Saturday, November 12, 2005

My (Early) New Years Resolution 2006

Last night, no, two nights ago, I ran out to the grocery store after Noah had gone to bed. Actually, Jon was in bed too. He was recovering from having an obscenely large kidney stone blown to smithereens by sound waves earlier in the day. I had some big plans to cook a big dinner for Friday night. Perhaps it was the guilt of ordering take-out one too many times or the sympathy pains that radiated from my very own kidney , something was driving me to cook for my family. And this was odd.
In retrospect, it tasted much better tonight than it did the night before. Jon said it's because letting dinner sit in the fridge a day really brings out the flavors. Who knew?

So I was in the grocery store going through the check-out line. As ALWAYS. Yeah, you hear me KROGER'S!? As always there were way too few check-out clerks, way too few lanes open and way to many shoppers anxiously wanting to get home. My five item shopping list had somehow transmogrified into a fifty item list complete with ambiguous greens. (For Pig. You think I eat healthy?)I knew said greens would call for the opening of a little produce identification book and the inevitable question; "Ma'am, what is this? Red leaf? Boston"? I always say; "definitely not ice berg because my guinea pig refuses to eat it".
I knew this was going to be a semi-long check-out and the line behind me grew. I was tired and 7 pairs of eyes were staring me and my ambiguous greens down. So I did the only thing I knew to do;bag. As fast as that nice check-out lady could swipe. Beep beep beep went my crescent rolls,Tylenol and hot chocolate and in my paper bag they went.
Man was I on a roll. The pastor behind me in line stared strangely and kept inching his way up.
One bag full and then another and then another. Then it happened. While lifting the third bag into my cart at warp speed, KER BLAM! The bag ripped apart and boxes of lean cuisine went flying.

I was bright red, sweating and apologizing profusely to those behind me in line. I must have been great entertainment. "Oh! I'm sorry! Oh gosh, I meant to make this go more quickly, not slower"! I babbled as I picked up the tuna casserole. Man did I bag the last few items quickly after that.
As I was thanking the cashier and taking my receipt the doctor in line behind me (I decided he seemed more like a doctor by the end of checking out) said in a very assertive but kind way "You'd better slow down".
I'd better slow down? I'D BETTER SLOW DOWN!? Slow down? What? Slow? Oh yeah, I'm nuts, yeah, I babbled this to myself all the way out of the store up the hill in the parking lot and into my car. Slow down, I should? Yeah thought it all the way home and even into my house.

Then it hit me. Slowing down, THAT will be my new years resolution!

You see people, I've always been fast. I talk fast, shovel food in my mouth fast, read fast, well, I'm actually just reading the captions under the pictures. Basically though, I'm fast! And because I can be lazy at times, the only thing that I can think of to attribute this speed to is my............................

Dum dum dum!!!!!!!!! ADHD

Yes, I Lauren so and so have moderate to severe Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder. I interrupt people even when I don't mean to, I can't stand reading books without pictures, I jump around and fidget and damn is it hard to write this long post even though I love to write! Oh yeah, and I'm always fast and on the go. I have a motor inside. It must drive Jon nuts, especially at night. If I've had a busy day and I'm all wound up, I just can't fall asleep with out jigglingmy foot. Just like the annoying kid you sat next to in class who shook his foot and made your table move. Oh and I'm kind of like Larry David too.

About fifteen years ago I went through three days worth of testing through a near by hospital. They gave me spatial tests, cognitive tests, tested my IQ. They stuck electrodes on my head and psychologically analyzed me. My teachers thought that perhaps I had some form of attention or sequencing problem. My reading and writhing and verbal skills were far above average but I couldn't spell or do math to save my life. Also, although I was always a good kid in class and followed the rules, my teachers noticed I talked way too much and day dreamed and doodled and looked out the window when I should have been listening. And so when the test results came in they recommend medication and I began to take Ritalin.

The stuff is ok and it is true, the stuff works. I remember days after starting on the miracle drug I was sitting on my bed reading a book for homework. After a while, I realized I had been so caught up in my book that I had read not half, not one, but three chapters! It was the first time in my life that I sat through more than a chapter or two without stopping a million times. I cried secretly. You see, for those of you who don't know, everything, I mean EVERYTHING is a distraction when you have ADD. If I read or like now, when I write, every outside stimulus causes me to pause and tune in without wanting to. For example, Jon just turned on the facet. Oh...he opened a box of something. Yum...That bread he baked smells so good! Oh yeah, where was I? It's just so frustrating! What I wouldn't give to be able to sit through a movie, gosh, let alone a half hour show, without having to get up and do something else because that something else caught my attention. That's the "HD" part. I always need to be moving or doing.

This post is one big tangent huh? Ask Sarah, this is how, unfortunately, I have a conversation. So yes, the ritalin worked. I focused, calmed down, slowed down. I ended up getting a 3.8 GPA the first year in college. Then.....I decided Ritalin was squelching my personality and I stopped talking it.

