I can’t tell if my Adderall is working or not. I have had mixed results over the course of the first week on it, starting at half the target dose. Now that I’m on my third day at the target dose, I can’t say for certain that it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing, at least to the extent that it should be. Earlier today I despaired at the thought that this, my second attempt at an ADHD medication (the first was Strattera, a non-stimulant), could be another failure. Even now, after the wearing off of the initial high from the second dose, the feelings of disorganization and chaos in my brain are returning at full force. I’m getting antsy, noticing unfinished projects everywhere, and carrying things into rooms with me only to forget what I intended to do with them in the first place. I was getting to the point where I considered that the Adderall may actually be making things worse, not better.
But then I realized something.
Most of my weekends are chaotic, due to being home with the kids and having fifty million things to do that all seem to share the same level of priority. I used to spend every Sunday afternoon wondering why I was so exhausted, and how it could be that after doing so much, I had only half a basket of folded laundry to show for it.
Today is different, because while the chaos remains, I am looking around this place and gaining a subtle but growing awareness of the things that are contributing to the chaos.
Today I pulled out a shirt and sweater set that my mother gave Aurelia for Christmas. Yes, it was still sitting in a gift bag in our living room, in late February. I told you: chaos. I decided today was the day I would cut the tags off and get these clothes into the laundry, before the kid grows out of them. Yes!
So I promptly walked upstairs, got distracted by the kids, decided to do a number of other things, and ended up leaving the clothes in my office, next to my computer.
Later, I walked back into my office to find the clothes. I instantly remembered why they were there, and could retrace my steps to see exactly how I got off track with my objective of retrieving scissors from my office so I could cut off the tags, and then place the clothes in the kids’ laundry hamper.
If this is sounding less than remarkable to you, consider this: in the past, I might have completely forgotten how those clothes had gotten there in the first place.
That’s not true of everything. If I leave a pot of water boiling on the stove, only to find a near-empty pot when I amble back into the kitchen later, it’s very likely that I’ll recall instantly that I was going to hard boil some eggs a while ago. So it won’t just be like AAAAAHHHHH MYSTERY POT!! That would be a different kind of disorder. But those subtler signals that tell you where things got off track in the first place would often be lost on me. Until I had kids, this was never bad enough to get in the way of living a decently healthy and productive life. Now, with the constant noise and activity of two preschoolers living under my roof, life is just hectic enough that my compensatory strategies of yore will no longer suffice.
POSTSCRIPT: I actually drafted this post last week, so by now I’ve experienced a few more symptoms and changes. If there’s any indication of interest, maybe I’ll blog more on this topic, but if not, then we’ll see if I’m up for it. As I mentioned last week, it is astonishing to realize that all this time, you have been fighting an uphill battle just to navigate your world and make it through your day. You no longer wonder why you’ve been so exhausted and frustrated – maybe not every day, but on too many days to chock it up to happenstance. In fact, I’m beginning to feel a bit of amazement that I ever managed to accomplish anything at all.
Image credit: M. Dunn