interactive enough for me.

Even though I lose Hydroflasks and miss appointments on the daily and it can be frustrating, I have learned tools to be less forgetful. Writing notes and getting close with organized people are tools that I use as reminders to get through the simple things in life.

There are still going to be people out there who deny this mental disorder exists and blame people for being lazy or irresponsible by not acknowledging ADHD. The best thing is to educate people by telling them that this is a legit disorder that affects many children and adults.

I can sit there and bash myself about how I need to get my life together and compare myself to others who don't have ADHD, but it's not going to benefit me. Instead, I have to just have to understand how my brain works and apply that to my everyday life and career.

It takes time to figure out how my brain works and what helps me be productive in my everyday life. I just need to learn once I find the certain things that keep me focused, organized and positive, I stick to those things. It will always be a fight and a challenge to live with ADHD for the rest of my life. The more I learn about myself and the more self-aware I am the more manageable it can be.

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The R-Word Is Not A Word You Should Be Using

Spread the word to end the word.

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I'm having a conversation with a group of friends and it's going well as conversations with friends should go. Out of the blue, one person says something along the lines like, "Yeah, I looked retarded."

Excuse me, what?

Out of all of the adjectives in the world, you pick that one?

Allow me to elaborate. The R-word is not a word you should be using in an everyday context. You shouldn't call someone that and you should never describe someone or something as the R-word. Why? Because it's an offensive, derogatory term to humans with special needs. Basically, you are degrading others and their abilities by saying the R-word as well as not being accepting or inclusive. It's crude and needs to be eliminated from everyday speech.

Now don't get me wrong. This hasn't always been the case with the R-word; This word was socially acceptable at one point (back in like, the 17th century). In fact, the word comes from the Latin verb "retardare" which means "to hinder" or, "to make slow." We see it pop up in older literature and conversation but around the 20th century, it became a word that describes people living with mental disabilities and quickly became associated with other terms such as "moron," "idiot," and "imbecile."

In fact, on October 5, 2010, President Obama signed S. 2781 (known as Rosa's Law for the young girl who worked to get it signed) into law. This bill replaced the term "mental retardation" with "mental disability" as well as the phrase "mentally retarded individual" with "an individual with an intellectual disability." Now, the former terms and phrases no longer exist in federal health, education or labor policies. The overall goal for this law was and is to eliminate this harmful language permanently to prevent hurting and offending the vast number of people and families that have a loved one who may live with intellectual disabilities.

This concludes the history lesson portion of the article. For these reasons, the R-word has become a degrading word with negative context and we as a society should realize that, find a dictionary, and pick another adjective to describe how you look.

Still don't get it? Still think that it's socially acceptable even after my history lesson?

A former teacher of mine once used the following as examples to prove this exact point that I'm trying to make and as much as I hate typing them out, it hits hard and it will shut down any person that tries to argue that the R-word is fine to use. To sum up the examples in the softest way possible, it's basically the equivalent of calling an LGBTQ+ person a "fag" or an African American the n-word. You don't. Because all of that is WRONG and DEGRADING and you have no right to be using terms such as those. Does it make sense now? Yes? Good.

If you're interested in finding out more about ways to stop the use of this word, I recommend checking out https://www.r-word.org this organization raises awareness about the negative context of the R-word and encourages people to pledge to "spread the word to end the word." You can check out personal stories and find out when events that promote the organization are taking place.

The world isn't that big but our vocabulary is. If you use the R-word, chances are you'll seriously offend someone. Instead, please find another adjective. It's not that difficult. By doing so, you'll be helping to end the use of the R-word permanently.

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Floating In A Sensory Deprivation Tank Was What I Needed To Finally Find Calmness Again

"Alone in the dark naked in warm water," I thought, "like I'm back in the womb I guess."

