I for one can vouch for how effective it has been for Heather. Heather's attentiveness, mood, and focus have been stunning. Dating her, I have had a crash course in the mystical ailment. Now, over the last ten years I had the concept of AD(H)D thoroughly stomped on by my father. My father used to be a psychiatrist. My father also used to be alive.
Dad's comment was that anyone who came into his office asking about AD(H)D was merely looking for a shortcut to a free prescription to speed. This troubled me, because every time I looked at the details of the disorder, I found myself fighting the voices that argued between believing I was a high level candidate and believing that I was being a hypochondriac.
I'd pretty well convinced myself that any of the waring signs I had were merely of my own making and that I'd done a fairly good job of fighting them off and self medicating. (By self medicating, I mean mentally compensating and training myself to deal with the way I view the world.)
My biggest complaint in this universe goes back to an old joke, "This life is a test. It is only a test. Had this been a real life you'd have been given instructions on where to go and how to proceed." Translation. In life the only frame of reference you have is your own head. Bruise? that's easy. Shattered ribs? got it. Cancerous Prostate? bummer, but identifiable.
Oh, sure, in time you can identify, "Mentally abusive upbringing in dysfunctional family." But it takes a lot of time. On the other hand. Not being able to multi-task some of the time; Getting into a zone in a project to the point where people around you wonder if you are autistic; Looking at someone who is talking to you and no one else is in the room, it is completely quiet, and you have no idea what they said. Never being able to read more than a paragraph of fiction because you find yourself needing to reread the last sentence 4-7 times until it sticks in your head.
It's scary. It's even scarier when you start looking at books and they are horribly haunting.I was introduced to the book, Driven to Distraction (Recognizing and Coping with ADD from Childhood to Adulthood) I really didn't want to read it. I flipped it open and there was a story about a woman who had some trash on her dashboard. She noticed it and made a mental note to throw it out when she got to her destination. Upon arriving it was muscle memory: get out of car, go in. Later she came out and noticed the trash. She sighed and said to herself, "okay when I get home..." This went on for a few days. A friend got in the car later in the week and pointed out the trash. She broke down and started crying.
I've never gotten to that point. Maybe it's a sense of apathy I've built up. But I have watched more than one parking validation scrap of paper live under my windshield wiper for days into weeks and every day thought, "As soon as I get out of the car." And I think to myself "Road to hell... intentions" I have so many things I intend to do. And forget about.
And what drives me nuts is that my compensation method came down to finally be, stop offering to do anything. See that way when you forget or lose it in the mental shuffle of many voices in the head and many tasks you want to do...you've only lost the things you've promised yourself and no one else has to be inconvenienced with your lack of responsibility.
But to be honest, I fought back from that one. I found the day planner that works. I got in the practice of only offering to do things that I could write down. See. But for me, it's still not a solution.
And I've spent several weeks since my lay off. Staring at the screen with countless ideas, countless projects, countless things I want to do. And there has just been NO organization to them. Frustration. This coupled with the reality of my situation and depression had been on the major rise over the last week.
Mind you, Heather has been a ray of light through this. Knowing what her life has been like; she has been both accommodating and helpful in helping me realize when I'm being a flake or more reasonably, when I'm losing track. On the 23rd I brought it up with my doctor. On the 30th he did an evaluation. I made it clear, I don't want to be dependent on a drug. I've got to find a way to function. But at the same time, I was beginning a slide down and starting to undo a lot of good work I'd done over the past year.
Last Wednesday, I started treatment with Strattera. Sometimes, I'm honestly not sure if it's doing anything; other times I'm stunned at my focus. Note: Strattera is not speed or an amphetamine derivative.
The first thing that has happened is that the voices in the head have quieted down. Perhaps, I should comment on this. When we hear someone talk about the voices we often get the image of the school kid who's circling his finger around his ear and whistling cuckoo noises. We get images of signs in offices that read, "I can't come into work today because the voices in my head told me to stay home and clean the guns."
