A student’s take on ADD


Eden Scrafford, '20

You’re standing in a white room without doors, windows, walls or a ceiling. As barren as the margins of this essay. An endless empty white void. At its “center,” there is a box. You have no idea why it’s there or what’s inside. Would you open it? Would you risk unleashing its contents to satisfy your curiosity? Or would you simply walk away?

As soon as the lid raises, the most beautiful, amazing, and impossible things begin to pour over the edge. A symphony of a million colors you never even dreamed of. Uplifting music that surrounds you and settles in every fiber of your being. Undiscovered scents and flavors. Sunrises. Sunsets. Moonlight. Stars. Ocean waves. Snow. Fireflies. Finches. Flowers. Islands. Rain forests. Tropical reefs. Waterfalls. Clouds. Butterflies. Degas paintings. Huckleberries. Chocolate. Pie. Macaroons. Pirate ships. Castles. Dragons. Mermaids. Fairies. Wizards. Vampires. Werewolves. Treasure maps. Secret messages. Masquerades. Edible confetti. Pocket watches. Grappling hooks. Underwater capture the flag, underwater laser tag, underwater roller coasters, underwater everything. Everything you could ever imagine and even some things you can’t.

The box continues to open and more things emerge. It doesn’t stop and it doesn’t slow down. At first, everything is moving at 120 mph. Then it’s all swirling around you at the speed of light, blurring into one giant mess. Every noise, scent, sight, and feeling is heightened by 10, 20, 30, 50. You close your eyes. The music and ocean waves have been replaced by a jumble of notes and instruments on full blast. It’s like you can hear every sound in existence; every giggle, mumble, whisper, squeaky chair, keyboard click, pencil tap, house settling, coin drop, dog panting, car starting, plastic rustle, faucet dripping. You cover your ears. Now you’re left with the frantic beating of your heart and thoughts that don’t even feel like your own. If you melt down the Statue of Liberty you could create 1,360,777,110 pennies. The fabric of reality is composed of 10^10^122 different particles. 525,600 minutes in a year, but how many “seasons of love”? The Sixth Sense has Haley Joel Osment who was also in Secondhand Lions with Robert Duvall who was in Lonesome Dove with Tommy Lee Jones who was in Men in Black with Will Smith who was in West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where he spent most of his days, chillin’ out maxing, relaxing…relax, calm down, why can’t anything calm down? It feels like you’re drowning. Like you’re on a plane that’s simultaneously taking off and falling out of the sky. Like everything is closing in and smothering you, yet you’re all over the place. You can’t escape. You can’t close the box, because you can’t find it. How can you with everything everywhere? It’s too much! It’s all too much!


That’s how it feels with ADD — inattentive ADD in my case — but chaos isn’t all this box offers. You get used to being overwhelmed and can appreciate the beauty once again. You have it all; the good, the bad and the beautiful.

Snow falls like feathers, and clouds break like waves.

Gems, gold, and treasures can be found in caves.

Swim ‘cross an ocean on one breath of air.

Fly through the stars without a care.

Rescue a kingdom and sail the seas.

Run through a forest and climb all the trees.

Leave all your cares in the world behind.

Adventures await inside your mind.

It’s tempting to stay. To remain in a personal world of adventure and possibility. That’s why it is so incredibly easy to lose focus or shift uncontrollably between fact and fiction. It is a curse and a gift. A mental “disorder” and the closest I have ever come to real magic. Had I been given the choice, I would have opened the box willingly. The magic is worth the chaos.