My Key to Happiness

Sometimes I just want to sock someone in the nose. I obviously mean this statement figuratively but sometimes I get so riled up over things so stupid. I don’t mean I’m a little b*!/h that cries over everything, but I feel that a lot of stupid stuff happens to me. These emotions that are evoked from my pissed off self may define who I am to some people, however to me the way I deal with said frustrations defines who I am. Sometimes I eat, other times I try to wack golf balls as hard as possible, but most importantly I “sweep it out the door”. This is my twist on the common phrase of “sweeping it under the rug,” however I changed it for myself. I feel that sweeping the dirt under the rug implies its kept there and can’t be erased or forgotten, however under my rug there is an endless pit. There’s nothing going on back there, its void, null. There is no backstage or backstage party, once I sweep it behind the curtain its gone. I simply forget my emotion and uneasiness, what better coping mechanism could there be? In retrospect this may be destructive and it is obviously stupid to neglect self reflection, but hey at least I’m happy.

Angry man screaming — Stock Photo © billiondigital #161276248

Executive Dysfunction

I have ADHD, and a symptom that impacts my life every day is executive dysfunction. Executive dysfunction is something that neurotypical people experience too, but it’s usually strongest and most visible in people with ADHD.

Understanding executive function is the best way to get a grasp of what executive dysfunction is. As defined by Harvard Center on the Developing Child, “Executive function and self-regulation skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully” (Harvard, 2020).

When looking at the DSM-5 criteria for diagnosing ADHD, it’s obvious that most people with ADHD lack the ability to do these things without outside help, which is where the term “executive dysfunction” comes in.

For me, executive dysfunction hinders my ability to manage my time, control my impulses, remember important upcoming events, and split my attention between multiple things. These effects have led me to miss deadlines, accidentally ditch my friends when we were supposed to hang out, and miss points from not realizing that I’ve left out key details in assignments.

Since I’m in high school, my executive dysfunction mostly affects my schoolwork and learning experience. For an adult with a job, it could cause them to get fired because of repetitive mistakes. The stakes are higher for adults, which is why learning effective strategies to combat executive dysfunction is important.

I hope that this article helps people understand ADHD and its symptoms better. Remember to look out for your friends or family who have ADHD to make sure they’re taking care of themselves.

Works Cited:

“Executive Function & Self-Regulation.” Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, 24 Mar. 2020, developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/executive-function/.

Executive Dysfunction & Learning Disabilities in Kids with ADHD
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Impulsivity

I have ADHD, and a symptom I experience is impulsivity.

I often do and say things without thinking about the consequences. It happens most when I’m in an emotionally unstable or vulnerable state.

For example, when I’m happy, I go out of my way to do kind things for my friends. I’ll bring them Starbucks or surprise them with presents just because the idea popped into my head. However, it goes the other way too. If I’m angry, I’m likely to say whatever comes into my mind, no matter how mean it is.

When it comes to impulse control, I have to be completely mentally present to stop myself from doing mean or potentially harmful things. I’ve trained myself to stay quiet and think when I’m upset so I don’t ruin a relationship because I wasn’t paying attention to the words I was saying.

I also will buy things off impulse. I have so many meaningless objects in my room that I saw, liked, and bought without a second thought. It’s a struggle to be financially stable while impulsive, which could cause trouble for me later in life if I don’t get a handle on it.

Impulsivity can be annoying at times, but please try to be understanding of people with ADHD. We try so hard every day, and it’s great when people acknowledge that.

I hope that this article helps people understand ADHD and its symptoms better. Remember to look out for your friends or family who have ADHD to make sure they’re taking care of themselves.

