“Get your shoes on, we’re off to Whitby for tea” – my journey with ADHD medication

Lockdown for me, like many, was a challenge.  My ADHD doesn’t like being told I can’t do things, go places, restrict myself.  I ploughed into work and attempted to get lost in some longstanding projects.  It wasn’t long before I recognised the signs of depression knocking on the door.  At first it peeked round, sniffed a bit then withdrew, but then became more intent on staying (uninvited and rude).  The usual coping strategies were having a minimal effect and so for the first time I contacted my Psychiatrist to discuss medication.

There are many different brands and types of medication to assist with ADHD, I chose Concertia XL.  This is a slow release amphetamine.  Yes that’s right, amphetamine for the person who is hyperactive…sounds crazy but actually it’s effects are rather brilliant.

I have always and will continue to support personal choice.  There is a huge social debate on whether we should use chemicals to change our behaviour and should it not be more about acceptance and true inclusion.

My personal view was, and still is, that life is for living, thriving and being the best version of me.  If chemicals help me to do that, to live that life, then that’s me sold.  I know lots of others who are ADHD and wouldn’t consider meds, again personal choice, it’s all good.

My health is good, I’m fit and my mental health is awesome.  I don’t take it at weekends and my son loves the fact that I’ve stopped saying “Right, get your shoes on, we’re going to Whitby for fish and chips!” or similar spontaneous disruptions to his routine. 

Work wise, and this is relevant to my job, it has enabled me to sit for longer periods of time and concentrate on tasks which are less than stimulating.  My work is more organised, I don’t feel overwhelmed with information and its helping with decision making.  The most interesting element for me is that I can still feel the urges, impulses, emotional reactions but they don’t get through.  There is a calmness, like a big brother, looking out for the best course of action.

The learning for organisations is that if you have a member of staff who is or gets a diagnosis for ADHD, the titration period (the bit that gets the levels and type right) can take a while.  Combine it with quality Neurodiversity workplace strategy coaching (thank you to make the most of their ability to focus and listen.

Medication is not for everyone, there will always be those that do not benefit from taking it.  My journey has been a positive learning experience but for others, maybe not so much.  I’ll continue with my medication whilst I still feel the benefits but in the meantime we will still go to Whitby for tea, but perhaps I’ll plan it a week in advance.