ADD/ADHD: How does anyone SQUIRREL!!!-ing deal with this?!?!

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Boy that person has shiny buttons on their shirt!

Let me start this off the right way. I have not been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. There has not been any medical examination to tell me whether or not I have it for sure. However, this has not been without a lack of trying. Without giving away too much information (not that it’s hard to find), I live in a small town in Alaska that is located roughly 100 miles from Anchorage. The medical facilities here leave much to be desired. Almost a year ago I went to my doctor to talk about the fact that I was sure that I have ADD.

[Just a side note: I’m going to refer to ADD/ADHD as ADD especially when refering to myself from here on out. I don’t seem to have the H, but the more I lose weight (I am currently 300+lbs) I feel myself getting more antsy and “hyper”.]

When I went to my doctor and expressed my concerns, he said that he would be glad to help me, but neither he, nor anyone else in the town is properly qualified to diagnose ADD. He contacted the local Mental Health Agency and said they would call within 3 days. I went home and eagerly awaited the call… for five days. I then called the hospital, who referred me to the Mental Health Agency. I called them, and when they couldn’t find me in the system, they took my information and put me on the “list”. Almost a year later and I’m still waiting for that call. And if they do call, my first words to them will be “Well thank goodness I wasn’t suicidally depressed!!!”.

All I wanted out of that doctor visit was to confirm or deny my suspicions. Anybody can tell you they are sick with some condition, but it takes a doctor to make it believable and worthy of action. That’s what I wanted. If I had a doctor confirm to the best of his/her ability that I have ADD, I would like to pursue some help with it.

I have done a lot of “Internet” research on the subject of ADD. Mostly I have been looking through Tips, Tricks, and Hacks to help me with my tendencies. I have come to understand myself a lot better now, and I have found out things about myself that I have never known, but have been witness to the effects and aftermath. After hearing the descriptions and stories from people all over who have been diagnosed, I am 100% positive that I have Attention Deficit Disorder. (However, I would still like a diagnosis.)

One mind looking in all directions for stimulation

One mind looking in all directions for stimulation

So what is it like to have ADD? There is a lot of ignorance on the subject, and we’ve all heard the jokes (Hell, I used the most common one in the title of this post!). I have heard many descriptions from diagnosed individuals, but I feel we can always use one more. Therefore, I would best describe having ADD as being trapped in a mind that is always looking for stimulation. You are always on the lookout for something interesting and entertaining. It’s the simplest explanation I could come up with.

The scientific explanation (so far as we have discovered) says that people with ADD have a lack of Dopamine within their brain. I think this fits with my description of what it’s like to have ADD. Dopamine is the “Feel Good” hormone in our brain. It’s the reward system of our body. Whenever you do something good (eat chocolate, have sex, hug a loved one, etc) dopamine is released in your brain to tell you Hey, you should do that again. Dopamine is also a neurotransmitter which is essential for the function of the brain. Without Neurotransmitters, your neurons can’t transmit and your brain goes dead (this falls into the “Bad Things” category). Now I am not a scientist, (though I have thought about pursuing that field) but I think that if a brain were hurting for dopamine, it would look as long and as hard as possible for stimulation to create dopamine! Therefore, people with ADD tend to drift and have a really hard time doing mundane tasks.

Probably the first real evidence that I have ADD (that I am aware of) happened when I was in middle school. My grades would be great at the beginning of the year and then start to get worse towards the middle of the year. I would come back in to class and my homework would be partially done or not done at all. I would have trouble realizing that an upcoming due date for a project was really happening next week. (terms like the 18th meant nothing to me.) If we had to repeat a lesson because someone didn’t understand, I would get frustrated even though I understood why we had to do it. You might be reading this thinking “well this kid just hated school” or “well you just weren’t being smart” or something etc. etc. Well turns out, that’s what my Parents and Teacher thought as well. However, I would continuously frustrate them because all of my test scores were awesome! That’s basically what it came down to in the end. Bad at homework, great at tests.

