Open Letter to Nicole Arbour

Nicole, I like your videos. You take real life situations, say what you’re really thinking, and add humor. Usually, I agree with you. If I don’t agree with something you say, I can normally either let it go or see your side (while still disagreeing, but I do attempt to understand).

Unfortunately, I can’t let this one slide. It took me a couple of tries to finish watching your video about ADHD and ADD, because it legitimately upset me.

I agree 100% that kids these days are grossly overdiagnosed with these learning disabilities, and I agree that big pharma is bleeding us all dry. Medicine is a messy and fucked up world, but it’s necessary. That being said, saying that ADHD is fake is insulting. There are people in this world that really do have this. Chemical imbalances and misfires in the brain are real and sometimes are serious enough to need treatment. Just because it’s in the brain, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

You’re somewhat correct about Adderall being the equivalent to speed. What you weren’t correct about it that it’s new. That’s how it always was. To somebody that doesn’t have ADD or ADHD, it is speed. That’s why it’s so commonly misused among high schoolers and college students. To somebody that legitimately has ADD, it calms us. It helps us focus.

When I was in elementary school, I was evaluated and diagnosed with ADD. I had to take Ritalin twice daily, and my grades were perfect. When I was 10, we made the decision to let me be off the meds and observe how well I do without them. My grades suffered, but I fought it for the next 6 years when I decided enough was enough and asked to be evaluated again. I was once again diagnosed with ADD and prescribed Adderall. When I remembered to take it, I did well. Hell, I aced the ACT after studying and crying for the entire week before the test. I haven’t taken it since and I can honestly say that if I had a small dose beyond college then I would probably have published a novel by now.

You said you were given a drug and you hallucinated. It makes sense if you were diagnosed with something you don’t have. I’m sorry that happened to you, honestly and truly.

I can anticipate the question of how many meds I take. I’ll be open and honest: when I remember, I take a prenatal vitamin. I take an antidepressant for postpartum depression. I have an allergy pill that I currently hesitate to take because some women have a drop in milk supply if they take any. That’s it. That’s all I take. It took having a baby to ask for an antidepressant that I should have asked for in my early 20s. I have dealt with my anxiety for my entire adult life without meds, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have it. I’ve just been able to go through life without the help of medicine thus far. I’m taking antidepressants now because if I don’t, then I cry at the drop of a hat and my infant daughter needs a mother that is on her game (especially true since I’m a single mother).

Once again, I do agree that people are overdiagnosed and overmedicated. It is a colossal problem in America. But I implore you not to discount ADD and ADHD, or any other conditions that involve the brain.

I do like you, Nicole. We don’t have to agree on everything. But this is one that I can’t let go.


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