Truth Bomb: Never, ever, in my entire (relatively short) existence have I met a millennial who hasn’t been touched in some way by Lady Adderall (or her sisters Lady Vyvance, Lady Ritalin and Lady Dexedrine).
Most of us have had uh “hands-on experience” with the drug. Whether it’s been off-label use or doctor prescribed, it’s rare to be one of the elect youngins’ who hasn’t popped a pretty-blue-pill into your pretty-chapped-lips.
I’ve written about my experience with the drug, but hey, babe. My experience is merely my experience, and this is a platform for all of you dirty beauties surviving and thriving in this big, bad world of ours.
So a week or so ago, I put some ~feelers~ out on social media. I asked you all to spill the medical tea and share with the Dirty Beauty your own experiences with the bitch we love to hate and that we love, Adderall.
And naturally, you smart AF bitches delivered. Quickly. (And I’m so grateful).
Before we get down and dirty let me insert a good ole’ Disclaimer: If you are prescribed Adderall and it works for you, that’s great! I’m not a doctor nor are ANY of the dirty beauties who contributed to this article. These are just the ~thoughts~ and ~feelings~ of all real, flawed millennials. (But you knew that right?)
So. Before I rant the day away, I’m going to shut the f*ck up and hand the proverbial mic over to the ten lovely millennials who were kind enough to confess their prescription speed secrets with us.
Important to Note: SOME* names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.
Adderall as treatment for depression?
“Basically, I am in no way diagnosed with ADHD, but I WAS prescribed Adderall for my depression. It was basically the only thing that got me out of bed in the morning, for a little while.
The initial doctor STARTED ME OFF on 30mg in the morning, which I think was a bit excessive. My close friends told me I had become kind of nasty/short tempered, and I definitely caught myself clenching my jaw a lot. I changed doctors (for unrelated reasons), and I went down to 20mg, and eventually 20mg extended-release. It kinda just stopped helping after a while, quit giving me the burst of energy that made the depression seem less physically draining.
Of course, I then did the thing I am best at, and that was cold turkey quit all my meds against the direction of my psychiatrist, just because I was too depressed to bother taking them every day? Counterintuitive, I know. Now I’m off ALL of the meds I’d been taking for years and years (on and off) and am taking a new med I honestly don’t know much about, (venlafaxine, have you dabbled?) because hey, can’t get much worse, right? I recently got a wild hair up my ass that I’d never been properly diagnosed with anything, and did a SIX HOUR psych evaluation with this AMAZING therapist I really clicked with, who inspired me to ACTUALLY AND FINALLY get to working on my childhood trauma, but that’s a story for another time, once I’ve done it, I think. Point is, she told me I’m definitely not ADD or ADHD, so that brings us back to the fact that I probably don’t REALLY need speed, even if sometimes it gives me the mental/emotional energy to work/get through the day.”
We found a unicorn! She’s never ever tried it!
“There are a few reasons why I have never taken Adderall. For one, I have SVT (supraventricular tachycardia), which means an electrical node in my heart short circuits sometimes, causing me to have a scarily fast heartbeat. I can’t have any kind of stimulants — I’m technically not even allowed to have caffeine or decongestants! — so Adderall is fully out of the question. But even if I didn’t have SVT, I wouldn’t take Adderall. I’m naturally a very focused person, and I’ve never felt like I needed help concentrating on whatever it is I’m doing. Sure, sometimes I can get a little distracted if I’m doing something I don’t want to do, but the digression never makes me veer that far off-track and I can easily reel myself in. I’ve also seen the negative ways Adderall has impacted people I know who have ADD. I’ve witnessed addictions develop, personalities change — a whole bunch of frightening side-effects.
My thoughts on Adderall are complicated, but they definitely lean negative. I would never, ever consider using it at parties. Besides the fact that my heart would explode, recreational drug use in general, especially if it’s a real medication, isn’t my thing. The thought of “losing control” or being anyone other than myself, even a more hyper, happier version like I’d be on Adderall, does not sound exciting to me; it sounds terrifying. But I recognize some people enjoy that feeling. I just don’t. Also, in college, I used to get frustrated at people who would take Adderall to do schoolwork. Some of those people had ADD, which made it more okay, but a lot of people didn’t — and a lot of them lied to their doctors about “having ADD” just so they could get an Adderall prescription. To me, taking Adderall to do schoolwork when you didn’t genuinely have ADD was bullshit and borderline cheating. I’m probably in the minority, though, and I recognize that I likely feel this way because I was able to succeed academically without any help. I’m sure someone who struggled to get by with Cs would feel differently about trying a pill that promised them superhuman focus and intelligence.
So, overall: I see why people like Adderall, but it just isn’t and will never be for me.”
The limitless pill with a side of extreme anxiety.
“Adderall, the miracle drug I’m prescribed for a childhood ADHD disorder which I’ve surely outgrown. My love/hate relationship with Adderall began when I walked into the doctor’s office and within 15 minutes of the meeting him and giving him a summarized 5-minute story of my life, he gives me a script for exactly what I suggested that I needed. From his facial expressions, I could tell I went into far too much detail of what I was feeling and he just wanted to get me out and move on to the next patient (customer). The moment I popped that magic pill I felt like the Bradley Cooper in the film Limitless. Every task I undertook felt so effortless like I was gliding through tasks and my thoughts were afterthoughts. Everything feels so great, until it doesn’t, and I can definitely feel when my mind makes that switch. I start making mistakes and the mistakes are giving me anxiety and the anxiety is making me have more mistakes. It’s the worst feeling and I always think to myself, I will never do this again! I would rather put in the extra effort than to have this terrible downward spiral crash. Then a week goes by and I think, maybe if I just take half a pill this time, things will be different. Or if I chase the anxiety with a Xanax or a glass of wine, it will even everything out.
