Goodbye old me? Starting medication...

Hey Tribe,

Soooooo…I’m 30 years old, female, living in Canada.
I was just ‘officially’ diagnosed last month and prescribed meds.

It’s been an emotional rollercoaster.
I watch myself (and sometimes journal/track my progress) when I’m on meds and working - I’m super productive. I feel like I’m digging my business out of the grave it fell into in these past 8 months.

I’m really grateful for how the meds are supporting me but then, when they fade I catch myself feeling really sad for the fact that I’ve lived my whole life without them and I want to still value who I am without the meds.
Brings up tears to think about.

I can see that they are really helping me in many aspects from work to fitness to relationships. Though I can’t help but feel some grief.
I’m afraid of the change - there’s so much online that scares me when I read people’s testimonials of the addictive qualities of these meds and how coming off them can be horrific…and how they loose connection to their soul/deeper parts of themselves.

Can anyone here relate?

How have you come to terms with your need for medication?

I’m grateful for the ability to post here – I think I just needed to voice that.


Very good idea!!

There is a lot of stigma around that

Welcome to the How To ADHD Tribe!!!

Best Regards


I felt sad that i will never know what life might have been had I been diagnosed and had access to medications before my late 30’s.

Always try to remember that medication is a tool. It’s not who you are or any sort of measuring stick to make comparisons between good and evil or any other thing the world can come up with.

It is a tool that changes the activity of neurotransmitters in your brain. That’s is primary function its why its prescribed to you.

Anything else is a secondary function or side effect call it either one that makes you happy.

Yes they can be addictive. And some people have a rough time stopping use of ADHD medications. That’s why the lowest dose possible to get the best results.

With the loss of connection with ones self I can’t comment really. What I can say is that I am not sure I actually had the ability to fully know and understand myself before I was diagnosed and had my meds sorted.

Learning about ADHD gave me better understanding and clarity on why and how I did things. And the meds gave me a chance to learn about and get to know myself without the huge mental load that daily life with ADHD can come with.

I read that quite a bit from people saying that they want to still be or value or what ever way they frame it "the person they are/where before medication.

In my mind they are the same person. What changes with the adjustment of brain chemicals is 1 of 2 things or maybe both. These are just my ideas not any sort of fact or researched Information.

  1. The expression of that personality. The reason I say that is your actions and decisions are still being informed by a whole life of experiences and learning. Its just how an adjusted brain communicates that to the outside world.

  2. The comprehension of that personality or any other incoming information . Same as above .



First of all . . . WELCOME!

Many years ago when my 4 yr. old son was started on Ritalin my wife and I saw how much they (the meds) helped him to be less hyperactive and better able to pay attention in school. And when he had “drug holidays” (a ridiculous term) on week-ends, he’d become more like his “old self”! A first that confused and upset me. I’d ask my wife: “Which one is my son . . . on meds? or off?” Truth is that they were both the same person. The medication . . . and tutoring (to give him a “different” way to learn how to read) . . . etc. enabled him to succeed in school. Now he’s 43 and doing just fine.

Without the meds you are still “you”! Perhaps without the meds you display different skills. For me (74 and ADHD) I was more creative, especially as the class clown. I could more easily come with “one-liners” (jokes, puns, and just “silly stuff” . . . which also got me in trouble in school (and later at work).

It is natural to grieve a little, and “regret” not getting the help that you could have benefitted from all these years . . . But, now that you have . . . Give yourself a break . . . remember to be kind to yourself . . . Give it time!


Mmmmm… thank you @vh0622, @Brooklyn, @AMAK

I really appreciate your thoughtful feedback.
It feels really supportive to have a space to express some of what I’ve been experiencing – I’d like to share a little…

Its been a scary ride.
I’ve had support here from my partner (who was diagnosed 2 years ago at age 38). He offered me some of his Dexedrine, which I used in an 'independent trial, if you will.
When I finally met with my doctor he said “So, you tried dexedrine and felt like a normal human?”
…felt like a normal human…
those words are still echoing in me.

Big questions have been coming up within me such as –
“Do I need medication, or can I make adjustments in my lifestyle that allow me to be how I most naturally am and thrive?”
“Why am I choosing to succumb to the pace of our cultural norms if ‘keeping up’ requires me to medicate?”

…yet, of course, when I’m real with myself, I do see that the symptoms extend far beyond productivity and time management…

I can see how deeply my brain chemistry has effected my relationships throughout my life in regards to emotional dysregulation and impulse control. This ‘way of being’ has really taken a toll in so many ways and I’m finding it difficult to communicate or feel understood by my family who have experienced ‘my way’ for so long.
I’ve felt ostracized, judged and blamed for so long for being ‘too emotional’, ‘too sensitive’, ‘unmotivated’, ‘lazy’, ‘the problem child’ etc etc…
I can see how much this has affected my self-esteem and confidence. I’m highly skilled and have a lot to offer my community yet haven’t really taken flight fully.
I’m hopeful that this is a turning point for me and that things will get better.

