Name: Anonymous Staff

A little about myself:

I am first and foremost a father and husband. I love being a member of the CSB/SJU community.

How my disability has impacted my life:

I was diagnosed with ADHD around the age of 20. The only signs of ADHD I had as a child included feedback from teachers that I daydreamed often and struggled to keep my desk organized. Upon losing the structure of my K-12 environment I struggled to manage responsibilities in college;; during which time I focused on academics, yet struggled with self-care and balance. I defaulted to poor coping strategies, struggling with impulsivity and the need to delay gratification. Academic responsibilities would snowball out of control, at the end of which I would crash and burn.  I attempted to self-medicate my co-occurring anxiety with alcohol, which made life even more challenging. Before I was diagnosed with ADHD, I lost relationships, social opportunities, and struggled with decisions that would impact my finances for years to follow. Learning about my condition was helpful. I slowly learned how to adapt, using my strengths to help overcome my weaknesses. Even still, there are moments in which my symptoms can make life more challenging in relationships. Even though I have a disability, I struggle with how to relate to others who encounter more significant barriers. I struggle with the question: “Where do I belong given my privilege?” and “Where do I belong in the Disability Community?” Or, better said “Is there a place for me in the Disability Community?”

Access to medication has been essential to my wellness, yet it took years to find a therapeutic dosage. However, for some people medication does not work. I am grateful to have access to medication that allows me to be productive and attentive.

How my disability functions as a strength in my life:

I wouldn't trade my ADHD for the world. While my mind’s ability to be preoccupied and distractible can be inconvenient, I attribute my creativity and spontaneity to this condition. I believe it helps me adapt to new environments, see challenges from a different lens and have empathy for others who may have similar symptoms.. At home, and in relationship with my family and wife, the creative side of this diagnosis has led to some memorable moments.

Barriers to accessibility I would like to bring to light:

Growing up, barriers I encountered included the inability of my educators to identify where I was not thriving as a result of my symptoms and the manner in which their content was designed.
Yet, bulk of the barriers I have faced have been additional. With the ongoing perception that ADD/ADHD, or those who utilize medication to treat the condition,  are using it as an excuse. I struggle with the concept of people believing that individuals are over-medicated, as research indicates the opposite. I believe this prevents many people like me from receiving pharmacological interventions and mental health treatment that would allow them to thrive.

I struggle, every day, knowing  that my privilege was a tremendous asset in allowing me to overcome some of the barriers that I was able to overcome. I believe the Disability Community needs to build a bigger, and more inclusive tent, under which we welcome others who share our experiences.

“As a member of our community, I believe the Benedictine Values speak to how we are called to treat all people, including those in the Disability Community. Values such as Hospitality, Stewardship, Justice, and Respect parallel the spirit of the movement that led to  watershed disability rights legislation.