A hard pill to swallow: Meds don’t give you motivation.
By - Brometheus-Pound
The way I think of it, the medication is what gives me the ABILITY to make that conscious choice, but it’s still up to me to direct it.
I can blow off work and spend all day playing Minecraft or whatever just as easily on meds as without, just like someone without ADHD can. But when medicated I can choose not to, with presumably something like the level of effort of a non-ADHD person vs. the epic struggle it would be for me otherwise.
So it’s not like a magic motivation/willpower pill, but it lowers the internal resistance to a more reasonable level.
Well said. I made this thread because I think, at least for me after my diagnosis, on some level there’s hope that meds will be a magic solution to all your problems.
Yeah as a guy medicated at 8 years old...I think some people over here are a bit overoptimistic of what the meds will do. It worries me sometimes. There's this feeling in the sub that meds are the ultimate perfect solution to all your problems and that's a dangerous idea and not at all true. I bet my depressed ass on it ;)
As you said meds won't give you motivation.
Yea there’s evidence to show that cognitive behavioural therapy can be also very effective in treating ADHD to help build healthier habits. CBT works to identify thoughts, behaviours, and situations that lead to the behaviour you’re looking to change and works to take small manageable steps to alter it. It’s a therapy that’s widely used for a lot of mental health problems and disorders
Thanks! I may ask my psycologist about it
My therapist LITERALLY just asked me if I knew anything about CBT and to purchase the this CBT workbook to start using as a tool! Ordered the book amd am actually really looking forward to getting this and seeing!
What's the name of the workbook?
“The CBT Anxiety Solution Workbook: A Breakthrough Treatment for Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Panic” and it’s by Matthew McKay ☺️
I totally relate. I was diagnosed in my late thirties and had no idea what to expect when I started meds. I think they’ve worked really well for me but there’s definitely been a learning curve around what they do and don’t help with and how to set things up to get the most out of them.
Nahh, they’d charge way more if they could do that.
And insurance would refuse to cover it without trying every conceivable drug out there first.
Yeah I think it’s the euphoria of feeling for the first time that you have this thing channeling your brain power. You feel like you can get a million things done because you have like superhero energy. And then inevitably you hit a snag and come back to reality and realize that you actually have to keep pushing yourself to work in order for your brain power to channel into work.
I'm about to start mine. Was like "what does *it's working* look like?" to my therapist, who said "imagine the canyon between the preferred tasks you want to do and the non preferred you can't... Working meds should make that a bit more like a small hop instead of a huge canyon"
... I wasn't aware brains could feel that way?
Can you explain more? I didn't quite understand the metaphore, it doesn't feel so relatable to me, I rather agree with the OP on what the meds do and don't do and I feel like your psych's explanation is along a different line? Maybe overly motivational?
Don't get me wrong, the meds should be a-ma-zing. But also you'll be extremely pumped and motivated and on a positivity high from that which will create motivation for you, but that positivity high goes away and I had exactly OP's problem later on, attributing the initial amazing self-discipline roll to drugs, thinking increasing the dose might bring it back, which it wouldn't have because the meds deal with other things. So I'm now over a year into being able to focus on tasks better (it's so, so much better, incomparable to before) but that doesn't make me organized or self-disciplined - it can't - and realising that is... so important with moving onto next solutions.
But you know, moving onto them on an electric bike, not a manual one. Yet... still getting lost all the time along the way.
Or, maybe I just didn't get the "preferred task you want" and the "non-preferred you can't do", can you give me an example of two?
Preferred task you want: mess around on Reddit
Non-preferred task you can’t do: do research for your work thing.
Getting from where I am now (browsing Reddit) to where I want to be but can’t make myself do: a huge canyon. Insurmountable to get myself to get off Reddit and do the work thing.
This huge canyon feels much much smaller with meds. It’s not as hard to get myself moving to do what I need to do (work).
Sure I can elaborate but I'll be honest I haven't started yet. In context the statement op said
> medication is not motivation
sounded like the metaphor to me. The barrier is *still there*... Just smaller. Meds won't give you rocket boots or a helicopter to make the barrier go away. But they might reduce the size of the canyon between you and what you should be/would rather-not-be doing. If it's a small hill, it becomes physically possible to *choose* to do things that were impossible before.
For me, my medication feels like a very noticable sense of calm. I don't notice when it's just starting to work....I'll still be trying to get focused, getting settled into my day, getting a bit distracted....but then all of a sudden I'll realise it's a lot quiter in my head.
Not quiet, completely. Just quieter.
That song that's stuck in my head on a constant loop has gone from a "someone playing the radio right next to me" volume, down to a muffled "roommate playing it in the other room with the door closed" volume. If I pay attention to it, I notice that part of my brain is still singing away non-stop....but it's possible to ignore it now.
And instead of constantly losing my train of thought half-way through a paragraph, or immediately getting discouraged at the very first minor inconvenience for the work problem I'm trying to solve (and then having my brain instantly flick to "let's check the news again instead").....my brain will instead just take the next step to solve that minor inconvenience, and then the next, and the next. And I won't realise it until the momentum's going, and be like "huh, I'm actually working on one thing!"
Like other people have said, it doesn't MAKE you work. It just helps remove the invasive knee-jerk reactions your brain has for preventing you from working like normal. When I'm feeling this calm I still need to take breaks, and will sometimes just stare out the window for a few minutes enjoying it.
Anyway....that's what it feels like when the meds are "working" for me. It's probably different for everyone?
This perfectly sums up my own experience. There isn't this noticeable jump or feeling, it's very subtle and slowly lowers the resistance to start a previously difficult task.
You only really know when it is working if you compare it to the issue you are taking them for. For example, my inability to focus makes things really hard, but when I take my meds, I kind of catch myself and think, holy crap, I just sat down and focused for a long time and didn't even realise it
> when I take my meds, I kind of catch myself and think, holy crap, I just sat down and focused for a long time and didn't even realise it
yup, that's exactly what I mean....it's a good feeling, ha
This is why Covid has done a huge number on me. Before then when I had in-person classes I didn't need to motivate myself because I was required to go to them; just needed to get up in the morning, drive there, and the rest was out of my control; no struggles on whether I should continue working or if I could be doing something more important. As long as I took my meds I would learn the material and actually enjoy doing so after going through so many years of my life unmedicated. I eventually ended up enjoying the in-class stuff so much that I was motivated to do the out-of-class stuff too.
Then Covid hit, the first two semesters I did fine having motivation from my previous successes carry over, but by this this most recent spring semester, I just lost it and couldn't be motivated to put in the time I needed to succeed. It was the last credit I needed to get my associates' degree too, but to be fair to myself it was the harder version of physics 2 and took place during nighttime which I hate, I only took it because I procrastinated signing up and the easier physics classes were all full. In fact, the dean only made the exception to allow me to be in that class because of my previous good math grades.
I wish medication gave me the ability to decide on my own actions...
Right? Some times it works, but oftentimes I kind of "wake up" and have wasted hours.