When I decided to try meds for the first time last month, my mother was wildly opposed to the idea and showed up at my house with a huge basket of supplements such as fish oil, magnesium, homeopathic remedies etc. Bless her heart. I see that it all comes from love…and, it kinda hurts to not feel understood or to have the belief that dietary supplements will be ‘enough’ to help me where I’m at.
Of course, thats all important - diet, exercise, mindset work…
and, it feels really supportive to have found an online community that understands firsthand the experience and real need for meds.

Perhaps it will be a short-terms fix to help me as I feel as though I’m currently drowning in the compounded effects of having lived my whole life undiagnosed.

Do any of you feel inspired to speak to the experience of stopping meds because you feel like things are going well… and then crashing again? (I feel this happened last week).

Anyways, a long share -
thank you for the space.


We are always here if you need me just @me and I will come and check out what you need.

What’s normal LOL normal does not exist

I suggest try meditating. It works for me, I always meditate on test days, important events, times when there will be a lot of people. I don’t meditate every day for school because I go to a private school so there is not enough people to make me overwhelmed.

We all hope for you!!!

Does your mother not like the idea of medications like “It can turn you into a zombie”

Your in the right place but meds don’t work for everyone and you might also need multiple kinds of treatment

also my adhd is making me type this as I’m typing something else lol :slight_smile:


I believe that is already happening . . . :sunglasses:


I agree


Omg, I feel you. Most of what you said resonates with me, from the living so many years undiagnosed(47), the emotional dysregulation and impulse control, finding it difficult to communicate and be understood by my family, feeling ostracized, judged, blamed, too emotional, too sensitive, unmotivated, lazy… and for me personally, the feeling of hopelessness, loneliness. I felt like I had so much to give and so much potential and was so frustrated that I couldn’t harness it, couldn’t find the motivation and focus to do something great with my life. I’m almost crying as I write this…
You. are. not. alone.
I was soo wary of trying the meds. I saw a lot of horror stories as I was doing research. As a matter of fact, the day before my appt with my doc to talk about meds, the hubby and I inadvertently watched “Take Your Pills” on Netflix not knowing it was about ADHD meds!
I still have mild worries about it and it’s only been a month on Vyvanse.
The reasons I decided to try meds are because I HAD to do something to help myself. There was no one else who could do it. I was miserable and making everyone else in my life miserable. My emotions were so out of whack that I could see that I was driving my loved ones away from me but didn’t know how to stop it and the anguish I felt was unbearable. I got to the point of literally packing a bag and thinking of admitting myself to the pysch ward of my hospital just to find help.
That was my turning point, that’s when I realized that trying meds couldn’t possibly be worse than what I was going through. I felt that I could always wean off of the drugs if I don’t like how they make me feel and I know that it may take trying a few different ones before finding one that works. I know that if I choose not to go with meds that I can always look at more homeopathic methods that others have mentioned. I also know that talking with a counselor/therapist/psychologist who knows about ADHD is important(even if it’s expensive). She is currently helping me develop healthy boundaries.

So far the effects of the meds are quite mild and I may actually have to think about a stronger dose or something different. The side effects are noticeable but I can work with dehydration, slightly higher heart rate and mild sleeplessness as opposed to everything I was experiencing before.

I apologize if that was a bit of ‘over-sharing’ and lengthy.
I hope this helps you and I hope that you find a path that best works for you.
:pray: :hugs:

P.S- I never felt like I was normal, even as a child. The more I learn about my ADD brain and the more I understand how it sees things and processes things, the better and more confident I feel about myself. Like I have tiny superpowers that only a few other people would understand and appreciate :wink:


Hey @lovetheoutdoors

Thanks so much for your reply.
These have been busy days, but I did take in your message soon after you wrote it and its been echoing in me with a really lovely tune of solidarity and connection. I’m grateful for that. Thank you.

“My emotions were so out of whack that I could see that I was driving my loved ones away from me but didn’t know how to stop it and the anguish I felt was unbearable.”

^^ I really feel that. Thank you for sharing. Its been a tough road.

I’m not sure if I have much in me now to respond with. I just wanted to express my gratitude.

I’ve been dabbing into meds but not full-on every day.

My doctor (with very little questioning) prescribed me 30mgs/day and that was insane.
I’m self-mediating and adjusting as I need. These days 5mgs is enough to get me going and stay focused so I’m letting it play out and am observing how this all works for me and my body.

Ultimately it is really sweet to have this space to connect in.

Thank you again.

I hope your journey with your meds is going well thus far.


I resisted medication until I was in my 40s. The psychiatrist that talked me into it did so with the following argument: “I understand what you mean when you say I AM ADHD and I agree, it’s a big part of who you are and provides a lot of benefits. But can we agree that it does have a few downsides that make your life harder? (I agreed) What if I told you we could treat only those parts of the ADHD that disrupt your life, but leave the rest of it alone? Meaning, we don’t want to “cure” you of ADHD, that’s not the goal. We’re trying to treat only those things that are detrimental.”

