Slipping into Chocolate Wine with Drunken Wishes

Sipping chocolate wine…wishing I could be…that coveted word…normal.

This is how normal people relax after a long day, right? This is how it works, right?

One sip. My vision gets fuzzy, warmth floods my cheeks. Is this normal?

Two sips. The stress of the world floats away…the memories of today blur into the red wine, gone into an abyss of my stomach…Am I normal yet?

Three sips. The conversation I had while working at the office today slowly drips by…at the office, I am Sadie, I am not ADHD, I am normal. I don’t know anything about ADHD when at the office. I don’t take medication, that must be a different person, popping pills while speeding to work. I’m normal, right?

“ADHD doesn’t impact people as much as they say it does. They are just lazy.” That sentence, that stupid sentence.

“My friend uses his ADHD as an advantage, he doesn’t let him impact his work. People just need to learn to work with their ADHD.”

Take a fourth sip. Maybe you’ll be able to control your tongue. Don’t spill it all, Sadie. He’ll just use you as an example. Smile, nod, walk away. You don’t have ADHD. You’re completely normal.

You’ve lost jobs because you simply mentioned your ADHD. You’ve lost so much. Don’t lost this gig, Sadie. Fifth sip. See? You’re normal.

“I don’t even think ADHD should be a real disorder…”

Bite tongue, red blood, red like the wine you’re drinking, take a sixth sip. Normal. Be Normal.

Seventh sip. Hangovers are all the rage. Blackouts mean your neurons are changing pathways…maybe you’ll wake up normal.

Maybe you’ll wake up…with the whisper of guilt and chocolate on your tongue…go to work, and be able to not be filled with rage. You’ll smile at the right moments, follow the directions given to you, you’ll know what to say when someone tries to make you look bad. People won’t make you look bad though. You won’t feel like you’re doing every single thing wrong. You won’t start bawling with anxiety every time you think you made a mistake. You won’t have to pull over when driving because you’re certain you’ve even messed up the simple task of driving. You won’t feel like a failure, you won’t be a failure. You’ll be normal.

Just a silly drunken wish.

Clearly, You’re Disillusioned

Negative thought patterns are a very common product of ADHD. I’m sure many psychologists could come here and diagnose me as schizophrenic, or with a personality disorder, or as anything else, however it’s just ADHD with big old slash of depression/anxiety down the middle.

I’m paranoid. I am neurotic. And I have absolutely no reason to feel such a way. Yet, it still lurks there, with everyone I meet, everyone I become friends with…

“You’re a failure, you’re annoying, they only like you out of pity.”

Great, thanks random negative self-talk. It’d be nice to think someone actually likes me for me. But why would I think that?

Why do I have this failure to be positive and…normal? Don’t people with ADHD usually have great social skills?

First off, no. Yes, people with ADHD are sociable creatures (typically, some are very shy and introverted as well! Not all ADHD is created equally. For this post, I will most likely be focusing on the ADHD which is most similar to my ADHD) and typically people with ADHD have the gift of gab-and the gift of humor. And the not-so-great gift of being overwhelming and annoying.

And right there I have revealed why people with ADHD often find it to be a struggle. We are constantly being accepted into situations, welcomed, and then suddenly find ourselves denied or ignored without any reason. It’s typically because we committed another social faux pas or we just were too much for the person. And we’re smart enough to notice this happening.

As a kid though…we’re not going to know the why. And so we develop a bit of negative self talk to explain the why…and this becomes so deeply rooted into our thoughts, it carries with us throughout our life. Imagine having ADHD along with this kind of thought pattern. It’s a lonely life, one where we constantly question every single person’s intentions in the back of our mind. We are waiting for the push away from every person, because that’s what we had as a child.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy can help with this. So can having people who are understanding and forgiving. I think the best way to learn is have people simply tell you, but for you to be able to understand people aren’t always right. Some people are just so caught up within their own problems, they are just going to take it out on you.

