Raised on Ritalin // Chapter 1: Introduction

 Chapter 1 has been revised to make the medical records more readable!

This is the first chapter of a book-length work. Download a PDF eBook of Chapter 1 HERE.

Additional chapters will explore all aspects of ADHD - diagnosis, treatment, culture, and historical aspects - from the perspective of someone who has lived with it their whole life.

I am actively seeking representation and/or a publisher for this book.

I welcome your comments, thoughts, suggestions, and stories of your own experiences with ADHD. Also, PLEASE share and pass this around!



  1. WOW TYLER! Spare time huh?

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I read every word and as a parent I am right there with you in terms of what is best for my kids.

    You are a brave soul for sharing this with the world, but the world will be better of having read this honest and touching story.

    By the way...in one of the doctor notes they said that you have difficulty with your fine motor skills...I think that you have that one under control!!!

    I can't wait to read more!
    Katherine Norrie

  2. Oh. Wow. The first few panels describe me. I thought my phone phobia came from my mom. The crippling anxiety ... shit. I had no idea.

    I'm already on thyroid meds for life. I'm almost 50. If there's a way to STOP THIS DAMN ANXIETY, I'm so there. Also, to maybe finish a craft project once in a while. Fuck, just one.

    I *did* have a doc hand me a brochure on adult ADD once, but of course I never followed up on it.

    Thank you so much for this.

  3. I really enjoyed it. My only problem was a slight feeling of dread at having to read another medical report after the first one. While I agree that the information is critical to show, you might consider presenting it in a different fashion (maybe some kind of a summary caption on top so one doesn't feel obligated to read the whole thing?).

    But maybe the full medical reports don't continue for the entire GN. You seem to know what you're doing. My prediction is "award winner" if the rest of the GN is completed and comparable to the first chapter. I can't be the only person who ever wondered what happened to kids raised on ritalin (great title!) I'll shut up now.

  4. I agree with Kirk -- though some of the information in the medical reports needs to be introduced into the story, it's problematic in its current form. Too much information, and bringing the narrative to a grinding halt. I read all of the medical reports but nearly gave up on them.

    Great start to what's shaping up to be a great book.

  5. Thanks for just sharing your story, especially the anxiety around calling someone! I'm a bit better on the phone, but I still have a bad habit of avoiding calls if I don't already know exactly who I'm going to be talking to or exactly what I'm going to say...

    The more people with ADD I learn about the more I keep thinking "Oh man, you do that to?"

  6. @Kirk and @ Harold thanks for the feedback. I gave a lot of thought to the medical records - and actually edited quite a bit out already. I felt this was the most authentic way of presenting the info. re-creating it or chopping it up into smaller bits didn't seem to give it the same authority. I cut out entirely what was truly superfluous and went with underlining the key stuff.

    this should be the most text-heavy part of the book. I've got more medical records to include in future chapters but there won't be any more full pages.

  7. I felt the same thing about the medical records that the previous commenters did when I first read them, but I think you need them. It's already got the most relevant bits underlined and I think it's just a necessary part you need to get through. But it looks like you already know that.

    I *love* the panel on page 15 where all the other boxes disappear and the only thing in the universe is you and the reports.

    Absolutely beautiful.

  8. Thanks for sharing Tyler. I can see where your coming from as to be honest I was probably in the same boat myself but I went undiagnosed all through my schooling.

    But then I'm going through it with my son who has been diagnosed with ADHD and on top of that as Asperger's Syndrome which doesn't help the other but Ritalin has made a huge different in his life to be able to get through his school work and concentrate on it let alone take him though after school activities.

    One thing I noticed from the medical reports is that they had you taking a second tablet at 4-5pm which was keeping you up later in the evening so you couldn't sleep... We were advised with my son when he was on the short dose tablets to have the second one around 12pm-1pm so he can get his homework done but then can get to sleep on time.

    Also do you mind if I link this up on my site to promote this project?

  9. Are you going to make print versions of these?

  10. that was great! and you are a great comic artist. and the subject matter is interesting. I'm very opinionated about ADD, so it's good that somebody is finally doing something legitimate for it.
    Keep up the good work!!!

