I have been diagnosed with several different disorders: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is the bigger one. [I was diagnosed] pretty little, when I was 7. My entire family has ADHD, which is why I have it. So family parties are interesting.
Some [of my peers understand] better than others. It is generally their background knowledge of different things. People who don’t have any idea that I have disorders probably think I’m out there and I am out there, but more so [than others]. My really close friends definitely understand how I work, which is nice. But there are certain things that only people with the disorder will understand, just what really goes on in our minds sometimes.
Sometimes I will be in class and the teacher will give directions and I understand what they are saying, but I don’t know what to do. Then when everyone gets up and starts doing it, I feel like I don’t know what I am supposed to go do. So it’s kind of awkward to go up to the teacher and ask if they can explain to me again. Sometimes they just repeat the same thing again and I still don’t understand, so I have to ask them to explain in a different way. I have had some teachers that don’t like doing that and get annoyed, so I act out because they get annoyed. But that has only been like two teachers.
Having mental disorders and learning disabilities aren’t necessarily a bad thing. They do have down sides, but they also have their upsides. I attribute most of my creativity and personality to my ADHD because it is so severe. I feel like without that, I would be a completely different person. So I am kind of glad that I have it, but it does have its reality checks. For example, when you notice that everyone else is understanding what the teacher is saying but you don’t. That’s not very fun.
Sometimes I like the mystery of it with people not always knowing exactly why I am the way I am. But in general, it would be nice if more people understood so they wouldn’t [pass judgement]. Sometimes it feels like they are judging and they are thinking, ‘Oh this guy must have a lot of problems.’ But they are probably not thinking that. It could be nice in the regards that more people wouldn’t just assume different things and they would take in consideration a whole bunch of other things because they would be able to understand me.