The Drugs Don’t Work

Now the drugs don’t work
They just make you worse
But I know I’ll see your face again
The Verve, The Drugs Don’t Work

Dear Internet,
Ritalin, Concerta (32mg and 54mg), Adderall, and Focalin.
To give you a brief idea of the foray into my brain has been like, in the last five months, I’ve cycled through the above and received well documented and undocumented side effects for my efforts. Focalin, the latest drug, pushed me to the edges of paranoia, anti-socialism, and rapid/cyclic impulse thoughts.
I would not classify myself as being an introvert or extrovert, I seem to be fluid between the two, but on Focalin in social situations, I was always scamming to get a way out. I would wall myself up internally so that even the most banal small talk would be difficult. I would come off as standoffish, an asshole, or just plain weird.
People in my space made me nervous. People taking up time I had allocated for another task, irritated me. Music, I realized today, was not listened to because of depression, but because it moved the focus to something I didn’t deem as being important instead of allowing me to work on the task at hand.
I was sharp around the edges.
We could have the most innocent of conversations and I would take great umbrage at any perceived slight I felt thrown in my direction. Then I became hyper-sensitive to this behavior and had to monitor all written and verbal conversations to make sure I didn’t fuck shit up.
All of this defense and protection is exhausting.
Being crazy is exhausting.
Tonight I told my medicating therapist I took myself off of Focalin, and as of the Tuesday, I’ve been free of legal meth for 5 days. I’m still on lithium and will remain on lithium for as long as I live, but for now I need a break from the ADHD drugs. At least not take them on a regular basis.
He agreed.
The medicating doctor thinks this is all rapid signs of over stimulation. I am not going crazy, well not at least yet. The doses I was on for all of the drugs were of the lowest dose available. Ritalin works, but on occasion and for a few hours, and any attempt to prolong the drug doesn’t work. Good when I need to work at home or want to sit down and write, but I don’t think, at this time, I want to be on an ADHD drug permanently.
Since I’ve built my own coping skills on managing ADHD all these years, although haphazardly, I’m going to research for resources of tried techniques to help compensate so that the Ritalin will be last case use, not first in hand. I’ve also started my meditation in the morning to calm my mind.
In the last five days, the amplified symptoms have calmed and started to leave. Now I hope to find only peace.


Dear Internet,

I’m so happy ’cause today
I found my friends,
They’re in my head
Lithium by Nirvana

