Sunday, May 31, 2009

Peeking through...

...just when I was beginning to think "this is just me learning to be organized, this medication isn't doing anything for me" suddenly the medication stopped working. How do I know? I was suddenly aware that the old familiar feeling of overdrive was back. The pacing, the not sitting, the thinking-thinking-thinking and the irrational aversion to simple tasks that the logical mind knows are not difficult.

And after a couple weeks comprised of mostly relative "quiet" in the brain, this was jarring.

See, it's a good trick. The medication doesn't alter my personality. It doesn't take away my creative ideas and thoughts. It makes them behave more politely, and ask before interrupting my train of thought. They "poof" into my mind instead of exploding. The rubber band between the new thought and the space station (my brain) is allowed to slacken at times, rather than being constantly stretched by lack of gravity. You get the idea. (And please forgive the terrible metaphor. I'll blame the ADHD part of my brain for that one.) Because the medication does not make me feel "not like me" I thought it wasn't doing anything. I thought "oh, look at me, I'm just so organized, I must be that amazing that will-power just kicked my behavior issues in the ass, even though that hadn't happened in the 33 years prior to my taking the medication".

This isn't to say that I don't have stellar coping skills, or that my cleverness hadn't helped me work my way around all manner of deadlines and obligations over the years. But it was hard work to make it happen...harder work than it should have been all this time. The medication makes it possible to just BE organized instead of fight to appear that way. It takes some of the struggle out of staying on task. It creates an actual thought process rewarded by results where before there was mapless inspiration buoyed by anxiety (and often followed with an "OH SHIT! I HAVE TO TURN THIS IN TOMORROW!" and a last minute miracle).

The medication doesn't make me perfect, or make my thought processes perfect, but it takes the edge off, and lets me be me in a more reasonable time frame and with less anxiety. How can it be so subtle and change my life so much at the same time? I guess for me, it really points out the difference between me and my symptoms. ADHD is part of me, part of my brain's functioning, part of who I am. But it is a set of symptoms, it is not the core of me, it is not my personality. And the medication seems to let me see more of my personality without the obstruction of the symptoms. Lets me enjoy the upsides of ADHD, but helps to keep some of the more frustrating ones at bay.

So I'm grateful for the "peeking through" that allowed me to appreciate the subtle charms of my medication. As a result, we upped the dosage on the meds a little and feels just a little more manageable.

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