How can I temporarily forget that my SO is mad at me?

I have a problem that I need to put out of my mind until Friday.

My boyfriend is really against all mind-altering substances, especially anything that gives anyone an unfair advantage. I took an ADHD drug from an old prescription of mine that I never finished. I hadn't taken any ADHD meds for a few years but I have a big test coming up, so I took a small dose to help me focus and to expose our relationship to its only real weakness. Foolish, no? He and I have talked extensively about this drug in the past (why each of us has our respective views, etc). We never really had any resolution, but he was aware that I might decide to take it at some point. Anyway, I told him over the phone what I did, and he told me what he thinks of me (basically that I have no passion, no work ethic, and that I'm morally blinded by my desire to get the grades I want) and that he's not going to talk to me until Friday. I think there's a possibility that this issue will eventually lead to us breaking up.

This has never happened before -- we always talk about things sooner rather than later -- and emotionally I have absolutely no idea how to deal with it. I want to give him his space, AND I have the huge test on Thursday that I need to study for, so I need to stop ruminating and stop anxiously checking my email account in case he decided to write to me about it. He's one of maybe two people that I can completely (well, apparently ALMOST completely) be myself around Sad Part of me thinks that I'd rather be controlled for the rest of my life than do anything to jeopardize this relationship -- I mean, really, over a DRUG? Who cares about drugs when there are human connections on the line? This is the only serious disagreement we've ever had. I just worry about what would happen if we had a child who needed to be put on antidepressants or something someday.

So: What do you do when you need to put something like this out of your mind? Advice on the situation itself is also appreciated, but I REALLY need to study. Oh, and the drug doesn't help with this. It takes away the boredom of bookwork, but it doesn't take away the distractions of loneliness and of not being able to work out one's interpersonal problems.

In case anyone reads this and thinks, "You should break up with someone who tries to be that controlling," here's my thought: I'm not going to be the one to say, "I'm breaking up with you." I just showed him the exact part of myself that he's uncomfortable with, and I gave him fair warning. Theoretically, if he can't deal with it, then I don't have to worry about being controlled because he'll leave me. It's just really painful waiting for DAYS to hear whether or not I'm going to be rejected, and even when Friday does come, it probably won't bring a definitive answer. Maybe actually taking the drug was a bad decision, but what's done is done. I might be regretful for its repercussions, but I'm not sorry.

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TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

Advice I've gotten for shaking thoughts you're trying to get rid of--actively concentrate on something else when it comes up. It's mighty hard to shake the -beginning- of the thought. It's finishing it that you can avoid.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Then you're well rid. Not that he's bad or anything, or even that his advice wasn't good. He framed it as a demand and is now taking it as your personal repudiation of his values. If the two of you decide not to break up over it, then you'll need to do some serious, possibly assisted, talking about expectations, demands, and unconditional love. Withholding affection like this very controlling and Not Good, for either of you.

As for not thinking about it, go offline. When I have to concentrate, going offline is the only way I can do it. I go "full screen" in my writing program and forget I even have email. Good luck with your test.

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

It's so strange, though, because we've talked about it a lot and he doesn't want to "control" me. It's not about power. He just doesn't want to be with someone who does something that he thinks is morally wrong, which has the effect of controlling me. I decided to stop letting it control me, and here we are. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt for now and assume that the Friday thing is to give him space, not to withhold affection.

Okay, I'm going to go offline and actively concentrate on other things. Thanks Smile

MsGamgee's picture

Embodiment

and controlling under the guise of moral standards is still control. I dated a very strict Mormon for almost two years (said the liberal bisexual feminist,) and he "loved" me but he still wouldn't allow me to be me.

Pikachu42's picture

Embodiment

people taking drugs especially they give you an unfair advantage over people. How is what you're doing giving you an unfair advantage. I could see if you were a slacker and got some random drug from the street, but the medicine was prescribed to YOU. You had/have ADHD. I'm bi polar and I take medicine so I don't flip the fuck out, so do I also have an unfair advantage? In relationships there are such things as give and take. He knew you had a prescription, he knew what your situation was. How asshole-ish of him to make your suffer because of that? In my opinion, good riddance. However, you might want to take any advice from me with a grain of salt. I'm under a lot of stress and i'm just mad at everyone...

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

There is a real concern/problem in high-pressure colleges of students abusing ADD/ADHD prescription drugs in order to pull all-nighters and study ridiculously long periods in a row. It was discussed at my campus, anyway. Knowing that might be informing part of the guy's objection to her using the drug.

I'm a bit torn, because I'm not a fan of the idea of using a prescription drug for any purpose except the prescribed one, and the OP says herself that she isn't sure whether her diagnosis was really necessary and hasn't been using the drugs until this. On the other hand, if one does have ADD/ADHD, that's what the durn drug is *for*....

But! What you need isn't for one of us to decide the issue, that's for you and your boy. It does seem to me that this is something the two of you could resolve through discussion and/or compromise. The fact that you've tried that and it hasn't worked so far, and that he's now creating a huge furor over this doesn't sound promising, though =/

Ways I keep my mind from unpleasant thoughts usually involve immersing myself in some other mental task. My preference is to start reading fiction like hell, but anything that requires mental focus will do. And if I'm doing something that doesn't involve thinking (yay manual labor), I distract myself by making up stories in my head.

Marri's picture

Supplicant

I'm originally from New York, and back when I still lived there it was a standing joke in the city that in March and June (midterm and final exam periods respectively for the private elementary and high schools) the drug stores would actually run out of ADD medication and have to airlift more in. Apparently something similar happened in LA, or maybe Orange County? In any case, lots of kids with too much money and too much grade pressure getting prescribed ADD conveniently before their major tests.

Goforbroke's picture

Devotee

I was in a relationship with someone who didnt like drugs either. I was severely depressed all the time, after we broke up i got on anti depressants. Still on them to this day. I know now that it was the right thing to do, to get my mind in the right place. I have talked to her since then and told her this is the happiest i have been in a long time. She apologized to me for keeping me away from something that helps me out in life. If your boyfriend wants to be with you, he will come around. It might be a mind altering drug, but its something that helps you out with your life. As for trying to put stuff out of my mind, i find my favorite book to read and i curl up and read it. I get lost in it. I know its only a temporary fix but it will help.

Renki's picture

Help me if I'm wrong here, but this person is forbidding you to use medication that you need to get around a serious problem (and I know ADHD can be crippling at times), for no other reason than his dislike for the drug (any unwanted side-effects?). HE calls YOU morally blinded because of this?

If this is true this person is either stupid of not your friend at all, and probably both.
I think love is worth the world, but this might not be it. You have to consider if this person is going to keep you from what you want to achieve in life for nothing but apparently selfish reasons. Forgetting him temporarily might not be what you want, unless he can come around and respect that you sometimes need to do things that he does not like since apparently you are ready to put up with his difficulties and still love him.

But do not take any big decisions right now. Right now get studying or this whole crisis will have been for nothing.

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

I think I might have been misdiagnosed with attention deficit -- I'm definitely not one of those people with the crippling ADHD/ADD. It's really hard for me to focus on certain types of bookwork, but I can if I really buckle down, and I think that /everyone/ finds it really hard to focus on certain types of bookwork. I intentionally quit my meds after graduating from high school; I didn't like the effect they had on my personality and my parents had sort of pressured me into taking them. I've maintained a decent GPA for more than two years as a biochemistry major without them -- I've gotten less than perfect marks by a long shot, but that's often the case in my major. When someone like me takes attention deficit drugs, some might consider it cheating. Some might say that it doesn't matter as long as you were diagnosed. Some might say that it's not a big deal. My boyfriend is one of the ones who considers it cheating. I think that using an occasional small dose to help me put in the time to understand one class isn't a big deal. I see the drug as a tool to help me understand chemistry, whereas he sees it as something that makes me look better than I should, relative to other students.

Basically, I'm perfectly capable of never taking these drugs and passing my classes. I'm sorry if I gave the wrong impression in my original post, and I completely understand if anyone here agrees with my boyfriend. I see his points too, but that doesn't mean I want to promise to never use this drug as a tool to help me understand things. I'm definitely not going to get a long-term prescription ever again, but I think that /very/ occasional use is harmless when you're in a tough class. I totally understand if anyone here disagrees with me, and I won't be offended if you respectfully say so.

