A Day in the Life of a Person with ADHD

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Senior Zara Hernandez Takes You Through a Typical Day with ADHD

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a chronic condition identified by consistent difficulty focusing, hyperactivity, and at times, impulsivity.

 

The morning is always such a drag – so many options, so many things to do, so little time, and so little motivation. 

I totally have time to look at my phone right now.

Ten minutes later, panic builds, and I realize it’s already 6:30. Rushing to my closet, the possibilities are endless. Four outfit changes later, 6:46. I start the usual bathroom routine, washing my face, brushing my teeth, and checking my appearance in the mirror. I have a unibrow. Let me pluck it for a second. 6:54. I definitely should’ve left four minutes ago. I quickly pet my cat, Leo, only to get bitten, and rush out the door feeling defeated by his aggression. Anyways, focus

I grab my ADHD medication from downstairs, glancing at my mom as I slurp up water from the kitchen sink. After recounting my dream from the night before, I tell my mom about it in detail: “Yeah, I was in a block of red jello… obviously, I ate my way out.” It’s 7:01. 

I scream in my mind.

Skipping breakfast, I get in my car, back out of my driveway, and put on music all at once. My heart is racing on the way to school, as I eye the clock and feel every passing second.

My annoyance at other drivers escalates to incredible heights. Luckily, my heartbeat slows when I finally get into my parking spot, 7:11. I quickly curl my eyelashes, grab my ID, turn off my car, and before I know it, it’s 7:18. How was that seven minutes? 

Anxiety rises. 

I push through the crowds of unbelievably slow walkers; to motivate my speed walk, I listen to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ in my head with only the chorus on repeat because I don’t know the rest of the words. 

I get to class with a minute or two to spare. I lose myself in my phone, and when the bell rings, I put my phone away and pull out my calendar. As if I was living in a Charlie Brown cartoon, the teacher is speaking in gibberish. Through the mumbling, I put all my energy into updating my calendar, decorating the pages with pretty handwriting. My mini planner party is put to a halt when the teacher passes out the worksheet of the day. As I start the worksheet, my mind is still on the cool cursive I could be writing. I go back and forth: planner, worksheet, planner, worksheet. If I don’t finish this worksheet, I’m going to have homework. 

The ADHD medication kicks in, and I become a machine. 

I forget to breathe, as I aggressively scribble down answers. My legs bounce up and down. Nothing can break this focus. Suddenly, the bell rings, signaling it’s time to go to the next class. I don’t stop. My mind refuses to let me stop doing this worksheet. 

Finally, my teacher makes me leave. As I walk to the next class, the people around me are in slow motion, but my body is on fast forward. 

I notice the small details of everything around me. Like how a boy in a purple hoodie is shifting his weight from one foot to another, showcasing an uncoordinated saunter like Frankenstein. How do I walk? Am I lifting my feet too much? Do my knees always bend like that? 

As I walk into my class, I think of normal things to say to my peers. Without my medication, I’m such a social butterfly, never struggling to think of what to say. But ADHD medication decreases my social skills by 400 percent. You know how, sometimes, when you go to the movies, the usher says “Enjoy your movie,” and you awkwardly reply, “You too!” and then proceed to hate yourself. That’s what every sentence that comes out of my mouth feels like.

I feel like I have this invisible muzzle that keeps me from being hyper. So before every social interaction, I plan what I should say to sound like the “normal” me. 

I go through the rest of the day as the “machine” version of myself. Using so much brain power is exhausting. 

Finally, I go home.

It’s like when your phone dies out of nowhere; I’m on hyperdrive, and then, my brain just shuts off. I rest for an hour, later jumping back into things I need to do, rushing through homework, and finding myself less interested and less motivated than earlier in the day. 

Hunger strikes, and I’m finally back. I eat whatever I can find. Eating means the medication is out of my system, and I’m back to my happy, sociable self. I don’t finish my homework and end up falling asleep while watching Youtube videos. 

From having sporadic thoughts, to feeling like a machine and dying like a battery, only to be back to myself for a brief moment, ADHD leaves no part of my life untouched.

And that’s my life every single day.