Me: “It's so interesting. I can think much more clearly now.”
Two weeks after I started taking medication to manage my ADD that the above exchange occurred. 1995, nine years old, the prescription was Dexedrine. It didn’t cure my dyslexia by a long shot, but I could focus on the words and my work like never before. However it wasn’t without its drawbacks: sleep loss and weight loss due to loss of appetite. The worst thing was definitely the crash - eight hours of clear thought, focused work, brought to an end in a sudden jolt. All my focus and organization issues returned and it seemed each time they came back with interest.
I took medication five days a week during the school year right through high school. I changed medications once along the way from Dexedrine to Concerta. The frequency of taking the medication tended to rise and fall depending on work load at the time and it helped. It really did. But at the same time that it helped, I also felt that something was lost. My free imagination, which was always off doing something fantastic, even as I bent over my papers, was shackled. My other, extra curricular, writing diminished to the point of near non-existence, there was no inspiration for them. I found I didn’t enjoy my time on the medication nearly as much as I did when off. Though it wasn’t until I was shown the comic in the last panel that I managed to give words to what I felt.
I was losing part of myself - part of what made me, ME. I felt cut off from my imagination, one might as well have removed a limb. It may sound trite, but I was afraid of becoming just that: trite, common, stale, tired. That’s why I can’t look at that comic without having to fight down tears. Because of what I feel I came close to loosing.
I stopped taking the medication outright in my second year of college, accepting my deficits as something that I would work on with sheer will if need be. Though it is harder, I feel I have made the right decision and regret nothing. My mom likes to say that she’s never met a strength that wasn’t a weakness. And I know my weakness is also my strength.