Black market brain drugs and my impact driver.

I got the impact driver yesterday. It’s a Porter Cable without the battery and charger, because I already have access to a charger and two batteries. $50 brand new – can’t beat it.

I have what people call “ADD.” Experts call everything ADD, and it’s probably the most over-medicated catch-all diagnosis around. Widespread diagnosis and an aversion to the idea of a medication that changes my brain kept me from taking anything to mitigate the ADD symptoms… until I was about 30 years old. Less than a year ago.

I have always been a creative thinker. More accurately, I have always had a tendency to daydream obsessively about a single subject – strange ideas that evolve or erode under the pressure of unmitigated focus. I have never been able to control what I am focusing on, but suffice it to say, some subject gets the business. I’ve cooked up plenty of great ideas in my head, and usually that’s where they’ve died. I could always come up with the ideas – no problem – but I could never take action or finish a project. That’s the ADD part. From the outside, it looks a lot like laziness. But it’s different. I’ve despaired about being lazy, and at times I’ve tried to will myself into action. It seems like it should be easy. It’s impossible.

I’m one of thousands or millions of people with the same ADD-related issues. My brain sees where I want to go, but the path to get there is hopelessly convoluted. I’m unable to start at step one because my brain is simultaneously worrying about every other step, and the unsureness of how to proceed leaves me paralyzed with inaction. This situation is frustrating and it can lead to a deeper anxiety when, say, you can’t buy groceries and your life falls apart.

I reached a fork in the road. It was a soggy winter night, and the air was a dense cloud of pneumonia. I was outside of my own body – looking at myself and hanging my head. My transmission had crapped out that morning. I knew I had to take my van somewhere or at least make an appointment. I had to take any action whatsoever. On top of this, I had other lingering items on a long to-do list. I had to make some calls. But I didn’t. I spent the entire day doing anything else, and it made me feel like the worst bag of garbage.

Kristin and I had not been seeing each other for long by this point. I was in a ruined mood, and she wanted to talk about it. I was sure she wouldn’t get it and I was amazed when she did. She absolutely understood. She was able to explain my own feelings back to me because she’d felt them all before. She takes medicine for the exact thing which was dragging me under.

For the first time in my life, I considered the possibility that I might not be smarter than doctors. I considered that other people take meds for ADD – and maybe all of those people aren’t idiots. I resolved to reexamine my stance on ADD and pill-taking. Maybe it wasn’t all hoopla and corporate bullshit.

Let me fast forward a bit here: it’s not all hoopla and corporate bullshit. Sometimes if there is an obvious answer, you should just take it. I went to a doctor and got a prescription for Adderall. I found it immensely helpful. I cannot underscore how much of a help it has been. The house that I am building would be going a lot slower – and most likely not exist at all – if not for my organized thoughts and my ability to make a systematic plan for learning and building. I have accomplished other feats in life, and it baffles me in hindsight how I was ever able to get anything done at all.

Now my ability to afford Adderall is in jeopardy. I quit my job, and thus do not have health insurance. Health insurance was paying for most of my medication and doctor visits, and having a paycheck helped cover the rest. Without insurance and/or a big paycheck, you can forget about it. Adderall isn’t exactly a “must have” drug. It’s not keeping me alive. But without it, I am unlikely to work on many projects. I WANT TO WORK ON PROJECTS. I want to learn new skills and I want to finish at least a few of the zany project ideas that I’ve obsessed about for so long. I want progress.

I’m nearly out of Adderall. I cut my dosage in half to stretch it out, and I’ve only been taking it when I have a good chance of getting a lot of work done. But I think I have a solution: plan B is in the mail.

A lot of people are talking about Modafinil. You should look it up. I’ve tried it once before, and it worked fantastically well. If you need to study for a test or paint your whole house, you will have no better friend. I was able to order a 3+ month supply for about $60 on the internet. Coming directly from India with no doctors or inflated charges: it’s much cheaper than Adderall.

So I’m getting brain-drugs from India and hoping for the best. As sketchy as that may sound, I am fully expecting a good result. I didn’t take Adderall today. I got a brand new impact driver and I didn’t drive one screw into one piece of wood. On medication or off, I always feel exactly like myself. But with the drugs, I sure get a lot more work done.

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