I was wondering if before you see me the next time and tell my parents that I still need to be medicated for ADHD, you might consider a few things about me that you might not know. You see as a kid who can barely pick out an outfit that matches, make my bed, or wake up not hoping it’s Saturday, I kind of have an active imagination. Like nearly all of my friends, I hate taking baths and I like to daydream. And when I daydream, I seem to not pay attention to what others are talking about. I kind of get lost in my own little world where rainbows do lead to pots of gold, leprechauns are real, life often feels like my favorite video game, and fart jokes never get old.
I try not to, but I can’t seem to stop. (I said “butt.”) It’s as if being outside and playing is so much more fun to think about than listening to my teachers and parents asking me to do things that are no fun at all. I have so many ideas, and things I want to do, that my brain just seems to automatically take over when an adult starts to talk to me. Also, when one of my friends says something funny, I get excited and distracted. I guess this kind of causes a bit of a problem when it comes to paying attention in school for seven long hours each day, which seems like forever. I don’t know if any other kids have told you, but (oops I said “butt” again) ADHD drugs seem to not let me think at all. They take my imagination away. I can’t understand how you can call this stuff “medicine.”
I also have a lot of energy. My mom says I get it from sucking every last ounce of it out of her. I think it might come from what is called the “last nerve.” Because normally right before she freaks out, she says I am getting on that nerve. I am not sure how that works scientifically, but she does seem to be rather low on energy quite often when we spend time together. Now it might be possible I’m producing the energy, because my school counselor asked my Mom if I act as if I am driven by a motor. Which would be pretty cool. Then I would be like a robot.
So I‘m not sure if it is my robot motor, or my awesome imagination and endless energy, or maybe that I find school to be boring… (Don’t tell my teacher ok? She’s real nice and I don’t want to hurt her feelings), but I often fidget, tap my feet and squirm in my seat. My desk chair is really uncomfortable and I can’t help but get up and move around. I find myself wanting to run and climb. I find that being quiet and paying attention in school is more difficult than sitting through one of my minister’s sermons. At least I get cookies for listening at church. I talk a lot, and I can’t understand why I am not allowed to share my answers and thoughts when I think of them. It’s as if they think I can remember what I am thinking and save it for later. The whole “waiting your turn” thing and playing quietly doesn’t make a lick of sense. Besides the old people at my grandma’s group home, who plays quietly? It’s like adults forget how to play.
I really don’t think I am that different from any of the other kids in the class, but for some reason my teacher doesn’t seem to find my behavior as enjoyable as she does Robert’s and Reagan’s. They act the same way I do, but my teacher calls them “gifted” and says that I have “special needs.” I don’t think I am special, or need stuff that my classmates don’t need as well. I think I am just a normal kid who gets tired of learning things that I can’t imagine ever needing to learn.
So before you make me take more ADHD pills that will keep me from being as tall and gifted as Robert, possibly make my face twitch like Tommy’s, or make me act like Brandon, (I think he’s a zombie, really, you should see him, it’s scary) maybe you could read one of those books on how kids act when they are young. My aunt told my mom these books are on “normal childhood development,” whatever that is.
Or maybe you could read the booklet the pharmacist gave my mom. I think he called it a “medication guide.” He looked worried when he told her she might want to read it very carefully before making me take the pills. Maybe you don’t realize, but the pills can cause all kinds of things that sound worse than me being me. The pharmacist called them “serious health risks and side effects.” He pointed out in the booklet that the people who make the pills claim to not even know how the pills work.
If you don’t mind me asking, maybe you could also just tell my parents that these things they call “symptoms of ADHD” are just normal ways that all kids act. Maybe you could just tell my mom that she is a great mom, and that I’m a great kid, and these things (you know; me behaving like a young man) will happen when I am no longer a young boy. I think it’s possible. Yesterday I actually brushed my teeth twice and used a tissue to pick my nose. I did all of these things without being told to do them. By the way, those tissue things actually work, and provide a good place to hide your boogers. You should keep some in your office. Oh, and don’t look under your waiting room chairs.
I know she loves me, and believe me I try every day to not let her down or make her mad. But it turns out I am really good at it. Doc, I think it is going to take a bit more than the few months I have been on this planet to figure out everything you adults want us kids to do . . . (I know, I said “butt” again, and, here comes another one) . . . But if you could do this for me, I swear I will try my best. See you soon.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.