Impulsivity: Definition, Symptoms, Traits, Causes, Treatment

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The Impregnable Wall of Authority

Recently a rule implanted by a tyrannical government has been put into action, outlawing the use of earbuds on campus. This ban on earbuds keeps students from using them on campus, supposedly because students wearing earbuds are unaware of their surroundings when walking around, they cannot engage with their peers, and they are worn in classes and become a distraction. This rule is B.S. Over the past three and a half years, I have been wearing earbuds on campus. Of course I followed safety precautions such as having one earbud out and playing my music on medium volume so I could hear cars and people talking. Not once have I had a close call with a car or any sort of traffic, I am constantly aware of the movement of the people around me, and I consistently engage in conversations with my classmates. This year nothing has changed except for me being interrupted mid sentence to take out my earbuds when sitting and enjoying a conversation with my friends, or even having my earbuds taken away when I was talking to my classmates outside of class while the teacher was setting up. This useless rule has only hindered me in my day to day existence. My music is important to me.

I understand I sound like a madman complaining about not being able to wear earbuds at school, however listening to music affects my mood and the way I act. Music relaxes me, it distracts me from anxiously tapping my feet or getting lost in my head and spacing out. Music benefits me academically. Which is why I fail to comprehend how a rule as dumb as this one has come to fruition. I hope to argue and eventually abolish this hindrance to student quality of life by fighting and following in the footsteps of freedom fighters of the past such as Martin Luther King Jr. or Malala Yousafzi. I will not be stopped by an impregnable wall of authority. I will persevere.

Fidgeting

I have ADHD, and a stereotypical symptom I experience is fidgeting.

The earliest ADHD symptom I can remember is fidgeting. Ever since kindergarten, I’ve bounced my legs under my desk. Sometimes it’s accompanied by finger-tapping. I remember having trouble doing mindfulness activities because I felt like I needed to move somehow.

In the past four years, I’ve started cracking my fingers. Every joint in my hand can pop because of the countless hours I’ve spent absentmindedly pulling and pushing on my knuckles. Sometimes, I do it so much that my hands are in horrible pain and I can barely move them.

I’ve been told various times that it’s annoying, that it’s disrespectful, or that I need to stop doing it. If I had a nickel for every time someone’s told me I’m going to have arthritis when I’m older, I would be rich.

However, I’ve never stopped. It’s not because I lack the ability to break bad habits, or because I hold a grudge against people who commented on it. It’s because most of the time, it doesn’t hurt me, but rather comforts me.

For people with ADHD, fidgeting is a way to expel the energy that our brain exponentially puts out. Fidgeting, while sometimes annoying to other people, is not something that should be repressed. It helps people with ADHD to cope with what happens in their brains.

Not fidgeting can make people with ADHD feel overwhelmed, and it makes us more prone to meltdowns. Fidgeting, when done in a non-harmful way, is a healthy behavior for people with ADHD.

I hope that this article helps people understand ADHD and its symptoms better. Remember to look out for your friends or family who have ADHD to make sure they’re taking care of themselves.

3 Ways to Help Fidgety Kids Sit Still - wikiHow
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Hyperfixations

I have ADHD, and one of the symptoms I experience most severely is known as hyperfixation.

A hyperfixation is when someone with ADHD finds something that interests them and becomes infatuated with it. For me, it’s usually fictional universes like Marvel or DC. Hyperfixations can last from weeks to months, or even stick around for years.

When I hyperfixate, the topic becomes my entire world. I have trouble eating enough, drinking enough water, sleeping for a healthy amount of time, and just taking care of myself in general. School becomes the second priority, and I have a hard time staying on top of – or even being able to finish – my work. I spend hours on end in my bedroom consuming my hyperfixation and transferring it into what I like to do. In my case, I like to write.

During the first few weeks of a hyperfixation, I will write obsessively about it. I have written essays about how good the object of my hyperfixation is, made presentations to explain the lesser known details about it to my family, and overall written over five hundred pages of fanfiction about my various hyperfixations.

It might sound silly for a teenager to become obsessed with children’s shows like Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but at one point it was the only thing getting me through the school day.

Hyperfixations are no joke. They’re a symptom of neurodivergency and should be taken just as seriously as any other symptom. People in a state of hyperfixation sometimes mimic symptoms of depression and anxiety like irritability, lack of care for their future, and distancing themselves from other things they would usually like to do.

