Alissa described herself as never being able to concentrate during school. She said that she can remember reading things and not knowing what she had read immediately thereafter. She said now she tries to write everything down but at times she will read her notes and not believe that she actually attended the lecture. Alissa will study at home a great amount of time in order to figure out what is going on in her classes. She loses her attention when classes are boring. Her thoughts will wander to thinking about what she has to do and other items. She acknowledged while sitting in class that she will brush and flick her hair back which she feels is a habit that would be difficult for her to stop, as well as picking at her clothes. She denies symptoms of alopecia, or hair pulling.
I had a very hard time concentrating at school.
My home life was chaotic all of the time. It was never quiet. I spent a lot of energy ruminating and worrying about how to fix situations that were outside of my realm of control. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.
I remember around that time the doctor gave me the highest dose of ADD medicine prescribed. My ability to focus while medicated was unbelievable and unparalleled before or since.
But at very high doses my level of anxiety was unparalleled too.
One of the biggest things that my brother Matt did to me as a child was pull my long hair. He would pull my mother’s hair or really anyone with long hair. Mainly he would pull my hair and it hurt. I thought he would pull my hair out. This went on for many years.
When I was on high doses of ADD meds, my skin itched and crawled. I was jittery like I had way too much coffee. My anxiety was through the roof and I began to scratch my scalp. I picked at my scabs and small clumps of hair would come out. I was constantly playing with my hair. At the same time, my brother was pulling my hair.
I had to stop the nervous tic. If my brother didn’t pull all of my hair out, then I certainly would. Instead I refocused my energy on plucking my hair off of my pillow or clothing.
Meanwhile, my brother still pulled my hair. One day I couldn’t take it anymore. I ran to my room with my scissors and cut off my long hair. He wouldn’t be able to pull it if it wasn’t there.
But my brother still pulled my hair and I was still afraid that it would come out. He pulled it so hard that my scalp hurt. As long as I had hair, he kept pulling. It was a lot easier for him to pull when it was longer though.
Then I stopped taking my ADD medication and along with it stopped constantly playing with my hair. Sometimes though if I am really nervous I will catch myself playing with my hair.
Thankfully it didn’t seem like I lost a lot of hair.
I can only imagine what I could have done if I had more focus or less problems to worry about.