This is the story of I cured my ADD with meditation. When I was 13 years old, being a bit impulsive and a bit of a dreamer, neither of which was too pleasing to my school teachers, my parents took me to a place with many doctors and experts in lab coats who specialized in diagnosing children with various behavioral disorders. I didn’t really understand what was going on except that I got to get out of school for the day.
What’s My Story Of Discovering And Living With ADD?
I was the class clown at that age, always cracking jokes and talking during class. I spent a lot of time in the hallway for being too funny. My parents, very well-intentioned, decided some professional help might just do the trick.
At this time, ADD was a skyrocketing phenomenon, and trust in doctors and pharmaceuticals was much higher than they are today. And then much like today, parents wanted everything for their children and would do anything to make sure they had every opportunity in life.
So there I was at 13, in a building that was strange to me, being asked to draw whatever I felt like, fill out questionnaires, take tests, complete puzzles and IQ-like games, and answer hundreds of questions, all to psychoanalyze me so that presumably these doctors could decide which medication would be best for me.
The Symptoms That Started To Show
While my grades were very good, and perhaps because they were very good, I was always extremely bored in class. I felt like school taught to the slowest student in the classroom and as I was picking up things quickly, I had nothing else to do to pass the time but whisper to my friends, makeup jokes, and stare out the window bored out of my mind.
If this was ADD, I was guilty of it. I certainly lacked the patience to sit still all day listening to teachers explain things I already knew and understood fully well. No one really teaches any child how to be patient and present, do they?
The questions these doctors were asking me all seemed very strange to me, even at the time. They were questions like, “Do you sometimes lose things?” “Do you ever have trouble paying attention in class?” “Or Do you have trouble sitting still for very long periods of time?” “Do you ever daydream?”
The Diagnosis And Drugs
“Um, yeah, me and everyone I know,” I thought. But sure enough, I was diagnosed with ADD and prescribed the mind-altering behavior-changing psychostimulant known as Ritalin. I was basically told that I would need to be on this drug all day, every day, for the rest of my life.
So, I tried it, as all the grown-ups told me to, and I liked it! I mean, hey, what could go wrong with feeding a child methylphenidate (think crystal meth for kids)?
Well, a lot can go wrong it turns out. When we give children medication to use as coping mechanisms or for behavioral changes, we’re robbing them of learning how to deal with their emotions and behaviors naturally. It’s like we’re giving them a crutch to walk on, but it leaves their legs weak, feeble, and unusable.
They then grow to depend on the crutch, and when it’s done in their early and formative years, it literally stunts their personal growth and ability to learn these important abilities and skills.
The Limbo Of Feeling Better But Not Really
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Ritalin. I had more energy. It reduced my appetite and made me more fit. I was less imaginative and creative, but that was seen as a good thing by all my teachers. But, something inside me said taking this drug wasn’t right. I was a creative person by nature—a photographer, painter, actor, and writer.
As I got older, I began to question how a brand new drug for a brand new disorder could possibly be a necessary solution, if for thousands of years people just lived and got on without it.
While I had more energy, and supposedly a greater ability to focus, I was still the same old me. I was a chronic procrastinator and I wanted to learn how to focus and use my time better, naturally.
How I Really Cured My ADD?
This story of how I cured my ADD is also the story of how I accidentally stumbled upon the entire concept of spirituality and meditation. When I was 16 years old and just being a typical teenager who was more interested in having fun than being able to focus, I saw a book on my older brother’s bookshelf called, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
Well, for those of you who may already know, this book was not at all about procrastination. But what it was about was so much more important and necessary for my life. It was about how to be present. This book was the beginning of my spiritual journey, as it was for millions of others like me. It was also the first step that cured my ADD with meditation.
If I had known what this book was about, I never would have read. But once I opened it up, it just spoke to me and everything I was having difficulty within my life. I wasn’t impulsive because I had ADD; I was impulsive because I wasn’t living mindfully and in the present moment.
Moreover, I wasn’t distracted because I had a disorder; I was distracted because constantly in my head, lost in thought and unable to observe what was happening around me with stillness and calmness.
How I Began The Journey To Meditation?
I did not know that ADD can be cured by meditation. While reading the book, I began meditating regularly and living in a constant state of present awareness. I noticed the Ritalin was doing nothing for me. At first, the doctors wanted to try a different medication to see if that would work.
They put me on Concerta. You know, just another powerful drug that can cause rapid or irregular heartbeat, panic, delirium, psychosis, and heart failure. They never even bothered to see if it wasn’t working because I didn’t need it anymore.
Luckily, being the slightly rebellious teenager that I was, I decided to give it up and go cold turkey. I never looked back. My intuitions were right. There was nothing wrong with me.
My grades remained strong, my behavior stayed the same, and I was doing it all naturally and on my own. A couple of years later, I got into a great art college where my talents were appreciated, and able to thrive. I then got a job where I was able to put my creativity to work and excelled rapidly.
Paving The Path To Health, Healing, And Happiness
To this day, I have many friends who are currently suffering from bladder problems and heart pain due to their continued use of various ADD medications. Meanwhile, I have been able to sit still for 12 hours straight observing only my breath and my thoughts in deep meditation.
My focus, concentration, and attention span are far beyond what’s normal in this highly distracted multi-asking technological age.
Today, ADD/ADHD diagnoses and prescriptions written for it are at all-time highs, while attention spans are at all-time lows. But if we really want the best for our children and for ourselves, take it from me, I cured my ADD with meditation and it is the best medication.
To learn more about meditation for ADD/ADHD, or to sign up for a kids’ and parents’ meditation class, please visit https://www.eastwesticism.org/classes