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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

ADHD is no laughing matter

ADHD - website
Illustration by Katherine Kurz Photo credit: Katherine Kurz

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, better known as ADHD. If you’re asked to describe what a kid with ADHD looks like, you’d probably say it’s the boy who can’t sit still and talks about the most random things unable stay on one topic.

Statistics prove that boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, so when I displayed signs of the disorder, many didn’t think it would be ADHD. Most people just figured I was lazy.

ADHD makes the simplest things, like reading, some of the most difficult tasks one can do. When your mind wanders, but you see the words on the page go by, you might think you know what you read when in reality, you could go pages without understanding a single letter.

Often times, people with ADHD seem very happy on the outside, but homework and other normal tasks can leave kids easily frustrated— most give up quickly. Without treatment, grades tend to drop and students’ GPAs suffer.

I can’t speak for all who suffer from ADHD but when I was put on my medicine, my GPA went from a 2.8 to 4.0 in less than a year. I heard about kids who said their personality suffered when they got put on medication, but I disagree. I almost didn’t even notice I was on medicine until it would start to wear off.

But I can’t always rely on Ritalin to help me read or stay focused; I had to learn certain tools to cope with my disorder. When I read, I annotate each paragraph, or draw out the story so I can visibly understand text.

However, the hardest challenge I have encountered with ADHD is memorization. I can’t always draw a picture or make notes because I would have to remember the picture then remember what the picture means then remember the actual text.

I have to actually take my medication for situations like memorizing. Taking medication has side effects, just like any medicine does.

I can handle a little nausea, or dizziness. The one thing that hurts the most is the insomnia the medication gives me.

If I’m studying for a test, I take my medication to remember study material. But the best thing for a test is a good night sleep, which I don’t get because I take my Ritalin. Luckily for me, that side effect only lasts a few days.

Now the thing about ADHD, which makes this disorder different from ADD, is the hyperactivity.

People tend to think this means I’m bouncing off the walls and I can’t calm down. Sometimes that’s the case. But more often than not, it’s really just me not being able to sit in a chair for more than three minutes without having to get up or reposition myself.

I often tell people I don’t go to movies because I don’t know how to sit through a whole movie. I want to get up and walk around— I always need to be moving.

I bounce my leg when sitting, I tap my pen if I’m holding one and I’m always looking around unfocused.

My Ritalin helps me focus— as odd as it sounds— on sitting. I can chill and actually do work.

It seems like such a little thing, but ADHD is a serious mental disorder that needs to be taken with care.

Brittany McClintock can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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Brittany Mcclintock, Staff Writer

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