Ritalin Almost Destroyed My Life
After almost 5 years following my diagnosis, you would think that I would have learned how to live with this condition.
After coming out to the world about my condition 2 years in, I truly thought that was the turning point in my journey. I have learned now that this was the furthest thing from the truth.
I now understand something that took me a long time to admit. Ritalin almost destroyed my life.
How I felt after getting my diagnosis
Relief is the only word that can describe what I felt when I finally received a diagnosis after 12 years of ignorance. It felt as though an enormous weight had been lifted off my chest, but that feeling was not to be long-lasting as I would later come to find out.
It would be followed by a blind sense of control. The belief that pills could fix everything was my first error in judgment. It allowed me to create an unhealthy relationship with them fully founded on dependency.
They were my salvation and the only thing that could help me deal with my new reality.
I no longer saw treatment as my salvation
As I reached the 3-year mark, everything had changed. I no longer saw this treatment as my salvation. I had suffered so much due to a self-inflicted dependency that it opened my eyes to the harm that medication could do. I was very much aware at this point that the “cure” was possibly worse than the disease itself.
A false sense of control
However, the false sense of control remained. I still believed that as long as I reduced the quantity I was taking, or stopped from time to time, then everything would be ok.
I was now actively advocating for narcolepsy as much as my body would allow, in any possible way that I could, and again...I felt in control.
I had taken back the control that narcolepsy had tried to take away from me. I thought life was going to sail smoothly from then on. I was gravely mistaken.
What I have learned after 5 years
I can honestly tell you that these past 2 years have been the worst years of my entire life...and I have had some very tough years.
I have lived in 3 different countries. I have moved 5 different times between these 3 countries. I have lived in 7 different apartments just this past year alone. I have suffered some of the worst hallucinations of my life. I have started and lost 3 different jobs. I have almost ruined various friendships and family relationships. I have almost lost my eyesight and am now facing a serious operation to get it back (unrelated to the medication). I have lost my phone that contained 7 years of my life inside.
And I have honestly never felt so incredibly alone in my entire life.
Ritalin is not for me
Looking back now, I know that stubbornly continuing to take medication that I knew did not agree with me was the biggest mistake I have ever made.
Living in a country with no other options certainly didn’t help, but it was still my choice to continue taking it and allowing the side effects to almost destroy me.
Ritalin makes me impulsive, aggressive, and paranoid. It makes me not only hallucinate but also develop a subtle form of OCD. It makes me itch and unable to trust my mind or my eyes.
This is not to say that Ritalin is bad for everyone. It isn’t. For some people, it works perfectly, but I am not that person.
Important lessons I learned about myself
The best decision I have made all year was to stop my narcolepsy medication altogether. I finally feel like myself again, with a very clear head.
For me, it has been a very important lesson to understand that if something isn’t working for you, then it might be easier to just find other ways. Even if those ways seem harder, the important thing is to do what’s right for your body and especially your mind.
I have now been without medication for over 2 months, and although this was something that I feared so much, it took my life almost being destroyed to finally give in.
I don’t know what life will be like in the future, but for the first time in a long time, I feel like myself again, and that is the most important thing.
What is the hardest part of coping with narcolepsy?