Not sure what it is about my specific brain chemistry, but its like my body completely ignores any adhd meds. They have zero effect, not even any side effects, even after repeatedly increasing the dose and switching meds...
They do work for me, but they don't help shit for getting to work. It's basically at toss up whether I'll do work or hardcore procrastination. But I'll be more focused either way
This. There are plenty of days on medication that I can’t be productive because I can’t organize my thoughts or get past my anxiety. But I also *can* work. It just doesn’t get applied appropriately unless I make concrete steps on what needs to be done and account for every question mark or uncertainty that I encounter. When I don’t explain or plan out those questions, I fall into the trap of not getting work done.
So my biggest challenge lately has been to tackle ways to keep my uncertainties at bay and ask all the nagging stupid questions so I can at least push the work forward instead of sitting on it and waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Really ? For some reason I’m way better at making the decision to do something when I’m not on meds, but the downside it is way a harder to do. But if I take them I don’t want to do it and I’m way more likely to do something else. I learned OPs lesson after years though. I just used to keep eating Adderalls until I felt like doing something , but it rarely worked lol. Took me years to realize it’s up to me and the medicine is better used for other reasons
Huh. Am currently on day 5 playing minecraft all day, are you watching me hahaha
The phone addiction is the worst part
App called Forest can really help. Basically a pomodoro timer, and if you use it enough you can use your coins to plant a real tree!
It also makes you not use your phone and if you really need to use it, you can abort, and the (fake) "tree" in your forest will wither and u need to start a new one. Not a huge deal, but enough to keep you on task for whatever time division you chose!
In addition to Forest, I use App Block. Huge help.
Literally forgot I had this app on my phone. I used to use it all the time before covid disrupted all of my routines and I forgot how to function. Thank you so much for mentioning it and reminding me it exists!
Glad it helped! Forest became really cool for me when I realized that it doesn't need to be limited to work (of course I like it for my 9-5).being able to use it when spending quality time with others, or watching a movie when u actually want to pay attention wholly... There are a ton of good options for its use!
I don't know if its mentioned before but people who have ADHD don't actually have a phone addiction. While it's very common for us to grab our phones like other people and be on it constantly, our minds actually do it to try to get stimulation. You will notice when you are out and about doing things you are less on your phone because you are being situmilated versus sitting down doing nothing causing your mind to find something that will give it stimulation, in our case, that is our phones.
Omg this is so true, I never thought about this. If I’m somewhere with people around I feel like I’m perfectly happy just people watching instead of being on my phone, but if I’m in a room by myself (I.e. my office) I am so drawn to my phone and can stay on it for hours.
Exactly! I've looked at so many apps that block my phone thinking I have a huge problem only to discover that it's not my phone but me lol I hope this helps you finding ways to stimulate your mind without feeling guilty!
The new iOS is coming out with a focus mode...let’s hope it helps lol
The invention of the smartphone has really been the worst possible thing for ADHD folks.
I helped curb my phone addiction by quitting all my social media over a few months. I realised they weren't adding anything constructive or productive to my life so I began to unfollow/unlike everything except very close friends and now my timelines are like 10 posts a day. Which makes it much easier to manage and I'm overall less inclined to check my social media as often. Removing online friends also cut down 90% of drama in my life.
I also use my content controls like a helicopter parent. All my apps except important ones are locked from 11:30pm to 8:30am. I have screen time limits on anything I tend to get hyperfocused on (general browing and youtube are big ones - I have a 30 minute limit) and I track my screen time every day and try to be aware of things I spend too much time on.
A few years ago as a teenager my phone addiction was horrible. Up to 12 hours of screen time a day obsessively checking all my social media and online friends. Now its usually less than 4 hours a day, with most of it being from facetiming my boyfriend and not actually being on my phone. Good luck!!
Oh yeah I had assumed they would absolutely transform my life. Turns out I'm exactly the same, it's just that the barrier to doing things is much lower!
For me getting rid of that barrier had been transformative
For me, it's certainly been a benefit but it triggered a lot of realisations of all the coping mechanisms I've built up over the years. My brain still thinks I'm the same person but now I have the tools I need to be better. I'll still need some counselling or even just perseverance to overwrite my lifetime of bad habits though.
Yeah, it's something my provider reminded me about.
We spent so long dealing with the wall that when it's replaced by a small hurdle, we don't even realise until we try. We're just so *used* to it being a wall and it takes time for us to train ourselves out of it.
Sounds like it's more than just lowering the barrier to do things! I'm always so happy to hear that people are really focusing on their mental health. Sounds like you're on the right path for sure. It's not easy but it's worth it
I agree with this so much. Medication has made all the difference. My parents were always against medication, so heavily emphasized life style management. Worked well until I entered high school, ended up failing grade 12. Ended up getting on medication and crushed university. The medication just makes the life style stuff so much easier.
So well said.
I was also diagnosed late 20s, and now that I feel I'm at the right dose, this is a huge lesson I've learned as well.
Even medicated on the right dose, I need to structure my work day to avoid pit falls. Like focusing on the wrong thing (internet, video games, household chores) and installing appropriate time to not only take breaks for my physical needs, but also some "transition" time, where I gather materials to take on a work task and get my head in the right space to think critically for an extended amount of time.
The meds help maintain the focus and energy needed to set up these systems for myself and take action to follow through; it's more so that the medication is removing a barrier rather than giving me motivation.
This is something that is interesting to explain to my friends who are familiar with Adderall, but may or may not have been prescribed to take it by a doctor. Their understanding and different experience with the medication has led to a lot "light bulb" moments for the friends who would be diagnosed in the future.
And I think many of us underestimate the impact even a *small* change to our routine/schedule can have on our ability to get things done. Last week, I started a new work schedule where I start the day 30 min earlier and only have a 30 min. lunch (in order to have every other Friday off), and it totally meant I had trouble getting things done/focusing even though it was a tiny change. Took Thursday off for some appointments, which meant I didn't work out, and that's thrown off my exercise schedule until today. Routine is our friend even if we don't always want it to be. Adderall makes it easier for me to stick to the things on the routine, therefore making me feel better, and the cycle continues.
> even if we don't always want it to be
Ugh stupid routine with it's stupid helpfulness
What have you found that works for you regarding daily structuring? Like is there an app you use that’s been helpful?
I hate to say this, but having the same (er, similar) wake up and bedtimes on weekdays *and* the weekends makes a big difference. I rolled my eyes every time I heard that growing up, but once I started implementing that in my 30s thanks to a healthcare provider pretty much drilling it into my head...I'm shocked at the difference it's made. It's easier for my body to "know" when it's time to do certain things in the day like eating or going for exercise.
Hmm thats the thing I already wake up at 6am regardless if its a weekday or weekend. But I'm still having trouble not procrastinating
How many hours of sleep are you getting? I figured out that while I *can* function on 4-6, I function *best* on 6-8. When I'm tired, I'm more likely to seek out those quick dopamine hits from things like social media, games on my phone, food, etc, even on days when I take my Adderall. I hadn't really realized I was chronically sleep deprived until I was regularly getting 6+ hours of sleep.
