Wake up…it’s 5:45 AM and I roll out of bed, my eyes drearily opening after an average night of 2 hours of sleep. This morning is different however as I pour myself a glass of water and two little blue pills trickle down my throat. Adderall—the prescription drug used to treat attention deficit disorder just entered my system. As I hop into the shower, I hope it will at least help me open my eyes. I manage to throw on some clothes and assemble the contents of my book bag: notebook, sketchbook, pencils, keys, ‘Cane Card, all the usual routine shit, and I’m out the door in record time. I’m feeling so energetic that I actually run to work. I walk through the door and shocked glances are shooting my way. This is the first time that I have ever made it to work on time and it’s only 6:15 a.m.
So what the hell’s going on here right now? Are these pills helping me strike up these great conversations or am I just incredibly personable today? I catch up on my journal though I have no idea how I managed to remember everything that happened last week. Matter of fact, I wrote three pages without stopping to think—the thoughts just slivered out of me. There are people all around, music playing, and yet I’m as content as ever in my concentration. I pull out my sketchbook and draw a figure close to perfect on the first try: either I got some mad skills soaked into my head through the alchemy of my magic pillow or this Adderall is really working.
I stroll out of work and am back in my room by 9 a.m. Economics homework is due in about two hours and I actually feel like doing it. Here we go—blast through the questions, zoom through the notes, write down the formula, fill in the blanks and I’m done! This shit’s like playing quarters. It’s the first time all year I have even done my economics homework, no complications, no deep thinking, just question and answer, just like that. I’m lovin’ it.
Though I’ve never been diagnosed with ADD, I’m starting to think that I should be. Long ago I stopped studying and doing my homework because I just couldn’t concentrate. Maybe it was boring, dull material like counting numbers or figuring out lackluster formulas. I mean I can concentrate for hours on things that I’m interested in. So what separates me from those people with prescriptions for Adderall? Probably nothing but a doctor’s note, it seems. ADD symptoms are apparently felt by all college students at some time or another. I’ve managed to get great grades without doing my work and I’ve accepted it that way. The turning point here is that, with the assistance of these speedy little pills, I could graduate with a 4.0 rather than the measly 3.5 I’m heading towards.
Having finished my homework way ahead of schedule, I start to edit my photos, completing and uploading all 37 of them to a website before my class at 11. Usually, this shit takes me hours. My ability to focus is ridiculous. I run to class and start writing this article as I take notes. Wow, I can even multitask. I feel like I’ve accomplished a weeks worth of work and it isn’t even noon yet. Hell, if I took an IQ test right now I’d get a 180.
I’m now writing a to-do list and remember every 20 items I wanted to. Shit’s crazy. The way things are going, I’ll be done by 1…Then, maybe I’ll work out, teach myself to speak Japanese, write a book, and read Dante’s Inferno – all while standing on one leg while I’m at it. I’m not quite Superman but I feel like the only thing separating him and me is that I don’t have X-ray vision (and I can’t fly).
So I wonder if this is all worth it. I’m not sure, I may be blemishing my body like with any other drug and I’m thinking, whilst marveling at about hundred other ideas, will I become addicted to this pill? I don’t know, but maybe Adderall can show me what I could accomplish if I really concentrated. I just hope it never wears off…
– Rachael Henrichsen
testimonial #2 —————————————————————–
The 80s were a dark time for Motley Crue: they shot up heroine, slept with hundreds of girls and wore enough makeup to cover Rosie O’Donnell’s ass and love handles. But somewhere down the line, Tommy Lee and company started to have a little bit too much fun. One afternoon, the band was on TV, complete with black leather and wild hair, announcing to the world that the same band who released an album entitled Shout at the Devil was checking themselves into rehab.
Looking back on this, I often think: rock stars and Betty Ford don’t mix. They are selling out to rock and roll. But then I thought, maybe it is kind of cool that Vince Neil had the balls to admit that he really did have a problem. So the first step in defeating your problems is to realize that they exist.
I recently applied this hair band philosophy to my university-sized struggles to pay attention in the classroom and while studying. It’s time to admit that I have a full blown case of ADD. My mom has pushed the notion of Ritalin or Adderall to me since the days of Optimus Prime and He-Man…and mom always knows best.
Studying is impossible.
Here is a typical study session for me: I’ll open my textbook and read the first words: “Because of the way soil forms . . .” Whew! That’s too much to handle already, so I’m off to the bathroom. Then I hang out by the water fountain for 10 minutes, taking huge gulps. For the next two hours it’s a combo of snake on the cell phone, bathroom trips, water fountain lounging and pleasuring myself to Glamour in the Richter Stacks. All I’ve read now is the intro to chapter seven.
This school throws so much useless crap upon the shoulders of its students, all these general and core requirements, a lot of pointless papers are assigned and students are forced to buy textbooks filled with nothing but worthless drivel that will never help anyone put food on the table.
I scheduled an appointment with a school psychiatrist, hoping to get officially diagnosed with ADD, get a much-needed prescription for Adderall, and then enjoy distraction-free study sessions.
“We don’t prescribe Adderall to students, because you will more than likely sell it to your friends to snort up their noses,” the doctor said. Thanks a lot.
So I gave in and bummed some five milligram Adderall pills from a friend, swallowed them and sat down for a fun filled night with my geology textbook. At Starbucks, people whizzed about, ordering lattes, chatting with friends. There was even a business meeting at the table next to me, but I wasn’t distracted. I was too busy highlighting and taking notes on the chapter, something that I never do while studying. And I didn’t just eyeball the pages, I really absorbed the material. In about two hours, I suffused my brain with almost 40 pages of jargon-rich geology information. Cranking out six pages in an afternoon is usually an occasion for me to bake a cake and celebrate.
After I finished studying, I decided to look over my notes from another class, just to stay on top of things. I normally don’t even read my notes. Then I got back to my room and started a paper for another class. It was the most productive study session of my entire life. Not one minute was wasted and no daydreaming of nude Chartwells employees or sunny meadows. Actually, I don’t think that I even blinked.
I’m not telling anyone to raid a friend’s medicine cabinet and clean out their Adderall supply, but it’s obvious why Adderall is now the most prescribed drug in America. You will study like a zealous Viking. Maybe you should apply my Motley Crue theory to your life. It only goes to show that everything good in this world comes from hair bands.
Editor’s note: This article was written not to promote the use of Adderall, but to inform readers due to its pervasive use. Life & Art will not be held responsible if anyone becomes addicted.
– Kevin Dean
Kevin Dean and Rachael Henricsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.