  11. @Box Brown ultimately I'd like to see this published as a book, but I'm toying with the idea of putting together a mini/ashcan of a couple of chapters to sell at MIX this fall and for other shows...

  12. I was diagnosed with ADD in highschool, basically because I pretty much refused to do most of the work given to me ( I always strived for bare minimum ).

    But as a kid I was hyper active, and my parents let me loose and I just ran through the woods had adventures with my friends or I would play videogames all day. Basically I'd go tucker myself out then come home tired. I didn't like sitting still in church ( I frequently left church to go wander outdoors ) or school because it was boring as hell, I wonder if someone thinks that's a disorder because I had no patience for boring stuff, sounds pretty realistic for a kid to me.

    In highschool I didn't see a point in anything I was learning, so I had no stake in it. No one was teaching me about stuff I cared about ( videogames and comics ) because I'm sure if I was learning how to do that stuff I would have payed attention.

    So I was put on ritalin, which pretty much made me pay attention to everything and I couldn't relax and daydream like I normally could and go draw....Eventually I refused to take it and my parents agreed after I told them how it felt and how they didn't like how it zombified me.

    Now I still have trouble sitting down and doing things I HAVE to do, but if I think about it the right way and I make the task fun for myself I can get through pretty much anything.

    Personally I think medication might work for some people, but in my case ADD can be an asset when I get locked into what I'm doing like drawing, if I'm invested I won't loose focus, If I'm not invested it's pretty hard to stay on task.

    I could tell you what I think of your experiences but, that would be too presumptuous of me.

  13. Since you mentioned wanting to turn this into a full-length book, i will point out a mistake in the 8th image down (although it comes right before one labeled 10- which confuses me in itself).

    "I don't remember what we did THEIR." There is, obviously, the correct word choice.

  14. Wow I can't believe how similar our childhood stories are. Even the knife incident, although I didn't cut up a seat on the bus :) and the whole phone phobia thing. I was put on Ritalin at the same age and stopped taking it at the same age too. I also question if ADD is really a "disability" and simply just a different way of thinking. I had behavioral problems when I was in middle school also and was even sent to a hospital to be supervised for 2 weeks (worst time of my life) It was then they started me on mood stabalizers and anti depresants. I now have found out that stimulants cause me to become very anxious and irritable so I don't drink any caffeine or other stimulants (ritalin) So now I wonder if the Ritalin wasn't the whole reason I had behavioral problems. I went through probably 12 different doctors and different programs with not much progress. I went back through my medical records and read all the reports on myself. It really is strange being able to look back and look at the whole thing from an adults perspective. I could go on and on about my experiences, but it was really uplifting to know that I'm not the only one who had these experiences growing up.

  15. This reminds me so much of what I remember of my early childhood pre overmedicated fog it hurts a little. This is a fantastic introspective with great art and excellent writing. Please keep up the incredible work.

  16. This is really beautiful, and I think it's especially necessary in these times, when mental illness is so frequently written off in black and white terms as a chemical imbalance. I was reading recently that SSRI antidepressants are equally effective in treating depression as an "active" placebo that causes sufficient side-effects to make a person believe he's receiving a real drug. I don't think we can treat these illnesses with the traditional western medical methodology of isolating a foreign body, then eliminating it. This strategy made sense for antibiotics, at the beginning of the western medical reign. However, to treat a problem as complex and personal as mental illness with a simple diagnosis/drug philosophy runs the gamut from incomplete to dehumanizing. There are many rarely acknowledged factors, and I hope this comic will prompt a needed discussion.

  17. I really liked this and I am interested to read more.

  18. This looks like a winner. Keep going :)

  19. This is absolutely fantastic! I'm excited for the progress of this book. It looks excellent, so far.

  20. Thank you so much for this.

    I was recently diagnosed with ADD inattentive type 30+ years old. I've grown up wondering what was wrong with me all my life, which led to misdiagnoses such as depression, and still wondering what was wrong. I am glad there's a name to my condition but I admit I haven't accepted yet, mostly feeling alone as a comicker who struggles to focus on finishing a drawing.

    It sounds selfish, but I'm very happy to have been pointed to this comic, and to see you're working with ADD successfully. I look forward to your book! The last panel is a big hook for me, as that has passed through my head many a time.

