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2005-09-26 - 4:38 p.m.

OOPS I linked to a poem in my last entry and today followed the link to realize the link is not to the SPECIFIC poem I had wanted, but to the POETRY DAILY site which Posts a DIFFERENT poem each day! Therefore anyone who follows the link will get something different on any given day! I have to see if there is a way to look up a particular date, as sadly I have NO MEMORY of the poet's name of the poem I liked so much!

I am taking a few minutes thinking about medication.

I chose to STOP taking the Adderall until I can see the Dr again. Actually I figured I would take it starting the week BEFORE I see him, but take a break until then as I couldn't get an appointment for a few weeks. I stopped as I wasn't sure it was actually DOING anything for me. Therefore it seemed like a silly thing to keep taking something that had no obvious benefit.

I think it rather funny WHY I missed my appointment. Westely was SUPPOSSED to come home to watch the kids for me. I REMINDED him that morning. He had arranged to leave work early. At 3:30 when I expected him he did not show up. I waited and around 3:45 started to try to reach him. I called his cell #, I called his desk #, I then went on line to IM him. No response. At 4:15 pm he IMed me back and said he was getting ready to leave. I said "Don't bother. It was a 4:00 appointment and I called to cancel."
He said "It's 3:15 right?"
I said "No It is now 4:15"

He said "WHAT?? No Way! I went into my bosses' office at 3pm to talk for a minute... What time is it?"

He was apologetic and in a bit of disbelief of the "Time Warp" he entered when he got so caught up in his conversation.

I had been upset until he told me what happened, at which I IMed back, "Don't worry, I understand that hyperfocus to the exclusion and being oblivious of of all other things. Its common among those of us with attention issues!"

And I was then LAUGHING!

He ignored my comment.

And now for the moment of the day for me : I have this sense I WROTE about this already! But am NOT SURE.... That is in fact why I looked at my previous entry. I didn't double check any further back than that though. IN any case it is annoying to not recall what I actually did, because I often also recall the INTENT of things I WOULD LIKE TO DO and then FORGET whether I actually did the thing or just Thought of it! That has gotten me in hot water on a few occassions when the memory of the moment of THINKING ABOUT STUFF overcame me and I WAS SURE I DID SOMETHING but in reality hadn't!

OK-- time to stop the perseveration of this moment... off to the purple "ANIMAL!" to attack the kitchen mess, and to corrall the wild animals of the place.... back into the GATED AREA where I can SEE THEM while getting the grub ready!

Well as an assessment of whether the adderall helps me or not I will note some observations from the days I ceased taking it (in comparison to the days I was actually taking it.)
When off the medicine:
1. The laundry has piled up yet again.

2. I backed my car into a CEMENT BLOCK in the parking lot of BJS last Thu. YES I KNOW.... THAT CEMENT BLOCK WASN'T MOVING OR ANYTHING... I AM SURE IT WAS THERE WHEN I PARKED... but SOMEHOW I DIDN'T NOTICE IT UNTIL I HIT IT! (Ironically I was parked AWAY from all other cars for ease of backing out! I did however load up the back of the vehicle and obstructed my view. BUt more importatly, I had no MEMORY or OBSERVATION of the damn BIG BLOCK that I should have been aware of! The dent is smack in the middle of the rear bumper. I was rushing so as to not be late to meet Sadie who was returning from school soon)

3. I dozed at work this Sat night. REALLY There was no radio playing and those men's jeans were just not very exciting.... I also missed my nap BEFORE work. But I was REALLY DRAGGING and dead tired and needed to keep taking a quick break to MOVE AROUND rather than stand in one spot putting things on the shelves so I wouldn't fall asleep! (NOTE THAT WAS NOT A PROBLEM THAT HAS BEEN EXCLUSIVE TO THIS JOB OF WORKING NIGHTS. I HAVE HAD TO STRUGGLE WITH THAT PROBLEM WHEN I WORKED DAY SHIFTS TOO!)

