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Old 04-24-11, 09:42 PM
ILoveChaos ILoveChaos is offline

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Midwest
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In med school and no I didn't try to get diagnosed with ADHD just to help me study.

Hello, My name is Brett and I am currently in my first year of medical school. I'm expecting a decent amount of backlash for posting on here because all of my life I've been told that ADHD means you can't concentrate and you do poorly in school. So with that being said here is my story:

As a child I was really interested in anything outdoors and you could usually finding me off in the distance walking down a creek and chasing after animals. I was constantly climbing, jumping, exploring, and riding my bike all over the neighborhood. It was more common for me to be by myself than with other kids. I was placed in advanced classes after kindergarten and was luckily taught with a very interactive style of teaching. I can't say that I paid much attention most the time but I seemed to excel at school

In middle school and high school I stayed on that track and continued to do well in just about every subject compared to those around me. I graduated 20th in my class of about 345 students from a public high school (I'm sure I wouldn't have done as well in another state or in a private school).

I applied to one college, got a partial scholarship and again did fairly well without every really having to put any effort into anything. I was constantly called lazy by everyone around me (including family and teachers) for not being able to complete tasks or apply myself fully. It took me 5 years to graduate and I did so with a pretty good GPA and ended up taking the MCAT (like the ACT but for med school) and did pretty well and now here I am almost at the end of my first year.

This is where my story really begins. About 3 months ago I ran into some major obstacles. My social interactions were deteriorating, I started feeling extremely depressed, (I had been treated for depression previous to this but went off of the meds because of the terrible side effects) and I found that I couldn't focus enough to perform well in school. I immediately thought to myself, "Well, this sucks but the depression seems to be coming back and I better take care of it before I flunk out of school". I had previously been trying to control what I thought was depression with diet, exercise, and cognitive behavioral therapy (basically stopping dark or negative thoughts when they first come to mind). When I went to the first behavioral health specialist we talked through some things and he ended up putting me on Welbutrin (An atypical antidepressant sometimes used in treatment of ADHD) because of my disdain for SSRIs. Part of the school policy was that whenever anyone stated they were depressed they were to be referred to the school Psychiatrist. I met with him and we discussed the depression and went way over on time trying to figure out what was going on. He asked all the questions I was used to about depression and then he started asking me questions about social interactions and about my study environments. At the second meeting he had me take one of those surveys that is used to diagnose ADHD (Or at least put you on the right track). I answered it as honestly and objectively as I could. I ended up being placed in the 90th percentile for ADHD based on my answers. He suggested starting a stimulant and prescribed Ritalin.

I am now about a week into using the Ritalin and while I was expecting my focus to improve I had no idea how many other aspects of my daily life has started to change. I went from having constant racing thoughts to being able to focus on one thing. For the first time in my life I sat completely still for an hour reading notes (Something I had never done before in my life and I'm not exaggerating). The constant angst I'm used to feeling when I sit for more than 20 minutes has also improved.

While the meds have definitely helped I have to say that the one thing that has been the most profound is this: The knowledge that my brain doesn't work the same way as most other people. I'll elaborate with a few examples:

1) One of my major presentations has been that of hypersensitivity. I did not know that it wasn't normal to react to every whisper, squeak, cough, or shuffle. I've also always had issues with people touching me. One finger on my shoulder was enough to cause me to whip my head around on reflex to see what was going on. I was also under the impression that everybody constantly looked around a room observing others and I couldn't understand why I got so bored during group conversations.

2) I hyperfocus or "zoneout" on an almost regular basis. I will be driving with the intent of going to the grocery store on my way home from school and then I'll start thinking about something else. Before I know it I'm home and I completely forgot to turn to go to the grocery store. I would also spend hours upon hours upon hours playing video games and my mother would have to yell at me or get in my way of the tv before I would respond (Not because I didn't want to but because I had no idea she was there).

I'm really skeptical about how quickly things have been changing and I'm hoping that the meds continue to work. I'm not going to ask for any special accommodations from my school and plan on keeping this private from all but some closer friends.

So there is my long and drawn out story. I was hoping to stop people from being too skeptical by including a lot of information. I'll welcome any questions and address any skepticism and if anyone wants tips on studying with ADHD while not on meds I have a wealth of knowledge born from years and years of trying to find things that worked for me.
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The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to ILoveChaos For This Useful Post:
ana futura (04-06-12), demuregeek (04-18-12), Dizfriz (04-25-11), helena92 (08-23-11), Megan288 (04-18-12), Retromancer (04-01-12), salleh (05-05-12)


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