I've been quite frustrated lately. I had been officially diagnosed with ADHD as an adult a couple months ago after years of obsessions, very irritable behavior towards my wife and young children, social issues... bad test taker, rapid speech, impulsive behavior, you name it... textbook case here.
I have been, however, successful in my career, despite my being "prima donna" by coworkers in the past and having obvious emotional issues on the job when I get attached to particular projects (I write software... so technical arguments can turn emotional when a bunch of engineers all want to solve problems different ways).
Anyways, I've been seeing a therapist for the past year who's been helping me with mindfulness training, which seems to be working very well. I have always been reluctant to go back to medications because of a bipolar misdiagnosis when I was a teenager that had me spend much of my teenage years in a very bad place... giving an ADHD kid bipolar medications is traumatizing to say the least- especially since I don't suffer from any type of depression.
So I do suffer from migraines and my therapist had recommended that I see a psychiatrist for the migraines and talk to him about my behavioral concerns to see what he says. I ended up being prescribed Vyvanse and Topamax. Of the two, I actually think Topamax had the worst effect on my mental state.
It just so happens, I am in graduate school and so this diagnosis and prescriptions happend right before the semester started. It's been a very hard semester to say the least. I don't know much about Vyvanse or Adderall. I took Ritalin and Dexadrine when I was in grade school.
Since I needed to get my heart checked out for the Vyvanse, I started on the Topamax for a couple weeks. I hated it. Yes, it took care of the migraines, but it really clouded my ability to think and function and it really gave me some wretched anxiety. Even on 25mg, I was feeling paranoid- every conversation i was having with people, would become a rumination.
A few weeks later, when I started on the Vyvanse, I was given a schedule to start @ 20mg and work my way up to 60mg (stopping early if I feel it's clearly effective). I told my psychiatrist that I felt a little bit on 20mg and he mentioned that's about what he'd give a 7 year old and that 60mg is about average. With his comment in mind, I figured I'd keep going, up to 30mg, 40mg, I started noticing the noise in my head was lowered significantly but I still had issues with my mind traveling from time to time so he recommended going up to 50mg and then to 60mg.
Now, I know I wasn't always taking the prescription right at 7am, sometime it'd be 9 or even close to 10am. I was also extremely stressed over school, to the point where the Topamax and Vyvanse were adding to the stress and making me downright paranoid about failing. I spent about a month on the Vyvanse, at first, I noticed I was more aware, I was able to retain thoughts more clearly, I could actually control what I wanted to focus on rather than having to constantly find the most stimulating task available at work! I was nicer to my kids and wife. I did notice a little strange euphoric feeling when I first started taking it, but I figured that was just because I was up to normal dopamine levels. After a couple weeks, however, I was getting too focused on school. I was drowning out my wife and kids, locking myself in my office to study for school. I was getting paranoid at work, every conversaton I was having with people was causing me to ruminate violently about it. I found myself beginning to doze off into deep deep thought for 20 minutes at a time, usually violent anxiety ruminations. I wasn't even realizing i was doing it until I snapped to. I wasn't sleeping, which had started when I began on the Topamax.
Needless to say, the end of that month on Vyvanse and Topamax became a nightmare. I was also acting manic at work and a couple coworkers had noticed it- which of course caused my anxiety to compel me to explain myself further. Eventually, I realized I think I was on too high a dose of both medications but as my midterm was approaching, I didn't want to mess with the medications and run the risk of screwing up my (already aweful) testing ability.
The day before the test, I lost it at work- I found myself mumbling to my supervisor and couldn't get a word out that I was trying to describe. I work on a military base... so u can imagine the atmosphere there. I mentioned to him that I need to get off these medications and that the TOpamax has been causing some aweful anxiety.
Not long after mentioning that, one of the nosy women on my contract at work started questioning me about it. I guess her son has ADHD but she didn't seem to be questioning me to help me, she seemed to be almost interviewing me about it. I mentioned to her that the migraine medicine had been giving me aweful anxiety. She asked me how much of the Vyvanse i was on and mentioned that 60mg was an extremely high dose. I'm not sure if she knew wtf she was talking about. Then I went to mention to her that I felt like a "power transformer" from how jittery I was and she cut me off and said "Druggie? HOney you don't have to feel like a druggy, you can stop any time". I'm like "wtf? Druggie? I was diagnosed with ADHD." The following day, she came over and started questioning about it again- frustrating thing is, I started realizing she really was trying to make it look like I had been taking this medication for school.
Thing is, before I was prescribed the Vyvanse, I knew nothing about this stuff. Working for the military, I'm not a druggie and I have a wife and 2 children so I just don't spend my time educating myself about this stuff. I mentioned to the lady that my uncle is a psychologist and mentioned to me that he was surprised they gave me Vyvanse given how bad my anxiety is. The lady used that as an opportunityt o mention "Oh, uncle is a psychologist, so you have an IN that way then, I see". HUH???? Now I know those medications were making me paranoid, but this nosy bitch.....
At one point, the branch chief came near us and she was asking me if I wanted us to quiet down around her like I was talking about something I shouldn't have. I told her there's no reason I need to be quiet about it- i was diagnosed by a doctor and he prescribed me too much. What a nosy bitch.
The thing is, though, this now has me worried about the stigma associated with these medications. I'm currently trying to work with my graduate school to get me more time on tests and any other things they can do to help give me the same advantage as any other non-ADHD student but am I going to be fighting people like this the whole way? How the hell could people think like this? Especially given that this lady apparently has a son with ADHD. I've lived with this my whole life so I can't speak much for people who DON'T think the way I do, but I can say, I've been challenged by it my whole life- always had to work 5-10x harder than other students in school to get similar grades as them, always the socially awkward guy that stands out in every crowd, violent ruminations that have destroyed friendships and relationships because they make it hard to discriminate reality from the ruminations. I have an obsessive personality that causes me to super focus on things for months at a time and then drop them when I get board- an inconsistency that any person watchign me through that period of time seems to think I'm just inconsistent and confused. In reality- I don't look at it as not finishing things, I look at it as learning what I need to be as productive as possible in my next obsession.
Anyways. I'm rambling at this point. I never thought people would be so fucking rude to me about this- especially accusing me of using drugs?!?
Have you guys dealt with this type of abuse? How do I handle this lady? I feel like I'm not picking up on the social cues quick enough. I come home and my wife tells me I need to say "I don't feel comfortable discussing my medical information with you" but when I'm at work, I'm trying to be accepted by others so I tend to be kind of a pushover and I think people take advantage of that.
The sad part is, during the short period of time I took the Vyvanse, I actually started feeling normal. I had energy, I could control my focus, I was kind to my kids, I could think through tough scenarios without getting so emotional that I cried or got angry. I'm hesitant to take it again with snobby bitches like this woman making me feel bad for doing trying to be a normal human being.