Been in a bigger depressive state than usual so I've been going to bed at 9:30ish. Usually I used to be in bed by 10:30
Ah yeah, that's going to make it hard to get quality sleep/motivation, so that might be a bigger issue for you personally than the sleep itself.
No apps or timers really.
I guess there's two pieces of technology that have helped gently reinforce healthy time management for me a lot over the last year, specifically around work: sunlight alarm clock, and using my work email calendar to give myself a private "block" schedule.
Mostly I just try my best to eat 3 meals at normalish times and take my meds each day.
I wear blue light glasses when I know I'm going to be staring at the desk screen for a while - I think that light wears me out faster, and the more tired I am, the harder it is to sustain focus and keep track of my thoughts/my ADHD symptoms just generally get more difficult to manage.
Other than that, it's still trial and error. Some weeks I'm totally on top of it and unphased by whatever work throws at me. Some weeks I'm on the verge of tears because it's taken me around 3 hours to word an email just right. I'm still learning what works best for me, but these seem to be helping, so I do my best to keep em going.
Do you find that difficulty on your "off" weeks persists even with use of medication?
Yes, in my case that is directly linked to my menstrual cycle; basically my regular "right" dose becomes as effective as a tic tac and my ADHD symptoms and struggles are turned up to 11 out of 10 for about 2 weeks, every month. There's a lot of times I use my "good weeks" for catch up from my "bad weeks". I'm learning how to manage it, and medication makes the whole process a lot easier.
As far as I've read, this is typical for women/AFAB with ADHD to experience. My case is a little different because I also have PMDD, an incurable but treatable/manageable endocrine condition that causes extreme physical and psychological reactions to normal hormone fluctuations like those in estrogen, histamine, progesterone and the like.
I'm sure you've already thought of this and you probably have a reason to not take them, but why no take hormonal contraceptives to stabilize your levels?
Just mentioning it because PMS always makes me feel like crap and my ability to focus goes out the window but I didn't consider the option that I don't NEED to go through that if I don't want to. I was just doing it because I thought it was more natural, which isn't actually a good reason because the cons are big enough to take contraceptives anyway.
That's not exactly how PMDD works, but I appreciate you looking out for me.
I have a treatment plan in place with my doctors and it's going as well as can be expected.
I respect that you have a treatment plan in place so not trying to push the birth control thing further, but I also have PMDD and I will say that the pill I have been taking since I was like 17 made my emotions stemming from adhd symptoms easier to manage when I remembered to take it consistently. I’ve been told that it is usually the first line of treatment for the disorder. Eventually I got to a point where I almost never forget to take it, but I still find it interesting that your adhd symptoms get worse with hormonal fluctuation because there are barely ANY papers on this subject and I’ve been really curious about it for a long time because I notice this in myself even when I’m on placebo pills. The tiniest hormonal fluctuation can set me off and make it so much harder to function. Just wanted to share my experience, good luck with your treatment!
I'm on Yasmin currently, and it's going better than any of the others I've tried, but I still experience a full PMDD hell week for 2 weeks every month, like clockwork, even though I'm not technically ovulating. My best guess based on what I've researched and discussed with my doctors is that there are hormonal changes during the ovulation cycle that are not dependent on the release of an egg, and it's just my lot in the genetic lottery that I'm VERY sensitive to all of them. It sucks tbh. Histamine is another big one. I take allergy pills regularly and double up on hell weeks and I still get itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, and hives every time.
Treatment is an ongoing process, but I'm getting better at managing it all now that I'm properly medicated for my ADHD.
I’m glad I asked you because I was trying to explain this exact thing to this gynecologist that was supposed to specialize in pmdd treatment, and I told her about all my symptoms and adhd and that even though I had been taking birth control for so long, I still get consistent extreme mood swings that last for about a week and a half every month. She basically just looked at me and told me that because I was already on BC, my PMDD had already been “treated”…okay so why is this treatment not working for me?? Didn’t even try to investigate further. Thanks for sharing your journey with it, this helps me think about my hormonal sensitivities differently. I wish that gyno had helped me understand more about hormonal changes not associated with ovulating, but I guess it isn’t well known or researched. Hoping for more info in the future. It’s so frustrating feeling like gynecologists just want to pass off people with hormonal mood disorders to the psychiatrists, and the psychiatrists think the gynos should know more about it.
This. I definitely wish there was something I could take for motivation, but I'm realizing that it's still up to me to figure out my bad habits and work to build better ones.
One thing I have found helpful with medication is that I don't have quite the energy swings I used to. It's not the same as motivation, but at least I'm not nearly falling asleep every time I'm trying to work on something that isn't particularly interesting.
THIS. I would fall asleep whenever a supervisor would try to explain something boring to me, no matter how rested I was. I couldn’t figure it out, and it got me in a lot of trouble. I used to have to take naps on my lunch break, too. I never would have thought how much just this aspect changed my life
>This. I definitely wish there was something I could take for motivation,
Medication + Dialectical or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an excellent combo
I did not come here to be called out like that….
But I needed it. So thanks, I guess. Lol.
Okay, I see these posts all the time. But can someone explain to me what meds actually do? Because I think there are some different ways to say the same thing here, but some maybe aren't being said.
Meds don't give motivation--objectively true as long as we're all clear on what 'motivation' is. For example, it's my experience (and a lot of others I've read, which is what led me to testing) that people with ADHD don't actually lack the motivation to do the tasks--they lack the ability to get over the hill and get started and/or effectively direct their focus. But, posts like these seem to counter that experience.
For me, I am not medicated--but I am trying to be. My understanding of meds (and thus the reasoning behind my desire) is that it makes the hill smaller--that is to say that meds make it easier to get started and/or keep going. This has little to do with motivation in my book--I already want to do the tasks, to the point of having anxiety and distress over not doing the tasks, but I cannot get over the hill of getting started and staying focused on the tasks. It is so bad now that the distress saps basically all of my energy and I am hoping that meds would give me back the energy. I have already done the work to eliminate other causes (tried antidepressants and anti anxieties and they made things worse) so I'm left with this as a last ditch effort.
Am I incorrect in my line of thinking here? It seems the help that I am seeking is in the minority of what medication tends to do for people.
it’s unclear. medicine has not changed my working style really at all, because no matter how small the “hump” is, the presence of the hump makes doing anything impossible, no matter how much I should do what I’m trying to do, or how much I want to do it. so posts like this make me depressed personally. focusing tends to cause me physical pain, so my medicine helps slightly with that, but not much else.
Thank you for your response, it is very helpful! But I am also sorry that you're not finding the support you need in your med.
This sounds like it can possibly be more than just ADHD as the issue here. Have you been evaluated for depression as well? You don’t need to answer. Just something to think about.
Yes, I have been evaluated for a variety of conditions, particularly Autism and OCD along with ADHD, these things all occur together and make my ADHD worse unfortunately
So here's how it works for me: unmedicated, my mind is a scattered mess. There's no conference to any of my actions; I wander around, putting half effort into a bunch of small things, and I never commit to big projects because I know I can't finish them. In the end, I get nothing done.
