Moving Beyond ADHD
Friends are the family you choose. As a teenager, when it is hard to relate to your parents, friends become the day-to-day emotional support that everyone wants and needs. I suppose the search for a group of friends with whom you can share yourself completely is one of the "struggles of adolescence." Disabled or not, this can be one of the toughest struggles of young adulthood. Having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has always complicated this for me.
The symptoms of ADHD have been described as disconnection between impulses and the knowledge of consequences. That separation permits impulses to be acted upon even with the awareness that those impulses have repercussions.
In elementary school, I was "too hyperactive" to be admitted into the Boy Scouts and spent more time with an ignorant and intolerant principal than with my classmates. Although I had one best friend, Kelli, and a miraculous second grade teacher, Mrs. Shapiro, who through a combination of Pizza Hut coupons and gold stars, got me to read books, I spent most of elementary school shunned and ridiculed for my impulsivity. Unfortunately, there are only a lucky few who are dropped right into the middle of a group of friends perfect for them. I certainly wasn't. I just hoped that people would become aware of my disability and accept it, so that they could accept me. Such unconditional acceptance is a rarity, and although my friends have now accepted it, they often don't understand the personality traits associated with ADHD. And acceptance is only a start. While all teenagers, with or without disabilities, will find that being accepted by their classmates can be comforting, it is not enough. In order to grow as an individual and develop a confident self-image, you have to go and find the people who make you feel like you are meant to be with them. When you are in that environment, growth is not only possible, but inevitable.
For some people, disabilities can be an obstacle to true acceptance and communication. In my case, since a large part of my personality is spontaneous and creative, and I...