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Dr. Hallowell's Blog

Archive for November, 2013

Monday, November 18th, 2013

I Am a 14 Year Old Boy with ADHD

by Matt B.

My name is Matt and I have ADHD.

I am a 14-year-old boy who was diagnosed about three and a half years ago. I was put on medication and continue to take it now. Although the medication helps, it doesn’t fully solve all the issues of my ADHD. I still struggle with academics and behavioral problems, but I’m learning to overcome these struggles.

When I first learned I had ADHD, I was angry and upset and thought, “Why me?” I believed that this syndrome was a bad thing and made me different. Who wants to be different when you’re a teenager? Certainly, not me! I really wasn’t quite aware of why my behaviors and struggles in school were a result of ADHD. I had always been sort of different from other kids my age. I have such a vibrant personality and a creative mind in so many ways, from drawing, to speaking, and to just thinking of random ideas, that I just thought, ” That’s who I am.”

It has taken me three years to finally understand the whole aspect of ADHD. When I read Dr. Hallowell’s article, “WHAT’S IT LIKE TO HAVE ADHD?” it really clicked. The article made me realize that I am different, but it also taught me that it is ok to be different. I love my life, whether I have ADHD or not. It’s my life and I like it the way it is. After doing a little research, I learned that 9.5 percent of children ages 4-17, or approximately 5.4 million, battle with ADHD. This just shows that those of us with ADHD are not alone.

Although there are many of us with ADHD, each of us has to learn how to create our own strategies to control our impulsiveness and our focus on a certain subject. For example, I am a huge doodler and, to be honest, this actually helps me focus. But there are also other techniques that I use, including stress balls and also taking a walk to the bathroom when I feel out of control. And guess what? These strategies help me tremendously with my schoolwork. My grades show a huge improvement all around when I use these methods.

While most people look at ADHD like it is a dark rainstorm, I look at it as a sunny day on the beach. The reason I say that is because I have a very active, creative mind. My ADHD gives me the energy to act on my ideas and to be as creative as I can possibly be. Of course, that’s not instead of doing my schoolwork, but what I can do when my schoolwork is done. I don’t know if I would be the way I am if I did not have ADHD, but I really don’t want to know because I love my life the way it is!!!

Monday, November 18th, 2013

In Tough Times, Do You Give Thanks or Ask for Help?

It’s everyone’s favorite holiday, isn’t it?  At least that’s what one of my wife’s and my favorite magazines, Bon Appetit, recently called Thanksgiving.

The reasons are obvious: food, family, festivity, football, and fun.  An array of F’s.

As this year’s Thanksgiving approaches, I have to admit I’ve been through some tough times of late, as I’m sure some of you have, as well. Do we want to give thanks, or ask for help?

As I reflect on it, of course, the answer is both.  Like most people, indeed I would say all people, I need help.  But also, like all people, I have more to give thanks for than I usually reckon.

My friend and editor, Bronwyn Fryer, agrees with my trumpeting of connection, the “other Vitamin C,” as I like to call it, as the most tonic of life’s tools.  But she adds to it another Vitamin, Vitamin G, for gratitude.  She tells of how her dying father would lie in his hammock and look at the sun through the leaves and give thanks simply for that sight, which was, as Bronwyn put it, pretty much all he had at the end.

No matter how dire our straits, if we look for the sun through the leaves, if we take stock of what we have and do our best to relish it, then we reap the bountiful benefits of Vitamin G.

I am grateful for what we all are grateful for, the gift of life, of friends (like Bronwyn), of family, of our dog, Ziggy, and for the heaven that I believe our cat, Puck, who just died, found his way to.  And I am grateful for so much more, for all of you who read these words and create our little community around this newsletter, for my ability still to be able to write and to hope and to love, for the world’s ability to give back and to offer up its daily surprises, some good, some bad, and for the mystery that suffuses all we do, even as we pretend we know what’s going on.

I wish you all the happiest of Thanksgivings, full of all you hope for and desire, and full of Vitamin G as well.

Warmest wishes,

Ned Hallowell

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Shane Victorino and Dr. Hallowell Are Members of The ADHD League of the Magnificently Minded

Here’s a shout out to Shane Victorino and to the Red Sox Nation! Shane has ADHD. He’s a member of my special club – the League of the Magnificently Minded. Although I have never met Mr. Victorino, I feel as if I know him, as those of us who have the special trait so misleadingly called ADHD tend to share an array of special qualities. In his case, his super energy, wild abandon in how he plays, absolute devotion to the team, and an ability to hyper-focus when in the game all distinguish him as one of our members.

Basking in the glow of Red Sox 2013, I see that wild dreams sometimes do come true, that a lost and broken team one year can become a triumphant and unified team the next. If it happens to them, it happens to us all.  See Shane describe ADHD here.

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