Today, at 26 years old, I took my first dose of Ritalin.
In the spring of 2016, I found out I have Attention Deficit Disorder. I sought a psychiatrist to finally start managing my anxiety, but I also had some other concerns. On my second appointment, I brought in a little write-up about my family background, personality issues, and a list of every concern I had. I figured the doctor could take a look and determined what was important.
I was surprised that my doctor didn’t think me crazy for doing that. On the contrary, he actually seemed to be impressed, and even commended me, which surprised me. But what surprised me even more, was when he started asking me about my concentration and handed me an adult attention questionnaire. He thought I could have ADD, but never in a million years would I have suspected that.
Going through the questionnaire, I was shocked by the things that can indicate ADD. I immediately took to research. I learned ADD can be very subtle and often goes undetected in kids who do well in school, especially in girls. Turns out there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about what ADD looks like and who it affects. When it comes to ADD in adults, the effects can be far-reaching and can ultimately cause a person to feel like their life is out of control. It can impact a person’s physical and mental health, relationships, financial well-being, and work fulfillment and performance. It was comforting to discover the reason behind so many of my characteristics and challenges.
Anyway, my psychiatrist recommended a combination of Ritalin and Concerta for when school resumed. I resisted, wary of the cardiovascular risks and other potential side effects. I don’t really like taking medications, and I’m already on Pristiq and Wellbutrin. Plus, Ritalin kind of has a bad rap. Lately, though, my failure to manage important tasks in a timely manner, emotional difficulties, and inattention have caused some tension in my relationship, and I felt it was time to at least try something.
So, today was the day. This morning I took just one 10 mg tablet to start. I don’t think I noticed a difference, but I don’t know if I’m supposed to so soon. The doctor recommended we start off with just the Ritalin for now, although its effects only last about three hours. If I remember correctly, I can take it up to three times a day, but I can’t recall the exact dosing strategy he recommended, and the doc’s now on vacation.
I wish I could tell my mom about my ADD diagnosis. In a perfect world, she’d accept this and respond calmly and objectively. Maybe then she’d finally understand why I was afraid to take on a “real” job with real responsibilities, why I failed to finish so many things I started, and just why I’m not further ahead in life, in general.
I’ll be chronicling my experience with Ritalin over the next while. I really hope it’ll help me with my executive functions. I think I’d have less anxiety and a lot more confidence, then.