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.