Reply To: Did anything you liked about yourself change with Medication?

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Jillian Jiggs

I was diagnosed at 36 and have been on Concerta for about a year now. (highly recommend!) It hasn’t changed me, really. However, I have had to change my habits. I’ve been doing things in an untreated-ADHD way for a very long time, and with meds I have the chance to make a different choice. It doesn’t automatically make the choice for me. This part is difficult to adjust to.

I used to suddenly find myself doing things. It wasn’t a conscious decision, I’d just suddenly be in the basement, neck-deep in some elaborate sewing project, or plan some elaborate adventure for myself and friends and kids to go on. That was really fun, and I got many compliments for being so “free-spirited” and “creative” and “relaxed”. I like doing creative things and having fun! I missed it when the sudden drop-everything-and-make-something sessions stopped, even though my habitual pre-event panic over “Ah, I’ve invited 26 humans over and they’re coming tomorrow and I need to clean the entire house and make all the food what was I thinking I wish I were dead!” wasn’t so fun.

I actually got a bit depressed because now I was doing all the homemaker/mom things pretty well. I mean, I had to try hard to meet the lowest standards, but I could manage it way better than I’d ever been able to before and it was rewarding to be able to do the. So here I was washing all the things and making the healthy food and nurturing the creatures, and I forgot to see my friends or make anything or feed my soul in any way. Unsurprisingly in hindsight, that didn’t go so well for my emotional health, and so I went off my meds for a few weeks in the summer. During an “accidental” party that I threw during these weeks, I was chatting with a friend and had a huge lightbulb moment that I have to PLAN for these things. My way has always been to work as hard as I can at every moment that I was aware of the need for work. This offset my fun escapes from real life, so that in balance, I could function okay. But now that I’m able to be more aware of the work that needs to be done, I have the ability to prioritise and decide what to do when. It’s a completely different way of functioning, and it took a bit of time to get used to it. I’m still trying to find the right balance.

The other negative thing is the lack of ability to tune people out. I’m much more fidgety in situations like a long meeting, long talker, church, family gathering, car rides, etc. I used to go off in my head and didn’t really notice time passing. Now it can get excruciating. This may be because I’m on a pretty low dose, I don’t know.

Other than that, I’m not different. I still have so many ideas floating around in my head. However, I’m in charge of them instead of them being in charge of me. I like that.