Over the weekend, I did something colossally stupid – and very enlightening.
I accidentally took Benjamin’s ADD medication – and some of his anti-anxiety medication, too.
I know. It astounds even me.
Basically, I was multi-tasking. I was on the phone with a friend working out a potential carpool situation ahead of Sunday School, preparing Benjamin’s prescriptions, and simultaneously thinking, “Oh, I need to take my medicine, too.” Somewhere in that nanosecond, I looked down, my brain said, “Take your medicine,” and I took the medicine in front of me. Benjamin’s.
I was just about to take the tiny half of a pill when I looked at it and thought, “That’s not my medicine.”
THAT’S NOT MY MEDICINE.
Instinctively, I knew I hadn’t done anything really bad (like life-threatening), but I also knew I had no idea what kind of side effects or allergic reactions could take place. So, I immediately texted Benjamin’s prescribing doctor, who is also a very cool guy, to ask exactly how bad this might be. I may have asked Facebook Nation as well.
The responses were, as you might expect, classic.
I was assured by him, as well as a pharmacist, ”You’ll be a little revved up. Enjoy the productivity.” Well, okay. Maybe it won’t be awful.
I knew I had about thirty minutes before the medicine would kick in, which was enough time to get Benjamin to Sunday School – and I was right. I dropped him off, visited with a friend for a few minutes, and in the middle of that conversation, whatever was about to happen, started to happen.
I tried to pay very close attention to each feeling as it occurred, but at some point, it was too hard to pinpoint which medicine might be giving me a certain effect. I’m fairly certain the ‘fuzziness’ I felt was from the anti-anxiety meds, and I’m certain the rest of it was all the ADD stimulant.
But, I am here to tell you, the “You’ll be a little revved up,” piece? A lie. I haven’t felt this awful for this long (eight+ hours) since I was pregnant with Benjamin. This was a cocktail of jittery, exhausted, nauseated, high, and completely unable to sleep – because at some point I thought I nap might help.
And these idiot college students that just pop Adderall for FUN? You have GOT to be kidding me.
You see, for Benjamin’s brain (and Leah’s), a stimulant has the opposite effect. It calms. So if you’ve ever wondered if you might have been ADD all your life and it went undiagnosed? This will undoubtedly prove it one way or another. Brain chemistry does not lie.
We can scratch THAT musing off my list. Real quick.
Through the day I mentally marked when it felt like there was some kind of “surge” of medicine, and when it dropped off. I’d feel sort of okay, like I could deal with it, and then some piece of the time release would kick in and I’d want to curl up and whimper. I was a walking chemistry experiment. And I’ll never do this again.
I started wondering if this is how the kids felt – only in a good way. Could they tell when the medicine kicked in? What did it feel like? Benjamin knew I had taken the wrong medicine this morning because of all the commotion of “OMGYOUDIDWHAT?!”, but I waited until later to ask him a few things.
I asked him, “Can you tell when the medicine kicks in?”
“How does it feel? Do you know?”
“Yeah! It feels good!”
That really struck me. I am no stranger to how important medication is in helping Benjamin just be Benjamin. What today gave me was, in some way, a peek into what turmoil inside your body feels like. Leah absolutely cannot focus, learn, or get her homework done in any reasonable way without the help of medication. Benjamin is the same, but also deals with anxiety. They have absolutely no choice in those things – it just happens to them.
I had zero control over the effects today. As much as I wished it would stop, tried to use different mental techniques, relaxation, ANYTHING, nothing could stop this. If there had been a pill I could take to reverse this, I would have swallowed it happily.
I have a greater appreciation for not only what my kids deal with, but the power of these drugs as well. By extrapolation, I have a greater appreciation of those who struggle with things greater than this in their mental health every day. A bone gets broken, you put a pin in it or a cast. A cut gets Neosporin and a band-aid. Something inside? Call a surgeon. Someone could replace my HEART.
In reality, the physical is easier in many ways to deal with. It’s the mental that is hard.
I give my kids a fair amount of credit for giving good feedback on how they feel, how their medications are working, etc. After today, I have a lot more respect for them – and how they’ve learned to advocate for themselves, and communicate about what is going on inside their bodies. I think I took some of that – and the strength of these medications – for granted. I’m done with that.
I never, NEVER, want to do this again, but I’m thankful it happened. I am very thankful it happened.