I’ve just finished one week off my ADD medication. It was a requirement of a study I’m participating in which aims to measure how effective medication is.
This has also been a study of my own. The key finding being that medication is probably something I’ll need for the rest of my life. Because it works. It works. Great, right? Well this realisation is proving to be a tough pill …. Us “non neuro-typical” folk love finishing of other people’s sentences. So please, go right ahead.
Some solutions mean new problems. In this case it’s dealing with the stubborn stain of stigma.
Mental health conditions tend to come with a sense of shame that someone using crutches or taking insulin doesn’t experience (an assumption, so please correct me). There’s this harmful misconception that “all in one’s head” means “all in one’s control”. Not true. The brain is part of the body — and sometimes parts just don’t function optimally. Or they fudge up out of the blue. Ask any car owner.
I’ve had some luck scrubbing off the stigma through the process of reframing. I referr to my medication as “glasses”. I put them on in the morning because they help me to focus. Without them, things are a bit of a scramble.
I also use this metaphor to also help others understand ADD. Actual glasses don’t give people the ability to see through walls. (If they do, link me ASAP?) And my medication certainly doesn’t give me any superpowers or a competitive edge. Ritalin has a rep of being something college kids use to cram. But for those who genuinely need the medication, it can be the difference between picking up the book in the first place or making it to the exam on time.
The potential for misuse is definitely there. I just have to trust myself and my prescribing doctor. Although to begin with, I wasn’t even aware I needed medication.
To someone who needs glasses, the constant straining is a giveaway. ADD isn’t as obvious. Like myself, many receive their diagnosis quite late in the lives. And although it isn’t a diagnostic method, taking medication offers that first glimpse of what “normal” is like. I describe it as walking into a room that’s normally overwhelmingly loud and finding it quiet and calming. Medication has taken me out of a fog I didn’t know I was in — a mental blur of sorts. I’m thankful for the clarity and I intend to keep going in this direction.
I don’t know what you’re dealing with or how you’re dealing with it. But I’m sharing my thoughts incase you are using medication — and uneasy with doing so. Reframing is a very powerful tool. Use it. And glasses. If you need `em, wear `em. And of course, the same goes with medication. They’re no different.