1. As soon as you hit middle school, start falling asleep in class. When you can’t fall asleep, stare out the window, draw in the margins instead of taking notes, and make sure the teacher knows you aren’t paying attention. Make sure you do your homework, but lose it before you hand it in. Keep this up, and don’t get discouraged! It’s only a matter of months from here until your parents have to meet with the principal.
2. Freshman year of high school, you’ll get your very own tablet laptop, courtesy of the school. Good! Use this to completely disregard class activities. Go on the Internet in English class, and make sure you spend all of Algebra II with your computer in tablet mode so that the teacher thinks you’re taking notes when you’re really in Photoshop—drawing in the margins of your note books is so seventh grade. Waste your free periods, and don’t do your homework until you’ve finished whatever doodle you’re working on. At this point, it should be close to midnight, and you’ll still have a few hours of work ahead of you. Excellent! This will make it easier to fall asleep in class tomorrow—you’re still doing that, right?
3. At some point, you’re going to have to get your shit together, because all these years of mediocrity have really bummed your parents out. Try your best to succeed, but even then, delay, delay, delay, and don’t do any more than the bare minimum. You’ll get over the Photoshop phase, but the skills you’ve developed in putting things off until the last minute will last forever.
4. Don’t forget about social relationships! Actually, you probably will have to forget about social relationships. Crowds are overwhelming, and you never quite mastered hitting it off with new people, did you? In terms of hangout spots at school, your class lounge isn’t an option: it’s crowded and loud, two situations you don’t do so well in. Stick to the Latin classroom—you can form close relationships with your teachers instead!
5. Wait a few years. In this time, you’ll get a lot of comments from your teachers on not being prepared for class, and endure several frustrated outbursts from your parents about not being able to get your work done. Your friendships will fade in and out, and you’ll get shut out from at least three (3) leadership positions or other opportunities for pursuing your passions. After this happens, you’ll get your first prescription—for Prozac. Did you think it was going to be that easy to get an Adderall prescription? Don’t be silly. We’ve still got a long way to go.
6. Apply early decision to an Ivy League university because maybe you’ll get lucky and they’ll see past your A- littered transcript and believe that you’ve got what it takes to be part of the lucky 9% who get accepted. Get deferred, and then push off writing the rest of your applications until after Christmas. Re-use the same crappy, embittered essay for all the schools that you really want to get into, and half-ass everything else. Get rejected from your first choice, and then your second choice, and then a couple more schools where you really would have liked to go. Hate yourself for always being too lazy to actually put some goddamn effort into what you do. Finally, after you’ve heard back from every school you applied to, get into one (1) school that you’re sure your parents can be proud of. Send in your deposit immediately because you screwed yourself out of having options a long time ago.
7. Go to college. Make some friends, lose those friends a few weeks later, and then struggle to make new ones. Publicly embarrass yourself no fewer than five (5) times during your freshman year. Stop eating regularly because you the thought of going to the dining hall alone terrifies you. You still can’t do crowds, huh? When you do eat, ensure that your diet consists of enough junk food to make you gain the freshman fifteen and then some. Don’t forget about your academics: make sure you chase your dreams and challenge yourself. Take the harder physics class, but never pay attention to the lectures or study on your own time. Ditto with calculus. Not only should you be falling asleep in class, but by now you should be struggling to even understand what’s going on when you are awake. Fail your midterms. Fail your finals. Get your Prozac dosage doubled, then doubled again. We’re almost there!
8. Stay on campus for the summer to do research, but instead of doing research, spend about an hour a day working and waste the rest of your time however you see fit—you’re an expert at this by now. Isolate yourself from the few people you do know on campus, and really kick your disordered eating into overdrive. Hell, just blow all your paychecks on junk food. In a few weeks, email your mom and admit that not only are you spending twenty-plus hours a day alone in your room, not only do you not have anyone to talk about it with (even if you wanted to), but on top of it all you don’t even have a healthy relationship with food and you keep stuffing yourself full until it physically hurts for days afterwards. Start seeing a therapist about your eating disorder and wonder why you can’t control even the most basic aspects of your life.
9. Go home and tell your psychiatrist what happened. Tell her you hate the Prozac, that it makes you numb and constantly tired. She’ll offer to start weaning you off of it, and to add something that will suppress your appetite because wow, you really can’t control yourself, can you? The first option she’ll gives you is a mood stabilizer, which terrifies you because what does mood stability mean? Aren’t your moods already stable? Does your psychiatrist not think they are? Then she says that there’s another option, Vyvanse, but that it’s for ADHD, and that’s not something that’s ever been a problem, right? Shrug and mumble something about never really feeling engaged in class. She’ll cross her legs and squint at you. At this point, tell her about everything you’ve done in steps 1-8.
Congratulations! Now you have your very own Vyvanse prescription. But wait—that’s not all!
10. Take Vyvanse for a semester. If everything goes as planned, you should slowly work your way up from 30 mg to 40 mg, and then to 50 mg. When you go home in December, tell your psychiatrist how much it helps, that it’s been the best semester you’ve ever had, but that it wears off too early in the day, so you can’t focus at night, and then you get hungry and eat until you’re sick. Finally, you’ll get an Adderall prescription, too. Enjoy your new regimen for about four days, and then start experiencing chest pain and heart palpitations. Visit a cardiologist. Your heart is fine, but you need to lower all your dosages. Go back to school. Take your 40 mg Vyvanse every morning and your 5 mg Adderall every afternoon. Try your goddamn hardest to stay focused, and realize that your goddamn hardest still isn’t enough. Try a higher dose of Vyvanse again, and spend your days walking around with your heart beating in your ears at over 100 bpm, your nights lying awake in bed, suddenly incapable of falling asleep, and live with a perpetual looming dread that at any moment your heart is going to give out.
Congratulations! You now have your very own prescription for Adderall, the most sought-after study drug on college campuses across the nation. Take as directed. No crying and whining when you realize that these pills aren’t a magic cure-all, that you still never learned how to study or manage your time, that even medication can’t fix your psychiatric disorder—don’t you know how lucky you are?