It was a little over two months ago I started taking my ADD/ADHD medications or as my friend Liz calls them, legal meth. I live blogged the first weekend diligently, and the experience convinced Dr. H. Ritalin was not the drug for me. Additionally, I needed medicinal help with my bipolar so the legal meth of any flavor could work properly. I was then started on to lithium and switched over to Concerta.
Ritalin is short acting and could be taken over the course of the day to keep the strength up. Concerta 36mg, on the other hand, is longer lasting but it needs to be taken before 9AM in order to allow me to sleep at night. On the weekends, if I woke up too late, I would take one 5mg of Ritalin instead of Concerta to get me over the hump I needed to get tasks done in a timely manner.
In the beginning of the Lithium/Concerta combo, it was fucking glorious. I was productive, I was focused, the quirks about my personality I always attributed as just my personality, turned out were actual symptoms of both diseases and were tempered with the drugs. That small period from end of December to early January was a golden age. Sure, there were some kinks in the process like no caffeine as it made me feel like I snorted 10 lines of speed even if I had caffeine in small doses and my anxiety would sometimes get out of control, but who cares? I was feeling really fucking good and I was productive.
Work started back up on January 9 and things were hopping. I could complete tasks, organize myself better, I wasn’t short with co-workers, and if a difficult situation arose, I could handle it with aplomb. Everything was awesome.
During the initial period of Lithium/Concerta, I was super productive with my writing because it was all done during the day when the Concerta was peaking, ergo it makes sense I was super productive at work because the Concerta would be peaking during those same prime hours.
Then, the downside.
When I came home from work, however, I didn’t want to do shit. No matter what time I got home, once the pants came off, at most I could handle was reading on the Interent or watching TV. Anything other than that was either too taxing, too long, or required absolute concentration from me which I couldn’t give. This also allowed
I kept up the Collectioun of Cunnynge Curioustes because that was an easy thing to do. Open a post, format, set the post date, and save the draft. Anytime I found something that fell into a CCC post, I just had to open up that week’s post and add it. Friday nights, I would verify everything was in order before it posted on Saturday and be done with it. Very little work was involved on my part.
I returned to work on January 9th. January 16 was my monthly follow up with my orthopedic doctor, who decided I needed to have surgery two weeks hence to explore the still open wound to find out why it was not closing after seven months. During that two week period, I was a frenzy of productivity at work but at some point the Concerta stopped working as effectively, so lithium was upped. The general idea is the more my mood stabilizes, the better the legal meth works.
Other signs started to illuminate the drug wasn’t working such as I was getting easily irritable and short with people again. My productivity at at work was beginning to slow down considerably and my former bad habits started to appear. I was staying later and later in the belief I had to do the work NOW and not that it could wait until the following day. This obviously effected my home life.
Dr. H. and I were in contact either via phone or appointment during all of this. If I was metabolizing the 36mg to the point of non-effectiveness, then it was time to up the dosage to 54mg and see what happens. The catch is with the 54mg dose, I’d need to take it at 6-7AM. He thought my recovery period would be good time to experiment with the 54mg to see how I do.
A week before my surgery, all extraneous medications were stripped from my regime except for Concerta and Lithium. On the day of my surgery, January 29th, I did not take my morning doses of either drug and when I came home that evening (it was outpatient surgery), I only took my evening dose of lithium. I stayed off of Concerta for the rest of the week because I didn’t want to interfere with my antibiotics and my pain meds (sweet, sweet Vicodin). I decided the second week to stay off the legal meth as well and gloried about in the ability to drink caffeine. I spoke with Dr. H. via phone on February 8 and he upped my lithium to 1200mg and I was to start back on the Concerta the following the week.
During that week, Concerta and anxiety wrecked my sleeping. Some days I would get up early enough to take 36mg, and others it was a Ritalin kind of day. Every day was always in flux.
I went back to work on February 20th and started the morning with 36mg of Concerta, my morning lithium dose, and half a Klonopin. While this combination worked well mood wise, not so much for the focusing and concentration part. At least, not as well as I had hoped. I had still not taken the Concerta 54mg because I was afraid if I did, I’d never get to sleep.
After a month of all over the place mentally and being laid up physically, I finally got to see Dr. H on Friday to go over my therapies and talk more about what was going on. The ramped up anxiety, the heightened ability to not sleep even when sleeping aids were produced, were driving me crazy. I knew as I was on/off drugs for the better part of the last month had much to do with the problems since there was no consistency, but even attempting at consistency became problematic.
So we try another experiment, this time starting with the Concerta 54mg.
I woke up on Saturday at 6:30A to take Concerta 54mg, and then napped for a bit. At 8AM I became wide eyed and bushy tailed and started writing this post. I had a hair appointment at 10AM that would end up lasting five hours. I spoke with Dr. H. in the afternoon and he suggested I try Adderall on Sunday depending how the rest of the day went.
TheHusband and I rearranged some afternoon plans to get my Adderall script filled. Dinner was had. Shopping was done. We were home by 19:00.
The way I explained it to Dr. H. earlier was Concerta 54mg was giving me alertness for several hours, then it ebbed for a few hours, then picked up again, so when I spoke to him at about 15:30, I felt pretty together. But by 18:00, I was crashing pretty hard and falling asleep at the dinner table. I was not expecting the crashing or how hard I would much so that I needed to drink a can of Coke just to keep going for a few hours before falling asleep around midnight.
I started this post early Saturday morning and finishing it late Sunday night. Perfectly illustrating even a simple task can become highly complex when the drugs don’t work.
Better living through chemistry, round two: Saturday