Teen Moves from Blaming ADHD to Dominating It!

Flying Dragon

Here’s a peek inside the mind of a teenage boy who isn’t just living with ADHD but FLOURISHING!

Take ADHD, spin it, toss it around, and catch it from the point of view of the true experts – those living with it, like Nathan.

And, this essay Nathan wrote, earned him a big, well deserved “A”!

Congratulations and Kudos to you Nathan for writing this and letting me post it.

Nathan wants other teens to know it can be different, if they want it to be.

Share, share, share.


by Nathan Black
Naperville, IL

“Nathan, you need to listen closely. There’s a reason why you have difficulty focusing. It’s a condition called ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. I’d like you to know that as…” the reason I can’t finish the comment that my mother was telling me, was because I lost focus and started thinking about dragons or something.

“Nathan! Listen please, this is important! Remember that this isn’t something to tell all your friends about, it’s serious! Dad and I are going to help you out as much as we can but…”

Haha, butt. Wait dad’s on a business trip, right? Maybe. I can’t remember when he left. Maybe this morning. Before breakfast. What did I have for breakfast? Toast. I love French toast, and apple juice. Kids meals at McDonalds have apple juice, and new toys. They’re GI-Joes. “Mom, can we go to McDonalds?”

It was during 4th grade that the doctor told us of my condition. If they had told my teacher, Mrs. Quigley, then she gave no indication of it. I have no idea what to write. Write about dragons. No it has to be real life. Oh yeah, the prompt is on the board. Write about my pet? Michelle is old and boring. What can you expect from a Box Turtle. My teeth hurt. I wonder if lizards could have shells. Then army guys could…

“Nathan Black. Every time I walk over here you are not typing. Look, you only have three lines. If I have to remind you again then you’re staying in during recess.”

Ok, ok, fine. So my turtle Michelle is three years old and can live to be… 100? No 35? Ten years. But she may not live that long. I wonder what can break a turtles shell. Maybe if you shot it with a bazooka… what if they had air soft bazookas?! That would be awesome! Would a bazooka kill a dragon? Maybe not the dragons in Eragon. Does jumping really high count as magic? Jedi can and they don’t have magic. The force is different than magic. But is it? Nah. So if I can just get the kick ball into the outfield I’ll be slightly more popular. Yeah. But that’s after band practice, ugh. I get so hungry after band…

“Nathan! I gave you a warning-” Wow she looks like a witch. And her name sounds like a witch. Quigley. It’s an ugly name….

“-now you’re staying in during lunch.” Dangit.

It’s times like those that got me to realize that there was something different about me. I rarely was able to finish assignments on time. I couldn’t even listen to people talking straight at me for a long time before my hyperactive mind would carry me off somewhere else.

The absolute worst times were when I was within some view of a TV, I couldn’t peel my eyes away. I’m listening to my father explain to me the basics of algebra.

“So you’ve got to understand that you’re always solving for X. And you always-“

Is that Will Smith? No way it’s the episode where the bunny gets crushed! That one’s so funny. And it is! Oh my gosh! He’s gonna sit on the box! And…

I felt a tight jerk of the back of my neck, as my father pulled me back into the real world. He had zero tolerance for my behavior and at the moment I would fight him and hate him for it. However, in the long run the results of his actions have become blessings.

I learned a lot in those beginning years. By 8th grade I had accepted my condition as something I was born with and started putting forth a lot of effort toward conquering it. However, my mind still wandered a great amount. It began to affect my relationship with others, like my younger brother.

“Why can’t you just focus and get it done!!! I can’t turn on the TV until you finish, so stop getting distracted!” yelled my little brother.

“I would if I could Dal!!! It’s not like you were born with ADHD!” I would yell back.

He can’t talk. He doesn’t understand and will never understand. I can’t help it! In fact I have no idea when I’m in a daze. What if he was like me? Would I do the same to him? But what if I was normal? Oh gosh, I could do anything! I could have so much more free time! My homework would be done in like no time! I would throw away my assignment notebook! I wouldn’t have trouble remembering everything! I could listen to my coach and do the plays right! Football would be fun! Mom wouldn’t get so upset with me. I would be normal. But wait, being normal is boring. I’d be normal with unique traits, yeah that’s better… if dragons were alive I bet they would rule the earth … not those stupid bat-like dragons, but the ones where they have four limbs and wings on their back. Those are the best. Then we could ride them. With guns. It’d be modern dragon riders which would be cool. Hmmm, Fresh Prince of Bellaire is on tonight. Haha. I hope it’s the episode where the baby is born, cause Will just totally…

            “Nate! Come on! I’m just going to watch TV cause you obviously can’t focus either way!”

Needless to say, I had turned my “condition” into a “definition” of my life. My excuses and rationalizations came from my focusing issue. Blaming ADHD was a way of showing people that I had a hard time with certain things and needed sympathy. Sympathy turned sour though, and I began to hide behind it. Relying on others feeling sorry for me, and as a result; I degraded as a person.

Lessons were learned. To this day I have worked and worked and worked at breaking this habit and issue. I made it my life goal to conquer my ADHD. I did anything that I could in order to improve my focusing. I started noticing when I got into a daze, and I learned to catch myself.I got my act together and refused to be like the rest of the kids with ADHD and ADD, who are forced to sit in a secluded classroom and take their tests in an alternate location. I went into class early and studied more.

I achieved something that before was near impossible: I got my first report card of straight A’s. It’s never gotten easier though. I studied with students who I know do not have a struggle with focusing, but instead choose not to focus. It makes me laugh that the person who is born with extra difficulty in paying attention, ends up being the one who rallies everyone to concentrate.

Starting my senior year in high school I had come to the point where I was able to carry on conversations while I worked, which was an enormous step. This became very helpful when doing crunch time in class.

“Hey Nate, do you know what’s going on in class tomorrow?” somebody would ask.

So I have to use the square-rooted equation, to solve for X. “Yeah, Gamble’s out of town, so we have a sub.” And then…Bam! Done with that problem, and can move on to English. I’m really excited about this final short story piece.

“Wait so we’re just going to be watching a movie?”

The title of the story has definitely got to be something about the characters challenge. And the setting? Got to be somewhere really exotic. “Yeah. I mean that’s what I’d guess we’re doing.” Where was I? Oh yeah exotic settings. Like a rain forest, or a volcano, or an island… or put them all together… Should I put a dragons den in there? Nah…

I’m never going to be rid of it. ADHD is a part of my life, but it no longer controls my life. For example, I’m currently having a bit more difficulty writing this essay because my girlfriend just walked in and started working on her paper. Years ago that would have been detrimental to my ability of finishing this essay, but time passes and I have achieved the skill to resist distractions.

I am not saying that I am the greatest person because I felt like I have conquered an obstacle in my life. I’m not even saying that I’m normal. All that I am saying is that we are all born with challenges; and I am dominating mine.


~Awesome huh?! What’d you think?~

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