Friday, May 7, 2010

The Evidence

I haven't taken my stimulant meds for a week or two because it was making me a little anxious and I just couldn't deal with it right then. For example, the only thing I can really do to counteract that episodic anxiety is take an ativan.

If I take an ativan I feel less anxious but I am instantly unable to meaningfully complete any tasks that require any thinking, and that includes every task I have to complete during the day.

So...I haven't been taking the Concerta, although I did take a couple of my little methylpheniate (Ritalin) tablets a couple of days ago.

But my point is that I haven't really been taking my stimulant meds for a little stretch here and couldn't be more obvious. Because the handbag that I carry all the time looks like a bomb went off. For months I have been meticulously cleaning it out once a week and keeping it organized and filing my personal papers away and generally keeping house in my handbag.

A couple of days ago as I blew a fuse because hoardes of stuff were literally falling out of my bag, I was injuring myself on the content of my bag because I could barely get through the shit to get to the stuff I needed, and literally couldn't find my LARGE wallet...I realized "oh shit...I used to live like this every day". And I did. That was every day for me. Every day was lost keys, lost wallets, messy bags, unnecessary frustrations galore. And me...really cranky. Frequently. And good at coming up with excuses for why it was never my fault.

So...I just took my Concerta. I don't feel anxious. I must have been having a bad week a couple weeks ago.

And now I'm cleaning out my bag and methodically going through the mess to get back on track.

Sheesh. This ADHD thing is really a neverending battle/journey isn't it?

I don't regret that nobody diagnosed me with this charming chemical imbalance sooner...but I do think back to my late junior-high, high school self and think "oh could have been easier with this insight".

For me, late junior high was when ADHD REALLY started to become an issue. Oh it wasn't that I didn't have noticeable symptoms earlier...the monologuing, awkward social skills, and never completing schoolwork were certainly apparent. Or how about the time that my 6th grade desk (my desk was always messy at school) was full of fruit flies because my desk was so messy and somewhere inside it there was rotten fruit. It was humiliating. I was that girl that had the desk full of bugs. Not. Cool.

But in later junior high your responsibilities grow and your grades start to matter. Because I was "smart" I was expected to go to college...but in the 8th grade I got kicked out the honors program at school.

My grades had been pretty unstellar...but I literally was getting D's at that point. 9th grade I did well...but I didn't have endurance in that regard. High school was all about being late to class and going to detention a LOT...which was a great chance to get my homework done! Hall passes from teachers who understood I wasn't a "bad kid" but knew I couldn't get to class on time. Getting a lecture from a teacher about not being "focused". Getting grades far below what I maybe should have been able to do because I could never seem to get my assignments in on time.

And here I am, having learned a lot of cool coping mechanisms as an adult...but I still need help with the little stuff. And when you need this kind of help, if you don't deal with the little stuff, the little stuff becomes the big stuff, so it's not like you can just ignore it. I'm sitting here surrounded by the weird, disorganized piles of crap I just dumped out of my bag and I can't quite believe I let it get like that...but I can honestly say that I wasn't actually thinking about it! Not until it became a problem!

No more time for writing now, I need to get this pile sorted and get my day rolling.


  1. I had a similar experience a while back, though it was more of an insurance-travel-ran-out sort of thing than anxiety driven. Terrible, but I found it kind of nice to have the confirmation that yes, I really do need medication, this ADHD thing is real.

    Elementary school solidarity: It was chewed sunflower seed shells for me. *Everywhere.*

  2. The seeds...everywhere...HAHAHA! :)

  3. The sad part is that our life trajectories are similar even though there is both a time difference (I'm a lot older than you), a gender difference and a geographical difference. Seems "the gift" defies time, space and gender...but why couldn't we have had the gift of, say, a multimillion dollar trust fund instead of this one? ;)

  4. It defies TIME, SPACE, AND GENDER! DAMMIT! This GIFT you speak of is ALL POWERFUL. It's probably also OMNISCIENT!


  5. I'm just reading this now, so maybe, I hope, you've already dealt with this, but just in case...

    DO NOT TAKE ATIVAN if you have a history of DEPRESSION....

    And, since you were dx as an adult, I'd have a hard time believing you don't have a history of depression... and anxiety...

    Any chance you could discuss adding an SSRI to the mix with your Dr. ? (Esp. Paxil, or Celexa?)

    I'm not a physician, but I'm on Concerta and Celexa, and have read about a lot of other folks with a mix of depression/anxiety & adult ADHD. I've been on Paxil before, and the Celexa seems to have fewer side effects. I had chronic headaches and GI symptoms when having to deal with certain people (at work and otherwise) and like 90% or more of this is gone - like magic. YMMV.

    Also - seriously, don't mess with your meds if you haven't spoken to your doctor. A lot/some (?) of the discomfort you experience could be withdrawal.


  6. If you read back historically through my posts you'll see that I am also in treatment for anxiety ;) AND that I have tried a handful of drugs for anxiety over the past year's been quite a circus! Celexa and I had a rocky relationship...a generic version was VERY bad (it actually caused me insane anxiety), and both the brand and generic version caused ridiculous black (BLACK!) and blue bruising that was beyond acceptable as a side-effect.

    Strattera (SNRI) was not a great fit for me--extreme nausea. Remeron was pretty awesome but because I am so med sensitive I was never able to stabilize at a high enough dosage to outrun the side effects (extreme drowsiness and hunger).

    So...actually, thank you for the comment, just catching you up to speed. I rarely take the Ativan--I'm not a fan of taking drugs at all. When I do it's only because I'm having an acute anxiety issue, and it's good at what it does well, which is calming a person down immediately. Unfortunately it also makes me "stupid" and I really need to be mentally sharp during the day...treating anxiety and ADHD at the same time with medication is a hell of a trick, since most ADHD drugs actually cause anxiety, lol...add to all of that that I am med-sensitive in the extreme...ouch. Haha. provider and I decided that once I get a couple of things off my plate we might try a round of a different SSRI. We shall see....

    You are of course correct that a history of depression or anxiety is not unusual among us adult ADHDers ;P

  7. Cool.

    .... hmmm

    (Zoloft? Prozac?)

    ... aaak - a cliff hanger ... hate that...

  8. Yep :) Will have to wait and see...wondering if Zoloft might be a good fit...have had some friends who have had good experiences with it. Hmm.

    Also just wanted to address your comment about not messing with meds without talking to your prescriber first: you are absolutely correct! In the short-hand of blogging I did not go into the details of my relationship with my prescriber...but truly, I think I'm the most compliant patient he has :) I always take my meds as prescribed unless I've talked to him about it. He and I have definitely discussed that it's good for me to take the stimulants on a pretty regular basis, but that it won't make my brain explode or anything if I skip a dose. But that's why I decided WITH the prescriber, not a recommendation for anyone else...

    With other types of psych meds it WAY important to take them regularly or risk the possiblity of severe side don't tinker with you psycho-tropics without supervision kids, it's not worth it ;)