The Harbinger Online

Living with ADHD

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First semester freshman year, my GPA was below a 3.0. I had two D’s — one in Spanish and one in geometry; I had to get at least a 69.5 percent in geometry to pass. Because of the pressure to do well on my finals, I decided to take two ADHD pills called Focalin, doubling my normal dosage. This wasn’t my first time conflicting with ADHD and its pills.

By the time my final had started, the pills had kicked in and I could tell they were working to their full effect. I felt my body buzzing and a there was a tingling feeling in my head. I felt a rush of power and energy – it was unnatural.

The one thing I didn’t end up doing was focus — I ended up failing my final. The doctor turned out to be right; taking a double dose reverses the effect. I guess I was wrong, I needed to find the perfect balance.

In 4th grade, I began to take these little white pills in the morning. My parents explained to me that I had been diagnosed with something called Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, ADHD. After a few months I began to feel dependent on them; I needed to take them to be smart. They made me feel like there was this machine in my head physically forcing me to focus.

But the pills ended up having some negative side effects. I transferred from a private school to a public school after 6th grade, after that happened, I noticed that I no longer felt hungry at lunch time. I started eating meals at peculier times, like late at night. My brain had somehow convinced my body that I couldn’t eat any foods during the day. Sometimes I would go the entire day without eating until dinner, but my doctor told me in order for the pills to work I needed to eat in the morning. I tried, but I couldn’t do it. Food in the morning made me want to puke, and some mornings I actually did.

Slowly, I began to hate the pills, they turned me into a focus zombie. They killed my uplifted, optimistic attitude, remembering to take the pills was a struggle itself, and forgetting to take them would mess with my body too. Some days I would walk through the halls of Indian Hills Middle School and not say a word to anyone. I stopped feeling like talking in the halls and joking with my friends in class.

When I came to East, I decided to stop taking the pills. I thought because I was older, smarter and more mature, I could handle my ADHD. But as soon as I stopped, my grades started to sink. Math has always been tough for me, and geometry was no different. I hated Spanish just as much as Senora Detrixhe loved me. Conjugations became my silent killer.

Tumbling downhill through my first semester of high school made me believe this was how the rest of high school was going to be — I thought I was going to have to cheat my way through school. As the end of the first semester came to a close, finals were the last blow I was going to take. Then I remembered the pills — oh the magical pills. I convinced myself I could suffer through them in order to do well on my finals. So that was when I decided I would take that double dose. I ended up finishing my first semester with a 2.9 grade point average.

After that semester,  I started to take the pills consistently again, but this time, things were different. I had finally been able to eat on a consistent schedule, and I’m no longer worried about having to cheat my way through school, the pills allowed me to focus more and be normal. I figured that the positives of taking my meds outweighed the negatives, and I’ve seen my GPA skyrocket up. Since my first semester of freshman year, I’ve figured out the right way to deal with my ADHD. My grades have been great, and so has my life.

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