Support & Stories

ADHD? Me? I Didn’t Think So.

After finding success in college and work, this is how one woman knew it was time to swallow the truth and start taking ADHD medication.

ADHD Woman at sunset looking out window
ADHD Woman at sunset looking out window

For years my friends jokingly said I had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD. Sure, I had more energy than everybody else, but I earned good grades in school, my room was sort of neat, and I knew how to make and keep friends. ADHD? Me? I didn’t think so.

One of my college professors suspected I did, though. One afternoon she saw me “studying” in the library — pacing round and round the stacks, textbook in hand, with an iPod blasting in my ears. She stopped me and asked me what I was doing. I told her I was studying for an economics final. She encouraged me to get tested for ADHD.

When the doctor diagnosed me, I thought, “OK, no big deal. I have ADHD. I’ve always found ways to succeed before.” When he prescribed medication, though, I balked. I had seen kids on medication, and it wasn’t pretty. I thought that meds would turn me into a zombie, cause me to lose my spark.

[Born This Way: Personal Stories of Life with ADHD]

I did well without meds in my first job as a reporter. I was busy all the time — chasing down leads, doing interviews — and spent little time behind a desk. My understanding and accommodating boss kept my assignments short. I had no time to get distracted.

Then I received a promotion and spent my work days in an office, in front of a computer. My brain started wandering. A speck of dust on my desk distracted me. So I made the reluctant decision to go on medication. I didn’t turn into a zombie, I didn’t lose interest in things, I didn’t lose my spark.

Meds increase my attention, and that’s wonderful, even though I thought they’d do more. I still lose things and need to make lists to remember to do errands. One thing has changed: Instead of doing laps around the library to motivate myself to tackle a big task, my meds are always there to “inspire” me to get it done.