ADHD- finding what works for me

پکیج: TED Education / سرفصل: سخنرانی های دانش آموزان / درس 12

TED Education

13 سرفصل | 232 درس

ADHD- finding what works for me

توضیح مختصر

James Phillips was diagnosed with ADHD in the fourth grade. His diagnosis lead him on a journey of many ups and downs, from medication to moderation, from becoming the model student to losing his sense of self. For many students, finding the right way to manage your ADHD is a journey, and in this Talk, James discusses managing his diagnosis in the way that works best for him. This Talk was given at TED-Ed Weekend in New York City. To learn more, go to https-// The TED-Ed Clubs program supports students in discovering, exploring and presenting their big ideas in the form of short, TED-style talks. In TED-Ed Clubs, students work together to discuss and celebrate creative ideas. Club Leaders receive TED-Ed's flexible curriculum to guide their Members in developing presentation literacy skills to help inspire tomorrow's TED speakers and future leaders. To learn more about TED-Ed Clubs or to start your own club, go to http-//

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On October 31, 1999, Halloween here in the states, my family moved to Los Angeles from a small flat in England. They were at that time, just my parents, my brother, and my sister. A year and three days later, I was born. I don’t think it was immediately obvious I was a little different. But around when I was four, my lack of attention became more apparent. I wasn’t replying to people, I just seemed to ignore them. I got my mom so worried I was partially deaf that she spent $400 on a fancy hearing test. I passed it with flying colors, and I’ve never heard the end of it. My inability to focus on anything for any length of time, my forgetfulness, and my complete lack of organization is something nowhere short of legendary. I always lost pencils, never turned in assignments, even when I did them, I always left jackets at school, which plenty of times were never seen again. I couldn’t sit still, and if I did sit still, I was talking. I talked so much that even when I wasn’t talking, my teachers still told me to be quiet because they just assumed I was. My third-grade teacher put me in my very own corner of the classroom away from everybody else to try and stop me from talking. What actually happened is I just shouted across the classroom. I was a nightmare. And this whole time I always had so many missing assignments. Always more than anyone else. Fourth grade was the turning point. My mom had been working to become a teacher, and through this, she worked with kids who had been diagnosed with ADHD. And she started to realize that these kids seemed really familiar. Their problems were the same as my problems. By April of fourth grade, I had been to a therapist and I’d been diagnosed with ADHD, which in a nutshell, is three things: Impulsivity, Hyperactivity, and Inattention. Impulsivity - yes that’s why I was just blurting out whatever was on my mind and talking in class. Hyperactivity - I was always fidgeting, much to the annoyance of, well, everyone around me. Inattention, though, is a bad way to describe it. Actually, my brain just moves from one thing to the next very rapidly until something really catches my attention and I get kind of sucked in and I might have a short-lived obsession about it. This is what’s responsible for my forgetfulness. I can remember things fine, just only when I pay attention, and that just doesn’t happen often. It’s also responsible for many of my life experiences. I’ve tried all the sports, even baseball, which was a terrible idea, You never stick a kid with ADHD on a field waiting. I tried robotics. I tried a few instruments and all of those were a massive failure. I tried cartooning which I actually got pretty good at, but then I wanted to learn how to paint, never did and now my interest is gone. I tried to teach myself computer programming. That got boring by the end of the day. The point is I was always moving from one thing to the next. To treat these symptoms, and save my parents’ reputation for being able to raise a child, I was given medication. This is probably the single most impactful event in my entire life. In the beginning, it was wonderful. It was the fifth grade, I was a model student. I not only finished my work, I did it quickly, then helped my friends finish their work, and we were all done and horsing around while everyone else was still going. The best part about it was that the third-grade teacher who sat me in a corner, was the fifth-grade teacher. I can’t imagine how confused she was. This continued in the sixth grade. I stayed organized, stayed on top of my work, got perfect grades, and everything was wonderful. But going into the seventh grade, the dosage of the medication I took was raised because it was thought I’d need it to cope with the increasing pressure of middle school. This is ironic considering that in middle school the real pressure is from your peers, something that for me, the higher dosage actually damaged. All of a sudden, I didn’t socialize with people. I became distant. I consider ADHD a part of my personality, I mean how could I not if I’ve lived with it my entire life? The higher dosage took that away from me. Worst of all, I couldn’t eat while I was on the medication. I was a pretty skinny kid and my mom kept trying to get me to eat, and every day, she’d pack these lunches and every day they’d end up in the trash. When I told her that when I was on the medication, the food just seemed totally unappealing, the answer was summed up as this: you’re just going to have to suck it up. There wasn’t much else that could be said. In response to all of this, I started taking medication on and off, and well, it was pretty obvious. To give you an idea, back in LA, there’s an ice hockey team, the Los Angeles Kings. So I went to one of these games and I got pretty pumped up. Every time anything happened I’d be up and jumping and cheering. The dance cam came on, and to make sure I got on it, I took my shirt off and waved it above my head, You bet I got on that camera. The next time I went