Supplement Essay

January 17, 2008
By Eugene Ichinose, San Gabriel, CA

All done at last, I thought. I stood back a few steps from my polished work of art. Row upon row of lush vines added to the foliage of the garden. In the western part of the garden, I noticed that the pole bean seeds I had planted a week earlier had begun to sprout. The new stems were so insignificant compared to all the shrubs and vines that embraced the garden; yet at the same time they seemed to be full of youth and vitality. Although they were hardly visible to the passing eye, each possessed the potential and opportunity to grow into healthy, admirable maturity. But, as I knew, pole beans in particular need extensive care; they could not be transplanted, and in their initial stages of growth require daily watering by hand. I knew that I would need to devote much time out of my busy day, every day, if I expected each one to flourish to its fullest extent. With the beginning of my busy senior year looming in my mind that late summer afternoon, I admit that I briefly questioned whether the sacrifice would be worthwhile.
All of the other people I know who have ADD have not made it as far as I have in my life. This is not in a conceited sense that I say this, because overcoming the inability to focus has little to do with intelligence or wit. The medications available to treat this problem all present major side effects that over time can make a person so weary that most simply stop taking them by high school. This is understandable, because no one wants to get migraines, lose their appetite, be unable to sleep, or become anxious whenever they are able to focus on their medications. It is here that two different paths emerge; one is taken by stopping the medication, the other by continuing to take it. Both involve sacrificing something. By stopping you risk the chance of success in life, and by continuing to take it you choose to deal with the side effects.
I took the latter path, continuing to take my prescription every day without complaint. I was able to focus in school, and have actually done very well considering my circumstances. But every day, I wake up knowing that I will have fight the inevitable side effects. Of these the biggest is social anxiety. Throughout middle school and especially in high school, it was difficult for me to socialize with others whenever I was on the medication. It was particularly testing for me whenever someone would come up to me and ask why I do not interact more, because I would never have an answer. But it was only when I accepted the fact that there was nothing I could do about feeling anxious in social situations that I really started to succeed.
As I eventually chose to devote part of each day to care for my pole bean pants and make them flourish with a bountiful harvest, I once ago decided to sacrifice and endure in order to bring myself closer to success. Having Attention Deficit Disorder as an inborn quality for which I take daily prescriptions of medication, I have come to understand that sacrifice is closely related to how much people achieve in their lives.
Today as I continue to work on my social skills, the side effects of my medication are there with me every day, and I still get the occasional “Why don’t you interact more?” question from others. But I accept the fact that there will always be people who will say such things, much like the health oriented world of today would blatantly ask, “Why is he/she so fat?” without the consideration that obesity may be caused by something deeper than being a glutton or a couch potato. For those who are asked such questions, there is never much that can be done except to continue working against the challenges that are brought on by the sacrifices we make to improve the quality of our lives.

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