Risheek Priyadarshi, Editor-in-Chief

It’s not as bad as it used to be, but ADHD can still be really frustrating, especially for those around me. If something isn’t too engaging, I zone out almost instantly and it’s really hard to get myself back on track. But if something is actually engaging—which isn’t as rare as you might think—I hyperfocus. That means I get a steady stream of work accomplished. But even then, if my concentration falters even slightly, it’s almost impossible to pick up where I left off. The other downside to being hyperfocused is that if someone is trying to talk to me while I’m in that mindset, I literally won’t hear them, even if they’re literally right next to me. My friends usually have a really hard time getting my attention because I hyperfocus, even if I’m just having a conversation with someone else.

I was born with ADHD but was officially diagnosed in seventh grade. I’m not entirely sure why my parents didn’t take me to the doctor sooner to confirm it, but by the time they did I didn’t need an official diagnosis to know why it was so hard for me to concentrate. It was significantly more difficult to control myself when I was a kid than it is now. I was labeled as  hyper in general, and, up until the third grade, I didn’t get much help from anyone for that energy and inattentiveness. But when I reached the third grade, teachers became far more understanding. I guess if hyperactivity and lack of attention persists to a certain age, it’s basically accepted that you have ADHD.

I remember the first time I heard that I probably had ADHD. I was up in my room trying to do homework when I got distracted; I couldn’t stop thinking about this book that I had been reading. When I looked at the clock, almost three hours had passed, and I hadn’t gotten any work done. This really frustrated me so I went and told my mom about it, and she told me that she had suspected for years that I had ADHD. I remember feeling really confused about everything; I had always wondered why other kids were able to get better grades and spend less time on homework when it took me hours to get anything done.

I never took any medication and I wasn’t on the 504 plan, which is a government initiative that provides aid to students with learning disabilities in school. My parents were scared that I wouldn’t be “myself” and that I might grow dependent on medication. A lot of other families are confronted with the same dilemma, which is a problem because deciding whether to or not take medication has a bigger impact on the life of someone with ADHD than most people might expect. Now that I’ve grown older, I could never imagine using drugs to calm down or focus. I’ve come up with many strategies to help myself and I know what works for me.