Cartoon: Self-Medicating My ADHD

This cartoon is drawn by Nadine Scholtes, who I’m beginning to suspect enjoys drawing cats.

The business with the cat in the foreground was my idea, except that in the script I had the cat napping in panel four, and Nadine thought that licking its own butt would be funnier, and she’s right. The posters in the background were also Naomi’s idea (more about them in the transcript).

This cartoon  is both less political and more autobiographical than most of my cartoons. ADHD – and mentally beating myself up for it – has been a huge part of my life for almost my entire life. Getting diagnosed was a big step forward for me.

So far nothing I’ve tried for ADHD has really worked, other than Wellbutrin. And even that only sort of works. It doesn’t increase my ability to focus on work or get anything done. It does, however, make me not hate myself for it.

And that sounds silly, but in fact just that has been an enormous improvement to my quality of life!

So this cartoon was written in memory of my pre-Wellbutrin life.


This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows the same character, from the same angle. A woman sits at a messy table, in front of an open laptop. On the table are some crumpled napkins, an open Chinese food takeout container, random papers, random mugs (one near her elbow, presumably her current mug, and a few more pushed to the back), and an orange cat with a white chin and belly. The cat is either a large kitten or a small adult.

The woman has a green shirt with darker green sleeves, round glasses, and brunette hair tied back.


The woman leans on one hand, with a frustrated expression; her other hand is in a fist on the table.

WOMAN (thought): Aaargh! Why can’t I be productive? Stupid ADHD!


A hatch opens up on top of her head, and her brain – complete with cartoony eyes, a smiling mouth, and stick arms – pops out and speaks cheerfully. The woman seems unsurprised by this, leaning back and folding her arms.

BRAIN: I have an idea – why not beat yourself up about it?

WOMAN: Really, brain? We’ve tried that for decades. And it’s never worked!


The Brain cheerfully hands the woman a mallet; the woman reaches a hand up to take it. She’s looking cheerful now.

BRAIN: That’s because you haven’t been beating yourself hard enough. This time it’ll work.

WOMAN: Oh, okay.


The woman AND her brain are now both covered with bruises and bumps from being beaten so much; the woman has cracked her glasses and is missing a tooth. Both of them are cheerful, and both their word balloons are shaky looking.

BRAIN: It’ll start working aaany second now.

WOMAN: Thanks, brain!


“Chicken fat” means easily-overlooked and meaningless details in a cartoon the cartoonists put in, which maybe you (and they) find amusing. In this cartoon, the chicken fat involves cats, both in the foreground and in the background.

In the foreground, in panel one, the cat is looking a bit anxiously at the woman as it moves towards the open Chinese food container.

In panel two, the cat is leaning over the container, and her head is almost entirely within the container.

In panel three, the cat is licking its lips, with a deeply satisfied expression and a little heart floating over its head.

In panel four, the cat is busily licking its own butthole.

In the background, there’s a cat motivational poster on the wall. What’s cool is, the poster changes every panel, in response to the events happening with the main character.

These gags were contributed by Nadine, and I’ll quote bits of her comments about the posters.

In panel one, the cat is turning to look, coughing and wall-eyed. A “computer is loading” icon is above its head “like the brain is stuck.” The caption says UUUHHHH…

In panel two, a new cat has an expression of huge surprise on its face, like it’s surprised by the brain popping out. Caption says “WHAT?!”

In panel three, yet another cat – a fluffy white cat wearing round glasses and a bow tie – is staring out. The caption says “GENIUS!” Naomi explains, “because the brain has a ‘genius’ idea.”

In panel four, we have the hang in there cat, “because never give up!”

Self-Medicating My ADHD | Patreon

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4 Responses to Cartoon: Self-Medicating My ADHD

  1. 1
    bcb says:

    “Oh, well hitting your brain with a hammer is ‘self-harm,’ so let’s see how productive you are in prison while we gaslight you and tell you your imprisonment is for your own good.”

    When I went to shadow jail the doctor who sent me there told me it was to treat my ADHD, but he wrote down on my medical records it was for “[s-word] ideation” (I had not actually expressed s-word ideation.)

    My insurance company decided a few months ago that the ADHD medicine I was taking for 20 years (started when it was still patented) is now no longer covered, though they continue to list it as covered in their formulary. Switched to a different one that is more expensive but covered for some reason? (Neither are controlled substances so that isn’t the issue).

  2. 2
    RandomTroll says:

    On the chicken fat in the first panel…
    I’d have to call the cat ‘wall-eyed’, myself.
    Opposite of cross-eyed.
    Mainly ’cause the eyes are looking away from the nose…
    (my normal look )


  3. 3
    RandomTroll says:

    Whoops, blew the joke.
    Wanted to imply I look like the poster every day…


  4. 4
    Ampersand says:

    Oh, that’s what the term “wall-eyed” means! I’ve seen the term but I didn’t know what it meant. I’ll edit that now, thanks.

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