I’m so proud of my step-daughter, she is one amazing kid! You see, she also has ADHD like me; the difference is, is that she has been on medication to control her ADHD symptoms since she was about 7 years old. Thankfully. She is only 13 now and she has such an emotional grasp on her strengths and weaknesses. I am so happy to see that, even though Lily has been through some rough times in her young life, she perseveres. Smiling, she doesn’t let things get her down.
I wasn’t diagnosed or medicated until I was 27 years old, and by that time, I had totally made a mess of my life. I only wonder how my life could have been had I been medicated young. I am excited to see Lily grow and avoid all the invisible vectors of ADHD that won’t pull her away from her focus.
Stimulant medication is usually the first thing a doctor will prescribe for the reduction of ADHD symptoms. But these medications do not behave the same way in my case. I was first prescribed Ritalin several years ago and it worked perfectly; the problem was that it is such a short-acting med that I was taking 2 or 3 a day, as prescribed. I wanted something longer lasting so I opted to try Vyvanse. It has not worked beautifully. Though these drugs are in the same catergory, they work very differently. The Ritalin made me calm, focused, nice, patient, and smart. Vyvanse, on the other hand, makes me feel like I’m an idiot. Sure it calms me a bit but that’s where it ends. And, I wanted to explain that my posts are so short because I am on Vyvanse, and it does not help the focus.
Being the “special” individual that I am; I take a few different medications daily to maintain (almost) normal function. I live with adult adhd, depression, and anxiety. It has taken months, if not years, to get my concoction of medications just right. And at 7:30 every morning, I take them. I cannot imagine how I would function without them. But I know that there are individuals who could possibly benefit from medication therapy, but choose to not take medicine. I can’t understand why. If you are someone who chooses no meds , comment a quick ‘why’ below. Thanks.
So, yesterday I went to an appointment hoping to find my “magic pill”. What I got was a new ADHD medicine. Not exactly new to me, I have taken Strattera before. It is a non stimulant and doesn’t work nearly as well as Ritalin, for example.
I’ve opted to give Strattera another try because I’d like to not be on stimulants right now. My Dr has assured me that it will not work because I am used to the way the stimulant alleviates my symptoms.
I’m trying the non-stimulant for seven days then I’m going to call the Dr to let her know how I’m feeling. If it doesn’t work, I will opt for a long-lasting stimulant such as Vyvanse.
If you’re a stay-at-home-mom like me, and you just happen to struggle with the chaos of ADD, you know that a good medication regimen is imperative to maintaining your sanity. Most of the time, doctors begin medication therapy to get the initial inattentiveness under control; usually after a short trial and error period the magic dose is found and the ADD seems to almost disappear. Suddenly, everyday chores like laundry and dishes seem to ‘get done’ without a melt-down; the kids make it to school on time, and dinner is on the table at precisely 6pm each night. To an ADD mom, this ease in routine is life-changing.
ADD meds are wonderful for helping keep focus in a classroom setting. They keep the vectors that pull us in 100 different directions at bay; this makes learning and retaining new material slightly possible. Also in a work environment where focus is key, meds for the adult ADDer are a necessity. But what if you don’t go to work or school? What if you’re just a stay-at-home-mom, like me, who utilizes medication to keep a steady attention span, so I can get things done. So my household can run smoothly, and I can be less anxious, my family deserves that.
Unmedicated, for me, is starting laundry, starting dishes, starting a grocery list, starting to clean the bathroom, and finally, starting dinner! Notice there is an absence of the word ‘finish’. I start several things, never finish one, go to bed exhausted and overwhelmed because nothing got done. I skip around from chore to chore, not getting much accomplished.
