I have been lurking around here for a while and truly don't know what I would have done without this resource - it's been a tremendous help to me...so thank you!
Just wanted to share my story and hope that it might inspire others in their own journey, but also help me to get my thoughts out on paper as I go through this journey myself.
I started taking Adderall in college -- only to get through final exams or pull an occasional all-nighter -- never had a prescription. When I first took it, I thought it was a complete miracle worker, a game changer if you will. My best friend and I wondered how we hadn't heard of this before...Look how much more "efficient" and "smarter" we would be if we took it all the time. Everything seemed fascinating to us - even the most boring of subjects - and there were a lot of them in college, trust me! We were appreciating things and topics we never cared about before...and had this crazy desire to learn about them. I was hooked.
After graduating college in 2005 and going out into the "real world," I decided I had to get a prescription so I could truly excel at work. I was brought up in a family that was very driven (mostly my dad), and he was always (and is still) so proud of my accomplishments...always telling me what a hard worker I am and how proud he is of me. I never wanted to disappoint him (and still don't to this day, as I admire him deeply and care for him so very much).
Needless to say, getting a script didn't take long and the process was so simple. In the first five years or so, I was able to take the medication as prescribed and didn't feel super dependent on it. Of course, it helped me tremendously in my day job and at home with chores and keeping everything tidy and in order, but I never felt the "urge" that I needed to take more and never ran out before my script could be refilled. At this time, I was managing it just fine in my mind.
That all changed a few years ago. I started to become obsessive about it. I would do the same thing every month...Tell myself that I'm going to stick to my prescribed dosage (doctors orders)! Ha...That was so naive looking back. When I got down to a few pills left, I'd become truly obsessive and wonder if my doctor would fill my script a few days early. Sometimes she did, sometimes she didn't. And sometimes pharmacies wouldn't fill it earlier so I'd work to find another that would. It was a truly vicious cycle.
In 2012, I met the man of my dreams (sometime after a really bad relationship of 7.5 years that was filled with a lot of verbal abuse from him), so finding the love of my life brought a lot of things into a new light and gave me a new perspective. And of all things, I surely didn't want to hide anything from that person I loved so much, but I also didn't want him to not love me -- or think less of me -- because maybe, just maybe, what if I wasn't the person he thought I was after this awful medication I was taking? I was completely open with him about my "ADD" and he was aware of my prescription (and could tell in a heartbeat whether I had taken it or not). And if I hadn't taken it, it was because I had run out and he'd just shake his head and wonder how I could already be out with a whole week left. And he knew I'd be an entirely different person (unfocused, hard to get out of the bed in the morning, barely able to function, often complained about how tired and unmotivated I was that day and if it was the weekend...oh boy, I struggled to complete the most basic tasks or chores around the house). But when I did take it, I was damn-near superwoman (or so I thought). I'd spend hours organizing the spice cabinet (alphabetical order, of course), cleaning out the closet (honestly, looking back, I never got the MAIN, IMPORTANT things done that needed to be done around the house - the countless loads of laundry, clean bathrooms, the basic household chores that needed to be done, I was so focused on the tiniest things, but in my mind, I was organizing the HELL out of our house).
After getting married in July 2016, a beautiful destination wedding where I was at my skinniest -- a sick 89 lbs, and I thought I looked fantastic! (yep, you can thank Adderall, and a dash of obligatory wedding stress for that one -- that comes with the territory, right? But here I was, I thought I was on top of the world. Even though I had many friends and family members telling me I was "too skinny," in my mind, I didn't care. I always struggled in my younger years to attain a perfect weight (in my mind), and in my mind, I HAD.
Shortly after we returned from the wedding and back to reality in Texas, I was also starting a new job and couldn't wait to start fresh. Still taking my medication daily, but always feeling like I needed to increase my dosage and never feeling like I was getting the same effect I used to get. I told my doctor and she said I was at the highest dosage possible (20 mg IR, 3x a day) and told me to take breaks on the weekend. BREAKS? But how would I get my household chores done?! "You have to," she said. Well, I didn't listen to her. I had too much on my plate and there wasn't time for any "breaks." However, because I never gave my body a rest and was completely wearing down my body, heart and soul, the after-effects weren't pretty. I was completely on-edge all the time, my husband telling me I always looked so serious and I needed to lighten up (I'd hear this from former colleagues at my old job, too - people saying I always looked SO serious). Even at work - my current job, my work was suffering -- I was too focused concentrating on the small tasks - trying to perfect them and be an utter perfectionist about literally everything to the point where I was missing deadlines and my boss telling me I need to work on my "project management" skills. That was a punch in the gut, and I find myself still trying to bounce back from that criticism.
I never considered myself a religious person. My parents raised my sister and I to believe whatever we wanted - never forced religion on us or going to church. However, within the last few months I have completely given my life over to God. I never knew what that meant, never had that desire. Until I finally snapped out of it. And now, it's what I depend on to get me through this, to get me out of bed every morning. I have faith I can get through this - with God, my husband, my dogs (and for right now, endless amounts of coffee).
It's funny because yesterday when I was texting my husband at work (the even funnier thing is (*sarcasm*) I'd never do that before - there wasn't time to text during work hours or check my personal phone! I had to WORK every single minute of the day - there wasn't time for occasionally checking my FB or Instagram or texts from friends...or eating lunch)...or so I desperately believed. But when I texted him yesterday some playful texts he said "you are a lot funnier off Adderall btw." That made me heart sink - but also made me smile. I felt like slowly, (and definitely slowly as I'm only on day 9), I'm starting to feel actual feelings again. I want to get home to my husband - not spend hours stuck at the office. I want to finish my work so I can go home and spend time with him, cook dinner, play with my dogs, go for a walk, read a book - which I have found to be extremely helpful so far. Just a quick walk with the dogs to get some fresh air or reading a book to get my mind off things, has truly helped. Since my job requires writing (my absolute passion in life), you can imagine how hard it's been at work.
I love what Mike said on this site in a post I read about "half-assing" your way through the workday, just turn in things that you would never turn in on Adderall. Well I've done that, and yesterday, something I submitted that IMO was so shitty, and I told my husband that, but I didn't care, I was gone at 5 p.m. and headed home to take care of myself. And my boss emailed late last night in response to that piece and said "This is great. I made minor edits." Y'all, I was over the moon. Granted, this wasn't my most prized piece, but I felt pretty damn proud of myself. I know I have a long road ahead, but it's stories like yours that keep me going. I wish you all the best in your road to recovery...and finding your true self. It's not easy, but then again, if it was easy everyone would be doing it, right? Well wishes to all!
- Somewhere down in Texas -