Unmedicated Mind

I was officialy diagnosed with ADD in February of 2012. It was a long road and I still feel a lot of shame around accepting the diagnosis. Even thought it getting diagnosed and pursuing treatment was the absolutely best thing I could have done for myself.  Last Fall I hit what I affectionately call the ADD wall. I have obvi had ADD my whole life, but I was able to “get by” with coping mechanisms and such. But once I got into grad school, I started to run out of steam. I was flailing, FLAILING I TELL YOU.

The struggle first began in college when I struggled academically for the first time. I kind of just swelled the shame in that and kept moving. But ADD affects all areas of ones life so it wasn’t long before my personal and work life started crumbling as well. I really wanted to be successful in graduate school and so when I started to struggle I knew I needed help.

I think I just researched some stuff online and then found some resources and information for ADD on various sites. I read and read and read and as I saw adult testimonials of life with ADD I began to realize that I was reading about myself. So I went in and got an official diagnosis which involved a whole day of testing, and lots of moolah. Receiving the diagnosis was both liberating and exhausting. Because as much as I knew I was on the path to the person  I was mean to be, learning about what my brain was capable of and not capable of was going to be a journey.

I was hesitant about going on medication but I heard so many positive things about it so I told myself I would try it and stop if it wasn’t useful. Usually, when someone starts add meds, the doctor will start with the smallest dose and move up until the patient starts seeing affects. I felt my first dosage maybe kinda did something but I wasn’t too sure so I went up and up and up. And then I hit the magic number: Concerta 36.

It was like I was in a dark room and someone turned a light on. no. that doesn’t even do it justice. It just made my brain do all of these things that made sense and I was able to accomplish tasks that I set my mind to. It was beyond anything I could have imagined and the combination of my medication and weekly meetings with an add counselor have been profound.

So sometimes that leads me to think that I don’t need to take my concerta which is where I was this weekend. bad idea. My add mind is back and while I have definitely ticked tasks of the to do list, I am mentally exhausted from all the task and organization juggling my mind attempted to do today. It took me 30 minutes to figure out how to accomplish just a quarter of the tasks on my to do list and even then I was all over the place and wasted gas by not grouping my to do’s in a logical manner.

My mind is kicking me because I have so much to do this weekend and I haven’t been able to sit down and just do it because pieces of my brain have just left the building.

I don’t know how I feel about needing the medication so much but I know that that is just the way it will be while I’m in graduate school. I need to be able to read on the weekend and get as much done, if not more, than I do during the week. But here is a lesson to self: an unmedicated mind is no mind at all.

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