Friday I had my follow up with Dr. H., my medicating doc, and I was hoping he’d say, “Yep, Concerta isn’t working, let’s put you on X and try that instead” and let me go on my merry little way. Didn’t happen. Of course, because that would be far too easy. So, now, then what do we do?
I spent the better part of an hour going over every drug that has entered my system or that I had left in the last couple of months (OTC or prescribed), and went through my entire 1.5 weeks on Ritalin + Concerta experience. Noting to him every little new “thing” triggered by either drug or was put to rest by either drug. I’m thankful that I wrote as much as I did while tracking my mania/The Sads, but I didn’t write enough because he asked me a lot of questions I could not easily answer nor were there any hints in my blog when I checked while at his office. I think it’s important to be a public voice for this drug experience, but sometimes it’s hard to keep track of what I’m doing and how I’m doing or do it in a matter that is more coherent. Maybe it doesn’t have to be?
TheHusband pointed out maybe if I wrote more stream of consciousness (which I did a lot of when I was in my ’20s), it would be easier. I think he has a point. While I plan on keeping up with writing about this publicly, I need to be more diligent on my note taking privately. I bought DayOne for my Mac, iPad, and iPhone ages ago and used it pretty heavily after for the first month or so and then tapered off. It was interesting how much came out when I was writing only for me – though to be fair, when I write here, I also am writing just for me. But writing in a matter that is more private, I suppose, frees up a lot of internal censorship that I unconsciously use on myself. The only glitch I had using DayOne was when I was on computer (like work) that is not MacOS variant based. My solution to that was either bring in my Air (which I’ve been doing more of) or use Evernote and create a folder tag for DayOne writings to transpose later.
So, more writing about this experience. Duly noted.
As I said a few weeks ago, the accepted diagnosis is ADHD with Bipolar with bits of Borderline Personality Disorder thrown in for good measure, which coincides with the diagnosis back in 2005. When I was living in Northern Virginia (NoVa) from 1999-2002, I was seeing a therapist there who cycled me through a lot of drugs: anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotics (alternative for the anti-anxiety) for Bipolar and definitely anxiety. I was on, then off, then on, and then off so many drugs that I felt like my brain would just explode. I swore then no matter what the fuck happened, I was NOT putting myself on any of that medicinal merry-go-round again. I’d learn to live, cope, and exist with my current brain chemistry as it is because I could not take that kind of mental anguish again.
So when Dr. H. said he was putting me on lithium today, I burst into tears in his office.
With the exception of Klonopin in the last ten years, I’ve been mainly drug free. I was hell bent on going holistic on the vapors of my brain, but that apparently hasn’t been working and so, where we are.
This where the helplessness started to become so overwhelming that I nearly bolted from his office. I came to him, as a recommendation from Dr. P. to get the drugs for ADHD and monitor them, and now he’s putting me on this medicinal go around for the bipolar, which is apparently triggered by the ADHD? The way Dr. H explains it is that if Ritalin AND Concerta are triggering mania, depression, and other traits of the bipolar, those need to be addressed first before Concerta (or any related drug) can really be effective for me. I’m unlucky in that not only do I tend to metabolize drugs more quickly than other humans, and I also tend to pick up the rare side effects from the drugs. They can’t plaster me with a catch-all drug to cure X because that triggers these other things that have now sprung up.
Dr. H. gets my hesitancy about this, but he feels pretty confident we can find that sweet spot where everything plays nicely and I can feel some sense of normalcy. But it will be tricky, which means I have to be more diligent on keeping track of my moods and everything else in between.
This isn’t the first time I was on lithium, as I was on it during the first chemical-go-around when I was living on NoVa and I remember that sweet spot for like 3 days when I was on lithium and something else where everything was fucking awesome. The world seemed brighter, the colors were deeper, food tasted sublime, and I did not feel like a scatterbrained idiot. Here’s to hoping that we can get there again.
ProTip: Don’t ever read forums, regardless of the reliability of the website, about drugs, drug interactions, or their side effects. Because you’re going to end up self-diagnosing yourself with consumption or the vapors, and never want to leave your house again.
TheHusband, who rejects “white man medicine”1 for most everything gets that in order to make his Pookie Bear better, she’s got to swallow the poison. We’ve been big supporters of whole foods lifestyle for a long time, and while we tend to fall off the wagon here or there, for the most part, for fat people, we are pretty fucking healthy fat people. But we know we can do a lot better, so before this drug shenanigans came into play, we planned to kickstart our healthy eating and exercise again. To be more whole, mentally AND physically just reinforces the idea that we really need to get behind this and stick with it. The goal is that with a better balanced diet, more exercise (as I am more mobile now), and seeing Dr. P. every week and Dr. H. monthly, things will (hopefully) start to get better.
Kale smoothies, here we come. Rah. Rah. Rah.
But darkly, in the shadows lurking, I also know, as it is with any kind of drug that is taken for the brain, there is almost always a dark side before the dawn. That is the risk you have to take.
My regime is 600mg of Lithium (1 300mg tablet taken twice daily), 36mg of Concerta, and my usual assortment of multivitamins and supplements. Because of the Concerta, I’m off caffeine (and have been for 11 days as of this writing). because of Lithium, I cannot take NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, etc) and I should watch my salt intake. Dr. H. also wants me to refrain from alcohol while I’m on lithium, which means I can’t dip into the Absinthe my brother got me for Christmas.
I’m also allergic to dairy, so there is also that to add into the do not haves.
It’s a good thing I like water.