This trend continued straight through high school. I would do terrible at finishing my homework, and then ace the tests. Especially Math. Math was the bane of my existence. We would spend all day learning how to do a bunch of math problems, and then they would send me home with 50 more to do. I didn’t like math at all. If I knew how to do the problem I didn’t want to do 50 more of them. I could sometimes choke down the ability to get it done some nights, but it was SO HARD to concentrate on doing math problems when my brain was looking for something, ANYTHING more entertaining to do. And when you are sitting in your bedroom filled with all of your cool stuff and video games… you’re pretty much doomed from the start. I was bored! That’s basically all it came down to. I would love school if the lessons were shorter and we had just moved on when it was learned.

What were we talking about again?

What were we talking about again?

That’s why people who have ADD will talk about how they go off on these little tangents. It’s the Drifting that they talk about, and the source for the “SQUIRREL!” Joke (Besides the movie UP). Basically You can be talking to someone, and they will say a word that will trigger a thought process that you end up following for a while, inside your head until you snap back to reality and realized you have missed almost all of the story of how their workday sucked. The exact same thing goes for reading. You can read a paragraph about something and the word “list” reminds you that you have to go to the grocery store, because part of your ritual for going to the grocery storeĀ  involves making a list. Then you imagine yourself going there and getting something like a banana, but all of a sudden you are thinking of your friend Joe and his relationship with Brandina because you saw them the last time you were there buying bananas and they looked like they were a bit tense. Then you start thinking about how your last relationship with your girlfriend/boyfriend went and how things could have worked out had you only been listening to her when she was telling you about how bad her workday was. Eventually you will get back to reading and you’ll have to start back at the last sentence you remember, but you have to take those little trips, because your brain needs the stimulation and it’s the one calling the shots.

That’s why life is hard for a person with ADD. They need the stimulation all the time, and if they aren’t getting it, they’ll sure as hell look for it. Chores become more of a chore than they already are. To normal people this might sound like a slight inconvenience, but to a person with ADD, this can become a source of stress that is nigh impossible to overcome. I hate doing daily chores, but I live alone so I have no choice but to do them. The problem is, when I do something around the house, I have a problem finishing it. I will eat food and then leave my plate wherever I am. I will start a project, then leave a mess. I will watch movies and play games, but not put anything away. Therefore, daily chores become this never ending battle for my own house.

And that’s just one aspect of my day!

Here is one of my days in a nutshell, in fact, this is probably exactly how tomorrow will go:
I will wake up. Spend my morning rushing around getting ready for work. Work 8 to Noon. Go home for Lunch. Work 1 to 5. Come home and eat something light. Go pickup my buddy for swimming. Swim at Open Swim from 6:30 to 8. go home and eat dinner. Waste time online until I go to bed at 11ish. The next day will go exactly the same minus the swimming. I have been trying to replace it with some other exercise routine.

I try to fit as much entertainment into those 5-6:30 and 8-11ish time slots that I can in order to keep sane. Chores are the last things on my mind during the week. But you have to do them, so I fit them in wherever I can. Mostly this occurs on the weekends. I have found a few ways of making chores easier. The two most effective ways are listening to Audiobooks or stand up comedians while I work. Then there is also doing the chores in small blocks of time sandwiched by periods of rest. (http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com/ is a great resource for that).

Just keep Swimming, Just keep swimming!

Just keep Swimming, Just keep swimming!

My point is (I think) How is anyone supposed to live with their brain being wired abnormally? I can think of many other conditions that would be worse having, but how is anyone supposed to live with it? My only answer to myself has been one step at a time, one problem at a time. “Just Keep Swimming” as Dory from Finding Nemo would say.

Do you have ADD/ADHD? Hearing my story, do you think I have ADD/ADHD? What signs did you have? Did you notice it before others did? What knowledge can you pass on to me or anyone else who may be reading? please leave a comment down below!

Thank you for your time!

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You had a bad trip… On Weed?!?!?!?

a picture of weed in red

weed by Saiberis

I’ve decided to do a follow-up post about my experiences with weed. I am doing this because, out of all the posts on this blog, I have gotten the most views and comments from this post alone by far! It seems the Marijuana community has caught sight of my post and found it interesting. Thank you all for reading and commenting! Some comments agree while others disagree about my words. I don’t mind either way. That was my interpretation of what happens to me as I can remember it. Everyone has their own experience and sometimes it’s completely different.

