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Welcome to another guest post in our Stories of Overcoming Adversity Series. I would like to introduce you to Haley from My One Comfort. Haley is going to share her very personal story of her challenges with ADD and her treatment. Most importantly, we’ll hear about her experience in overcoming challenges with God’s wisdom. So let this encouraging story inspire you.
Preface: I want to preface this post by saying that this story is about my particular journey and should not be taken as medical advice or telling you how to deal with your own personal medical treatments. Also, there is nothing about being diagnosed with ADD or other neurological disorders that makes you lesser as a human, and if you need treatment, seek a licensed doctor who can help you.
This is also not meant to be negative about Adderall or other drugs which can have a positive impact on helping with neurological disorders. If however, like me, you decide that it is time for your own health or happiness to make changes in your life, please seek a doctor’s advice before quitting your medication to ensure you know what side effects you should watch out for or whether it is physically safe for you to do so.
The background behind my story of overcoming challenges with God’s wisdom
Since the age of 16, I have been prescribed various types of medicine, including Adderall, to help me with my diagnosis of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). If you aren’t familiar with this drug, it is commonly prescribed by psychiatrists to help kids to focus in the rigid one-size-fits-all classroom environment of the American school system.
Sadly, in today’s ultra-competitive academic environment (from elementary school to college), this prescription drug is a hot commodity. Parents start providing it to their kids while they are young, not understanding that many kids may just not learn well in the sit and behave methodologies of standard schooling. College students abuse it thinking it will help them cram in that extra study time or pull those all-nighters with laser focus.
In case you don’t know what this drug is: Adderall works by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the central nervous system. Norepinephrine affects how the brain responds to events, particularly how it pays attention and the speed at which it reacts to outside stimuli. Almost 16 million prescriptions for stimulants like Adderall were written in 2012 – approximately triple the amount written in 2008. (addictioncenter.com).Life is full of struggles. Why not seek the wisdom and guidance of our Lord? Overcoming challenges with God's wisdom is truly the only way to success. #overcomingchallenges Click To Tweet
My Adderall Story
At a young age, I struggled to focus in school. I never got terrible grades but I did lack concentration which in turn affected my grades. Teachers saw my struggle with school but mistook it for a lack of effort and told me I would never amount to anything.
So in my high school years, my mother took me to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with ADD and gave me a prescription of Adderall. This became my identity – a teenage girl with ADD and no sense of future success. But the medicine helped me to better focus and as a result I was able to succeed in my classes and eventually in my career.
Flash forward 16 years, in early 2019, I decided to make a change and to stop taking Adderall. I was starting to feel extremely anxious and my body felt like it was always “on.” I thought it was my work situation causing me stress and anxiety but I changed jobs and I still felt that way.
Do you ever watch commercials with prescription drugs and the list of negative side effects is pretty much the whole commercial? Sure, the doctors tell you there will be side effects, but not in depth. They also don’t talk about the long term damage that this medication can have on your overall well-being. And so they prescribe you more drugs, because you complain of the symptoms.
There are many side effects of Adderall: loss of appetite, weight loss, dry mouth, stomach pain, nausea/vomiting, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, dizziness, headache, nervousness and trouble sleeping. According to the American Addiction Center, it can cause damage to the heart and cardiovascular system when used for a prolonged period of time. It is a very serious prescription drug that can lead to potentially deadly side effects – stroke, cardiac arrest, and liver failure. No doctor told me that!
The results of my Adderall experience
I had become dependent on it because it was all I knew to be “normal.” It was part of my daily routine and if I didn’t take it I would often have brain fog and be extremely tired. That means I would sleep for 12-14 hours, that kind of tired. And doctors told me it was okay to keep taking. But the benefits of being off of it outweighed the benefits of being on it.
I went to a doctor and told them I didn’t want to be on it anymore. The doctor laughed and said I would struggle and would want to be back on it after a few months. Furthermore, another doctor had me do blood tests because Adderall can have physical effects on your body (read above). I had elevated triglyceride and cholesterol levels and I was extremely thin. Even a doctor blamed my thinness for being on the drug but that is saved for another story altogether. Sounds healthy right?!
While there are many legitimate reasons for being on this medication, for me personally it seemed as if the focus it provided was coming at too much expense to my daily well-being. The doctor who laughed made me more determined to get off of it.
Why would I want to be so reliant on something that I am deemed to fail when off of it, especially if it is making me feel so anxious all the time? That didn’t make sense in my brain. Plus the more someone tells me I will fail, the more I want to prove to them that I can overcome any challenge. In the end it isn’t up to them. My health and well-being is my choice.