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I'm not the type of person to fall for what I used to call "hippie-shit." Growing up in a household where mental illness was basically a myth and emotional vulnerability was seen as a weakness, practices such as meditation and therapy were avoided and ridiculed at all costs. I'd solve my mental issues by telling myself "mama ain't raised no bitch" or go back to one quote from the movie "Bitter Melon" that actually came out last year, which stated, "depression is for white people." And while it kept me on my feet for so long, it was simply just avoidance.

That is until it all built up and my life went spiraling out of control one semester and I figured it was time for me to finally confront these feelings. Vented to my parents for the first time, dropped out of college, found a therapist, mediated, dropped toxic people, and after four grueling months of self-care and self-realization and my brother nagging me to try it, I found myself in the dark naked in a tub of salt-water.

To be more specific I was actually in what is known as a sensory deprivation tank. For those who are not familiar with it, to put it simply it is an enclosed tub of skin-temperature water that has nearly 1000 pounds of Epsom salt dissolved into it, which then gives off a high buoyancy that makes you feel weightless. Combine that feeling of weightlessness with earplugs and complete darkness and that is what I experienced for 60 minutes.

That being said, before trying it out I was terrified. The whole drive to the sensory deprivation tank, I looked like I was fine but my mind was going apeshit. "Alone in the dark naked in warm water," I thought, "like I'm back in the womb I guess." My brother, who was driving me to the place, had no idea what was going on inside my mind within that 30-minute drive: it was a lot. However, after my anxiety-driven trot into the business, I was met with assorted teas and like-minded people, and it put me in a fairly comfortable sense of ease.

While waiting for my tub to be prepared, I found this journal laying on top of the coffee table in the waiting room. I didn't expect much from it until I opened it and saw these beautiful messages and drawings from the people who experienced the tank. In it were detailed colored pencil drawings of people submerged in pools of water and extremely heartfelt/personal stories of individuals who found inner-peace and self-realization through the tank. One anonymous person wrote that one must "let all their anxieties sink to the bottom."

And I didn't touch upon it well enough, but the months before deciding to try the sensory deprivation tank were one of the hardest and most mentally draining months of my entire life. And while it did come with a lot of hardship, it resulted in me developing a much deeper appreciation in the process of healing and learning to understand yourself. As someone who used to hate "hippie-shit," I was there sitting in the waiting room, sipping green tea, reading soppy stories and waiting for my sensory deprivation tank to be prepared: it was great.

Now everyone says their first experience in the tank is different. My first few minutes in the tank were more humorous than most because that I had no idea what I was doing. You'd think after reading those stories I'd lay down in the tub and disappear into complete transformative bliss, but that was not the case at first. I wasn't nearly prepared for the buoyancy the salt created in the water that I slid across the tub due to how easy it was to float. Add to that my intense fear of the dark. The man who worked there recommended to turn off the music and the lights inside the tank after you're acclimated for the full effect and once I had turned off the light my heart jumped and I turned it right back on. Think of it as "Birdbox" and "A Quiet Place" combined. However, once I eased my nerves a bit and laid still, that's when the magic happened.

I'd say the sensory deprivation tank was like an intense form of mediation. After being acclimated to tank, a lot of thoughts raced through my mind, which is normal when doing something similar to meditation. The trick is to acknowledge these thoughts, then simply let them go. And once my mind was clear, I heard nothing but my own heartbeat. When I breathed in the water rose up and when I breathed out the water went down with me. As cheesy as it sounds, I felt like ripples of water. And once you're in that state, you kind of just disappear.

I greatly appreciate forms of mediation because I see it as an escape. In my opinion, it is the purest form of self-help because no matter how cluttered your mind is or how horrible the world seems around you, you're giving yourself that period of time to think of absolutely nothing and to allow your body and soul to just breathe. The night after experiencing the sensory deprivation tank I was in such a calm state. Much like what the person in the journal stated, it was like my anxieties fell to the bottom of the water. I fell for the "hippie-shit" and in turn, I've never been happier. And with that and the words from the movie It, I hope that maybe "you'll float too."

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