Before I tell you what happened today, I should give yu some background on my situation. As part of my job, they sent me to a specialized training center in order to become fluent in French. This was a necessary thing in order to continue climbing the corporate ladder. I've been in a classroom with 6 other people since October 2002 and as you can imagine, being in a classroom 7.5 hours a day learning French is very painful.
Since last year, I've been down, thinking that it was because I wasn't in the office doing "real" work anymore while I was on training. To compound it I had a major depressive episode in August when the power went out and I was stuck by myself for 23 hours without anything to keep my mind occupied. During this period I analyzed myself into a corner about my ex and why she cheated on me more than once, and how she emotionally manipulated and abused me. For 2 days I was crawling in my skin as all I could think about were all the guys she slept with while she was telling me how much she loved me... Since then, I've been on Remeron, Effexor, Dexydrene and Wellbutrin (though not all at the same time).
I recently started taking Wellbutrin 3 weeks ago. In addition, after 3 months, my psychiatrist determined that the Effexor was probably the reason why I was so nauseous every morning to the point where I had to wait at least a half every morning for my stomach to settle down enough that I wouldn't puke my guts out. Last week, he told me to stop taking the Effexor, and for 6 days I was going through withdrawal. Now, this pretty much explains what has happened up to today.
After 3 weeks of Wellbutrin, I'm finally beginning to get to the point where I feel a little more motivated to do things. Unfortunately, my classmates have noticed two side effects: 1) increased hyperactivity (like constant nervous subconscious actions), and 2) over-focusing. Yesterday, in our small and intimate classroom, I started organizing my notes. Suddenly I got so engrossed by what I was doing that I started re-organizing 300 pages of notes. Needless to say, all of that paper rustling annoyed my classmates; I honestly didn't realize that it was that distracting, and for the first time in about 8 months, I was actually able to focus on something and feel excited doing it. To smooth things over, I asked them to please let me know when I'm doing something annoying.
Today, in the late afternoon, after 6 hours of having our grammar mercilessly corrected, I went to the computer in the front of our classroom and started to send some business related e-mails. It was during a break and I thought that I would have enough time to finish it; I was wrong. I was so engrossed with finishing that e-mail and sending it off that I didn't realize that the class had restarted behind me and that the noise of my typing was annoying them. One of my classmates (one of the three people there that knows that I have ADHD and that I'm on medication for it) got so annoyed that she threw a box of Kleenex over my head and against the wall in order to get my attention. After which, in front of everyone else, she explained how rude I was behaving; I honestly didn't register that the noise was that loud and at the time, all I could think about was finishing that damn letter.
Afterwards, she came to talk to me tell me that the others were getting kind of worried about me because I've been behaving "strangely" the last two weeks, and that I can't continue to use my ADHD as an "excuse", that I should show more respect to my fellow classmates. In retrospect, I can see how annoy it might have been but, I lost it when she told me to stop using my ADHD as an excuse. Excuse me, but, for the first time in 8 months I was able to focus on a task from beginning to end and feel good about doing it! That hurt... that hurt a lot...
Basically, we talked it out, and in the end, we were both kind of worried; I'm taking Wellbutrin and Dexydrene but to what end? My psychiatrist says that it will help me be more normal and feel good about myself. At this point, people are beginning to think that I'm acting a little distracted and bizarre. Personally, before this incident, I was beginning to feel about 60% of the way I used to before the French training. I just want to know what is "normal"? Does it mean that instead of having regular extreme swings from hyperfocus to complete burnout every year, that I will be somewhere in the middle? For those of you that have been receiving treatment for a while, could you please explain to me what it feels like to be normal because I've come to the realization that my perception of normal is so out of whack with reality that I wouldn't recognize it if it bit me on the ***.
I'm sorry for the long, whining post but, I'm tired, and I kind of need to know that after a while, I'll understand how the rest of the world gets through their days and be able to experience the same things as everyone else. I'd like to know that there are people here who lead normal lives where they don't stick out like a sore thumb, where they aren't the poster child for odd behaviour.
The incident in class is awful. ADHD is not an excuse but being on mind altering medication is. Medications that mess with brain chemistry can change a persons behavior big time (for better or worse) Since this person knows that you are on medication I would think they would be a bit more understanding.
