Leaving Concerta


Information Design - Data Visualization


At the end of 2016 I decided to stop taking Concerta, the amphetamine that treats ADHD which I was prescribed when I was 16 and had been taking regularly for over 6 years. Concerta provided me with an illusion of productivity, intensity and stamina in my work, but I decided I needed to discover my authentic productivity, independent of any stimulant. But whenever I had tried to stop taking it in the past I found my low energy levels and fatigue to interfere with my desired levels of activity and performance.

Prior to deciding I wanted to stop taking Concerta I had arranged to conduct an independent study with a professor of my choice over the course of my last semester at Northeastern. I stopped taking the pill on January 11th and chose to base this study on my experience, by meticulously collecting data of my progress everyday. This raised various questions: What is the most effective way to collect this data? What are the most relevant variables to focus on? How can I them transcribe this information visually?

I constructed the form below and filled it out on a daily basis for nine weeks. The next challenge was to demystify this complex and personal journey into visuals that were sufficiently accessible and intuitive to be understood by someone who hadn't witnessed my experience. I went through various sketches and iterations to end up with these weekly graphs marked by a notation system that I established.


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