ADHD-PI……. Maybe

So the real reason I have such a hard time posting regularly MIGHT have come to light now. Namely, ADHD-PI. I’ve been wondering for a while whether I might have it, and just today I got a prescription for it. But even after getting a prescription, I find it hard to believe I really have it.

The thing is, the prescription was just way too easy to get. I just told a Kaiser Permanente doctor about some concentration-related problems I have, he directed me to the psychiatric branch, someone from the psychiatric branch gave me a short survey over the phone, I answered a few questions for a psychiatrist, and now suddenly I have a controlled substance on my hands. It just feels way too easy. There was no official test or anything, unless the phone survey counts. The questions the psychiatrist asked me weren’t to ascertain whether I have ADHD; they seemed to already assume that I have it. For diagnosing a disorder like this—and one whose medication is a controlled substance, no less—it just seems way too lax. I was expecting some kind of super specialized test, like maybe one where they show me a video and see how well I can remember it, but there was nothing of the sort; they apparently just took my word for it.

So I still feel stuck in limbo here. On the one hand, I definitely do have a bunch of problems that could be explained by ADHD-PI. The one that stands out the most by far is that whenever I find a video game, manga, or anime I like, I end up getting absorbed in it for the better part of an entire day. Just recently, I bought Clannad and ended up playing it for some 8 hours in my first session—and would have gone on longer, but I was staying over at a cousin’s house and my dad came to pick me up at that point. I did the same thing again upon rediscovering Harvest Moon in the past few weeks. I’ve watched a bunch of 12-episode anime (Serial Experiments LainPuella Magi Madoka Magica, (most of) the first season of Noragami, the second season of Noragami, and (most of) the first season of The World God Only Knows) in one sitting each, as well as one 22-episode anime (Guilty Crown) in one sitting. And just the other day, I read all 75 published chapters of a manga I discovered on Comico (Funny Life) in two sittings. And that last one wasn’t even that good. Whenever I’m in this mode, I always put off meals; it generally plays out like this:

12:00: “Oh, it’s noon, I’d better eat lunch soon.”
1:00: “Yeah, now would be a good time to have lunch. I’ll eat when I get to the next save point / chapter / episode.”
2:00: “Well, I already passed a save point / chapter / episode (or two) (or three), but now I’m in the middle of something again… Well, once it gets to be 3:00, then I’ll be worried.”
2:30: “Still not 3:00…”
3:00: “Ok, NOW I’ll eat lunch. For sure.”
3:50 (still haven’t eaten): “… Well, heck.”
4:20: “Alright, that’s it. *pauses the anime/game and eats*”

At college, I regularly have close calls where I get to restaurants just as they’re closing because of this. I asked my brother if he would be capable of playing the same game for 8 hours on end like I do, and he gave a definitive no.

I’m also a chronic procrastinator of homework. That basically works out the same as the meal situation. And I never organize anything until it starts getting really out of hand; in high school, I carried around all the papers I’d gotten back in the past I-don’t-know-how-long in a big pile because I was too lazy to organize them into separate binders as I got them.

In high school, I could never concentrate on homework as long as the TV was on. I didn’t have to be in the same room, as long as I could hear it I wouldn’t be able to concentrate. It would only be when everyone in the house was asleep and the lights were out that I’d finally be able to concentrate.

I’m not entirely sure if this is related to concentration, but I’ve also always been a really slow worker except in areas where I know the subject way better than my classmates. It’s particularly bad with science projects. I always do really well with theory, but when it comes to practical projects everyone always leaves me in the dust. I don’t even know what I’m doing wrong with this one; it feels like I’m working at a normal pace.

And I also get psychologically exhausted pretty easily. For me, a bus trip to Walmart and back qualifies as sufficient adventure for one day.

So if I have ADHD-PI, then that could explain all of that. But on the other hand, my life just hasn’t been that difficult. I’ve been getting straight A’s from high school all the way to now (entering 3rd year of college); the lowest grade I’ve gotten has been an A- (two instances, both in literature classes). This past semester, I even started reading manga on my phone in the middle of class and STILL got straight A’s. I’ve rarely ever been singled out for bad behavior (when I was, it was generally for refusing to take part in mandatory schoolwide camaraderie exercises). I graduated valedictorian in high school, and I’m going to college with a full scholarship right now. So it doesn’t feel right to claim to have this brain disorder when things seem to be going so well.

So maybe I do have ADHD-PI and make up for it by being smart or something. But then again maybe I just don’t have any discipline because I’ve always been able to get by with little effort. And then there’s also the fact that I get essentially no exercise on a daily basis and don’t eat nearly enough vegetables. So are my problems related to ADHD-PI, or any of these other factors, or both, or something else entirely? As long as there’s no big official rigorous test, I feel like I can’t really be sure.

EDIT: Actually, I just realized. Whenever I get absorbed in something, I put off eating or using the bathroom for hours on end. If the problem were a simple lack of discipline, then I probably wouldn’t be willing to put up with ignoring bodily urges for so long. So I guess the problem is deeper than a lack of discipline. Probably.

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