I am also writing this, because I have quit smoking Mary Jane and have set my sights far away from mind altering substances. And while I would like to try throwing some pot in my juicer to see how it tastes and what health benefits I’ll get, I am pretty much staying as far away from it as I can. Why don’t you smoke [any more]? is a question I’m asked all the time, and all the time I get the same response “WHAT?!?!” I don’t smoke weed anymore because I had a bad trip.

It was a good couple years back…

I went to a friends house to hang out and talk with my usual gathering of buddies. It seemed like I was over there just about every day. I didn’t always smoke when I went over there, just because I didn’t feel like getting high all the time. I was also reaching a point in my drug journey where I only liked the experience for the first couple hours, after which I wanted it to end and everything to return to normal. I liked being able to think clearly.

Tonight wasn’t a very abnormal night. It just happened to be one of those nights where we decided to get high and watch a movie. If I would have known what was going to happen next I would have never gotten high and probably had left immediately. I regret this night every time I think of it.

We passed around a bong and my host friend decided to turn on a movie they just rented… Saw VI… Now I am a fan of most movies. I like horror, action, comedy, romantic comedy, I’ll even watch the real romantic mushy stuff. Just about the only exception to the list is period pieces. I have nothing against horror flicks, except I think many of them have lost their original scary soul. However, that is a different topic. I sat down and watched the movie with everyone else.

I don’t really remember much of the movie details. Once you get my group high and in front of a TV we start making fun of what’s on the screen and conversing and laughing. After the initial high wore off and the giggling died down all eyes finally settled on the TV and we watched in silence.

I remember the scene when it happened pretty vividly. The main guy walked in a room and found all of his interns strapped to a revolving circle of chairs in a bulletproof glass chamber. (This part is hard to write) The main guy had to hit a button to choose which of the people he knew would live. the people who were chosen for death would be rotated to face a shotgun and… you can guess or have probably seen the rest.

a picture of "The Carousel" from Saw 6

The Carousel

My moment came after the final decision. He chose to save one person over another in a very dramatic moment. The person he sentenced to death began yelling and cursing and berating him for his choice as his chair slowly rotated towards the shotgun. In the last instance he shouted the words “NO! YOU LOOK ME IN THE FACE WHILE YOU KILL ME!!!” The main guy looked up. The man in the chair saw his eyes and looked down in horror as the chair came to a stop and… BLAM!

That was the moment in happened…

My mind locked on those moments and they began to play over and over in my head. I began to think about what the man in the chair had going through his mind in those last moments and even during. I began to imagine myself in his place. The adrenaline started to flow. Then I began thinking about all of the other death scenes in the movie that I had seen. I put myself in their place. It expanded from there. Every horror movie I had ever seen. Any movie or TV show depicting death or even harm. Adrenaline was pumping through my body at this point and I was no longer paying attention to the movie. Death flew through my mind without any sign of stopping leaving fear growing in his wake.

My mind tried to rationalize these feelings, but ultimately it only made things worse. I began to ask why I was freaking out. Why was I scared. Finally my brain came up with an answer:

“Someday you are going to die and there is nothing you can do to stop it. It will probably be terrifying and it will probably be painful and it could be as soon as any moment now.”

I had focused on my own mortality. Now, as you know, when you are high all the outer world drops away and your world gets smaller. One train of thought runs through your mind at any given time. Well, my world was extremely small and My own death was the only train I could think about. I would have given anything to think of something else.

My mind just took it from there and began to make up horrid possible ways that I could die and played them for me over and over. I was like that the rest of the night. I had to excuse myself from my friends house and leave. Eventually I ended up rocking myself to sleep in my bed at home.

After that night I suffered nightmares and a lingering fear of my immanent death. I have not been able to watch horror movies since. Only after many many many demands by my friends, I got high one last time, only to have the entire cycle start over again. Now I am afraid of taking any mind altering drug for fear that it might have the same effect.

It’s been a good couple years now and I have lost that lingering fear, though it doesn’t take much thought to surge my adrenal gland. I have faced my mortality in minor ways several times since that night and I think I’m going to be fine. However, now whenever I am asked if I want to smoke I politely decline and give an explanation if needed. I still have nothing against anyone who smokes. I just choose not to any more.