You asked if what is going on with you is normal. Well I would have to say no, it isn't. If your behavior was anywhere near normal people would not be telling you openly that they are concerend about you. Even though you are feeling a bit better, you appear to not be in full contact with whats going on around you.
I would suggest talking to your doctor. Since the medication is helping you feel better maybe all thats needed is a dose change to eliminate the side effects and "odd behavior" you are experiencing. Plus, theres the fact that wellbutrin is fairly new for you, your body may need time to adjust to it. Keep in close contact with your doctor as well as friends and co-workers. Ask them to please make you aware of any odd behaviors, personality changes, etc etc that they notice. Write EVERYTHING like this down and take the notes to your doctor next time you go in.
Everything will work out. It's absolutely amazing that you are learning french. I could NEVER sit in a classroom for 7.5 hours. That is really something you should be proud of.
I know tht I've only been on the medication for ADD for a month and a half but, I just want to know what kind of life I can expect in the future, like what can I expect to be like in 5 years while still on the medication. I guess that I just want to know that someday, that I'll be able to walk among the crowds and not have my ADD make me stick out like some guy in a big Santa costume during the middle of July.
Why? As adults we teach children that it's ok to be different, but then we go and try to fit it and be like everyone else?
ADD isn't bad, it's just different, and you should be PROUD! Many ADD people lead normal lives in terms of symptom management, lots of people do this without being on medications long term. If the reason you are on medication is to try to alter yourself to be more like everyone else you really need to sit down and think about your priorities. In the future medication might help to releive many of your ADD symptoms but it is not going to change who you are. You will always have ADD, it is nothing to be ashamed of. A step in the right direction would be to realize that you are always going to be different. Even if you don't outwardly show odd behaviors and symptoms you will never be just like everyone else, nor should you want to be.
I think that if you relax a little and just be yourself rather than trying so hard to fit in you may find that your treatment plan will work even better.
You may want to consider adding behavior modification to your treatment plan if you haven't already. This can be very helpful. While you are on medications it can enhance treatment, so much so that you may be able to eventually get off your medications all together if you ever wish to do so. The theory is behavior modification techniques are difficult to learn so an ADDer might need to be under some other sort of treatment to be able to learn behavior modification techniques, but once these are learned some people are able to go off medication/other treatment, without having a severe reoccurence in symptoms.
Listen to lots of instrumental classical music
Go for a walk for at least an hour every day. (or two half hour walks)
You can download free symptom trackers that can help you evaluate the effectiveness of your treatment, if you can't find one you like you can make one in microsoft word or even create a card (that's my all time favorite one to use)
It sounds like you have a lot on your plate to deal with on personal and professional levels. Hang in there. It will get better. It sounds like you're confronted with multiple overwhelming issues. Each one as important, demanding your where-with-all and stay power. It sounds like you need support and reassurance. Redirect your focus to learning and the positive things you have to look forward to. You are continually being challenged and regroup, have risen to the occassion and persevered. Kudos to you. Those who have experienced depression will tell you how difficult it is as one issue let alone the devastation of separation, compounded by ADHD and the pressures of daily life. Grieving takes time and coming to terms with emotional loss and betrayal can feel like the stages of grieving a death and forces us to re-evaluate our lives. Some days life is filled with events beyond our control, the traffic-jam of rush-hour, a pile-up with rubber-necking onlookers that keep us from getting where we need to be. Hurry up to slow down, stop to make a move, yield to oncoming traffic. But eventually the congestion breaks to a clear road ahead...
The timeline of these events is close and stress considerable. The future holds promise and the transition back to work will be-a good thing. Don't let things throw you off center. You may be vulnerable-a word of caution. Taking a demanding class to become fluent in a language is no small task. If the class were larger perhaps your noise level would have not been as noticeable over the general noise of others. You rustled papers which distracted a student from work as it was brought to your attention. The noise of typeing on break (extended) irritated the student as the student made a scene. Two incidents. If distractions were frequent I might consider it an issue and address it with the therapist.
Be leery of a person who speaks on behalf of classmates for your sole concern and benefit. That was a different approach in an attempt to resolve her issue with you and I sense an ulterior motive at work but I could be wrong. Either way, you are getting better and making strides. Don't give weight to something small to distract you from what is important. The grains of salt...
