A friend asked me yesterday how I’m doing – my reply:
“Good on the Adderall (my new ADHD medication; I’ve just been diagnosed), not so good before I take it and after it has worn off. I don’t think I’m low per se, I just think I feel down because the up of the Adderall has worn off. My psychiatrist will hopefully put me on extended-release Adderall (Attent) which lasts 12 ish hours. The one I’m on now lasts just 4-6 hrs. The Adderall is so good, it’ll take me some time getting used to functioning when I’m not on it, ie before I take it in the mornings and in the afternoon/evening when it has worn off. One can’t expect to have some good without some corresponding bad. It’s a trade-off. Is the upside better than the downside? Yes!
Thanks for asking.”
That was yesterday.
Today, this morning, 10.42am, how am I feeling?
Sluggish, tired, but then that undoubtedly has a lot to do with the fact that I just “can’t” go to bed early. I should be aiming to get 8 hours sleep per night (6 minimum) – read Matthew Walker’s ‘Why We Sleep’ – but I just can’t turn off at night and. because of that, and the fact that I get up early, very early, to run 3 times a week, I’m averaging only 5, or less, hours of sleep per night: it’s not enough, bad for my mental health, bad for my physical health! I MUST be more self-disciplined in this area of my life!
I take my antidepressant med (Citalopram, an SSRI) and my beta blocker (Metoprolol for panic attacks) early morning. The Citalopram doesn’t seem to be lifting me at the mo – I’m ‘down’ until I take the Adderall. I could, of course, be going through a depression episode at the moment and, without the Citalopram, I’d be feeling a lot worse than I do. The unanswered question, for me, is: am I feeling ‘down’ in the mornings, and evenings, because I’m going through an episode or because I haven’t taken the Adderall yet (I’ll take it at 11.30am/12pm). If it’s the former, great, it’ll pass. If it’s the latter, oh dear, because that means that I’m possibly going to feel like this every morning, i.e. before I take the Adderall, and every evening, i.e. after the effects of the Adderall have worn off (of course, if my psychiatrist prescribes extended-release Adderall – Adderall XR – I’ll take it at 9am and it’ll see me through to 9pm).
10.56am now, still too early to take the Adderall – I don’t want to fall flat mid/late afternoon. I’ll soldier on till midday and then I’ll take it…
…12pm, taking the Adderall now….such a relief just to be taking it, even though I know that it won’t kick in for 30mins/an hour.
…12.15: no effect yet…waiting…waiting…
…12:30: nothing yet…
…12:45pm: nothing yet…
…13.05pm: here it is! Seriously, I could cry, it is such a relief, like someone has been kneeling on my chest all morning, pinning me to the floor, and I can now breathe, I feel free again, light… Wow, this feels good! No wonder I feel flat in the mornings and the evenings! Coming down from this, as I’ll do at 5pm/6pm, I’m obviously going to feel down and it is all relative, I guess. What might have felt ok to me before I started taking Adderall last week, it is now going to feel NOT ok because how I feel is relative, it’s a relative, subjective assessment in the context of the ups and downs of my rollercoaster existence.
I now feel up to the tasks ahead of me, the stuff I’ve got to get done. I feel an energy which was missing, completely absent, this morning, I can focus. It’s like my day is only now beginning! I keep saying this: how different my school years would have been if ADHD had been recognised in the 70’s and 80’s, if drugs like Adderall could have been prescribed for me. But, better an ADHD diagnosis now than never and it is good to know that school children can be, and are being, diagnosed and treated today!
I certainly think that there’s a commonly held view/misapprehension that ADHD is a condition affecting only children. There must be millions of people like me out there in the world, millions of adults, who went undiagnosed as children and who are still suffering today, suffering needlessly.
I must raise awareness of adult ADHD! Million of people are suffering needlessly and I want them to experience this feeling of release, a feeling, a sense, an experience which, much as I have tried, I cannot put adequately into words. I can’t quite get my head around how good I feel at this moment. I know that I can’t expect to feel like this all the time, no one feels great all the time, but it would be fantastic if this could be my norm, the norm from which I deviate from time to time. Life will always be a rollercoaster for me, and I accept that everyone has an illness or condition of some sort, that is life, but now that I have experienced this sense of calm and ‘can do’, my aim is to make it my norm.