Taking a look back at my childhood days, I knew I was different than most kids at school. I was not only shy, but I would get lost in my own world during class. I would start daydreaming and tune out what the teacher was saying. I didn’t mean to, but it would just happen. I had a hard time sitting still and would get fidgety throughout the day. When the teacher would call on me I would say “I don’t know,” because I really didn’t understand things so quickly. I would forget to do my homework and do awful on exams. My grades weren’t very good, my teachers and parents were always worried about me and I just thought I wasn’t that smart. Everytime report cards came home I would get grounded for weeks and be told that I could do so much better. After years of bad grades and years of grounding, finally my senior year of High School was the turning point. No clue as to what did it, but it happened. I finally started to see what my parents saw in me all these years, that I wasn’t stupid and for the first time in my life I got all A’s and B’s on my report card. My parent’s at this point were in shock not to find one C or D as they were almost to the point of finally doubting my abilities. After that my grades were at a constant A/B status pretty much all through junior college to my bachelors degree, with maybe only a couple C’s. I was so proud. I thought everything was fine, until I decided to go back to grad school eight years after my undergrad.
When I finally started grad school those old feelings of not being able to focus or concentrate came back. I also realized that it was taking a while longer for me to understand what I was learning again. This was stressing me out. I finally talked to someone at school and they suggested that I go get tested for ADHD. After numerous different tests administered and a clinical interview I was diagnosed with this disorder I was sent to the psychiatrist for medication. After a 30 min interview with this guy he sent me off with a script to start on these meds that would make it all better. Believing in this little pill, I took the first one and went to bed.
I woke up in a fog the next day, with blurry vision and feeling like a cloud was over me. I had cotton mouth, felt jittery and dizzy and like my heart was racing. Was I supposed to feel worse than before? After numerous calls to the doc and trying one other medication I finally realized that it wasn’t for me. There had to be other ways of dealing with this disorder.
When I finally came out of my zombie like state from all meds I decided that I needed to find alternative ways of dealing with this on my own to find what would work best for me. Yes I have a harder time focusing than many normal people, but I knew there had to be a way to help my brain focus better. Deep breathing, yoga and meditation have helped provide my mind with focus and clarity when I feel my mind wandering. I have also realized through the years that in order to keep my mind better focused and organized I also need to keep my life organized. I notice that when my living space is disorganized or when my life is chaotic, it is so much harder for me to focus. By paying attention to these things and addressing them early I can keep my life in order. Also, I would think that a healthy lifestyle would contribute to a sharp and focused brain since it would provide exercise and the necessary vitamins and nutrients that any vital organ would need to function.
If you or anyone you know and care about is struggling with this disorder or think they may be struggling with this disorder look into other alternatives before rushing to medication. You know yourself best, so try the alternatives and pay attention to what works for you.