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Essay on My struggles with ADHD - need help

itsallison 1 / -  
Jun 21, 2013   #1
Originally I was going to make my essay about my struggles with ADHD, but when I started writing I took it in a different direction. Is it ok as is or should I completely overhaul it?

These are my teachers instructions for the essay:

Our third (and last) public piece of writing will be a blending of subjective and objective perspectives--a creative nonfiction piece. Basically, you should focus on one theme, experience, issue, life lesson, or concern that has been significant and/or influential in your life. Think of causes you support passionately, ideas you love or hate, conditions that affect you or someone in your family, or long-term goals that drive you.


An issue or situation or problem that has affected your life or the life of someone you care about or society in general, such as racism, sexism, religious oppression, a medical condition, substance abuse, a mental health issue, poverty, etc

A goal or dream that you are pursuing in order to contribute something meaningful to the world--teaching, social work, health care, etc.

An important decision you're wrestling with--for example, you might be a parent considering homeschooling your children or wondering what effect TV has on your children

A social issue that affects you and that you have strong feelings about--for example, war, unemployment, privatization of Social Security, hunger, terrorism, gay rights, and so on

An experience you've had that gives you insight into a larger issue, such as crime, disease, education, family dynamics, etc.

Unlike journal assignments, this piece will be graded on correctness (mechanics, style, grammar, etc.) as well as content. If you are concerned about mechanics such as grammar or punctuation, plan ahead to take your draft to the MCC Writing Center for free help with mechanical issues. This assignment is worth 100 points-50 for content (writing) and 50 for mechanics (editing).

Your piece should be about 3-5 typed, doublespaced pages in length. Be sure to read through the rubric that I will use to evaluate your work--this will help you know what to pay attention to as you finalize your essay. Please send me your essay as a Word (.docx) or Rich Text Format (.rtf) attachment to the Canvas Assignment form.

Hint for success: Remember the power of specific detail! Include statistics, quotes, and examples that create a context for your thoughts and experiences. Specific detail will help the reader empathize with your experience.

***** My Essay**** (sorry wouldnt let me attach it)

Every child growing up has the desire to do well and make their parents proud. When I was little I had an older sister that was a straight A student. She was in all of the accelerated learning programs and took to every subject easily. I was two years behind her in grade school so on the first day of class the teachers would always say, "Oh, are you Lauren Casey's sister?". As the school year continued they'd be surprised to find out I wasn't the quiet, well behaved, straight-A student my sister had been years before. When I wasn't chatting up a storm with my classmates I'd be daydreaming away. I guess thats how I earned the nickname "Spacey Casey" from my 4th grade teacher. In the many years that followed, my problems began to grow in not only school, but the rest of my life.

I never really got into any type of trouble until 6th grade. Up till that point, my mom would receive the occasional phone call home every now and then. Usually it'd just be a teacher complaining about my excessive talking or how I had a tendency to rush through my work, but I still managed to maintain passing grades. So when the first report card of my sixth grade year rolled around, my mom was not happy to see I had failed my Spanish and algebra class. I knew my grades weren't going to be the best because I had been struggling to understand the material in both classes, but I didn't think I was actually failing. As I got older, the level of performance required in my classes grew as well. The next year I had similar results in my classes. I had mostly C's and B's and the F in math still remained, but it wasn't until eighth grade that I really hit rock bottom.

My eighth grade year was a total disaster. I was failing every single class and began getting into trouble a lot. I can't even count the amount of times I was suspended, had lunch detention, or was called into the principles office. This resulted in my mom and I fighting constantly. I was always on restriction and getting my cell phone taken away, but my grades and behavior didn't improve. My mom (bless her heart) even tried the positive reinforcement approach after the punishment tactics failed. The first couple weeks of each quarter would seem to be more promising than the last with her new reinforcement idea, but I always ended up in my previous patterns; straight F's.

The school board tried to do their part (for lack of a better word) by putting me on a half day schedule. My schedule was set up so that I would only go to 4 classes a day instead of 8. Some punishment, right? I had all of my "core classes" to focus on instead of the less important, elective classes and got to end my day at lunch time instead of 3:00. Unfortunately, this had zero effect on my grades and they remained at an all time low. It was evident to teachers that I was a hopeless cause. It got to the point that when the teacher would go around to check everyones homework, they wouldn't even bother to ask if I had the assignment, they'd just skip over me. On the rare occasion I did turn in an assignment, they'd make sure the whole class knew how shocked they were and how "proud" they were I had actually completed it.

