"It makes me feel weird." My child stood, arms folded, refusing to take the prescribed ADHD medication for the second time that week. The school bus would arrive at any moment. "If you don't believe me, you try it!"
So, I did.
My husband and I had resisted medicating our middle-schooler, but on the advice of every educational and medical professional with whom we met, we finally relented.
I had heard that, if you don't have ADHD and take meds for it, you will become jittery and uncomfortable to the point of wanting to jump out of your own skin. I was willing to risk it, in a gesture of solidarity with my kid. We made a deal. We would each take one and share our experiences at the end of the day.
At first, I felt nothing. Then, it hit. It was as if someone slammed on my mental breaks, tossed me into deep water and quieted all the noises in my brain. I floated there, awed by the stillness. It made me wonder, "Is this how everybody else in the world feels?"
I sat down to complete paperwork that had been languishing on my desk for so long, it was veiled in a thin layer of dust. Ordinarily, nothing makes me want to crawl into a hole faster than clerical chores: insurance forms, medical questionnaires, evaluations, etc. However, with one low dose of Concerta under my belt, I sailed through a pile of paper that had been hanging around my neck like a mill stone.
Next up, housework. Generally speaking, I only throw myself into this sort of thing when venting rage and frustration (I'm happy to report that our place ain't that tidy). But on this day, I happily cleaned out the refrigerator and organized the junk drawer and discarded food storage containers that had lost their lids and fluffed the couch cushions and brought in fresh flowers from the garden.
As I began polishing the stainless steel apron of my in-wall oven, I was shocked by the time. It was ten o'clock in the morning. Only two hours had passed and I'd accomplished more than I normally do in two weeks.
As delighted as I was with my new-found laser-focused super powers, I was also suffering from the worst case of dry mouth since my worst college hangover. And when I sat down to do some creative writing, I discovered that my mouth wasn't the only thing that had dried up. It seems my imagination had tucked itself in for a nap.
It was clear that I had some choices to make: One, I could have myself evaluated and, if diagnosed with ADHD (which I now suspected as a probability), I would only take my meds when I really needed to hunker down and not when I needed to daydream. Two, my husband and I would have to reassess the value of the medication for our child. Perhaps a different prescription was warranted, or a different diagnosis, or a change in diet, or a change in schools, or...
What was the question?