4. I attempted to read the LAST 5 pages of the novel CHARMING BILLY that I wanted to finish. It really shouldn't have been so hard to read without falling asleep! I had to attempt this SO MANY TIMES before I got through it! That really is typical!

5. I dozed off a few moments ago while in the midst of typing this. (and I caught up on sleep yesterday for hours after work the night before, and last night slept very well so I don't feel particually tired... except when I SIT! I am fine when in motion- also typical of me!)

6. I was lucky Friday when I dozed just moments before we were about to go meet Sadie's bus that Katie ran in the room in her loud way to tell me something. She woke me in the nick of time!

7. Westley got a new vacume. He opted to use those earned AMEX points for a gift certificate for HOME DEPOT and he came back with the DYSON ANIMAL Purple toy that as an engineer he was just thrilled to analyze. For me, the one who uses a vacume to vacume rather than to study, I honestly would have preferred the ORECK which is SIMPLE and LIGHT. Westely DID TELL ME NOT TO SWITCH modes from FLOOR to CARPET WITH THE MACHINE RUNNING. YES HE TOLD ME. YES I SHOULD HAVE PAID ATTENTION... but YES I IMPULSIVELY SWITCHED That SWITCH as I was vacuming and came to the rug AS OUR LITTLE OLD HOOVER can switch while in motion. You could hear the GRINDING of the gears... and WESTELY YELLED DOWN FROM UPSTAIRS "SHUT IT OFF!"

YES IT STILL WORKS, but YES I DID pop a gear or two. There is a rattle and a grinding like working motor sound when it runs that wasn't there before. I can compare it to the stroller that gradually had ALL four catches on the lock broken by the little girls rocking it when it was in locked position. It worked with one snapped. Then it worked with two of the catches snapped. Then it worked with three catches snapped. After years of using the stroller only recently did they snap the forth and final catch so now the stroller doesn't break AT ALL. BUT YES IT STILL IS FUNCTIONAL, but not at the Optimal desired level I would have liked!

I guess it helps to write these observations down moreso as it makes me aware of PATTERNS of things that I have REGULARLY struggled with.

I was thinking what is the point of the medication if a primary reason I want to take it is so I can sit and read without falling asleep so I can actually READ some of my law materials and hope to pass the BAR one day UNLESS I am going to COMMITT and be DEDICATED and DISCIPLINES to study. That is the real reason I STOPPED the medicine, as I haven't yet gotten into a ROUTINE and made it a commitment to start studying again. I think I can FUNCTION and get by day to day. Of course medication would make it EASIER. I think it WAS EASIER to get things done, and I did realized AFTER I stopped it that I actually had been caught up with laundry EVERY DAY when on it! That alone is rather amazing. But then I think WHO EVER IS ACTUALLY CAUGHT up with laundry every day? And I was working night shifts and NEVER TIRED. YES I still did those things like MISPLACE MY KEYS... but the almost unusual LACK OF tiredness which I am sure the medicine being a stimulant has something to do with... made me worry that maybe in the long term it wouldn't be GOOD for me UNLESS NECESSARY. Yet with the losing of my keys I thought it really might not have had any affect on my attentiveness and attention to detail anyway!

So I thought I's skip the medicine a while to see if there is any obvious difference. I can't say there is any obvious difference.... but as I am once again fighting off sleep as I doze here at the keyboard, and have the kids watching a vidoe do I can get those few moments AWAY - TIme to myself to refect and to write and to think... I realize there is yet another difference. I haven't felt the NEED for that time to GET AWAY as much. I have indeed spent LESS time writing and browsing the net. I guess because it is true I haven't felt overwealmed.

So in hindsight I guess the medicine HAS MADE me MORE PRESENT in each moment. IT is less WORK to pay attention to the level of activity and detail required day to day and I don't need those breaks. In some ways I think the increase in energy level is also unnatural, although not bad. Maybe its because the struggle was there, although I wasn't AWARE of just how much effort and energy it requires of me to NORMALLY be engaged and present and attentive. The medication seems to make NOT AN OVERT difference, but that subtle difference.