to a King’s game, I took medication right before to focus on some homework. When I went, I didn’t dance, I barely stood up when the Kings scored. The people I went with were disappointed because they wanted to see me with the kind of energy I had before. With the medication, I couldn’t bring myself to do any of that. Those things felt immature and beneath me. Teachers would call this perfect behavior. I sat down and I shut up, and I didn’t bother anybody. This is an important conflict many kids with ADHD face. You can either get better grades easier and lose part of yourself, or you can be who you are and be crucified for it in the gradebook and for people who find your normal behavior irritating. Once I stopped taking medication entirely, I got crucified. My grades just dropped. People were getting annoyed by me. My friends and family who knew about my disorder tried to joke about it. I guess they were trying to give me something to blame it on, but really it was degrading. I’d rather take the blame for my mistakes myself, not some disorder. Otherwise, it just becomes a way of putting me down, like I can’t do these things anyway because I’m not normal. This is only the eighth grade, but already life seemed a lot different then from sixth grade, and I started to wonder if I really was smart or if the medication had just put up an illusion. My ego was shattered and I was just angry and I was bitter, more at myself than anything else. I didn’t believe in myself anymore, that I could do any of the things I used to think I could. And I came into freshman year of high school not somebody who was ready to take on the new challenge. I was beaten before I walked through the door. For me, it all goes back to that raising medication. Now don’t get me wrong. Compared to a few other people who have taken the medication, I had it easy, even though most people who take the medication are perfectly fine. Some kids suffer from withdrawal when summer vacation comes, like bad withdrawal. They have the shakes. I know a kid who stayed awake for two days after taking the medication. I’ve heard of a kid, someone my mom knew from working at schools, who had suicidal thoughts after taking the medication for the first time. That shouldn’t be happening. People with ADHD have a lot to learn about themselves in order to deal with the disorder, and that’s a long process. Right now from what I’ve seen, the only solution people give that works is medication, and if that doesn’t work, you kind of just have to work things out for yourself. And sure, I get it, most people are fine with medication. They don’t have side effects that interfere with their lives and it enables them to do what they need to get done. That isn’t the case for everyone, though. And the stress, and the pressure, and the frustration that come with ADHD for not only the person with the disorder but the people around them? That’s tough. It’s no coincidence that when researchers in Sweden checked their countries national database, and checked suicide rates among people with ADHD and those without, the people with ADHD were ten times more likely to commit suicide, 0.2% compared to 0.02%. 1.3% of the people without ADHD attempted suicide, For the people with ADHD, that number was 9.4%, nearly 1 in 10. Family of people with ADHD are at risk as well. Compared with, again, 0.02% for the general population, parents had a suicide rate of 0.7%. Siblings had the same rate of people with ADHD with 0.2% With statistics like that floating around, how can medication be good enough for the entire ADHD population? Obviously, despite the plenty of people working fine with the medication, there’s still a huge issue for the people who don’t have that luxury and the medication for whatever reason just isn’t the thing that can help them. People who see the stress they put on their loved ones every time they mess up, and they can’t seem to stop messing up. And you’d be surprised at just how many there are. It’s estimated that here in the U.S. 4% of the adult population has ADHD. For children, that number, according to the CDC, is 11%. That’s just the numbers for the U.S. and we’re already looking at millions of people. That’s people in this room, battling this, battling the stress it causes them. People like me. So here’s how I dealt with it. The only way I was going to live with ADHD and still be happy was to beat it. I needed to prove that ADHD wasn’t something that was going to hold me back. So sophomore year, after a freshman year where I really just let myself down, I wanted to prove to not only to others, but myself, that I was smart, that I could get the grades I wanted, that I could get involved and still find the time to do my homework. So I got the grades I wanted, and I got involved, too. I joined the Red Cross, and volunteering for them has been one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. I’ve found ways to do things that work for me. I’m organized as much as I need to be, no more, no less. It’s also important for me to find patterns in classes so that even when I miss out on things, I still always have a general idea of what’s going on. It’s very important for me to have friends in classes so that when my attention span inevitably fails me in classes that I don’t have an undying passion for, I can still always ask what directions were just said or what the homework was. All of these things take work, but it’s worth it because it enables me to do what I want to do. Really, it’s about compromising with it. This has allowed me to get off the medication, something which isn’t too common for an ADHD success story. Now I can go to school, and the me that’s there, is the real me. I irritate teachers, I struggle to do my work, and I’m happier. I’m reliant on myself. No medication, no teachers hovering over me. It’s possible. Whether the medication works for them or not, people with ADHD need to find what works for them, get the support they need, and keep building up self-reliance. ADHD isn’t a battle that will ever be totally won, but with a little bit of understanding, we can help millions. Thank you.

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