Anyway, he's not forbidding anything. He just doesn't want to be with someone who does something he considers wrong. I don't blame him. I wouldn't want to be with someone who won races by taking steroids, and to him, this is just as wrong. I've tried everything I can to show him why I don't think it's wrong to occasionally use the drug as a tool to understand, but he still thinks it's cheating. He wasn't TRYING to use his views as emotional blackmail; that was just an unpleasant side-effect.

sherinik's picture

Postulant

Does that mean you can't have a second cup of coffee in the morning when you're having a hard time getting started? A cup of chamomile tea when you're overwrought? A nip of brandy when you've had a major shock? Icecream when you're depressed? You have to ask a lot of questions when you get to these dichotomies, not to 'test' them but to understand where that faint line is.

Respecting his opinions doesn't mean you have to understand or agree with them. It also doesn't mean you have to stick around when they're actively doing what you don't agree with. But do you pull the pin on the whole relationship because of it? It comes down to relative importance - of the issue and of the relationship. Wishy washy I know, but these are very personal decisions, for both of you.

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

Have you read Brave New World? Everyone takes this drug called soma. It makes you happy and relaxed and it's pleasantly hallucinogenic depending on how much of it you take, etc. In general if something's wrong or if someone is upset because of something, they don't get upset enough to DO anything to change their situation because they can self-medicate with soma. No one has to develop emotional self-control, no one has to acknowledge the bad things in life. It's kind of disturbing, and it's kind if interesting to look at the ways we self-medicate in real life in that light. That's the way he actually sees things like alcohol, ADD drugs, and antidepressants. He thinks that depression isn't "real" and that most people who "have" ADD -- including me -- are just lazy. He does acknowledge that there really are people with crippling ADHD who need medication, but I'm not comfortable with him assuming that people who use Prozac should have just found a way to deal with the depression and get back to normal.

I realize that alcohol various drugs can be used like soma, but they have their place in the world. Sometimes people NEED to medicate. Even if they don't absolutely need to, I think medication is still a viable option as long as you don't completely drown your true personality in drugs. If, say, I have a child who has clinical depression or something, I want to be able to do what's best for cer. I don't want to have a husband who's going to make my child feel terrible for doing what's best for cerself if that happens to include medication. I'm all for trying to go the natural route first, but I really don't think that drugs should automatically be written off.

I can live without alcohol and ADHD drugs (especially after last night's reminder of how unpleasant they are), but I can't just drop the whole drug issue because if we stay together -- and we probably will -- then someday there will be a kid involved. I want to work this out NOW rather than then, but he's not able to really talk about this kind of thing while it's hypothetical. (He's not just avoiding the subject; I like to talk about hypothetical situations a lot, and he's never able to talk about it unless there's a concrete example in real life that he can relate it to.)

We've talked about all of this, by the way. I say something like, "You don't know what they're going through, you don't know their brain chemistry, so don't assume that they don't know what's best for themselves." He'll say something like, "I'm seeing things as best I can from where I stand, and since there's no way I can see things from their perspective, I'll just have to see things from my perspective. I was REALLY depressed for a LONG time, and I pulled myself out of it. Maybe they would be able to too if they weren't taking drugs. I have just as much trouble focusing as you do, but I finally developed the willpower to study, and it works. Maybe you would have developed that willpower in high school if you hadn't been on drugs." We'll usually go in circles for an hour or so and eventually change the subject.

Oddfish's picture

Postulant

That is a not-nice way to look at the world. I experienced an attitude like that at home when I was growing up, and it really messed me up for a while. I freely admit it was on top of some boundary problems (I was never allowed to socialize normally growing up) and the fact that my mother was a venom-tongued abuser, but...when I finally screwed up the courage to say "I feel like I can't breathe when I walk in the door, I need help," it really hurt to hear that it was "just an excuse," and if I wasn't so lazy I could fix it on my own. I know not everyone can empathize well, but being so inflexible and overbearing is bad if you're going to be a parent.

The weird thing about all that is that I am a pretty tough mofo, and I did indeed make it through life totally unmedicated and nearly without therapy (the latter was definitely not good, but money issues are money issues). I believe a certain amount of "mind over matter" can work for some people. I just can't imagine insisting it is the only way to go for all people. Even if I think someone is being indulgent or lazy, I think "Well, yeah, but he/she isn't the determined hardass sometime-masochist I am." It's not a question of better or worse, lazy or committed, it's a question of not everyone being me. If I was not essentially strong, I think-- hell, I know-- that hearing "work harder, only lazy people need help" all my childhood would have really messed me up bad.

I'm not trying to make any relationship decisions for you or freak you out. I'm not. I just want to let you know that there are pretty serious effects on kids with parents like him. It's a really important thing to sort out, especially given that teens and kids are not known for their great self-discipline and perfect judgment. Wink

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

I have more to say in response to this later, but this is an interesting comparison:

Most of /my/ childhood, the subtext I heard was, "Only people who have something WRONG with them need drugs like Ritalin. Are you one of those people? No? Then why are you staring off into space instead of doing your homework?"

And eventually, it changed to, "Well, we thought you were just being lazy, but apparently there IS something wrong with you. Here, take this, and be the way you're SUPPOSED to be. *mutters* Ugh, I hate the way she is when she doesn't take her medication..."

I literally cried with relief when someone finally told me that I would probably be just fine without medication, and it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I could use it as a tool without rejecting my true self. My boyfriend was there for me the whole time, and he saw the negative effect that everything in high school had on me, which REALLY isn't helping my case for all psychiatric drugs in general.

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

I'm not freaked out - it's good to see things for what they are and for what they can become, you know? I've always kind of thought that things would be better if my parents hadn't pushed me so far into drug-land, but the jumping to the other extreme isn't any better!

Kalietha's picture

If you have the willpower, the stubbornness, or the strength, all well and good - use it. But not everyone does. Psychiatric drugs were developed for a reason. My brother and I are both ADD/ADHD, and while we are not taking anything now, as kids we each took Cylert for a few months. Without that glimpse at what it felt like to be in control of ourselves, all the willpower in the world wouldn't have made a difference - we wouldn't have known where to aim.

As for how to get it out of your mind....With ADD, 'misdiagnose' just means, usually, that you have some of the mental and personality traits that they recognize as 'symptoms', but not enough to really count. One common such that goes with being easily distracted is the ability to hyperfocus. If you can trigger it, you can focus on something to the exclusion of all else - for me it's generally a book or some artwork. When you're like that unwanted thoughts don't get a chance to intrude.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

and very, very immature.

Of course, my immediate reaction to "depression is all in your head, get over yourself" was "bite my pasty white ass, buster," so take that immaturity crack with a grain of salt. Wink

Does he have Aspergers, by any chance? That's an extremely cold way of looking at your fellow human beings.

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

I've known a few people with Aspergers, and he definitely doesn't have it. He's just incredibly hardheaded when he thinks he's right. When it comes to anything except drugs, he's really intuitive about how other people feel, which is pretty much the opposite of Aspergers. But yeah, this unusual stubbornness is part of why I'm so out of my element right now.

A ways down in the discussion, I mentioned this:
"the idea of people getting drunk enough for their personality to change really bothers him. Like, he finds it scary and mentally-foreign that people willingly do that to themselves."

Since most psychiatric drugs aren't perfect, he feels like anyone who takes them is essentially exposing themselves to something that we don't know the full effects of, and they're allowing themselves to be chemically changed into a different person. That's a scary thought. I can see why he wouldn't want to let a family member do that to themselves. From his POV it's either deal with the depression or chemically change yourself into another person, and "deal with the depression" almost always wins. I know people who have taken a variety of psychiatric drugs, though, and they said they really helped. That's good enough evidence for me. Besides, everything you do and everything you eat changes your brain's chemistry. (I've pointed that out a few times, but he still holds a special grudge against drugs.)

I think I'm not going to feel comfortable until he accepts that it's ok for people he cares about to put scary chemicals into their bodies, and it's going to be very hard to get him to accept that. If anyone has any suggestions on how to address his concerns, pleeease let me know. I've tried everything I can think of.