Perhaps the thing for me to do is not to stop the medicine because I haven't been studying yet anyway... but instead to continue to take the medicine and become serious and committed to my goal of passing the BAR EXAM and get my schedule arrange AND STUDY! Only then can I tell if this medication makes the substantial difference in my life such that it is USEFUL for me in adressing that particular hurdle.

You see, I really did make it thorough law school without reading. Its a scary thing. I DID read SOME in undergrad, though it was a challenge to stay awake to do so! And even then I more or less SKIMMED as needed! Immigration law is an area that changes like the wind, and it is updated at the govt sites so knowing HOW To FIND the law and then APPLY it on the proper forms is REALLY what that is all about. It doesn't require any great MEMORY and any KNOWLEDGE other than a good sense of strategy and how to complete a compelling application. There are creative ways to do things -- some more effective than others. There are effective ways to write a cover letter for the DEPT of Labor on behalf of an employer WHO ALREADY is in violation of LABOR and IMMIGRATION laws, and there are ineffective ways! Lawyering is really more about REALATIONSHIPS with people, and with GOVT OFFICES (again- people in them) than about anything that requires MEMORY to be a good practitioner. Good lawyering is about knowing how to apply law and knowing when to suck up and admit error and about when to be bold and argue. I have all those instincts if you want to call it that. But good lawyering is ALSO about PAYING ATTENTION TO FINE DETAILS. Its the little details that often make a big difference in things!

I tried to talk to my mom about my attention issues and the fact I want to address them with medication. I didn't get far. She said in relation to the BAR exam which I was talking about, telling her that maybe it is time to think of medication so I could just STAY AWAKE during the one test "That sounds like an excuse. " and then MOM went on "Don't let anyone tell you there is anything wrong with you."
She basically was completely unwilling to be open to the idea that there could ever be anything wrong with one of HER kids!
She said how I had been taking that test under difficult circumstances of sleep deprivation. I asked her if that was the case when I fell asleep during EVERY STANDARDIZE TEST I HAVE EVER TAKEN. I told her I always did fine, but in this case when I am just points away from passing MAYBE those naps this time DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. In the past I could always get where I wanted DESPITE that. WITH THIS TEST I CAN NOT!
But mom was just UPSET at the suggestion I could have anything wrong with me! She was more comfortable BLAMING others-- like my husband who she thinks never gave me time to study. (Not true... OH I ENJOYED those hours of NAPS when I DID HAVE STUDY TIME!)
So I gave up on the conversation. I did get as far as saying "Mom... just listen to what I AM TELLING YOU. No one else is telling ME anything..."
But I stopped short of telling her I actually HAD A PRESCRIPTION. I stopped short of rocking her otherwise perfect mirage of her children.

I figure its great for her kids to have self awareness. SHe however hasn't really been HURT by her insistance on not being open to things WE TELL her. She however hasn't been harmed by her obliviousness to HER OWN issues. Since they don't bother her or my DAD who is so very patient and forgiving and WONDERFUL then I don't need to really push these issues with her!I see this! To have a diagnosis for myself would mean she has to look at herself! I think at this stage in her life that is not something she is open to and I guess at this stage it isn't really harmful !So I can let her be happy and let her not know of my issues and how I am handling them in any greater detail than she is comfortable with!

It was disappointing though.

Back to taking care of the day at hand. Have to vacume the crumbs from the muffins the girls helped themselves to when I had asked them WAIT while I went to change the baby's diaper. They DIDN'T wait and I have a huge mess to vacume. AT least I get to use the Engineer's new TOY! Whoop de doo.... Although it IS REALLY nice! (I still think the ORECK is the better value for the money though- even if it isn't as cool!)

