Well, in my quest – and it is a quest – to read this ADHD book I mentioned a while back, I’m thrilled to announce that we’ve made a step in the right direction with my son. It may seem simple or even stupid to some people, but this step has made a remarkable difference in all four kids, not just the two with ADHD. What is this wondrous miracle step, you ask? Breakfast!
Yes, breakfast. Until last month, I was fine with the kids scarfing down a bowl of cereal before they raced out the door only to then eat the free breakfast offered at the school, usually something laced with sugar that I wouldn’t make at home. I figured as long as they were eating something, they were okay. I can’t believe after all the self-education I’ve had about nutrition that I deluded myself into believing this. I…
I don’t know if it’s my ADHD or just how I am, but I have a hard time focusing. Obviously, I haven’t been keeping up with my blog like I said I would. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to focus. It seems like the littlest things distract me from whatever I’m doing.
For instance, as I’m writing this, I’m constantly getting distracted by a kids TV show. Granted it’s a show that I used to love, I don’t think it should be so easy for me to lose concentration.
It’s such a problem for me that I rarely finish projects, and I can’t seem to remember hardly anything. I either get bored with the hobby, or I find something that seems way more interesting. Here’s a list of things I’ve attempted, but never stuck with:
Writing a Book
The proctor at my psych-eval said my bad memory could just be a problem with prioritizing and assigning importance to tasks and information, but I can’t seem to figure out how to fix it.The problem with having a bad memory and an inability to focus/prioritize is that it’s hard to remember to do the tasks and exercises needed to help my situation.
It’s so frustrating. My wife doesn’t even believe me when I say I want to try something new anymore. I’d love to find a way to fix it, but I can’t seem to find anything that holds my attention long enough to work.
In my last post, I talked about stopping my Adderall medication. I said that the risks were outweighing the rewards for me, so I stopped taking it. I figured that I would try to overcome my ADHD with mental exercises and trying really really hard.
If you follow my blog and/or look at my calendar, you’ll notice that I haven’t been publishing posts as often as before. The first obstacle I ran into was, not surprisingly, a drop in my ability to focus. I didn’t think the Adderall was very effective until a few days ago, when I looked back and reevaluated my life after stopping the medication. I noticed that I not only posted on my blog less often, but it was actually harder for me to even get started.
Even now, it’s hard for me to write without being distracted by little things. When I was taking my medication, I never had this problem. I was able to write multiple posts without a hitch.
Now here’s the kicker: I’m not going to restart the medication. I still believe that I can overcome it with God’s help and a little willpower. It might be more difficult without the medicine, but it will be much more worth it.
On a lighter note, I’d like to tell you about a book I just finished reading. Contrary to my opinion on the effectiveness of Adderall, I think the AutoCorrect feature on many smartphones isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. I say this because of the book as well as my own personal experience.
If you text frequently with this wonderful feature, you’ll probably be able to relate to some of the situations throughout the book. If you have a chance to buy the book or check it out from a library, I highly recommend that you do. It’s very entertaining and only takes about 1-2 hours cover to cover. Be advised, though, because it does contain adult language.
I haven’t taken my Adderall for almost a week now, and for good reason. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about my side effects while taking the medicine. I had a couple of issues, but nothing seemed serious enough to convince me to go to my doctor.
Then, on Wednesday, I was on my way to work when my left bicep started hurting. I know it’s not the shoulder area that the heart attack warnings focus on, but it was close enough for me to decide that I needed to stop taking the medicine until I talked to my doctor.
I scheduled an appointment as soon as I could. Unfortunately, the earliest appointment wasn’t until today. I went to the appointment this morning, and she said that it didn’t sound like my issues were related to the medication. She said that it was up to me to decide if I should stop taking the Adderall, depending on whether the risks outweighed the benefits, so that’s exactly what I decided to do. I feel like the medication is hurting more than helping, so I’m going to see if I can find another way to overcome my ADHD.
Perhaps I’ll try to focus on brain games and mind exercises and see if that helps–a sort of Mind-Over-ADHD, if you will.
Now, for the second half of my post: On Friday, I got an email from Mensa letting me know that they had received my test. My excitement grew when I read the email, because it meant that I was one step closer to finding out if I qualified for membership. The email basically said, “We received your test. Now wait 5-10 business days for us to score it.” It wasn’t amazing news, but it did cut my waiting time from 14-21 days down to just 5-10 days.
On Saturday, however, I received another email from Mensa. Without even reading the title, I knew it was the results. My phone shows the first few lines of my emails, so I didn’t have to open it to discover the verdict. The word “CONGRATULATIONS” was all I needed to see. The excitement rushed through me like a tidal wave. I had achieved one of my biggest life goals! I had to contain it, though, because I wanted to slowly introduce the topic to my wife before springing it on her.
After telling her the news, she congratulated me and told me how proud she was. When I told her how much my membership would cost ($84/year), she responded with, “Just knowing you qualified should be enough, right?”
I laughed and said that I really really wanted to join. She reluctantly agreed, but said that I could only join for a year. After the year is up, we’ll reevaluate our situation and my interest in the organization. Unfortunately for me, I have ADHD, which means that long-term interests aren’t my forte.
Hopefully this one will be one of the few exceptions.
Note: From this point on, this blog is going to be a regular recap of my life and how my ADHD affects me. I want to post once or twice a week, unless something occurs to me that either prevents me from posting or inspires me to post sooner.
I’d like to start out by saying “Thank you!” to my wife for contributing to my blog. Most of what she wrote was stuff I already knew, but there were a couple of points that gave me some insight that I never had before. I’m still amazed at how the smallest outside perspective can have such a large impact on someone’s way of thinking.
