Adderall & Me

IMG_0562What I battle most with depression is lethargy, which makes it hard to get out of bed, take a shower, and pretty much do anything else. I have to fight this every day. It improved when my psychiatrist prescribed Prozac for my perimenopause symptoms (low mood, even more lethargy) in October 2017, up until the depression I’m currently experiencing since coming down from my recent hypomanic episode. But 4 years ago, when I complained about my lack of energy, he put me on Adderall. This is a candid account of my reactions to that medication.

I had no idea that Adderall is, basically, speed. I can’t remember if he told me this, but I know I didn’t ask. Not surprisingly, I was bouncing off the walls, as you can see from the Bitstrips picture I posted on Facebook back then (I used to have long hair). And I loved having all that energy!

Brake LightsUnfortunately, I began hallucinating, which was the closest I’d come to psychosis since I was first hospitalized. When I drove (I was driving back then) in the dark, I was convinced that the brake lights of the cars ahead of me were my aunts’ eyes watching me. They live halfway across the country, and I thought this was their way of . . . I don’t know . . . spying on me. It was upsetting and frightening. I became paranoid every time I was behind the wheel. I told my psychiatrist, and he took me off Adderall immediately.

My takeaway was to always ask my doctors what types of medicine they’re prescribing, and what the side effects are. Unfortunately, I was lax about this last spring, when my primary care physician prescribed an allergy medication that has rare side effects of  self-harm/suicidal thoughts. Since then, I make sure to ask about new medications they add to my cocktail, particularly psychotropic drugs, though I admit I’m not always good about it.

Have you had unwanted side effects from medication? If so, what types?

Photo 1 provided by author via Bitstrips

Photo 2 credit: ThePatronSaint on / CC BY-NC-ND

Why I Was First Hospitalized


I was first hospitalized in 1994 or 1995 because I had a psychotic breakdown. I was riding the ‘L’ home from work with my then-husband and I began seeing things, but they were superimposed onto what everybody else saw — reality, I guess. I saw Andy Warhol-like paintings, where the piece is divided into quadrants. I’d been feeling really depressed for a while before this happened, although I hadn’t been seeing things until that day.

We got off at a stop located near a hospital and went to the ER. They determined that I needed to stay in the Behavioral Unit (euphemism for “psych ward”), and that was that.

Photo credit: veyoung52 via / CC BY-NC-ND