Life Without Adderall: Why I Decided To Stop Taking Medication For My ADD
Going off ADD medication was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever made. For years, my meds were the crutch that got me A's in school and helped me organize my life.
They helped me pay attention during day-to-day conversations. They helped me remember where I put my keys. They made sure I didn't forget new people's names five seconds after they introduced themselves.
I knew I could depend on them for productivity, and they helped me fit into the mold carved out by society for what it means to be a fully functional human being. While all of that is great, none of it came without consequences.
They made me dull and boring, and it was exhausting pretending to be interested in anything that didn't relate to being productive or sticking to the schedule I set for myself. They made deliciously mouthwatering food taste like cardboard. They made me anxious because I knew I was always racing against the clock, trying to squeeze in as much work as possible before the effects wore off, and my attention span once again faded from sight.
If I took an additional dose of Addy to get more things accomplished, I would be in for a sleepless night, lying awake counting sheep to no avail. But if I didn't take another dose, I wouldn't be able to accomplish what I needed to by the deadline. And unfortunately, life runs on deadlines. Whether medicated or unmedicated, it always felt like I was fighting a losing battle.
Adderall made the beautiful thoughts that chaotically swirled around in my head on a day-to-day basis disappear from sight, and I couldn't capture them no matter how badly I wanted to. It only allowed me to see with tunnel vision. I only saw priorities and checklists.
Granted, I loved the fact that it helped me lead a more effective life, but I missed the freedom that my mind had before. I missed some of the chaos. I hated the way that living medicated made me feel, and I decided I didn't want to feel that way anymore.
It's been about three months since I have been off the little orange pill, and I have never felt more like myself. Even if my normal self is often forgetful and unorganized, I realized I don't want to be the best version of myself only because of a pill. I want to be the best version of myself because I've worked on my weaknesses and found ways to improve them.
Having ADD is incredibly frustrating. It's exhausting to know how intelligent you are, but you feel like all of your efforts to prove that to the world are in vain because they can't see past your spacey exterior. However, being off of medication has really allowed me to appreciate the way my mind works in its natural state, and I've gained a greater understanding of the brilliance I possess.
It turns out that ADD has a positive correlation to creativity. Similar to many other "ADDers" I know, I just so happen to be a very creative thinker.
Whenever I space out, I'm thinking deeply and analytically about life. I'm thinking of ideas for a new song I'm going to write, a new topic that I want to learn more about or a new blog I'm going to post. I'm thinking about an interesting conversation I had earlier that day with someone who made me view society, religion or politics in a new way.
I'm thinking about how blessed I am to simply be alive, and how I can use my gifts to make the world and other people's lives better. I'm thinking about who I want to be one day and planning how I'm going to get there. As far as I'm concerned, those are not wasted thoughts, and it is far better to go through life exploring all of its possibilities than to go through life with Adderall-induced blinders on.
Having ADD may be inconvenient, but having ADD is also a huge part of what makes me who I am. I used to see it as a major flaw and an embarrassment that I needed to hide. Now I know that it's simply a part of who I am.
It's what allows me to dream big, and at times, it's what makes me think way too much. But, I believe I think that way because I'm meant to do something great. If I can find new approaches to harness that energy, I know I will live out my purpose.
I've adopted some new habits since going off of my medication, such as meditation, sticking to the same routine every day and setting alarms for important deadlines. Moving forward, I'm not going to fight against my creative nature in order to fit into the status quo. I am going to follow a career path that is more accepting and appreciative of my unique traits, and I am going to make my ADD work for me.
A lot of people feel their ADD medication helped them to become who they were always meant to be. While that may be true for them, I think the reason I hated being medicated so much is because it turned me into someone I was never meant to be. I'm finally ready to discover my potential on my own, and I know that I'm capable of finding success and happiness without a pill.