Adderall and I have a very complicated relationship. Until recently, we’ve been dating on and off for 8 years.
We first met in college. A doctor introduced us to one another, and it was love at first sight. She made me whole. She finished my sentences, helped me with school and work, and made me a better version of myself. She was everything you’d want in a relationship…for a bit.
The honeymoon period ended pretty quickly as I realized the fog of love came with negative side effects. I was hardly eating, hardly sleeping, and hardly hanging out with my friends. All I did was hang out with her and work. My friends tried to get me to go out, but even when they succeeded, I was just a crabby mess.
So I broke up with her.
But after only a few days, I found myself struggling to get my work done. You know who I called? Adderall. And she was happy to get back in my bloodstream.
We went on like this for the next 6 years with only a few breakups. There were good times and bad, but overall, I thought it was worth it.
But as time went on, more red flags appeared.
My tolerance went up, and so did my dosage. I realized that I couldn’t stay awake without her, so I even started taking her on nights and weekends just so I could go out. (Before this, I just took her on weekday mornings and afternoons.)
Uh oh…I think I’m addicted!
I told my psych and he told me that the technical term was “dependent” — sounds a lot like addiction if you ask me. He said I could go off it, but that’d I’d crash pretty hard for a month or so — aka go through withdrawal — something I couldn’t afford to do with work. So despite me knowing our relationship was toxic, I stayed with her for a while…until I decided to leave my job and hit the road for some soul searching.
That’s when I went cold turkey.
And wooooowwwwww did I crash. I was sleeping all the time, eating like a teenager, and generally just being lackadaisical. But after a month or so, I started getting back to normal. My energy levels returned. My appetite stabilized. I felt more like me than I had since I started taking it. I was back, baby! And the most surprising part about it is that I didn’t even realize how much I had changed. Adderall had killed my creativity. It stifled my personality. It made me significantly more of a bore. This break-up was the best thing to ever happen to me!
But alas…I was still ADHD.
While my creativity soared, focus became a chore. I couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t stick to one thing for long enough to get anything done. Damn…do I need to get back with her despite the toxicity?
Instead of getting back with her, I started dating this chick called Routine. She has become everything Adderall was and more.
Every morning, I wake up and do the same thing…
- Make my bed
- Cook a healthful breakfast
- Outline my day’s to-do list
- Stay off my phone
- Get to work
It wasn’t love at first site, but after a few weeks, I was happier and more productive than I’d ever been. Routine helps make my dreams come true. She slows down my thoughts and makes me focus. Not only that, but we eat lavish meals together and sleep deeply every night.
It’s been about six months now and while it’s still early, I know Routine is the one for me and that we’re going to live happily ever after.
That being said, the relationship isn’t perfect and it isn’t easy. It takes a lot of commitment, discipline, and effort. If I don’t stick with her every day, I quickly go back to my old un-focused ADHD ways.
So how is that any better than Adderall you might ask? It sounds like it accomplishes much of the same thing, but just takes a lot more work.
You’re not wrong. It’s still a dependency, but it’s the more healthful option for me. It doesn’t transform me into a different person like Adderall did, it just helps me become the person I want to be.