“I Feel Like I’m Not Good Enough Sometimes”

A 10-year-old with ADHD learns to fight through his doubts about himself.
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What It Feels Like to Be a Child with ADHD

Andrew Wilson, today’s guest blogger, is a fourth-grade student at Mundo Verde Public Charter School in Washington, DC. He enjoys biking, swimming and reading—mostly about Greek Mythology and Ancient Egypt. He is also a member of the National Geographic Kids’ Panel. He lives with his dad, mom, and two younger siblings.

Imagine that your mind can't sort out everything you have to do in the mornings, so about half your days start like this:

Your sister is crying, and you forgot to do your homework. You start to freak out and then you hear your dad yell at you to hurry up and get dressed. You get dressed and go downstairs and eat. Some mornings you don't even have time to eat, so today you feel lucky. Now you’re hearing your momma yelling, “Five more minutes,” and, five minutes later, it’s time to go.

Halfway to school you realize you forgot your backpack, homework, and your folder. You're too afraid to tell, so you keep quiet. At school when you tell your teacher what happened, she calls your parents. After two minutes, when she's finished talking to your mom, she hands the phone to you and your mom says, “You’re in big trouble and you’re on punishment.” You know exactly what she means—no TV, no computer, no Kindle, and no Xbox. This is my life. It’s an ongoing battle to conquer Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It affects everything. In class I try my hardest to stay quiet and be still during carpet time, but my mind urges me to talk. No matter what I do to try to stay quiet and focus, I get so agitated and I feel like I have to move. It’s like, during math lessons on the carpet, I know I need to learn the math, but I can’t stay still. My brain wanders and starts thinking there are way more interesting things that I could be doing. I start looking for things to entertain myself.

My teacher, Ms. Kacy, tries to help me by letting me take energy breaks. An energy break is when you get to go walk around the school to get your energy out. They help a little, but it doesn’t help with what I missed in class. Sometimes when I’m at my table with a worksheet in front of me that I don’t understand, I know I should have done better listening to the lesson. I want to do a good job. I try to learn from my mistakes, but it keeps on happening. It’s like I’m an iPod on repeat, playing the same annoying song. Some days I feel so sad, like I’m failing my parents because they’ve put a lot into my education and they want the best for me. I feel like I am letting them down. I also sometimes feel like I don’t belong in my class. I get stuck on problems that are easy for my classmates but hard for me. I sometimes feel like I’m not good enough.

Jackie Robinson struggled through a lot in his life, too. He could not eat in the same restaurants as white people because of segregation. Many white people did not want him playing Major League Baseball and people yelled racist comments at him during games and on the streets, but he never ever gave up. He knew he had to be strong so he could achieve his dreams. Jackie’s example of determination and courage are inspiring to me. I can’t give up on the things I know I need to do, at home and at school. Jackie Robinson’s life wasn’t easy; it was hard. And what I am trying to tackle is hard.

Deep down, I know I’m just as smart as everyone in my class. I know that I know how to learn and that I can handle the schoolwork. I had to accept my learning differences and accept myself to be the best boy and student I could be. It's important for me to ask for help when I need it because there are a lot of people around me who want me to succeed. Sometimes when I have a big, overwhelming project, I try to break it into pieces and just do a little at a time. At home I write myself notes to help me remember things that I need to do. It’s still a struggle, but I fight through.

I now know that my difference makes me special. I feel like, if I could hear Jackie Robinson talking to me now, he would be telling me to be brave, to never give up and to be myself.

 
 
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