Let's Talk About Adderall

Lately, I have not been shy about my being on Adderall. In fact, in a recent post I stated "Hi, I'm Jacqueline and I really struggle, so I'm on Adderall. No more shame. No more hiding behind the fear. "

I don't know what prompted me to do that other than I just felt like I needed to get it out. Much of my writing is my own way of getting out of my head where I spend 98% of my time. The other 2% of my time seems to be spent trying to leave social situations so I can be back in they safety of my head. Writing helps me remember that I am safer than I think I am, even at dinner parties or high school reunions. Okay, scratch high school reunions. I've never felt safe there - and not due to anyone other than myself.  I have issues, obviously. Lots of them. 

There is so much out there on Adderall and so many questions about wether or not anyone should actually be on it. It is a controlled substance due to the risk of dependence as well as due to the number of high school and college students buying it "off the streets," or more likely, in a cafeteria or in their dorm rooms. I am no expert at where to buy any sort of drug other than at a pharmacy with an actual prescription because I grew up in a very sheltered environment, so the dorm room/cafeteria comment is just an un-educated guess.

You can ask my husband or even my sister-in-law to verify that I really am clueless about where and how to buy any thing drug related. In fact, my sister-in-law recently commented that I probably wouldn't be very fun to play "never have I ever" with. " She's right. I would love to play, though, so I can finally learn about the real world now that I'm in my 40s. 

Back to Adderall.

I finally decided about a year ago to start taking it. I was very hesitant until my current psychiatrist who believes in holistic practices told me that she would like to write me a prescription for it and that she would like for me to actually try it. I was surprised because I never would have thought someone who really believed in holistic practices would ever suggest such a thing. That is one reason I started to see her. I thought she would try to get me off of all conventional medicine. And although I am on the lowest dose of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds than I have ever been on since seeing her, I am finally starting to accept that conventional medicine can be very helpful and that I will probably always be on something that is not "all natural." That has been a "hard pill to swallow," mainly because I have had to fight the belief that if I'm on meds then something must be wrong with me. Taking meds runs counter to my belief that I need to be perfect and to my drive to get there. I feel less than when I fee like I don't have a chance at the perfection I think we all believe we can get to if we just work hard enough. I am slowly learning that there is no working hard enough, ever. 

Two previous medical professionals had recommended Adderall, but I declined because of the above mentioned drive to be perfect, as well as because I was and am still afraid of becoming addicted to it. I have prided myself over the years of not being addicted to any type of substance other than Starbuck's Mochas - grande with whip, thank you. I realize that this is not in the realm of "all natural" that I claim to believe in. We all have our weaknesses. 

This psychiatrist of mine has built a trust with me that I haven't quite had with others. She also, fortunately or unfortunately - depending on my mood - holds me accountable with everything I do and take. She won't even let me get a refill of my anti-depressant/anti-anxiety meds without calling her first. I find myself occasionally annoyed because I'll pick up a prescription, hopeful that maybe this time there will be 1 to 3 refills available so I don't have to call and tell her when I don't feel like sticking to our plan other than taking the prescribed meds for a bit longer this time around. She's smart. That's probably why she has an MD. 

I am, as of this Monday evening, down to one Adderall pill. I don't have an appointment with her until Friday and I have found myself looking at the last little blue pill, smiling, and thankful that I have found something that makes me feel a bit more sane on days when I really need it.  I don't take it everyday - on purpose - because I don't want or need it everyday - and I am committed to not being addicted to anything other than the aforementioned coffee drink. But I will tell you, it has been a life changer for me. Not only does it help me remember to close the cabinets and put my shoes where they belong (you can read more about those struggles here), it has helped me to feel like I can manage it all.  As we all know, we all have a lot to manage. It is the world we live in.

I will also tell you that I am so thankful that I did not know about it in high school or college because I guarantee you that I would have been a part of the statistics we are all hearing about. There was and is a drive for control and perfection in me that I haven't been able to rid myself of.  I have, however, been able to calm it down with constant therapy and other prescribed drugs - as well as diet, yoga, meditation and sometimes real exercise. I can also guarantee you that this lovely doctor of mine won't continue to prescribe it to me if I don't stick to all those other things. I have been fortunate in finding an accountability system that works for me. For some it's AA, NA or possibly a church community. For me it's a psychiatrist and a therapist. Yes, it's costly, but not near as costly as not having such a system.   

Will I take my last pill before Friday? Yes, likely tomorrow or the next day, because I have to pack myself and 2 kids for a 4000 mile round-trip road trip we are leaving for in less than a week. I won't take my new prescribed bottle of little blue pills that I will get to pick up on Friday with me on this trip because it's "vacation."*  I may, however, be asking my psychiatrist for some valium for all of us as we will be in a small car and a tent for more nights than is probably considered healthy.  I'm sure she'll smile and say "just don't forget to do some yoga and you'll be fine." I'll walk out annoyed and then grateful that she knows what she is talking about, just like when she knew I needed Adderall. 

*Vacation is in quotes because I am not sure driving 4,000 miles with two children and sleeping in a tent for 7 plus days will feel much like a vacation. I'll be sure and let you know either way. 

**This post is not meant to "advertise" the benefits of Adderall. It is simply my personal experience of making the conscious decision to take it. In no way am I saying that if you are a little "spacey" from time to time because of all that is going on in your life, that you should try it. I cannot tell anyone what they should and shouldn't try and I don't want anyone to think that the decision to take Adderall, anti-depressants/anti-anxiety meds or similar substances should be taken lightly. It shouldn't ever be taken lightly. I can tell people to speak with a professional and to find one that they can trust. 

***Many people ask me if they can share my posts - my answer is always yes. I figure if I post it on the world wide web it's up for grabs - so share on. 

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