Medication creates new meanings


Blake Becker

adhd pill fix
art by Michelle Zhuang
The sun rises, and I crawl out of bed, stumbling into the bathroom; I follow the typical morning routine of showering, dressing, breakfast. Then the time comes to take my medicine for the day, and my mood suddenly sours as I reluctantly take pills for my Attention Deficit Disorder.
I wonder if a day will come where I can live without being shackled to a bottle of pills.
My ADD became clear to my teachers and parents while I was in elementary school, however I stayed in the dark. I would daydream, forget what I was focusing on, forget homework and lose track of conversations, but for me it was normal. It took the adults in my life little time to notice that something was wrong.
Soon after, I went into my doctor’s office for my diagnosis and left with a prescription that would alter the rest of my life. I was bothered by the fact that I had a tough time concentrating and remembering things like homework, so going along with the plan wasn’t a big deal.
Immediately, after starting the medication, I could read, complete assignments, follow instructions, and remember things with ease. Starting middle school, I was impressed with how efficiently I could work, but was unaware of the side effects of my condition that would soon follow.
As time went on, though, and I gradually became less carefree and energetic, taking on a far more serious personality than other kids. The consequential social conflicts and difficulty relating to others caused me to panic and question the effectiveness of the medicine –– was it really worth the major change in my personality?
Going off the medicine, however, was not a viable solution as I easily lost track of what was going on in class. The days without my medicine seemed to drag on; my head felt like it was filled with a viscous mud as I walked the crowded halls in a drunken state only to fall asleep in the next class.
Treatment plans changed now and then, modifying the doses or type of medicine, but no matter the changes, there were no comfortable solutions. Sometimes an increase in medicine made my mind swarm like it was filled with a million miniscule bugs. I was in a constant state of anxiety and tension. It drove me crazy not knowing what to do, whether it was better to drop the meds completely or if it was right to continue taking the medicine.
After so many adjustments and testing of new drugs, I had forgotten the person I was before the medicine. Until high school I was terrified that the medicine would completely erase my perception of who I truly was. It was intensely frustrating to come to a dead end when dealing with my ADD and medication, but I was more fed up with how this was consuming me with anxiety and strife. It was time to take a different approach.
I’ve come to accept my ADD as a part of me and as a different way of looking at things. The reason the medicine isn’t fixing everything is because my attention problems are part of the flaws of my personality and who I am. ADD is often mislabeled as a disease when it’s really a different mindset, one that doesn’t simply work with the way society is set up.
The medication became less effective and is now a hardly working temporary solution, making it very hard for me to focus on homework and projects away from school. It also added to the procrastination I already have as a teenager. It’s a serious problem that could hurt college life, but even with the hindrances, it’s just something I have to work around because no medication can solve my life for me –– that’s my own responsibility.
Everyone has faults, and even though ADD is troubling, it’s part of my personality and sometimes allows me to see things in a different light from others’ perspectives.
It hurts my pride to take the medicine, and I berate myself for being unable to work to my full potential without some medication acting as a crutch.
Regardless, I am proud of who I am and am confident in my ability to one day live free of my medication, because trusting myself and my own power and potential is the only way to live properly and without a pill bottle.
By Blake Becker