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  #1  
Old 01-17-10, 02:30 AM
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Not taking medication... self sabotaging?!

Hi All

I started taking adhd meds March 2009, and had weeks in between that I didn't take them because I felt like a medicine holiday, or just felt like not taking it... but eventually I would take it again.

But in late November 2009 I got a fantastic job offer, and I was required to undertake a medical and drug/alcohol test (mandatory in the mining industry) so I dropped my medication for over 2 weeks to try to get it out of my system as I didn't want them to use it against me. The drug & alcohol came back clear. I resigned from my previous job and was so happy that I got this job with better conditions.

Thing is, I got myself into that 'not taking medication' momentum or whatever and I haven’t taken my medication since then. Most days I simply ‘forget’, and others I think I’m ‘invincible’ or whatever that I don’t need them. I mean, I *know* it helps me so much, and I do know that Concerta has really helped me with a lot of achievements.


I never liked taking medication. Yes, everyone hates taking medication, and I’ve been told all the analogies about it... please don’t get offended but taking medication is cheating. I know if you have diabetes you take insulin and adhd is similar to that... but ^&*@

I’ve gotten myself into this viscious cycle, and I really don’t want to screw up this new job. It doesn’t seem as easy as ‘just take your medication’ because I’ve tried it. It seems like my mind is totally resisting it. Like I can’t bring the pill to my mouth.

Some days I want to bash my head against the wall (more than ever) because it’s so darn counter-productive. I already declared my medication to the company (mandatory declaration) so I have no idea why I’m self-sabotaging.

Sorry, I just needed to get this out there. Thanks.
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Old 01-17-10, 02:36 AM
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Re: Not taking medication... self sabotaging?!

I have suffered through many job losses in the event that if I am not on my meds as the job becomes more challanging as time goes on, it is difficult for me to remember important tasks as well as keep everything organized and sequential. You may find it helpful to take a different medication, or a adhd med in conjunction w/a beta-blocker (if the adhd med makes you anxious or jittery) many times a conjunction on meds can help more.
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Old 01-17-10, 04:24 AM
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Re: Not taking medication... self sabotaging?!

If you've been working at the job for months, and you're not failing to do the job, then I don't see where the problem is here?

If you can get by without taking the meds, as you are, then don't take them! Why should you?
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Old 01-17-10, 05:39 AM
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Re: Not taking medication... self sabotaging?!

Sorry, I didn't explain my situation very thoroughly.

First of all, I've only had 3 days at my new job (filled with inductions and paperwork, enough to bore anyone to tears). So I'm not going to judge how I'm going yet.

I guess when I stopped my meds I had hoped that the 'problems' would disappear and I wouldn't have the problems I had/have like inner restlessness, scatterdness, blinky working memory, impulsivity, etc. Yes, I can get along with the job without meds. But I use so much more energy trying to control things, and I really struggle with remembering things and making decisions. So yes I can cope without it, I have been my entire life. But it results in an instantaneous burn out.

Initially I tried to think positive about the entire situation and 'live out' being off meds. But friends who know I take medication have queried why I have been so restless, a lot more tiggery hyper, 'forgetful', blubber brained and full on with everything.

The medication makes me calm and less 'all over the store'. No probs with jitters, if anything I sleep like a log on it.

This conversation is good. Making me think more about what my brain is really about.

Thanks!
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Old 01-17-10, 06:23 AM
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Re: Not taking medication... self sabotaging?!

Hey Arwen!
I think I know where you are coming from,
for years I've tried not to "cheat" and not use medication.

Eventually I just found myself feeling allergic to life, ignoring my real problem.
I'd become hyper in some situations, jittery, forgetfull - and the worst part, there were many small things that would appear to trigger my ADHD.

Seeing my brain scans, a large part of my brain is reulctant to fully function - the only analogy that would come to mind is: A person in need of a wheel chair and not using it.
He can get along without it, but it would be much more difficult.

The only difference is, on some occasions I do feel normal, or "invincible" as you say - I can fully function, no forgetfulness and I am even calm. At these moments I convince myself that ADHD is something I invented.

I only recently accepted the fact I have ADHD. I knew it for years but never fully accepted it.

So if I have to cheat in order to control my dopamine stability, so be it.
It's not cheating if it makes me happy and if it isn't harming anyone else.

Hope this helps!
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Old 01-17-10, 11:01 AM
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Re: Not taking medication... self sabotaging?!

Hi Arwen, the question in the title of your post says a lot -- "self sabotaging?!"

You have been on meds for less than a year, so this seems like a normal thing to have happen.

It took me many years to finally realize that sure, I could go off Prozac if I wanted to, until I finally realized that I simply couldn't without very negative consequences of my illness returning.

The "I can go off meds anytime I want" is a mind game we all play at some time, especially early on in treatment.

At this point in my life I am so thankful to have meds that are helpful, I can't imagine wanting to go off them again.

But your original question is salient, and is perhaps worth seeing a therapist about. Lord knows I've done more than my share of self sabotaging in my life.
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Old 01-27-10, 05:15 AM
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Re: Not taking medication... self sabotaging?!

Thanks guys, I understand where Inertia is coming from, and I know it's the 'dopamine' thing.

I did explain to my psychiatrist and psychologist why I didn't want to take it, and they understand it. They wish I would just take the darn pills though, as one of the scariest things to my psychs is that I'm such a huge risk taker off medication. They said if not for myself, take it for the people around ya.

And they're right. I really should take it. And I'm so angry that I'm so selfish to not take a medication that will protect others from my crazy acts of impulsivity and recklessness. Guess it's just going to be a struggle.
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Old 01-27-10, 02:47 PM
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Re: Not taking medication... self sabotaging?!

Arwen, consider this...