What meds do is that it gathers all of that energy and directs it at one thing. It tightens up the borders and helps pave a path from point A to point B. I still remember when I first started taking them and thought to myself "I should clean the bathroom" and then just got up and went to the bathroom to do that without having to tell myself to get up, walk to the bathroom, kneel down, open the cabinet, get out the towels, etc. Like I was so surprised I stopped in the middle of it because holy shit. I had a thought, and then I IMMEDIATELY followed through with it? I didn't have to spend hours convincing myself to get up and actually do it? Unbelievable.
Hard things are still hard, unfortunately. This is why it's so common to see people go 'I took my meds... and then focused on the wrong thing. Sigh.' But like... they do help you focus, and that's a huge step up for me, someone who finds it hard to focus and derive joy from the things I enjoy when I'm not medicated. Also, task switching is a lot easier for me on meds. Not the kind of ADHD 'multitasking' that's just rapidly switching tasks from one thing to another, but doing one thing, getting interrupted by another thing, and then going back to doing the first thing. I can actually finish things now!
So yeah. Motivation and discipline doesn't come pre packaged with your meds, but it's a lot easier to motivate and discipline yourself when you can actually think clearly and draw lines between actions and consequences.
Yes. Yes. Yes. Me too.
Meds get me over that hill and help me focus rather than dealing with my brain going a million miles an hour.
I got diagnosed junior year of college. When I was younger, the level of responsibilities I had was manageable so I got used to getting stuff done. But as time went on and I had more stuff to juggle, I couldn’t keep up. I was getting everything done, but it was taking SO much effort and giving me so anxiety and stress. I knew I had to do the stuff and had the ability/motivation, but it felt like my brain was sabotaging me. I’d sit down to do an assignment, and spend an hour or two trying while I kept getting up to do other stuff. I was spending so much energy strong-arming my brain because half my brain said “you gotta” and the other half said “but...what about literally everything else also?”
The hill that you are referring to is emotion.
Basically, it is really not about our lack of attention or focus on one thing. Instead, it is our inability to regulate our attention and thoughts for one thing that matter the most at any given time. Because of that inability, we focus EVERYTHING.
Anything that can be picked up by our senses, our brain HAS TO PROCESS THEM RIGHT THERE AND THEN.
> I already want to do the tasks, to the point of having anxiety and distress over not doing the tasks, but I cannot get over the hill of getting started and staying focused on the tasks.
This is where meds help - to block out these noises inside our head. If I can illustrate this better, take the tasks that you have in one hand and the anxieties in another hand. Notice that the tasks ARE NOT DEPENDENT to your anxieties.
So imagine, at every given second, your senses will ALWAYS pick up something whether the cold breeze that runs through your hair, spoken words you hear from TV and the UPS guy you see outside the window. These signals are then send to the brain where it is already backed down with other shits to process like your report in front of you that was due last week.
So the meds help you on the regulation part of your emotion.
Motivation is always a tricky word cuz for most people motivation is the desire to do something. But most typically functioning adults don't want to do the things they need to do, they just do them anyway. Doing things that you don't necessarily want to do is discipline, and discipline requires self-control, which people with ADHD notoriously lack.
Meds don't even give you discipline, because that has to be developed and features skills that must be learned. Neurotypical people also need to learn and develop discipline. But they give you a degree of self control (via ability to focus, generally, but not only; ya know, neurotransmitters do a lot of stuff), and that self control gives you the ability to develop and execute the skills necessarily to live a more disciplined and thereby a more functional life.
On meds, I still could have chosen to sit in my room and play vidja all day or whatever. But if there was something I was supposed to or needed to do, I could actually redirect my focus to it instead of whatever it was I was doing for entertainment. As in it was possible; not necessarily easy or enjoyable, but *possible*.
I just found this sub and this is EXACTLY what I needed to hear. I’ll be starting meds and therapy soon, and I guess I did sort of have this idea in my head that starting meds was going to magically fix all of my problems. It’s good to reinforce the idea that I still have a lot of work to do; The meds are just there to help me get my shit together, not to get it together for me. Thanks so much for the write up, I’m glad you were able to reflect so well and help others :)
Holy shit, 5 comments and no-one noticed the pun in the title of an otherwise very serious post
I noticed, I just assumed everyone else would too and so I didn't bother to comment about it...
Ugh, I love puns and this one flew right over my head because of the seriousness. Thanks for pointing it out!
It's the magician, not the wand.
Working my way through this right now. Finally started ADHD meds in December after getting diagnosed and starting antidepressants back in 2016 (Strattera for one horrible month in December and Adderall xr since january) and while I think it’s made a marked difference in my ability to follow through on things without distraction or disruption— stuff like actually doing all the dishes instead of doing five and then wandering off— if I didn’t like or care about doing something before, it’s not any easier to engage with now. Part of it is that I have more wherewithal to actually do constructive stuff on things I enjoy, which is so much easier to get started on than nothing like my boring remote freelance work. At least the stimulants make it easy to stay up late enough to get it finished :/ I’m trying to implement stuff like browser whitelist managers and pomodoro timers for productivity, but those only work if I start them, and I’ve been unwilling to lately. Two functional all-nighters in a row last week (6hrs sleep between Sunday morning and Tuesday night) kind of gave me a low water mark I’m eager to avoid in the future, though.
But at least I really enjoyed the first season and a half of the Ducktales reboot I binged in the middle of the night when I should have been working!
Not only will meds not give you motivation, but they will not automatically give you perfect executive functioning skills.
However they will give you the neurotransmitters and/or brain functioning so you can build them. You must give yourself the grace, patience, and discipline to learn.
Yes, this is how the normies function. You have achieved neurochemical balance
I remember reading that ADHD meds can help you focus, but you have to choose what to focus on still. And that's a skill that's new to me, too, so I have to practice directing my focus to optimal tasks.
years with ADHD gave us a lot of bad habits. medication can treat the symptoms that forced us into those bad habits, but it won't get us out of the bad habits by itself.
I'm motivated to do things that I actually enjoy.
No amount of pills would make me enjoy doing a crappy, spreadsheet-based job.
Finding a creative, rewarding job was the key (I'm a writer).
It's still a struggle at times.
But it's a hell of a lot more fun and doable now that I find my work interesting.
Problem solving is one of my motivators, not the spreadsheets themselves lol. For me, it’s very satisfying to solve problems with data. I’m not an accountant or anything, but I enjoy manipulating data whenever I can find a solution that way.
I find with even with medication, you have to force yourself to start things. The medication helps you gogogo but you have to push yourself to actually start a task, which is the hard part for many people it seems. Once started and in a rhythm, that's when I notice the medication helping out a lot, allowing me to get lost in what I'm doing like it's something I really want to do. I've been on amphetamines for a long time and this is something I've figured out relatively recently. If you don't actually take the time to begin something, you'll just be the most efficient person on Reddit and YouTube all day. I'm a guilty party too haha
Is that what you do for a job now?
