Torres documentary illuminates battle with ADHD

Mets center fielder Andres Torres hopes Gigante, the documentary chronicling his battles with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, will shed more light on the disorder and have a positive influence on helping those inflicted with ADHD.

A rough cut of the film was shown Thursday night at the NYU Langone Medical Center in front of a crowd about 200. No Mets were present, but San Francisco Giants principal partner William Chang, who devised the idea for the film, was in attendance.

"I just want to inspire people and let them know what this is about and why we try to help kids and adults everywhere," Torres said Thursday night. "I'm a person with this condition but I'm happy the way I am. You have struggles too and I'm just sharing this story of my life, how I became who I am with this condition."

The film, which lasted nearly an hour and a half, was divided into two parts, the first dissecting Torres' childhood through reenactments as well as interviews with family and friends. The second part dealt with Torres' adulthood, including this season.

Littered throughout the documentary are interviews with experts on ADHD, which affects focus and concentration. Dr. Lenard Adler, who heads the Adult ADHD program at NYU, said it affects 4.4 percent of the adult population, which is between eight to nine million people.

Torres said ADHD affects his focus, be it missing signs or not properly seeing a pitch when he was at the plate. Torres was diagnosed with ADHD in 2002 and didn't start regularly taking medication until 2007, when he was with Double-A Erie, a Tigers affiliate.

Gene Roof, a coordinator with the team, recognized the problems Torres was dealing with. Roof's sons have ADHD and he told Torres he needs to take medication, which made a positive difference in the 34-year-old's life.

Torres said the medicine has helped him, although he's had troubles recently with his focus and concentration and is trying to find the right medication to work for him. The film said he's been averaging two to three hours of sleep per day.

"I have to be who I am. I can't hide anything," Torres said. "I believe in being honest, and in being honest you show who you are really. I don't want to be a guy that doesn't show who I am. It's how I grew up, how I still battle things, just trying to find a way."

The film came together after Torres met Chang in 2010. Chang, who also has ADHD, approached Torres about making his story into a documentary and after the outfielder approved, a mutual friend helped link Chang with director Chusy Haney-Jardine. Haney-Jardine plans to have the film finalized for the summer and hopes to add some new scenes.

"Very inspirational," Chang said. "I think Chusy did a great job producing the kind of movie I wanted to see produced. I think the proof in the pudding is when some of the experts come and say this is very inspirational. One of the doctors at NYU said to me, 'ya know, the story's never been told this way.' I said to him for him to say that, it's a quite testament to us."