Sometimes, I’m an ADHD Turkey
Sometimes, that’s how it feels.
Take this weekend. I visited some dear friends (as I always do) for Thanksgiving dinner. After dinner, an 11 year-old guest began to yawn. One of the hosts explained to the young lad that turkey had an amino acid called Tryptophan that made you drowsy.
Won’t stop ’til I drop (eating turkey, that is)
As usual, there were enough leftovers (including turkey) for breakfast and dinner the next day. What’s better than one Thanksgiving turkey dinner? Three of them!
So, there I was the evening after the gathering, having just concluded a 24-hour turkey-binge – and absolutely wide awake. I was yawning. I was exhausted. But try as I might, I couldn’t get to sleep.
Not even after all that turkey!
Geez, I must be built backwards, I thought.
I remembered my friend’s explanation about the kid’s drowsiness (an explanation I’d heard before), and of course blamed my insomnia on the turkey. Well, not on the turkey per se, poor thing; on my glutt0nous consumption of same. I hardly ever have trouble falling asleep. Ever.
Being awake and having nothing better to do, I ruminated over the situation, which I took as one more piece of evidence that I was built backwards. As I Twitter-whined about it, I found out that I’m not the only one who feels like she’s built backwards and inside out. One ADHD Twitter pal commiserated in a reply Tweet:
Stimulants quiet us, things that are supposed to relax us make us restless. Sigh.
Except that before writing this blog post, I looked up the Tryptophan / Turkey connection to learn that reports of its sedative effect are largely exaggerated, amounting to little more than urban myth.
Urban myth or ADHD?
This got me thinking: how easy it is to slip into negative generalizations when we’re tired. It also got me thinking about how annoyed and negative I can get when I hear some of the unfounded remarks I hear about ADHD.
As for my turkey-tryptophan response, that was obviously a myth on many levels, my response included. However, some of my responses to chemicals are the opposite (or at least, markedly different) to those without ADHD (yes, stimulants do focus me and calm me down), but this incident reminded me of how easy it is to accept what we hear, especially if we hear it often enough, as truth.
Truth or gobble-dee-gook?
While this may not have earth-shattering consequences when we’re believing that it’s the turkey that made us tuckered (and not, say, the two or three bottles of wine that accompanied dinner. And dessert…and our over-eating…) but when it comes to all the stereotypes, urban legends, myths, and outright denial of ADHD, especially in adults, and doubly so when it’s about women and ADHD, that’s quite another story.
The turkey incident was a wake-up call to remind me to be careful about what I believe and to always, always check the facts.
So I’d like to pass this reminder along to you: when you hear something about ADHD, check it out. Don’t be a turkey, especially when it comes to your health and well-being!
(The notable exception being, of course, that it’s ok to stuff yourself once a year, at Thanksgiving. But please remember to be extra thankful!)
Kessler, Z. (2012). Sometimes, I’m an ADHD Turkey. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 13, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-zoe/2012/10/sometimes-im-an-adhd-turkey/