Thursday, February 23, 2012

Stimulants (ramble?)

stimulantsplural of stim·u·lant (Noun)

  1. A substance that raises levels of physiological or nervous activity in the body.
  2. Something that increases activity, interest, or enthusiasm in a specified field.

I like my stimulants. Although I don't like the way that copy/pasting that definition messed up my formatting...

Anyway, I like my stimulants. I usually take them in the form of coffee or sugar, but occasionally I need a little bit more. That's where the amphetamines come in. 

You see, I have a twinge of ADD. It's just a twinge, but it's enough of a twinge to make me a scatterbrained nut and almost completely unmotivated to do anything I don't feel strongly about. I also struggle with depression in varying severity. 

With a carefully balanced diet, enough sleep, and enough positive experiences in my day, I can usually keep the depression low enough that a few learned mental behaviors (like affirmations) will keep me going. But those don't help the ADD. No matter how much I sit down and tell myself "Focus, Laura, this is important" somehow or another I end up staring out the window, working on my blanket, thinking up story elements, or perusing tumblr. This is especially true in the morning. My brain just doesn't like to switch over from sleeping/cuddling mode into working mode. And coffee just doesn't help enough.

So I use amphetamines in the mornings...when I remember. Just 10mg of a certain medication and all of a sudden; click, click, brain is online, fully functioning, and running FAST. Point me in a direction and I am gone as of ten seconds ago fast. 

Amphetamines are basically speed. For people who don't need them, amphetamines will do the same thing as speed. They get hyper, disoriented, and sometimes a bit jumpy. It's like they've downed three pots of coffee. Sometimes, they just sit there and jitter.

But for those of us who need them, amphetamines are like glasses for the brain. Everything comes into focus, falls into place, and is ready for action to begin immediately. If you've ever watched the movie Limitless, you know what I'm talking about. Cleaning the house, writing, studying, anything becomes almost exactly like what happened in that movie. 

Except that I don't get awesome kung fu powers from having watched all those martial arts movies as a kid.

But, I also don't develop a life-threatening dependency. Win some, lose some.

With my stimulants, I am what I expect myself to be. Maybe not quite organized, but it's in my head. I know what comes next, exactly how to execute what comes next, and I have the gumption to actually do it. Left in the house alone after taking one of my pills, I will clean the entire thing in an hour or less, no matter how messy it is. If I'd had these in school, I probably would have passed Trig. 

In any case, I find that there are only two real difficulties I encounter because of/in relation to these meds:

1) Sometimes, I know what all has to be done and it doesn't quite fall neatly into place. Then I'm left standing in the middle of the room or pacing a bit frantically and getting frustrated because there's so much movement and no progress. I don't know where to start, what to do first, everything clamors for priority and I simply can't sort it all out. I'm not sure what causes this, but in these times I'm grateful for my husband. I can go to him and say "I just don't know where to start" and he'll start me off on something. 

2) Sometimes, when on my morning dose of meds, I come up with fantastic game plans and goals and ideas that I absolutely know how to implement and have absolute confidence that I can implement it. Then, six hours later, the meds wear off - and if I'm not careful, my blood sugar crashes - and either I forget all of it or every one of those plans, goals, and ideas intimidates the bejeebus out of me. 

For example, I started this post with my amphetamines in my system, I had everything lined up, knew exactly what I was going to say, and then the planned parenthood post interrupted me, and then we went to grab coffee and had an hour long conversation with a random stranger, and now I'm starting to come down (though not crashing, thanks to my banana snack) and I can't remember a darned word of it. I'm winging this one. 

I was discussing the issue with my wonderful darling husband and he made the rather frustrating comment that I just need to get better at list-making. 

I hate lists. Loathe them. In my experience, a list may help but at the end of the day you have all these things on the list that just didn't have time to get done and it sucks. 

But, as usual, he's right. If I could take the focus of the stimulants and  the way that I innately know what comes next and how to execute it, and put that on paper, I'd be a heck of a lot better off when the meds wear off than I usually am. 

Not that I can't just take another pill, but there's some weird thing in my head that makes me really not want to. 

So, recognizing that this is a growth point for me - and a necessary one - I'm now endeavoring to get better at lists. And schedules. And actually sticking to things. That chore chart on my refrigerator lasted a total of four days before I began to alternately forget and ignore it. 

So with a reluctant but determined "hi-ho" I'm now going to go make my schedule for tomorrow...and include a list-making time on it.

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