Thursday, November 10, 2011

On Meds

So it's no secret that I have raging ADD.  Honestly, I don't know how I've made it thus far.  I'm kind of a raging mess.

In grade school, my second grade teacher told my mother she truly believed I'd never learn to write.  Along with ADD also often comes Dysgraphia, and I have a touch of that as well.  My mom always said I just hurried too much, and that may be true, but I call that a symptom of my larger ADD problem.

I could never sit still at a dinner table, I always lost my papers.  My desk at school (and later, my locker) was always a terrifying mess of papers, lost assignments, gum wrappers, month-old lunches, that missing shoelace, a q-tip (I had quite an ear-cleaning fetish), a jumble of change, paperclips, and bits of tinfoil (much like you'd find in a rat's nest) and an empty red notebook with MATH printed on the outside that had been purchased in a vain effort to get me to organize my shit.  Among many, many other things.  None of which were filed nor organized, nor ever should have been there in the first place.

I managed to get through college by the skin of my teeth, which I often forgot to brush.  My work area in my apartment was akin to a recycling center's "we can't do anything with that" bin.  I attribute my success in college to sheer will on the part of my classmates, ("MEGAN, ARE YOU AWAKE? WE HAVE AN EXAM TODAY.  REMEMBER? THIS CLASS?  IT'S CALLED RHETORIC") and my charming nature which won me lots of extended deadlines.

I'm not proud of it.  I'm just sayin'.  This is full disclosure.

I struggled professionally because the time for extended deadlines and "Please, Professor So-And-So, you don't understand.  My cat died," was over.  I had to shape up.

And I did.  Sort of.  I got a little better, and I think part of it was just maturity.  My ability to focus was helped by the fact that I only had to focus basically on one thing: my job, instead of the bajillion things students have to focus on.  Students take six, seven, eight classes at a time, work, and have a social life (a very good one, in my experience).  They have money problems, time problems, are expected to volunteer, do extra curriculars, be in plays or on sports teams, and run for Stuco all at the same time.  No wonder they're not all insane.

So working helped a little but I still struggled to keep my attention where it needed to be.  I had to resort to all sorts of tricks to keep my eye on the ball.

I still struggle, and today I'm back to that "student" life, wherein I have a lot of balls in the air at once, and I worry constantly about dropping one.  Further brain maturity has helped, and I can only thank the Baby Jesus that I didn't have a kid earlier, or I'd have left him on top of the car with my coffee cup one day and driven to work.

It's a constant inner battle.  "Check the weather!" "No, file these papers." "Call your mom!" "No, work on this Power Point Presentation."  "Look for fall clothes on the internet!" "No, make a database for the work orders."  And I know, most people struggle with these urges, and I urge you, you Normals, to back off, because my urges and your urges?  NOT THE SAME THING.

"Why can't you just mind-over-matter?" people ask.  "Why not just tell yourself to stop obsessing over that eyebrow hair and go do the laundry?"  And to that I say, "Why don't you just tell yourself to stop needing to go pee."  It's the same kind of urgency.

Why am I going on like this, you ask? Oh, I'm happy to tell you.  Because, well, I feel stupid.  There is a cure for this.  "There is a pill for that," as my sister likes to say.  And the funny thing is, I am the first person in the world to encourage everyone to take advantage of the pharmaceuticals they need to be well.  Take your anti-anxiety med/depression med/anti psychotic/sleep aid/whathaveyou.  THEY HELP!  And they make you a happier, better, more YOU kind of you.  And I applaud that.

But me?  No.  No, thanks. I won't be taking any Ritalin.  And not because I think Ritalin is bad.  Not because I judge anyone in my shoes who takes it.  Why won't I take it?  Because I DON'T WANT TO TELL MY DOCTOR I HAVE ADD.

Have you ever heard anything stupider?

I figure this is like a 12 step program for me.  Instead of quitting something, I need to start it.  But it's the same process.  Today, I admit I have a problem.  Maybe tomorrow, I'll admit it to my doctor.  Is there anyone, besides possibly my former bosses and teachers, to whom I need to apologize?  Because I'm sure that's one of the steps, but I'm too ADD to go find out the order.


amyglester said...

Oh, can I ever relate.

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