So, what is this post going to be about? As the title implies, this one is going to be my personal evaluation of my medication.
I know it’s been a couple of weeks since I started this blog, and I haven’t really said much about what’s happening now. I was trying to bring you up to speed and give you a little back-story, so you can understand me a little better. Every relationship starts with an introduction, so I wanted to give you a solid one.
When I started this blog, I had just started taking Adderall. I was three days into taking it, so I still wasn’t sure what the full effects were going to be. Since I’ve been on it for a while, I feel like I can give you a better evaluation.
First, I’ll tell you exactly what I’m taking: Amphetamine Salts, 20 mg tabs, once daily.
When I started taking it, the hardest part for me was to not focus on all the side-effects I had just read about. Every little abnormality set off a red flag in my mind. The side-effects that have been consistent until now are (in order of prominence):
Occasional liver pain
Some of these aren’t side-effects that are listed on the paper I received, but they seem to occur while the medicine is still active. The last one is the scariest, but I believe that’s part of my body’s reaction to the new chemical plus my lack of hydration—something I need to fix. The other side-effects are ones that I can work around and deal with, so I don’t see them as a big problem; however, I will be bringing up all of my side-effects with my doctor. I may not see them as a big deal, but I also don’t have a medical degree.
On the bright side, I am able to do more while on the medicine. For example, I was able to write and edit my “About” page and my first two posts in one night. I think some of that was from the Adderall, but I also think it was due to the excitement of starting a new blog mixed with a large amount of information.
Overall, I can see the benefits and the set-backs that Adderall can bring. As of now, it’s helped me in some ways and affected me negatively in others. The ratio between benefits and hindrances is about equal.
I wanted to compose a part 2 to fill you guys in on my views about how the medication has affected Ryan. He used to be tired all the time, and therefore, somewhat withdrawn. The medication has definitely given him more energy, which makes him seem more present and interactive. His memory seems to have improved since taking the medications. He’s now able to retrieve information that was not readily available before. Prior the medication, if something was forgotten, its chances of being retrieved were slim to none. Now that’s almost reversed completely!
On the downside, it’s lessened his appetite. Ryan was never a big eater before, so to take his appetite down even more makes me nervous. He has to force himself to eat sometimes, and I worry that he’s not eating enough some days. Also, the drug is addictive. Ryan doesn’t have a history of addiction, but I still worry about that. One of my biggest issues with the drug is that I don’t see a clear plan of how he’s going to improve enough to get off of the meds. I don’t want him to be dependent on medication for the rest of his life, but I also don’t want him to have to live with the negative symptoms of ADHD. I haven’t heard of any real steps to be taken to better his memory skills or other cognitive issues. I feel like the cognitive exercises aren’t helpful to him, because he’s always excelled at tests and has no problem learning patterns, schemes, and scenarios.
With all that being said, I still say there’s nothing wrong with my husband. He has a setback that he deserves treatment so he can have an easier life, but with or without ADHD, he’s still the most amazing husband and father in the world.
Thanks for letting me post a couple of entries to give my side of the story. Please continue following my husband’s blog – he’ll surprise you with his thoughts and revelations!
My name is Eva, and I’m Ryan’s wife. My husband is an amazing man. He’s generous and good-hearted, not to mention kind and brilliant. Knowing these characteristics about him, I thought being married to him was going to be a walk in the park. After we started living together, I began noticing things about him that I haven’t seen in other people I’ve lived with.
For instance, sometimes he would be so incredibly focused on things it would consume his every moment, a few days later he would drop whatever it is like he was never obsessed with it in the first place. He would want to sink tons of money into projects and hobbies, even consider leaving his job to pursue them, and then shortly after, he would give up on them entirely and move on to the next hobby. To many people, who haven’t dealt with this symptom of ADHD before (a symptom known as hyper focusing), this may not seem like such a big deal. So what, the guy likes his hobbies. But it was more than that. He’d devote every spare moment to a particular hobby, ignoring things happening in real life and neglecting everything else. It was difficult to talk to him about it, because he would always feel so attacked. If I would mention something like, “It’s not a good time to spend thousands of dollars to buy homes and resell them just because you saw a infomercial about it,” he would act like I was telling him he’s incapable of making his own decisions or that I’d never support his dreams. It caused us a TON of arguments and plagued us with a tension that seemed to seep into many other areas of our lives.
However, none of the symptoms have affected us more than his lack of concentration/focus. We can have a serious conversation that he genuinely wants to be a part of, but he is unable to focus well enough to get through it. This made it nearly impossible to resolve our fights. He couldn’t remember past conversations or experiences due to the fact that he wasn’t able to pay them full attention. I could recite them word for word, and he would think I was absolutely lying. We would fight back and forth. We even considered tape recording our arguments and important conversations to help us with the issue.
Eventually, we decided that, before things got bad for our new marriage, we should go in and visit a relationship counselor to learn some tactics to deal with our problems. Ryan summed up what happened on the professional medical side from there on, possible strokes, depression, thyroid issues, and eventually they diagnosed him with adult ADHD. Through this whole process I felt torn; part of me wanted to find out reasons for why we were having these troubles. I didn’t want to think he just wasn’t listening because he didn’t care or wasn’t interested, and I didn’t want to think that I was just an impatient wife setting my standards ridiculously high. On the other hand, I didn’t want him to have to undergo tests, awkward talks with doctors, medication, and the stigma of being labeled with the disease. Not to mention I have studied how overly diagnosed ADHD has been in recent years (mostly with children, but still, over diagnosed none the less). I felt really torn, but ultimately decided that we had to face the facts. Ryan fit the description of a person with ADHD to the letter, and if he wanted to move forward with any kind of treatment I would be there for him 100%.