It’s not just me who always knew I was different growing up, but I never knew why or how. I didn’t realize until I put myself through college, at the behest of a pushy high school guidance counselor, that I began to meet more people like me from different nearby towns who had the means and access to get a diagnosis of ADHD.I never even heard of ADHD before I started college. When I looked into it myself and checked into doctors, I found out I had ADHD combined type, hyperactivity with impulsivity.
Labeling why I was different didn’t make my life much easier, but the diagnosis allayed some stress because at least I had a reason and I knew there were lots of people just as “odd” as me. The diagnosis allows me to pursue help and meet people with my struggles. Whenever I meet people with ADHD, we often blurt out things “neurotypical” people keep to themselves, and we click instantly with a smile and an assuring nod.
If it wasn’t for that random, pushy guidance counselor (Thanks, Mrs. Lazur!), I probably would have listened to all the negativity I grew up with and I never would have considered college because there were too many reasons why I was told I couldn’t. She saw my flair for writing and my previous grades before they declined due to social frustrations and she encouraged me to apply to colleges and pursue journalism. It was this fortuitous meeting with this pushy guidance counselor that changed my life and made me realize the impact new people can have on our lives.
I took out loans and worked nearly full-time hours throughout and still finished my bachelor’s degree at Rowan University in four years. People thought I was graduating from high school when I they heard I was graduating from college. This achievement was followed by nearly a decade of work in local journalism, book editing and volunteer event work.
It’s not just me that often gets temporarily derailed in goals by listening to negative comments from others who do not understand ADHD. We sometimes meet open-minded people who encourage us, if we have ADHD, or not, and these are the people whose advice we should heed.