I was 17 when I found out I had ADHD. That diagnosis was the best yet most terrifying thing to happen to me in 2016. It was my Junior Year of High School. Suddenly I felt a great weight upon my chest, yet, it was now a weight with a name.
My mind started racing with worst case situations as I sat on the couch in the phycologists office. What if the kids at school find out I have ADHD? They will think I'm stupid, always with my head in the clouds. What will my friends think? I thought as my palms became sweaty.
For 13 of those 17 years, I had been passed on through school undetected. No one thought of me as ADHD because I wasn't actually hyper. However, I have what's now called inattentive ADHD. When I was first told that I had ADHD I was in total disbelief an denial. Me? ADHD? No way is that possible! I'm not hyperactive! I thought to myself sitting in the phycologists office with my parents.
Then, the anger set in. Why hadn't anyone known that I was ADHD all this time? Why do I have to suffer at the hands of arrogance, neglect, and administration who has given up on me! Why did my school refuse to properly test me for ADHD? I would think. I was angry about my condition, I was mad at God, I was mad at Administration, and I was pretty much mad at the whole world.
My family had to pay thousands just to get me tested for my struggles in school. There where gaps and low test scores that didn't match my effort at all. I was facing mounting frustration, frequent breakdowns, and worst of all I started to believe that I wasn't good enough to be an honor student.
Turns out that being an honor student actually made our principal go "Your an honor student, your not learning disabled at all! You just expect the world to be handed to you because your entitled." I turned away from his office that day struggling to keep the tears back until I reached the privacy of a locked door.
Something, deep within me broke that day. It shattered into a million shards that first week of my senior year. So, there I was sitting on the back of the toilet tank, silently, yet emotionally screaming for justice. I sat alone in the quite bathroom for a good twenty minutes, sobbing.
Our principal had no idea how many sleepless nights, panic attacks, crying spells, stomach aches, and suicidal thoughts I had suffered through. He could not see that school had entirely consumed my life. I couldn't even see my friends on lunch anymore. Every day my smile was more and more of an act.
There wasn't a lot that brought me peace in these dark days. However, I started to tell my teachers my story. When I did, many of them also cried with me, shedding tears as a conformation that they wouldn't let me suffer alone anymore. They began to understand me and my English teachers researched my disability's with greater depth because all of them where also some of my greatest friends.
A particular English teacher changed my life forever! He believed in me, even when I couldn't believe in myself. He was truly everything I needed and beyond. He stepped in for my class in 8th grade (2012-2013) when our teacher fell suddenly and dangerously ill with cancer. Mr. Escamar became more than a teacher to me that year. He became a friend and my advocate. He was my "cheer leader" in a lot of ways. Mr. Escamar remained active in my life for the last 5 years of my schooling in the public school system after accepting the job to teach on his own at my High School my 9th Grade Year. (2013 - 2014) I believe that everyone deserves a mentor like Mr. Escamar.
As I graduated High School and moved on to a Church School for college, everything changed! I am no longer forced to suffer in silence but I am given incredible support! I am encouraged and given MANY tools to help me succeed!
Best of all, I've proved everyone wrong who told me I'd never go to college. I paid my own way to college! I worked long hours in crummy work conditions in fast food! I graduated High School with two Honor Achievement Awards and I'm learning disabled! Getting a diagnosis of a learning challenge like mine is not a death sentence!