Oct. 3rd, 2013

ADD

Oct. 3rd, 2013 08:12 am
pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
Long story short: I started treatment for ADD yesterday*. I've joked about having it for over a decade, when I went to a psychiatrist it was high on the list of possible diagnoses, but for a while it looked like the magic food pills would cure it (it being a lot easier to focus when your body isn't constantly on the edge of starvation). Recently, that hit a wall. Why this happened is an open question. I initially blamed the open office, but I've been in it for months. Psychiatrist suggested it was a side effect of all the dietary + digestive improvements I've made recently- that there's a mass die off of the bacteria that thrived under the old regime, and that this is stressful for everyone but especially for me because of my bad copies of the MTHFR gene and also I was starving for 25 years, and that one possible side effect of this is worsening sound sensitivity and less executive function. On one hand, this sounds like the kind of bullshit naturopathic practitioners use to explain away anything they don't want to deal with. Sort of an eastern "it's stress." On the other hand, I did start spontaneously sucking down massive quantities soda after three months of not missing it.

My doctor's attitude on the whole ADD thing boiled down to "yep, those are a lot of symptoms. Take these pills and see if it helps. If it doesn't we'll try something else, if it does keep taking them, but stop every once in a while to see what happens."**, which is exactly what she would have said if she didn't suspect ghost bacteria were causing the problem. I like this doctor

Yesterday was day one of taking Vyvanse, which is in the same family as Ritalin and Adderall (ampthetamine salts), but more on a more gradual release schedule, which makes it both more effective therapeutically and less useful recreationaly. My observations so far:

  • it's significantly less powerful than cortisol, in that I'm not vibrating my leg while quietly saying "zoom zoom zoom" under my breath for minutes at a time. There is sort of a lightheaded feeling, but I'm not jittery.
  • The DEA has arranged a catch-22 so archetypal they should be congratulated and then hanged. Schedule II prescriptions can not be phoned in, you have to physically pick them up. That's okay, because for the first few months I have to see my doctor every 30 days anyway. Eventually she will be allowed to write me Rxes for three months at a time. But not one Rx with two refills- three different pieces of paper, which cannot be given to the pharmacy ahead of time. Because if there's one thing ADHDers are good at, it's not losing things they won't need until a month from now.
  • I am typing very fast.
  • Frustrating work things have not magically become easy. I am not even focusing on them for any longer than I was before. .
  • OTOH, I went 7 hours without checking facebook or my non-work e-mail.
  • I am drinking a lot of water. Hard to tell if that's a dry mouth, responding to dehydration, or I'm newly able to sustain the focus to get water refills.


I don't know whether I have a serious problem that I have mostly been able to mitigate with substantial gifts (primarily in the raw intelligence department), at the cost of a lot of hidden pain, or if I'm buying into the pharmaceutical-industrial complex's idea of what a worker should be, and drugging myself to uphold their ideals when what I need to do is simplifying my life. On one hand, I have wonderful friends and a job that is so much better than what most people have that it, in a statistical sense, doesn't exist. I'm not, Hyperbole and a Half style paralyzed by ADD. I'm not wetting my pants because I can't focus long enough to get to the toilet. I'm not the friend of a friend whose ADHD rendered him unfit for any employment beyond target. For fuck's sake, I graduated from one of the most difficult universities in the country with a double major in two of their hardest subjects.

On the other hand, I'm functionally incapable of feeding myself anything that takes more than 2 steps, the only reason I don't have a Bernard Black style meltdown when asked to mail a letter with a stamp is that I don't have the energy, and I job-hop at a rate that would be prohibitive in any other field. My social interactions are significantly hindered by the fact that I react to boredom like most people do physical pain- and oh, the fact that they actually are painful due to the misophonia, which is entangled with attention issues. I feel like I have a lot of potential that is twisting in on itself until it chokes, and that is not the same as feeling like I'm disappointing my corporate overlords. I don't need to be as severe as any of the examples in the previous paragraph to benefit from help. How I did at school 10 years ago does not negate how I am doing at work now.

So I will take the pills and see how it goes. They will probably be less revolutionary than the magic food pills, but maybe they will help.

*ADD technically doesn't exist anymore, it's been rolled into ADHD. But I'm not hyperactive, and my symptoms best match inattentive-ADHD, which I am considering renaming to "AHDH for lazy people".

**This is pretty much the only psychoactive medication for which that is a good idea.
pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
I've been on stimulants of some sort twice before- cortisol for hypoadrenia (I spent the first night vibrating like a hummingbird and didn't eat or sleep a week and then it was pretty much like normal except I could wake up in < 2 hours) and suadfed + armor thyroid + cortisol (doctor said it was okay, but three hours pacing around the office followed by collapsing under my desk say she was wrong). Vyvanse doesn't feel anything like either of those, or the jittery feeling my doctor warned me I about. I do not feel sped up at all. There is a mild lightheaded feeling, similar to after a good workout, and my back has a lot less pain and tension.

I was way more productive at work today, but I was also much, much happier. I could actually stick to what I was doing and produce something. I don't even want to look at facebook because it's so noisy. I didn't put on music all day either. It's easier to get into pleasure reading. Even when I was taking a break, I stuck to one thing a time rather than jumping back and forth.

But the biggest difference is that a problem I didn't notice I had is now gone. It used to be any time I had a thing I wanted to do (say, code a thing that does a thing), and it took a second or a step longer to complete than I thought it should, I'd feel like a failure. It should be done, why is it not done, it's not done because I'm stupid. It was the GTD loops theory, that your brain doesn't understand the concept of "working on", it just knows what should have already happened. But I only felt that while I was working on the thing I needed to do- there is no deadline or end goal to reading tvtropes, so I wasn't failing at it.

Things like e-mail or even facebook used to give me a little productivity ping, which was awesome. Real projects never gave me that on account of the constant low level feeling of failure.* I haven't done the exact math, but it feels like I'm getting the exact same number of local productivity hits as I was before, but now they're in a thing I actually wanted to produce. I think this explains some of my compulsive phone use in meetings- the second we weren't making progress towards The Goal I had to go find something I could Accomplish, even if that thing was liking a picture of a cat in a boot.

I haven't tested it with the co-workers with no indoor voices yet, but other people and their associated noises felt easier today. Exchanging mandatory pleasantries no longer feels like people are stealing from me. My ability to sit still and connect with my body** has gone up, which is pretty much the opposite of what I expected. I'm naturally more aware, and I can connect and listen deeper without feeling overwhelmed.

It's supposed to be a 12 hour pill, but it very clearly starts wearing off around 8 hours in for me, and is gone by 10. Suddenly everything is hard. I'm back to fucking around on the internet. Nothing sounds fun.

*A friend of mine more or less banished the sims from her life for this reason. It's major selling point was a quick hit of productivity. Do you know when that is most fun? When there is a large, unpleasant but mandatory thing you are avoiding.

**not a euphamism for masturbation

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