To Med or Not to Med?

Over the summer I made the burgeoning realization that I might have ADHD. That what I thought was solely anxiety could actually be something else (in addition) that I had been struggling with for pretty much my entire life. 

I talked to my therapist. I read articles and sought resources. I felt a tremendous relief that things about me that were hard were also...explainable. 

And then I went to a psychiatric nurse practitioner for evaluation. After talking with me, and my therapist, and rating scales and observations from myself and my husband, he came to the conclusion that there may be ADHD at play along with the dual plagues of anxiety and depression. And he prescribed medication, Strattera. 

I have yet to start it, even though I could have as soon as I felt better from COVID (which, thankfully, is gone although I have lingering fatigue and shortness of breath, blergh). 

It's weird -- I wanted the validation, and I wanted to see if maybe addressing ADHD might alleviate some anxiety, if it was a chicken-and-egg type situation. 

But now I am reluctant to further mess with my brain chemistry... am I trying to fix something that I am already compensating for in other ways? 

Bryce is nervous, because (and this is completely sweet and romantic) he said, "But I'm afraid that if you take the medication that you'll lose some of the things that make you YOU, and that are so loveable and endearing -- your frenetic energy is one of the things I love about you!" 

I am a believer in taking medication when you need it. I am a believer in outsourcing my serotonin, and it really works for me. Do I need to add norepinephrine into the mix? I've made it 47 years, and while my insides are significantly messier than my outsides, and I am a really proficient masker, which is exhausting, do I need to take something further to be a functional humanlike substance? 

I think because I am asking all these questions, it's good to press pause. I have a tendency to jump all in on things and fully commit, when maybe a pause is a better idea (like, um, all my full-steam-ahead cycles and protocols and always immediately going to the next possible thing, which ultimately wasn't the best). Maybe I'm trying to fix something that explains a lot about who I am and what's more difficult, but isn't actually broken. I'm not sure a pill is going to suddenly make my piles disappear or my grading happen before it piles up into a mountain of procrastination. And the risk that it might aggravate my anxiety, which is pretty well controlled currently... that would not be worth a change. 

Maybe I should focus more on the skills than the pills right now. I just can't tell if I'm procrastinating on it, fearing change, or doubting if meds are the right answer at this point. 


  1. Finally, I think I've figured out how to comment as me again. Your site was a holdout, but I'm in! (For now, at least. Fingers crossed.)

    It's a hard decision. Good luck with it. And Bryce's comment. Awwwww.

    And you're right - a pill is not going to make piles disappear. Though if I could get an anti-procrastination pill, I think I'd take it! But that's just me - if you could see the state of my office, you'd understand! lol

  2. I've been debating the same thing! I was amazingly diagnosed as a teen in the late 90's. I didn't like Adderall's side affects so used it sparingly (mostly college exam times). And recently my therapist has brought up going to a psychiatrist for long term drug therapy. But, I feel like my manic energy bursts make me who I am....a great teacher, adventurer, and crazy baker. In my case it was my assistant who said she does not want me to change. I'm thinking I've got the skills, so I'll just keep riding the wave....

  3. This is such a dilemma, as you've outlined. And how very unADHD-like of you to press pause and consider the question thoughtfully.

  4. I like the general idea of pressing pause. :)

    I know you have skills. I know you already have amazing compensatory strategies. You wouldn't be good at your job like you are if you hadn't already honed some skills.

    Try meds, don't try meds--you're fine either way and neither decision is permanent. Is there a time period that is less stressful? Example: NOT the back-to-school period, haha. But if you want to try a new medication, try it during a more down period in your life. If the medication doesn't feel right, then you can always wean off and stop taking it. (All under your doctor's guidance of course.) I'm just saying that you can try it and quit. That's always an option. And you're fine not trying them too. You're functional; you're not in crisis mode. You're good either way.