Sunday, March 13, 2011

Back to basics

Recently, I passed the fifth anniversary of getting officially diagnosed with ADD. The fifth anniversary's referred to as the "paper anniversary". Accordingly, I'm sure that I spent that day looking through stacks of papers, and (for added drama) probably being late for something, too.

I'm going to rip off the "What I Know For Sure" column that Oprah writes in the back of her magazine to share a few thoughts about my diagnosis and taking ADD meds:

* Prior to Diagnosis Day, I had this notion that once I started taking ADD meds, I would be interested in taking care of everything that absolutely uninterests me because I know had focus, baby. That idea, alas, couldn't be more untrue. If a drug gets developed that makes me care about housecleaning or filing my taxes, then I'll be the first in line for it.

* If you think you're an ADDer and are unmedicated and wonder what it's like taking ADD meds, do this: tune a channel on your radio a decimal or so above or below the actual station number (if you're old-school, just turn the knob a hair). The out of tune station is how I felt before meds; the in-tune station is how I feel with meds. And either way, I still wanna rock.

* I spent so many years out of focus that I didn't really know what it was like to be focused. For example, I used to think all of my work was hard to get through, but I then realized (once medicated) that it was easier to maintain a train of thought on tasks that I indeed enjoy.

* On that note, drugs don't change your psychology. So, you will still dislike your coworkers or have commitment issues or be bored by what you consider busywork. Perhaps ADD factors into your issues, but solely blaming ADD for 'em isn't going to help you cope. (Even though I've worded this in the second person, I'm also talking to myself here.)

* Lastly, and most importantly, taking care of yourself has to come first, above everything else. I learned this big-time when I got coaching after my diagnosis. Getting enough sleep, eating right, planning your day, and doing stuff you enjoy is key.

So, I'll be honest and 'fess up here: I've been missing the mark lately on that last point. Skipping sleep's been the biggest culprit. Staying up late to "catch up on stuff" never pays off in the long run. And hey, let's be honest: I look so much better when I'm well rested and not haggard looking. And when I don't get enough sleep, everything else seems to fall apart to some degree. I don't eat properly; instead, I become a Dyson vacuum for carbohydrates in pursuit of energy. And of course, the combo of these two things certainly wore down my resistance, resulting in me being knocked out sick a couple of weeks ago. As far as planning goes...I've taken to jot appointments down on post-its and stick them in the canyon of my work bag, rather than put 'em in my calendar.

One thing I have made an effort of doing, though, is making time to do stuff that I enjoy. I recently finished a writing class that's made me realize how much I've been missing my favorite creative pursuit. Which, actually, is what got myself back here, so yay for that. The grind that is my job seemed to curb my social life, and I've been making more of an effort to connect with my pals.

So, it's time to take all of the knowledge I gained in years 1-5 as an ADDer, use it, and live it. Wish me luck!


Pertobello said...

really enjoyed your article, I'll be checking them on a regular basis! I have ADD myself and love connecting with other bloggers about it. my blog is I totally agree with you that you have to keep working at it and I too have to keep going back to basics and starting over. very hard to stick with a schedule/plan and YOU'RE SO RIGHT, NOT SLEEPING ENOUGH IS THE BIGGEST CULPRIT!! I finally feel happy that I have free time at night and I don't want to waste it by going to sleep! then I pay for it at work. anyway, appreciate your positive attitude :) good luck!!

ADD Libber said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by, Pertobello! I'm right there with you re: enjoying nighttime free time and not wanting to go to bed...and it doesn't help that some of my favorite TV shows are on late, too. I'll definitely check out your blog, and thanks for the comment!

Jennifer Koretsky said...

Happy "ADDiversary!"

You've worked hard and done a great job. Congratulations on all your success!

ADD Libber said...

And thank you, Jen, for everything, too! (PS - an email is coming to you this week; I promise!)