For years, my parents, doctors, family, and friends all thought that I was just more high-energy than most other kids my age. I could never sit still in classes, my mind was constantly racing through thoughts, and my schoolwork reflected it. Sometimes, being different than everyone else had its perks; I can focus on a lot of things at once, unconventional ways of learning are my niche, and I can see how things fit together better than others, because of the way I think. When I mentioned the way I think to my doctor, she mentioned that not only was my brain not normal, but she had a diagnosis for me: ADHD.
Unlike a lot of people who are diagnosed at a young age, my diagnosis didn't make me feel weird, uncomfortable, or abnormal in any way. Instead, it almost felt like a blessing. For my entire life, I had felt like I wasn't like anyone else I knew, and suddenly, I knew why. Not only did I know why; however, but I could do something about it. My doctor immediately wrote me a prescription for Adderall and told me that I should feel the effects almost immediately after taking it.
The next morning, I woke up, brushed my teeth, got dressed, and took my first dose of Adderall for the week. I walked out of my dorm room to make it to my first class of the day, not really thinking about the implications of what I had just taken. I was walking to class when I realized that the Adderall had taken effect.
Everything was so quiet.
It was like someone had pushed the mute button on my brain, shutting off all the background noise I had been hearing for 18 straight years. For the first time in my life, my hands were still at my sides, and it's like the whole world was so much clearer than it had ever been before. The thousands of rushing thoughts in my head had suddenly been put on pause, and I could think clearly for the first time ever. I stood there on the sidewalk, late for my class, just watching the buses pass on the road in front of me, thinking about how amazing it all was. It was like my mind had to be quiet, for me to be able to see how amazing everything around me really was.
Suddenly, I was on the same plane as everyone else...or so I thought.
At first, I assumed that I had now leveled the playing field. Everyone else's brain worked this way, so now I processed things just like everyone else. Soon I realized, though, that this wasn't the case. Every once in a while, I'd forget to take my Adderall early, and would have to take it during a class, when I realized I had forgotten it, or out at breakfast with some friends. Every once in a while, people would ask me if I was "popping Addy", and if I had any to spare.
I realized that people thought I was taking Adderall for an edge, rather than taking it as prescribed to me. I would never have thought of selling my Adderall to anyone because I needed it. I definitely needed it more than anyone needed an "edge" to finish their overdue projects.
I was so surprised about people asking me for my Adderall, that I began asking around to see how many people really took it for a leg up. I was ridiculously surprised by the number of people that I encountered that acted as if it was no big deal. People in my classes, in my major, and my friends, all acted like it was normal to be taking such a strong drug in order to better their grades. People began to tell me their stories of Adderall-fueled study sessions, how it gave them laser-like-focus, how they now found it hard to focus without it, where previously they hadn't. All I could think about was that first day on Adderall for me, and how it was like the whole world was new.
The miracle drug that so many people take to give them an edge on their homework, final projects, exams, and dissertations, is the thing that keeps me from pulling my hair out on a daily basis.
When I don't take my Adderall, it feels like my heart is racing, my body is buzzing, and my mind is running a marathon. I can't stay calm, sit still, or stay concentrated long enough to get anything done, let alone do things well. My Adderall, my miracle in a capsule, keeps me focused, collected, and able to do what everybody else can.
My Adderall keeps me sane. It is not something for people to abuse in order to get an edge over everyone else. When people use Adderall, or similar drugs, to give themselves an edge over everyone else, it sets me, and so many others like me, back to where we were originally.
Peoples' blatant abuse of Adderall, doesn't give them an edge, it sets people like myself back lightyears.
If the serious abuse of focus-enhancing drugs continues over the course of the next few years, there is going to be a massive crackdown on drug manufacturing and regulation, which could have severe impacts on individuals with ADD and ADHD. This could mean that prices skyrocket, no longer being covered by insurance, or even causing a regulation that limits the distribution and consumption on the part of people like myself. My miracle pill could be taken away from me because of irresponsibility on the part of college students looking for an edge.
I've had my taste of sanity, and I'm never going back. Ever.