The reasons I decided to go into the army are almost as complicated as trying to figure out ADHD itself. The just 0f it was, "You're going nowhere. Who can help"
For me... IT WAS NOT THE ARMY!
I was stationed in this hell hole from January-April.
1. Welcome to the Army Bwahahaha
When you go into the Army (at least for me) it isn't about getting off the bus and being attacked by drill sergeants. For the first 3 days you get your uniform, get tons of shots and wait around. For some reason my group was delayed going down range or to real basic training.
When I asked my recruiter about being on Ritalin for my ADD, he told me not to say anything.
"No way" I told him "We're good" I said. I wanted in and nothing was going to stop me. Until.
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH. That's what the form was called. It was a series of questions which at the time of reading it almost read like a get of of jail free card.
"If you lie and we find out, YOU WILL GO TO PRISON"... Shit.
Have you taken ANY prescribed medication within the past year. ANSWER= YES... RITALIN (Screw that, I ain't going to prison).
Having received all my clothes, including a set amount of socks, underwear belts etc. it was now my job not to misplace these things. EPIC FAIL!
We get into formation on the day we are to go down range. A list is handed out of what you better fucking have in your goddamn bag you lil shit or I'm going to make your life a living nightmare.
Hmm.. What am I missing? 2 pairs of socks, I suddenly have 0 belts when I did have 2, I am missing my flashlight, I have 4 out of 7 pairs of underwear. GREAT! I begin to panic. Suddenly I am called out of line along with 3 other people. HE KNOWS!!!! Sweat pours down my face, my breath is quick and rapid.
A bus pulls up, all the other recruits get on and the three of us, with the drill instructor stay behind.
2. Hurry up and wait? Umm yeah...
I was told that because I had taken Ritalin I was going home. I wasn't particularly disappointed, I'd been there 5 days and I was ready to go.
"You have an appointment in Fort Benning GA in April" ummm April? It's January!!
Not following rules is a trademark symptom of ADD. The military.. well it has some rules.
Do not sit on your bed. Wanna guess how many times I was caught sitting on my bed?
Wake up and be in formation in less than 10 minutes. Wanna venture how many times I wandered out alone into formation?
So there would be days and days where absolutely nothing would happen.
Eventually I got bored... VERY bored. We soon got around to playing cards, listening to our walkman's and reading smuggled books from people that had come in and had gone down range.
Imagine if you will: Me laying in my bunk rocking out to Sugar Ray's 'Every morning'. I mean I was JAMMING, my foot tapping, my head bobbing, me mouthing all the words. I look to my left. All of my friends are standing at attention with looks of utter panic. I then look up to see this...
Now this is when I realized that if you're going home anyways, they really can't do shit to you. I was yelled at for about 20 minutes, told to do pushups until my arms felt like Jello but that was it. They took away the walkman but gave it back to me the next day.
3. One drill sergeant is going to want to MURDER YOU!
Ohh I wish I remembered his name. Let's just call him Timmy tough pants or TTP for short. TTP knew I was going home and knew I was a screw up and this guy was about 6'6, all muscles and LIVED military.
This guy had it out for me so badly that if we were away from the barracks when he was on duty, more often than not my bed and mattress was likely to be found on the other side of the room. One time while off base, I snuck a soda back to the barracks and left my locker door open. Me and 3 other guys were just in the other room when I hear a voice that sounded like Satan himself.
McGOOOOOOVVVVERRRRRNNN!! Followed by crashes, curses and threats. I come into the other room to find the soda smashed, everything in my locker, now out of my locker and him, with my matress above his head, throw it about 60 feet.
When I was late for formation, he would make everyone late for breakfast by having us stand in the pouring cold 5am rain. This, let me tell you, made me a LOT of friends.
4. Your sleep schedule will be completely SCREWED
One of the things us holdovers were required to do was nightly fireguard. Fireguard consisted of 2 people, one at each exit making sure your sorry ass didn't somehow escape. The other thing you were required to do was go downstairs and answer the lazy ass drill sergeants telephone.
This meant that if you went to bed at 10, you might be up again at 12 to answer phones for an hour, then back to bed, only to be awoken at 3 to pull fire guard till 4, then up and at em at 5am. With sleep like that you start to lose your mind.
The first time I noticed anything was when I woke up one morning and all of my stuff was gone. I mean EVERYTHING! My flashlight, pants, socks, shoes. Everything I'd put on the top bunk the night before was missing. Oh and there just so happened to be a new bunk mate that had moved in and took my stuff the night before. I was ready to throw down and I wasn't afraid to tell everyone. "He's dead, wait till he get back here, how dare he steal my stuff" Now anyone that knows me, will tell you, I don't fight, I avoid it at all costs but here I was ready to punch a kid I'd never even seen. Luckily someone brought me to my senses.
"Here's your shit you idiot, calm down" He then goes on to tell me that when he was on fireguard I took everything off my top bunk and decided it would be cool to throw it all over the barracks. Mind you I was asleep and had no idea this had ever happened and I almost didn't believe it until...
"Hey buddy" someone was shaking me. I awoke near the bathroom door, not knowing how I got there.
"Yeah, I'm fine, I just need to go to the bathroom" I said, somewhat shaken.
When you are on fireguard one of the stupid things you need to is document when people get out of bed. When people get out of bed it was either to get a drink from the fountain or to use the bathroom. It's 5am, I get up and look at the sheet...
10:15 Pvt. McGovern uses latrine, 10:41 Pvt. McGovern uses latrine, 11:27 Pvt McGovern uses latrine, the list went on and on and on. I had used 'The latrine' more than 30 times!
5. They will lie to you AND because you have ADHD, you're more pissed off than normal.
I get it, I made the choice to go into the Army. The Army was where it was at, man! I'm gonna get the GI bill, have job experience when I get out AND have a whole hell of a lot of cash.
Let me start by saying each one of the above statement is an outright lie. The minute I got off the plane I was pretty much told that I didn't qualify for the GI bill and that the job I had chosen wasn't a desk job at all. Chem Op's specialists were in charge of chemical weapons storage and removal, NOT the goddamn documentation of them. So there goes the job experience. What the hell am I going to do on the outside.
Interviewer: "Says here you were a Chem Ops specialist in the military"
Me: " Yes, I worke....."
Interviewer "Sorry we have nothing here for you"
The recruiter will do ANYTHING to get you INTO basic training. Again, I was TOLD to say I didn't take Ritalin.
"It's not even a big deal" Yeah you failed to mention the fact that there would be a friggen TEST when I got down there asshole.
So imagine all of this happening and you realize that you've been led astray. Take that and multiply it by 1000 because now, you are stuck there for 3 1/2 months and there isn't a goddamn thing you can do about it.
Shawn McGovern grew up on a farm 15 miles from Toledo OH. His life long dream is to one day visit that magical city and tell all of his friends about it.