Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Struggle and the Turn-Around

It's been a rocky road, but I think the path is finally smoothing out a bit. For the past year or two my life has been a shit storm of school and work, even though I've managed to severely underachieve in each category. I guess that's sort of the way I've done most things since high school.

In grade school, I got good grades because most everything came naturally and wasn't all that difficult. This stayed true up until about my sophomore year in high school when I started to lose control of things. Since then, my work ethic, academic accomplishments, and life in general have suffered and it was sort of a mystery.

I've had trouble focusing for as long as I can remember, but in the second year of high school I went and saw a professional to see if I had ADD. She showed me a list of 10 things people with ADD tend to do and I scored 9/10. I'm a pretty mellow person when it comes to physical activity, but inside my mind it is a different story. It has always been like I'm thinking about a million things all at once with all these thoughts racing in my mind. In high school, it meant that I couldn't keep track of the teacher's lecturing or teaching of math homework. Then in college, it resulted in social anxiety bad enough that it made me start skipping classes and staying home and not doing homework. The thoughts were always racing and out of control and never honed in on doing the work.

Having a job at Gallup added to the stress and anxiety. Day after day I tried to conquer the thoughts running around and keeping me from peace, but to no avail. Some days I experienced miniature breakdowns and eventually I stopped going to work and had to quit because of the stress. I spent more and more time volunteering at the CVA play which was therapeutic to me.

Even after quitting Gallup in November, my grades suffered. Despite having an academic counselor, I couldn't stay organized. Something was awry. It seemed to be that my depression that was ruling my life and was causing my issues, but after counseling and several antidepressants, results still seemed inconclusive.

It was my mother that believed I was ADD the most. I doubted if I was, but knew that there was something definitely preventing me from succeeding academically and in life. Finally we saw a psychiatrist that recommended a small dosage of Vyvanse, an ADHD med.

A normal person's mind has a certain level of stimulation and allows them to focus and stay on task. Evidently, an ADD person's mind lacks the regular amount of stimulation and thus reaches out to other things to fill that stimulant void. Thus the racing thoughts in some or hyperactivity in others. At least, that's how I understand it.

I've been on it for almost a month and the change in mood and focus and anxiety is unbelievable. I was always hesitant to ask for ADD medication because of the stigmas about it. So many non-ADD kids take meds like Adderal or Ritalin to over stimulate their minds. It allows them to stay awake more, focus better, and at times causes euphoria. In an ADD person, the stimulant boosts their lacking stimulation so that they get to a normal level and can think clearly. I've found that it slows down my thoughts so I can organize them. There aren't as many racing thoughts which used to cause so much anxiety. I feel more present while in a group of people discussing things. Thus far, it seems like this Vyvanse is really the ticket for me, but only time will tell.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you shared this. And that you've had such a good outcome with the med. Even your writing seems more focused and easy to follow. I believe there are many people with similar problems who are self-medicating with caffeine, nicotine, and other harmful substances. Don't be one of those! I pray God will guide you to the right doctors, including the natural remedies of rest, exercise, diet, etc. (nothing harmful about those!)