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Old 11-04-12, 11:53 AM
Songbird810 Songbird810 is offline

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Smile Using Medication at Work vs. Home/Free Time

Hi everyone,

I am recently diagnosed with ADHD (at age 30) and trialing medication, the first one being Ritalin. I've definitely noticed a significant improvement in my ability to stay motivated and focused at work since taking the medication. I am noticing some side effects and may consider trying something else though, but trust me, I've spent hours reading everyone's comments about that topic and that's not the main focus for discussion in this thread here...

My first inquiry is, does anyone have any tips or experiences they wouldn't mind sharing regarding the strategy they use for optimizing work performance? Do you vary the dosage amount or timing of doses based on what your workday is like and the types of tasks you'll be performing?

Also, what about with school work? Does your approach vary for that?

For example, I have an office/corporate type job as a training manager for the customer service department that is part of a growing organization (500+ staff) spread out across offices in several cities around the world. So fortunately for me, my tasks vary - I am in meetings somewhat frequently, I lead trainings, I coach and develop staff (and many in my department are close friends as well, so it is genuinely rewarding and fun), and occasionally I get to travel as well (to one of our other offices in Asia, to industry events to work as an exhibitor on behalf of the organization, and learning and development conferences to further my own knowledge). However, the higher up I go (I've been promoted twice in the last 5 1/2 years), there is more desk/email responding/projects at desk type work, and that's where the problems with focus, attention, and motivation really stand out to me. As project management is becoming more critical to my job and these issues weren't going away, that as well as difficulty with school (reading, mostly), I realized I couldn't ignore this anymore.

I've earned As at school since returning several years ago (finishing bachelor's) but always waiting until the last minute. I'm blessed that I guess I'm intelligent enough and a pretty talented writer that I can B.S. a paper the night before and get an A, but I simply don't want to live like this anymore. It's too stressful and if I'm getting As working like that, imagine if I actually put more thought and time into these projects. And I go to a very prestigious, respected university that is absolutely challenging and recognized for its academic rigor. At this point, though, I am going to seek a medical withdrawal to take some time to learn how to best manage my ADHD so I can return with more structure, strategy, and studying skills that work for me in place.

And separately, do you have a different strategy for staying productive in your free time? Things like cleaning, bills, staying organized at home, etc., are a challenge for me, too. And because I own a dog and now also own a house, and I'm single (ended a 7 1/2 year relationship almost 2 years ago) - I think all these stresses (plus what I further explain below) - really started to take it's toll and highlight how my symptoms were really starting to mess with my productivity and really damaging my self-esteem.

And yes, the medication is making a huge impact and now I'm not beating myself up, asking what's wrong with me? I've obviously been pretty successful to stay employed almost 6 years with two promotions, and earn As, and purchase a home at an incredible loan rate (I had a lot of debt in my early 20s but paid if off, although this past year I racked some debt up again, which also made me want to seek treatment because I'm much smarter than that yet delayed gratification is a challenge for me)... but internally I've known I'm only operating at 60-70% of what I'm capable of due to these problems, and I was over it and wanted help. If I'm this successful given what I KNOW I struggle with internally (and trust me, everyone I've told has been more or less shocked, if not outright skeptical), imagine what more I could be doing, and more importantly, contributing to improving this world.

FYI, I also plan to incorporate meditation and a diet and exercise strategy. I eat pretty healthy but one thing is I've been vegetarian although added fish to my diet about a year ago when I got pretty serious about my diet and fitness. I'm considering adding meat back to my diet though because I've been reading high-protein/low carb might be the way to go.

I also lost 35 pounds over a year ago and have kept it off. I was working out 5-6 times a week (both cardio and strength training) although that slipped off a couple months ago. That's when I started to get more depressed about not being sure what was wrong with me. Now at least having somewhat of an idea, I'm not as sad and feeling more hopeful. I know exercise makes a huge impact not just on ADHD symptoms but your overall mood, so trust me, I know I need to get back to my previous gym routine ASAP.

One thing specific to work that I want to note - and this applies to social functions/events too - I really don't like the effect of Ritalin that much when I'm engaging in meetings or trainings at work. It's very helpful for solo work, but unless it's a brainstorming/strategy session, and particularly with a co-worker I'm close with, I notice I don't like being medicated. And likewise, I have a pretty active social-life (definitely popular and somewhat of a "party girl" although now I see I think part of "let's party!" mentality is me needing the social (and alcohol) stimulation to compensate for lack of stimulation in general), but I don't like being on Ritalin for that. If I'm going out in the evening, I make sure my last dose was at least 4-5 hours before I head out.

Thanks so much everyone for taking the time to read this and help me work through this. I am very open to everyone's suggestions and opinions. There's a lot of work to be done in terms of getting together a strategy to most effectively and safely manage this across all spectrums of my life, and I really want to consult others who've been through this and hear what they've learned.

Thank you!
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