Monday, November 18, 2013

The Girl With ADD

My kindergarten teacher said I talked too much during circle time.

My third grade teacher said I had difficulty paying attention.

My fifth grade teacher was upset because I got an F on my test--for the third time in a row. (She was also upset because I tried to forge my mom's signature so she wouldn't know about my bad grades.)

I was embarrassed. Ashamed. I didn't want to be labeled. I wanted to be normal, quick, like the other kids. I wanted to make A's. I didn't want my brain to twist and confuse the numbers in math so that 37 became 73. I didn't want to have to read out loud at a haltingly slow pace. I didn't want to be forgetful, or unorganized, or distractable.

The tests started. Tedious, one-on-one testing full of questions I didn't know the answer to.

'How do you spell the word WOMEN, Heather?'

My eight year old mind panicked. I have no idea. Wemen? Woman? Wemon?

My sixth grade teachers reported that I was unorganized, and when the report card showed only C's and D's, my eighth grade teacher recommended a doctor.

'Heather has Attention Deficit Disorder, but without the hyperactivity component.'

DISORDER

That's all I heard. Disorder. Unintelligent. Naive. Gullible.

I hated it.

Ritalin was the answer. The miracle pill. And it was, to some extent. Before,  I would look at every person who passed by the doorway, every person who sneezed or moved in their chair. After, I could focus. Stay on task. Be organized. Do my homework. And when the report card showed A's and B's instead of C's and D's, my mom was thrilled.

But I still felt like The Girl With ADD.

And I didn't want anybody to know. It was my secret, locked way down deep inside. I evaded questions about why I had to swallow that bitter white pill, tried to do it in private where no one could see. I acted like it didn't hurt my feelings when people called me names like gullible or idiot. I pretended like ADD was not a part of me. I didn't learn more about it, I checked out during IEP meetings.

But names like unorganized, distractable and unfocused followed me long into adulthood, except I took them on as my own. No one had to say it; I already had it written across my heart, in those familiar tracks in my head. I can't get it together. What is wrong with me?

I felt like God made a mistake, that I needed to be fixed.

"You're only as good as what the
last person said about you."
 
Only...what if the last person who said something about me was...me?
 
As a woman who lives in the Lord, the weight of my opinion (and everybody else's, too) of myself needs to be thrown off. I am made uniquely, in His image, just the way He wants me to be. And, according to a friend of mine, we shouldn't insult Him by constantly wanting to be different than how we were made, because each one of us is unique, out of every person that has ever walked the earth, is walking now, or will ever walk the earth.
 
While I know this in my head, it seems like my heart takes a very long time to absorb certain information, especially information about how unique I really am. I don't see my ADD as unique, I see it as a hindrance, a frustration, a stumbling block.
 
 
So I asked my friend this: So you learn you are unique. A treasure to God. Then? What do you do with that?
 
 
She replied:
 
You hold your head up high and revel in the glory that He created you just the way He wanted you to be.
 
Those things we think are imperfect?
 
They aren't to Him.
 
His plan for us is more than we ever could have imagined.
 
And that's all that really matters.

**Thank you Sally for your special input!!


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