When Russian hackers broke into Simone Biles’ medical records and found something with the word “meth” in it, I’m sure they thought they hit the jackpot. However, they were way off; in fact, their hacking completely backfired. As it turns out, this “meth” is actually methylphenidate, generally known as the med, Ritalin.
Biles is just as classy as she seems to be. Instead of becoming defensive and angry, Biles took the opportunity to speak out against the stigma of mental illness or disability, including her own, ADHD. It’s not shocking to me that Biles has an official diagnosis of adhd even though she is an Olympic champion.
While adhd can complicate one’s life (including my own) with excess energy, disorganization and impulsivity, it can also bring wonderful gifts like more creative thinking, a knack for innovation and improvisation, increased emotional sensitivity and an ability to hyper-focus (rather than focus).
This ability to hyper-focus can lead to an obsession or passion that is very hard to disengage from–a benefit for athletes who need to hyper-focus on their physical task at hand and for artists that need to dedicate hours to one piece of art or writing. Biles’ passion and attachment to gymnastics clearly paid off this past summer, demonstrated by her various Olympic gold medals.
While Ritalin is officially a drug, one that has been known to sneak into college parties or study rooms, for people with adhd, meds like Ritalin offer no fun side effects. Instead, adhd meds level out the playing field for those that suffer from attention deficit disorders, helping sufferers deal with daily organization and social skills (there’s nothing fun about it). Ritalin has no effect on how high you can jump or how well you can tumble. Biles proudly tweeted, “Having ADHD, and taking medicine for it is nothing to be ashamed of [and] nothing that I’m afraid to let people know.” A true champ!