Monday, June 21, 2010

It's All Make Beleive

After reading about ADHD and talking to I psychologist who was supposed to have knowledge in the area I decided to try Ritalin.

First I went to my doctor. Since he didn't want to prescribe anything, I asked him to run some tests on my general health and vitamin levels. He didn't find anything that seemed to be abnormal (according to his beliefs).

After five months, I finally got an appointment with the psychiatrist, and guess what: she sent me to get cardiovascular test.

After another month (now knowing that my heart rhythm seems to be normal) I finally got my prescription.

Trying Ritalin
My biggest issue has been getting stressed late at night which makes it hard to get to bed (and later to sleep), which ends up leaving me constantly tired.

The psychiatrist told me to not take the Ritalin if there were any chance I would be driving within three hours or if I'd been lacking sleep. I had just told her that I had been constantly lacking sleep for more than a year; she didn't really help me to feel comfortable about taking the drugs.

The same night I decided that postponing trying the Ritalin would cause me to obsess, thinking about how it would be. So rather than questioning my belief, I just tried it. Wow, what a relief. The nervous tiredness had changed to just being tired, and it has now lasted for a week without taking further medications!!!

What Changed?
So now I wondering what happened.

Over the last months I made up a belief - inspired by the audio book Scattered minds by Gabor Maté - that ADHD can be a behavior chosen by a sensitive person in response to certain stress conditions in early childhood.

As some of you may know an ADHD mind tends to produce delta-waves (go to sleep wave), when you would expect beta-waves. The delta-waves occur during times of excitement and other strong emotion.

According to Maté, this starts as we are small children responding to uncomfortable feelings and situations. It then grows into regular behavior.

When I do dialogs or therapy, I always start yawning when I "go deep". So making up that this was a chosen behavior I asked my mentor/counselor, "Would you please ask me what I was feeling just before I yawned?"

The typical dialog question would have been, "Why did you yawn?" However, this small change led me to some very deep early childhood memories; I could feel different tensions in my body and put words to what they might mean.

Why So Restless?
Gabor Maté also inspired me to look at why I felt restless before sleeping. I used to ask myself for the reasons for not going to bed, and I used to come up with reasons such as concern about things I had or had not done during the day (maybe the flat needed to be cleaned), and whether or not I had said something that someone else didn't like. Some days I made up that it was the fear of never finding a partner or the fear of how other people would see me, because I was single.

I knew there was some kind of lack of self-trust, but I wasn't aware that this was a common thing for ADHD. Instead of looking for the reasons in the present or in the future, I started to believe that it could be in the very distant past and that it might not be important to know exactly why. Still, I could just work on accepting and loving myself when the feeling arrived.

I've been doing this with the em-wave-training that I sometimes practice. Em-wave training is a way to practice heart coherence, focusing on breathing feeling empathy - with the help of a software or a portable device.

Well, neither the dialogs nor the em-wave had done much for the stress before bedtime, but one dose of Ritalin did! This might make sense to a doctor who believes that ADHD is a genetic or chemical thing and that medicine is the only cure. But how does it explain that the stress didn't come back for more than a week now?

I believe that I am in the midst of changing my mind, that the Ritalin has helped me (and might do it again), but that mind-training and changing beliefs and behaviors is what will help me in the long run.

Well, that's my make believe.


  1. Joy, I've been thinking a lot about your experience with the Ritalin and sleeping. I have no idea what I'm talking about, but from my experience, it seems that there's this fine line between obsessing and ADD; it's just that one has a constant focus and the other a constant motivator.

    I know that some folks get stuck on one thought or one experience and then can't get away from it. It could be whether or not their hands are clean, or what that spot on their skin might be, or if they'll have enough money to pay the bills at the end of the month. When I do ADD, it's as though I have the intensity of obsession, but a focus that jumps from place to place.

    So, I'll start thinking about everything I want to accomplish in a day and bounce from thing to thing. Or, I'll start thinking about conversations I've had and wondering about their impact. I won't stay on any one of them for long, but I will stay in that mode.

    I'm not sure what that means, but I thought I'd share a bit about what you've inspired me to think about.

    The other thing that Iris mentioned to me the other day is that when I get tired, I get more active and energetic. It can be somewhat entertaining to watch Iris and me getting tired together. She gets slower and quieter; I get faster and louder. Just a data point.

    Thank you for your blog and inspiring me to think.

  2. Have you consulted an actual 'health' professional, as opposed to a sickness professional Joy?

    Have you explored dosing yourself with calcium/magnesium to take the edge off your anxiety, and to help relax, and to sleep?

    Have you explored/researched the horrific drug abuse/effects of Ritalin? bw

  3. Telfon: that is all things I recongnize: high energized brain jumping from one thing to the next.

    I believe that my tiredness came from long time of getting active when I was needing rest.

    - Yes, I am also using "heath specialists" - I don't see it as either / or.
    - Yes, I have been tested for all vitamins and are currently taking B-complex and magnesium - and I before trying Ritalin I tried to calm the sympthoms with magnesium/calcium/vitamine c - which helped in the afternoon. I didn't find usefull enough at nighttime (which was my maine issue).
    - I have followed some of the research and I tried some effects on my own body: I have been to the emergency when my psychiatrist had adviced a higher dose and I almost blacked out while running - my reaction to high does were for some reason to get dehydrated, which I am no aware of.

    What seems to work for me is only taking low dosis and only to regulate my sleep pattern.

    At this very moment I realise that I should also stay away from a mixture of coffee and sugar - at least during working hours since it gives me a "jumpy brain".

  4. doseage is relavant. Good to keep the artificial contaminant ritalin to a minimum to be sure. Doseage applies to calcium/magnesium. Some nights when i'm restless I will chew down, (important for absorbtion) 4 or 5 at a time, and 20 min later, bliss...if not enough, take more. These are 'food supplements' and essential minerals after all, not man-made drugs. bw

  5. I guess we hold different beliefs about food supplements - I don't know which doses you are refering to - I do not take more than 2x300mg magnesium - I don't believe that essential minerals means "unlimited"
    If it works for you: great!
    I prefere 5 mg Ritalin to 1500 mg magnesium.


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