1. He’s Native American.

The Best of Days

Dear Internet,
Happy Saturnalia.
I did not get to sleep last night until way after 2AM. Woke up, however, within minutes of the alarm going off at 6:45AM and did not feel like I could burrow under my covers for days. I actually felt alert for the first time in months (probably years). The first dose of the day went in at 7:55AM as I was heading out to see my therapist, the second dose at 8:25AM during my session and the final dose at 8:55AM as I was leaving.
I noticed the ramp up, which was affected by how concentrated my talking became during the session. I felt manic as I made my way towards work, and I was so focusedly intent by the time I got to work, my director wondered what the hell was going on. Of course, I told her because I can only see the positive side of these benefits as I go through it.
But the focus is not as crystaline as I want it to be. It’s like taking a picture in Instagram, and applying some g-d awful filter on it to make it distorted. You know that there is a sharp image under there, somewhere, but the fuzziness  makes it hard to decipher. I know some people crave that fuzziness, for sometimes the world is ugly and the sharpness often hurts, but when I’ve been living in the fuzz for so long, and I know NOW that clarity can be reached, I am desperate to grab onto it.
I called my medicating doctor and walk him through my weekend. He opts to swap me off the Ritalin and to put me on Concerta, which is a time release instead of dosing up several times a day. He’s also suggested I get off caffeine.
(I mean, first they take my cheese, now my coffee — how is this to be BORN??)
I spent most of my day doing mindless tasks that were things that were not important but had to be done. There was a rhythm as I moved through these tasks and I found that once I just started, I could finish each small item and move on to the next.
There was no panic today, but mania came hard at around 3PM. I found myself all over the place, both in my head and on my work space. I was able to pull it back enough to finish what I had to finish before I left for winter break. The last thing sent, at 5:02PM, was the network topography map that was due today. What I found different is that I was not panicked, “THIS NEEDS TO BE DONE NOW,” but more of a “Okay, this needs to be done. I’m almost finished. A few more steps and then it will be complete.”
On my way to meet up with a girlfriend for dinner, I stopped by the medicating doctor’s office for my new script and found msyelf in heavy 5PM traffic. I opted to take a road I was pretty sure would put me in the right path rather than attempt to backtrack through my previous path. It was a struggle to keep driving, for even though I knew logically that road intersected with a known road that would take me to my final destination, slight panic kept bubbling under the surface. Do I keep going and be a few minutes late or do I turn around and be even later? Why was this so hard?
Dinner was lovely, as always, and I recounted to her a tl;dr version of the last few days. I felt my concentration and focus was still on par with the earlier ebbs, but I found myself flowing as well. Time was running out. The Concerta will hopefully stabilize this.
Dinner, then picked up my new script, then on the phone with a very interesting conversation in that I gave sex advice on various topics from how to choose a condom, to what type of protection was best for when the moment was right, and dispelling a few myths often perpetuated amongst the masses.
TheHusband, who has been on his vacation starting late last week, was resting when I arrived. And that’s when the panic flared in full force. For apparently there is a heavy blizzard conditions coming our way, which may not hit us for a few more days. We’re leaving to go up north tomorrow and that area will be hit worse then here in GR. And that’s when my brain started to fall apart. I could not make TheHusband understand my concern for my own brain was all over the place. I was not thinking, “Okay, we’ll go up and see how bad it is and come home before it hits.” I was thinking, “WE ARE GOING TO STARVE AND BE TRAPPED FOR DAYS IN A CABIN WITH NO FURNITURE.” I  felt like the more I tried to bring myself down, mentally from that stat of flight, the more agitated I verbally got with TheHusband. Finally, things started to come together and we agreed on a reasonable plan: Check weather in the morning, adjust our time as needed.
The insomnia from the last few days, due to the Ritalin despite being taken early in the morning, found me asleep  far afte 2AM  (which used to be my favorite witching hour, and in many ways, it still is) and I woke up each day with only four – five hours of sleep. I started yawning during dinner and I find that I am tired, but my mind is back to being fixated on the possibly but not quite snowpocalypse of 2012. That no one is predicting except in my own head.
Caffeine is now gone from my diet since it competes with the same receptors as the drugs, which I’m fine with really. This morning I was up and at ’em and didn’t need coffee to clear the fuzz from my brain as I usually do. I”m moving the Klonopin dose from morning to night to help with the sleeping. When my  damn ankle is finally healed (and that is another story), I am hoping exercise will be drug for the anxiety and the sleep. I want to be better and depending on drugs to keep me whole. (Except for the ADHD drugs. A++. Will use again.)
We have Internet up at the cabin and I hope to continue writing while I’m up there, but do not be alarmed if no posts are forthcoming until I get back, but I will be taking plenty of pictures.
(That is, if Abominable doesn’t get us first.)

