On the one hand, I want to respect the right of each individual to select their own mental health/ADHD treatment, and make their own choices. I think that’s very important. I do also understand that medication isn’t necessarily a hole-in-one for everyone who tries it, even though it is the most effective treatment for the most people with ADHD. And of course, medication can come with side-effects, which can be more or less tolerable, depending on the person and the side-effect. Treatment of any kind isn’t guaranteed to work.
That said for the most part (there are, of course, exceptions), the people I know with ADHD, who don’t take medication, have pretty stressful lives. And it’s easy not to notice the impact your choices may have on other people, when you are struggling to keep up with yourself.
Some of the folks I refer to have been diagnosed, and by professionals whose opinions I feel are as sound could be expected in the weird world of psychology and psychiatry. Some of the folks I refer to aren’t diagnosed, but I’m taking what I feel is a pretty good guess that their notable, obvious impulsivity and lack of boundaries suggest possible ADHD involvement. Some of them are self-described as “probably” having ADHD.
But of course – I’m not speaking science here, I’m speaking anecdote. I’m a blogger, not a researcher. I’m speaking opinion – because I’m not actually arrogant enough to think that my generalizations are more than they are. But at this point, when I hear people say things like “oh yeah, I used to take medication for that!” or “I don’t need meds because alcohol helps me relax” or “I stopped eating gluten and it cured my ADHD” or “ADHD doesn’t exist, they’re just oppressing the children!” or “My ex-wife said she thought I might have ADHD, but I totally don’t!” or any number of other completely mind-blowing denial statements that I’ve heard…my reaction doesn’t have to be scientific. When I’m on the receiving end of inappropriate, invasive, toxic behavior choices from folks who say things like this, and who CLEARLY have no clue about their behavior (and that their behavior should be embarrassing enough for them to just stop doing it)…when I am on the receiving end of an addict’s ridiculous behavior and I know that they have knowingly rejected mental health treatment…when I am receiving repeated harassment from a fellow volunteer on a community project who is repeatedly insulting to other people (including myself) on the project and yet rarely follows through on their own portion…when you show up at my place of business drunk…when you try to blame your actions on others, because you apparently cannot own the responsibility…when you make stuff up to fill in the holes…when you refuse to read any actual information about the mental health issues you may be experiencing…I am SO DONE.
I really am.
Y’all can choose “natural remedies” and explain away the science that indicates what will actually help most of us. You can exercise instead of going to therapy. Go nuts with supplements and yoga, please. It’s certainly not going to make the situation worse. Meditation, fabulous, personally, I can’t stand it, but some people loooove it and get some benefit from it. Choose nothing, if that’s what appeals to you. But I also have the freedom and the right to choose to remove you from my life. Permanently. With no regrets. If I happen to decide that what you are doing to me is toxic. I might tell you why – but it’s more likely that I’ll just disappear, because I’m tired of your exhausting, bullshit behavior. I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t deserve it. I don’t have to put up with it.
I know that until I tried medication, specifically, I literally did not have the capacity to understand the concept of focus, and everything that can mean. I did not know what it was like to be able to shut insistent impulses off. I did not know what it might be like to experience peace. I also didn’t understand how eccentric some of my behavior might appear.
I did tell my therapist years ago that even if I never took another dose of medication, I was grateful for having tried it, because it opened up whole concepts to me that I had no ability to access otherwise. Of course, I continue to take medication…because I’ve tried life with it, and I’ve tried life without it. I’m kind of an asshole when I don’t take it, frankly. And…apparently I’m not alone, judging from some of the behaviors I’ve been on the receiving end of, recently.
If you’re going to choose a treatment program of some kind that doesn’t involve medication, you’d better have a really supernatural ability to adhere to that program. Results, indeed, may vary. Different meds may impact different people. But if you choose to live in total denial, I don’t have to have anything to do with you. Good luck. Life is hard enough without a wagon full of self-centered jackholes. I need to lighten my load.