Two weeks ago, I had decided that I had enough.
On Monday, February 15th, I had a conversation with my doctor about why I felt I needed medication for my ADHD. I shared my inability to direct my focus and prioritize certain tasks. I shared how some days I just couldn’t work, even though I knew I needed to, even though I wanted to. I shared how I often lose control over my body and have no awareness for my physical presense, whether that be my volume level, my proximity to others, or a little tick, such as a leg bounce or a hum.
I shared how even the smallest events took an exorbitant amount of energy, and how I was often drained after completing only a few simple tasks. I shared my occasional spurts of hyperfocus, times when all of my energy is fixated on only one thing, and I’ll go several hours with eating, drinking, or even going to the bathroom. I shared my frustation with how sporadic my work at home was, and how I desperately wished to accomplish a “normal” work week.
I told her that I didn’t want to hate myself anymore.
After hearing about my experiences, she reccomended two things. She said she would connect me to a behavorial health specialist to walk through some more coping techniques to add to those I already had in place. She also said she’d like to start me on Adderall.
Immediately, I felt the weight lift from my chest. Help. I was getting help. Yet part of me wanted to tell her I didn’t need it. I wanted to tell her that last week was better and I was doing fine without the medicine. But the other part of me knew that it wouldn’t last. It never did. Soon I’d be sitting at my desk, mentally scolding myself for staring at the wall for 30 minutes instead of working, even though I knew I wasn’t able to work, anyway.
And then I was reminded of what I learned in sales a little over a year ago.
You don’t have to be sick to get better.
Maybe I was doing okay. But what if I could be doing more than okay?
So we agreed that medicine was the next step.
I was able to pick up my medicine later that day, so that when I started my morning on Tuesday, I could add Adderall to the equation. And I immediately noticed a difference.
This is a review I wrote for one of my jobs that Monday, before I had begun my medication:
This is a review I wrote on Tuesday morning after taking the Adderall a few hours prior:
Look at that difference! Suddenly, all the lies about myself I had been repeating vanished.
You’re a failure. You’re lazy. You’re bad at your job. Your reviews suck.
Instead, I felt empowered.
Look at all I can accomplish with help!
Later that week, when writing the family feature for the magizine I work for, I found the words flowing more freely than they had for the past four features. What normally took me four hours I had done in two. I no longer had chunks of time every two sentences where I would get lost inside my head. I no longer felt exhausted after writing a paragraph.
And suddenly, for the first time in nearly two years, I found myself enjoying work. Enjoying writing. Enjoying my own company. And, for the first time in months, I felt proud of the work that I had done.
And I cried. On that first day of being medicated, I broke down in the middle of my work shift and cried. Relief washed over me. I felt so much lighter. I felt like a normal human being for the first time in years. And I found myself wondering… Why did I wait so long to get help?
I am no longer dreading work. In fact, I find myself looking forward to it. The basic tasks of each day no longer feel like a marathon. Switching back and forth between tasks became easier. Starting work at the beginning of the day is easier. I no longer have to compete with the static in my head. The pressure that I have been living with for so long, the weight that I carried from dawn until dusk… it was gone.
After months of chains, I finally felt free.
Medication is a touchy subject. Everyone has their own opinion based on their own experiences. Some medications don’t work for certain people. Some come with brutal side effects. For me, I’ve been experiencing headaches and the loss of my appetite. Starting this road is a risky one.
I told myself I didn’t need medication. I had learned to live with my ADHD. I had a good handle on it. I had coping strategies. I had boundaries.
But suddenly, those didn’t work anymore. Suddenly, an hour of work was exhausting. Suddenly, I didn’t know how to make it stop. Suddenly, the static was so loud and I didn’t know how to get rid of it.
That is why I started medication. Nothing else was working anymore.
No, medication is not the cure for my ADHD. Yes, some days are still hard. Some days it doesn’t work as well as I would like it to. But man oh man, this is much better than how it used to be, and I am glad that I have started this journey.
You are not your mental illness. You are not your trauma. You are so much more than the weight you’re carrying.
You can do it. It’s okay to accept help.
Have your coping strategies stopped working for you?
Might it be time to seek a different kind of help?
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