Tag Archive: symptoms


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.

ADD…..maybe

I first had an inkling that I might have at least some things in common with Attention Deficit Disorder back when I was languishing in college, spending pretty much all my spare time reading yaoi fanfic.  In one of these stories, one of the characters makes some observations upon visiting another’s house for the first time, indicating that some “classic signs of ADD” were exhibited.  I think it was something like multiple activities apparent all over the place, or something like that.  Anyway.  I don’t think I gave it too much thought for a long time after that.

The idea would creep back into the very corners of my consciousness every now and then, more so over the last 6 months.  Talking with my therapist last week I happened to mention it (actually I think she kind of guided me there), and since then I’ve been looking up websites and asking others I know who have it.

Looking at a website just now I suddenly had this shivering revelation.. if I do have ADD, if I’ve had it all this time, since I was a kid.. That’s my entire world thrown upside-down.

I can’t emphasize that feeling enough.  One of the things I keep coming back to in therapy is, what if it’s not depression keeping me from getting things done, what if I really am just lazy?

And from everything I’ve read, that’s a common feeling among people with ADD.  If my doctor agrees with me and decides to diagnose me with ADD and I try one of the standard medications and it works… then I finally, finally have my answer to that question, that fear that’s dogged me all my life.

If I have ADD, then I’ll know I’m really not lazy.

For someone who has spent her whole life believing she is just too lazy to do homework, chores, housekeeping… too lazy to be a worthwhile human being, basically… it’s just terrifyingly huge.

Bit o’ frustration

I’m signed up to go to a Meetup thing and I don’t know anybody else who’s going.  Have to leave the house in about 1-1/2 hours in order to get there in time, and already starting to feel anxious about it.  I wish I had somebody to go with!!  But it would be nice if I at least had somebody I could text and be like “damn, I’m really getting anxious” and have them tell me “hey it’s ok, you’ll be fine and you’ll have fun once you get there.”  Previously I might have sent something like that to L, but I’m sort of distancing myself from her these days.  Too much pot and recreational use of prescription drugs for my comfort. And besides, she never actually hangs out with me anymore.  And she was kind of the only person I had who I felt familiar enough with to express this sort of anxiety.  I don’t want to talk myself out of going.  I know it will probably be lots of fun.  But I’m afraid!!  Afraid of new people, of unfamiliar settings and activities.  Sigh.  I have a movie.  I could easily stay home and watch that instead.  But I also really could use the exercise and the adrenalin from physical activity should be good for my brain chemistry, too.  So you see there’s no good reason not to go.  But goddamn I’m scared.

Stumbled upon this article from the BBC News website, which shares the results of this study in The Lancet.

I was somewhat surprised to read that there hadn’t already been a definitive study (if this could be called definitive?) about the efficacy of CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy).  It’s been around for a while now.

“Before this study, no evidence from large-scale randomised controlled trials was available for the effectiveness of augmentation of antidepressant medication with CBT as a next-step for patients whose depression has not responded to pharmacotherapy. Our study has provided robust evidence that CBT as an adjunct to usual care that includes antidepressants is an effective treatment, reducing depressive symptoms in this population.”

I’ve been in and out of “talk therapy” for well over a decade, though I’m not sure how much of it was CBT.  I honestly don’t know enough about the history and development of psychotherapy, or even what different forms of therapy are commonly in use these days.  All my therapists have been more or less the same, so I’m guessing it has all been CBT.  No Freudian psychoanalysis, anyway.

Details aside, I can honestly say it has been extremely helpful for me.  Obviously it hasn’t “cured me” — I don’t think what I’ve got can really be “cured” — but having someone to talk to about whatever’s going on in my life has helped me make important decisions, take myself more seriously (in a good way) and, most importantly, kept me working on myself.

The thing about medication, great a boon as it has been to me through the years, is that it doesn’t encourage active participation in the growth process.  For someone like me, who probably has something of a chemical imbalance but also a fair amount of non-genetic emotional/psychological dysfunction, staying actively involved in my own treatment is crucial.

That’s not to say that I think I would achieve the same results if I were to sit and talk to myself or journal or something for an hour once every few weeks.  That certainly helps too, but having an appointment, having to go, having someone with notes who looks back and says “last time you expressed such-and-such a feeling,” keeping far better track of things than I could even if I cared to, makes it feel more substantive, somehow.  I don’t want to say I spend my $60 copay JUST so I can feel my treatment is more “real,” but there is something to that.  Plus, if I’m financially liable I’m much more likely to keep with it (tell that to the running shoes I bought last month… but that’s a different story).  It’s far too easy to “not feel like” meditating or reading another chapter or just practicing a little awareness.  Which is why I haven’t really done much meditating the last few months… so maintaining contact with a therapist is important.  It keeps me present, keeps me from being able to ignore or pretend.

I guess that makes me one of the 46% of people (as reported in the study) who respond positively to CBT.  I wonder, with no small amount of sympathy, what the remaining 54% do?

…….all you can think about is going home and eating cookies.

 

:/

It should not be this hard to fucking find a friend.

 

Not sure why I feel so sad & lonely lately.  Just part of the cycle, I guess.  It’s not fair that I get crippled like this sometimes.  But that’s the card I was dealt, and it’s no use bitching about it.

 

It’d just be nice for someone to care.

The last 36 hours

Had brunch with NM.  It’s funny, maybe it was just getting stuck in football game traffic, but about halfway there I was thinking, “man, I don’t really wanna do this.”  When I got there I was feeling pretty cool, probably feeling wounded by the no-shows Saturday night.  He was not nearly apologetic enough for my taste.  I admit I slipped into a little passive-aggressiveness.  And the man TALKS, let me tell you.  It’s funny, I was totally into him for a few weeks, even up to a few days ago, but listening to him talk over brunch was downright painful.  I appreciate a talker, but he just fills every moment, and I don’t have time to slip in if there does happen to be a break.  Funny how I didn’t seem to mind at first.

