Raise Your Voice Column: Not every mental illness is visible

Published in Uncaged, March 2020

by Kaitelyn Walker, Uncaged Opinion Editor

5 a.m. – My alarm demands me to start the day after only 5 hours of sleep.

5:20 a.m. – My energy kicks in as I look for breakfast, so my mom hands me my long acting Concerta.

5:50 a.m. – Thoughts about what things could happen consume me as I stare in the mirror trying to decide if I like how I look.

6:20 a.m. – I pack my bags and check my hair and outfit for the 20th time to make sure it still looks good.

6:40 a.m. – I remind my dad we have to leave in 10 minutes.

6:45 a.m. – I remind him again to make sure he is ready.

6:51 a.m. – My anxiety rises now that we are one minute late.

7:06 a.m. – I walk in the school and go check my hair once again.

7:12 a.m. – I wait for my friend and we go talk in math teacher Steve Allison’s room.

7:30 a.m. – I head to band and start watching what I say so people don’t think I am stupid. Yes, my overthinking sets in.

7:50 a.m – I start getting distracted by a million other thoughts I have. “Do I smell?” “Did I forget something?” “What future thing am I not remembering?”

9:12 a.m. – I sit down in chemistry and think the same thought that I have each time I enter this room, “Where is my DNA model?”

10:00 a.m. – Just like first block, every time I talk, I worry people think it was stupid or annoying.

10:42 a.m. – I open my lunch box and hate everything I put in it.

11:10 a.m. – I rush to English so people in the hall don’t talk to me. I sit down and see people laughing and talking and assume it is something I did.

12:30 p.m. – I start thinking about government, and whether I didn’t finish an assignment.

12:42 p.m. – I step into government class feeling anxious.

1:00 p.m. – I stop myself mid thought and realize I didn’t pay attention at all. I couldn’t focus at all during class.

2:17 p.m. – I walk out and head to my locker to change for indoor track or cheer practice.

2:30 p.m. – My Concerta wears off and I start acting crazy. I take my Ritalin so I don’t annoy everybody.

6:30 p.m. – I am finally done with my day so I go home to face homework.

8:30 p.m. – I start thinking about all the things I did or said wrong and what I could have done better.

11:00-11:30 p.m. – I finally quiet my thoughts enough to sleep.

I have ADHD.

A burden and blessing all at once.

My ADHD does make me who I am, though, so it isn’t something to be ashamed of.

Yet, I still struggle with tasks and thoughts that most people don’t, which is hard for my peers to understand, leading to frustration.

It is hard for some of my teachers and friends to understand that just because I do well in school doesn’t mean I don’t need accommodations to help me. Especially, when every little noise I hear distracts me.

My mind races 90 miles a minute. Yet, I still get stuck in the same thought for way too long. If this paragraph seems scattered, you now have an understanding of how my mind works.

The thing that makes me unique and creative also makes me hyper and emotional.

It is hard to make friends and keep them at times. At times, people say I am lying about having ADHD. I hate having it, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Look around.


Just because someone looks put together on the outside, she may be struggling internally.

Not every mental condition is visible, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

This article is being published as-is from the original, which was published in the March 2020 edition of Uncaged, the student-run independent student news of Stockbridge High School. For more information about Stockbridge’s award-winning student newspaper, go to https://uncagednews.com.

Uncaged articles are sponsored by The Stockbridge Area Educational Foundation. SAEF is currently looking for new board members. For more information on SAEF, visit www.panthernet.net/our district.


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