It wasn’t easy to wean myself off of Adderall. Until my body got re-used to not being on this medication, I had a lack of energy and experienced periods of depression. The way I felt on Adderall felt normal until I was off of it and found a new, better normal. Especially one that was not rooted in my “condition” but rooted in Jesus’ love. Yes, it may be a part of who I am but it is not who I am. Only Jesus has the power to define me. And I believed that overcoming Attention Deficit Disorder with God’s wisdom was entirely possible.
Bible Verses about Overcoming Challenges with God’s Wisdom
My challenge with my neurological disorder and the impacts of my medication may seem small compared to the challenges you may currently be facing.
However, they were very real and scary for me. It was a long journey to overcome the challenge of placing my identity in my diagnosis and leaning so heavily on a medication that had both positive and negative effects on my health. I know there will be other challenges that I will face in life but I put my hope and faith in Jesus.
On earth, Jesus faced plenty of challenges and so did his disciples. Jesus after all, was sentenced to death on the cross. By Him dying for us, He overcame death. One day, when he comes again, all suffering will end. If you cannot see light at the end of the tunnel, just remember that we can put our hope in that Biblical truth.
We can look to God’s strength in challenging times. Where do we find strength to overcome challenges? In the Word of God and Bible verses about overcoming challenges with God’s wisdom.
Psalm 46:1-3 KJV “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.”
Proverbs 18:10 KJV “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.“
Isaiah 41:10 KJV “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Exodus 15:2 KJV “The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”
Psalm 34:10 KJV “The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.”
1 Chronicles 16:11 KJV “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.”
John 14:27 KJV “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Seek God’s Wisdom for Overcoming Challenges
In any situation where you are facing a challenge, seek God’s wisdom. It may sound weird, but in my situation it felt like God was calling me to stop taking the prescription drug. (He was also calling me to stop focusing on how I defined myself and to focus on how He defines me). It wasn’t easy, but I sought God’s wisdom to overcome this challenge.*
*Again, I need to mention that I did my due diligence and sought professional help as well. Stopping a prescription drug as powerful as Adderall does have it’s side effects. However, I did seek God’s wisdom in whether or not it was something I should still be taking.
Ask God for His wisdom (see below for an example prayer). Seek God’s wisdom in times of challenge instead of relying on yourself. God doesn’t want us to make hard decisions on our own. He wants to show us what is right. He loves us and wants to help us. Seek God’s help in all that you do.
Pray for Overcoming Challenges with God’s Wisdom
There was a lot of prayer involved in this personal journey. God wants to hear from us. Because of His Son – Jesus Christ – on the cross, we have direct access to the Father. We are able to be in an intimate relationship with God. We can always approach Him with confidence. He is listening to us when we pray to him to overcome challenges. He wants to help us in overcoming Attention Deficit Disorder or anxiety or whatever we are going through. God is with us and will help us see it through.
Psalm 34:4 KJV “ I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
“Dear Lord, you know me, my heart and the challenges I am going through. Please give me guidance and faith to pursue you during this challenge. I want to seek you Lord in all that I do, but it is extremely difficult right now. But all things are possible with you. I need you, Lord. I want to depend on you. Clothe me in your power and righteousness. Open my heart to receive your healing powers to help overcome the challenges that I face. Heal me from whatever might be separating me from You. Lead the way, Lord. I claim victory in Your name today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
It is so important that we know that God can do more than we could ever imagine. He can help us in overcoming Attention Deficit Disorder or any other challenges with God’s wisdom and through His infinite power, love and faithfulness.
Haley is a wife, husky puppy mom, daughter, sister, and friend. She loves Jesus and has a passion to encourage other women to find and embrace their identities in Christ. Her blog, My One Comfort, highlights that God’s Word can give us comfort and peace. She reminds us that the best comfort we can find in Scripture is that Christ died for our sins on the cross. We can have hope that there is something far better waiting for us – a life that is made up of peace, joy, praise, and strength.
I am sure that Haley’s story touched your heart like it did mine. Anytime you go through trials, just remember that overcoming challenges with God’s wisdom is the answer every time. Just seek His guidance in prayer and Bible Study.
For other stories in our series, check out my compilation post, Powerful and Inspiring Stories of Overcoming Adversity. Check back monthly for more additions to this series.
What part of Haley’s story resonated with you the most? Share a time when you had an experience of overcoming challenges with God’s wisdom. Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments below.