If you’re new to this series and want to start from the beginning or you want to catch up on any updates you might have missed, here are links to my updates on my first, second, and third weeks on Ritalin.
Generally speaking, this week’s experience was the same as previous weeks and I seem to have settled into a bit of a groove with it. At first I thought that some of the benefits I was experiencing may be due to the placebo effect, but now I think they really are due to the medication’s physiological effects of Ritalin on my brain chemistry.
Because I had experimented with taking two pills on three mornings (by my doctor’s direction), my prescription was for 30-pills, and there were 28-days between doctor visits, I had to go one day without taking a pill at all. Since I feel the most “in the zone” when I’m teaching, I decided to make one of those days my day off the medication. The day went well, but I did notice that in the evening I was feeling more lonely and generally down, especially that evening.
I had another successful week eating a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet and reduced my weight by another 3-pounds. That’s a total decrease of 11-pounds in 3-weeks. The Ritalin seems to strengthen my willpower and makes it much easier to make better choices, even while traveling.
Yesterday morning I had my follow-up doctor appointment. He was well pleased with my progress too. My heart rate and blood pressure was fine, he was really excited about my weight decrease, he was glad I was happy with the positive changes in my thoughts, and he was glad the people around me were happy with the changes as well.
My doctor has asked me to add a tablet in the afternoon, about an hour before my usual crash to keep the medication in my blood stream longer. Neither he nor I want the crash to happen in the middle of the work day and neither of us want it to happen in the early to mid-evening either when it may interfere with social activities.
Yesterday was my first day taking an afternoon dose and it went well. I was really productive and focused all day long, even into the evening. I experienced my crash around 10pm and it seemed to be a harder crash than ones I experienced in the afternoons.
My doctor asked me about my sleeping patterns and I told him that has been fine. In fact, I’ve been able to get back on my 5- to 6-hours a night schedule which is typically where I function best—however, left to my own I can easily sleep (or rather lay there) for 8- or 9-hours just thinking and wear myself out for the day. I don’t think I slept much at all last night. I resisted the temptation to look at the clock and I think that for most of the evening I was in a state almost somewhere between awake and asleep but not entirely in either one. This is something I’ll need to continue monitoring.
This week I’ll be in Redmond Washington teaching SharePoint to Microsoft’s employees. I try to stay on my East Coast time schedule regardless of which time zone I’m in, so that means that I’ll be getting up around 3am. I’m not sure when I’ll eat breakfast or have my first caffeine, or when I’ll take my pills. I’ll just have to see how things work out. Also, I’ll be coming back on a red-eye flight. Those are always tough as well, especially since I don’t usually sleep well on planes. I’ll end up with about a 30-hour day between waking and getting to nap in my bed. So I think the time zone challenges and the cross-country travel will be huge things to deal with this week. I’ll let you know how it all went next week!