  21. This is some amazing work. Bravo. I look forward to future chapters and the eventual book.

    I had behavioural problems when I was younger and was never officially diagnosed with anything (although it was thought I had ADD). I did, however, suffer a complete nervous breakdown at the age of 17. I had the same experience with medication as one of the commenters above - it zombified me (initially) and rendered me unable to draw. It's interesting to read how many others have gone through the same thing.

    I'm currently working on my own graphic novel loosely based on those experiences. I'm at 120 pages now - about halfway to the end, methinks...

    Anyhow, once again I REALLY like what you're doing here, I can seriously relate to it, and I will buy the book when it comes out. I will also make sure that my local comic shop (where I work!) orders some copies for the shelf. Keep up the great work!!

  22. Forgot to mention: I am definitely linking to this comic once I get my links page up and running. :)

  23. I have been in the same boat. I won't go into here, but seek me out on facebook (Odd Man) and I'll give you my story.

    Can't wait to see more.

  24. I really enjoyed this. I've been through much of this since becoming a father, as my 8 year old son has pretty severe ADD. He had an emotional aspect to it I haven't seen in many others, in that he couldn't control his anger. In the end, he wound up taking Concerta (time-release Ritalin) and it's made a serious difference.

    I think debates about ADD are often too black/white in their nature. On one side you have people who just want to medicate everything away and others who have an ideological problem with meds and wind up not treating the problem at all. There's so much unknown about the brain that I try not to be too judgmental about the decisions parents make. You just don't know unless you're there.

    The only time I get irritated are when there are children with obvious, severe ADD issues and nothing is being done because the parents either don't believe in meds or don't want to believe ADD is a real thing. No one who has ever had to deal with the real thing doubts it's real. I think there was a problem at the beginning of over-diagnosis and over-medication, especially in cases where the family doctor made the call without a psychologist being involved. It still happens now but I'm seeing many more examples of kids being set up for failure over and over again because the problem isn't being dealt with.

    I'll be passing this around, hopefully picking you up some more readers.

  25. Great work. Hits close to home, being a primary teacher and freelance illustrator myself although Dutch health regulations are quite different. I'll bookmark the site and will keep reading. There has got to be a market for this! Thank you and respect for you persistence, time and effort. Greetings from Holland, Europe.

  26. This is some really powerful stuff and I'm really happy you made it. The sensation of feeling stunned by an oncoming tidal wave of fear and endless terrible possibility only to have it collapse to nothing in the face of reality defines my adult life. To see that your childhood in many ways mirrors mine I feel "less at fault" for who I am today. They put me on ritalin at the age of 5 before I quit cold turkey on my 18th cold turkey. This was like you mentioned a terrible idea because despite feeling normal for the first week or so I rapidly degenerated into a man who could rationalize like an adult but responded to impulse and emotion like a child. I went off the deep end. Suicide attempts, and small crimes dominated the year which is strange thing to pop up out of absolutely no where but as we know it really wasn't out of no where at all. In a strange sense It was like impulse and and emotional control had become vague memories, I could eventually recall the appropriate behavior but often not until I had already executed a less desirable one. Another analogy would be to say it was like retaking a math class you had done really well in once but 8 years later with out any practice in between. It came back faster than learning it the first time but not at all like I had been practicing. I got the more immoral and rampantly self destructive behavior under wraps in about a years time but it took a few more to really resemble anything closing in on mature adult like behavior. While it was great to feel like a whole and not totally broken person with out the effects of medication it soon became clear after all the other issues faded that I still did have an immense problem keeping focused on appropriate tasks and have started seeking out medication again because unfortunately with out medication I only ever reached 80-90% of a functional human being and when you can't function you drag the people around you down and that's something I wasn't going to accept with out another fight. I look forward to reading more chapters.

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing your story. I'm glad the comic is connecting with folks in such a profound way. :)

  27. I came across this when googling phone phobia,
    I am in my 50s, and have been diagnosed with depression and anxietY, bUt since my niece has been diagnosed, she told me she thought I have it, as we are so similarI think I have adhd, but not the hyperactivity
    I look back at my childhood and it explains so much. I just thought I was a failure, thick, whatever....
    Thankyou for this
    It's fantastic and very emotional and thought provoking
    You're a great cartoonist xxx