What does it feel like to smoke weed? – UPDATED x2!

Marijuana_by_SublimeBudd

Marijuana_by_SublimeBudd

Recently I was on Yahoo Answers and I came across this question. The answer I gave was an extremely fun trip down into my memories. I thought I should share it with you all.


Smoking weed is the BEST drug out there for the fact that it does the least harm to you and you can’t really overdose on it.

The first thing you feel is the burn in your lungs as you inhale the smoke. Now bare with me here, because I have smoked way too many times and I paid Very close attention to what it was doing to me. It made the high feel a lot more trippy and fun.

If you pay close attention you can feel the THC in your blood veins traveling around and making you tingle all over your body. I imagined that it was like millions of spiky crystals bouncing off the walls of my blood veins and triggering my nerves. Eventually that feeling fades into numbness due to the fact that your brain is getting too many signals too fast.

At that point your world starts to shrink. Everything outside of the building you are sitting in drops away from your thoughts. Your world now consists of the house you are sitting in. As you ponder this It is only you and the house. Time has dropped away from your thoughts at this point and you are no longer concerned with schedules (this is why it’s so relaxing to take it). I suspect at that point you are among friends in a smoking circle so you realize that there are others in the room and they are talking. You spend the next while trying to keep up with the conversation which you are doing very well in your head because it is pretty much the only thing on your mind at this point. By now, the rest of the house drops away and its just you, your friends and the room you are sitting in.

If you were alone your head would go into kind of an autopilot, You would find a task to occupy your time and you would probably lose yourself in it. You would be surprised how much you can get done when you are high if your brain focuses on the right task. I think that is why people like to get high at dead end jobs. one of the side effects is that it makes you not care whether what you are doing is boring or not, you just know that you need to do it and that’s OK.

Now let’s go through a list of the senses

Sight:
You know how, when you look left and then right with your eyes, you sight just instantly shifts to it’s next destination without focusing on anything in the middle? Well When you are high Your brain tends to notice the full motion of that movement. You may not notice it, but that is what makes you kinda dizzy feeling.

Smell:
Forget this sense unless it is a strong smell. Most of what you will be smelling is the weed you just inhaled. That’s what gives you paranoia about getting caught high. You smell weed everywhere even if no one else can. If you do smell something it will definitely catch your attention though, because now your brain will focus on anything in an instant.

Taste:
Oh Wow! Taste takes on a whole new meaning when your are high. It moves right in with touch. When somebody mentions food it seems to be all your brain can think about. Since your whole body feels numb, your stomach has pretty much lost the feeling of being full, so now your brain is telling you “I need to eat”. The Greatest foods to eat when you are high are anything Crunchy and sweet! Smores are to DIE for. Oreo’s, and popcorn and cereal and chips and crackers and ice-cream. Oh MY!!!! Be forewarned! When you do finally feel full it will not be a pleasant feeling.

Touch:
Not much going on here unless you couple it with taste. You feel the full weight of your body and how your muscles have to work to keep you from being a big pile of mush. So what do you do? You do your best to act like a big pile of mush. It is a very good muscle relaxer.

Hear:
Not much to Say hear either. You don’t pay very much attention to what you are hearing when you are high. However when you do start listening you will wish that you could be in complete silence for once in your life.

In Closing, weed is a very fun drug to try out, but it does come with consequences. You can’t think as clearly when you are on weed and the detox period is not very fun either if you have been regularly smoking. The DTs seem to take the form of depression and anger. You just have to bare with it and let the clouds part by themselves. I noticed that after smoking a lot, I have developed a studder that I didn’t have before and my memory isn’t what it used to be. Keep in mind though I used to drink a lot as well. I don’t any more. And I only recommend mixing smoking and drinking as a one-time-thing. It is a little more dangerous.

I hope you liked this. It is the most I have ever typed in Yahoo answers.

—UPDATE—

Here is a video from ASAP Science on Youtube that explains the science of Weed.

—UPDATE 2—

Hey, if you like this article you might like this one as well!

http://brainfroze.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/the-nightmare-before-april-20th/