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Old 11-16-2011, 02:58 PM   #1
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When meds aren't working

I am nearly 41 years old, and it was only a 2 1/2 months ago that I was diagnosed with ADHD inattentive. Since then I've tried three stimulant medications all of which have given me migraines. When the medications worked it was amazing how my life changed and my head cleared, but the headaches are so bad that it's not worth it to continue taking.

I'd like to get some ideas about how people live with their ADD when they are not medicated. The biggest things I struggle with are low energy and boredom. I'm not motivated to do much of anything, and I don't feel like doing anything. No, it's not depression. It's just being bored and easily overwhelmed or overstimulated some may say.

For example, at work when I'm not taking ADD meds the afternoons get very long and I feel very dissatisfied with my job because there's just nothing I can think of to do. When I'm taking medication and my mind is working, however, I *find* things to do. Productive things. Useful things. Things I should be doing. But without medication the desire to do those things and to even the ability to come up with a list of those things is challenging. My head is so muddled with junk that I don't even see what needs to or could be done so I whittle away the afternoon surfing the internet and/or feeling extremely frustrated because in my mind there is nothing to do. It makes for a very long day and one in which I don't feel needed or useful to my employer.

What's your life like without ADD medication? What have you learned to do that makes life with ADD a little less frustrating? How do you handle the ups and downs of medication working for a while but then stopping? Lots of questions I know, but those are the ones I'm asking myself.

Aaron

 
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:59 PM   #2
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Re: When meds aren't working

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaron704 View Post

1) I've tried three stimulant medications all of which have given me migraines. When the medications worked it was amazing how my life changed and my head cleared, but the headaches are so bad that it's not worth it to continue taking.

2) What's your life like without ADD medication?

3) What have you learned to do that makes life with ADD a little less frustrating?

4) How do you handle the ups and downs of medication working for a while but then stopping?

Aaron
RE:

1) Which 3 stimulant medications have you tried?

2) Life is doable but more difficult.

3) I'm in the 7th year of learning a lot of "tricks" that work well for me.

I'll give you one.

Our minds work tangentially. Managing tasks tangentiality has driven my productivity through the roof.

An example: I'm the middle of a home improvement project.

I started the plumbing, the electrical, mansonry, and "rip out" (removing old linoleum, a cellar door, an exterior window, and a wall) and began painting the rooms that need paint only.

I'm doing some rather complex electrical wiring work in a truck.

On the remodel, the electrical and mansonry tasks depend on the rip out in three different areas being done first. I'm removing the linoleum in another area, a time consuming tedious task, but not a critical path in electrical or mansonry. The painting can be done anytime. The truck repair is related to the remodel in that I intend to pickup in my pickup, building materials such as lumber and insulation. The masonry materials were delivered.

I keep moving from task to task. All tasks are coming together on time and well within budget. I get bored or stuck on one, I move to another. It is that simple.

My tangental ADHD brain loves tangental task management.

I've learned a bunch of other tricks mostly from members of this board. Read though the posts.

4) I haven't experienced medications that work for me stopping. I strongly suspect that medications that stop working were the wrong meds in the first place. I can't say for sure.

I cannot consistently function well without medications. Some days I forget to take my meds in the morning but my brain reminds later in the day. For a number of years I was unable to function at all without meds. I could never have gotten my ADHD under control without medication. NEVER.

What are the three meds you tried so far?

Bob

 
Old 11-17-2011, 08:12 AM   #3
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Re: When meds aren't working

I've tried Ritalin, Adderall, and Vyvanse, all of which as you know are in the stimulant family. Perhaps I was just experiencing the euphoric side effect, but I don't think so. When they stopped working after about one month I found myself once again not focusing at work. Rather than doing the work that needed to be done I was wasting time. I couldn't even come up with things that needed to be done. That's not actually true. I thought of some things to do (leftover from when I was on the meds), but I didn't have the desire to do them at all.

I find that when I'm not taking the meds most everything in my life has to be "forced". By that I mean I have to exert lots of effort to socialize, to stop thinking about things and start doing, to do anything at all after I get home from work, to take care of my preschool daughter while Mommy is at work (I especially hate this because all I really want is to get her in bed so I can veg out), to mow my yard, to make plans for the weekend, to do laundry, to be the husband I need to be, to take care of our retirement accounts, to clean the office that has been a disaster for years and only gets worse as time goes on, etc. Basically everything in life becomes a chore. On the meds my life went from "forced" to living a life of wanting to do things. It was an amazing if not short-lived transformation. I've been on antidepressants many times in my life, and none of them has done anything for me.

So that's where I am. Just wanting to live life without headaches and without having to force everything and with being able to think clearly. I don't think that's too much to ask.

Aaron

 
Old 11-18-2011, 07:17 AM   #4
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Re: When meds aren't working

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Originally Posted by CWootton View Post
I just posted on another thread a 'trick' that my psychologist taught me. That is to do breathing exercises twice a day for 15 minutes each time. I cannot take ADHD meds yet, but the breathing exercise has greatly improved my focus.

I hope this helps you too.
Thanks Cwootton.
Is that like meditation where I sit in a comfortable position, close my eyes, breath in and out deeply and slowly, and concentrate on my breathing for 15 minutes? What times of day do you do them?

 
Old 11-18-2011, 07:21 AM   #5
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Re: When meds aren't working

I just posted on another thread a 'trick' that my psychologist taught me. That is to do breathing exercises twice a day for 15 minutes each time. I cannot take ADHD meds yet, but the breathing exercise has greatly improved my focus.

I hope this helps you too.

 
Old 11-18-2011, 07:57 AM   #6
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Re: When meds aren't working

That's exactly what it is Aaron; whatever breathing exercise that works for you. I do it at some point during the day (bad memory for some strange reason LOL), and at bedtime, just before I turn the light off.

FYI though, the exercise that I do is to breathe in slowly for a count of 8, hold for a count of 8, slowly breathe out for a count of 8, hold that for a count of 8, and repeat; its a yoga discipline. Keep a clock nearby to check the time once in awhile. I've used this for meditation for more years than I can remember, but only once in a while, and rarely when I'm stressed and its needed most.

 
Old 11-20-2011, 02:41 PM   #7
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Re: When meds aren't working

aaron,

Sorry for taking so long to reply. My home improvement project is experiencing "scope creep." That means getting bigger than intended.

RE: "Just wanting to live life without headaches and without having to force everything and with being able to think clearly. I don't think that's too much to ask."

That is NOT too much to ask. What you are asking for is basic to a functional life.

IMHO, I could not succeed without medication. I doubt if you can. Look up Daniel Amen, MD. Consider a PET scan. Pet scans can pinpoint brain areas that are buggy. Medication, then, can be custom tailored to the patient with much less trial and error.

Do not forget, you are talking with people that have the EXACT SAME attention deficit problems. We get it. Big time get it. AD/HD ruins lives. Does not have to. You must find an excellent psychiatrist. I cannot think of better than Daniel Amen.

Amen. (pun intended)

Bob

 
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Old 11-20-2011, 03:54 PM   #8
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Re: When meds aren't working

addprogrammer, have no fear. I'm not trying to live my life without meds. I'm simply trying to figure out some things I can do to augment the meds or to help me when meds don't seem to be working. I just started Strattera yesterday. We'll see how it goes. It's not like the stimulant meds in that it takes several weeks for it to take full effect. I certainly miss the stimulant meds and their quick action, but I can't force my body to like them unfortunately. I'll keep you up to date as things progress.

 
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