Anyway, we walked around the neighborhood for a while after that, then as we were about to get into our respective cars he started: “I don’t want to seem like a total jerk…”  (sidenote: it’s not jerky to be honest vis a vis a prospective relationship) so I said, “Go for it.”  He continued “I don’t really see any longevity in this…” To which I agreed emphatically.  I really, really had to pee or we could have chatted longer about how it wouldn’t work to drag it out any longer.  But yeah, after brunch and after-brunch conversation, I was also pretty much done.  As soon as he said it a light sort of went off in my head like “Bingo.”

This doesn’t mean that my subconscious didn’t process it like any other rejection.  I got home completely exhausted and promptly fell into bed, which is what I do when I’m unable/unwilling to process something just yet.  Ended up staying there the rest of the evening and through the night, then got up for work as normal this morning.

Here’s when it got crappy.  Halfway through my commute I started to feel what I hadn’t let myself feel on Sunday afternoon.  The combination of being stood up by my one friend and this guy on Saturday, plus the perceived rejection on Sunday, brought home all those feelings of unworthiness and abandonment that I probably should have seen coming but didn’t.  I guess I thought since I’d done such a good job dealing with things on Saturday night, I was through.  But no, here it came.  I spent the first 2 hours at work sniffling and shedding tears, going back and forth between doing my regular Monday work routine and feeling completely worthless and unqualified to do my job, unloved and unlovable.  In desperation I sent my therapist an e-mail about how hurt I felt about having been stood up by my friends on Saturday night.  Not expecting any therapy back, I just couldn’t think of anyone else to share that with.

I ultimately asked my boss if I could leave at noon.  I wasn’t crying anymore by that point, but I also wasn’t getting much work done.  I came home, cried some, carved my pumpkins, cried some more, read another chapter of “The Untethered Soul,” lay down and talked to myself, closed my eyes for a bit.  Then I got up and took a shower (my shoulders are sore from the sun salutations… chataranga kicks my ass), got dressed, made some coffee (I finally got around to getting myself a French Press), repotted some plants and here I am.  Not feeling 100%, but not feeling awful.

One thing that came up when I was talking to myself was the memory of getting lost at the mall when I was 3.  I wondered if my intense fear of abandonment/rejection stems from that occasion or others like it.  It seems likely enough.  Alone, helpless, surrounded by a bunch of adults I didn’t know (trying to find out who I belong to), trying to weigh the likelihood that I could make it home on foot if I tried (it was about a mile from the mall to our house).  It’s pretty amazing to think that my intense reactions to rejection at age 30 could all stem from that one event 27 years ago.  I’ll have to remember to see what Mom thinks about that, and hopefully remember to mention it to my therapist when I see her next month.  Anyway, continuing to feel better as I type.  Thankfully.

Treading cautiously

I’m attempting to gauge whether I’m on a New Man high or if I’m genuinely feeling better these days.  It’s really hard to tell.  On the one hand, I am feeling better these days.  Tonight I’m cooking a big pot of vegetable stew, which will be the base for a pot pie with a pumpkin biscuit topping instead of the standard pot pie pastry (courtesy of Fatfree Vegan).  I have a small glass of red wine (courtesy of Trader Joe’s) and I’m clean, having showered after I got home from work.  The stew smells marvelous!  The seitan has to simmer another 15 minutes and then I make the pumpkin biscuits.

What struck me about this moment, and the reason I thought to write about it at all, is how seemingly carefree and mellow I feel.  It’s sad that I’ve come to distrust that sort of feeling, but my experience with this sort of not-depressed feeling is that I do something or say something or something and I end up looking back at this little euphoric moment with disgust.  It’s a strange conflict within me, trying to enjoy and appreciate this positive flow of emotion but at the same time trying not to buy into it too much — like I think it’s a con or something.  And my distrust is valid, I think.  It’s more than a little suspicious that I am feeling more positive, more motivated, less self-critical, at a time when I’ve been on a few dates with a guy I’ve been crushing on and who hasn’t disappointed me yet.  So you see, I can’t entirely trust myself in these matters.  I suppose that’s where meditation helps.

I guess what my concern is is that I feel quite strongly that an individual’s happiness is not solely contingent on the presence of an intimate relationship in their life.  I mean, sure, it probably helps, but I know that I have a lot of issues still to deal with, and I don’t want to see myself laying those aside because of some illusion of contentedness that is a natural byproduct of New Man high.  (I guess he’ll be NM from now on, eh?)

The mind is so complicated.  I guess I can vent some of this out on my therapist this Thursday, too.  But I was telling mom — it’s so funny — my therapist asks me if I’m seeing anyone every time we meet.  I guess it’s not that farfetched, but every time she asks I’m a little amused and a little annoyed.  After all, being in a relationship is not going to solve my problems!  But she knows I struggle with feelings of loneliness, of disconnectedness, so I guess she thinks having someone near my life could potentially be beneficial.  I guess that’s what it is.  So I won’t be annoyed anymore when she asks.  And of course, this time I’ll have a different answer for her.  Watch her fall out of her chair when I tell her I asked him out! (she won’t, but she’ll be absolutely thrilled)

So that’s where I am now.  At this moment content, warm, hopeful and suspicious.  I’m afraid to let go of the suspicion.  I suppose that’s the last little piece of self-protection.  The author of “The Untethered Soul” would tell me to “just let it go…. open my heart… relax and release.”  Maybe I should try that, pain be damned.  We’ll see.  Maybe after another glass of wine.