I sort of laugh, because I tell people (and myself) that I'm not a writer. On the other hand, if you've ever seen me improv dialog because I'm having a character conversation with myself, you might wonder what's going on in my head. Typically, the noise in my head is just that. Music, concepts, just a general silent astral white noise. Sometimes, it's the verbalization of my thoughts. Sometimes it's the verbalization of my insecurities.
As a kid, I used to have a 'conscience' that was a voice in my head that would make fun of me and pick on me. I used to ask it why jiminy cricket was so much more friendly and it would make more fun of me. Over time I managed to make that little strangeness go away. To this day, I don't trust the things I think unless I have a nice mental conversation with it trying to reason out why it's suggesting what it is suggesting.
Most recently while at a store shortly after my layoff I grabbed a few things and a voice in my head screamed, "You're spending too much!!!!" and I stopped and had a reasonable conversation with myself to decide if I was or if I was okay with what I was buying.
Sometimes, when depressed the voices are downright horrible. The voices make me second guess what I am doing, they remind me about the horror that is my weight, they remind me about the lack of hair on my head, and the over abundance of it elsewhere. They make me doubt why anyone would care about me, and worse explain how my relationships are always doomed to failure.
Of late, the sessions have helped me to recognize when I am depressed. Recognize the comments that no matter how much I might want to believe in them; to realize that they are warning signs to brace myself to try to raise myself out of the funk.
This all goes back to the original statement, "Is this how it's supposed to work? Or am I really that f*#$&ed up?" So I had my Dr evaluate me. And it seems that I am a high qualifier for ADD. I am not high for ADHD. (When I was 13... Big-time H; I was horrible at 13; this qualifies for a post of its own.)
So, we decided to give it a try. 4 days 1 tablet, 40 mg. After that (starting yesterday (Sunday)) 2 tablets (80 mg) and stay at 80 mg/day.
So day 1... I take a pill. I'm nervous. I don't like my head out of my control.... I don't like drugs to fix things... But I'm also at the point where I'm more willing to experiment. I look at Heather and say, "Just... keep an eye on me for personality or behavioral changes that aren't me in a bad way."
I get a queasy feeling in my stomach after an hour. After 2-3 hrs... I notice...it's quiet. See, in yoga and meditation there is a practice where you still the thoughts in your head... F*$& THAT. Never would happen. Tried. A femto second (with all lack of respect to Space Moose) But it was quiet. Could look out the window and just... relax. See, I typically hate being quiet and un-busy because my mind starts to spout off at me. And it's all useless crap.
Unfortunately, as the day went on I had a side effect. We went to the dollar store and I had an attack of what I call insta-stupid. Basically, I just sort of wander around. Nothing is wrong, I'm just looking around and taking it in. I'm not saying anything. I'm just there. When I finally open my mouth to attempt to talk; I get a jolt of surprise that it works. It's like if I don't need to talk.. i don't. I don't even have something stupid crop up in me and have the desire to pop out for no reason. So it's not really insta-stupid. But it feels a bit like it. The other side effect is that I've been waking up in the middle of the night. typically at 2, 3, and 5am. And I wake up completely and feel like I could start the day. Typically, I can get back to sleep within a few minutes... once it wasn't as easy. Granted it's now after midnight on the first day on the double dosage and I still feel awake.
However, organizationally, I've been on the ball. I have gotten loads done this week and improved in some bad areas. The thing is, I don't feel like there are waves of "This is cool" It's hard for me to judge if I'm much better or not. I did the double dose for the first time sunday morning. I got to mass at about 1 and was in massive 'insta-stupid' mindset. But whenever I was needed or wanted to do something; I was primed and good. I was told that my Deacon(al) oration of the Collects today was the best people had heard. (Note: Performance wise, I never know how I am)
So tomorrow is day 2 of the higher dosage. I have a bunch of stuff to do in getting ready to drive to Portland for Notocon.
Good, bad, indifferent? Will try it for a few weeks and work with the doctor on it... We'll see... I'll try to keep up reports... Maybe with the drugs... maybe I will be able to keep up the reports.
Getting tired now... Will attempt sleep. More later.