This was an interesting lesson to learn. When I first got medication, it honestly was like it was motivating me since the sudden ability to be a productive and happy human being was so stimulating that i just did everything I wished I could do before. But later on that motivator wore off and I had to actually reestablish a 'why' for the things I needed to do so i could follow through with them.
This is why I quit taking meds and learned other coping strategies. It's not easy but i feel much healthier than when i was on adhd meds now.
Im only speaking from my own experiences, but I cant imagine what you mean when you say you feel healthier.
Out of curiosity: Did you have side effects to your medication? Did you body feel different on medication, if so, how?
My perspective: I take a pretty low does of Vyvanse twice a day. With medication im much more likely to eat better, go to the gym, and take care of myself. I have zero side effects. If I go without medication
my brain fog makes me feel horrible, im never not hungry, and my impulses to do and consume unhealthy things is much higher.
Im all for doing what works for you and certainly not trying to say my way is the only way. I was wondering if you or someone in your comment thread can explain what they meant by that.
Hey so I’m on vyvanse too.. What is your gym routine & dosage like? Do you take it before you go to the gym or after? I find the meds work best on an empty stomach then eating right after but I usually eat before I go to the gym so idk how to take them lol
First, I haven't been going to the gym since covid- but I plan on returning to something like my old schedule which was:
Gym: morning 7-8 every other day (so 3-4 days a week, depending)
Off gym days: Hiit training at night after work (sprints, 60-120s, etc)
I take my meds immediately upon waking up which is usually about 615-630. I used to eat right when I got to work at 830-845, but I had a different job. I wasn't working during covid just using my Gi bill, but I think I should have an IT job within 2 weeks here and ill set up a new schedule that works with this job. I just finished my vaccine a week ago and I don't think the gym is a good idea until another week as well.
My medication schedule is 30mg 2x a day. I started 2x a day at 20mg, I think 30 works better for me (but its very similar). I pushed for 2x a day because my effective time of getting production out of one dose is about 5.5-6 hours. My second dose is taken 6 hours after my first dose, whenever it was, i just add 6 hours. This is very easy for me because I used to self medicate with caffiene spaced 4 hours apart for a decade. My sleep schedule is rock solid, even with 2 doses, better than unmedicated at all. The two doses really help me stick to doing things after work and not over eating (no really, my stomach is a bottomless pit unmedicated).
I found out about 2x a day dosing from an ADHD lecture or podcast, cant remember. Its really been a good solution for me, because I dont just have adhd 6 hours a day. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
Can i ask a question about how you’ve responded to the medication?
In the few times I’ve tried it, i’ve hated it because it feels like it immensely stifled my creativity. Like if I had to do a 1000 basic multiplication problems, it would be perfect, but strategizing, creative writing, etc. were made much more difficult. This was all on Adderall, for reference.
Have you experienced similar? Does Vyvanse affect less in that regard? Want to explore medication again, but would like more opinions.
I can tell you about my experiences, but just a reminder that i'm not a professional. To me that sounds like you may have been on too high of a dose. Its possible, though, that your body just reacts in that way. I never really feel the robot feeling. The closest I got to that was when I was trying a 50mg dose of vyvanse. I wasn't exactly robotic, but I was quieter for sure. Right now, my 20-30mg dose spaced out doesn't make me feel this way.
I really only tried adderall xr on one dosage (maybe it was 20mg, I cant really remember). It wasn't bad, but when I first started I would get the euphoric sensation almost every day I took it. Honestly, like near tears of happiness, and this wasn't a bad thing. I think it was my body expressing shedding the horrible brain fog I always had. My motivation and task management was fairly better, the best medication I had been on up until that time (I tried ritalin previously). I decided I still wanted to try Vyvanse because two friends I trusted went through all the treatments and landed there.
My first day on vyvanse, I was procrastinating mailing a package before I took it. I just started doing all the steps I was so used to fighting without even thinking. It was really odd, like "oh is this how people can get things done". For me, Vyvanse is a much smoother ride from when I take it to when its in my system and it helps my ability to get tasks done much more. After a bit of dose trails, I switched to two smaller doses, and this was covering much more of my day (from 6-7 hours to 12 hours) and really helping me stick to commitments after work much better. For me, this has been the best formula so far.
Very much appreciate your response. I’m going to give it more of an honest shake this time (got frustrated too soon with it, i think) but i do want to try Vyvanse and see if there’s a difference there.
I started getting migraines body aches ulcers anxiety and high blood pressure from adderall concerta and vivance. I tried low and higher doses and I just did not like how I felt on them at all.
I see, that sounds horrible- sorry to hear that.
I had no choice. Meds I tried didn't agree with my heart. They didn't seem to help either.
This was nearly a decade ago. May be medication has advanced, and I should give it another shot?
Try extended release Stims or non-stimulant medications
this is my goal right know. i feel healthier than on meds and i know that iam capable of beeing productiv but i still struggle sometimes. infact iam procrastinating right now....
Yup it's a constant struggle! Seems like exercise and good sleep and lists help me the most. I still struggle with procrastination and over thinking everything. I still have no idea how I finished college unmedicated lol.
i have no idea how i will finish university without medication...
but in regards to procastination i have noticed that when i really have to do stuff its important that i don't involve in activities that provide instant satisfaction before everything is done. For Example when i watch a you tube video during breakfast its more likley that i will end up procastinating and binge watching you tube for several hours instead of doing what i planned to do.
Yeah I used to wait until the night before a 20 page research paper was due and stay up all night writing it so fucking stressful. I still have not gotten any better on procrastination either.
I think I’ll be able to come down in dose or off meds once I switch from 24/7 studying to hands on work.
But that’s not to say it’s a good decision for everyone, people need to evaluate for themselves what their needs are, and there is no shame in being on it for the foreseeable future if it helps get someone to a point of functioning that fits with their desires without significant side effects. That’s it, it’s as simple as that.
Everyone is different. I have good friends that have felt so much better with adhd meds!
Not arguing, just offering my two cents...I spent my life undiagnosed and developing coping strategies. Now on meds, I'm struggling to undo all the bad, but coping, habits I have. Can't win for losing some days :(
Look at that, it's 8:40. Thanks for the reminder!
this is the truth. i am currently on adderall and trying to work up the motivation to get off reddit and write an essay lol
It gives me the energy to do something with the motivation, basically it removes some of the barriers that are preventing me from being more motivated but it doesn’t provide the motivation itself
It gives you a foundation, but you still have to start building the house.
Yep, they absolutely don't. And I say that from experience. In fact, I have been struggling specifically with finding the motivation to do stuff for the past year.but yeah, meds only give you the ability to concentrate on stuff, and doesn't help at all if you aren't willing to do anything in the first place, or just that you can't bring yourself to do it.
Medication let's me direct my focus on the accomodations I made for myself to accomplish tasks. It's not a fix all but it does about 20% of the work the rest is up to you.
