Coming to terms with needing Ritalin

As a nightly ritual, after I tuck my girls into their beds, I sit on an Ikea chair and play a chapter out of the audiobook we are "reading." I used to actually read the books, complete with different voices for each character and exaggerated gestures but professional actors do it so much better. They bring the book to life. Ok, honestly, I started this audiobook thing because I was tired one night and used it as a chance to take a nap. 

Our current book of the month is A Wrinkle in Time which I remember LOVING as a kid. It doesn't hold up folks so don't bother re-reading it as an adult, more specifically an adult parent. As we go through the book, all I can focus on is how any sane parent allows their kids to hang out with three creepy old strangers in a forest.

Midway through chapter 4, this popped up:

“Qui plussait, plus se tait. French, you know. The more a man knows, the less he talks.”
― Madeleine L'EngleA Wrinkle in Time

This quote resonated strongly with me. In class, I tend to be more on the quiet side. I don't ask very many questions because I usually don't have any. Am I a genius? No. I am just too scared to even think of questions.  But this has caused me problems and tore at my self-worth and esteem. In academia, it is expected of you to ask LOTS of questions. You should question everything. You should ask your professors a million comprehension questions but I hardly ever did. I second guessed myself quite a bit and felt that maybe I was dumb, but that wasn't it. I understood the things thrown at me; however, it just took me longer to realize I had questions.

During lectures, meetings with my PI, lab meetings, and even committee meetings, I am trying to absorb and interpret what is being thrown at me. I'm furiously scribbling notes, and my mind might be focused on the pain I feel due to my health issues, the things on my mom to-do list, or any multitude of things.

During my journey to find ways to cope with my intense depression, I found out I had been going through life with ADD. I started taking Ritalin to see if this would help and it did. I could focus on what was happening, but I still didn't ask many questions in lab. Once I go home, think about what I learned or was told, then I have a million questions. I don't think there is anything wrong with that but as a grad student silence = ignorance. I am not ignorant. It just takes me a while to process. There is nothing wrong with that.