Ritalin: To Take or Not to Take? That Is the Question

Hey guys, it’s been a while since I’ve written about substances in my life. I went from chilling, to realizing I couldn’t chill anymore and be happy, to beginning a journey of sobriety that showed me how much I came to rely on the magical marijuana plant. This led me to some much-needed therapy and psychiatric care, for the first time in my life, and I began taking medicine for ADHD and anxiety.

Since then, I stayed sober for a while but around January began smoking weed again. This time, it was a lot less often and with much better intentions. I was just in a better place, overall, then when I discovered pot in my early twenties.

I’m not saying it’s suddenly super easy to be a responsible user of the plant, but my life has changed so much – I have changed my life so much, rather, that I’m simply not the same person anymore and although it can be a challenge to say ‘no’ to drugs when I want to say, ‘yes, okay, let’s go,’ I’m proud to say that for now, I’m able to make the best choice for myself.

But this post isn’t about marijuana and my journey with that drug. This is about pharmaceutical drugs, the other other white meat. Yes, I want to tell you about my feelings regarding things like Ritalin and Lexapro (which is what I’m on.)

You see, I’ve been on these meds for about a year and half, and six months respectively. I can honestly say that they have changed my life for the better, and I do regret not seeking professional mental health care sooner.

But things are not always as they seem, and I am often suspicious of things that are good. (I’m not saying this is a good trait to have, in fact I wish I could just accept good things without questioning them, but alas…)

I had to ask myself, “Do I really need these drugs?” And I did ask myself that, about a year ago, and I decided that yes, I do.

But I recently went on a wonderful week-long journey to Riviera Maya, Mexico and during the trip, I forgot all my meds. That’s right, no Ritalin for my ADHD-having-a**, and no Lexapro for my PTSD-ridden emotional body.

Honestly, I thought it would be a lot worse. I totally survived and even enjoyed myself immensely. And this was without my Pharma drugs!

What can this mean? I worry that I don’t really need them. I worry that I’m using drugs unnecessarily.

But there is a deeper concern and it’s more than a worry. It’s more than an “I hope this isn’t bad for me” feeling. It’s the fact that I can pinpoint with painful exactitude the symptoms of ADHD and PTSD, and I can show you the consequences of living life without the help of these medications.

Let’s just start with the most recent: I completely lost and forgot to pack a very nice watch while in Mexico. It was literally in the room, I saw it with mine own two eyes, y’all! I saw it and I thought I’d packed it, but I didn’t, I just did not.

This is a prime example of common ADHD symptoms like spacing out when something important is actually right in front of your face. It makes me feel embarrassed and idiotic to do things like that, because I’m not an idiot, I swear! And I do care about my nice things, I really do.

The frustration that comes from watching myself struggle with these symptoms hurts a lot more than wondering if medication is good or bad for me.

“You shall know it by the fruits,” is what Jesus said, meaning judge the goodness of something based on whether the outcome is good.

And yeah, it can feel weird to think I may be on medication for the rest of my life, but when I look back on the positive changes that they have allowed me to achieve in my life, I see that the fruit is yummy. The fruit is good.

So, I’ll take my meds despite enjoying a week off of them in Mexico. I choose to trust myself and in spite of popular opinion, I choose to trust my psychiatrist and therapist as medical professionals.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever stopped taking psych meds? How did it turn out? Let me know in the comments.


By justpearlythings

I am a writer, a lover, and a believer in the good things in life. I write about mental health and wellness, along with book reviews and fashion opinions. My blog caters to thoughtful, growth-minded women and men, and offers insights and personal challenges that provide a space for relevant, meaningful connection. The World Wide Web is vast, it contains multitudes, and so do we as people. I believe that through self-awareness and honesty, we create a more loving planet for everyone. Feel free to follow this page and share it with friends and family. Love, Pearl


  1. Short term it feels like you are fine, you don’t need them. Long term, some serious consequent with the crash. Depression and anxiety medication that is.
    As for ADHD, I have been off ADHD medications for most of my adult life, and this has probably been one of the most dumb decisions I have ever made. When I was a youth and took them, I could not stand the side effects, so I stopped in college. Now with my daughter on them, I can see how much better the side effects can be controlled and mitigated.
    Pride, fear, stigma, and self hate has keep me away from taking drugs. I have learned a lot on how to control my ADHD and trick my self into hyper focused mode when I need it with out the medications But life little distraction have kept me from finishing task and a lot of career advancement. Beign a functional Adult with ADHD without meds is deciding to play that hard enough video game on hard mode because well, pride.
    You have probably heard this before, but be careful with changing your meds, they take weeks to build up in the body and weeks to leave. Part of the negative thinking that I am dealing with is my hate of thinking I was begin defined by a drug and I wounder where I would be if I had thought of them just as another tool, like my computer or hammer.
    God Speed on your journey.


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