YESSSS so much this. After 6 months of meds and trying to find the right dose because of this reason and then taking a break to review I came to this exact same conclusion. People without ADHD still piss around. You still have to choose what you spend that focus time on. Honestly I think this should be more explained when going on meds as it would have helped me so much more 6 months ago. It's not a magic 'Okay I really want to do this boring work now' drug.
It honestly just gives me consistent energy to be motivated in the first place
Try some daily intensive exercise, really does help.
I just started meds, and the lack of motivation I have is out of control. I’m wondering was my anxiety fueling everything I accomplished before? I might like anxiety riddled me more.
I get this. For me even depression/bipolar meds plus adhd meds do not kill the motivation issue. I mean it helps slightly, but not as much as I'd like. It takes a lot of willpower i believe
Just got diagnosed a couple weeks ago, but getting rid of social media (besides Reddit) did wonders for my productivity. I’m still all over the place some days but at least i don’t have FB or IG to send my brain off in a thousand directions.
Haha, yeah. I've found I'm now just really good at focusing on dicking around
This is 100% me. I’ve been on strattera for about two months now. I’m currently 31 and was diagnosed back in March. I have the focus now to engage in tasks, but I still have to bring motivation to the table. Sometimes it’s easier as completing work helps to motivate me. Sometimes it’s really, really hard.
They've found that even for people without ADHD motivation generally comes after starting a task. The trick to maximising the benefit of your meds is to try and structure your life as much as you can to make it as easy as possible to start tasks.
Yup! I agree! I’ve always found a structure to be super beneficial for me. My biggest struggle is that any little wrench in my schedule and it all falls apart. I have to stick to it very rigidly, which is frustrating and hard at times, especially when other people cause interruptions and distractions. But I’m in therapy, and it’s a work in progress.
This is why it is important to not overload your structure. Make sure you build in a buffer to every routine you make. It can be hard to do that because you want to optimise your time and cram in everything but then you get overwhelmed and your productivity tanks.
This is an awesome realization to come to on your own! Also quite possibly the only way to see it is coming to the realization on your own. Sometimes highering the dose makes things worse when you anticipated them getting better in search of the motivation. You got this, keep up the valuable insight to your own inner workings of your mind.
For some meds do help with motivation. But mostly I find meds just give me a better headspace to make good decisions. And the consequence of those decisions is improved motivation.
I'm in the process now of tidying up my digital life and my phone so that I'm less likely to get distracted when on task. Basically improving my environment.
I was inspired by atomic habits. Which I think is useless when unmedicated, but being medicated I think I can really take advantage of some of the techniques.
I've had this exact conversation with my friend since we've both just started adderall recently. It's not magically gonna make me productive, but it will make productivity more achievable for me. All I have to do is instigate it.
The thing I've had to learn and relearn is that you can still do a thing whether you feel like it or not.
As to my understanding what ADHD boils down to is your body unable to give you as much dopamine as neurotypical humans. Or your body unable to make use of it as effective as neurotypical humans. Causing low levels of dopamine and actions which cause only slight long term dopamine increase not be felt as strongly as neurotypical. That in turn makes ADHD patients to live in constant lack of dopamine i.e unmotivated to do anything.
I remember listening to an audio book about tests done on mice, where they bred mice with no dopamine production at all. In which case the mice got so unmotivated to do anything they just quit eating and drinking. So in essence ADHD is the lack of motivation. And motivation comes from your brain.
Dopamine is the hormone that gives you a reward for doing something that helps keep you alive. Dopamine gets produced when you perceive your survivability increasing. But what is the connection between physical effects like hormone production and our mental effects like "I can't be bothered to go to the store today"?
Surely when you eat, your body produces hormones, which in turn cause you to produce dopamine as a reward for eating. But what about getting hired for that job you so desperately wanted? Or getting married? Or even more abstractly, your child graduating? Why do our bodies reward us for our thoughts?
Are we able to produce dopamine by our mind itself? I suppose if you knew how, you could lie to yourself, and create happiness artificially?
So in my mind yes, my medication increases my dopamine production, which increases my motivation. But just as neurotypical humans; my actions are myself to control alone.
Medication will not make you walk to the store and buy groceries. Medication will not go to work for you. You must do that yourself. I think you need a new therapist and work on your willingness to do things. Not raise your dosage.
P.s I am not a healthcare professional and my advice should be taken with a grain of salt.
That's enough of hyperfixation for today..
Simply put, they remove roadblocks that prevent you from achieving motivation.
Some people do forget that you need to put in some actual effort yourself too. And I don't mean to shit on anyone by saying this - but if no amount of medication helps you, you probably have adhd AND are a bit lazy. You can't just expect a medication to fix everything, conscious effort is also required.
Yes! It's very important to understand. Because often ADHD comes with depression because of your frustration with life, but pills won't help you with lack of motivation (or rather, other pills could help — but I really dislike the idea of antidepressants).
I was just talking about the difference between ppl with ADHD on meds versus “normal” ppl on our meds with a coworker. I’m jealous how motivated “normal” ppl become on ADHD meds, it’s like meth to them and they can get a million things done when for me it just gives the ability to focus, but I still have to make the decision whether or not I’m going to be motivated. It isn’t going to give me superpowers like normal ppl, it’s gonna give me the ability to find my superpowers, if I have any lol.
The way I see it is you can’t just take a magic pill and your ADHD goes away. I still have to use coping skills, planners, lists, calendars, timers, etc. What the meds do is give me the ability to use the coping skills otherwise I would just ignore them and go pick daisies.
Hi! I wanted to sincerely thank you for this post, it was very important for me to see it exactly right now! I have just started medication today, abd after being told that the effect is immediate, I became nervous when I didn't feel....magic relief and angels singing :'D I'm very scared of finding out that I actually don't have ADHD and that I'm truly just a big lame failure after all. I've had a hard long battle of health issues, both physical and mental, where things weren't what they had seemed so clearly to be after all, too many permanent mysteries... I feel a LOT more prepared just knowing that I'm supposed to just be feeling like I can make the choice and follow through, but the choice must still be made! Thanks so much!!!
I thoroughly agree and frustratingly came to the same conclusion, with one caveat that r/ADHD helped make me very consciously aware of.. we are the same BUT different..
What I mean by this is that you have the 3 main categorisations, then each of those has certain traits, some traits cross over between categories and then you have varying levels of intensity of each trait, someone with the same category, and traits may have the same issues but certain ones may be more impactful than others. Then comes the kicker, even with the same type and traits and to the exact same extent as another person, you then have the fact that some of our traits can't be solved with the same solutions as others, whether its medication, diet, strategies, etc because we become a sum of our life experiences and as result, some traits we have may have become so strongly wired in our heads that no amount of medication or effort can change that.
This really helped me realise that just because someone else's ADHD looks, sounds, and acts like mine doesn't mean I should be disheartened by the fact that what worked for them, doesn't work for me. It also made me realise that I need to keep searching and being consciously aware of what made the day easier or harder and to track that in some way as a kind of investment in my 'future quality of life'..
