The Scientist

Day of quarantine #14. How the quarantine affects a person with ADHD on methylphenidate treatment, and the things we say.

By Laly Steel

April 2, 2020

Some people say – I do it too – “I can’t live like this;” others wonder, “When is it going to end.” Those are one big statement and one big question for a rat in a labyrinth with no exit.

On March 16, all activities were cancelled in Argentina due to the Covid-19 outbreak, and on March 20 the mandatory quarantine began. It was supposed to last until March 31; those who believe in unicorns held on to that hope. On March 30th, the quarantine was extended until April 12, and yesterday’s local news were already talking about May. Winter is coming in the end of the world, for real, by the way…

I started my lockdown on March 16 because I knew what it was going to happen and I wanted to get ready; and as I write this, I realize it was the first time in five years that I didn’t commemorate – with flags of depression and meltdown confetti – the day the person I once was died… or started to. I’m gonna refer you to “Reason Nº 7” on this one and reflect, “Now this, this global quarantine, was life changing.”

The first couple of days, I reacted like everyone else… I guess. I was dropped into the labyrinth and started running – untiringly – searching for food; I didn’t feel the fall because I thought I’d find my way… but I suppose that was just the adrenaline of the shock keeping me on my feet. And then I stopped.

I’ve been still since then… and there’s no scientist poking me to see if I’m live; there are simply too many rats in here… Who’d notice the little chubby one coiled in a corner? Who’d wonder if that little one is different and won’t react like the others? Who would care? I know there are others like me, but I won’t find them because they probably have been also staying still.

There’s a psychotropic in my head and my neurons are not reacting well; there’s no exercise wheel in this labyrinth to help that drug do its job, thus it’s numbing my head and blurring my vision; so I say to myself “I can’t live like this,” I wonder “When is this going to end,” and I think, “Unicorns live in fairytales.”

I am a neurodiverse with ADHD and high – high – hyperactivity; I need methylphenidate to literally function and to do sports (not just exercise) at least for an hour and a half three times a week, to not feel the side effects of the Ritalin. But I’m in quarantine… 

One may think I’m bouncing off the walls but, on the contrary, I’m … flat… You see, the hyperactivity is of the brain not the body; what goes at speed light is my mind; what needs to exercise is my mind; so, if I sit on a stationary bike and I pedal until feeling my legs burning and my knees crashing, my brain says: “Wha’cha doing, human? Nothing is moving! Get out and do something!

Consequently, the methylphenidate explodes in my head like a bomb in a contained environment, I have to take another drug to put up the fire and then it all comes down to ashes… My thoughts turn into a flat dessert of nothing.

And so I think I can’t live like this… When is this going to end?

First task of an enlighten mind! Don’t ask questions that have no answer; therefore, to the “When is it going to end?” I reply “Forget about it.” I’ve been – in fact – reacting to this situation with this in mind, thinking I need to make a new routine and get over with it… Hold the applause; I’ve been failing epically.

A person who has a sibling in Israel, told me the government made the decision to stablish a four-month quarantine; I’ve been researching to corroborate this with no luck. Still, when I heard that, I thought “Awesome; every country should just take this decision and stop prolonging the uncertainty; I’m gonna pretend this is going to last four months and I’ll work around that thought.”

If one look at numbers – the affected all over world and how the amount is raising – it’s safe to say that we’ll be on curfew until July, at least. So, with that in mind, I’m trying to come up with a new life… and I’ve been failing epically… I already said that, but! At least I’m trying… because I want to live and I can not live like this.

But actually, I can. There’s another way to look at this; we can say, “I can live like this; I am living and I’m putting ‘like this’ between brackets.” To this date, according to WHO, 40,777 people have died; to this date, 40,777 families are mourning the loss of their love ones, many of them without being able to say a proper goodbye.

“I am living (like this). Lucky me.” … And who the fuck cares if a scientist pokes me or not.

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