I had never thought about it like that. The meds didn’t change who I was, and didn’t take away my ADHD. I love having ADHD but he was right… there are certainly some things about it that are annoying, depressing, hurt my career and relationships. I had never thought of treating just the bad parts, and leaving the good alone. And he was right. I started on low doses, saw what he meant, then increased the doses. Wow, what a difference. A lot of the negative parts of ADHD were much more manageable and if anything, I think that actually enhanced the good parts of the ADHD. I’m even smarter now, come up with even crazier solutions to impossible problems. After starting the meds my career almost immediately took off. I am my companies fireman. If there’s an impossible problem that no-one can figure out, if it’s an emergency with a deadline there’s no way to meet, even if I have no experience in the thing that needs fixing, they call me, and I fix it. I’m considered a miricle worker. And now that I’m more comfortable with who I am I just tell them plainly “It’s the ADHD!” everyone knows I have it, and everyone knows that’s why I’m good at certain crazy things they are not good at… but I’m conversely terrible at menial repetitive tasks. So my boss knows how to use me effectively. She actually expressed interest in specifically seeking out and hiring more people with ADHD, she wanted a whole team of me. I told her that was a terrible idea… lol… we’d never get anything done. She needs a couple of ADHD folks to figure out problems, and then a team of regular folks to take over doing the things we figure out because we’ll lose interest in a few hours. LOL



Welcome to the HowToADHD forums @Charlie_Mopps!

Thanks for sharing about your ADHD journey. Yes, ADHD comes with benefits, and I think that it’s great that your work recognizes that in you!

I’m 45, just got diagnosed a couple of months ago. (I’ve known over half my life that I had problems with attention, procrastination, time management, etc, but didn’t suspect that I had ADHD until recently.) I’ve been on medication for just a few weeks, and it makes a difference… Not a huge difference in my case, but enough that I can focus on my work.

I worked tech support for a few years and my customers considered me to be a miracle worker (I was a whiz at researching tech issues, and I’d gotten to know all the key people on the various IT teams so I could quickly escalate issues).

  • Between the short completion time of the mundane issues, the novelty of the other issues, and my internal drive to help people, the work catered to my ADHD.

Now I work on one of those other higher-level teams, with job duties that include project work, and the ADHD meds definitely helps me to sustain focus, be less distractible, and be able to remember to do things.

  • I’m still learning the ins and outs of the software I’m responsible for, but look forward to when I can do the more novel things that attracted me to the job (I’m interested in UX Design). I’d like to get back to “miracle worker” status again!

THIS! I always knew my brain worked differently, and arrogantly I felt it worked better. Add that to the typical ADHD symptoms doesn’t give one a very healthy outlook on life. I was always taught to believe I was exceptional, and in some ways perhaps I am, but I never did live up to the expectations one might have for an exceptional person. That’s not to say I haven’t done well for myself, but in some ways maybe I didn’t have to work as hard, and I know for sure I have built my own coping mechanisms, albeit subconsciously, for many of my daily challenges.

While it’s nice to have a diagnosis to explain so much of why my life has been the way it has been for 40+ years, I know most of the world (myself included prior to doing the research), likely misunderstand this condition. While I know research (as Jessica’s videos demonstrate) offer a lot of explanations, to the non-believers they probably come across as excuses. I love the use of analogies, but people far too often think of the world as black and white, not shades of grey, so when others can relate to some or many of the symptoms, even though they are less severe, they are likely to give the typical response of “well everybody has a little bit of ADHD”.

I can’t control what others believe. I can only offer resources to try to help them understand. At the end of the day all that I can control is if I believe I have ADHD and to determine what the next steps are.

Life is a journey. For many self-improvement is part of that. If all your life you were obese because of a genetic condition, that could be cured with a pill, would you do it? Does it mean you are not the same person you were without the medication?

That one might be easier to accept because its a physical trait and we are led to believe its only inner-beauty that matters.

Let’s say the world is predominantly neuro-typical. That likely means the rules, laws and morals we abide to were put in place by people who think differently than we do. What if ADHD brains “ruled the world”. Perhaps being late would then be considered the norm, and polite. Maybe NOT being able to procrastinate would somehow cause problems. Who knows? This is a little far fetched, but the point is the world generally works in a way that doesn’t favor the ADHD brain in many ways.

Most people are here and want to be a better version of themselves. If the meds are helping you become that, I think that’s GREAT. I was only recently diagnosed and meds are not working yet, so honestly I am jealous. I know there are personality traits I have struggled with throughout my life, and simply accepted many of them as “just who I am”. Life has been a constant struggle of finding/re-inventing a better version of me (yay, perfectionism). With ADHD I feel like I will always be on that path. Maybe the meds will help me to focus on the more difficult challenges I have had, and maybe even help me be a little more content with who I am.

Maybe the feelings are part of coming off some “high” you are experiencing as a side effect of the meds. If so I would personally be concerned.

If the meds are helping, perhaps you need to let go of some of the guilt associated with taking them?