Tag Archives: shame

The need for speed…amphetamines for beginners

5 Feb

After two B2C* days in a row, I’ve got a new sense of purpose and vigor this morning. It’s not because of an early walk or a healthy breakfast, nor from any coping strategy to get my mind into gear for the day.  I did none of these things…but I did take my amphetamines.

In addition to my longstanding battles with depression and anxiety, I was diagnosed a couple years ago with adult ADHD.  My wife was the first to be convinced of it, before my psychiatric team even explored the diagnosis, but it would take some time for me to come around.  I had a problem with confidence and drive, not with my attention span.  Besides, ADHD is a disorder for kids, not adults, right?

Only because of my wife’s persistence did I eventually and reluctantly accept the diagnosis.  Along the way she introduced me to great resources like TotallyADD.com and held my hand through several self-diagnosis tests like those from Psychology Today, Psych Central and Totally ADD.  In the end, my symptoms matched up so closely that in hindsight the ADHD diagnosis was a no-brainer.

Just accepting the diagnosis, knowing that much more about how my mind operates, brought a wave of relief.  With a new mental battle front I learned about a whole new set of tools and coping strategies – making lists, setting attainable goals, establishing routines, etc. – to manage my ADHD.  My psychiatrist added a medication to the mix that would prove to be a silver bullet: Vyvanse.

Being a stimulant I expected it would make me anxious and jittery.  I already felt there wasn’t enough time in the day and I was sure that Vyvanse would only speed up.  It turned out to be the opposite; from the first day I took it, time slowed down for me and gave me room to breath.  I was no longer in a mad panic to solve all my life’s problems in a day.  I could see pathways to completing intimidating tasks that until then seemed impossible.  I actually started checking things off my to-do list instead of eternally adding to it.

In short, it worked.

It sounds crazy (of course it does) but I’m actually of two minds on Vyvanse and my success with it.  On the one hand, I see it as an effective medication and part of my overall daily treatment for a clinical disorder.  But for whatever reason, there are other times when I see it as yet another addiction, my daily fix of amphetamines.  I know this is what I do (beat myself up unnecessarily) but feeling guilty about taking medication that works is, well…crazy.

* Note: (B2C above refers to “bed to couch,” where I spent Monday and Tuesday)

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Quick confession before church

27 Jan

I’m on my way to church – that’s my new code for my weekly group therapy – and I’m sharing a quick confession or two so I can at least report some work-oriented progress to the group.

My confession is that since my last post I’ve done virtually nothing on the job front; still no application, no networking emails or calls. Not even making the amends I feared would be a distraction from the job hunt.

No, instead I worried myself into a tailspin of familiar habits; smoking pot, watching TV, playing the boy’s Xbox, and dreading my wife’s return from work out of shame for having obviously done so very little.

As I write this, I can already see a way out of this week’s rut, or at least the way I’m thinking about it. And if nothing else, I’ve got a familiar tale to tell the church crowd tonight.

Easter resurrects social anxieties

23 Apr

Loyal readers should know that anxiety has been playing an increasingly prevalent role in my life these days. Always eating away at me in the background of life, recent health problems and deaths in the family, and the loss of my part-time retail gig, have led to both a higher “base line” anxiety from day to day, and a noticeable increase in the frequency and degree of anxiety peaks I experience before most social encounters.

Easter anxiety: I know they see through me. Cartoon courtesy of Jason Love, http://www.jasonlove.com

Even this past weekend I felt my heart racing and nearly pumping out of my chest – Alien style – out of anxiety. The cause? Getting together with a few close friends and “friendly family” (i.e. not my father or brother) for an Easter brunch. What could be anxiety-provoking about a big greasy Sunday brunch with a side of sauvignon?

It was the small talk that did it for me. I’m terrified of it now, and having a hard time a) getting over it, and/or b) accepting it. I used to be able to work a room like Sinatra, and now I’m afraid to engage in simple mealtime banter with people who know me best. I’m intimidated by it, ashamed of where I am at this point in my life, afraid to be honest for fear of people “tuning out the crazy” while afraid of putting on a good face for fear that they’ll see through it.

Easter brunch turned out fine, sort of. I couldn’t help but zero in on the prosperity/accomplishment gap between me and the other adults in the room. And by extension, I assumed they thought the same and couldn’t help but look down on me as the heir to the family “crazy throne” currently inhabited by my dad. Blame my inner critic for this outlook (more on him in future posts)

Many told me how happy they were to see me doing so well (crazy-wise) and how proud they were to see my progress. I didn’t believe them of course – my inner critic again – but it still felt good to hear. And my often-used coping mechanism in such settings – hanging out at the kids’ end of the table talking about middle school and Instagram – kept my spirits up, for whether they know my story or not, they do a good job of convincing me they like me no matter what.

Up next…how will I cope with my social anxieties as I need to ramp up my job hunt. How will I keep my head on my shoulders as I reach out to more distant friends, old acquaintances and clients.

 

Addicted to failure

6 Oct

For the third time in a row, and third time in the last 2 weeks, I spent my entire day off doing nothing…absolutely nothing. It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that…

  • I’ve got a mountain of overdue to-do’s, ranging from filing overdue tax returns to finishing an Ikea desk that’s been 75% done for a month now;
  • I’m waaay behind on the volunteer work I do with the PTA at my kids’ school, not having done even the ‘welcome back’ email that was supposed to go out to all new and returning parents…when school started a month ago;
  • This is only the latest in a string of predictable, preventable wasted days that have left me exhausted, ashamed and angry at myself.

It’s this last point that really has me bothered. Every time I have a day off – lately anyway – I get sucked into the same, self-destructive, self-loathing routine. And after 8 hours of ‘just resting for another hour” I don’t feel the least bit relaxed, rested or rewarded. I spend literally the entire day lying on the couch only to feel utterly hopeless.

I know what you’re thinking…I’m being lazy, I should stop feeling sorry for myself, I should just snap out of it and get to work.

Believe me, I agree. Maybe next time will be different…HA!

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