by Livia R. Menge
“45 Minutes. Starting now.”
Said and done, all the children started writing away. About 10 minutes in, a pen fell off the table. Two kids to my left, I noticed movement following the noise that caught my attention. Suddenly, my focus shifted. I stared at the girl, who was reaching for her pen.
15 minutes in, I started to zone out. 30 minutes in, more than halfway through the exam, over half of my sheet was still empty.
“45 minutes are up.”
That was me, over a decade ago in primary school.
You Know What Happened Next
This happened often, so I was eventually diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
ADD is a disorder of frequently recurring and uncontrollable patterns of inattention. At the time of my diagnosis, ADD wasn’t openly discussed. I understood I should keep quiet about it because I had to take medication to enhance my performance. Now I realize, denying isn’t the way of self-improvement – it takes action.
This Year Has Been a Time Machine
2020, I feel transported right back to that time.
This fall, I have taken on a new challenge – university. I was excited to be starting university. But doing it during a global pandemic was quite the challenge.
Home-Schooling Is Tough
Due to my ADD, I must have a clear structure and plans. But these new structures, special behavioral rules, exams, lectures and so on have been challenging to say the least. What I didn’t foresee was the pressure I’d put on myself, the need to succeed and to prove myself. This pressure triggered my anxiety.
Home-schooling is tough, but when your mind is restless, so are you. These past few months I felt like my ADD was resurfacing. Not that it’s ever been gone, but I managed to get along with it.
Routine Is Key
This new and challenging time gave me the chance to restructure my day to day life. I’m now constantly working on how to improve myself – how to cope better. As I said before, I need a clear structure. Otherwise I won’t finish a single thing I intended to do. What I’ve found helpful is using my calendar and reminders to plan my days. When do I study which subject? When do I take breaks? When do I get a little me time? I even plan when to do yoga or meditate, because routine is key.
I’m Not Alone
When I was younger, I felt alone. I never heard of anyone else living with ADD or ADHD. Even now it gets lonely sometimes. I always wanted to help people. I love sharing advice and talking about things on behalf of a greater good.
Neither Are You
This is me sharing my story to inspire, to shed a light upon AD(H)D and to tell you that you are NOT alone.