Sorry for the rant, just wanted to add my 2 cents.
This has been hard for me to come to terms with. I expected a lot more from my meds than they are giving me, and now I'm forever searching for something to give me motivation.. but I know I have to find it myself.
Ugh. I refuse to accept that meds don't give me motivation. It is a fact obviously, but it still makes me so mad
Oh mannnn, you said it and I needed to hear it. I’m a sucker for a good mantra and this one is officially being welcomed to the rotation. Thanks for articulating a feeling/concept that I’ve been struggling with.
Adderall IR gives me motivation but its short lived
Should be meds won't give you self discipline. Motivation isn't what keeps you going. It's self discipline.
Part of the trouble could be that your brain is so used to just not being able to make that choice, that once the choice is given, it doesn't really know how to access it. It makes sense really that it would still take conscious effort and "training" of a sort to enable you to take advantage of your newly increased focus.
The ADHD medication was only one piece of the puzzle. Treating my anxiety was the biggest key to finding my motivation. I still need to make the effort, but that anxiety was a huge roadblock.
You take an anti anxiety med as well?
Yes. I've tried a few that didn't work but my psych prescribed gabapentin for me even though it's an off label use. It greatly reduced the rumination and endless thought cycles that would drag me down during the day or keep me up at night. Also helped with stress and panic attacks.
You wrote what’s been in my brain the past few months. I agree!
I needed to read this today, thank you. Good reminder, this week has been kicking my ass and I've been letting it.
Yup, this is true. It comes down to learning new skills and using the medication to focus on building helpful habits. Medication is amazing but it's just one piece of the puzzle.
My doc gave me the best analogy ever.
You are a car, the ADHD meds turn the car on...you are still the one that needs to press the gas and make it go 😝
Hard hard relate. I made the mistake of increasing my dose when i was experience major burnout in my senior year. I wasn't getting what I needed and didnt make it.
This is very real!
Something that helps me move from one task to another is taking 10-15 minutes in the morning each day to make a list of what I need to accomplish and fully schedule it. Example:
5pm-6pm dinner and dishes
6pm-7pm PM hygiene
THEN- you delete your old alarms and set new labeled alarms for the beginning of each new task. I have been more productive than I ever have in my entire life since doing this. Is every day 100%? Absolutely not. I average about 60% of my tasks being completely but that’s better than it was! And I do finally have days where I complete 100% of my stuff 🥺
Initiating PM Hygiene with an alarm unlocks a series of tasks too! So I’ll brush my teeth, take out my contacts and wash my face. I think it’s called “task chaining”. Just some tips that helped me utilize my medication effectively.
I like the pun in the title lol. I wish my doctor told me this though since my main motivation for getting treated with medication was to help with school. I still frequently have bad days where I’m just crying to my gf bc still can’t bring myself to study a lot of the time. It has been getting way easier though, I figured if my meds can get me to scroll tiktok for hours on end as long as I sit myself at my desk I can study for hours. Unfortunately, meds don’t give you a work ethic but they do make starting the task a lot easier. Before starting medication I always read on this sub “it’s like I’m putting on glasses for the first time” and now that just seems like bullshit to me.
For me, the power to rip myself off something interesting but unimportant is directly proportionate to the concentration of stimulants in my system.
You're right that that's not motivation, though, it's more like willpower.
SO true!! Glad I am not alone. People think adderall will be a cure all, like no, I still have yet to do my laundry for two weeks lmao
lucky you, finding a medicine that can help you do things
Yes, I think… but they do help my motivation though, a little though. I’m primarily inattentive. I think of meds like wearing eye glasses. Meds help my brain “see” better, but meds are definitely not a cure-all. I definitely need meds plus therapy. I still have to prioritize tasks, scheduling tasks, follow a routine, and do all the other heathy things like eating, sleeping, exercising, and socializing.
I feel like I just read a letter I wrote to myself
It assists more in follow-through and consistency than motivation.
I think it helps to understand that normal people aren't super motivated all the time. So meds will make you more normal in that you might choose to be unproductive sometimes just because. It's just not going to be the default and it's not going to be so hard to get started. Atleast that's been my experience.
I needed to hear this. I’m ~10 days into meds (breaking 10mg pills in half to take 2 5mg doses) and the first day was a MIRACLE. All days since have been 200% better than my previous baseline, but every time I go to a social media site, or check my phone, or can’t resist working on a personal project on the clock, I feel like the dose is wrong. “I’m already taking less than a normal dose, right?”
Your story is a wonderful reality check for me. Pills don’t build skills. I think they’re necessary because for the first time in… years? Maybe since leaving college? (I’m 28) I feel capable of handling my responsibilities. Am I gonna handle them? That’s up to me!
So, thank you for reminding me that I’m more than a chemical reaction at the end of the day. ❤️
This is a huge realization that us medication users need to understand. Although medication can help us significantly, it’s really up to us to apply our focus on meaningful things. I’ve been on medication, specifically adderall for most of my preteen to adult life. It helps me a lot when I have something I need to get done, but it can also make me hyper focus on things that don’t really matter or aren’t significant, such as browsing on my phone. Medication for ADHD is supposed to help you feel more motivated to do things you *need* to do.. it’s so easy to lose focus and zero in on meaningless things. Our medication only offers us some help, what we apply our focus to is our choice. We still have to have strong willpower and try hard to invest in things that are meaningful. Impulse control is a hard thing for us.. working on impulse control is a must.
Medication doesn't give you motivation, you have to get into doing something regardless. but once you actually start doing stuff it just keeps going. Its like a dam breaking with water and it just keeps rushing.
This post hit me right where it hurts! I'm medicated for the first time in ten years (30 years old) and found they helped me so much but the past few weeks my motivation has been NON-EXISTENT! but it's summer and nice out and... You get the drift hah.
Thank you for writing this. <3
I completely agree I was diagnosed at a young age and by the time I hit high school (I'm 23 currently) I was at a point where I figured that medication doesnt work for motivation heck if there was such a medication helps me make better decisions I would get it as soon as possible and it was my perants who try to influence the idea that if I don't take my medication "I'm not myself" and that if I'm not motivated to do stuff I'm not taking my meds regularly.
ADHD medication won't.
Hormone replacement might - did wonders for me. Also, Vitamin D.
TBH this thread reminded me that I am not a smart or talented but rather, My strength has always come from my ability to work really really hard.
I agree, Occasionally I do find myself thinking, "Perhaps my current dosage is no longer working for me" but, then I come to my senses that I am simply without motivation. While it is a no brainier that with Aderall I am more active and my ability to get things done is with less friction It is not a substitute for discipline.
I needed this.
I’ve been medicated for 6 years, and couldn’t be more apathetic.
YES! SO MUCH THIS!
I had the same realization a while back too - I definitely went into taking meds thinking I’d be just on a roll but it takes using a lot of tools to help you create an environment conducive to getting work done. I personally use a list each day of tasks I want to do and I use a desktop timer. I’ll work on each task in increments up to 1 hour max but often 30 mins and then I allow myself to take a 5 or 10 minute phone break every so often in between sessions. I also put my phone with the screen side down in a place behind me.
