Olympian Molly Seidel shares her ADHD diagnosis and journey

The last time most of us saw Molly Seidel, she was pounding her fist in triumph as she crossed the Olympic finish line, after winning a bronze medal at the Tokyo 2021 marathon. It was a moment which changed the life of Seidel, who became the first American to medal in the Olympic marathon since Deena Kastor in 2004. In the months that followed, the 27-year-old set an American record in the New York City Marathon , signs a sponsorship agreement with Puma and participates in her first Boston Marathon, even though she was forced to give up due to hip pain.

Along with his career success, Seidel, who maintains his signature smart and outspoken humor online, continues to share his mental health journey, including struggles with a eating disorder, OCD, anxiety and depression. On Thursday, Seidel took instagram to announce her retirement from the New York Mini 10K this weekend, explaining how the decision is largely due to her mental health and the medications she uses to manage it.

In the post, Seidel explains that she had already been “pretty anti-drug” after having bad reactions to several SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), a common form of antidepressants. She also mentioned that the new drugs would “a lot of times lead me to a really dark place,” she says. Because of this, for a long time she chose to live drug-free and manage her mental health solely through therapy, “which helps, but honestly, it can be extremely difficult.”

Seidel says after struggling significantly after the 2021 Olympics last year, she switched therapists and was eventually diagnosed with mixed-type ADHD, a diagnosis where a person can experience both symptoms inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. (These are the two typical types of ADHD, and someone who experiences both symptoms is diagnosed with mixed or combined type ADHD.) Following the diagnosis, Seidel was prescribed Adderall and began taking it after the Boston Marathon this spring.

“It would probably be appropriate to describe it as life changing,” she wrote. “[F]or the first time I felt like I was able to achieve the calmness and brain function in my daily life that I previously could only achieve with intense physical activity. The drug has also helped her manage behaviors related to eating disorders that she has dealt with for years, she says.

Seidel went on to explain that Adderall is not approved for use in competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), so she applied for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE), which allows an athlete with a medical condition to use a prohibited product. substance. According WADA website.

Seidel says he got the necessary approvals and signatures from his psychiatrist and therapist, but the application process is lengthy. “After applying about six weeks ago, I will not receive a decision until at least the end of June,” Seidel writes, “and since I cannot stop my medication without serious mental health consequences, I will not be competing. with Adderall in my system until I have full USADA approval [US Anti-Doping Agency] and WADA.”

The decision left Seidel “gutted,” but she says she’s “committed to clean sport and respecting my own mental health needs,” which means going through the TUE process to a T. “Mental health takes work, and I want to be transparent that medication is sometimes a very necessary part of that work,” Seidel writes. She will continue to wait for her claim to be processed, with a view to returning. in time for the World’s Championships in July. In the meantime, the reigning Olympic bronze medalist “will continue to train and focus to be the best and healthiest version of myself”.

Naomi C. Amerson