The Which's picture

Embodiment

Would it help if he looked at it not as "becoming a different person," but just a kick in the pants? I want to make a car analogy about a jump-start not being the same as an engine transplant, but I just used the term "engine transplant," and I know that doesn't even make sense Blum 3

Like I've said elsewhere, I control my depression with activity & just taking care of myself in general. But if I hadn't had the drugs to pull me out of depression in the first place, I would never have recovered.

There are some people who will use antidepressants for the rest of their lives, but for most people it's a temporary thing.

Oh, and suicidal thoughts/manic behavior/hearing voices/anxiety attacks while driving (pick your psych issue) should be much scarier than a chemical unknown.

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

The Which wrote:
Oh, and suicidal thoughts/manic behavior/hearing voices/anxiety attacks while driving (pick your psych issue) should be much scarier than a chemical unknown.

I forgot to mention -- he /is/ ok with schizophrenia drugs, at least. He realizes that you can't just will away hallucinations.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

To start, I'd like to say that I personally don't like the idea of mind altering drugs; something that changes my consciousness bothers me. That said, I really should have been on a whole host of antidepressants and probably therapy for years. I spent my high school years living with a psychotic anger-issued mother and a bunch of shit resulting from an inability to relate to my peers because I related more to people in their 20's than teens. As a result of all of that I have better than a dozen razor scars, two tendons I can pop off my knuckles from hitting solid surfaces, and several years spent at WELL below 6% body fat due to anorexia and 5+ miles of running a night. It's a miracle I survived all of that without meds (and other horrific things which came within a hair's breadth of happening), so I have absolutely no problem with using medication to "normalize" yourself. I may not like it, but it's still a damned good thing in some cases.

As far as driving, I totaled a car senior year when I passed out from low blood sugar after less than a day without food. That was definitely worse than some chemicals would have been Blum 3

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

I was so used to being on drugged up on amphetamines that I didn't realize that lack of sleep actually makes people get tired. I'd gotten maybe 3 hours of sleep in the past 40 hours, and I figured I'd be fine because I "never got tired." It was at night, though, and my meds had long since worn off so I fell asleep behind the wheel and drove straight into a ditch.

(I wasn't intentionally abusing adderall to go without sleep -- I had been medicated for so long that I honestly assumed that most teenagers were able to go as long as I could without sleeping. Finally made the connection after the accident.)

Davik's picture

Embodiment

Mine was a telephone poll, not a ditch, though I guess the outcome is the same (gotta say, the officer who responded was a fucking dick). Had spent the last few months not getting more than about 4 hours a night, was thin enough you could count the tendons in my knees (I was one hell of a walking anatomy model Blum 3 ), and had skipped breakfast and lunch. It was daylight out, but a friend had asked me to drive half an hour out to her place when she got locked out; on the way back I started feeling sleepy. Knowing my car had the incinerating heater from hell I cranked it full up hoping the scorched knuckles would keep me awake. Well, as I learned from the tow truck driver (always surprised the sources of knowledge I run across in people most would consider uneducated), COLD is what keeps you awake Blum 3

The Which's picture

Embodiment

I used to babysit for a boy with Asperger's, and it does sound remarkably like him. An example: he absolutely refused to accept that I had to push his five-year-old brother on the swingset. If he could pump his legs, then everyone should be able to.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

but I don't think his viewpoint is necessarily bad in general, I just think the extremity of it is. It sounds like a lot of people on here are taking various sorts of psychological drugs, and I'm not criticizing that or anything...I'm sure you have competent doctors, so please don't assume I'm talking about you. I am, however, going to say that I think some people in this day and age turn to drugs too quickly, especially for kids. Saying that people never need drugs and that depression can be overcome with willpower is not right. Saying that depression cannot ever under any circumstances be overcome without drugs isn't right either.

Quote:
He does acknowledge that there really are people with crippling ADHD who need medication, but I'm not comfortable with him assuming that people who use Prozac should have just found a way to deal with the depression and get back to normal.
It sounds like maybe he just needs to expand his thoughts on ADHD to psychological issues in general. If it's mild, maybe it can be overcome without drugs. If it's more severe, maybe it can't. I think that's true for close to everything (with some exceptions like schizophrenia or epilepsy, for instance). Maybe with therapy and good family/friends support, *mild* psychological problems can be overcome. Maybe for more severe problems, drugs are required. It just bugs me how many kids today are on Ritalin or Prozac or other drugs that really affect their personalities and their abilities to deal with life, when their problems are minor or could be overcome with therapy.

I was prescribed with Prozac when I was a kid, and I didn't need it. My parents thought I was unmanageable because I was generally unhappy. It never occurred to them that I might have a legitimate reason to be unhappy. My situation when I was a kid kind of makes me think of this article. The article comes on a little strong (sorry about that), but it's largely the author's style, so definitely take it with a grain of salt. That's just how she is about everything.

In my situation, the drugs that I was on as a kid had some negative, long-term, physiological effects, and now I get tremors when I'm stressed out and I don't sleep very well and I can't drink caffeine. I understand that you want your future kids to have whatever is best for them, but if I may make a quiet recommendation...don't put drugs in their systems until everything else has failed. New studies can come out years later indicating that drugs that work for adults are not okay for kids. Any chemicals that you put in their bodies can have negative side effects. I'm not saying that you shouldn't put your kids on drugs, but I am saying that all the risks should be very carefully considered, everything else should be tried, and a third party should probably indicate that the drugs will actually be for their benefit, not just yours. I wish my parents had done that. I know they probably really thought that it would be best for me, too, but in the end, it just wasn't worth it.

(This is sort of a general series of thoughts, and it's not directed at anyone in particular. I'm not trying to imply anything about anyone but myself. We're just on the subject and I sort of wanted to get it out there. Thanks.)

Katie's picture

Embodiment

I've been reading violent acres ALL DAMN DAY cuz of that link..

..and yet, I wouldn't call it a wasted day.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

I'm glad you liked it. Smile I love reading Violent Acres, even if I always feel like I need to present her stuff with a disclaimer. She makes no apologies. Wink

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

I read that post and think I may be there quite a bit this evening...

V's picture

Embodiment

I found Violent Acres a while back and appreciate the brutal honesty with which she writes (go figure). However, I then proceeded to forget about it so it's nice to see it re-linked. I spent some time catching up.

Reading some of the author's life experiences and views also made me think to give a shoutout to Blue Coyote, whom I haven't seen around these parts for about 6 weeks. I know she has some strongly-held views and even if we didn't always agree, I usually felt better for having the discussion. So BC, if you're still reading--hiyya, and you're welcome back any time.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

And everyone went for a walk at lunch time until a metor came crashing down.

Then again, there was the overly hairy folks that lived outside the wall and you could only close the shades on your glass walled apartment if you had the red tag authorzing you to copulate.

That was a fun class.

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

OMG I've never met anyone else who's read We! I'm so excited, lol. It's not Brave New World, but it's a really good book. I don't remember the meteor, though. Maybe that's from a different dys/utopia. Don't tell me which one, though -- don't want to spoil any endings.

Oddfish's picture

Postulant

Me neither! Apart from my classmates when I took Russian lit, that is. We is far and away my favorite dystopian book.

kalinka's picture

Postulant

We IS amazing. I'm glad some of ya'll have read it. George Orwell flat out recognized that he got a lot of his stuff from it, but Aldous Huxley refused to admit it, even thought Orwell said he had read it too.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

We -ARE- amazing...

God, what's wrong with this place? }:)

kalinka's picture
NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

I needed a lit class in college so I took the one on Utopian lit. If I'm remembering correctly, the meteor thing was towards the begining. The only story I didn't like in that class was Clockwork Orange.

blwinteler's picture

Supplicant

I've read all the comments so far, and I have to put my comment here because of something that really jumped out at me. First, a rant, then the important stuff. I've noted the rant so you can skip it if you want.

