Each week, 34-year-old Jessica McCabe exudes confidence and cheer as she reaches out to others through the screen on her YouTube channel, “How to ADHD.”
But it wasn’t always that way. As a tween, McCabe began struggling socially and at school, and her grades and confidence plummeted. Bullied by her peers at school, she had challenges at home, too. She told TODAY Parents, “I couldn’t manage my emotions. I wasn’t hyperactive; more the shy, fidgety, daydreamer type, so I wasn’t disruptive in class. But homework was an issue and my grades were suffering.”
McCabe’s mom knew this wasn’t “normal,” and began seeking out help for her daughter. Visits to her doctor and then a psychiatrist resulted in an ADHD diagnosis for McCabe at age 12, and she was soon put on the now often-maligned drug Ritalin.
These days, parents who medicate their kids for these problems are often judged, but McCabe maintains that for her, Ritalin was a saving grace. “I remember my GPA going up a full point without me even trying. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything differently, just that the effort I was putting in suddenly… worked,” she said. “I could focus, I remembered things. I was more energetic and outgoing.”
As an adult, Jessica reaches out to others with unique brains like hers and offers tips and strategies for success with ADHD on her YouTube channel and Facebook page “How to ADHD.” A recent video and Facebook post she did as a letter to her mom who “drugged” her has gone viral—and for good reason! Her powerful letter, below, has been shared over 3,000 times on Facebook and viewed nearly 100,000 times on YouTube. She says:
What I want to say to my mom, who “drugged” me:
Thank you. Thank you for listening when I told you I was struggling. Thank you for standing up for me when my dad tried to dismiss what I was dealing with as “normal.” I now understand ADHD is highly genetic and it’s likely he felt that way because he had ADHD himself.