This is the follow-up post to last week’s post on my first week on Ritalin.
I was teaching a SharePoint Training Class in Chicago for most of this week. I feel like I’m on top of my game when I’m teaching, so the thought had occurred to me that maybe I shouldn’t take my “power pellets” this week (Note: some people call their antidepressants their “happy pills” so I now refer to my ADHD meds as my “power pellets”). My doctor wanted me to take either one or two each day, but my prescription was for 30-days and there are 28-days between visits. So in order to test this I’ll have to go without for a few days. I eventually decided that this early in the testing phase that I shouldn’t skip it and that I should stick with just one pill per day.
I noticed that I felt more outgoing and uninhibited this week. I’m not sure if that was due to the medication or due to the fact that I got a free upgrade on my rental car and I was driving a Dodge Challenger muscle car around all week. I found myself engaging strangers in conversation more easily and joking and picking with my students even more than I usually do. As usual, my students really enjoyed the class. In fact, since this is my blog, I’m going to toot my own horn a little and publish some of their survey comments about me as an instructor:
- Ricky – very upbeat and entertaining; obviously very knowledgeable of SharePoint; explained things well.
- Ricky was great. He is obviously very knowledgeable, and he does a good job of bringing tech-y stuff down to everyday user level.
- Ricky is knowledgeable and enthusiastic. I appreciate his flexibility in approaching the course content – he struck a great balance between the demos, lectures and presentations.
- Ricky kept everyone interested and entertained. He also provided real world examples to give us some kind of idea of how real businesses are using certain SharePoint features. I think Ricky did a great job in covering the material specified in the course outline and providing little bonus demos depending on the questions asked. I can’t think of anything at the moment that he should improve on.
- Ricky- good instructor very knowledgeable, the demos were very informative. He was a very good instructor.
- Ricky was excellent. No improvement necessary.
This brings me to another thing I’ve been experiencing that I attribute to the medication. I don’t seem to care nearly as much about what other people think. At one time I wouldn’t have posted those comments because I wouldn’t have wanted to appear proud. I would have thought about it, wrestled with the idea, and then decided not to. However, I feel like I’m going with my instincts on some things more now. I guess time will tell if that is a good thing or a bad thing.
I know that people with ADHD are known for blurting out things without thinking about the consequences. I’ve always been exactly the opposite–I think carefully before I say almost anything. I choose my words carefully, I think about how others might respond, I think about my response, and their response to that. It’s kind of like a chess player thinking through the next several moves in a game of chess. I can do this quite easily and incredibly rapidly. Like most people with ADHD I do tend to interrupt people a lot when they are talking. This is because they’ve said something that has triggered a thought, I’ve thought several comments ahead about how it will play out, and now I can’t wait to make my comment. This was all nearly an unconscious thing for many years and a few months ago I became conscious of it. When I realized it, I asked someone else if she did that and she was amazed that I do it. I think this behavior is something I developed as a coping mechanism many years ago.
Although I’ve seen significant improvement in many areas, I feel like I’ve slipped in others. This morning I misplaced my wallet and spent about 10-minutes looking for it until I found it. Last night I let the dog out and forget about her until the neighbors found her up the street and brought her back home. Although these are things that are common for many people with ADHD, I’ve usually had systems to keep them from happening and now those systems seem to be failing a little more. Perhaps it’s just coincidental. I don’t know but I think it’s worth noting.
In spite of the failing systems, I feel happier in general. I’m much more care free. I’m not stressing about every little thing. I remember on my job interviews in the past, one of my weaknesses was that I was too detail oriented and that I needed to loosen up and allow myself to make more mistakes. I kind of feel like maybe I’m there now.
When I worked with the excellent productivity coach Tara Rodden Robinson a couple years ago, she pointed out to me that I had a lot of negative self-talk as I shared about myself. She mirrored some of my comments back to me and I was surprised–if someone else had said those same things I would have realized how negative that person was were about himself. I think I’m now thinking much more positively about myself and the things I do. I’m not sure where the medication fits in with that, but it’s significant and worth noting.
I think the biggest benefit for me so far is still recognizing that I’m tired and then giving myself permission to rest without feeling like I have to be doing something. I recognize both physical tiredness and mental tiredness as well. Before, I felt like I had to be constantly doing something. Now I don’t feel that need nearly as much. When I get tired I go rest. I realize that resting and recharging are two different things and I’m experimenting with some things that might help me recharge. I used to feel that I should be able to do mental work all day long. However, now I see that mental work is much like physical work, that I’m not a machine, and I can only do so much each day. I don’t have to feel bad about that, I don’t have to apologize for that, and I don’t have to cover it up. This is very empowering!
Another benefit last week was that I was able to get back on my high-protein/low-carbohydrate way of eating. It was rather easy for me to do this even though I was traveling. In the process I reduced my weight by six pounds! That was weight I had gained over the past month or so, but it was still good to be able to knock it off so quickly and to so easily get back on track. So I think the Ritalin has strengthened my willpower in this area.
I did discover one negative pattern yesterday. It wasn’t apparent when I was teaching last week, but in retrospect over the past couple weeks, I find that around 2pm in the afternoon I suddenly feel very tired. It seems to last for about an hour. I think this might be a ‘crash’ from the Ritalin wearing off about that time. My doctor said we may try adding a second mid-day dose after this first month trial. If this is a ‘crash’ and it is inevitable, then it would be helpful if that was closer to bedtime.
Next week I’ll be taking two pills each morning, 40mg, for most of the work week, so I should have some new things to report.