Archives for February, 2013
When I was young, everyone talked like I did where I grew up. Everyone except my father. Well, okay, he talked like everyone else ... except when he got excited, then he would slip back into his old accent. He came from Newfoundland and I thought his accent was neat. It didn't help that it came out when he was upset. It came out when he was upset with me, trying to lecture me about something he thought I should be aware of. He was less amused when he found out I was amused. When I first heard my grandfather talk, I realized he sounded like dad when dad was upset, but grandpa sounded like that all the time. The accent is lilting, borrowing much from Irish, Scottish and English accents.
I want to tell you about my current medication. It's changed. It's changed rather suddenly, but for reasons that grew subtly. And I'm happy about the change in some ways, but disappointed in others. And I've learned some things that I've found rather surprising. Before we discuss this change, I want to say that emotionally biased opinions of my medication are not welcome. If you are planning on telling me I should or shouldn't do something, I would caution you to consider that I am not telling you how to approach your treatment. I'm not telling you to take medication or not. I'm giving my opinion on the efficacy of medication.
Yes, it's true. ADHD stimulant medication has side effects. And as we all know, side effects are bad. Only drugs with no side effects should ever be allowed. So that leaves us with ... nothing. Even sugar piles used as placebos have potential side effects. To avoid the risk of side effects, you can no longer eat. There is no food that you might not potentially be affected by. Even if you've eaten it before with success, you may develop a reaction to your favourite vittles any day now.
I have my priorities straight: be honest in my dealings with others, pay my bills, maintain my health. These are easy, no brainers, right? Right! But prioritizing isn't always so easy, especially when it comes to the smaller things. Being unable to focus on single things is an issue when deciding what's important. Do I take out the garbage or fold the laundry. Well, I should do both. But in my world, doing one or the other first usually means I'm choosing which one has a better chance of getting done.
Stimulants motivate people. Stimulants make people more active. At one time (and probably still) stimulants were used as diet pills. People with ADHD are often very active, especially those of us with the “H” switch turned on and the hyper drives set to warp ten. I'm one of those. I can go through the day feeling like I've accomplished nothing, yet I won't have stopped “doing” all day long. To itemize my accomplishments you sometimes have to be very creative. I moved a book from my night stand to my dresser, some receipts from my dresser to my desk, a dirty coffee cup from my desk to the kitchen counter, my phone charger from the counter to the hall table, the newspaper from the hall table to the end table, my shoes from beside the end table to the side door, my keys from the door to the key rack ... you know I could go on.
As marketing schemes go, this was a good one. Bell, Canada's telecommunications giant, has been ramping up to February 12th, choosing that day to put mental health in the limelight. I know this brought them a great deal of publicity, but I don't have a problem with that. The money they spent on this campaign could easily have gone to slick commercials and a cadre of spin doctors figuring out how to make saving a nickle look like something worth the money and effort needed to invest in getting signed up for that “save a nickle” program.
Wow, tomorrow is Valentine's Day? Seems like that just happened 12 months or so ago. What? Are they having it annually now? You'd think I'd have noticed that ... Oh well, luckily, last year, I came up with a list of 5 ways to make your Valentine's Day an ADHD success. And I put that list in a pile on my desk, a pile of lists, a pile of lists of important things, perhaps ways of making occasions successful or some such thing as that. Now where is it ...
The other day I had an unhappy task, the ending of a friendship. It wasn't my choice, yet it was. I had helped this friend at times, at least I like to think I had. And my friend had helped me. But a time came when I was asked not to contact that friend. I was hurt, and reacted badly. It was not a good time to lose a friend, I had lost my wife five months earlier. When I say I reacted badly, I mean via email. As soon as I clicked the send button I regretted it. My sentiment was honest, but I could have entertained that sentiment without sharing.
So, on Wednesday, we talked about how we focus on things like TV. I suggested that It wasn't really a positive thing, more like something we can't help. And while the focusing is something we'd like to be able to harness, I didn't think I could find any help in examining this particular habit. I did allude to the idea that drama might play a role in focus, and, bad TV aside, I still think drama is a great focusing tool. If you can find drama in a dull task, you have a better chance of making it to the end of that task. My mother had a way of making my tasks more difficult. Don't get me wrong here, she knew what she was doing. If I was suffering in my attempts to get through a particularly tedious task, she would make it more challenging. Bingo, focus accomplished.
You know we can't focus, right? Wrong. Okay we can focus, but only on video games and TV shows, right? WRONG! Okay, you know we can focus the living bejeebers out of some things ... and not so much on others, right? Right! Why is this? I don't know. Every time I try to think about it I zone out. Yeah, yeah, I know, that was a cheap shot just to get a laugh.