JSYK Reader Describes Living with ADHD and Struggling to Keep Up in School

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When Justin Bieber announced that he had "self-claimed" ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder, we asked JSYK readers if they, too, suffered similar symptoms -- like trouble focusing on school assignments. More than half of you told us that you have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or have "self-diagnosed" yourself, just like Justin.

Thirteen-year-old Mikala falls into this group. The California teen was recently diagnosed with ADHD, but she's been overcoming challenges for years.


"I've always had trouble staying on track," she says. "At school, I used to zone the teacher out the second they started talking. You don't realize you're doing it while it's happening. But after class I was like, 'What did I learn today? I didn't hear a word she said.'"

In second grade, even the smallest distractions would bother Mikala. "During silent reading I couldn't concentrate with the sound of the clock, or the bird chirping outside the window. Even the heavy breathing of those around me distracted me from staying focused."

There were also other signs that this Cali girl had a different temperament than many of her classmates. "I always had more energy than the other kids. I'd basically be jumping off the walls and I couldn't keep still. I always had to be moving."

Mikala's obstacles aren't limited to just the classroom. "My mom would say something like, 'Unload the dishwasher and then take out the trash.' And I'd forget about the trash within seconds."

Now in eighth-grade, Mikala is home-schooled, but confesses, "Every day is a struggle. It takes me hours to finish just one lesson that should be done in fifteen or twenty minutes."

At night, she has a tough time falling asleep because her mind "is going at a million miles hour," which makes just relaxing and winding down incredibly difficult. But still, Mikala insists that having ADHD "doesn't mean you can't do anything that someone who doesn't have ADHD can do. You can! It will just be more difficult, but don't give up because you feel it will be too difficult."

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