Deafening silence morphing into distant voices that seem detectable yet were
indecipherable. Living in a world where time was a warped concept, minutes meant nothing.
Numbers had little value and understanding was trapped beneath ice that rarely ever melted.
This world plagued with a claustrophobic sense of confusion was the world fabricated by my
own mind. Ever since I was a child, processing things was a time-consuming task. What took
mere minutes to understand took me days to comprehend. No matter how hard I tried, nothing ever fully made sense and even when it did, the understanding faded quickly.
During elementary school I noticed that the class excelled without me. Red marks
painted all my tests, and every homework problem wore an X and -2 or -3.
My teachers would ask, “What are you having trouble with? You seemed to understand
well during class today.”
But that was the problem. When I was in class everything made sense, yet as soon as I left, that understanding was buried deep down in the depths of my mind once again. For years I worked diligently in class. I appeared to be a good student who just didn’t have the smarts. Little did the school know that I sat at home staring at a single question for hours, unable to recognize the words on the page the way I had in class.
I began to accept the fact that school was not a place where I would find success. My
train of thought veered off the tracks far too often, making even the simplest of questions into intricate mazes. It was not until 4th grade that an idea proposed by my mother was finally acknowledged: ADHD. Of course, I had no knowledge of the debate going on about my unique brain. Then one day I walk into class and see a new face. “Maybe a teacher?” I wondered. This teacher seemed to be watching the class. Quietly listening to the lessons and occasionally writing down notes. Later that year I was diagnosed with ADHD by non-other than the mysterious teacher who I believed to be observing the class. I was told later that she wasn’t a teacher, nor was she observing the class. She was observing me. The way I sat and how I’d fidget when the class was quiet. All these things I did subconsciously were being magnified and connected back to the strange dimension in my head.
ADHD… A D H D…. that cannot be right. During my diagnosis I was told I had potential. A
word I rarely heard.
“You are intelligent. Your mind has just developed differently and processes things at a
slower pace. But that doesn’t not mean that you are not smart!” The doctor told me.
These are the words I was being told. These words that were meant to encourage my heart, were violently rejected by my consciousness. Who are you to tell me I have potential? ADHD is not the reason I find no comfort in learning. My inability to function is the problem. If what you are saying is true then how come I haven’t excelled. I conjured up thousands of excuses to shield my inner thoughts from the truth. The built up of ice wanted nothing but to remain frozen, hiding in the depths of my brain. Fighting with the knowledge that ADHD could be the reason time warped within me.
I hated the way ADHD sounded like brokenness in my ears. Dreading the idea that I
could have been more than what I was all I could think about was my own self destruction. I
am broken… the reason I hide in my own confusion is because I am broken beyond compare. My
mind felt shattered, the world of swirling thoughts and meaningless number began to crumble. The foggy oasis inside my head continued to crack, falling to the ground until all that was left was the ice holding the understanding I desired. For barely a second, everything was clear, I could see every thought and idea as if it was on a page before my eyes. Through the ice I had a crystal-clear view of what lay trapped below. Then, just as soon as my mind cleared the morphing sounds returned, time warped once again, and the confusion settled in. However, this confusion was different. It was lighter and left me with an odd feeling of unidentifiable
In the years after I was diagnosed, I delved into my mind. I watched as the fog gradually
lifted. The morphed voices lingered yet became complete thoughts with individual purposes. As I journeyed beyond the haze the numbers and clocks suddenly meant something. This is where everything was hiding. This corner of light outside the bubble of my consciousness. It had always been there, just close enough that I could see the numbers and hear the thoughts. Yet far enough that the thoughts were dull and the numbers where blurred. This place was one I would begin to love.
The drastic change of graduating elementary and entering middle school set me back a
couple steps. I worried about slowing down and not being able to catch up. I tried to explain
what I was feeling to my parents and teachers but all that came out were pointless shrugs
accompanied by false “I don’t know”s. But I did know. I accepted that I would have to work
harder to grasp the right words to say. I needed time to catch up to the understanding that
walked faster than I could sprint. When I finally embraced the fact that I process things
differently everything shifted. The strange way my mind worked was not a negative thing but
rather a unique aspect of my life that could be strengthened. I gained speed and caught up to
what had once confused me. I realized that I always had potential. All I had to do was build a
path to find it.
Slowly, I found success. I gained confidence in myself and my ability to adapt. School
was no longer a place full of mistakes and corrections but rather a place where I practiced
thinking. Confusion became curiosity. A place to conquer and explore rather than a place to
hide and cower in.
That claustrophobic and warped world still exists in my head. However, it no longer
masks every corner of my mind. I have found my potential and built upon it. What was once a
small shred of clarity is now a labyrinth of openings, a world full of shimmering ideas that float peacefully waiting to be explored.