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"Everybody is a little ADHD" | Note 20

Do you know the feeling when your to-do list is so long that you don’t really know where to start, and end up not starting at all? When simple things – a visit from a friend, or a broken washing machine – are so distracting that you can’t do any work for days before and after? Your internal monologue is more like a classroom during recess. There’s a million things on your mind, none of them keep your attention for longer than a split second, and a paralysing anxiety is already looming in the back of your head.

In the age of deadlines, hustle culture and social media, I’m pretty sure there are very few among us that don’t know what I’m talking about. At times it's almost ecstatic. Most often it is debilitating. Luckily, for most people, it is an anomaly. Like a headache, or a low-energy day.

I’ve lived with it, day in and day out, for thirty-seven years. Exactly a year ago, I was diagnosed with ADHD.

This morning, at the suggestion of my doctor, I have experimented with upping the dose of my medication.

Before googling my prescription, I had no idea that ADHD meds are often used or, should I say, abused, as “study buddies” – performance-enhancing substances which enable students to cram for hours before an exam. This leads to the negative perception of ADHD medication and, subsequently, to the common misbelief that ADHD doesn't exist – or, rather, that it exists and everybody has it. Only, some like to cheat, and they make their life easier by doing drugs.

Popping pills to study is nothing new. Back in the seventies, one of my aunts managed to leave Poland and enrol at a university in the UK. For months, she worked, she studied, she partied – all of that while sleeping four hours a day thanks to “supplements” provided by her flatmate. Years later, when the awareness of illegal drugs in Poland increased, she realised that she had probably been doing amphetamine. Luckily for her, she only stayed in London for two semesters. Back home in Warsaw, the “supplements” were not available.

I guess it would be kind of fun if my meds made me stay up all night. A friend’s friend recently tried her son’s ADHD medication, just to see what would happen. With a pounding heart, she cleaned the whole house until dawn — completely different to what it does for her hyperactive child. Thanks to the prescription, the boy can finally sit through a meal. Attending school is somewhat less of a... continue reading now →


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