I have a complex FAA medical question, sorry for the length. I'm a 50 y/o retired-at-35 software entrepreneur, and I've recently become interested in getting a pilots license. I'm married with a wife and two kids. Mostly on vacation all the time, do lots of active sports like skiing and mountain biking and wakesurfing. I think flying would be fun. However, I have a complex past mental health event that I don't understand what to do with regarding the class three medical. Medical is important to me, because my research says 80% of private pilot fatalities are VFR into IMC by VFR only pilots...I'm a very safety conscious risk minimizer, so I will avoid this huge and easily avoidable set of pilot error issues... which means either getting IFR training or flying local-only on blue sky summer days, which seems a bit limiting. --- And here is the tricky medical event... When my son was born, I had a rough patch (my father was a mentally ill alcoholic who I stopped talking to at 15, so the father-son thing kinda threw me for a loop). When I saw a doctor to try to get out of my funk, I made the mistake of seeing an ADHD specialist (all the rage) who hit the nail with a hammer and prescribed me ritalin. I ended up experiencing a rare but known side effect (which the doctor warned me about) where I had an escalating mania event. My wife could see it, and called the doctor and he said to take me to the ER "for safety, because he could do crazy things, spend all his money who knows", so I voluntarily stayed in the hospital for several days (not taking anything) while the drug filtered out of my system. I've never done illegal drugs, but it felt like I was high for a week, which actually was fun, but kinda scary after the fact. The issue I have is, some doctors believe presenting with mania (even if drug induced by ritalin) is evidence of bipolar. And they mentioned this alot as I was going through this event because when doctors see mania, they say bipolar. However, some research I've found does not support a link between this manic side effect of stimulants like ritalin (which apparently are not far from cocaine) and bipolar diagnosis. I don't have, and have never had any of the dysfunction that is typical of bipolar. Am I 100% neurotypical? Probably not. More like mild-depression with family-PTSD and compulsion to obsessively over achieve. I learned to program computers when I was 10, parted ways with my father when I was 15, started my first "hobby" software company when I was in high school, earned a computer engineering degree, worked for several tech startups, started a tech startup, sold it profitably. Rode a motorcycle for years without incident.. What I love to do most is dive really deep and learn things. Ohh, and I don't drink either (<2 drinks a month). So what in the world do I do about the FAA medical? I fear if I explain my ritalin event, I'll get deferral denial. And I fear if I don't explain all this I'm withholding. Am I just screwed by this doctor who wrote me a bad prescription?