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Old 08-27-05, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timh
Congrats on the diagnosis. It must feel like a huge weight was lifted from you shoulders. Work closely with your doctor and you will do just fine.

I have read that even if people have abused substances, once they get formally diagnosed with ADHD and choose stimulants they are less likely to abuse the medication. They still need to be cautious. All along these people were just trying to compensate for their unknown ADHD symptoms.
RC,

Ditto on what Tim said...

I have an "alcohol history", too. Started self-medicating right out of high school. Thirty-four years later, I'm finally beginning to understand some of the challenges I was faced with all of those years--which just felt like "my life--take it or leave it".

In July of 2002, my Mom became seriously ill and I spent over a month camping out with her--24 hours a day--in the hospital. When she was finally released to go home, I started staying with her there, too.

After almost two weeks at home, she suffered a severe stroke and was taken to the ER. I spent the next three days with her, as she lay in a coma in intensive care. On the fourth day, I had to make a decision I never dreamed I would have to make. As a result, she was taken off of life support. I had my arms around her, and my cheek pressed to hers, as her life slipped away.

My life--and my perspective on life--changed in an instant. After I realized I was going to survive Mom's death, nothing else has seemed quite as hard to deal with as it was before.

I went through 6 months of counselling, and participated in a bereavement support group for two months. The bereavement support group experience opened my eyes to a part of me I had always "felt", but never understood--the exquisite pain of my own compassion. It was an epiphany.

It feels strange to say, but at the moment I realized that so much of the pain I had felt, even as a child, was compassion--and not just pain to be avoided, or to run away from--my life changed; because, of all things, compassion is really what life is about.

Suddenly, it became very important for me to (really) know how I felt about what was going on in my life--inside and out. At that time, I knew in my heart that I would never really know how I felt about anything as long as I continued to rely on alcohol as an escape mechanism.

Three and a half months after my Mom died, I quit drinking (after 30 years). It wasn't easy at first; but I was surprised by a very clear self-awareness...that, finally, the pain caused by my drinking was greater than the pain of making it through one day at time without a drink. I was motivated!

Finally, there were things about life--and myself--that I needed to know; and nothing was more important to me than learning how to be a participant in my own life, rather than the victim I had always been.

In April, after eleven years of working with me through alcohol addiction, depression and now, menopause(!!!)...my doctor diagnosed me with ADD. We both shared concern about putting me on Adderall, her med of choice for me. But, after talking about it, she started me out on a very low dose (5 mg. twice a day) to see how I would do.

Adderall had just the opposite effect from what I had feared...it quieted the noise in my head and calmed me down. Wow! What a difference.

Five months later I'm still working closely with my doctor to get the dosage and timing just right for the Adderall (now taking 10 mg XR twice a day--first thing in the morning, then four hours later). I have my ups and downs--and it does take time...and patience! --but I definitely feel like I'm headed in the right direction now.

McT mentioned something very important...about keeping your recovery balanced on a "one day at a time" basis. The longest journey begins with a single step...and goes on...one step at time.

Never give up on yourself! And remember--let others help you when they can, and when it works for you; it makes them feel good, and is a refreshing reminder that you don't have to go it alone.

Who knows...? You may even discover that some of those pesky squirrels in your head are best friends, in disguise...

Best wishes!
Deb
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