Working through the many tasks and challenges of daily life with, and without medication for ADHD has been a strange experience.
Recently, I watched with my Son an episode of “Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends”. The fire rescue engine got wheels to drive on the road. He had been so used to the train tracks for travelling that during his first outing on the road another engine laughed at him because of his “wobbly wheels”. For a while he was too embarrassed to try again, but found courage and resolve when he finally reconnected with his values and purpose: to put out fires, and be part of the rescue team.
It was probably no coincidence a children’s story should connect with my own life experience. Before medication, I read endless self-help books, mainly about becoming organised, time efficient, happy, effective in work and general life. However, I was like the engine on the train track, I could appreciate the scenery and get to my destinations, but the mode of travel remained unchanged.
With the wobbly wheels of medication I was able to explore different routes, but it was tiring to think differently, and to sustain the activity. I wanted to stay on familiar tracks, and my brain was unnerved by these new possibilities. It was tempting to fall back on old habits, although now it was with conscious awareness and choice. I could no longer pretend to myself I wasn’t in control; a space had opened between trigger and response.
I had been given an opportunity I didn’t want to grab, and then waste. Over time, I began to understand how to use my values and purpose to keep me persisting, practicing, and learning. I couldn’t just expect the “wobbly wheels” to work and make things better.