What it's like to have ADD

Short Stories

     I sit in the classroom, looking at the white sheet of paper in front of me.  Oh yeah.  There are words on it.  I pick up my pencil.  I take a deep breath, looking at the first question on the test.  "Pourquoi est-ce qu'Elsa repecte encore les Blancs?"  I set my pencil on the page.  Why does Elsa...I read the question again.  The white people, okay.  I start to write..."the white people are..."  Wait, what was the question again?  I look back at the page.  I see the word Elsa.  Why are they talking about Elsa?  The question doesn't make sense.  Elsa isn't...wait, what was I writing before?  I look at what I've written.  Oh yeah, the white people.  Elsa wasn't white.  So why are they talking about her?  I look back at the question again.  Encore = again.  Something happens again?  Oh, she goes to live with the white people again.  "Elsa decides she has to go live amongst the white people again."  Again?  Wait, did she ever live with them in the first place?  And I don't remember her going to live with them now...I turn back to the question.  Encore, wait, that doesn't mean again.  It means still.  She's still living with the white people?  Huh?  I shut me eyes and take another deep breath.  I look back at the sheet.  Respect, I missed that word.  Respect...who...what?  Do the white people respect Elsa or do they respect her?  Wait...I meant...or does she respect them...?  I grip my pencil hard.  Okay.  This question is too hard.  Let's try the next one...

     I look at all the questions on the page.  They all blur together.  What the hell is wrong with me?  Why isn't anything registering?  I look around at all the other people in the room.  They all look calm and are writing away.  I remember when I used to be able to do that.  Why isn't my mind working?  

I feel like crying.  I can't fail this test; I can't.  I've already failed the first few; if I keep on like this there's no way in hell I'm getting into any sort of university.  I scream at my brain. "Concentrate!"  Yeah, right.  Like it's going to listen to what I have to say.  

     I shut my eyes again and try to breathe in and out a couple of times.  I open them and look at the page.  Okay, there's the word faire...vie...there's a letter s...another letter...what's that again...oh yeah...r...

     It's getting worse.  From being able to recognize words to now only letters.  How am I supposed to finish this thing?  Oh, if only I had enough time!  Why do I seem to need so much more time than anyone else?  Why does it take so long for words to register with meaning sometimes?  

     I look at the clock.  I start.  Where did the time go?!  There's ten minutes left for the test;  I can't finish it in that time!  I've failed; I already know I've failed.  I didn't answer three quarters of the questions, and I can't even tell if the ones I did answer are right or not; reading back what I wrote only produces more confusion.  If only I could answer just a few more...then maybe...

I look at the test again, and I start to panic even more;  I know this stuff!  I know all the answers to the questions!  I beg the questions to make sense, just for a little while, just so I can answer a few more of them.  But of course they don't listen to me.  I put my pencil down.   There's no point in trying to do anymore; it's not going to happen.  

     "Time is up!" the teacher cheerfully announces.  I try hard to keep the tears back as I hand in my sheet.  

     I walk out of the university, shaking off the bad memory and make my way towards home.


Author's Notes/Comments: 

I need a suggestion for the title of this story...

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Nickie N's picture

I read this b/c I'm a special ed major and the "IEP" part caught my attention. this is a really really great view into the mind of someone with a learning disability. Thank you so much for sharing.