Live Blogging the Ritalin Experiment: Sunday

Dear Internet,
We shall begin this entry by noting the time I went to bed Saturday night: 2:23 AM.


I woke up this morning at 9:26A, ON THE GO, with a list in my head of a million things I needed to do. After morning absolutions, I ended up in my office where I thought to do some work. I popped the first dose today sometime after 10:30A. In the last 30 minutes, I was all over the place on the Interwebs from reading my site stats, to creating an account on MetaFilter to answer a question, to finding that someone on Tumblr quotes me (and gave me attribution!).

Do not be afraid

I took the second dose sometime around 11:25AM because I lost track of time as I was talking to Jessica, Kristin, and O during the last hour. I’ve also been fielding questions about my dairy allergy on Facebook and researching something else that I’m now forgetting.

I am feeling manic.

It’s 11:55AM and dose three has been consumed. I have yet to eat breakfast and I can’t convince TheHusband to make me a spread (eggs, bacon, toast). He’s probably already eaten himself. I could head down and have left overs, which might not be a bad idea as I need to refill my coffee. I also need to take my 1/2 dose of Klonopin for the day as well as my vitamin supplements.

But now I’m thinking,  “If I’m heading downstairs, I might as well start laundry and since I’m downstairs, vacuum the living the room.” And so it will go on that a single action “get food” has turned into a war campaign to get everything else done so that I don’t waste time. How is time being wasted? I could never really answer that question, I just know if I have time to do X and possibly Y, then I should do those things.

I’ve pulled up Evernote and Wunderlist to track ToDo items as they occur so I don’t start doing them this very minute.  Items added, I’m now clicking aimlessly across the open tabs feeling as though I have forgotten something. I need to go eat.

5PM. As I had expected, I asked TheHusband to take laundry down to the basement for me to start (going up and downstairs is still cautious thing for me to do, so when something large has to be carried, I ask him to do it). After he throws the laundry in, he heads to make himself a bowl of cereal, for I was wrong, he has not eaten. I heat up leftovers, he eats his cereal, and we start having a discussion on something benign which ends up in a four hour philosophical discussion about hunter/gathers vs agrarian communities that meanders towards the argument of what demonstrates equal rights.
The discussion leaves me exhausted but I’m thrilled to find that during the verbal sparring, my brain does not feel muddled or confused. I can articulate my points, I can speak eloquently, I’m able to recall something from two sentences ago to build a rebuttal or to agree. I do not feel like I am gasping at air to make a point, and more importantly, I do not feel like I am stupid. I can hold an intellectually stimulating conversation and it is glorious.
I get angry, however, because while the exercise above was something that I want to be able to do, I am angry at myself for not setting boundaries on my time. Every single instance I’ve read of someone on Ritalin all note the same thing: How drastically short the drug lasts. Today is better than yesterday, but that could be for any number of reasons such as time when I started the doses  and my own hormones playing havoc.
What I desperately wanted for that time was to do the things I had planned on doing, the sublime capability of being able to start a task and finish it in a manner that does not look like it came out of a Picasso painting. I should have said something to him, and I didn’t, and that is something I need to learn how to do.
8PM. Lindsay has come and gone for she is housesitting this week while we go up north. When she called, right after TheHusband and I have finished our discussion, I was able to make clear my boundaries which she understood. That seemed so easy, something I could never do before. She came, we hugged, we talked, and she left without me feeling like I had to entertain her for hours. Dinner was consumed, laundry was finished and put away.
I still have loads of things to do tonight, and it’s getting late, but I do not feel like the world is going to end like I usually do when my brain starts to feel this way. I still feel focused but I am finding the focus comes and goes, as the drug wanes in and out. I found myself not as eloquent when talking with Lindsay as I was talking to TheHusband, shortly after the last dose was taken. Words trip out of my brain and out of my mouth, but two days in and I can see that there is some hope. TheHusband notices a difference today from yesterday.
Brendan said that a big problem he had with Ritalin was the headaches, something echoed by many others. There was also discussion about the lack of creativity, that some thought was too high of price to pay for taking the drug. For me, I’ve never known to not have a headache of some kind, where my brain was fuzzy and struggling to even do a simple task made me feel Herculean. I can take the headaches. And so far, I dont’ find the argument about loss of creativity true with me, if anything, this will be the push me to the other side. I have always been an idea person, but when I can take an idea and bring it to fruition, I can only imagine the joy of being able to do that. I’ve never been able to do that.
I’m aware I’m possibly romanticizing a drug and that for the benefits, there may be some tradeoffs.  But if the relief of finding out that after all these years, if a good chunk of my problems/issues/whatever that were often just dismissed as being a personality quirk or that I didn’t try hard enough or that I was incapable of doing the job, to find that there is a solution, even a minor one?
To me, the freedom to be able to express what is in my world is the biggest freedom I could ever be given. I’m holding on and never letting go.

