73: The Struggle with Meds

73: The Struggle with Meds

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Middle School

The Struggle with Meds

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.

~William James

“That’s disgusting,” I said to myself as I coughed up the awful stuff I was forced to swallow.

“Come on,” my mom said, while trying to shove more of the nasty-tasting substance down my throat. “Just take this and you’ll be done for the day.”

Let me explain what’s happening here. I was born with Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD, which makes it hard for me to pay attention and focus. My mom was trying to get me to take my ADD medication. I didn’t know how to swallow it because I was still young. So my mom would break open the capsule of the pill and pour the medicine inside into some frosting and make me eat it. I had to eat that stuff until I learned to swallow my pill, and I hated it because the frosting mixed with the medicine tasted like moldy cheese that had been sitting in the sun for two months.

My trouble with medication began when I first started school. “He is a great student,” my teachers would say, “but he has trouble listening in class.” I was later diagnosed with ADD and had to start taking medication to control it. I was little then and had no idea how to swallow pills. Thankfully, I learned later how to do it and no longer had to eat the disgusting frosting concoction my mom made.

The taste, however, was not my main problem. After taking the medication for a little while, I started feeling depressed and tired. This was a major problem, because the pills were still necessary to help me pay attention. But now they also made me feel awful all day long. The pills did help in school, but the side effects were destroying the rest of my life.

So I stopped taking my medication sometime during middle school. It felt great to act like my old self again. It didn’t last long though—my parents saw a drop in my grades as soon as I went off my medication. I guess you could say I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I went to many doctors who prescribed many different medications for ADD. I honestly thought that the doctors were all idiots, even though I knew they cared. Still, all of them made me feel miserable. I couldn’t decide if it was more important to take my medication or not, and I doubt I’ll ever really figure that out. I mostly went on and off the pills throughout school while trying to find another pill that wouldn’t make me feel terrible.

I think ADD is both a gift and a curse. I’m kind of glad and angry that I was born with it. I have my share of problems, but I also have learned to accept it, and that only makes me a better person. I’ve learned to accept myself for who I am, even though I may not always like who that person is.

~Justin Lynema

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