I’m not sure when it was that I first saw the commercial for Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. That probably means that I do lack attention to detail, due to distractibility – very frequently.
Anyway, and pardon me for skipping around here – I’m handicapped, dammit – the Pharmy Queen had blessed me with another shot. It was around eight or nine years ago that I have my first recollections of hearing about A.D.D. and knowing people who took Ritalin. At the time, my 13-year-old mind recoiled at the thought of taking pills to regulate itself.
What a fool I was. Chalk it up to inexperience – no one wants some weird brain malfunction right at the cusp of puberty. And growing up in Minnesotan suburbs sheltered me: Amphetamines hadn’t even entered my vocabulary yet. Certainly not my appetites.
But the last three years of excessive reading, writing, partying and extreme sleep deprivation have taught me some things. The main one being: Never let the God-given right to acquire uppers from a medical professional on my insurance company’s tab slip away again.
The Adult A.D.D. commercial advertised a test online that one could take to find out whether or not to go talk to a doctor about getting help. Anyone could have it.
The test consists of 78 items, such as “lying or stealing on impulse,” – that’s a 3 (frequently) for me – which you score from 0 to 4, or “never” to “very frequently.” Out of the possible 312 points, I got 184. Dr. Amen, the medical professional advising this particular site (oneaddplace.com) says, “More than 20 items with a score of 3 or more indicates a strong tendency toward A.D.D.” I got 46.
It appears that I do indeed have Attention Deficit Disorder. So, retroactively applying this to my past, because A.D.D. is a lifelong disability, I can pass off all that underachieving, boredom with school, boozing and general laziness as symptoms of the disease I never knew I had. Ritalin, Dexedrine and Adderall, here I come.
Naturally, the idea of popping methylphenidate, amphetamine and dextroamphetamine all day, every day, makes me a touch nervous. So I called my buddy up at the University of Minnesota, whom I knew to be a doctor-sanctioned pill-popper from around eighth grade on.
“What of the A.D.D., man?!?” There goes that dratted disorder again.
“Uh, hi, who’s this?”
“Sorry, this is Cory. I’m thinking about signing up for that free speed you’ve been getting since junior high. Anything you wanna tell me?”
He had an interesting story. At the tender age of 19, he decided that he no longer wanted a dependence on uppers in order to make him normal. So, just before his second year of college, he told his doctor he was going to stop taking his medication.
The doctor recommended that he take it one step at a time, lowering doses and taking less intense drugs. Following the doctor’s plan, he went back to school for fall semester. Shortly thereafter, he dropped out.
He was probably exaggerating a bit, but he said he couldn’t stay awake for more than four hours at a time. Looking in the general direction of a book knocked him out. More than a page of reading per day was out of the question.
But he did it. “I just worked and slept a lot for a few months. I re-enrolled for second semester and went back to school. And now, coffee is my god.”
Daily Nexus opinion editor Cory Anthony… uh, wanna go ride bikes?