The symbolic golf ball & sand in vase story has helped me. The story suggests we put lifes events into proper perspective by determining on a conscious level what is and what is not important in what consumes us. A vessel is limited as to how much it may hold. Its contents are catagorized as golf balls; what is of greatest importance, concern and significance (examples are faith, health, job, family) and sand to represent incidentals (examples are excessive worry, concerns, thoughts)...
Imagine a vase (we as a vessel) hold the two (golf balls and sand) that translate simply to what we deem important, is of greatest concern and our personal purpose by assigning one golf ball to represent each. With finite jar space we want to fill it primarily with golf balls. There will always be sand in the jar because we are human but recognition helps self-governing consideration. There is shift and change from time to time but the over all capacity remains the same. What fills our life? What do we make significant? What is worthy of allocating a golf ball to our jar? Can I afford the trade off? Each time we add a golf ball we must compensate to redistribute the golfballs and sand. There is a price paid every time we do this. Either in trade of other golf balls or sand to allow space for the new issue. We can't pile them up and have it overflow. That is chaos. Everyone has a different tolerance level. We make the choice and know there is a decision to be made. When we allow more sand to fill our jar it makes mud of other important issues that may deserve golf ball status but is set wayside because of the overwhelming sand. Each grain of sand-an issue, worry, thought or concern. Overwhelming feelings are a pretty good indicator our balance is off kilter. The trick is recognition and leveling it off before it snowballs out of control.
You made the effort to understand her issue. You gave consideration and more then someone else may have. If you were not caring you could have blown it off but you did not. You are better for it and she now concentrates. That is the end of that issue. This student and stranger embarrassed herself before the class and made the statement that you are using ADHD as an excuse sounds as though she armed herself with fragmented tidbits of information and attempted to use it. Keep your mind on your class and go home. Golf balls and sand...
This classmate may genuinely be struggling with this class and distracted by the drop of a pencil. In any case and by all means make every effort to limit distracting others who have less focus ability then yourself. This does not mean walk on eggshells because then you could very well be distracted from learning and may pay too much attention to this. It sounds like she let frustrations build-up and blurted. I can see it happening in someone stressed out. Consider this issue resolved. I would not give a stranger cart blanch to critique. Don't burn bridges and don't buy one either. Beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. More sand...
By all means be attentive as to how noisy you are for the sake of others. Some need quiet or focus is shot. This happens to me as well. I hope for her sake she learns to tune noise out. Keep your personal life personal. She used something she knows little to nothing about and embarrassed herself by demonstration before this small group. That is another reason I would keep things at arms length. This did not reflect poorly on you. I am sure everyone there is under the gun to get it done. If a person wants respect and consideration he or she certainly better get off the soapbox and deliver the same. Are we at a beach? Where is all this sand coming from?
What is normal anyway? Be mindful from where advise comes that you take. Is throwing an object across the room a rational or safe thing to do? That is like asking Lizzy for marital advise. You don't know me nor I you but given what you have been through and are dealing with, I for one would expect someone experiencing crisis to be different from their usual-norm. Each of us has a threshold. How "normal" are you supposed to be? As the dust settles from life's kick about your field of vision will clear and things will get better. It's hard to see the road in a sandstorm. Give it time.
You thought you were coming along and you are. Everyone has setbacks. It's part of life. You are able to focus and follow through more then others. That should say something. Once this class is over celebrate. Darn straight. Celebrate new beginnings and shake it off. Don't let *things* interfere with your getting better. In time medications may need adjustment. Rome was not built in a day. However cliche this seems it applies. Simplicity is a beautiful thing. Once this class is under your belt, you will move forward and feel better about things. It takes time. Every rose has a thorn. I'm thinking about this as a gift basket and include this story. In it would be a centerpiece, a crystal vase with multi colored crystal golf balls and sachets of sand on the side. A new year resolution and meditation piece to see every day as a reminder and centerpiece. You know what I mean.
Meaning you wellness and success and Bonjour, Gemi
Last edited by Gemi; 12-15-2003 at 03:09 PM.
Reason: What is a run on sentance? One with feet...
Thanks for the words of encouragement... now if you could only do something about my ex; I just found out from her (though now she denys saying it) and her best friends (who are happy that I told her to get out of my life) that she cheated on me through out our relationship. To think I let her batter my self-esteem...