Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) by L. D. K.

Today, at 32, I am a married computer whiz, master's degree candidate, and proudly employed as an administrator at one of the most prestigious colleges in America. Before I smoked Marijuana no one thought that I would ever go to college. As a child I was diagnosed with dyslexia and learning disabilities in the subjects of Math and English. I spent my childhood plagued by the frustrations and desperation of teachers, my parents and tutors who couldn't accept a straight C average from a bright student with an above average I.Q. I can still hear the choruses of "Try harder!" and "Concentrate harder!" that used to daily echo through my young ears heightening my anxiety level and pounding down my fragile self-esteem. I was always trying as hard as humanly possible, but no one believed me.

By the grace of God I graduated from high school and was in the process of failing my first year of college when I first smoked marijuana. After spending almost every minute of my Fall semester studying in my room or at the tutoring center I still managed to earn a pathetic 1.75 GPA. My mother agreed to let me go back to school spring semester with the understanding that my grades would have to improve dramatically if I was ever to see my Sophomore year.

I was hopeless going into my spring semester. I was already doing my best and failing, since leaving college seemed inevitable I decided to have fun while I was still there. I started studying less and spending time with older students who smoked a lot of marijuana.

In the beginning I started smoking marijuana with them every once in a while. Noticing that smoking made me feel calm, relaxed, and confident, I started smoking more often. By the middle of the semester I was smoking everyday and going to my classes high. When I was high I could concentrate better and not only thoroughly understand the classes and comprehend the textbooks, but for once I could recall the material during tests and exams.

For the first time in my life my papers were being read out loud in class, and my peers looked to me for answers. By the end of this miraculous semester I was on the Dean's list with a GPA of 3.45. (If I started smoking daily at the beginning of the semester I would have earned a straight 4.0.) That semester was my first signal that something was medically wrong with my body chemistry. I continued to smoke marijuana through out college to help me study but not on a daily basis. After college it took me 2 years to identify Attention Deficit Disorder as the source of my academic difficulties and 10 years for a doctor to finally diagnose and treat me (There is still an alarming number of doctors out there who continue to deny that ADD affects women). For the past few years I have exchanged marijuana for more socially acceptable Ritalin and have been thriving in every aspect of my life. I still use marijuana for relief of severe menstrual cramps, and to relieve occasional muscle pain.