ADD Meds Report

ADD meds report, about 3 months in:

So, I’ve been taking Vyvanse for a while now. I like it. I still find myself a little unsure of whether I ‘need’ it — various things I’d read said that the nice thing about ADD meds is that if you started taking them, you knew immediately if you needed them, and I don’t think that’s the case for me. Maybe I’m an edge case, or maybe I have developed good compensating skills in 47 years, or maybe I have the kind of job that lets me function productively despite the ADD, or all of the above — I’m not sure. I can certainly manage without them.

But I still like them. There are two distinct positive effects I can point to:

– about half an hour or so after I take them in the morning, I start feeling noticeably more relaxed. That surprised me, because my understanding is that what I’m taking is a form of ‘speed,’ which I’d expect to be the opposite of relaxing. My best guess, though, is that what the med does is reduce the stress of the cognitive load of distraction / switching attention. Because it makes that so much easier, the end result is that I feel less stressed. I hope I explained that clearly; it’s a little convoluted, but it feels right.

– when I start working on something that’s logistically complicated — a host of e-mails and FB messages and digital notes and paper notes all related to one project, which need to be sorted and assembled into some kind of coherence and then posted to a wide variety of places, keeping track of them all so I don’t duplicate or forget or put the wrong thing in the wrong place — it’s much easier. Before the meds, I found that kind of thing intensely stressful, and it would make me panicky (though I was reasonably good at shoving the panic down and getting through it somehow). Now, it’s straightforward — I just do it, and while it doesn’t make the work of it any less, the meds seem to remove an extra layer of franticness, which I think must come from the added difficulty of switching between many different types of input and output.

So that’s the good. Then there’s the ‘I don’t know yet,’ which is writing. Between everything else that’s going on, I haven’t actually done the kind of sustained novel-writing that I hoped the ADD meds would help me focus on. I haven’t even started, really. I’ve been finishing up Wild Cards and other smaller projects, and there were three international trips and Christmas and it’s easy to come up with reasons (excuses), but the end result is that I just don’t know yet how Vyvanse affects my novel writing. Hoping to change that in the next month; we’ll see. More on that anon.

What about the bad? Well, it’s not super-bad, but here’s a few more things I’ve noticed:

– if someone (usually Kevin) tries to talk to me when I’m deep in work mode, working a complex problem, I have a hard time pulling out of it to even speak to him, and I have to suppress a bit of crankiness about it. Mostly this isn’t a problem, as I try not to start on complex projects when I’m likely to be interrupted, and Kev and I both try hard not to interrupt each other during work time, but occasionally he needs to ask me something logistically important (like who’s picking up the kids, etc.). It’s a small, annoying thing.

– after about 8 hours, when the Vyvanse is wearing off, I’m definitely cranky, and try to avoid my family for 20-30 minutes until it wears off. I think that must be the return of the cognitive load, the stress of switching attention being hard. I’m trying harder to not work in the evenings, which is good for me overall anyway, and that does help.

The appetite suppressant effect is much less noticeable than it was when I started, by the way. I still don’t feel super hungry at lunchtime, but I’m not as likely to just forget to eat as I was originally, and what I eat at breakfast / dinner easily makes up any missing calories.

And that’s where we are. I like Vyvanse and plan to keep taking it.

1 thought on “ADD Meds Report”

  1. This is interesting. In mathematics, I credit my ADD with enhancing my creativity rather consistently. When my attention bounces around a bit, I juxtapose ideas that would not typically occur together. The effect of this on my mathematics has often been dramatic.

    Full disclosure: I have never been formally diagnosed with ADD, but at least one relative has, and our behaviour/experiences have been similar.

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