Archive for March, 2013


Exercise or some shit

I have got to start jogging. I meant to “spring out of bed” when the alarm went off this morning so I could start doing Couch to 5K… and I did spring out of bed, just long enough to hit “snooze” three or four times like normal. Mondays are rough, though, and I had a busier Sunday than usual so it’s ok. I’ll start tomorrow.

I just feel so FAT some days. I know I’ve gained weight the last couple months, because some of my jeans are a little uncomfortable where before they were just “snug.” I know I’m not “fat” fat, but this belly is just a constant source of shame and disappointment. If I really can manage to run at least 3x a week and do yoga on Saturdays, that will be huge.

That’s all really.

More medication musings

When I saw my therapist on Thursday we both sort of agreed that the Ritalin has not been the profound change we had come to expect. I had already been thinking about asking my MD to try something different, and my therapist suggested trying Adderall next, in part because it has been known to help with anxiety as well as ADD.
Because a friend cautioned me about Adderall, I looked around online about side effects, interactions with Effexor, etc. I’d already heard that you can’t take MAOIs alongside ADD stimulants, but wasn’t sure about other antidepressants.
It looks like the only potential issue might be something called “seratonin syndrome,” which is rare but can be deadly. Adderall operates on both dopamine and norepinepherine, and Effexor operates on seratonin and norepinepherine, so I’m wondering if the excessive manipulation of that neurotransmitter might also potentially cause problems. My plan is to call the MD office tomorrow and see what they say. It’d be cool if the dual norepinepherine thing enabled me to cut the Effexor back to 75mg. I also read that Effexor only starts working on norepinepherine at 150mg and higher, so that could work maybe? Assuming the effect in the Adderall is also reuptake inhibition.
The Internet is pretty damn awesome sometimes.

What day are we on now?

I think this is the first day I’ve had since beginning the Ritalin that I have had to face some of those real irrational negative feelings that are so familiar to me.
By the time I got to class after work I was feeling a bit raw, wistfully sentimental, sad, and then thoroughly anxious. Taking deep breaths trying to keep myself calm.

It didn’t totally consume me though. I’m still not feeling great, in part because I ate about 1/2 a bag of pretzel sticks before compelling myself to stop. And I’m trying to be cautious, skeptical even, about the impact this drug is having on my brain. But I’d be foolish not to acknowledge that there is a real possibility this drug is what enabled some degree of awareness of my mood changes, which in turn helped keep me from falling prey to the moodiness in the way I often do.

Just a thought.

Organization revelation

I went to my first CHADD (Children & Adults with ADD) support group meeting last night.  There were about 10 of us, mostly women.  I was kind of surprised that it was mostly women, I guess because all the ADHD kids I remember from grade school were boys.  That’s not a very good gauge of the male:female ratio, though — after all, I had it and never knew.  It could very well be the case for many other girls.

Apart from the discussion serving as yet another confirmation that I do indeed fit the description, I picked up a very interesting tip from one of the other women in attendance.  She told us a little bit about an online application called WorkFlowy, which she uses to help keep herself organized at work.

We also talked about the need for people with ADD to have tasks broken down to their most basic components — it gave me kind of a flashback to when I was really little and would never clean my room. The only time it got done in a timely fashion was when Dad would come up and break it down for me: Pick up all the Barbies, you have 30 seconds. Put all the dirty clothes in the laundry basket, 20 seconds. Etc.

This morning when I got to the office I went to the WorkFlowy website and signed up, just to see what it was all about.  And wow.  I mean WOW.  It seems so simple, and yet I can already tell it will completely change the way I do my work.  I was just about overflowing with giddiness about it all day long.  I reset my browser’s start page to WorkFlowy so it starts up first thing, and I can leave it up all day.  I can use it at home and at work.  I had to tell everyone else in the office about it.  I had to e-mail Mom about it. I had to post on Facebook about it.  I’m just that excited about it.

So we’ll see how it goes.  I’m just getting started with it, but I feel pretty confident it will, in fact, change my life.

The music didn’t go away.  Still had the duet from La Traviata “Dite alla giovine sì bella e pura” in my head most of the weekend.  I found this video of a production at a festival in Aix-en-Provence, France and Can’t. Stop. Listening.

I am also not ready to declare this a successful trial.  It’s only been 3 days, I know.  So far it’s not been quite as drastic as I anticipated.  A lot of it comes from not being in the habit of focusing, I think.  I stumbled upon this interesting entry from a blog called “The Last Psychiatrist.” The entry itself seems to be directed at those who take such prescription stimulants, not for ADHD, but to help with studying, etc.  I almost just said that the entry is “ethically questionable,” but the guy goes to great lengths to say “you should not use these drugs, I do not prescribe these drugs to college kids, this is NOT an appropriate use for the drug,” but acknowledges that it’s just a fact that kids do use these drugs for this purpose, and with that in mind goes on to explain how the drug works and how to make the most of it.  So I really don’t think it’s ethically questionable any more than I think sex ed teachers saying “abstinence is best, but since I know some of you will have sex whether the adults in your life approve or not, PLEASE use condoms/birth control/etc.”

Anyway, he basically says that taking a drug like Ritalin and then studying with the radio, TV, instant messenger etc running is NOT going to be effective.  What Ritalin and other such stimulant medications do is make it easier for the brain to focus on ONE task.  It only makes sense that taking such a drug and then trying to multitask like normal will actually be MORE difficult than multitasking without the drug, because your brain is trying that much harder to find one thing to focus on.

And here I am, a little jetlagged from the Daylight Savings time change, music on in the background, 6 tabs open in Chrome, none of which have anything to do with work.  What I need to do is close Chrome completely, maybe switch the music to something without lyrics if I leave it on at all, and focus on my damn job.  So that is what I will do.

One final note: I joined a meetup group for adults with ADD. I can’t make the meetings because they are on the same night as the CAA planning meetings, but the group leader mentioned CHADD (CHildren & Adults with ADD) meetings, which are on the 2nd Monday of every month.  Normally I wouldn’t be able to do that either, because I have class Monday nights, but this happens to be the week of Spring Break, and it also happens to be the 2nd Monday.  So I’ll be going to that tonight, and hopefully get some insight into how this community operates.

Ritalin, Day One

This is my first day taking Ritalin. 20mg, twice a day, of the generic equivalent of this drug for ADHD.

The question that keeps coming back to me — wondering, I suppose, how far this drug will go — is, will the music go away?

I have had music playing in my head constantly for as long as I can remember.  Sometimes two pieces at once, vying for dominance in my attention.  I like playing with them, seeing how closely I can balance them against each other.

Since the revelation that I am almost certainly ADHD-I (“inattentive” ADHD — the non-hyperactive version), I have begun to assume that this is just another manifestation of the disorder.

If the music goes away, I imagine a cavernous, echoing silence in my brain.  If a thought asserts itself, it will echo like a lonely footstep in an enormous vaulted-arch hall.

I wonder.

It has been 2-1/2 hours since I took the first pill, so it should be kicking in by now.  My head feels strange, there’s some pressure on the sides, a couple inches behind my temples.

To work now.