# Clutter

July 8, 2009

“500-meter freestyle swimmers, up on the blocks.” My heart pumped relentlessly as I heard my teammates’ and family’s cheers in the stands. “Ready positions.” I gazed into the depths of the water and blocked out all surrounding noise. “Go!”

“Melissa? Melissa? Melissa!! What is the quadratic formula? How many times do I have to ask you?”
“Negative b plus or minus the square root of b squared minus for ac…”

I have always been a math whiz; my brain is a calculator. Numbers fly through my mind before they are converted into words. I couldn’t help but wonder how much more successful I would be in school if I could pay attention in class for more than five minutes. After years of frustration, I finally asked my parents if I could get tested for ADD, and my mom responded, “ADD is a made-up disease, Melissa; it’s just because you don’t eat well.”

My mom finally took me to get tested for ADD. The doctor presented me with my percentiles of “intelligence”: 99% math, 99% logic, 99% writing, and 11% reading rate. I had seen these results on most of my standardized testing, but this test confirmed that I did, indeed, have both ADD and ADHD.

After taking Concerta, my grades skyrocketed from mostly B’s to straight A’s. I had always assumed that I would never break 30 on my ACT because of my reading scores, but, with my new medicine, I could finally concentrate for the whole passages and scored a 35!

I refuse to attribute my success to Concerta. I’m not smart because of the medicine; the medicine just equalizes the playing field. Now able to focus more efficiently during class, I no longer need to study seven hours for a test to teach myself a whole month’s worth of material. While my grades and test scores have improved within the last few months, I realize that my intelligence has been constant. I just needed a little more focus and confidence. Now I’m ready – bring it on!