Sounds like you have found many strategies in life to be successful. I wouldn’t let a bad experience with Ritalin stop you from trying meds again. I resisted meds and diagnosis for many years claiming that I like who I am and I have been very successful in life without them. Then I found a really good psychiatrist that works well with me. What I found is that a good psychiatrist needs a lot of time with you to properly find the right medication balance for you. Most psychiatrists in managed care do not have the flexibility to offer you very personalized care due to administrative demand to keep patient flow moving. A lot of great psychiatrists have moved on to working in hospital settings with private practice on the side that does not accept insurance. Working with a private pay psychiatrist has been great. I get appointments when I need them and we have thorough discussions about what works and what doesnt. I use health care spending accounts and get partial reimbursement from insurance. It is well worth it. I would rather drive around in an older used car and put “car payment” money in to my mental health. Enough about that.
I gave in and went through meds. Some meds were horrible but I have found Adderall XR to work but I need to adjust my dose often and I have developed a great system so I am usually in a good place. this took months of trial and error and always started at 1/2 the minimum therapeutic dose. Not everyone responds the same to medication and you may be very sensitive to some of them, like ritalin. Turns out, what I thought was a very successful personal and processional life could get better. My wife feels she has a better me, I havent lost my creativity and at work I have been promoted twice and shifted to a new position that I thought was never attainable, all since finding the right medication and at the right dose.
Give it another try. Find a good psychiatrist that can help you work through different medications and dose titrations. It may cost some $$ if you have to pay out of pocket and may be a lot of appointments in the first year, but you will be better off if successful. Good luck!!!