Walking into school, knowing you are different. This is probably one of the most demeaning and soul-destroying things that could happen to an 11 year old. I remember the day in grade six; I walked into school feeling extremely inadequate and different because I was now on Ritalin. A pill which labelled me "stupid" or "not able to cope" – either way it was a huge knock at my self-esteem.

My parents, being the kind, loving people they are, tried to convince me it would help me concentrate and improve my sporting ability, as my dream at this stage was to become a professional footballer, but they knew this was a futile attempt as I felt I had little value to offer.

My work and marks did improve slightly, but when the reports came back and I still wasn't "achieving", the teachers were convinced that I needed a higher dose and I convinced myself that I did too. On a dose of 56mg of Concerta in high school, I was a zombie, socially awkward and barely eating. I wasn’t concentrating in class; instead I was drawing and staring into space.

I was labelled as "lazy" and "not fulfilling my potential". I ended school bottom of my class and I was broken. Ritalin did not help. It made me an outcast, a weirdo on a pill and a socially awkward teenager.

When I went to Yeshiva in Israel for a year I opted to stay on the pill. I went on a lower dose and my naturally out-going personality began to take shape. On holidays I didn’t take it all. I started building up my self-esteem and began to think of myself as more "normal".

At the age of 23, I am now a Jewish studies teacher. I am the fun, exciting teacher who makes Judaism relevant, who knows about sports, who does fun stuff with his life, who the students adore, but who is still on 18mg Concerta which I now positively view as getting the assistance I need to fully utilize my strengths.

One day while I was teaching a grade 5 class and a student started mocking another student for being on Ritalin. I turned to the offender and asked, "Do you know your teacher takes Ritalin?”

The class glared at me, faces of disbelief and confusion appeared on every student's face. The boy who was being mocked asked in horror, "Really??”

I explained to them that it helps me focus and concentrate better, it doesn't suddenly make me interested in learning everything, but it helps.

The next thing that happened will stick with me forever. Some of my beloved students started openly admitting that they were on this pill. Immediately they were no longer outcasts, rather part of a group of normal people. The stigma had been destroyed.

This enabled my students to feel okay with themselves and gave them a chance to be vulnerable in the classroom. It also made me more aware of their fears and insecurities.

As parents and teachers we often don’t pay enough attention to the fears and anxieties of the children in our lives. We focus instead on wanting them to be "normal" and fitting in.

I propose that we stop making children feel bad for being children, use positive encouragement, encourage them to do things that might be difficult and give them genuine support while doing those things. And let’s show them that it’s perfectly okay to get the help you need to thrive, whatever that help may be, even when that help comes in the shape of a little pill.