Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ambien-Straterra Dance to Hell

I've been on Straterra for 8 days to help me with concentration, impulse control, school work, managing distractions, etc.

I stopped sleeping on day 2. It's not a stimulant so it's not supposed to affect me that way.

My heart started racing in my chest on day 5.

I was so hyped up I felt shaky on day 7. And I still hadn't had good sleep in 2 weeks.

So I filled the Ambien prescription I'd been avoiding and took it last night. The half pill of Ambien helped me sleep like I usually do: up 4 or 5 times in one night but only for 5 minutes or so.

Today I had a short temper and a headache but there were also clouds, wind, and rain (all of which affect my moods and head) so that's not proof of anything. I've also been unable to concentrate.

Not to worry, though--I'm on the intro-pack to Straterra so I'll take a bigger dose tomorrow. I predict I will be hyped up again. So I'll take a full Ambien. So I'll loose concentration. I 'll be glad when the Straterra dose is upped again...

You have got to be kidding me.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cooling the Lava

I think of my emotions as hot lava or magma--they're intense (I use the word "brilliant" in my own mind), they can wrap up the people around me before they know what's hit them, and my emotions can be slow moving or fast and dangerous. Whatever descriptors might fit, they are always right. under. the surface.

These lava emotions can be a great strength for me, especially with children who generally appreciate enthusiasm. I tend to have a harder time with adults because the conversations are more sensitive and adults are expected to contain themselves (or that's what I'm told, anyway). So I was very, very proud of myself for being the voice of reason earlier this week.

I had my first class with my education cohort this Wednesday. ADHD-wise, I did excellently. I had no problem staying seated or listening for 2 hours at a time (well... ok, I started feeling antsy after 90 minutes but I was still able to concentrate). I was able to keep my comments and questions focused and relevant. I felt like an adult student.

During the break, I was chatting with 2 of my classmates while getting some of my online work set-up on my laptop. I sat between them while they talked about an upcoming vacation in Mexico. The woman on my right was very worried for our new friend because "Mexicans are crazy." Without warning, she launched into a frenzied diatribe because "I hate illegals. We should just round them up, take them somewhere, and kill them all."

There are many, many things wrong with what she expressed. The immediate leap between the citizens of Mexico and illegal immigrants in the US, the extermination of any group of people, the insulting phrase regarding Mexicans, saying something so extreme to people you've just met...

My usual instinct when confronted with bigotry is to ask, "Have you lost your ever-lovin' mind???" It's also what I actually do because these people have lost their ever-lovin' minds and there isn't any other way to put it.

But this was the beginning of a 2 year stint with my classmates. We were just told "you'll be like family by the end of this program." I can't start that kind of relationship off with a row, even if the woman is a nutso. Plus there are only 7 other people in the group--I can't avoid working with her.

So I took a deep breath. Without thinking about it, I kept my eyes on my laptop and very calmly said, "That sounds pretty prejudiced." Not the most elegant rebuff but there it was: "you're not going to spew your hatred all over me for the next 2 years and in return I won't scorch your sorry butt like the vicious volcano the other crazies have to experience" neatly wrapped into 4 words.

She sputtered out a lame excuse, to which I replied, "Hm." I've been honing that 'hm' since I saw an excellent teacher/professor/mentor use it to quell 20 teenagers 5 years ago. Thankfully it worked for me. Everyone participating calmed down and I'd gotten my point across without shouting or spewing back (or beating anyone senseless).

For once, my emotions stayed calm; impulse and reaction did not rule the day.

Ritalin in October

I took Ritalin for 30 days before being moved to a different medication. Or rather, I took half doses for 3 days in a row and was ready to crawl out of my skin. But it takes a while to get used to any medication, right?

So I took 1 or 2 days off and tried again. Again, by 12pm on day 3 I was a jitter bug. I wanted to take it regularly to give it a fair chance. My distractibility was way down--a huge plus. But my impulse and hyperactivity both jumped, as did my general anxiety. Concentration doesn't mean a whole lot if sitting still is physically painful or I have to walk for 2 hours after doing any amount of school work.

In short, I did much better in school (earning an A- in Sociology was frighteningly easy) but couldn't enjoy it because I was anxious, jumpy, and had impulsively made (and eaten) chocolate chip cookie dough enough times to cause acne and bloat me right out of the skinny jeans I'd spent the summer working myself back into.

The RN at the Neurology office was very frustrated to hear this pattern continued for the entire month. "It only works if you take it regularly."

I guess I was supposed to take the sleeping pills regularly too, huh? She covered her face and breathed slowly for a minute. But the sleeping pills were a similar story--I'd take them for a couple nights and then I'd stop sleeping through the night. Some nights I'd wake up for hours at a time. It just didn't seem worth it.

She moved me to straterra and ambien. The straterra has been a nightmare and I've put off the ambien until tonight. I'll write about that tomorrow.