WARNING: RANT AHEAD
Yes, some people can work their way out of depression. Typically, that is situational depression, though even with a chemical imbalance things can balance again for some people. Me? Well, the attitude of "you need to work your way out of it yourself" or "you'll snap out of it if you just . . . " or "oh, just pull yourself out of it already" landed me in the hospital. I couldn't take the criticism of it anymore. I was made to feel wrong for being depressed. I tried and tried to get my husband to get me to a doctor, but we didn't have insurance. I was too much of a mess to really find the mental health place with a sliding scale. I didn't know it existed, and I didn't know where to go. I got told I didn't need medication, I'd snap out of it, etc. Then, I was told I was exaggerating it just to take advantage of people. I took half a bottle of Excederin PM. I've been medicated since. It brings me back to a "normal" level. It seriously bugs me when people assume they know what is best for someone with a health problem they don't really know anything about. And that is what it is: a health problem. You wouldn't ask a cancer patient to go without medication or someone with diabetes to stop taking insulin. Just because our moods or attention is what is affected does not make it any less real.

OK, RANT DONE

Now, I see you have gotten some great suggestions for the main concern of being able to study despite all this. I don't really have any better suggestions, so I will put in my 2 cents on the rest, as well as an important concern that has yet to be brought up.
I was in a relationship that was similar. Worst breakup ever happened over me being myself and him not liking it. We are friends now (different states help), and I am soooo glad I didn't marry him. It seems to me you are not happy with what the future will look like if he doesn't change his stance on things like this. Guess what - he won't change his stance. He may say he will to appease things for a little while, but it sounds like he is set in this opinion. You are right to consider what could happen if you have a kid who needs mental health care. You may talk yourself into putting up with the control, and that is entirely your choice, but does your future child deserve it? I don't think you do, but again, that is up to you. I asked my husband what his thinking was on this. He says, regarding taking the medication in the first place, that it is most certainly not cheating. Then he says to dump the guy. I know you think he will ultimately dump you over it. Is that really fair to you? Is staying with him really fair to you? Given what has been said here, I don't think you think it is and, like others have said, you want out. Perhaps, if you make the decision to be done with this it might even help you to focus on your studies because you won't be worrying over it so much. If you decide to wait and talk it out, that can help too. As long as you know what YOU want, you can have a temporary conclusion that will allow you to concentrate on your test.

Now, the other issue. You say you haven't taken this in a while. Is the prescription expired? If so, that can be dangerous. As medications get old, they change. Some become less effective, some become more potent, others become dangerous. I don't know what happens with old adderall. A quick search tells me it won't be harmful, but at least talk to a pharmacist, if not a doctor, if you decide to take it again.

Cheez-It's picture

Break up with him yourself. Don't be passive-aggressive. You dropped tons of hints that you want it to happen and yet you said that you won't be the one to say it. Wheither consciously or subconsciously, it's clear that you want to end this relationship. Also, if someone is very much against something, and you do it anyways to spite them (don't fool yourself with this "exposing the weakness" stuff), then that is not a very great relationship.

As for the test, I dunno Friday seems like a silly, arbitrary deadline. Tell him you want to resolve this, he's had a couple days to relax, so let's sort it out.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

But I do agree with you that the "exposing the weakness" line struck me as "trap" behavior on Andrea's part--if I found out my partner had done such to me, I'd be rather upset.

Someone's picture

Postulant

He's completely unjustified in his hatred of meds. It just doesn't make sense. ADD medication is not the mental equivalent to steroids. Saying that it is ... just doesn't make sense.

As for putting it out of your mind ... I don't know. Just buckle down and make yourself focus on work. I hope that everything works out for you!

Oddfish's picture

Postulant

I really agree with this. I don't see what you did as different from having a cappucino if you're tired the morning before a presentation, review session or anything else important. Dude's got some big respect issues if he can't understand that not everyone lives exactly like him, and that this is in fact okay, healthy and normal. So hopefully that helps you feel good or at least better about doing what you did, and I say this as someone who has never really messed with any drugs for performance (not even that many for recreation).

As for keeping your mind off it, I see it the way I see waiting for grades: the work is done and handed in, so you can't control it anymore. What's done is done, and obsessing about it will have zero impact on the outcome. So push it to the side before you make yourself puke or have a freak-out. Do other stuff, hang out with people, whatever gets you going and engages you.

MsGamgee's picture

Embodiment

I do actually understand where he's coming from. I go to a highly competitive university, and there's definitely a black market demand for attention deficit drugs during finals. I really, really hate those kids who take them, because I get my As the old fashioned way, but most of those kids have never even had a glimmer of ADD. I think it's a very different thing if you've had attention deficit disorders in the past.

However, I still think it's none of his business, and if he has a problem with it, he should deal with this in a MUCH less passive aggressive way.

Elle's picture

Petitioner

My university is similar to yours in that regard, and I think taking black market ADD drugs /is/ pretty much the same thing as taking steriods to win a race. In my major, all the classes are curved, so taking an unprescribed medication to improve mental performance is, IMO, EXACTLY the same as taking hgh to give a physical edge.

On the other hand, if you need those drugs (and since you're biochem, I'm sure you're with me on the physical reasons one might need those drugs) for a legitimate reason, that's another story entirely. I'm not going to call a kid with ADD/ADHD who takes meds for her conditon a cheater. I mean, you wouldn't call someone on antidepressents a cheater, right?

I guess what I'm saying is there's a difference between the two cases. Sometimes its a fine line and sometimes its not.

ETA: Just to clarify, this is a general-case argument. It's not meant to relate specifically to your situation, but more to the idea of drug use by college students in general.

Someone's picture

Postulant

Your school grades according to a bell curve? Really?? That's ... dumb. I'm pretty sure there's not a peice of pedagogy published in the last 30-40 years that says that's a good thing. grading according to a curve is ... well, just plain stupid.

Are you sure?? I have trouble believing it, because that's just so astoundingly idiotic *walks off mumbling about the state of pedagogy*

Elle's picture

Petitioner

Are you seriously asking me if I understand how my classes are graded? Seriously? *note that this is said wryly, not with any anger, lol*

And note: I never said "bell curve" I said "curved." My department grades to a 2.9 average. They curve because our classes are HARD. It's not unusual to have a sub-60% average on any given exam. If they graded on a straight-up basis, they would give out sub-3.0 grades to everyone, which is not representative of our performance, especially when we're compared to students outside of my discipline or from other colleges.

Marri's picture

Supplicant

Curves here are pretty much up to the teacher. I've had classes with no curve, and one truly evil Management Science and Engineering class (basically Economics for engineers) that curved up. I mean, the day before the final, my grade was 54 / 100 and the class average was 45 / 100. You see the problem?

The one that REALLY pissed me off was my most recent class, a web development class. They told us very plainly: your grade is 65% * the average of your homework grades and 35% * your final exam grade. I got about a 95 average on the homeworks and a 80 on the final? Something like that. Enough to give me a 90 in the class. They curved the class down and gave me a B. SO F***ING FRUSTRATING.

Pidgin's picture

Hmmm. Does he consider someone with a much more serious case of ADD to be "cheating" when they take mind-altering medication? Has he ever in his life had coffee or chocolates, or been significantly attached to someone who has? So far, I disagree with his views, but then again, we don't know much about his views other than the end result.
From the way you describe his views on the matter-- and his ultimatum-- it seems he's much more interested in how your presence affects him than you yourself.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

Is way better than you give credit for. I'm not 100% in agreement--but comparing off-label use of a prescription drug is WAY different from use of legal, minimally restricted drug (coffee--see: warning labels on no-doz), or even more minimally restricted drug (chocolate--just the basic "food safety" standards).

In both the case of steroids and this particular use of ADHD medication, the person is attempting to perform better by using a prescription medication (admittedly, in this case, prescribed to the person for a related but not identical purpose). University rules probably don't prohibit such use explicitly, so that's another distinction. But I think you're flat wrong in analogizing to coffee/chocolate.

I think he's wrong to react as strongly as he did--and yeah, I think a four-day moratorium on contact is flat-out wild--I don't think he's so unfathomably wrong as some here seem to.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

It's not like she took a drug to make her smarter somehow. Taking a drug that allows you to focus a little better when perhaps your mind doesn't focus all that well does NOT make one smarter. Taking a steroid WILL make you stronger.

And I disagree this is an off-label use. She took it for its exact, intended purpose. She was diagnosed, but chooses not to take the medication very often. Would he be happier if she took the medication all the time?

And finally, she didn't take this recreationally.

