Up until I turned 49, my life seemed okay. I didn’t analyze it, I didn’t really pay it much attention, I just assumed it was okay. I thought it could be better, but whose life couldn’t, right?
It’s true, I’d had more than my share of jobs, and I couldn’t find a hobby that I liked well enough to stay with it, forsaking any others. And yes, there was room for improvement in my tax return filing skills. But I was okay.
In 2009 I became aware that I might have ADHD. Lots of research and one diagnosis later, I became a certified member of the ADHD tribe.
Shortly thereafter, in an effort to better my life, a prescription was written for stimulant medication, with my name on it.
I started taking methylphenidate, working my way up to a dosage that made improvements in my life I had never thought possible. I was happy. On January 19 of 2011, I wrote in my previous blog, Tao Of Taylor, of the effects the medication had on me, and how those effects related to a meeting I had attended. My world seemed very much in order.
And “order” truly was the word for it. I quickly got comfortable with this new world.
In my comfort zone
But how comfortable had I gotten? Good question. Ask me that again, in a few moments.
From 2010 until 2013 I took methylphenidate and settled in to a better life. But a problem loomed on the horizon.
I don’t have normal drug reactions. That is to say, I sometimes have odd reactions to some medications.
For example, 5% of the accepted maximum dosage of a certain tricyclic antidepressant drug snows me for hours. People take ten times the dosage that puts me into a fog for pain management, and 20 times for mental health issue management. How? I have no idea.
Even something as simple as anti-inflammatory medication can be an issue. Aspirin makes me snappy and snarly, quick to anger. Tylenol or Ibuprofen has no such ill effect.
Back to my life
As I minded my own business and trundle on down the new tracks of my life, I became a little anxious. As time passed that anxiety increased. When I started feeling depressed, I made an appointment with my psychologist.
I explained the anxiety to her and she and I began a dialogue that ended with our looking through the possible side effects of Methylphenidate. And there it was. Anxiety. I put the bottle of pills away in the drawer and left them there for the beginning of a new trial, Kelly unmedicated … and the anxiety went away.
Now what was that question you had earlier?
Earlier in this post I posed the question, “How comfortable had I gotten?” I posed that question because, indeed, I’d gotten quite comfortable. And when I stopped taking methylphenidate, I was made acutely aware of how reliant I’d become on it. I was lost.
It seems I’d left behind coping skills I’d created and honed in my previous life, abandoned them, instead of using them with the medication. And now I had neither them, nor the medication. I was struggling.
Fast forward two months
Last night I had a meeting of that same group that I spoke of in the Tao Of Taylor post. And with or without my medication, I could still see they were wandering.
This time I made no effort to keep them on topic, but I put in an Olympic effort to keep myself quiet and focused.
And it worked. Rather well, I think. I watched, I listened, and I ask questions when I had concerns. I took notes regarding things that I’m in charge of, and noted things that I would have to do before next meeting.
And it looks like I may be on my way back to where I was before I started using stimulant medication. And maybe I’ll even get to a better place than that.
Maybe, just maybe.