Some memories are more vivid than others. One haunting recollection from my childhood was when my fourth-grade teacher told my parents that she thought I had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). My teacher was right on the nose with her diagnosis. I have had ADHD since the age of seven. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. My teacher suspected I had this disorder because I would squirm in my seat, and I would stand up and walk around the classroom. When I was diagnosed by the neurologist, they prescribed me what my parents would call “focus pills.”
“Focus pills” was a cute way of saying Adderall. As a child, if I was acting in a floundered manner, talking more than usual, or getting overly excited about the pizza we were going to buy, it would prompt the question: “Did you take your pill?” To this day, I still get asked if I took my pill, especially if I am exhibiting any behavior that is too “enthusiastic.” When I first started taking Adderall, I hated it. I wasn’t as happy as I used to be. I was losing weight and I was quiet. I didn’t feel like myself. But due to my Adderall, my grades went up, and I wasn’t squirming as much. My teachers and parents were happy. I, however, was not.
As time went on I started to adapt to my new self, accepting that the quieter, stiller version of me would be permanent. The scary thing about taking Adderall for 12 years is the dependency. The tables suddenly turned. I started to hate myself if I didn’t take my Adderall. I would eat more that day and be louder. This led me to believe I was annoying the people around me. I felt like a nuisance. I have learned to better control myself if I don’t take my Adderall, but I still rely on it. If I don’t take my Adderall before my classes, especially on an exam day, I feel like I won’t be as successful. Alarmingly, if I don’t have my Adderall or run out of it, I panic.
I am very much addicted to my Adderall, and I don’t know if I will ever dump the addiction. ADHD has had an enormous effect on my life, but the most prominent side effect of the disorder is the inability to shake the feeling of full reliance on the drug.