I'm kinda with pikachu on this. Am I cheating if I take my bipolar meds because I naturally "flip out," as she put it, if I don't? It does give me an advantage over all the undiagnosed bipolar people out there...

MsGamgee's picture

Embodiment

In my opinion, the ability to focus is part of being a student, and it's a skill that's being graded as heavily as your knowledge is. I do think it's kind of cheating when you take drugs so that the overwhelming allure of facebook isn't a monkey on your back. The fact that you have a test the next day that's however high % of your grade should be enough if you're a responsible person.

Then again, I've always been hyper motivated, so it might just be bitterness.

Like I said above, though, this is a different kind of case. I think it's cheating if you DON'T have ADD, not if you do. If you do, you're just getting back to the same starting place as everyone else!

Stormy's picture

Supplicant

MsGamgee wrote:
In my opinion, the ability to focus is part of being a student, and it's a skill that's being graded as heavily as your knowledge is.

is something that hits a nerve for me. What, exactly, is the point of being a student? I graduated college with a 3.9+ GPA but without learning much except how to do a keg stand. My hubby graduated w/ a much lower GPA, but he learned a TON and is now near the top of his field. I'm not saying that you can't learn a bunch and get good grades, but our "educational" system puts entirely too much emphasis on marks on not nearly enough on making sure students actually get a good grasp on the material. :hoppingmad:

(This isn't personal, MsGamgee. The whole system drives me batshit)

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

The ability to focus *can* be part of being a student if you're going into a career that requires focus. If you're going to be a chef, for instance, you may not need a great deal of focus because you'll be jumping from task to task very quickly. If you're going to be an architect, focus is extremely important. The whole point of being a student is to prepare you for life. Whether or not you need to be good at focusing depends on your career choice.

The Which's picture

Embodiment

Chefs need TONS of focus, especially if they plan on moving up the hierarchy. Moving quickly from task to task is a recipe for disaster if you dont focus on what needs to be stirred right now, remember that you just put somethng else under the broiler, and know that you need to start the broccoli in 30 seconds if it's going to be on the plate at the same time as the chicken you put on the grill five minutes ago. Chefs who lack focus end up in the hospital with third degree burns--I've seen it happen more than once.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

or Iron Chef. It's all there, baby. Smile

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

I wasn't knocking chefs. My sister has mild ADD, but it really only affects her when she's sitting at a desk trying to focus on something. She really needs a career where she is doing something different every minute, so she is studying to become a chef. She's very good at that sort of thing, and she's currently working as an under-cook at a restaurant, and doing very well at it...much better than she ever did in school. I guess it's a different kind of focus?

She's not the kind of person that can focus on a single sitting-still sort of task for hours on end at all, but she is good at planning and can think about a lot of things at the same time. I don't really consider that to be "focus" in general, because it's different from thinking about one thing for a long time, but I could see how someone would think of it that way. I feel like there should be two different words for those kinds of thinking, because they seem very different to me.

I do both on a near-daily basis...I'm an engineer, so I have to sit still for long periods of time working out a problem, but I'm also the president of a social organization, which means I'm basically a glorified caterer in my spare time when I need events to run smoothly for hundreds of people, and I'm cooking, or directing figurative traffic, or doing whatever else needs to be done.

Marx's picture

Petitioner

Just because your sis has ADD doesn't mean she lacks focus in everything. I know that I, for example, can focus *really* good on the things I like to do. My mind is just more likely to wander when I'm doing other stuff.

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

I can focus really well on psychology, fiction, interesting non-fiction, and /new/ math concepts if an interactive professor is teaching them at a moderate pace. Things I can't focus on: repetitive things, teaching myself math/science from the book, super-slow-paced lectures, super-fast-paced lectures, and repetitive manual labor. But seriously, who doesn't have trouble focusing on those things? *sigh* confusing...

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

The trick is to figure out how to make it non-repetitive.
I washed dishes for a while--trying to optimize dish layout in a tray, &c.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

Menial labor is some of the best thinking time I get. Once I've done the job long enough to build the muscle memory, I have no problem letting my mind wander. If I ever publish any of the stories in my head, it'll be due to the time spent developing them while feeding calves, bedding pens, washing dishes/buckets/mouse cages (yay college jobs!), mowing hay, etc.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I learned far more (and more relevant) in my summers interning than I ever did in class. My GPA was decent (over a 3), but nowhere near a 3.9, but the internships were what got me a job and a large part of what got me in to grad school.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

why I skipped it altogether.

MsGamgee's picture

Embodiment

I see the ability to focus VERY differently from you.

I can't speak for everyone, but my ability to focus for hours on end is what's made me as hyper-competent as I am. It's also what makes it almost impossible for me to talk to super-spazzy people for more than a few minutes, because I get so frustrated with the fact that they can't hold a train of thought long enough to get to the station, but overall it's served me very well. It's always seemed that I can get through any problem that's solved with hard work or brain power faster than most people I know, because I can sit down and FOCUS. But that's just me, perhaps.

Also, I wouldn't have worked so hard to get into to the best public universities in my state if I didn't see the point in being a student. It's hard to become a lawyer from vocational school. Blum 3

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

I can see it two ways . On the one hand, I feel like tests should only measure how well you understand the material. Like, it shouldn't matter whether you used a drug or pulled an all-nighter or just skimmed through the textbook. All that matters is that you found a way to learn the assigned material and you're ready to learn the next part. On the other hand, there's something to be said for the dedication/responsibility/ability to focus that some people show, and they should be acknowledged in SOME form.

Stormy's picture

Supplicant

It wasn't the inclusion of focus as part of being a student that I objected to. It's the focus (ha) the system in general places on getting good grades as opposed to actually learning material that drives me mad. Perhaps if I had been more focused I would have been able to make my point more clearly. :nerd:

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

If they're doin' it right...
getting good grades means that (at least on exam day) you've learned the material.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

If they are doing it right, yes. But how many students remember things just long enough to test on the topic and move on to something else?

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

But not often enough in real life.

One example: I have a friend who took differential equations. The tests had only 3 problems because it takes so long to solve them. My friend knew the material like the back of her hand, but near the end of one of the problems she switched a + to a -. Simple writing error. She worked out the rest of the problem according to all of the right rules, but the problem was counted completely wrong -- and the grader even circled the part of the problem where she accidentally switched the sign, so it's not like the grader didn't know any better. Did she deserve a D on that exam? No. And don't even get me started about multiple choice tests written by professors who hardly know English.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

had been that ADHD type drugs were typically prescribed to be taken regularly--a sort of "regulator." If I'm wrong, then I rescind the "off-label" part of my analysis.

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

I understand why he's upset. Despite anyone's opinion on his values, I knew what they were and I deliberately chose to violate them; "trap behavior" is a pretty good phrase for it. The four-day no-contact thing is a bit extreme, but so was my behavior. Now I'm just trying to ride the situation out as best I can without sabotaging my grades, and hopefully we'll have a loooong talk on Friday.

Voyeur's picture

I always find studying hard. What works for me is to call a friend and complain, then get back to the books. If your anything like me you wont get anything done until you can calm down about the personal issue.

Swedgin's picture

That your BF is one of the few people around whom you can be yourself...but you're not really being yourself. You're already modifying your behavior to suit his moral worldview given his views on medicine. I somehow doubt that this is the only instance where you're not doing something because of his morals, not your own.

I get the whole, "the drugs are not really worth losing the relationship" argument, but it sounds like you're pinning a lot on this "ability to be oneself," where you're not really able to be yourself because of his binary worldview.

In many cases, as people age they become less open minded...especially the ones that start out with such b/w standards. If you really feel that you're comfortable with him making your moral choices, as he is already, then carry on. However, plan on his choices for you becoming narrower and narrower. Which is fine if you're into that, but be aware that you're not really calling your own shots anymore if he's threatening relationship armageddon over ADHD meds. That were your own prescription.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

I dunno. I've always felt the young are much more conservative in the truer sense of the word than the older. When you're young the world is black and white; it takes on more shades of gray as one ages. But perhaps that's me. My worldview was pretty posterized in youth, and is much, much more nuanced now that I've been through the world a few times.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I definitely agree with you on this; when I was younger (say 15-20) I had a much less flexible view of things. There was right and wrong with a razor thin line of gray down the middle, and everything on the wrong side needed to burn. A few years on and that line of gray has blurred by a few millimeters, and I no longer feel the overwhelming desire to torch everything on the other side of it. I think this is why revolution is primarily an occupation of the young. Hell, at this rate in a few more years I won't have the desire to grab a rifle and a few molotovs and go overthrow tyranny Blum 3

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

I've been warned that "everyone" sees things as more black/white over time, so it's comforting to hear that some people have the opposite experience.

