View Full Version : What does 'focus' feel like?

06-22-17, 07:34 PM
What does 'focus' feel like?

I'm more than three years in and I'm as lost as I was before I started.

The way I've conducted my life since effective treatment comes with a certain kind of 'feeling good about myself' that reminds me of some past habits I've done well to remove myself from.

I'm a 40 year old grownup... If I wanted to get high I'd do so... Not using ConcertaXL...

Nobody has helped me understand how my life might pan out in the medium term... Nobody wants to talk about how I should feel... It's like there's a point I'm missing somewhere...

Since diagnosis and treatment:

In year one I built such a reputation, credibility, real prospects.

Year two saw decline... I went from being valued at management level to simply not turning up, nothing to report, no progress on projects, unable to formulate responses in conversation, coasting in the worst way... And I had little perception of it happening. (Note that it's largely volunteer work, no fear of getting fired, it's about building up a track record of achievement so I *might* earn some money some day)

I didn't notice year three go by.

There was rhythm to my day:

I woke up, feeling fresh and conscious of the issues of my day ahead.

I got up, went about my morning things to do. I ate, showered, left the house and went about my day.

I could cook for three, relaxed, resistant to stresses others may create (and not contributing to them myself!)

10pm was time for bed, head on pillow by half past, asleep within easily half an hour.

Productive, useful days. Making a difference. Improving myself, enabling and empowering others to do the same.

Now I'm back to the kind of 'coasting' that characterises my life.

I never understood what ^that meant until now that I have something to compare it to...

I don't want to live that stupid pointless life again.

I have to stop now... Going over this kind of thing has become painful. The fact it has become that way is a huge positive step... It would be meaningless before, pointless... I had no idea what I was asking or what for but I knew there was a 'why' somewhere.

06-23-17, 12:30 PM
I experienced that coasting for almost all my life too. Did you mean you are taking concerta xl? Amphetamines might work better for you. It is not about "getting high" and it will possibly kick any other mild dependencies you might have.

Focus comes in many forms - but generally, if you are talking about strong focus on one specific task; you will be doing your task and you will lose perception of time. You will feel "glued" to what you are doing without some strong external influence.

For focus on a "goal" over a period of time longer than a few months - it can still be a blur, but with the right tools (big notes on the wall, people who you can talk to to stimulate the brain and stimulate recall - they have to understand they will repeat things to you) you will experience positive growth over a blurry but (hopefully fulfilling) period of time. You will feel more "in" with the members of the organisation. You will need reminders.

06-23-17, 08:35 PM

Hi Krev77,

Thanks for your reply, it's good to hear from someone with first-hand experiences that relate to my own, I get nowhere near enough of that!


Signs/reminders placed where I can't help but bump into them... Check!
Dependencies: Check! Truly effective levels of ConcertaXL have indeed beaten some dependency-like distractions... I smoke LESS on 'enough' meds... Unfortunately I smoke MORE on NEARLY enough...(I want to discuss this point further in future!)
Re being "glued" to a task, losing time perception... With an effective level of meds, not really, no!

With what I call effective Meds level:

I'm centred, relaxed and not anxious, focused and have the choice of what I'm focused on.

I can take a break... I can help someone else with an unrelated task then get back to my work.

My mind isn't in constant panic over missing out on those rare, critical few moments when I might grab a scrap of forward progress on something I'm trying to do.

It's not trying to do make itself available for everything at once, in the vain hope that something good happens.

I accept the passage of time, accept there's a limit to what I can achieve today, work towards some kind of milestone, even a small one, get there (or not, it doesn't really matter), then have a relaxed evening, cook, eat, go to bed at a sensible time, sleep well, wake up next day, feeling fresh, the issues of yesterday and priorities for today are clear in my mind...

It's like my mind /trusts/ itself for once in my life!

I've completed complex projects, first having gained the trust of responsible people, whose decisions have real-world consequences.

It's like I'm a professional with professional-level skills, potentially professional-level prospects!