Live blogging the Ritalin experiment: Saturday

Dear Internet,
I woke up this morning, excited like a kid on a day before a big event. Today, my world is/was going to change! Today, I start taking Ritalin.
The prescribing doctor laid out how the dosage was to work: First dose at $time, then up it by another dose every 1/2 hour until I’ve taken up to three pills. He promised, well suggested, the world will get more focused. Things will start to collate and I would be better able to function as the world becomes clearer.
After the morning absolutions, I popped the first dose with water and went down to make coffee and get breakfast. I felt the same as I always have – head fuzzy. Things unfocused. Sometimes this clears up after the first few cups of coffee, others this is how my brain feels all day.
Second dose happens at 9:45AM. I feel some focusing happening, not a lot, but some. Distractions don’t seem to be as prevalent  but I still feel like I’m doing a million things at once, even if that million of things is writing an email, talking on IRC, talking on IM, talking on Twitter, and reading Facebook. An email to someone is left unsent after a few moments. I wonder to the bathroom and start applying varying shades of lipgloss/lipsticks that I had recently purchased (a few of them were on my desk, which prompted the wander). I spend a few moments working on my lips and realize I have to go back to the office to finish documenting this experiment.  And send the email that was left in draft form, though it is ready to go before I wandered off. As I settle back in the my office,  a discussion between TheHusband and I pop up about how to use a gift card we got from his parents for the holidays. We shop on Amazon and I place the order.
It’s now 10:15. I pop the third dose.
Is the drug working? As I write this, I feel focused on writing this even though I see the IRC chat window scroll to the left of my screen, I know there are messages waiting for me on Twitter, and a few other distractions are looming.
My brain still feels fuzzy and I have a very low headache, barely noticeable in the front. This could be a reaction to the drug.
But here is what I have noticed – while writing this, I have just been writing and only correcting spelling as I go (easy when it has squiggle lines underneath to denote the eror). Usually when I write, I have to preview the entry a million times before it is published  so that the entry is just so.  This is why it takes so damn long for me to write an entry here, and why that often seems looming and difficult, because of all the extra work I think I need to put into it.  This is also explains why when I sit down and write a short story, a book, whatever, I can’t just write. I have to do all the same steps I do for writing online and in the case of my fiction, I then just let it go because my frustation overtakes everything else.
It’s now 45 minutes since the last dose. I got five orders yesterday  from my Etsy store that I need to ship today. I got most of the prep work done last night. Now if I can sit here and complete all five orders with minor interruptions then that would be a good way to see if the drug is working. Earlier this week when I had a large order, it took me six hours from prep work to taping up boxes to finish since I got distracted every 10 minutes.
It’s now 8PM.
I did not finish the five orders as planned. The first order, from start to finish, took 45 minutes but I was interjecting quality time on IRC while I worked. The second order took 20 minutes to finish from the start, and that includes the three minutes used to braid my husband’s very long hair. The third order, which had two balls for stuffing and packing, ALSO took 25 minutes. By the time I finished those orders, took a shower, roused TheHusband and drove to the post office, we arrived within minutes of it closing.  I still have two orders left to fill and those now get shipped on Monday.