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

... small-minded old farts out there as well as a bunch of myopically B/W thinking youngsters, so my take is that no particular age group gets to claim a majority share of the "can't think in nuances" part of the population.

Biestygirl's picture

Petitioner

I say break up with him too. I can understand that he doesn't want you to take the meds because he thinks they're bad for you, but not talking to you about it and tearing you down isn't good for you. He should talk to you and help you, not be an ass and ignore you for days. You deserve better!

The Which's picture

Embodiment

I also have ADD, and I have actually used medication not perscribed to me to study for the occasional test (I dont have insurance, and I have a friend with a perscription. I took it daily in high school, but stopped for the same reasons as Andrea). I dont consider it *cheating* so much as... leveling the playing field. It's called attention deficit for a reason!

To keep your mind off it, go for a run, then do very task oriented studying (ie finish these 5 practice problems in 10 minutes, then get a snack).

Katie's picture

Embodiment

First, on the drug itself...in this case I wouldn't call it cheating. Some people use meditation to focus, some people use BPAL, some people use music...you used a drug. Big deal.
Second, I wouldn't break up with your guy unless you really want to. Often when I get mad I need time to cool off, and he knows when your test is. Could be he just doesn't want to get into it while you're supposed to be studying.
Third, get out of the house. If you can find a friend that'd be great, but study at the library, or a coffee shop or something. Similar to Mei's suggestion to go offline. You used the drug to FOCUS, now GO FOCUS or it's a waste of emotion and energy and so on and so forth.

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

Ah, but it's a restricted prescription drug (I think you actually have to have physician approval for every single refill) that's not legally available to everyone, and it makes a bigger difference than something like coffee does. I can tell my boyfriend that "it's not that big of a deal" all day long, but in his eyes that fact will still make it unfair --> undeserved advantage --> equivalent to cheating.

Hypothetical situation: Bob took a drug that helps him study. He can get by without it but it helps. It's not legally available to everyone. Bob ends up getting into your top grad school and you're first on the waiting list. He wouldn't have gotten in if he hadn't taken that drug. Were you feel cheated? Should Bob feel guilty? Well, of course Bob should feel guilty. In my boyfriend's eyes, taking ANY Adderall is like a smaller-scale version of that.

The good news is that I talked to him today and he seems to be much more at ease with the idea of people using other, non-cheating psych drugs.

jescobalt's picture

On the other hand, if something makes you smarter/more focused and has no side effects, why not use it all the time? If you use it continuously, for long enough, maybe it becomes a part of who you are. Nature versus nurture. Who knows, really? I don't feel that way about steroids certainly, but if it comes to academic performance, I'm less sure. The idea of academic scholarships or acceptances is for the university to accept and fund the individual who will likely perform the best in a career someday. If you use a substance continuously, and plan to when you have your degree, then it might make sense for the university to accept/fund you. Just because you're not born with an advantage, doesn't mean it won't be to the university's advantage to accept you over someone whose performance is lower than yours and may not be enhanced in any way by any drug. You likely have advantages over someone who in your set of circumstances could be smarter than you. Should you turn down your classy education in your rich white suburbs just because a poor kid of another ethnicity is naturally smarter than you? Would you really trade places with him, or let your kid trade places with him? In an ideal world, the playing field would be equal, but in reality, you had advantages over me in your education, and I had different advantages over you in mine.

I think I would be against drug use for performance on a single test, because a test is supposed to be a representative sample of your work. If you take a drug like that because you need it, you're more likely to take it for the rest of your life, and that exam is more likely to be a representative sample of your abilities and therefore a better indicator of your future performance. In the end, that's really what matters. Maybe your elementary school was better than mine. Maybe your teachers didn't call on you because you were a girl, and mine did in spite of the fact that I was too. Maybe your older sister overshadowed you and made you work harder to prove to your parents that you mattered. Maybe your little brother needed help with schoolwork and you learned the material better and more thoroughly because you had to teach it to him. Maybe you just figured out that you have ADD and need a drug to focus, and I didn't. ALL those things determined your performance, and maybe they make you better than me or me better than you. Everyone's experience is different, and I really think that any *continuous* advantage that you have is one you should use. Cheating is when you misrepresent your work. If a drug makes your work better, and you use it all the time, using it before the test as well makes that examination a good representation of your work. In the end, that's the important thing.

Silverrowan's picture

AGREE

Cheez-It's picture

Ok, since everyone else is ignoring what you actually asked for- here is actual advice from someone who is ADD and Bi-polar and has never been on meds-
Music in headphones- this will help you both concentrate and relax. Classical, techno/dance, drumming... anything with a good beat and rhythm, but not a lot of singing (or songs in a language you don't understand- unless of course you're studying another language)
Bright light- it may not seem like much but really it makes a huge, huge difference. Natural-light bulbs if you can, or at the very least avoid florescents(sp? nofreakingidea)
Take breaks where you actually get up, streach, and walk around a little. Don't forget to eat! And eat some real food, not fast junk (it may seem easier but sugar-rushes and crashes only jerk your moods/energy and concentration all around)
Vent when you feel frustrated. Scream into a pillow. Punch and shake and throw a pillow. Let it out. Find someplace you can go and scream at the tops of you lungs. Frustration only eats you up and steals your concentration and time and energy that could be better speant on acomplishing your goals.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

Ahah! I'm not the only one who had to listen to music without lyrics or in a foreign language in college then Smile I loved listening to Native American powwow drum circles, Southeast Asian gamelans, Indian ragas, and similar types of long, non-English-lyrics music pieces. Ravi Shankar is the man to look up for Indian ragas.

Oddfish's picture

Postulant

Back in student housing, one of my roommates and I discovered raaga.com and listened to it nonstop. Free streaming music from films and Indian radio, organized in a variety of useful ways. Gooood stuff.

The Which's picture

Embodiment

I can't listen to music at all when I'm studying, I find it far too distracting. Very low, very mellow, lyric-free music can be playing in the background, but I can't have it on headphones or coming out of speakers that are facing me. It's weird, I know.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Seriously. I'm bipolar/ADD and so far haven't come up with good solutions for my own concentration problems. I think you're right, we focused on the relationship rather than the actual problem here. Ah well.

Cheez-It's picture

Glad to help. I actually understand some of where her guy is coming from... I stubbornly refuse all medication and prefer various therapies to control my issues (of which control is also one). But I don't think that what I do is what everyone else should do, or what is right for someone else is right for me.
Oh, and another thing for concentration- if you can put your computer against a wall (or better in a corner) so that your view is only the computer and a blank wall.
Put up on the wall things related to what you're studying, maps, formulas, important dates. (Mei- you've got character portraits, surely you have lists of characters, an outline of where the story is going... a map?) Things to keep you focused on what you're doing.
Remove anything distracting (as much as you can anyway) especially the (goddamnednoiseybox) TV.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

Thanks for sharing. I'm not ADD but sometimes I have trouble focusing, like everyone else, I'm sure. In general, that seems like really good advice. Thank you!

LaCiega's picture

I definitely second music to help you focus and keep you awake-- I am a caffeine-less person (I don't like carbonation, or the taste of coffee or tea) and I successfully stayed up until 3am (and went to 8:30 class in the morning) two days in a row to write a paper last semester by listening to music. Most of the music I own has words, but I would take a break by closing my eyes and listening to a song. A four- to five-minute break that you actually come out the other side of feeling more awake is an amazing thing...

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

Thanks! This sounds like it could work. I'm stuck in fluorescently-lit dorms at the moment, but I'll try the rest Smile

Silverrowan's picture

*laughs*

from another person with ADHD:
DO NOT listen to music. none. If you're studying off notes on the computer turn OFF all the lights in the room, close the blinds - the glow from the screen will help focus your gaze to the material. (I take all my notes on the computer, I can't find the paper notes)

If studying on paper bright light is good.