ADHD, Growing Up, and Why Medication is Important

I was originally going to cover all of this in my story, but I think it needs to be covered sooner then I can finish writing that story. Anyways, short point first. If you’re ADHD, or ADHD with a comorbid disorder, please don’t just jump off your medication even if you think it isn’t needed. Talk to your doctor first, and listen to him/her! There are a lot off medical risks you are taking when you jump off your medication.

I was diagnosed with ADHD and depression when I was 6 and placed on medication. My parents told me that I would never outgrow my ADHD and I would be on medication for the rest of my life. They had seen the test results, the scannings of my brain, and had many doctors’ words. I didn’t get the early intervention, and I would never be completely “normal.”

I didn’t believe them. I did well academically in high school, and I found my classes to be easy. I didn’t really fidget, I didn’t really daydream, I didn’t really need any of the supports given to those with ADHD. Of course, the support I really needed was with communication skills, but there are limited programs for that. I threatened to go off my medication, and my mom threatened to kick me out of the house. That nipped any chances right there.

Then I started college. I started dating a college boy, and I was in LOVE. He was terrible, abusive, and will be talked about more in another post. He also firmly believed ADHD was only a childhood disorder, and I had outgrown it. He got me to stop taking my medication. I believed him. After all, I didn’t have the symptoms of ADHD anymore. I wasn’t hyper. I was normal…clearly, it was just how my parents raised me after all, as this man of my dreams insisted.

That led up to a relapse of mono for me (I have gotten it around 6 times). This is why I didn’t realize how horrible going off of Zoloft could be (as I decided to ditch that as well). We will hit on that shortly, don’t fret. Come December, I had a traumatic experience, I was freed from mono, and I had also broken up with the boyfriend.

And I was still off my medication. I had gone to college with my life savings, and I had spent it all. I found a method that worked for the rest of December though. I’d go out every night, get hammered, smoke some weed, then come back to the room and study. I somehow passed my first semester of college.

I went home for my winter break, and my parents forced me back onto my medication. Somehow they could tell. I continued to take them like a good girl until my junior year of college. I felt like I was at a place where I didn’t need medication anymore, and I was worried I had a dependency on them. I decided to cut the dose of Ritalin I was on, and just to stop taking the dose of Zoloft entirely.

It was great for about three weeks. I had to work a little harder at not crying, but it was spring, and I was free of Zoloft! Then my world crashed. I stopped going to classes, I stopped getting out of bed…I just didn’t want to deal with the suffering anymore. It wasn’t even like a depressed slump, it was worse.

When I tried to get out of bed, the world would spin. It was like a old film, random black spots would consume over me, flickering past my eyes. I felt like gravity was sucking me into the ground. Every time I took a step, it felt like I had a spring in my step, but yet I was still being sucked to the ground. I felt empty and foggy. And I felt like I couldn’t think. It was the weirdest and worst sensation.

One of my friends started me right back up on the full dose of both my Ritalin and my Zoloft. I’m not sure if this was the right approach (I should have called my doctor!). I was okay, but the Ritalin had lessen with it’s helpfulness.

I then managed to complete college…get a job…get a new, better job…then I realized. My Ritalin hadn’t be working for a couple years. With my poor Ritalin taking habits, I had developed an immunity towards it’s effectiveness. I was then switched to Straterra (did horrible there, fell apart completely), and then to Adderall, which is what I take now.

It was a hard lesson. Perhaps I felt around the age of 20 I should have outgrown my ADHD. Perhaps I wanted to get rid of the dreary tasks associated with taking medication (getting scripts filled, taking the medicine). Perhaps I just wanted a breathe of what it was like to not have that life…to be normal. Perhaps I just couldn’t get into a good schedule with my meds.

Taking medication isn’t fun, especially medication for brain disorders (I am including both ADHD and mental illnesses here). They help, but they don’t cure. It’s not going to be something you take for 5 days and find you are all better. I’m not saying life without medication isn’t possible, it is very possible. Just make sure you are following the directions of your doctor.

What I’m tell you is not to mess around with your medication without the assistance of your doctor. Don’t just stop taking your medication, it will harm you, even if you feel fine at first. It’s not worth the pain. Do it with the help of your doctor.