Accepting Adult ADHD & Medication

Midlife Angst : Page 48

I nervously googled Concerta and Adult ADHD when I got home today. All my fears and stigmas were reinforced with the list of terrifying side effects, warnings of it’s addictive nature, and articles reasoning why I shouldn’t be taking drugs to cope and all the famous influential people who manages life without it.

I am scared to take the medication. It’s the sole reason why I have been avoiding this part of who I am for so long. I was a believer that ADHD symptoms were not real, they were just personality traits and can be managed if enough attention are given to them (and it can, depending on the severity). For years, I powered through my symptoms. I ignored my reality and made excuses. I turned a deaf ear to all the comments about my behavior. I didn’t want to be dependent on a drug to get by in life. I saw it as a weakness as a failure for not trying hard enough. And, after all I was I managing, I was getting by, I was successful according to cultural norms…until I wasn’t anymore.

Two years ago I had my last employee evaluation and “lack of focus” “lack of dependability” “disruptive nature” were all predominant in the conversation. I was going to have to be put on probation so I can focus on getting my act together. I was irritated that my strengths no longer outweighed my weaknesses. The head of operations has worked with me for 7 years (2 different companies), after the evaluation she inquired “…this is not you. I know how amazing you are. What’s happening?”. I quit shortly after that (impulsively) but conscientiously aware that I needed to focus on something other than my job for awhile. With my recent diagnosis of sleep apnea I started to make the connection between the lack of sleep and my heighten ADHD symptoms. I needed more than just CBT, exercise routines, good nutritional habits and vitamins.

I had this story playing in my head, I imagine people thinking I am making up large elaborate stories and excuses about why I am not able to show up the way everyone else is expected to. I was even fearful to tell my doctor my concerns, I imagined him looking at me and telling me that I am complaining and making up reasons for not working harder, not being more disciplined, that I was lazy and need to create patterns and just stick to them.

But he didn’t, instead we did tests to confirm what I had known for years.

I made a choice today about medication. I have been avoiding this conversation for over 20 years. It was not and easy decision to make. I hold strongly to the stigma that taking drugs to help the brain function will strip me of the qualities I admire most about my personality. I don’t like being associated with the labels of having a “broken” brain, and admitting that I am not fully functional.

The reality is that I need extra love, so I am going to start Concerta. The medication will be one part of my morning routine.

I am crossing my fingers I don’t end up with prolonged erections (one of the possible side effects).

Lesson: Reminder to myself pills are not skills, but they can be part of global treatment program which includes supportive educational and psychological measures. Sustainable health is a mash up of personalized self-care actions. Everyone needs to find what works for them.

Note WIP: thoughts are unedited at this stage to capture the momentum of the creation process.