Physically disconnect your internet connection if possible, in AS MANY places as possible (if you won't need it)

Tell your roommates to be quiet and to make sure you come out of the cave for dinner. (assuming they're nice and will agree Blum 3 ). Set an alarm too, but don't count on actually noticing it go off (hence the roommate pestering)

Basically, do what you need to do to focus, and to compensate for your hyperfocus (eat, drink, sleep). I intentionally trigger my hyperfocus because I cannot focus properly otherwise. Handily, my meds not only increase my ability to focus normally, but also REDUCE the depth of my hyperfocus. Three days without food, water and only 6 hrs sleep IS BAD.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

Thanks for the comments and welcome to the neighborhood, Silverrowan. Why don't you register your name so you can earn points when you comment (and pretty badges!), and post an introduction? We're always happy to have new folks join our discussions Biggrin

applejax's picture

Supplicant

for computer versus paper studying, but for a lot of my homework I study out of the book and fill out my answers on the computer, and I have trouble staying on track. I don't have ADD or ADHD (I think) but I still get unfocused when I'm using so many different things at once.

Marx's picture

Petitioner

So, you have to study for the test, took the drugs (probably ritalin, right?) in order to help you focus on the books, and now your BF's angry at you? Duh, if he's convinced you're not really ADD or ADHD, then he has every right to be angry at you, since the drugs ARE giving you an unfair advantage - usually, drugs to treat ADD are amphetamines, which is sometimes also known as "Speed". Of course, this is only the case if you're not affected by ADD because the doc misdiagnosed.
Now, if you do suffer from ADD and haven't been misdiagnosed, then it ain't cheating to use ritalin or whatever in order to perform as well as you should without your handicap.
Either way, you two definitely need to talk. You're worrying about breaking up because of this?! From what I can tell, you rarely ever took a drug, right? Apart from alcohol and cigarettes, I mean. And now it happened once (not even something illegal, since you still have the prescription!), and you're really worrying that the relationship is at an end. Either you are overreacting, or you have more serious issues to work out.

Also, yes, I used to take Ritalin. It was a very unpleasant experience for me.

Oh, and forgive me for ignoring the question you asked, but I am pretty sure additional answers to that question would be superfluous.

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

Close -- Adderall. It's generally unpleasant for me too, and I actually ended up waiting for the pill (not XR) to wear off before I started studying.

I've thought about getting re-tested to see if I was mis-diagnosed, but I don't really see the point of it if I'm not going to try to get another prescription. A psychiatrist's test-based opinion of me isn't going to change my opinion of myself on this subject matter. No matter what the test results said, I'd probably describe myself as having mild attention deficit since I definitely have more trouble focusing than most of my friends do, but I /can/ focus, especially under pressure. There's a spectrum of grays between "hard core ADD" and "normal," and I fall somewhere in there.

ETA: Yeah, I'm pretty drug-free. I've never smoked anything or wanted to smoke anything. I've never cared too much about alcohol, so I've mostly abstained from that for my boyfriend's comfort aside from trying a few things after I turned 21. He was ok with that, but the idea of people getting drunk enough for their personality to change really bothers him. Like, he finds it scary and mentally-foreign that people willingly do that to themselves. That's part of why this is such a big deal -- that, and the fact that I was willing to take something to help me focus even though I'm capable of focusing without it.

The Which's picture

Embodiment

I found that the best ADD drug for me was Welbutrin. It was prescribed for depression, but I have never been so focused in my life as when I was on it. And, it had minimal side effects (weight loss being the only significant one for me, and I certainly wasn't complaining about that). If you're having trouble with focus, I'd recommend it. It's non stimulant, so it wont help you stay awake and study longer, but it does help you focus when you are studying.
The only problem is that it's not actually approved for this use. I think that enough studies have shown that it works for doctors to feel comfortable perscribing it for that purpose, but some may not be comfortable with it.

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

Wellbutrin is an selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, if I remember correctly... (yay biochemistry!) I took strattera for a while, which is just a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, and I felt really not-myself. The norepinephrine did help me focus and stay awake, but I didn't like it because it was one of those drugs that you HAVE to take every day for it to keep working, and I liked to be able to take breaks from my meds so that I could remember what it felt like to just be me.

Did you have to take Wellbutrin every day? I'm guessing that you're supposed to even if you don't have to in order for it to work.

The Which's picture

Embodiment

It is one that you are supposed to take every day, but I usually average 5 days/week for those kinds of drugs. :rolleyes: Even medicated I tend to be quite forgetful Smile

However, unlike several antidepressants I've taken, I didn't experience withdrawal symptoms on days I forgot pills. For me, it really was a wonderdrug. I didn't feel the need to go off it, because I felt exactly like me, only... different.

Right now, my only drug is walking. Yes, it's true what they say, physical activity is as effective as antidepressants. (Just dont tell that to a severely depressed person. Seriously, I could barely get out of bed, how did my parents think I was going to find the energy to excersize?) Unfortunately, walking doesn't really help with attention, so I might have to medicate again this fall if/when I get accepted into nursing school.

Goforbroke's picture

Devotee

I take wellbutrin for my depression and it helps with that, but i have gained weight on it, they also use it for smokers and to help them stop, I smoke and it doesnt help at all with that. As for the focus thing it doesnt do anything there for me either. Maybe its just because i have severe depression and its just holding that at bay, but then again it could just be a placebo Biggrin

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

therapy or something like it? I don't actually know anything about this, so forgive me if it's too forward, but I bet you can treat more mild attention deficit in ways other than drugs. Maybe someone can suggest tips, teach you how to meditate, idk, something, to help you out with that in way that would be copasetic with your boyfriend.

Worry about it on Friday, though. Good luck with your test!

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

I considered it for a while. If it's covered by my insurance, I might try to develop some good habits with a therapist this summer rather than take time away from my classes Blum 3

And yes, off to study! I'll respond to more posts after my test tomorrow.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

I can't speak for your school, nor for its facilities...my university's Student Counseling Center was phenomenal for me.

also, free.

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

Hm.. I might try that. I've never been there so I d k whether it's any good, but it /is/ free.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

On the alcohol note, I'm totally with your guy. Wow. I'm so glad I'm not the only one; it's a very lonely way to view the world. And it did cause a BIG problem between myself and my then-boyfriend-now-husband, several times. I actually felt really horrible during all of it, because I knew I was being demanding to the point of emotional manipulation with my desire for him not to drink, too, but it didn't change how horribly upsetting his drinking was to me. But! we did work it out in the end, and without him having to totally abstain from alcohol. I'll never feel at ease when he's had any alcohol, but I can "be good" about it. So yeah, it can be dealt with successfully.

I still think the main issue between you two isn't the Adderall (or alcohol or whatever) in particular, but how effectively you two communicate and resolve things between each other (what will happen in the future if you disagree about money, or whether/how to raise a potential child in a faith, or...?). I just thought I'd share my thoughts from the other side on the "don't fuck with your brain" issue.

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

You don't know anyone else who views alcohol that way? I don't know many people with such strong feelings on the subject, but a significant minority of people seem to find the whole drinking thing unappealing/uninteresting.

Learning how to deal with actual disagreements like this is going to be interesting. Up until now, most of our disagreements have either been misunderstandings or things where we could just live and let live.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

that fall into that category. I was friends with a few people like that my freshman year. They found the idea of drinking repulsive, and couldn't understand why someone wouldn't want to be fully 100% always in control of themselves at all times. I didn't drink for a while because that's who I was friends with, but in the end, I'm a try everything once kind of girl, and I have a hard time listening to someone say bad things about an experience they've never had.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

To be a bit facetious, I'm perfectly comfortable saying bad things about rape or murder even though I've never experienced them Blum 3

More seriously, I think that if you know yourself well enough, then you don't have to experience most things to decide whether you'd like them or not. As it happens, I had to take mild sedatives for a pair of oral surgeries after I graduated from college. HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE. So yeah, I take that as proof-of-concept that me not being in control of my brain is a Bad Thing for me.

