2 months ago 💘 for day 270, 2021 with 761 words.

Am I better off of ADHD meds?

I am coming to a strange realisation today. After two years (or is it three?) of being completely dependent on my ADHD medication to function, I think I may now function better off of them than on.
I didn't take my medication for the past 24 days. First, because I was feeling depressed & wanted to see if they were (in part) to blame for that, and also because I was on vacation and I didn't really need them there anyway. After a few days the depression numbness wore off and everything was good. I felt so good in fact that after vacation I decided to stay away from them for a bit longer. This morning I decided to give it a go again and a lot of things are becoming clear to me;

  1. My ADHD meds have a big impact on my appetite. I figured that they didn't. I have a finicky appetite to begin with and a difficult stomach so I figured there wasn't much more harm they could do. But sat here, I can tell that there isn't much that I feel like eating. This after I spent the past weeks eating a lot better than I had before. I thought this was just holiday stuff but afterwards, I tried to make a concerted effort to keep it up and found that sometimes, this worked! I made & ATE lavish breakfasts (For me that meant; not just yoghurt and half of a piece of fruit, but coffee & a scrambled egg too!), I made and ate sushi for lunch (twice!) and so on. It wasn't easy, but it was something. And it made me feel good about my efforts.

  2. My mind does feel quieter. But I also feel like I can more easily get engrossed in the wrong task. Sometimes that task is overthinking about something that isn't relevant right now. Which is the opposite of helpful.

Somehow, over the past years, I've learned to get to know myself and my ADHD traits so well that the past three weeks I found out how to work with it, instead of having to snuff it out. The medication definitely played a role in that. I could not have learned all these techniques without having them to rely on. They gave a calm within the chaotic storm which allowed me to see the edges of things, to learn the shape and feel of them so that I could recognize them later. I also feel far less negatively associating with my ADHD traits. This is due to all the positive examples I've had around me, not just in the writer's group but places like TikTok and real-life friends too!

Is it still a challenge? Absolutely yes. My temporal blindness is worse now than it's been in a loooong time. I have trouble prioritising things. I am easily distracted by what I find fun at the time. But the flipside of that is that I find it easier to have fun, which helps calm my nervous system down. Which helps the symptoms be less problematic too.
The big difference is that now I can say things like "Well I don't understand how time works , I blink and it's an hour later, can you just call me when it's time?" or "okay I clearly want to do this thing now, I'll allow it, but then tomorrow or after, I'll do this thing because it's important". Yes, important things are getting pushed back a bit further than perfection me would have liked, but they are still getting done. Doing things I don't like is also less of a punishment. I know how my brain reacts to it and I can soothe it. "Its okay, you can do this. " no bribing is necessary, I can calm the stress down. This is in no small part due to curable and all the chronic pain related content I've been reading and listening to. Self-soothing seems to be a particularly helpful technique to me.

So if I'm doing so amazing without meds, why diddI take them? Well, this weekend everything went wrong all at once. We went to meet a baby and on the way there every possible thing that could have gone wrong,did. Suddenly I realized, this is what life was like before medication! But now that I'm on them I wonder. Should I perhaps just accept that this is a part of my life? That I arrive late, and frazzled whenever my tactics to regulate have failed? Maybe, just maybe....that's okay?

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By Leonie Jonk 💘

Artist & Spoonie I write about my life as an artist and as a person with chronic pain, the struggles, the rewards, the inspiration & the downfalls. Oh and occasionally the odd piece of fiction :)

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