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Fighting mental illness can be a little maddening sometimes. We’re getting to be pretty good friends, so I’m going to tell you about my HUGE fail the other day.
If you didn’t know this already, ADHD medication is expensive, and getting it prescribed is a hassle. The majority of ADHD medications are classified as stimulants and stimulants are controlled substances. Unfortunately, people like to abuse stimulants. That means every time I go to the pharmacy, it is a hassle. You have to take a physical prescription to the pharmacy, so for starters, I had to get to my doctor’s office. That means scheduling an appointment, remembering the appointment exists, and making the appointment on time. Hmmm, that’s not a challenge for anyone with ADHD, right?
As if that isn’t frustrating enough there’s always an issue at the pharmacy:
- Once, there was a tear in the script, and though it was legible, it was not fillable.
- Don’t get me started on insurance issues if the doctor changes your dose.
- The pharmacy techs look at you as though you are a junkie the whole time you are waiting.
- If you’re annoyed by the stunning amount of time and strict protocol that getting a simple prescription takes, you’re sure to SEEM like an addict.
- I folded the script once and that was a problem.
THIS time though, I had everything right. I went to the doctor on time (in a snowstorm), got my prescription, and showed myself up at the pharmacy, very proud of my organization. Ready for this? The pharmacy could not fill my prescription. “Why can’t she fill it,” you ask? A Physician’s Assistant wrote it. “But wait, a Physician’s Assistant CAN prescribe” – yes, yes they can. A Physician’s Assistant has written prescriptions for my ADHD medication before.
Here’s what happened: I changed meds from a brand to a generic prescription. On the initial prescription, a physician must write it. That means my prescription could only be filled for three days worth of the medication I use to pay attention. After that, I must return to the doctor’s office and start this whole process again. So, I couldn’t get my medicine that day, because I had other appointments and needed to be there, not going back to the doctor’s office.
A HUGE Burden
Think about everything you know about ADHD. The dysfunctional executive function in the ADHD brain can make going through this process of getting to the doctor, picking up a physical prescription, and then hoping against hope that the pharmacy will actually fill it when you get there into a herculean task. This requires serious organization and time management!
While I understand the necessity of ensuring these medications are used safely, I often think that this places an undue burden on people who have ADHD.
Because of these restrictions and complications, many people with ADHD go for weeks or months at a time without medication they desperately need.
And that’s IF they have the ability to fill their prescriptions in the first place.
Fighting The Battle
We’ve discussed how many people with ADHD are underemployed or unemployed because of their symptoms, right? Surely you don’t think we all have health insurance? Without treatment, whether it is medication or therapies to help us cope, many of us are fighting a huge battle against ADHD. Some days we win, some days we lose.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Well, because I wanted you to know that some days you’re on top of the world. You’ve got your symptoms under control, you’re accomplishing everything you want to accomplish, and everything is perfect. That story? That was a day when I was frustrated, and if I was keeping score, going through all of that work and walking away (somewhat) empty handed felt like a loss. Every day isn’t a win.
Time to get honest
Fighting mental Illness is a challenge. Honesty is so crucial in learning to manage these conditions. The problem is that when you combine rollercoaster emotions, hypersensitivity, and an impulsive nature, knowing your own mind can be a challenge. We have to be certain to move and direct our lives from a place that isn’t controlled by our symptoms.
There are days that win. Not every day is a win. We have become masters of illusion to a certain extent. I’m not afraid to admit, I have been extraordinarily depressed these past few months. I’ve struggled harder to keep my life from going off the rails than I ever have. I’ve spent a month in bed. Depression is no joke. ADHD is no joke. Anxiety is no joke.
I want you, among all of the other commitments you have made, to commit to yourself first. Choose to be honest with yourself. Check-in. That is your greatest chance of arresting these conditions before they get out of hand.
Bad days will come
Above all, do not be ashamed of your bad days. Stop. What you are fighting is a chronic illness that permeates every last facet of your life. You win some days, you lose others. Take the day off, even though you may not want to. You are your most precious resource. Sometimes to reclaim our sanity we have to take extreme measures. Once, I walked away from a job because every day I was there I had panic attacks which affected my performance and became a continual source of stress for me.
Was it hard financially? You bet your ass.
But it was the right thing for my well being at that time.
The only way you are going to come out on the other side of this unscathed is to get incredibly real. Start today. I’ll be right there with you.
Until next time,
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