What Is Ends Very Badly?: I Took Too Much Adderall Before Going On ‘Jeopardy’
Photo: Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post (Getty)
“Two minutes to showtime,” they informed me.
That’s when everything went from A-OK to a steep drop down the Verruckt. For those of you who don’t know it, it’s the steepest waterslide in the world. My hands (and ass) began to sweat profusely. The clasp on my pants was holding on for dear life. My necktie suddenly had an asphyxiation mechanism. My body had become a pressure cooker for anxiety. That’s when I made the terrible decision that made my first (and last) time going on Jeopardy, oh how would you say it, “what is ends very badly?”
If you’ve never gone on national television in front of millions of viewers on the last remaining classic game show (other than Wheel of Fortune), let’s just say it’s a little debilitating to say the least. My jitters were mixed with lethargy (quite the cocktail), and my fears coupled with depression to make some kind of illegitimate love-child of regret and despair. So like anybody who has had unfathomable anxiety to the point of pure terror, I popped some Adderall to make it all better.
There wasn’t enough time to run to the men’s room so I panicked, the clasp on my pants somehow tighter. That’s when it hit me — I took out my credit card and crushed up a couple pills of the blue stuff like the good junkie college raised me to be. Normally, I take one little blue pill, and everything is just right, but come on, this is Jeopardy we’re talking about. Suddenly, it was tough to distinguish how much was one and how much was three from the mound of powder. Of course, I just did it all. And that’s when it hit me. The Adderall, that is.
It was incredible, like the keys to the kingdom of knowledge were unlocked and the doors opened right before me. Turns out, I was flying high, and that door was from the dressing room to the stage. Long story short, when asked about my personal life, I gave a six-minute sermon about quantum theory, described the key to successfully making long-lasting balloon animals to scale, then convulsed a bit, blacked out and wet myself (I believe in that order).
When I awoke in the breakroom, covered in a towel and shame with the police checking my ID, it hit me. The lethargy, depression and low energy were the result of having not taken Adderall all day. Having taken double the amount, plus a couple energy drinks, some coffee and a shot of whiskey (to take off the edge), along with nothing to eat, it’s clear that Jeopardy was the last place I belonged.
That’s when I started reading about the side effects of withdrawals to Adderall, which took me down the black hole of statistics. It’s a stimulant drug meant to treat genuine cases of narcolepsy and ADHD, but acts more like cocaine for the misdiagnosed, which today is close to 6.5 million of America’s youth.
Adderall was infamized by millennials, who use it to study. Millennials started the trend of using Adderall as a study aid, but upon mixing it with alcohol, began treating it as an all-nighter aid, which might explain my cavalier use of whiskey to balance out my mood. And since I don’t actually have ADHD (I’m a kid, so it appears so) or narcolepsy (I sleep in class because I’m too young to know what I want to do with my life), I’m basically a legalized meth addict with a doctor’s note who tends to go into withdrawal before going on an adult game show. So how is one to compete with Generation Adderall if he were to get sober?
In 1990, less than a million kids were taking ADHD prescriptions. By 2012, that number had exploded to close to 16 million written prescriptions for the year. And that doesn’t even take into account kids under 20. What started as an attempt to calm asthma nearly 100 years ago has become a dopamine-addictive amphetamine used across the age brackets. Suddenly, Adderall is the hottest drug people can get their hands on, second only to weed.
When anxiety and depression for adults in America is at such an all-time high that people cope by sedating themselves, we have another market that is attempting to up the ante with Adderall — a drug with high potential for abuse — and these crowds are not mutually exclusive. So how do we deal with kids as young as six competing in school on “performance-enhancing” drugs? Is it a level playing field for kids not taking ADHD medicine? Is it actually detrimental to those kids in the long run? So many questions.
But if there’s one takeaway, one question I can answer for you now, it’s that you don’t need to shoot yourself full of drugs just because you have a prescription for them and a five-page paper due the next day. Trust me, it’s not worth convulsing, blacking out and wetting yourself (again, in that order) at the school library. They’ll totally revoke your card.