School was never my strong suit.
I had a really hard time focusing in class and would often get in trouble for being too active and fidgety. Initially, this didn’t go over very well with mom, she thought I was being a class clown, but after repeated trips to the principal’s office over the years she had come to realize something was wrong with me. My grades were below satisfactory and my reading levels ranked the lowest in the entire class. I developed a speech impediment too. Mom was able to get me an appointment with the school’s psychologist. I was given a really long test that consisted of math, spelling, and reading comprehension. The test came back a week later. I was diagnosed with a “learning disability” and given after-school tutoring to help combat my sub-par classroom performance and speech handicap.
This continued throughout middle school with very little improvement. Ultimately, it was my inability to stay focused in class that gave away my sickness. I was referred out to a mental health treatment center in the area. The psychiatrist sat me down and began asking me really weird questions. “Mario, do you drift or daydream often in class? ” she asked gently. “Who doesn’t?” I said silently in my brain. “Yes!” all the time I exclaimed. She followed with “Do you often find it hard to concentrate or get bored easily?” I felt like she was reading my mind. “All the time”, I uttered. I was starting to feel embarrassed listening to myself. “I couldn’t concentrate even if I tried”. This questioning lasted about an hour. She thanked me for my time before she asked me to sit outside while she spoke to my mom. In the car, mom said I had ADHD and that I would have to take medication to fix my problem. ADHD? Was that even a word? She didn’t tell me much about it but that by taking the “pill’s” I would do better in class.
The next day I was given the pills to take. I would take one in the morning and another one at lunch. On the way to the cafeteria, my teacher allowed me to pop out of line to go to the front office. It made my brain feel tingly every time I took it. I would also forget to eat while on the medication. It didn’t matter, the teachers loved me on the meds. I was quieter in class, sat in my chair, and didn’t bother anyone.
The next week I met with the psychiatrist again. The questions kept coming but this time they felt more personal. She was asking me about my real dad. I wasn’t sure how that had to do with school but I didn’t care. She was letting me play basketball while she asked me all these questions.