The stuff does things to you. I wasn't a zombie, just a bit blah and I couldn't sleep. It's scary, a bit like mind control. I thought; "I'm an adult, I can control my actions, my study habbits. This stuff makes me someone else"! I wanted to be who I was, bouncey Lauren with a lot of ideas all at once. So I rebelled against the drug. Needless to say, my GPA went down two points each semester for a while. Opps!

Now I am here. I've been prescribed and have taken ritalin two more times since then but it's only lasted a while. I always get scared of the side effects down the road and hate the feeling it gives me. The follow-up appointments are a pain and I'm one of those people who doesn't like to take medication.

There are days that I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. Like now. Oh God do I love to write, but apart from being busy with Noah, I just can't sit and relax and write. I am forcing myself today to write this. I feel that academically, professionally and interpersonally I have suffered from the disorder and at the same time, I really don't want to be on medication. Yes, there are natural therapies and behavioral training. Learning to get organized helped me immensely, but outside of that, those therapies are not very successful.

So here's the juicy dilemma that I will now blog and you must tune back in to see what happens.
Next month I go to see my psychiatrist. He's the one that put me on Zoloft for postpartum anxiety/depression. I'm still anxious, but not as bad and I'm ready to be antidepressant free please! We are meeting next month to talk about weaning off Zoloft. My doctor is young and looks like Tony Danza but is Jewish not Italian. So.....yes! Maybe I need more zoloft to stop worrying about my little heart murmur or my beauty mark or the bruises on my leg, but Jon thinks maybe I need Ritalin more and maybe I agree. I said MAYBE, ok! Not that I do need it. I'm open to it...MAYBE. No, maybe not. I don't know!

Do I follow my brain? Do I take it for Jon? Do I down saint John's Wort? Last year the doctor told me that a cocktail of Zoloft and Ritalin was fine but HELLO! Yuck! NO WAY!

Ugh. We all have our own problems, but ugh. I'll let you know what I decide to do.

By the way, I made crockpot chicken with mushrooms and wine and salad and crescent rolls.


Laura said...

Way to go Lauren, for your cooking accomplishment! I may not have ADHD but, I too, find myself rushing to and fro and babbling all the time. Where's the 25 (or even 26th)hour when you need it?

Judy said...

WOW - I feel like I just got off a jet plane that I had rode on with my head sticking out of the window! Could you post the crock pot recipe?

I'm with Laura, I need about 3 more hours in my days. Unfortunately, I'd probably run them all into the ground like the other hours and STILL be a walking zombie the next day!

Bree said...

Oh Lauren. This post reminded me of so much. First, I think and have always thought that your ADHD has made you quite fun to be around. I never thought it was annoying, sometimes confusing, but you always had new ideas and different ways of thinking that no one else seemed capable of.
We are going through the same thing now with DJ, he is incapable of doing any kind of homework or focused activity without the medication. We hope some day he won't need it, or at least will be able to function without it.
It's a big rollercoaster ride, and your post reminded me of how frustrating it must be on his end, as well as ours, as parents.
I really hope you can get some clear awnsers from the doctor.

Paul said...


I would agree that medication should not always be our first response to personal problems. That having been said, if you need medication, take it! "Need" is a HUGE grey area nowadays, which is probably why I think there are far too many children on ADD meds and, at the same time, there are hundreds of thousands of mothers and fathers say "hallalujeh!"
But I'll tell you, don't worry about becoming a different person. You are who you are, the core that we all love so much is solid and unshakable. It is in the way that your personality shines that will change. Your core will manifest in different ways.
I speak through experience. I used to be much like you in many ways when I had hyperthyroidism. I was always go-go-go, always moving. I could read with a gusto, but I was always either shaking a foot or bouncing a leg or... SOMETHING. I was always the life of any social event. I was always in action. This was "who I am" to me. Then, I got treatment (they destroyed the thyroid with a radioactive isotope of iodine) which gave me the opposite problem. I became very lethargic and morose. Many of my friends grew very worried about me. They thought I was depressed. Not surprising, I likely was (a common side effect of hypothyroidism). Luckily, they only waited long enough to verify that my thyroid hormones were no longer being produced naturally (demonstrating that they successfully destroyed my overactive thyroid). But shortly after starting my medication, not long enough for it to become effective, I had a breakdown. I didn't know who I was anymore. I used to be this very active (hyper-active) guy that was the life of the party! Then I was this very introverted slug. My family and friends were very concerned about me. Luckily enough, but to add to the confusion, I became someone else, someone in the middle. Did I interact with people differently? Yes. Was I a different person? No. I still valued all the same things I used to, I was simply better able to control myself, to focus on things (like school -- I went from dropping out of all my classes to getting 4.0's). It shook up my life and gave me the ability to take the reigns in my own hands. In the end, I still made great friends (such as you and Jon!) after treatment -- actually, most of my good friends today are from my post-treatment times.
I NEEDED treatment and thank God (or whoever can claim responsibility) that I got it. For yourself, that is only something that you and your family and doctor can decide.
Just remember, those who love you now, will love you just the same if your personality is reflected differently.

Anonymous said...

I am married to your twin, stay with the medication, if you wrote the blog while you were on the medication, then your are funny witty and coherent with 3.8 GPA, you owe it to your child