The rest of day, shopping to prep for heading up to the cabin for a week, became a mix of patience and high anxiety. TheHusband said I was all over the place, mentally AND driving (which scared the beejeezus out of him). I felt somewhat focused and laid out in my head what I needed to do (I need to go to USPS, I need to go to UPS, I need to go to Hobby Lobby, and so forth) and the follow through of what I needed at each location. But TheHusband says different. Whose opinion matters here? His or mine? Is the drug working here or has it waned? Is this how I am normally? How do I know?
Is the influence of my period affecting my emotions here?
We finished our shopping around 4PM and headed to a late lunch/early dinner, where I quizzed TheHusband on my moods and behaviors. How are was I doing? What was I doing? Can you clarify that? Was that worse or better than before?  See his responses above, he thought I was more scattered and flighty than usual. He’s worried – is this the new me? We run a few more errands before heading home. At World Market, we have a conversation that turns into a rather loud argument. I call him fucking dick in the middle of the store and stomp out.
What’s the argument about? His concern about the Etsy store is taking away the time I could be writing. Am I even making a profit? Is this even worth it? Look, I say, when I started this two years ago I was without a job and it was a good idea because there is a market for it. I made a $1000 dollars the first time around, and about 30% of that was probably profit after costs and my payment to myself. Because the first year I undercut myself, the second year I raised the prices a few more dollars to what the market would bear, did a few craft shows, and did phenomenal. People love my balls.
But this year, I was laid up for a good chunk of the year and my mobility has been off and yes, I haven’t been feeling it on doing the store this holiday season because I was still feeling so worn out from the surgery and the recovery has been exhausting. So, this year I put stock in my inventory and made the store live the week of Thanksgiving. As the last minute shoppers hurry, hurry, hurry to get their orders filled, come Monday the 18th, i’ll shutter down until January where I hope to reopen to a bang.
The thing is, I don’t know. The stuffing of the balls is a seasonal thing. To TheHusband, he feels like I’m sucking up all this time doing the Etsy store when I could be writing. And somehow this comes out when we’re standing in front of the pillow display at World Market (currently 40% off).
As we drive home, a lot more words are said. Some were thrown, in the heat of the moment, and I started crying so hard and my lower lip was quivering so badly,  I had to pull off into a nearby parking lot, lest I do something stupid and get us in an accident. Writing, writing, writing – all he wants to do is talk about my writing. We go back and forth for awhile, and my brain just feels like one huge fuzzball. He asks me what I’m thinking and I tell him, “Orange, purple, goat.” Because that is how I sometimes feel.  He looks at me and he is sorry for the things he’s said, and I’m sorry for the things I’ve said. Orange, purple, goat is what he thinks I should be writing, but sometimes it’s even hard to get those out somewhere where they can be seen. (He thinks I should not give a fuck about writing to a screen because it has no feelings, which is true. But the jumbling of the world when I write is what is the hold up it is NOT for the lack of ideas.)
It is now nearly midnight, and I cannot explain to you what happened in the last four hours since I’ve started writing this. Cookies were eaten, the dog was walked, some chores were done. Was I here? Sometimes, but not fully. That is what it is ALWAYS like inside of my hand. I screamed at him  tonight the problem is that the things here, tapping my forehead, cannot come out through my fingers anymore, waving my hands. It’s not like when I was a young adult and I could write stream of consciousness for hours. In the ways I was extreme on somethings then, I’m moderate now and vice versa.
Yes, okay, perhaps the drugs did work, the dose may be too low, but I think it did work. I cannot focus no, and haven’t been able to for a few hours, and everything is all over the place. On paper, on my desk, on my computer screen.
Orange, purple, goat. Tomorrow we try again.

