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Will I Ever Be Okay?

Bethesda, Maryland, US

Hi. My name is Kathleen. I am a 16 year old, soon to be junior in high school. I also have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (recently diagnosed as combined; I had been previously diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder without hyperactivity). In addition to this, I have a math disability and an anxiety disorder. Along with all of this, I have processing disorders, obsessive compulsive ticks, and a non verbal learning disorder, which all play a factor into my bigger diagnosis.

Life has been rough. I am a talkative introvert. I just want to fit in. I feel so isolated at times, socially and emotionally. Even though I have lots of friendly acquaintances, I have few friends I can call up and hang out with. My best friend of four years just decided to drop me (like one does a hat) and while she was at it, told me that if I actually tried harder in math I might do better. Along with this, she told me I should stop making excuses for myself. She did this the day before my first exam of exam week. With an anxiety disorder, I was already flipping out. Needless to say, I completely blacked out. According to my friend who I called, I was hysterical.

For years I have quietly suffered with panic attacks. Sometimes they occur at school, and I will hyperventilate so much that I will black out. If left alone in this state, I pass out. You are probably wondering where my parents are in all of this mess. They are right here next to me. I am so lucky to have them. Even though we have our arguments they always fight for me. I love them and my family so much.

I was just reevaluated and I read the report (against my parents’ will), and surprisingly discovered I am very intelligent, in terms of verbal skills. As my parents had told me, I do have a math disability. Right now I’m in geometry, and boy is it hard. I work on it for about four hours each night, until I can’t take it anymore. I study so hard, and get back tests with E’s, D’s, and C’s. It hurts a lot. I just want to get math! My fluency skills in math are non-existent (3.5 grade level).

Also, I can’t pay attention! I try so hard! I do my homework religiously, but then I will forget it at home, and the teachers don’t believe me! A few times I have had to take an E on assignments I worked hours on. Yet, my case manager (I do indeed have an IEP, with many accommodations, including extended time, computer usage, calculator usage, repetition of directions, plus I don’t have to use a scantron) and parents will work with me on advocating for myself and changing the grade. I just want teachers to know I try to listen, but I don’t always hear what they say. I’m not trying to be annoying, sassy, rude, or a “bad” student at all. I just want to learn!

I have though broken down all these doors. I am a member of Montgomery County Exceptional Leaders. I talk to young students about LD, ADD, and ADHD. I also am on the cross-country team. I’m in lots of honors choirs, and have won lots of singing competitions. I got into the rigorous IB music program and chamber choir. I also am a member of the National Honor Society, and am always on the honor roll. I did all of this because I am determined and work hard. Not everyone will be able to do this, but if you put your mind to it you can come close. My parents have never let me use my “challenges” as an excuse. They accept them and teach me how to find accommodations. They allow me to see a psychiatrist who treats me with medication. I do yoga to help with my anxiety. I also swim, am part of the Save Darfur Club, and love to do anything associated with the arts.

I promise I will write a more optimistic paper later, but for now I will wallow in my sorrows. I welcome any kind words you have.

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