Adderall Scare and Mensa Results

Picture taken by myself of my Adderall prescri...
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I haven’t taken my Adderall for almost a week now, and for good reason. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about my side effects while taking the medicine. I had a couple of issues, but nothing seemed serious enough to convince me to go to my doctor.

Then, on Wednesday, I was on my way to work when my left bicep started hurting. I know it’s not the shoulder area that the heart attack warnings focus on, but it was close enough for me to decide that I needed to stop taking the medicine until I talked to my doctor.

I scheduled an appointment as soon as I could. Unfortunately, the earliest appointment wasn’t until today. I went to the appointment this morning, and she said that it didn’t sound like my issues were related to the medication. She said that it was up to me to decide if I should stop taking the Adderall, depending on whether the risks outweighed the benefits, so that’s exactly what I decided to do. I feel like the medication is hurting more than helping, so I’m going to see if I can find another way to overcome my ADHD.

Perhaps I’ll try to focus on brain games and mind exercises and see if that helps–a sort of Mind-Over-ADHD, if you will.

Mensa International
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Now, for the second half of my post: On Friday, I got an email from Mensa letting me know that they had received my test. My excitement grew when I read the email, because it meant that I was one step closer to finding out if I qualified for membership. The email basically said, “We received your test. Now wait 5-10 business days for us to score it.” It wasn’t amazing news, but it did cut my waiting time from 14-21 days down to just 5-10 days.

On Saturday, however, I received another email from Mensa. Without even reading the title, I knew it was the results. My phone shows the first few lines of my emails, so I didn’t  have to open it to discover the verdict. The word “CONGRATULATIONS” was all I needed to see. The excitement rushed through me like a tidal wave. I had achieved one of my biggest life goals! I had to contain it, though, because I wanted to slowly introduce the topic to my wife before springing it on her.

After telling her the news, she congratulated me and told me how proud she was. When I told her how much my membership would cost ($84/year), she responded with, “Just knowing you qualified should be enough, right?”

I laughed and said that I really really wanted to join. She reluctantly agreed, but said that I could only join for a year. After the year is up, we’ll reevaluate our situation and my interest in the organization. Unfortunately for me, I have ADHD, which means that long-term interests aren’t my forte.

Hopefully this one will be one of the few exceptions.

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Mensa Exam

Exam

Yesterday was the big day. It was the day that I’d been waiting for–the day I was scheduled to take the Mensa Admission Test (MAT).

I was a little nervous but mostly excited. I had studied for a month, taking every free IQ and brain workout test I could find. I even downloaded the Mensa app to get a feel for what the real test was going to be like. However, none of the practice tests and exercises that I had studied (even the Mensa ones) were guaranteed to be like the real test. I had no way of knowing which subjects were going to be on my test. For all I knew, I could have studied everything that wasn’t on the test.

I drove to the testing location, mentally reviewing and quizzing myself over everything I’d studied. I arrived a few minutes early, so I anxiously waited in the lobby until the room was opened. When they finally opened the door, I walked in, only to find out that the test director had to set up the tables. She told me to come back in about 15 minutes, so I went back to the lobby and found a comfortable seat. I decided to try to prime my brain by squeezing in another practice test before the real deal.

I didn’t do as well on the mini-test as I had hoped, but I wasn’t going to let it get me down. I proceeded to the testing room, signed in and asked God to help me do well on the test.

As the proctor handed out the first part of the test, I made sure my pencil lead was sharp and secure (I’d had too many pencil tips break in the past for me to neglect this vital inspection). The proctor read the instructions and told us to begin. The questions on this part of the test were varied and increased in difficulty. I believe it was intended to test the person’s ability to quickly switch gears and still maintain a high level of competence.

The second part of the test was comprised of many short sections, each focusing on one subject area. I can’t tell you exactly what was in each section, but can say that I do feel like the training really helped me learn new ways to approach the questions. As in the first test, the questions within each section increased in difficulty. I felt like there was no logical answer on a few of the questions, but that’s where the abstract and lateral ways of thinking prevail.

In the end, I feel like I did the best I could have done on any given day. I left the room feeling confident, yet humbled. For me, the hardest part of the test is happening right now–waiting for the results. I won’t get the results for about two or three weeks, so now I get to test my patience. When I do get the results, though, I’ll make sure you’re one of the first to know.

In my non-professional opinion, I highly recommend taking the test. You might surprise yourself. Plus, there’s a coupon on the website for $15 off the testing fee if you take the test in October.

So long, my friend.

How ADHD Affected Me: Part 3

Note: If you haven’t read my previous two blogs, please do. This one will make more sense.

After working at my job for about two years, I decided to take a big leap in life. It was a risk in several aspects, but, to me, the benefits far outweighed the risks. I decided to propose to my best friend in life. She said, “Yes!” and we got married less than a year later.

Our first year of marriage was challenging. We argued almost daily and often went to bed bitter. My wife got mad at me for things that I thought I had no control over—the symptoms of my ADHD. Her complaints were legitimate, but I couldn’t figure out how to deal with the symptoms, which led to a war of frustrations and misunderstandings.

We eventually went to counseling to help us figure out what was wrong and how to better deal with our issues. Our counselor said that I might be depressed or could have possibly had a small stroke earlier in my life. I went to my doctor with this information, but she said that I most likely had a thyroid issue. I requested a psychological evaluation to see if I had any other underlying issues. She hesitated, saying it probably wouldn’t reveal the main reason for my issues, but sent the referral anyway. I called the psychologist on the referral and set up my series of appointments.

When I went to my initial appointment with the psychologist, I was excited and nervous at the same time. I was excited to learn more about myself, but I couldn’t help but wonder if I actually had a stroke and could possibly have more in the future. I asked the psychologist about it, and he reassured me that I seemed like a healthy, smart young man.

On the day of my test, I made sure to get plenty of rest and eat a healthy breakfast, just like my teachers always told us to do before we took our big exams in school. The test ended up being a lot of fun for me. There was a lot of logic and reasoning with a sprinkle of word pronunciation and knowledge.

Two weeks later, I went back to the office to get my results. The psychologist said he was astounded by the results. He said that I was a textbook example of someone with ADHD. He revealed to me that I had a very high IQ (121), which was why I was able to go so long without being diagnosed. When he told me my IQ, I asked him if I should take the Mensa entrance exam. He said he would be surprised if I didn’t make it in, so I called my local Mensa group and scheduled my test for next Saturday. I’ll let you know whether or not I make it when I get my results.

So there’s my overview of how ADHD has affected my life up to this point. I intentionally left out the details of my treatment for a later post. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment below or email me.

For my next post, I’ve asked my wife if she would be willing to give you her insight on ADHD and how her life has been affected by being married to someone with ADHD. She enthusiastically agreed and is very excited to add another dynamic to the blog. I should mention that I won’t edit or update her post(s), so it will be entirely her opinion.

Stay tuned!