Maiden guarding the bridge over the river Gjoll (Hello, Ritalin)

Dear Internet,
A bottle of Methylphenidate (the generic for Ritalin) is currently keeping me company this evening, while I’m writing,  staring at me from across my desk. I eye it precariously for starting Saturday, I begin the regime that could potentially change my life. My prescribing doctor dressed up the benefits  like snake oil – allllll of the problems I’ve been experiencing for years that were often described as being part of my charming personality  and/or because I was lazy, lacked focus, or motivation (to name a few reasons) now has an official name. That name is ADHD and with that single diagnosis, my world just got a little bit clearer.
I say potentially for I’m scared. And skeptical. Delighted. But skeptical.
I’ve been rather sporadic about writing about my mental health updates, and I think part of it is how much I need to get clear in my own head before I present it to the world.  After I wrote this in October, I finally got the courage to call my old therapist and he scheduled me to meet with him within a few days. Since our first meeting, I’ve been seeing him weekly and having someone there, for it is the one true safe space I can dump, dump, dump and not have to explain, slash, define, remove, or edit in any form my thoughts, has been glorious. There is lot that is going on emotionally in the last year (lots and lots of loss) that I haven’t been dealing with coupled with all the new responsibility (house! job! husband!). I’ve been documenting, rather sporadically, my depression, anxiety, and other brain malaise this year but it’s not enough. I felt like I was at the end of my rope; not suicidal, but feeling like I was teetering on the edge. So much was happening! No explanation on how to handle or even, to cope. I felt like I was swimming in murk with no way past.
A month of visits goes by and Dr. P. makes a comment  that perhaps I was ADD and further clarified that while the Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) was more than likely correct when I was diagnosed way back yonder, it’s not as evident now. This blew my mind. Finally, a diagnosis that made sense and explained not bits and pieces of my mentalness (as BPD did, as did Bipolar), but seemed to tie everything up in a nice tiny bow.
Except, I was diagnosed with ADHD (and bipolar) in 2005. For the last seven years, I’ve been clinging to this idea that I was strictly BPD and totally forgetting about the bipolar and ADHD. Seven years. Who forgets they were diagnosed with ADHD/bipolar for almost a decade? Apparently me. My then therapist sent me through DBT training, which I still use, but I dont’ remember doing anything for the bipolar or the ADHD. I remember she weaned me off the drugs that the medicating psychiatrist prescribed because part of the regime of DBT was that I was to be as drug free as possible. The only drug I remember being on, at that time, was Klonopin, which I take very sporadically now. (A prescription of 15 pills can last me a year, that is how sporadic it is.)  [When I started writing this in late November, I was taking Klonopin on a as needed basis. I’m now taking 1/2 of a .5 mg pill day. It’s helped. Tremendously.]
I have no memory of why the bipolar and ADHD were never addressed then. I also have no idea why my then therapist seemed more fixated on BPD then on the other disorders. The more that I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to the conclusion that she thought the DBT would give me skills that would carry over into the ADHD/bipolar world.
But no matter, let’s look to the present, and the future. Not wonder about what/ifs, for we’ll never get anywhere.
So, then, to the now. Dr. P. sends me off to a local ADD expert, who also has ADD himself. Today I spent an hour and some change working through the questionnaire and every light in my head is burning bright. Things that were often associated with other things (like I used to take work-ordered anger management class for my outbursts of anger — turns out, this is because of ADD). Things are finally starting to make sense. I knew I wasn’t depressed in the traditional sense, just always frustrated. Always not being able to figure things out. Dr. P. says the cycle goes from ADD causes my frustration, which builds up my anxiety, which then leads to my depressed state which starts the cycle all over again.
So tomorrow we start the Ritalin. I start with 1 pill, wait and document how I feel, take another and document how I feel and max this out at 3 pills. Ritalin is instantaneous. Effects are short (a few hours), which is why the build up the dosage. Clear head? Not wanting to be  so damned obnoxious (also apparently a trait – the talking out of turn)? Can this legal drug be my new snak eoil of hopes and dreams?
We shall see.