I was recently told by my doctor that unless I begin going to school or get a job, he will be taking me off my ADD medication. He says I shouldn’t need meds if I’m not going to be outside of the home. What?!?!? I plan to study the ethics of this issue a bit further. More to come……
There is a very special little girl in my life that loves to play, laugh and chase her brothers; on the weekends, that is. You see, she has ADHD, and if she isn’t medicated during the week, she would be an unproductive disruption at school. It took a couple of years of getting it wrong before it got right and she got a diagnosis. And, since this diagnosis has come early in her life, hopefully she’ll be spared some of the depression and frustration that comes with being a unmedicated adult.
During the week, when she’s in school, at her mother’s house, she takes her Ritalin on a regularly scheduled routine. And, as expected, it has worked beautifully. She’s calm, quiet; able to sit during class and learn without disruption. Her grades have improved and she even came in second place at her schools’ science fair! Though she may be almost eerily quiet when she’s on her medicine, it’s a stark contrast from the squally, giggly, chatterbox that she normally is. The Ritalin also keeps her body calm; she sits relaxed, no running, jumping, or chasing of the boys.
On the weekends, when she’s at our house, I prefer her to be unmedicated. I adore her just the way she is, squally, giggly, runny, and jumpy! I believe that on the weekends she should be able to play without a chemical inhibition that she can’t control. Granted, those behaviors aren’t appropriate for school, and, since she can’t control them herself, the medicine is a must-have. She was sent to our house a few times, still under the effects of the ADHD medication, it was almost sad. She just sat on the couch and looked around, almost as if she wanted to play, but she couldn’t. It was as if invisible chains were holding her down and invisible tape over her mouth, as she barely spoke a word. She wasn’t able to interact with her brothers or even play with the dogs, and she loves the dogs!
So, in conclusion, thank God for Ritalin, that helps control the ADHD symptoms during the school week. But, also, thank God for the weekends, so those little wind-up toys we love so much can just spin and spin.
I am motivated this morning to make this my very first blog post. Every month I try to figure out where the insurance company gets their basis that, when you turn 18 years old, your condition just magically disappears. I say every month because that is how often I fill the prescription I need to control my symptoms. I am 40 years old and I spin ’round and ’round like a second grader during story-time. A child of that age, about 7, would be taking the exact same medication that I am on. Difference is, that his state-paid insurance wouldn’t even ask for a co-pay before filling his Ritalin or Adderall; mine, on the other hand, requires a PA or Prior Authorization, which is an official diagnosis of a disorder requiring the use of stimulant medication to treat, eg., ADHD. And a PA isn’t an immediate clearance for the prescription fill. It can take days for the pharmacy and the doctor to get the proper validations signed and submitted to the insurance company. Or, in my case, possibly, months! But, when all the ducks are in a row, and the proper paperwork has reached the proper person (whomever that is), your golden ticket will be redeemed; aaah! Finally, the spinning will stop, the fog in your brain will lift, and you can finally look your husband in the eye and comprehend the blah, blah, blah, that’s been coming out of his mouth.
But, as in my case, it may take months to get my medication filled. I took my script to the pharmacy, explained that my insurance probably wouldn’t cover the medication (Vyvanse 30mg). Yesterday was the only day my Dr. was going to be in the office, he wouldn’t be available again until April. “Please make sure you get the PA request to him by 5pm”. I was assured by the pharmacy that it would be faxed within an hour. Well, needless to say, it didn’t get faxed until late yesterday. The PA cannot get done now until April. So, now what do I do, the medication is almost $300 for one month, can’t afford that. I looked up the drug manufacturer on line, Shire, sometimes they will offer discounts on their medications. the only thing they can do for Vyvanse is a $60 off coupon. Still too expensive!
So, at this point, I am assuming that I will be out of medication for at least the next month or two. Not a huge deal, I’ve went un-medicated before, so shall I again. Frustrating though, that my insurance will cover any other medication except my stimulant ADD medication. I wonder why that is? For anyone diagnosed with childhood ADHD, all scripts will be filled, no problem. Like I said before, I’m 40 years old, spinning like a top, and living proof that ADD does not go away!