WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A CHILD WITH ADHD
Dear Mom and Dad,
I want you to know what it’s like to be me.
My brain runs like a washing machine powered by a Ferrari engine. It runs all the time and it runs fast, churning and tumbling ideas like shirts and pants and socks mixed together.
I can be talking to you and having another conversation running inside my head. I can be in class listening to the teacher, but be fully engaged in a daydream or hearing a new song on my guitar.
You know how I sometimes repeat questions? It’s not that I didn’t hear your answer. It’s just that in the second between the time I asked and you responded, I went somewhere interesting in my mind. And I didn’t pay attention to what you said.
Sometimes I have so many thoughts swimming inside my head that I blurt things out because I’m afraid I will forget them.
I want to do well in school. But when the teacher drones on and doesn’t engage my imagination, either my mind shuts down to sleep mode or I tune her out and go to better places that keep me stimulated. It’s nothing personal.
I kind of like all this energy inside my head because I can keep myself engaged and entertained in there by myself. But other times I feel scattered.
That’s why I like routine in other parts of life. It’s why I wear or eat the same things. I don’t need variety with most things because I have so much variety inside my head.
You think I’m sad because I don’t have lots of friends. But that’s by choice, because I’m pretty content inside.
I like who I am, but it’s tough when no one else seems to. Why does everyone want to change who I am? I’m not unhappy with myself—I’m uneasy because since I can remember, everyone around me has been so negative and tried to fix what they think is wrong with me.
You want me to talk more, but you just psychoanalyze me. Besides, it’s difficult to express my thoughts and feelings verbally—they just get jumbled up. I’d rather express them in my writing and music. I feel things deeply. I hurt with the kids who get left out, and one day I’m going to help those kids. I know how it feels.
I know you get concerned because I stay up late at night and don’t sleep much. But I like it when it’s quiet. I can hear my thoughts better. And my world is peaceful then.
Mom and Dad, don’t worry about me. I may not do great in school or be the most popular kid, but I’m content inside. I like the way my brain works, I like my energy. If everyone would stop trying to fix me, I’d be okay.
Let me focus on the things I love doing. Writing songs, playing music. Stop trying to make me be like everyone else. Just work with me, okay, not against me. I like who I am. Why can’t you?