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Old 03-10-09, 03:21 PM
Aquablue Aquablue is offline
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Re: do I feel good, or am I in trouble?

Hey there Wristelle,

I see this thread was latent for a month and hope you're still checking in. Your description of changes on ritalin touched me ("I have become an acceptable and easy going person"). For me, there is a distinct economy. I've been on ritalin 10+ years, am in my 40s. When I started, my life was a mess. I was separated from spouse, raising two kids, one a teen in trouble, my mum was dying and we were broke. Despite all that I hung on to my scholarship in a doctoral program. The work involved research and writing/synchronizing. Before ritalin I was uneven yet very creative when on a roll. The extremes took a great toll. I'd either be vacant of ideas or flooded with good ones. I'd be up all night talking to myself and scribbling. When I produced, the feedback was great and I was proud of what I wrote. Depression was foreign back then, probably cause I couldn't focus on my emotions long enough to feel any which way. Back to the economy: itís not that I lost my ability on ritalin. Iím better at organization, punctuation, grammar, spelling. But I sacrificed my originality and at times feel like I whored myself. Ten years later......I still miss myself. But it was a necessary choice. I needed to raise kids, respect husband (feel less bored w/marriage), stay employed. On ritalin, I learned to wear a watch and pay attention to it. And deal w/people I (unmedicated) saw as hapless idiots or as George Carlin put itÖ.redundant piles of protoplasm.

As you said (loved your description) "I had no idea who I was but had this overwhelming energy to pursue myself." Me too, but there was a downside: Before ritalin, I was: locking my keys in car, finding myself in market with no idea what I needed (if Iíd made a listÖÖlost it and there I was raking through a big shapeless purse for it as other things spilled out), losing purse, either paying a bill twice or not at all. I thought I might have early dementia.

The first psychiatrist I saw dxed. me with major depressive disorder. He said "considering I was in my 30s and a mother" I was overly active (Now how sexist is that?). Yet he poo-pooed the idea of ADD/ADHD and interpreted my activity level as a sign of depression. Didn't ask about my childhood, which is fundamental (got lost often, accidents from not paying attention where I was going, couldn't watch tv show more than 30 mins., had no girlfriends as I didn't understand their cattiness.) Anyway, he prescribed Prozac, in the same category of ADs as sertaline, also works on serotonin. I hated myself on prozac; felt like a fat ugly slug. Was really upset when a friend saw I was drooling buckets as we ate and I wasn't even aware. I'd given up cigs 10 years back and after 6 or so weeks on Prozac, started smoking again. That caused me so much anger I tossed the pills, cancelled appt. and decided psychiatry was a bogus field. Months later I was dxed. by a psychologist I'd brought my son to. He noted inconsistencies about me and suggested I go through testing that involved auditory stimulation and response time. Long story short he dxed. me w/ADD and referred me to a psychiatrist who believed adults can have ADD.


It's important to know the specific anti-depressant youíre on MATTERS A GREAT DEAL. The wrong one can severely exacerbate/heighten your depression.


Often we ADDers are better at helping others than ourselves. When a friend was suicidal 3 years back and sought my help, I researched the meds. she was on. I learned about neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, GABA), how they relate to different types of depression and which anti-depressants are appropriate for each type. And 2 years ago, when I suffered a whopping depression myself, I was able to (tactfully, without challenging) ask my doctor for the anti-depressant I thought appropriate, wellbutrin. It was the right one.

Some additional info about ritalin. Though itís a huge help and no one can dissuade me from that, there are side effects. One in particular relates to depression. Over time, ritalin can short-circuit the brainís reward system. Iím no authority, but my understanding is that ritalin depletes the brainís ability to properly channel dopamine (neurotransmitter that controls pleasure).


Wellbutrin is complimentary for some of us with ADD who take ritalin long-term. It's a complex drug, as no one knows for sure the exact course of action. But whatever else it does, it increases the brainís ability to channel dopamine. It also improves focus. Some people shouldn't take it (it can increase anxiety) but for me, it helped lift an incapacitating depression, as did coaching by a person I could hear. Before that, I had a big chip on shoulder, was arrogant, didnít think anyone with less education could help me. Iíve never been so wrong!!!!!!! Iíd spent 8 years in 20s in therapy and in late 20s, was educated/trained as psychotherapist.

What I learned in my 40s, as a result of depression, was that book knowledge re: mental health can be more harmful than helpful. As a person w/ADD, Iíve so badly wanted to fit, to belong, to have respite from feeling akin to (Spielbergís) E.T. Much of the stuff in books is produced by NT people who don't even know ADD/ADHD exists. I wasted years searching for myself in books. Aside from finding the right medication, what I now believe helpful is having the right counselor/coach and friendship with others coping with ADD/ADHD. That is where youíll find validation and have access to experiential knowledge. I didnít see that until an ugly depression struck me.

This site offers great info and if youíd like other links on brain chemistry for lay people like us, send me a message. I agree with everything above. Itís imperative you share your extent of suffering with a qualified doctor. Depression can be seen on a continuum, the worst severity typified by despair, nary a shred of hope. I see that some wise comrades above have been there, as have I. Stay close to this site as thereís a wealth of thoughtful, creative, hard-to-define thoughts and feelings. And please write to us, we care about you.
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