I look back at those times and, compared to now, it seems pretty high to me!

At the time I didn't think so, I should probably trust I was right!

Again, time to stop... (this post is pared down from easily over a thousand words, lol!)


- I'm glad I signed up to this forum! I'm always glad after I've communicated with people who help me feel less bad about things... (Obviously, lol!)

- I had a big taste, a preview, of what I *could* be in year one, but it's gone and I have no idea if I should hope for my 'best' self to ever come back

- I know my current care team is better - National experts - but they have work to do convincing me my future is bright!

(I've avoided the mention of amphetamines... I don't think they're available in this country (UK) and asking for them might not help. I'll try anything my new Expert Care eam suggests but I think they should bring it up, not me)

06-24-17, 01:02 AM
It seems like you've already answered your own question regarding what 'focus' is supposed to feel like (i.e. measure the medication's efficacy through your productivity, not via subjective feelings). For what it's worth, my adhd medication helps my mind feel calmer and quieter. And I agree that when I set my mind on a certain task, the medication helps me be much more productive on it, and the time seems to fly by! The question is how you can get back the level of productivity that you were able to achieve during the first year. Have you mentioned your concerns with your physicians?

If the issue is medication, then maybe your physicians can suggest modifications for you to try. For instance, changing the dosage, the timing/release mechanism (Ritalin vs Concerta), adding another medication to address a potential comorbidity (anxiety, depression), etc.

I don't know how your healthcare system works in the UK, but maybe you could consider seeing a psychotherapist who has experience with adult ADHD. Keep in mind that non-ADHD people also have issues with their lives, so it might be the case that your issues aren't caused by medication. Russell Barkley (an expert psychologist on ADHD) says that CBT is shown to be effective for ADHD people, but only when combined with an effective medication regimen.

Best of luck, and keep us updated!

06-24-17, 03:30 AM
I am jealous of that second post, you organised it really well for an ADD-er to read. I have some constructive criticism - your first post was a bit harder to read, I wasn't sure of the question you were asking.

My time on Ritalin was very similar to what you are describing on Concerta XL. I would be feeling positive about my life for the first time - and with the right guidance - I could be productive - but I eventually got to a stage where I was making promises to my teacher that I couldn't keep - and fell into a slump. I also tried modafinil which worked poorly for me.

I nearly gave up on ADD drugs but my psych suggested I try dexamphetamine. For me, it provides a similar feeling of wellbeing as ritalin but less rough - and focus is much better - provided I have a good idea of what I am doing - so I make sure to ask lots of questions.

I was a smoker until about a month before I tried dexamphetamine - this was messing with my head and messing with my sleep. I'm glad I quit. I also drank too much coffee. I have had 3 coffees since starting dexamphetamine a few months ago.

My teacher is really firm on me - this plus dexamphetamine has led to me doing the most work I ever have, and living in a much better head space. I still get stressed and it's not 100% perfect but it is 100% better than before.

I don't want to proselytize but there are always more options out there - stick with something for a while until you truly know it is not going to improve - but then seek change.

Try CBT like CharlesH suggests!

From the very brief research I did, it sounds like you can get amphetamines in the UK, but IR meds are hard to get due to your govt assuming its populace are all junkies. There is an extended release version of amphetamines called Vyvanse you might be able to get. I've never tried an XR version of any drug so I wouldn't know if they are as effective or not, but IR works well for me.

06-26-17, 04:58 PM
Thanks to you both for such encouragement!

So much coherency here, I must let it sink in, I'll come back to keep you posted when there's a development :)

I am jealous of that second post, you organised it really well for an ADD-er to read. I have some constructive criticism - your first post was a bit harder to read, I wasn't sure of the question you were asking.

Glad you like my 2nd post, OP was definitely a little cryptic...

U hit the nail on the head re "our govt assuming"... I think it stems from 'English Reserve' and the idea that life *should* be hard! I fear that a direct approach to what I need might fall flat on its face, I must sneak up on it or they'll catch me trying to feel better!