Despite my middle school failures, I was still able to move onto high school with the rest of my class. I saw high school as a chance to start over. I knew I had to take it seriously, it wouldn't be like middle school where they'd let you move on to the next level without passing. In high school, you either pass or fail, graduate or drop out. That was it.Well unfortunately my determination quickly faded and I fell back into my old habits. It didn't help that my house was literally right across the street from my high school or that my mom worked during the day and my step dad was in Iraq, so ditching school was only a 2 minute walk away. Just like middle school, I began getting in trouble again. Only this time, the stuff I did in high school made my middle school self seem like a saint. I smoked weed more days than not and when I went out on the weekends I'd get so drunk that blacking out became routine. When that stopped being enough, my group of friends and I started getting high off prescription pills and popping ecstasy.

I never showed up to school and when I did, I'd leave after one class. During my sophomore year I was told that I wouldn't be graduating from my high school. I was sent to a continuation high school that only required 90 credits to graduate from. I slowly started making progress, earning credits little by little. I was still getting drunk at parties every weekend, but I stopped smoking weed and doing drugs.

Things took a turn for the worse my Junior year. The progress I had been making in school started decreasing and my partying habits returned. One weekend in October some of my friends and I decided to go to Fright Fest at Six Flags. I knew they were going to be doing molly (basically its uncut ecstasy, just pure MDMA) but didn't think much of it since I'd seen them do it plenty of times before. When we got to Six Flags, my friend started racking up lines and asked me if I wanted to do some since they had bought a lot. The idea of snorting anything up my nose completely freaked me out, but my friends assured me it'd be fine and that it wouldn't seem weird after the first time. My friend covered one nostril, put the rolled up bill in the other, and snorted the white powder up like a Hoover vacuum cleaner. "See? Just like that, it's easy. Your turn.", she said as she passed me the rolled up twenty. I did as I was told and we got out of the car to meet up with our other friends at the entrance. I started feeling the high come on and next thing I know we're on a roller coaster gumming more of the powder. The feeling was pure ecstasy. Its impossible to put into words how good it feels, you just have to experience it. I think it goes without saying this would be the first of many times I'd snort the drug.

Along with my new found favorite drug, I also found a new favorite hobby; shoplifting. My friends and I would walk into stores and pick out tons of clothes to try on, never with the intent of actually purchasing them. We'd make our way to the dressing room, rip off the sensors, stuff the items in our purses, then we'd hide the sensors around the store and walk out. Shoplifting was like a high. The feeling of getting hundreds of dollars worth of stuff for free and the adrenaline rush from wondering if you'll get caught or not, is addicting. My shoplifting wasn't limited to clothes and makeup, it also extended to alcohol. One night before a party my friends and I wanted a bottle. We were all in high school and obviously not 21, so I volunteered to steal a bottle of Vodka from Safeway. I had done it a handful of times before and it was fairly common among people I associated with to steal liquor, so I didn't think much of it. I walked into the store and put a bottle of Skyy vodka in my purse then walked out. After exiting the store I heard two men running towards me, shouting at me to stop. My flight or fight kicked in and automatically I started running. I made it to my friends car when the guy grabbed me. Luckily Safeway didn't end up pressing charges, but they did call my mom while she was at work. Disappointment would be an understatement for how she felt.

My mom was fed up and I knew this was the final straw. I almost felt a sense of relief because the constant lying was exhausting. She took me to a psychiatrist where I was later diagnosed with major depression, ADHD and an anxiety disorder. I began working with a therapist and started medication. It has been a rocky road and things definitely had to get worse before they got better, but I can say I'm in a great place in my life. Unfortunately, I didn't get to graduate high school, but I completed my first year of college and earned 24 credits in addition to being sober for 2 years.
school1st 2 / 1  
Jun 21, 2013   #2
I think your essay is strong. Sorry you learned about your disorder so late but glad to knew you are working to do better in life.

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