And I really am surprised y'all know other people like that. I've never met anyone who would agree with me on that, and the two-three comments above are the first I've even heard of anyone else like me. Yay internets!

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

My boyfriend is adamant that I refrain from drinking, largely because he had a bum of a father who did before he left his wife and family. He let me know that he did NOT like the idea of someone close to him drinking or using mind-altering drugs, and for the most part, I have no problem with that since I haven't found an alcohol that I really like. (Except a Grasshopper I had once as dessert. That was just downright yummy. I probably could have licked the ice.)

I really don't have a problem with an occasional drink but he asked me not to, and it's not really been a big deal for me to avoid it. I'd certainly never get drunk for the sake of being drunk, and that's a stance I've had since I was old enough to realize what 'drunk' was. My parents kept the liquor available, and even though I knew where it was, I never touched it because they'd made it clear that it was for people's whose livers had finished developing but that they would be happy to give me a taste of anything, as long as they were there to supervise. Strangely enough, I only took them up on that offer a handful of times.

The only really rocky part of my relationship with current bf was when I discussed going back on anti-depressants because I realized I was in a downward spiral of stress and schoolwork. I worked through that one on my own, but it certainly wasn't easy. There are still days I wish I had them to give me a little helping hand through the low parts, but I manage. I'm getting regular exercise and stuff, so that's helping. Looking back and reading the "Depressed people are depressed for a reason" article, I can see that I really did have a reason to be depressed when they were prescribed. Emotionally abusive relationship, the hardest level of coursework I could take at school (International Baccalaureate), extracurricular charity work... I don't remember large chunks of my last couple years of high school simply because it was Not A Good Time. The worst part about it was that I was a little too good at lying and it took much longer than it might have for my parents to catch on and help me get help.

Anyway, getting off topic: Antidepressants were a crutch for me to get out of a bad situation, and although it would be easier to use them when the going gets a little rough, I'm much more proud of my self that I don't need them. I don't drink because my SO asks me not to. We've come to the agreement that a drink every month or so is alright, if I just want to try something new, but I usually pass because I know it makes him uncomfortable. It's not a burden for us, just an occasional inconvenience.

I really agree to that last part about the communication issue. Early in the relationship, after he told me that he didn't like alcohol, I slipped once and had a glass of champagne at an extended family reunion. I called to tell him about it, and he told me that while he was disappointed, he understood that it was acceptable to drink for celebrating family that I haven't seen in years, as long as I didn't over-do it. I'm really glad that we did have the following talk because I think it made our relationship stronger, knowing that he trusts me to have the self-control and restraint not to drink too much or too often.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I think my parents had about the right idea as far as alcohol. At one point when I was 7 or 8 (give or take), I asked my dad what he was drinking when he was working the grill. He offered to let me try it, and I promptly sprayed miller lite off the side of our deck Blum 3
I had no more interest in alcohol until I hit college, where I managed to culture an extremely expensive taste in booze; I didn't know it at the time, but the girl buying the drinks when I made dinner happened to be a millionaire. At one point she dropped an ice cube into a champagne flute and poured chartreuse over it, exclaiming that she was being eccentric. I, not knowing her wealth status (hell, she had a house, but it was modest and she worked in a pet store!), declared that you had to have money to be eccentric, so she was just plain nuts. She proceeded to snort some chartreuse out of her nose while everyone else in the room just about died from laughter. She left the room, came back with a folder several inches thick which she dumped in my lap and declared "this is my bank statement; my banker visits me at home." Needless to say, she's eccentric Wink

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

Might stem from the fact that one of the few times I asked was when they had opened a truly foul red wine. I think the cork had probably rotted a little. Seriously nasty.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

That's just... foul, and I thought I had encountered some bad alcohol in my travels. Reminds me though, that growing up I remember my dad occasionally having a scotch on the rocks, which I always considered to be absolutely disgusting because it always smelled like paint thinner. One xmas after I turned 21 I really didn't have an idea of what to get him though, so I bought my dad a very expensive bottle of aged double cask single malt scotch. When I gave it to him he poured some for me (as well as producing a smile I'll never forget). From that point on I was a fan of scotch Blum 3

The quality of what you drink makes a huge difference, and even at the same quality level the individual characteristics of something like wine play a huge roll. I love a good single malt scotch, but even the best Islay malts ("possessing notes of iodine, seaweed and salt") tend to have more peat in them than I enjoy. On the same note, my mom generally hates food cooked in red wine, but when I got a good bottle of a fruity merlot with very little tannin for my chicken with chorizo, she was asking for the recipe.

If you're interested in giving things another try, I would recommend something like a pinot grigio (a drier white wine) from a respected winery (I haven't had anything of theirs in a while, but Benziger was always quite good in the ~$20 a bottle category); serve it chilled.

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

I'm not a huge fan of red wines in general, but I usually have a sip if someone's pouring one. So far, I've found that a smooth merlot is pretty tasty, but if it gets anywhere near the 'bitter' end of the spectrum, it's an immediate no-go for me. White wine is a little more tolerable, as long as it isn't sourish. I've really been meaning to try a dessert wine at some point, which I've heard people express negative reactions to for its syrup-y-ness. Personally, I think I'd probably like a sweeter wine.

The one thing I have noticed is that champagne is more delicious the more you drink. I had a glass with some key-lime pie that at the beginning was almost too bitter for me, and by the end I was considering a second glass. I think having the tart/sweet of the key-lime was a nice complement to the champagne. (Excuse me, drink lovers if I've made some horrible faux-pas in having the two together.) As I recall, the champagne was brought over to the states by my french aunt and uncle.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I tend to like my reds a little fruity and without too much dryness, but whites I like very dry and very clean in their flavors. Sadly this means I couldn't really suggest a white for you Blum 3 Dessert wines I find are nice in small amounts, but generally get too thick and sweet for me in anything other than about a half glass size (though I did have some that was a blackberry dessert wine which was delicious).

As far as champagne and key lime pie, if you enjoyed it you did it right Smile Honestly sounds like a pretty good combination now that I think about it.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

get a nice limoncello, served ice-cold.
Sweet, not too citric (it's made [I think] from the peel rather than flesh/juice), and tasty.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

is awesome. Sometimes it's a little too sweet for me, so I cut it with club soda, 50/50. It's amazing.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

my first shot of limoncello was at a professor's house, having dinner with the fellow. A great guy, too.
Man, do I owe him.

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

I talked to him for a while today, and we got a lot of our feelings out in the open. To sum up so far, we're sorry that we hurt each other, we forgive everything that's happened over the past few days, and we've accepted that we might need to approach this whole thing differently than we've approached previous disagreements. I think that with both of us on board, we'll find a way to work it out.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Sounds like a good conversation. Smile

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

Very good to hear Smile I hope your test went well, too!

Andrea's picture

Supplicant

Thanks! I won't know for a while, but I feel pretty good about it.

kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

I'm glad things seem to be going so well, both relationship-wise and academically. Best of luck for continued discussion (and for the day you get your test back).

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

I'm very happy that you guys seem to be on the way to a "grown-up" conversation about the thing. Much better that way. Wink

Shinjinarenai's picture

Postulant

I seem to be constantly reading about cognition on the internets, and decided to share my favorite links.

1) Doodling as concentration enhancer- what gets me through each and every class. http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/02/doodlerecall.html

2) Scott Adam's take on food as self-training mechanism- a hypothesis, but a good one: http://www.dilbert.com/blog/entry/training_humans/

3) Summary of an article in Nature pleading for the legalization of cognition-enhancing drugs, with ethicists and all: http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/12/brain-enhancing.html#previous...

4) Article about morality-enhancing drugs: http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/09/gandhi-pills-ps.html

5) 20% of scientists admit to using brain-enhancing drugs: http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/04/20-of-scientist.html#previous...

6) One of the most fascinating of all- the use of caffeine as performance enhancer in sports, and whether that too is cheating: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/26/health/nutrition/26best.html?em=&pagew...

Personally, I have 25 pages to write in three days during my spring break, because my schedule doesn't leave any other time for writing. I don't have any drugs, but plan to eat a lot, drink a lot of tea, and listen to electronic music.

I'm glad things are going well with your SO, Andrea!

EDIT: By the way, yes, I am a Wired Science junkie.

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