I’ve been hyping today up in my head for some time. I’ve been struggling with the symptoms of ADHD (although I didn’t know what it was) for my entire life. It’s only become more frustrating as adult life becomes more complex.
I finally sought treatment through the NHS early this year.
I trickle through the system (I bless the NHS with every atom of my body, but it can’t work scheduling miracles) until I see Dr. E.
The two-hour appointment is not as draining as I was expecting. I give Dr. E the tests I completed at home and we start an ‘interview’. I rather enjoy the opportunity to talk – largely uninterrupted and without a filter – about my life.
Dr. E is kind and understanding, although I feel bad telling her about some of my past tribulations, as she looks crestfallen at times! It’s not been all that bad, I assure you – and I assure her, too.
I’m happy to stress that my life is much better now, save the eternal frustrations that come with a foggy brain.
She’s very pleased that I have a supportive, unrealistically laid-back and generally excellent partner (Joe).
I’m very pleased, come to that. It’s made life 100% easier. I fully recommend not trying to live with type-A people if you have untreated ADHD. It’s awful for everyone involved.
After an extended chin-wag, I’m confirmed to be “typical” for a woman with undiagnosed ADHD (not quite like a typical man with ADHD – I was lucky to get a doctor who knows the differences). As much as I like being special, this is good to hear. It means that I fit comfortably under an umbrella, rather than skirting around the edges wondering if I did have the disorder.
I finish up by asking, a bit sheepishly, if I might be medicated.
I’m worried about this, as I don’t want to come across as a drug-grabbing addict; especially as I told Dr E about my past problems with alcohol.
Several people have told me not to accept ADHD drugs, come to that. Although I rather get the feeling that they’re going off old horror stories about American children zombified by Ritalin.
The Boss worries, I think, about tamping down my individuality, which is sweet of him. He’s all for celebrating mental diversity, he says.
I struggle to articulate my feelings on that – suffice to say it’s easier to take The Boss’s view if you have a brain which works profitably within society. He does; I do not.
As much as I adore the people who look out for me, on this subject I’m happier to take the word of the women I’ve spoken. They have ot experience – both positive and negative – with ADHD meds. I’m also swimming in information from the articles and papers I’ve been inhaling for the past eight months or so.
In the event, my desire to fix the problem chemically is standard – in fact, the first thing they’d recommend – and Dr E is happy to help. I’m told that I will have every opportunity to switch meds if things go wonky.
No babies, please
The only caveat is that, as I am getting married in a few weeks, I have to reassure the doc that I’m not going to start trying for a baby right away. The “path forwards” would have to be somewhat altered if I want to get pregnant soon.
I am pleased to tell her that I have no intention of doing so. I would, I remind her, make quite an appalling parent. She tells me not to be so hard on myself, but she must know I’m right.
The little pink pill
I’m prescribed a newish medication: Elvanse (Vyvanse in the US).
It’s a slow-releasing version of one of the old stalwarts, which suits me fine (a “hit” is not something I want to be experimenting with). I look it up later and discover that the non-brand name is Lisdexamfetamine.
I’m prescribed seven 30mg pills to get going with, followed with 21 of the stronger 50mg pills.
I walk off in a light mood – far less emotional than I was after my first assessment with a mental health nurse. I suppose I’ve come to terms with what’s going on.