I hope that this article helps people understand ADHD and its symptoms better. Remember to look out for your friends or family who have ADHD to make sure they’re taking care of themselves.

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Learning to Fly Again

You gave me a purpose

when I didn’t believe.

You pulled me from the dirt,

kissed me, and forgave me.

You taught me to feel

and you stuck around

when no one would.

I guess you’ve been here all along.

You pushed me off; I thought I died.

But I didn’t.

I learned to fly.

I was just afraid of heights.

The time came; I was ready.

I smiled crying,

sank to my knees,

and forgave the hands that hurt me.

“Leap For Joy” by Emily Olson

Embarrassment

In my everyday life I could fall upwards to five times, and it is quite embarrassing. One instance I can remember is when I went to Montgomery, Alabama. I was walking along the river on one of those raised ledges, thinking everything was fine. It was not fine, I fell off, and now I have a lasting scar. I did not cry and it barely hurt, I was more embarrassed than anything. Everyone who was on that river that day saw me and kept coming up to me to see if I was okay… I did not like the attention.

photo credit: Vector Stock

Another embarrassing moment is everytime I see a person I know in public. I do not like talking to people and I know that if I see someone I know, they’ll come up to me to talk. I do talk to them because I don’t like being rude, but I am worried that I am going to say or do something weird.

Confusion of the heart

There are moments when I find myself caught in the cross fire between my heart and my head. I often cant decided weather or not I should listen to the voices in my head telling me what to do, or my heart guiding me in in the direction of possible heart break. I want to follow the direction of my heart, but my head always stops me and poses the question of “what if”

So now when my mind is blank, the thought of the matter at hand will cross my previously calm mind. And suddenly, there’s a sense of panic that overtakes me and I feel uneasy. As if I am stuck with a decision that for one reason or another, my mind can not physically comprehend because my heart will still get in the way.

One way or another, my heart and mind play tricks on each other, but both only have the best of intensions for my own happiness. So there lies the conflict, when is it that I listen to my head, and when do I listen to my heart?

Is it worth the minor lapses of fear and judgment for potential happiness? Or is it that I should disregard both and simply try and play it safe.

Even that question is too grand to answer for myself. So I still remain to question decisions, or simply protect myself from a risk just to avoid the confusion of my heart. I consistently bombard myself with the age old question of “what if?”

But maybe someday, I will listen to the deep feelings being stirred in my heart and follow that, for it could lead me to my greatest potential happiness. Maybe I will rebut the question of “what if?” with “why not?”.

photo credit: https://allpoetry.com/

An Observation

From here I see my campus from an aerial view. If I turn around, I see the backs of the display books in the library. I feel as if I am spying on my own classes, looking through the glass as if admiring a fish tank. The empty space is filled with reflections of light as the mountains project onto the classroom air. The ceiling is as busy as the ground, as the light blends the air the way water blends light.

The soft, patchy hills feel uninviting up close as the pine needles keep me seated delicately. The towering trees are no mightier than grass in the valley, as the vertical space of campus is dominated by mountains, surrounded by empty air.

The birds aren’t tied to the ground. The space is theirs, and they are free to exist on a higher plane. They have their own conversations up here. They chatter amongst each other as I do with my friends in the confines of the trees. 

For this moment, I am with them. I exist on the higher plane, resisting the hour where I will return to my path on the game board of campus. The ground is vast, and I never considered my ability to break my trails. I’ve existed on this campus for years, and I’ve traced the same route each day, etching my footprints into the ground. I’ve left spaces abandoned and ignored. There are pockets in the trees where I’ve never set foot. The heart of campus is in the green leaves, though I experience life on the white concrete, referencing the trees as accessories.

From afar, these trees are the campus. Each little patch on the mountain is a three dimensional plant that stands alone. The buildings are silent amongst the loud winds that rush through the branches, and are invisible behind the deep, warm tones of nature. Before returning to my concrete trail, I will keep in mind where the life of campus resides. My existence circles the trees, and my classroom is not as tall as I once believed.

Image Credit: Home Stratosphere