While I was doing my hair last night, I watched a few episodes of Glee that I had missed. I was pleasantly surprised when they decided to jump onto a new topic, learning disabilities. In the last episode, one of the characters finds out that he suffers from Dyslexia. The quick dialogue that he had after being tested for it, took me back a few years to when I finally got tested during college for ADD.
I have spoken about my ADD on here, briefly and in a humorous way, but after watching this episode I decided I wanted to share the tiniest bit more. A little glimpse into who I am per say.
Here is the clip that I’m referencing from Glee:
Let me preface this with saying that, we all have our insecurities, our little ticks and flaws and our little “disabilities”. Some are labeled while others aren’t. Some are more real while others are things we push upon ourselves. I am no worse than someone without ADD, nor am I better because I have “a reason”.
I distinctly remember sitting there in Boyce Middle School. The teacher had announced it was time to play a math game. We began at the back of the class, and wound our way up, a student standing behind the one to their left, and whomever answered the math equation fastest got to keep moving. I use to stare at the seat all the way up at the front. Stare at it like it was the glorious white unicorn. I knew I would never reach it, and so I never really tried. And when I did…it hurt, the look I received from my teacher when I couldn’t get one question right. The feeling you received from your classmates when you were just…slower. The shame I put on myself when I would remind myself “Sarah, why try when you know you’re not smart”.
Gosh, that last sentence literally just pulled tears across my eyes. Mostly because it was the sentence I recited to myself every step of the way, through every study hall and every failed exam. Every test of knowledge with colleagues or friends or people I desperately wanted to impress. That sentence sat with me through every glimpse in the mirror and every sort of relationship I began. “You’re not smart” was my mantra, that slowly led into “You are defective”.
People don’t often know all there is to Attention Deficit. They joke, when they can’t focus…but its so much more than that. ADDers have lower self-esteem, higher rates of depression, divorce, bankruptcy, addiction…
When I saw that scene from Glee, the feeling washed over me again. When I sat to be tested and grew frustrated that I couldn’t answer the questions. How embarrassed I felt that I stammered over simple summations and subtractions. How low I felt when she prodded again and again, “what is this Sarah, you know this. What is it?” And I could merely shake my head and look down, “I’m not smart, I don’t know…”
There are days where I re-read that doctor’s evaluation of me, her final diagnosis. I re-read my IQ which sits there on the same pages as her penned words, “Sarah is above average” and I can’t believe that for 20+ years, I convinced myself (and surely those around me) that I was defective. That I was half of what the rest of society was. That I simply wasn’t good enough.
So no, this isn’t an uproariously funny post. But it’s still an awesome one, to me at least (and that’s all that matters honestly) because I get to remind myself one more time today…that I’m a smart and above average person. Furthermore, I hope you can look at your “disabilities” and know that you aren’t defective but just have something extra that makes you unique. That is a very, very good thing.