Oh- and after the experiment of going on this medicine for two weeks, then going off it- I think tommorrow I will resume taking it again. That is- if tonight I don't OBSESS and read about it to the point of paranoia regarding side effects.... (HA HA... just kidding....)

I DID enjoy what I formerly thought of as the near inhuman feat of keeping on top of the laundry and being more organized with housework! I guess it DID MAKE a DIFFERENCE, even if ever so subtle. The problem is that I can't ever KNOW and I think taking medication is really like any other act of faith. When it comes down to it, maybe the only difference is really in one's BELIEF in it. If it DOES have an affect, we can't REALLY know it, as it is not in our control! We can only peripherally feel it or sense it and THINK that the difference was because of this external thing. We can read and compare what it has done for others and expect and hope it will do somthing positive for ourselves. But in the end, when things DO SEEM different- its ever so hard to discern EXACTLY what the differences are, and hard to know EXACTLY what the differences are to be attributed to: MEdication, or my own belief? Placebo's are often said to work! So I wonder if the pill I take is merely a placbo! The problem is, that without the placebo, or faith, or whatever it is one finds helpful- a person has difficulty on their own garnishing up enough strength and sheer belief of their will to improve solely on their own. And there is also the possibility THAT WE ALL NEED that external help. The possibility THAT IT IS NOT SOLELY the BELIEF of somthing other than ourselves working in our lives, but a reality!

In the end, and this was very much the theme of Charming Billy, It might not make a difference either way. As for me. whether this medication REALLY works, or whether I THINK It works may not really matter. For now what this path is leading me to is realizing that IF I WANT TO ACHIEVE MY GOALS I have to DO THE WORK and be Committed and Disciplined! Medicine or no medicine, that can only help. But in order to REALLY give the medication a CHANCE to be effective, I HAVE TO DO THAT WORK so I can actually compare my ability to syudy with that of the past. So I will take the medication, and hope it makes a difference. And if there is a difference I suppose I will attribute it to the medicine... but in the end, I feel like I might NEVER REALLY be able to KNOW WHAT the difference is attributed to! But IF I DO Take a standardized test and am awake for the first time ever... well then I think it would be safe to assume the medication just might have SOMETHING to do with it!

And I guess then it also safe to say that it had SOMETHING to do with me keeping up with laundry, and having seemingly endless energy and not being tired, and being able to read without dozing just moments after I pick up a book, and really NOT FEELING restless when doing the daily stuff--- not feeling COMPELLED to go off and get something ELSE done, but able to relax and BE AT PEACE in the moment of NOW.

And as I looked in the WRECKED kitchen where after the video ended the girls helped themselves to milk (spilling some of course) and took scizzors to paper in an art project (leaving cuttings ALL OVER THE PLACE) and I now wonder what joys await me upstairs where a few of the girls have ventured... I am thinking... HMMM... YES IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA to take that medication again tommorrow and to continue until the next follow up appointment. I stopped as we thought there was NO APPARENT positive result. But I DID stay a little MORE engaged with the girls. They had LESS time when I got self absorbed in writing to go off and create mayhem. While I am sure there IS VALUE in that free play and creative time.... there is also value in me getting dinner prepared BEFORE 6:30 pm, in me not getting caught up IN MYSELF, and value in me being MORE ATTENTIVE to them ALL DAY LONG without these periods of tuning them out because I JUST HAVE TO!

I think that is perhaps the most striking difference! IT is I am sure the hallmark of being overwealmed and overstimulated for me. I just have to take that time AWAY from it all. I KNOW THIS so DO IT and don't worry about the kids at that time or the house! (I do make sure the youngest is in the playpen first happy with toys or napping like now!) But I did notice that when taking the medication I DIDN'T HAVE THIS NEED. The day just went smoother all day long and I never hit that point of needing the break! I wrote a bit- but did so MUCH QUICKER and I think I also DIDN'T RAMBLE or REPEAT (perhaps Perseverate is the word?) as much!

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