I have lost count of the number of times I’ve heard someone with ADHD say some variation of, “Does anyone else go to bed really tired and then lie awake for hours while their mind races?”
And I can tell you that it is a thing.
It is one of those paradoxes that ADHD is rife with, what the disorder almost seems to be made of at times.
Paradox and dichotomy, that’s ADHD.
Like how we cannot focus on some things and yet we can focus on others. That’s the one that makes people think we’re just lazy. “You can obviously focus, you just don’t bother to if you don’t enjoy the thing that you’re supposed to focus on.”
That one is hard to explain to neuro-typical people because their brains don’t work like ours and they don’t get that we do not focus on anything.
The focus is a naturally occurring phenomenon and is out of our control. Whether we’re focusing on something we maybe shouldn’t be, or not focusing on something we should be, we do not control that.
And then …
There’s the fact that we can say the most hurtful things, and yet we care very much about other people’s thoughts and feelings.
Yes, we do. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t give a damn about our disorder, we would simply play video games and do stupid exciting things and tell the world to go to hell.
We offend and insult and do not intend any of it. We say inappropriate things, and sometimes we don’t realize that what we said was inappropriate at all.
but the paradox that is truly interesting is …
The fact that stimulants help us calm down, help us focus, there’s a paradox.
But … not really.
Think about the ADHD brain as if it were a computer. It actually is, it’s a biological computer, one that is very much like the neuro-typical brain, but with some differences.
The big difference is best described as an additional circuit that needs exactly the right voltage and amperage to allow certain parts of the system to function properly. Inadequate power makes it cut in and out, randomly doing different things with little reason or logic to the order or choice.
This, this is what keeps my people awake at night. And while stimulant medication can help that voltage remain steady and adequate, it also will keep them awake with its own effects on the brain.
If only there was a stimulant that wasn’t as strong, one that kept the brain focused but didn’t stop it from being able to shut down.
If only there was a stimulant that stimulated peace …
Well, I’ve said this a hundred times and more, but I’m happy to say it yet again.
I use coffee. I have a cup before I go to bed … sometimes I take it to bed with me.
And when I’m done drinking it, I set down the cup, turn out the light, roll over and within five or so minutes I’m often asleep. In truth, sometimes it’s more like five or so seconds.
I see you shaking your head …
If you don’t believe me, that’s fine.
But maybe pick a night when you don’t need to be up for anything the next day, a try half a cup.
After all, what do you have to lose? Another sleepless night?