Since kindergarten, I have attended some of the best schools in Mobile, Ala. I started out at Council Elementary School, which is an accelerated learning magnet school. Following my graduation from the fifth grade, I attended Phillips Preparatory School, which administered courses with the goal of not only preparing its students for high school, but for college as well. Then, I was an International Baccalaureate student at Murphy High School until my senior year when I decided to drop down to Accelerated Placement classes.
I was trained to be an A student, and, until I began my collegiate career, I was, for the most part.
Adjusting to the immense class sizes and workload from my core courses was difficult, and I soon found myself overwhelmed by the inability to successfully follow through with my responsibilities outside of the classrooms and make all As at the same time.
I learned through the new friends I made in college that taking Adderall or any kind of speed-like study buddy helped them out a lot, especially during midterms and finals. Now, I do not support recreational drug use, especially when fooling with drugs as serious as Adderall and other speed-like study buddies; but after witnessing the effects of such drugs on my friends, I noticed that their GPAs were on the rise while mine was on a slow decline to failure, depression and weight gain.
I thought it might have just been that I was struggling with my core classes, and that once I got into my major I’d stop making Bs and Cs and get back on the A track. However, the fall of my sophomore year proved to be less successful than I had hoped.
Even though I dropped some of my more distracting extracurricular activities, like water polo and going out to the bars on Wednesday nights, I was continuing to struggle in the areas I convinced myself wouldn’t be an issue during round two at Auburn. It was after this disappointment that I sat my parents down and admitted that I may have a problem.
I met with my doctor two weeks into my Christmas break, and I came back to Auburn with a fully-loaded book bag in one hand, and a tightly-gripped presciption for Concerta in the other. Santa really followed through with that one.
Since taking this medication, I’ve noticed positive changes. I’m able to focus on separate tasks more easily now and actually complete each one of them well instead of trying to accomplish a dozen things at one time and doing them all poorly. I no longer feel exhausted from having thoughts and to-do lists constantly running around in my head. I’ve also lost a lot of weight, which is always nice, and I’ve been able to keep it off because the medicine wipes away my appetite.
The downside to my drug use? It’s expensive, really expensive. Luckily, my insurance covers most of it, but that still leaves a hefty bill for my parents to pay on top of tuition, books, rent, and everything else that comes with supporting a full-time, 20-year-old college student.
Although my grades have improved, I have to wonder if I actually have this common, expensive disorder.
I mean, I made it through all of my other schooling without any trouble. Why is it that I need this medication now, when its popularity and use is exponentially rising in society? Is this some sort of magic pill that will solve all of my problems? What will happen to me and my new-and-improved GPA if its effects start to wear off? I’ve only been taking Concerta since December, and I have already had to up my dose to 78 miligrams per day. Will I just have to keep increasing my dosage and my bill to manage this disorder?
I’m the kind of person that rarely gets sick, and when I do I’d much rather rely on my body’s ability to fend of a virus or a headache than pop Ibuprofen or NyQuil. I don’t like being dependent on any kind of medication, especially the kind that makes me think I’ll flunk out of college if I don’t take it. My immune system has always pulled through for me, so why is it that my body and brain can’t beat my ADHD?
I guess this is something I’ll just have to get over because the positives heavily outweigh the negatives. Losing weight was an unexpected surprise, and making better grades was a relief. I also realize that I should be grateful for having paretns that can afford to pay for this medication, and I am. However, I didn’t even know there were any negatives until my doctor told me so.
The old saying goes like this: if a tree falls in a forest, and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?
Equally so, if I was able to succeed academically without this medicine before I started taking it, but since taking it I’ve become dependent on it and fear failure without it, do I really have ADHD, or have I just been convinced that I do?