There’s lots of tools you can use!
Dopamine receptors are motivation factories.
I am sure what you say you are going to do will help, but I don’t necessarily believe you when you say meds don’t help with motivation after two months. It’s easier to believe you haven’t found the right med yet or you haven’t built up. The right meds are definitely worth working out as well. Again, work on behavior. But don’t beat yourself up when you think that is hard.
THIS!!! Yes, this is very true. When I started taking my medication I believe that it worsened my anxiety but after some reflection I realized that my anxiety is just my brain telling me something is off. This was the case because I would take my meds and then just lay in bed all day, not doing any of the task and errands I had set for the day
As a med school student who is known to procrastinate : YES.
*You* need to point yourself in the right direction. If you pick up your phone/book/pencil to draw, you could be there for hours. *You* need to point and keep it yourself on work.
Best of luck friends!
Medication is to help you be able to think more clearly and able to focus on the tasks you were finding hard before, I think and hopefully improve short term memory too.
Yep. If you have adhd but exhibit lazy behavior and are medicated with no other known mental illnesses, sorry bud, you might just be lazy
I agree that they have almost no impact on motivation. Starting work is as hard as ever. What they do help immensely with is being able to filter background noise and provide a sense of calm. I also used to have huge problem with emotional regulation, not so much anymore.
Psychomeds are just temporary fixes. Psychotherapy is where it’s really at.
"I can only shown your the door... You have to walk through it"
I had similar thoughts…. I’ve been on it a bit longer & have learnt motivation & focus need two completely different therapies.
I do know on meds & have to go to a shop I can now patiently stand in line while some some slow-ass moron ignorantly holds the rest of up.
He’s still an asshole & I hate him but I can keep it to myself ☺️
Definitely!!! My friend warned me off this before I started medication and it's definitely something I have become aware of.
If you need help with motivation, I always try to make it ***as easy as possible*** for myself to get a task done. Reminders, planners, focus apps (I recommend forest and freedom), and anything else that makes it easier. Knowing myself, just 1 thing wont work, so I tend to pile on a lot of things at once to get started.
I actually feel like I finally cracked this one a few weeks ago lol after like a full year of stressing out about meds. People don't actually do stuff they don't feel like doing, they actually internally bring up a more active emotional state and try really hard to tweak how they're feeling into that, and when the needle moves, they're up and moving. Some stuff that gets messed up with ADHD is your self talk, and part of that is that internal emotional state, kind of like your mind's eye but for feelings. Like I had no idea people could normally change their actual feelings, I just thought they changed their circumstances and "paused" their feelings without acting. When I was stuck on the couch, I tried to bring up an emotional state like that, and at first there was just crickets, but eventually there was a little tiny spark of a feeling, and I was up and working! It's absolutely more responsive on meds, but I can do it a little off meds if I can focus enough. It's really awesome. I guess in the beginning on meds you're already raring to go because it's exciting to be able to think lol. But yeah, motivation is totally wrapped up in emotional regulation. It's so obvious in retrospect! Now I get why things are so much easier when I make them calming and chill to do haha and why anxiety makes me shut down. And why when I was already getting up to do something, someone telling me to do it zaps all my motivation lol. I get an impulsive negative discouraged/salty emotion and I struggle to get it back to the active moving one.
Here’s something I’ve been thinking about lately: I too struggle with motivation despite being appropriately medicated. It’s easy to call this “laziness” but it could also be a completely rational learned response.
If you were diagnosed in your late 20s, that means you spent your entire childhood, adolescence and early 20s in cycles of trying = unreasonable levels of struggle; trying = failure; or if you were unlucky, trying = being punished for being “lazy” or “stupid”. It’d be weird if you hadn’t gotten into the habit of avoiding trying.
Personally I’m aware that my gut reaction is to avoid trying, and the only way I will change that at this point is to apply some self discipline to making myself try, because every time I succeed (which I usually do now, praise be to lisdexamfetamine) I’ll help build a more positive association with the whole process. I truly believe one day I’ll have a healthy happy work ethic that functions automatically, but building it is gonna require a combination of medication and self discipline.
Of course they don't, those pills are so hard to swallow I don't have enough motivation to actually try
I’m about to start meds, and I needed to read this. It took a lot of suffering and work for me to get to this point and I guess I’ve been working myself up about how good it’s going to be. I always hype things up and then get disappointed that they aren’t as great as I expected. So it’s probably good to remember that I will still have to work hard to get where I want to be in life, but hopefully this will make things feel more within my reach.
In my relatively brief experience with meds (I was still titrating) it didn't make me want to do anything in particular nor did it make me enjoy the tasks anymore then anyone else. It also didn't give me any euphoria. My first day on meds wasn't "OMG FUNCTION". BUT, I had a few errands to run that day so... I just did em. Rather than procrastinate I just took care of them.
I was new at really practicing mindfulness at the time and I took notice of how I felt. I didn't feel anything emotionally, and I still didn't really want to run the errands. But I *could* and I took the opportunity. And that's all I need is the *ability* to do things.
This is a really great thread for people starting out. I would've appreciated a bit more expectation management before starting meds recently. They can do wonderful things for you, but certainly don't solve all your problems straight away.
Just to add another experience to what many people have already said: Meds help me focus on a task for longer than a few mins without having to constantly fight my brain to stay there. But I have to put in that initial effort to dive into the task. It's truly wonderful to have the ability to stay on it, but I still gotta work on my scheduling and organization skills. I'm grateful that I seem to be able to work on those skills now, whereas before it was simply a losing race to burnout.
i cant do anything without my meds though. i feel exhausted and so bored it hurts. Cant believe i lived most of my life like that.
Im glad I never had issues with motivation, I always had a strog driving force to do things, just for some reason I was mentally unable to do them. Its like meds took that block away from me, and made it a lot easier to do anything really
Are we the same person? I've gone through the exact same thing, although, I admit I'm REALLY struggling with motivation and procrastination since I finished grad school last month.
Without the structure of deadlines, it's incredibly difficult to get things done even on meds. BUT I'm still able to focus on things when I do start them, and being able to sit down and get something done is definitely made possible by my meds.
I think the hardest thing is that... it can be hard to feel the difference between being on/off meds when it comes to overcoming that mental barrier of just doing something. So I expect that barrier to be there and subconsciously act as though it's still there, even though it's really not.
Sorry, I hope that makes sense! Thanks for sharing this really excellent insight.
Thank you so much for this. I just started medication and this is really important for me to remember. The medication can give me the ability to do things but it won’t do it for me.
Thank you for sharing this. It is very true. In my case I was the same way, a lot of the time procrastination and executive dysfunction can be due to your environment. I recently moved out of a toxic household and my executive functioning has gotten soooooo much better since despite being on the same dose of my meds for quite a while. My other symptoms are still there but it’s a lot better than it was.
i agree. meds give me momentum, not motivation