I remember one time when I was on top of my trampoline in the backyard of my house when I was 2.5 years old. I wasn’t big enough to get off the trampoline very fast and one of the tree cutter trucks came down the alley and scared the hell out of me. I couldn’t get off the trampoline very fast and it scared me because I thought the truck was going to eat me.
The year was 1989. I was starting first grade. This meant one thing to me….I was a big kid. Kindergarten passed in what seemed like only a few weeks. Now was the time to be as awesome as my older brother and sister. Passing through real grades with real numbers!! Some of my friends from the year before were there and we were all eager to learn. However, something happened that year that would change my life forever. It would make me question who I was, what I was worth, and whether or not I’d ever live a normal life like everyone else. I was diagnosed with ADHD. My mother was told that something had to be done or I would be forced to attend a ‘special’ school or class. I may have only been six years old, but I knew that this made me different than all the other kids. I was put on medication. I fought it tooth and nail. I don’t blame my mother. She didn’t want me to have to be in a ‘special’ class. She wanted me to be able to attend school; to learn and excel like all the other children. The medicine would completely change my personality. It would calm me down and help me focus. In other words, it gave me tunnel vision. If there was no work to do, like in P.E., I would just zone out and stare straight ahead. Also, the medication had to be taken exactly as prescribed or I’d have HORRIBLE migraines that would put me on the floor. This was difficult for me to do, not only because I was a child and very forgetful at time, but because my parents were divorced, so on the weekends I would go to my father’s house. I’d stop taking the medication, so I could play and have fun like a kid should be free to do. As soon as I returned home to my mother, I’d have to start the medication again. Throughout the next eight years, I would struggle with my identity. I’d be one person on the medication and another one off of it. I was continuously picked on by children at school because of who I was on the pill. It was rare for anyone to know me as the fun kid I was at my father’s house. We went through at least eight different medications to try and find one that wouldn’t make me feel like a zombie or that wouldn’t give me migraines if I missed a day. Finally, in 1998 after my first semester of high school, I decided to move in with my father and step-mother and I stopped taking the medication all together. I started a new high school in a new town and sadly, my grades plummeted, but my social status began to soar. I made friends with almost anyone I came into contact with. I was never part of any clique or group. I got along with everyone. Now, understand, the medication played no part in my intelligence. It merely calmed my personality enough to help me stay focused. Without it, I couldn’t hold my attention with long winded assignments such as classwork or homework, but I could ace any test put in front of me. However, when you don’t finish or attempt homework and classwork and your test scores only account for half of your grade, you still fail. In 2000, my father divorced my step-mother and we moved back to my hometown, but the to the rival school district I left back in ‘98. I quickly made friends and was even known as one of the most school spirited people in attendance. I found a love in drama and art. Throughout my time there, grades in my academic classes barely stayed above failing and in 2002, I made the decision to withdraw from school and after obtaining my GED, I joined the work force full-time. I had been working part-time jobs since I was 16 and by the time I was 24, I had worked more jobs than my father and mother had worked there entire life combined. I was still living at home and while I was able to quickly find a new job after leaving a different job, life started taking it’s toll on me. I began getting depressed. My father remarried and out of respect, I decided it was time to leave the nest for good, or so I thought. I packed up and headed for the beach. In Gulf Shores, I found an apartment that was completely out of my price range, but found an assistant manager position that with some focused budgeting, I could easily pull off. So I was set! I made friends with ease and really enjoyed my job. On my days off, I became a regular at the local karaoke bar and even took home first prize at their Halloween party in 2008. My singing had landed me a lot of happiness there. One night, I caught the eye (or should I see ear) of The Drifters’ manager and I thought that the world was going to be like putty in my hands from that point on. Little did I know that soon after, my world as it was then would come crashing down. My lack of focus at work had taken it’s toll and my boss had ran out of patience. I was asked to resign. Unfortunately, this happened a few weeks before all the local businesses started hiring for Spring Break. Because I had no experience in the real world, my budgeting was not working out and I had no reserve money in case of an emergency. I had no choice, but to tuck my tail and head home. I didn’t really even get a chance to say goodbye to all my new friends. My father and his wife, were kind enough to give me a place to stay. I started working again and met some new people. One in which, would change my world forever. Linda was the cousin of a good friend of mine and we quickly became an item. After only hanging out with each other for three months, we got married. This not only meant I was now a proud husband, but I was also a proud father to her amazing little girl. For the first few months of our marriage, my father and my step-mother were kind enough to allow us to live with them rent free in order to save up for a place of our own. In March, we found an apartment that met all our needs. It was terrific. We both started working at the same place and everything seemed amazing. She found out in October that she was pregnant. Things seemed almost too perfect! Then, it happened. Just the same as it had with all the other jobs, only this time it not only effected me, but also my family. I started losing interest in my new occupation. My focus started to dwindle. I’d look up and be lost in thought; no idea as to what I was doing before hand. I’d start talking to someone and lose track of time. I became forgetful and my lack of focus soon became to appear as only laziness to my employers. I knew what the problem was, but I refused to accept it. I kept on with my life the best I could. My frustration grew towards my job. My attention span was now as short as my employers’ patience. I tried to confide in my managers, but all they heard was meaningless excuses. My hours were cut back and because my wife and I were both employed there, I knew I needed to find something else before my lack of job performance dramatically effect her, as well. I found a job that was offering more hours than I was currently making at my, then, present job, so I called and quit without notice. On my first night of work at this new place, I was informed that my credit report was not as good as I had hoped. Apparently, when I left Gulf Shores so abruptly, I had left behind some unpaid debt that had decided to follow me. The report said that wage garnishments would commence. I called my wife and we both agreed that I’d be losing money given I was only working two or three days a week and with gas costs thrown in, it was best if I left and found something else. That leaves me where I am today. Lost. Depressed. Confused. People tell me that I should start taking medication again, so I can focus at work. I tried this. It dramatically changed my personality and my focus didn’t seem to change at all. My personality is what landed me my beautiful wife and I’m not willing to chance losing that. I would no longer be the person she married. Other people tell me, “I know you don’t want an average, boring job, but if you love your family, you’ll get over it and just do what you have to do.” They don’t understand that that’s like telling a blind person “If you really love your family, you’ll do your best to see.” The only thing that has ever kept my attention for long periods of time besides TV and video games, is art. Anything having to do with it. Acting, music, singing, video editing, painting, writing, or anything creative that I’m allowed to see a finished product at the end of the day, I can lose track of time with. I enjoy construction, landscaping, and designing stuff. The point of this story is, it’s not my fault I can’t stay focused. It’s no ones fault. This is the way God made me and I just haven’t fallen into the career I’m supposed to have yet. I’m currently pursuing social media on YouTube.com (/CriscoZ) and I hope that in the future I can make a career out of it. It is the fuel that drives me soul. I just hope that my story can help other people out there with ADD or ADHD not feel so alone. You’re not. Not everyone will understand you. I’m thankful that I have a loving family and good friends to keep me going. I just hope everyone out there like me, will soon find their way.