Hi everyone, this is my story:
I’ve never thrived in a regular school classroom. I was ashamed of my test scores and often hid in the bathroom so I didn’t have to see my piers laugh at them. I thought I was unintelligent. I slipped through the cracks of the system and found myself at rock bottom. By the time I was 10 years old, I was totally depressed. I felt as if my academic scores defined my worth. The bullying got worse and worse and I started to feel ashamed of my body and weight. I felt isolated, paranoid and ambitionless every day. I put myself on a restricted diet, eating little to nothing and exercising off every sip of diet pepsi. April 7th 2014 was the day I first self-harmed. 'Just one more', I would tell myself. 'Tomorrow I’ll stop...' but before I knew it, it became a daily habit, which I hid masterfully from the world. I started to think about taking my own life. Depression, anxiety and eating issues consumed me.
Even though all this was going on, I managed to scrape a ‘low average’ grade at school. My teachers all saw me as a bit dreamy, a little over dramatic, easily distracted, but overall ‘fine’.
My family new I was suffering, but at this stage, still had no idea just how bad things had become. At the end of year 6, we moved from Surrey, so that I could attend a smaller alternative school. Even though its an amazing school, where children are respected and given freedom to be themselves, it took time for me to leave my darkness in the past.
It was half way through year 7 when I first started to open up to my mum. It took a lot of courage, work and patience and wasn’t at all easy. I did not want or receive any professional help. It was just my mum and I on an intensive healing journey.
So let me introduce myself again:
My name is Jade, I am 13 years old and my goal is to become Miss Universe!
I have ADHD and I’m not ashamed of it. I am happy. I am comfortable in my own skin. I am reaching all those dreams I felt where unreachable. I’m excited to chase my dreams no matter what obstacles stand in my way. I am unstoppable! I have learnt to harness the positive aspects of having ADHD, channelling my intense focus and energy into achieving my own dreams and inspiring others around me to do the same.
Over the last 2 years, I have been sharing my story and inspiring children to go for their dreams through an assembly that I have created called ‘Believe In Yourself & Follow Your Dreams’. I have spoken to approximately 10 thousand primary school children so far. I’ve visited 37 primary schools, with a further 6 booked in this term. My aim is to visit 50 schools by Christmas.
‘Believe In Yourself & Follow Your Dreams’ is about my 3 year journey as a pageant girl (currently competing for the title ‘Miss Junior Teen GB’), the ups and downs, successes, failures and disappointments (of which there have been many). I teach them that you have not failed until you’ve given up. That no matter what obstacles you face you can overcome them. If plan A doesn’t work out the alphabet has 25 more letters. I teach them that any disappointment will only make them stronger.
There are so many kids out there, especially girls, who struggle just like I did. If it’s possible for me to heal and become happy, then it is possible for them too.