So today is day 3 on my journey of taking Ritalin. It’s also the last day of my Christmas vacation and I have to go back to work tomorrow. How do I feel? I don’t know. This was of course a very strange weekend because of New Years Eve and my whole sleep schedule is basically thrown out of the window.

I need a lot of structure in my life and one of those things is a decent sleeping schedule. I go to bed at 10 pm and get up (on working days) at 6 am, on my days off I usually get up between 7 or 8 am. New Years Eve was definitely not going to bed at 10 pm, more likely I slept about 3 am and yesterday was the first episode of Sherlock (I don’t call myself a geek for nothing) and again a late night sleep.

What I do notice is that I am actually awake when I take a tablet, even though I didn’t sleep enough the night before. It seems all a bit clearer in my head. I also feel I am not as distracted as I was before. I love to multitask, well I say love, but in fact it’s more of a coping mechanism. I crochet and knit a lot. I find that this calms my brain because I have to count constantly. I do this while watching telly. I find that I don’t need to entertain myself while watching a series or film on tv.

I do have a constant queasy feeling in my stomach and I don’t feel as hungry as I should. Which for me is good. The queasy feeling is not really bothering me. And I now need to figure out how to adjust my eating pattern around my not being really hungry. As in, how do I eat enough to get all my energy and sustenance and don’t overeat so I might actually loose some weight.

I do however have a slight headache constantly, but because I am prone to having a lot of headaches I don’t really know if this is a side affect or just me.

Depression is sort of subduing. If I look back how I felt prior to the 31st of December and how I feel now is huge, but again, this might not be the tablets but more a sort of placebo effect about being relieved I finally started taking medication and hoping I will get better this year.

I do have the feeling that I am sort of crashing an hour before I need to take my next tablet. As is my energy level suddenly drops. Like when you drink energy drinks and they stop working.

I am also very focused on my body and mind constantly, how do I feel, why do I feel like this, is this the tablet or just me or circumstances, is this just the placebo effect or is this real.

I do wonder about the Ritalin and the amount I take and how often I take them. I now take 10 mg at 7 am and 10 mg at 1 pm, 6 hours after the first one. The medication works within half an hour and about 4 hours. If I take one at 7 am, it works around 7.30, which means around 11.30 it wears off. I take the next one at 1 pm, that’s an hour and a half gap. The 1 pm tablet starts working around 1.30, wears of around 5.30 and I go to bed around 10 pm. That is an 4.5 hour gap. Does this mean I am only allowed to function at work and not at home. Wouldn’t it be more logical to take 3 tablets within 5 hours of each other, so 7 am, 12pm and according to leaflet the last tablet of the day needs to be taken within 4 hours after the other, so 4 pm, which leaves for 6 hours until going to bed and enough time to wear off before sleeping.

When I talk to my GP next week I am going to ask permission to try and figure out the dosage on my own (as in I will report back to her) but I want to know what twice a day 15mg would do or 3x a day 10 or 15 mg.

I want to figure out what the best dosage is with the most effect and the least side effects. I know I just started taking the tablets and it takes about a week for you notice the full effect, plus I need to be back on my regular schedule again and see how it goes at work.

And that’s another thing. Do I need to tell my boss I am taking Ritalin? They are opioids (or at least in my country they are classified as both opioids and medication). They are a stimulant, it comes with a clear warning about not taking alcohol when using and that they can have an affect on your responsiveness. (As in take care with driving and using heavy machinery).

Now I have stopped drinking last year, not that consumed loads of alcohol before, maybe two glasses of wine every 2-3 months but because alcohol or the numbing effects of alcohol is an easy way out while battling depression I stopped drinking all together and I don’t mind. I also don’t have a drivers license and I don’t use heavy machinery. So I am clear in that department.

Even though I am reading up on ADHD and Ritalin I still have many questions, also when googling the information I land on a lot of sites promoting the abuse of Ritalin as a party drugs. Why? Why would you do such a thing. Do you think I am happy I need meds to function properly? Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for my diagnoses and grateful the meds are available and might make it easier for me to preform my daily tasks, but I still wish I didn’t need them.

It took me a couple of years to accept that I might have ADD/ADHD and that I might needed the medication. I was so afraid (and still am a bit) it might alter who I am. That I might loose the essence of me and that it might be subdued by the meds. That I might have to go through life as a zombie.

But last year I finally came to terms with it and asked for help and accepted it as well. Although the moment I went to my GP and she told me I could start Ritalin that very day caused a lot of panic. (Seriously I have such a hard time coping with unexpected events, I need stability). I was so set on getting a new referral and having to wait another couple of months, giving me some time to get used to the idea. I freaked out and that evening I didn’t sleep at all. As I decided I would take the tablets at 7 am and my alarm went off the next morning I was shaking as a leaf. For those of you who have ADD/ADHD my brain basically went into super overdrive and I almost cried taking that first pill.

I kinda miss these experiences online, people taking about it, what it’s like, how they feel and that is one of the reasons I am writing this. To tell other people it’s ok to be scared, to feel insecure about medication and to doubt. Although I sometimes wish I wasn’t a social worker and used to reflect on myself, my feelings and actions. It is sometimes tiring, and it turns you into your own worst enemy.

I am also coming to terms I have ADHD instead of ADD. ADD and ADHD presents different in men and women, and most studies are based on men, which means a lot of women are going through life undiagnosed.

People who know me and know something about ADD/ADHD wouldn’t say I have ADHD. Because the image most people have about people with ADHD is bouncing of the walls, talking as fast as one of the Gilmore Girls, failing life, basically an energy bunny on steroids.

I learnt different coping mechanisms over the years so I can hide a lot of my symptoms. This in order to function as an adult and keep a job. But I do fidget a lot, can’t sit still for longer periods of time and I find excuses to get up during a meeting and walk around. It won’t be noticeable for a lot of people only if you pay close attention and I know it, cause it drives me crazy.

But I always thought I had ADD instead of ADHD, for some reason ADHD sounds worse? Which is crazy, but that is society for you. It is the same that we still don’t openly talk about depression the same as a broken leg. It’s the same we still have skinny as fuck models walking on the runway instead of healthy sized people. Society is a huge influence on how we think and act and although I reflect a lot on my own thinking, it’s hard to change those patterns that have imprinted on your life overnight.

Luckily I have some close friends I can talk to and a very loving mum who understands what I am going through. Turns out my mum has the same symptoms and we suspect my gran to have had ADD/ADHD as well. Yay for genetics.

Thanks for reading, love Jamie.