I’ve finally accepted that I would rather not use my Adderall. I still fill my prescriptions monthly, and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s for the nights I don’t feel social or for times that I don’t want to think and just want to glide through, but one thing is for sure: No matter how little of a bite I take, there is still a wave of anxiety that is inevitable.”
Weight gain sucks, feeling human is everything.
“I went off Adderall officially for the first time in seven years, last year. I always felt like it made me a person who was unable to roll with the punches. It took away my ability to think creatively and left me like an exposed nerve — extremely volatile and susceptible to extreme emotional highs and lows. Worst part about going off it was gaining weight. Best part was regaining my ability to feel human during the week.”
Breaking up with a toxic ex who resembles a pretty blue pill.
“My love affair with Adderall has been on and off since college. It started off as something to help me cram for papers for my Drama Crit class, to sneaking a few a week from my roommate because it turned the banality of school into a wondrous playground. And let me tell you, a cigarette never tasted sweeter than when that manufactured adrenaline gives you a tight squeeze.
It didn’t take long before it started taking bits of my soul in exchange for the fleeting spikes of euphoria. First, it was just a bit of anxiety here and there, nothing specific but occasionally my chest would get tingly or my heart would skip oddly, like when you go to take a step down some stairs and accidentally do three in one.
Then finally, it came to a head. I called an ambulance on myself because the left side of my face went completely numb and I was home alone and thought I was having a heart attack. Most of you know that once you have one full-blown panic attack, you spend the time after that questioning every single sensation that happens to your body and that fight-or-flight becomes a daily occurrence. I don’t think I ever connected it all together until this very moment but the anxiety and panic attacks I became riddled with for years started that very day.
It’s been over 5 years now since my body has felt consistently under attack and it took many therapists, 3am calls to my Dr. Father so he can assure me I’m not dying and years of mental training to be able to spot the difference between the tricks and the truth.
After all this time, that little blue pill, that embodies the darkness of a certain Brothers Grimm Mr. Stiltskin, has had a brief resurgence…But it didn’t last long. His promises, less enticing. The highs are less intoxicating. And the parts of me I was once willing to give up, are now what makes me who I am.
And you’ll have to pry them out of my cold, dead, manicured hands…”
Wicked ADHD & The Double Edge Sword, A Memoir
“For me, Adderall really helps me to focus. It allows me to escape from the rest of the world and escape into a specific place where I am able to complete a task. I have wicked ADD and when I take it, it curbs the effects of it. The downside of Adderall is that I can take advantage of it and abuse it. I sometimes will take it before a night out cause I know that I am able to drink more on it without feeling drunk. The next day is awful though, I feel tired, sick and unable to eat. Adderall really is a double edge sword.”
What happens in Vegas.
“I like the addy for ONLY coming back to life. So basically when I go to Vegas, because otherwise, I’ll waste my vacation away!”
Protect your inner spark.
“For the most part, I don’t remember my feelings of being on Adderall in the beginning. I was young and just trying to make it through the day. I was told I had too much energy and couldn’t focus. I think at the time I was confused; I thought that was just part of being a young, goofy, spirited kid…but then again, I was just a child so what did I know?
As I got older, my internal dialogue grew louder and the medication began to challenge my sense of self. My relationship with the small round blue pills I’d take before school began to change. They were no longer a secret weapon of success but a weapon of self-destruction.
I was diagnosed with ADHD in the fifth grade and put on Adderall soon after. I remember things got weird a few years later, around eighth grade. I began to crave coffee. A doctor later told us that it was my brain coming down from the Adderall and I was self-medicating. I didn’t fully process what he was telling me at the time so when they bumped up my dosage and told me to take a smaller second dose in the afternoon, I went along with it.
In preparation for the SATs, my dose was raised again. I remember this because I soon stopped eating altogether (until late at night) and friends started to say they saw a difference in who I was at school versus on the weekends. I knew it wasn’t normal. Nobody in my family was happy with the medication at this point but I needed to get into college. I think we all felt trapped.
Eventually, we found another medication called Vyvanse, a slow release medication that I had to take for two weeks before it worked and subdued my ADHD while letting me be myself. It was liberating.
Today, I have a mixed relationship with Adderall. After using Vyvanse, I can see a clear difference between being medicated and being on the right medication. I worry about children taking Adderall while they are gaining an identity. Each case is different, I know, so I can’t condemn every parent who puts their son or daughter on Adderall. I can, however, say that there are other options. It’s important to keep in mind that you want to do what’s best for your kid and that not only means giving them the tools to succeed but also the ability to keep their inner spark.“
The only time she’s ever felt awake…
“I’ve taken Adderall a few times either to party or to study. Every time I’ve taken it I LOVE IT. I’m always like “Wow, this is what it feels like to actually have energy. is this how normal people feel?” I’ve always suffered from chronic fatigue and the only times I’ve felt truly AWAKE have been on Adderall, unfortunate truth be told.”
It hurts so good.
“I like many of my peers have a love/hate relationship with Adderall. It really, really, really helps me to focus on menial tasks that I loathe doing. I do feel like it tampers with my creativity and personality (I’m SO NOT FUNNY when I’m on it) — however, I feel pressure to keep up with everyone else. The workplace is competitive and my co-workers who take it definitely have an extra edge on those who don’t. I constantly teeter between wanting to take it and never wanting to see it again.”