So, it’s been a while. The last month or so has been a rollercoaster for me. Truthfully, I’ve been avoiding posting here; I try not to fill up my brain with too many duties as I end up just sucking the fun right out of whatever I enjoy doing. I have to do things on my own terms which of course makes it hard to form any sort of consistency, but I’ve just accepted that is the way I am. A sudden spurt of motivation to post hit me today so I thought I would update on what exactly I’ve been doing.
I began my ADHD medication three and a half weeks ago. So many changes have happened since. This year in general has been transformative, but especially so now. I am going to cycle through these weeks and describe my experience for anyone out there who may be considering it themselves or would like someone to relate to.
The first week was the hardest. I stupidly came off caffeine cold turkey without thinking it through, as-well as starting my period and developing panic attacks for the first time. It certainly was the most unlike myself I had ever felt. The medication felt noticeable – I would wake up in the morning in agony from aches caused by my lack of caffeine and once I forced down a breakfast, which the medication made incredibly hard, I could feel it kick in after about an hour or so and my brain would jolt into action. Despite how rubbish I felt, the positives were immediate. My emotions felt controlled, I could concentrate on my work without wanting to get up every five minutes and my anxiety and constant feeling of impending doom was no longer present. I wanted to get things done. It came in waves. By lunchtime I would have to lay down before getting another burst of energy after lunch and then in the evening I had a couple of crashes throughout the week that triggered some bad depression and anxiety. I’ll admit, I worried that this would be a permanent effect and I would never be able to function beyond 4pm again. One thing that surprised me, I could sleep. I have always had trouble sleeping and as a teenager would stay up till the early morning frustrated until I eventually passed out. My coping mechanisms for lulling myself to sleep were not so healthy but getting 7-8 hours a night and not feeling like a zombie the next day was, and is still, so important to me. The medication helped to calm the constant stream of thoughts spinning around in my brain and let me drift off naturally as if I were a regular person with a regular sleeping schedule.
After the first week, things really levelled out. I can no longer feel the medication anymore but the sheer amount I get done in comparison to before cannot be understated. I am still distracted, procrastinate, and don’t always feel motivation for the things I need to do, but who is consistently like this? Especially during a pandemic. It is hardly the most inspiring of times. One of the best things I’ve learned to do is to cut myself some slack. Accept that I cannot do everything perfectly, not everyday goes as I had planned it and sometimes, I’m going to feel like garbage. And that is perfectly fine. I still struggle to sleep some nights, tossing and turning till 3am but its not consistent and I have ways to deal with it. Plus, when I wake up after a bad sleep I can still function. Before medication, that would be unheard of, unless I had a surge of adrenaline on a fun holiday or something. I’m no longer waiting for the next thing to entertain me; I can sit and just be – and it feels pretty sweet. My appetite came back after the first week, and I snack less on rubbish. I still enjoy treats but they are exactly that. A treat. Everyday I can get a little something accomplished. Some days that is all day, others I get less done – but I still get something done. Being medicated has opened doors for me I could never have imagined. Knowing this, makes me feel so sad and angry for the system in the UK and how it denies treatment to people struggling. Treats them like liars and criminals. ADHD is wildly misunderstood and this needs to change. I urge you to ask for help if you feel like ADHD may be getting in the way of your life. Go to your doctor armed with your symptoms and how they impact you. Do not back down. Know your rights. We who are suffering need to change the game for us all.