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Hunchback of ADD

Photo credit: Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press

by Georgia Walter

During my junior year of college, I was diagnosed with ADHD. Being diagnosed with ADHD in adulthood presents special challenges. Before receiving the diagnosis, I thought I was just lazy, incapable and unworthy. It’s disheartening when you completely understand a subject and have the ability to give good insights in class, yet find it hard to get the work done. To get a D in a class you loved and retained every bit of information you learned makes you wonder: what’s wrong with me? It made me wonder if I was supposed to even be in college. This slowed me down but didn’t stop me. For a long time I got by on complete willpower. But I’ve come to the point where that isn’t enough. I need assistance and that’s okay. But then I wonder why it took so long to make this discovery. My freshman year of college I played with the idea of having ADHD, but I didn’t take it seriously — I was in denial. I tend to be harsh on myself so I just thought I wasn’t putting in enough effort.

Growing up, I always heard about how strong Black women are and how we can always overcome obstacles. Even though Black women are strong, this belief can take away Black women’s right to struggle. Being diagnosed with ADHD as a female is already hard enough, but as a Black woman, it’s even harder. When I finally decided to go get medication to help with the ADHD, the woman was no help at all. She wasn’t comfortable enough with prescribing Adderall to me because it had a high street value. That doesn’t sit right with my soul. I am Black in a majority white town — she made her discrimination clear. You can’t avoid that type of thing there. But to not get the medication I needed because of her racism was hurtful.

Covid made all this worse. Having to leave my college abruptly and completely going online was not the ideal situation. The problem with going online for me was the fact that I couldn’t have in-person classes or meetings with my professors. As a student, it has always been essential to have some type of bridge with my professors/teachers. Even though they were all completely available online (phone, email & Zoom), it still wasn’t the same. I felt disconnected from classes. But I must say this sudden change didn’t cause any damage. First, I was already struggling before the pandemic started. The only advantage I had was the fact that we were still in-person. Second, the pandemic forced me to be more organized and stay on top of my work. I had nothing else to do but schoolwork. So, I had limited distractions besides my phone.

So, the next step in this journey is to get in contact with some people who can help me find the right path to dealing with my ADHD. Part of me hopes this journey will be speedy. But I know it won’t. Some things take time and this is about to be a slow stroll through the park. But I’m excited and eager nonetheless.