Thursday, August 14, 2008

Today I Start Ritalin

Did I even spell that right? I’m 41 years old (that’s forty-one, not fourteen)and only just found out that I have a “whopping” ADHD score. That’s a quote from my psychiatrist. My long-time friends have all said, “Well, no duh!” and “What? You’re surprised?”

Funny, isn’t it, that we blame ourselves our whole lives for not living up to our (shudder) potential. I was a crappy student (way back in the 80’s) and got no end of guff from teachers and parents about how I could be so much better than I was. So nice to hear. “You have such potential to be a good student. You have such potential to be pretty. You have such potential…” I will never, ever, ever use that word around my children. Yes, I’m sure they do have great potential to be many things. But what and who they are right now is more important than what they could be in the future, don’t you think? I do.

So, this past year has been this big exploration into how to fix me. “Let’s make Suzanne happy again!” I’ve been on Zoloft for a few years, moved on to Welbutrin a few months ago, and now I’ve added Ritalin. What is wrong with our world that we can’t be happy when we live in the land of plenty? We have the opportunity to eat easily and cheaply, educate ourselves, speak our minds, choose any industry in which to work, live in any city we like, vote (debatably successful as it may be right now, keeping in mind Florida’s lost ballots in the last election). And yet, we are a miserable society. We live so fast; we live instantaneously. We don’t even vacation leisurely. My little family is going to the shore this weekend. We’re driving almost 4 hours to stay 3 nights and drive back. We’re power vacationing, like power napping. Fast and furious, we charge around achieving and doing. I’m hoping that the Ritalin will help me focus enough to chronicle its effects on me over the next few weeks and months.

God, I love to just sit and read. Even writing about how busy we are is making me jumpy. Or that could be the first dose of Ritalin having its way with me. Hard to tell right now. Looming over me is the threat of all the packing I have to do in the next 4 or 5 hours to accommodate 2 adults, 1 toddler, 1 baby, 3 nights indoors, 2 days at the beach, and 7-8 hours driving.

Here’s a partial list of things to pack in our car.

Big red wagon for dragging kids and crap to beach and back, beach toys, something for shade on the beach, bathing suits and extra suits, beach towels, hats, sunscreen, aloe, chairs, coolerish container, clothes for me, clothes for Hub, clothes for almost-three-year-old, clothes for one-year-old, shoes and sandals for all, water bottles (stainless steel, not plastic), toys for car ride, toys for indoor playing between trips to beach, games for grownups, FOOD for 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners, snacks, drinks, sunglasses, water shoes, mesh bag to carry wet stuff back to house, books for all…

We opted not to bring the kayaks. We’d have had to bring 2 cars. Gas is costly enough for one car.

Wish me luck! I’ll be back next week.


Yokel (TKS) said...

Wow, Ritalin. That's whack, Suzanne. I have a friend who's also taking it; she's 40, so you're not alone. I wonder if maybe I need it as well...lots of un-focus lately. Or when I do focus, it's all-encompassing and at the expense of other things.

What shore? We're heading to Willapa Bay today, ourselves. It's a calming measure, mostly. No media of any kind. Woohoo. I've got another solo calming measure planned for October in a cabin off Hood Canal.

Hey, have a great time!

THB (Ellen) said...

Why are we so miserable in the land of plenty? My theory is this {ahem} I believe we are so disconnected from the activities that kept us busy throughout the vast majority of human history - basic survival. Let's face it, only in the past 50-100 years have we been well-fed, well-housed, with access to the best medical care to prolong and improve our lives. Before that, at least from our direct ancestors, life was about growing crops to eat, having a large family to help cultivate those crops, feeding and caring for that family, and at least in New England, trying to make it through the winter. That might be an exhausting lifestyle but most people had a vital purpose to every day, with tangible results (putting up crops, caring for livestock, etc). I'm guessing most people didn't have time or energy to stress about the stuff that we stress about today....we happen to be freed from the hard work of basic sustenance, but somehow we have still ended up stressed-out and is a sad state of affairs!

This is why I try to shamelessly plug gardening to anybody I can reach. For thousands of years, we have been involved in's in our blood. Growing a veggie garden and getting your hands in the dirt just feels right. It is a vital connection to the natural world that is easy to lose sight of in our crazy lives.

Anyway, about ADHD...I have wondered whether I have it too..I can't even sit still through an entire movie! You and I can read for days though. What's up with that? I guess I always thought it was caused by too much TV, too little reading, too many video games, and too little time spent outdoors....none of which apply in our cases. Good luck with the Ritalin. I am not surprised you are having problems with focus. Look at what you had to achieve for a 4-day weekend. Yikes! It's enough to make anybody a little crazy!!

My solution to the crazy state of mind I achieved after 20 years in the rat race was gardening, yoga and horses.

Anonymous said...

My name is Nathan Finch and i would like to show you my personal experience with Ritalin.

I am 32 years old. Have been on Ritalin for 2 years now. This drug has saved my life. I have seen drastic differences between times in my life when I was taking it and when I was not. I failed out of one school and graduated top of my class in the next. Floated from job to job and then became very successful. I don't like the way I feel when I am taking it (I'm boring -- no personality) so, I time my doses to help me in the office or when I have to focus on mundane task's at home like paying bills, taxes etc. and then go without it when I'm recreating.

I have experienced some of these side effects-
Initially some apatite suppression, insomnia and slight gitters. This was corrected by reducing my afternoon dose.

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Nathan Finch

Ritalin Side Effects