Losing my Mental Edge

By
A white box flashes on a black computer screen. Is the center square missing or not? I can’t remember, but I have to decide. Forty minutes ago I wouldn’t have cared whether a box had a center square or not. Forty minutes ago I was sitting in the passenger seat of my father’s gray Honda Pilot wondering why he’d scheduled a dentist’s appointment for me so unexpectedly.
When we made the final turn into the “dentist’s office,” he turned to me and recited a speech that seemed he had practiced. My father told me we were at a psychiatrist’s office, so I could be tested for Attention Deficit Disorder. He and my mother—both medical doctors with Ivy League expectations—were disappointed with my grades and wanted to know if A.D.D. could be the reason.
My first step into the waiting room revealed bland-colored wallpaper, children’s building blocks, and the usual array of out-dated magazines. Although the room was quiet, my thoughts could have drowned out any actual yelling. I kept telling myself: You don’t have A.D.D. Look at the other kids here. You’re smarter than them. You’re fine Bobby, you just need to work harder at school.
Before I could settle my thoughts, a receptionist stepped through the doorway calling my name. She led me down a hallway, a hallway with the same wallpaper and dull atmosphere as the waiting room. We walked into a small, poorly lit room with one computer probably older than I. She said the test was going to last around forty minutes. A white box would flash on the screen and I would have to click the left button on my mouse whenever the box flashed without a center square inside of it.
Easy, I thought. I’ll prove to my parents I don’t belong here. Throughout the seemingly effortless test, my mind meandered. No matter how hard I forced myself to focus, I kept catching myself wondering if I had any algebra homework due, if my brother at home was messing with my Nintendo, if my dad would stop at McDonalds on the way home. Once the forty minutes concluded, I was amazed at how an inherently easy test had become something that shook my confidence.
Before I saw the results, I had a mental image of my name being below the line of a “normal kid” with a huge red FAILURE stamped across the paper. My test results did not have failure stamped on them, but they did indicate I had A.D.D. Walking out of the office, I argued with my father that the prescribed medicine was unnecessary.
Even though the only change in my life would be taking a little pill every morning, I felt different. I no longer felt like the kid who played sports, told jokes, and had friends.

Since my fateful “dentist’s appointment”, I have faced the setback head on. It took a few weeks to get comfortable with adding a pill into my morning ritual. I forced myself to make it a habit: wake up, walk over to the dresser, open the Ziploc bag, take out one pill, swallow. The added morning routine has certainly changed some aspects of my life. I can’t lay in bed after waking up without getting the urge to take my pill, or lose focus in class and “zone out” as easily. Some things have and hopefully will always remain the same; I still play sports, tell jokes, and have friends.





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Bethani said...
Jun. 14, 2010 at 11:05 pm
Your family must care if they helped you get help. :)
 
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