I have cr@p eyesight. Really awful. I have bad distant vision and I have bad close vision. My drivers license says that I must be wearing corrective lenses when I drive, but I hate wearing them. I hate how they feel and I hate how distracting they are when I put them on.

Am I justified in driving without them?

I know you want to be off your meds. I understand that completely. Have you investigated if coaching combined with CBT and possibly dietary changes could help you to target getting off of them sensibly? I'd be happy to refer you to the literature available on that. Just PM me.
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Old 01-27-10, 03:19 PM
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Re: Not taking medication... self sabotaging?!

My suggestion is that you use diet and exercise in addition to your medication to soothe your mind. This may sound dumb and superstitious, but I've been looking in Ayurveda, which has three basic personality types, flighty and anxious, methodical and slow, fiery and reactive. They recommend that you balance your flighty/anxious tendencies by eating foods that are basically comfort foods (salty or sweet 'heavy' foods, and make sure to use fat/oils, avoid cold foods like salads, drink warm beverages rather than cold/carbonated ones).

Also, I find that in order to do something regularly I need to make it consistent and as easy as falling off a log. So keep your meds with you, set an alarm on your cell, and take them every day when the alarm goes off no matter what. I also use a pill organizer so I just pop open the top, drop them into my hand and take them without thinking about it.

You bet medication is cheating. I look at it like this: back in the day, nobody would have said OMG give Bobby medicine, he can't concentrate. I have social anxiety. Historically, that would have been a plus because I'd be the perfect female, super quiet and shy. Social anxiety wouldn't be a problem b/c it would be considered desirable or normal. But today, society wants people to be loud and outgoing. I will never be loud and outgoing. In order for me to have a job, I have to speak the loud and outgoing lingo, which is extremely stressful. Medication helps reduce the stress. It doesn't make me a different person, it makes it so I don't use other coping mechanisms which may be harmful. It reduces the stress to a level that I can deal with using normal coping methods because I am different but not wrong.
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Old 01-27-10, 05:52 PM
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Re: Not taking medication... self sabotaging?!

Funny I ran into this post. Today is the first day I haven't taken any meds since I started taking them daily about a month and a half ago. I'm on my first two day drug holiday.

I know that I've lost the thread of at least two conversations this morning. It's normal for me to completely check out when someone is talking directly to me, even if the person is standing right in front of me. I returned some keys to the wrong person. That got chuckles. I made a whole classroom full of people wait for a few minutes because of another act of absentmindedness. Mostly, I'm hiding in my office. I feel less social in general. I don't know why people would want to talk with me when my mind is busy thinking a hundred unrelated thoughts.

In some ways, it feels really good. I'm not having any headaches or rebounds. I feel like my old self. I'm really alive with cool random thoughts. Work feels pretty good since I'm not remembering what I'm supposed to be doing right now anyway.
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Old 01-27-10, 07:00 PM
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Re: Not taking medication... self sabotaging?!

When I saw the title, it reminded me very much of myself! I have run into this problem a lot, not taking my medication, thinking that I SHOULD be able to go without it. It's a cycle with me, I'll go on my holidays, go off of it, then try again, then go off of it, mess up a little, then try again... I wonder if it is a form of self-sabotage. I cant' understand it. I'm considering getting consistent about taking it, and doing what I have to do. Because I try to work around it by drinking coffee and stuff, but that is not nearly as effective. I don't know what it's all about, but I just wanted you to know that there are other people out there feeling the same thing!
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Old 01-27-10, 08:56 PM
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Re: Not taking medication... self sabotaging?!

Hi Arwen, your words -
"But I use so much more energy trying to control things, and I really struggle with remembering things and making decisions. So yes I can cope without it, I have been my entire life. But it results in an instantaneous burn out."

These words above are all you really need to know IMO, genetics have a huge impact on all life forms functioning (plus 60%). You know you are burning more mental energy in the work tasks you do as compared to the average folks. When you take medication the chemicals 'normalize' your energy expenditure. What is not to like about that fact.

Come on, if something works for you, then stick to it. If something stops working for you, then drop it and attempt finding an alternative. There is no guilt, shame, embarrassment etc in using something that works for you, whether its a walking stick, glasses, plaster caste, a glass or two of wine a night, blood pressure meds or other meds.

Obviously you know that your medication works for you. Bashing your head against a wall probably does too, but which would you really prefer and which is more effective? Be scientific about this. Don't bring the baggage of what other may think into it. cheers.
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Old 01-28-10, 01:14 AM
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Re: Not taking medication... self sabotaging?!

I'm unclear as to if you are saying you are self-sabotaging for reasons unknown to you, or that you really don't like taking drugs.

If its the former, keep talking here, since you said it helps a bit, and try keeping a journal, if you don't already? You're the only one who can find out, so good luck, since I know how hard that can be!

If the latter, have you tried to replace the drugs with other things such as Stings suggested?

Congrats on your new job, I hope that you'll be happy there.
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Old 01-31-10, 02:44 AM
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Re: Not taking medication... self sabotaging?!

Thanks so much for the replies, I really enjoyed reading them and pondering over some of the comments.

I'm lucky to have a career in a fast paced environment, which I am passionate about. That's really helped with my adhd symptoms.

I'm constantly on the lookout for non medication methods for improving myself spiritually and adhd wise. Until last year I was using CBT, dietary changes, behavioral stuff to try to ease my symptoms that I could not admit were ADHD. They all helped, which is how I survived high school and university.

With difficulty, but I made it. The psych team have made me realise that whilst I made it through life, the problems that adhd was causing were significant and dangerous.

I've literally gone through as many methods of coping and dealing with ADHD issues as I know. Both the good and bad. Although I have not tried the Ayurvedic system yet.
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