I am writing this to introduce myself and open a discussion about my experience with ADHD and Strattera which can hopefully lead me to suggestions of what my next steps should be in taking care of me and my ADHD .
I have been on Strattera for a month and a half. I finally decided to get officially diagnosed and treated for ADHD at the ripe old age of 54 because the combination of menopause and life long untreated ADHD sent my condition into overdrive at a time in my life of major transition. Getting a lot of stuff done right now is essential. .
Let me go back and tell some of my ADHD story. I as a kid was described by my Mother and others as out of it, a day dreamer, space head, or “as a person with her head in the clouds”. My mom would get furious when yelling at me about what ever because she didn’t believe I was listening to her. I have a long history of scatter braininess manifested by constantly loosing and misplacing things, starting things and not finishing them, an inability to implement and complete ideas or task, and an aversion to details (also according to my Myers Brigg assessment). These attributes have lead to anxieties around loosing things and being locked out of places where I go into a panic attack until I find what I lost or get inside of where I am locked out of. My Mom would always say I can tell when Turkey has been around because there is a trail of evidence that shows where she has been (i.e. doors open, things dropped or spilled, lights on etc.).
From my teen years and beyond I did a lot of recreational drug experimentation and would react to drugs opposite of the way a normal person would. I got stimulated from depressants and depressed from stimulants. I would take amphetamines to study for school and although I could study effectively and function better I would get crazy ideas like what is the point if living if you can do everything perfectly and nothing is a challenge and feel very depressed.
My brain especially since menopause is like a pin ball machine and my thoughts are like a pinball. I will start a task and something will emerge to trigger me to start on another task in the course of working on the first task the second task will completely derail me. So I drop the first task and jump into the second task until maybe a minute or two latter when it is evident that a third task needs to be done at which point I drop the second task and start the third task right away. Eventually I am sitting scratching my head trying to remember the original task and what to do next.
I am a person that excels in the things I find interesting or am comforted in and can spend endless amounts of time learning every detail about my interest or engaging in a specific compulsive behavior despite anything else going on around me. On the other hand I cannot muster an iota of attention or effort, motivation or willingness for doing things I feel are boring or that I have no interest in. I just learned the term hyper focus a few days ago in teaching myself about ADD and hyper focusing is how I now understand myself to also be hyperactive although to the outside observer I come off as an inattentive ADHD. As an infant I hyper focused on sucking my thumb, as a young kid I began as a compulsive nail and cuticle picker which I still do and which the Strattera has had no effect on, when I get bored I can spend hours picking my nails.
These compulsive activities I now see as a form of hyperactivity
Two years ago I took swing dance lessons and became obsessed with that. Of course I have become quite a good dancer and go out 3 nights a week. When dancing before Strattera I was not at peace unless I was on the dance floor every minute I could not sit still and if I did I was not at ease. Since Strattera I can sit out dances and socialize or just relax which is evidence for me that the medication is doing what it should do. The thing I first noticed that made me believe the medication was working was that I was more patient. Which allows me to do what is needed for getting things done versus jumping to the next task that pops into my head
The main downside to Strattera is fatigue. I feel tired from it when I am dancing or climbing a flight of stairs. I am worried about what the drug is doing to make me feel so tired and how is whatever is making me feel tired affecting my overall health. It has also suppressed my appetitive and made it quite easy for me to loose that last 8 pounds that I wouldn’t have lost otherwise. (A side effect I am very happy about because generally speaking the skinnier I am and the less I weigh the more satisfied I am)
I see a new psychiatrist next week and am going to ask him/her if I can try one of the stimulant medications. I like Strattera and it is working in a subtle but effective way there is no issue with insomnia and one pill works 24 hours a day. I have mixed feelings about the long half life and I miss my old ADHD self. It curbs my appetite which I love but what I don’t like is it makes me feel tired and it causes high blood pressure which I had a borderline case of before I started it. I want to try a stimulant drug for a while and then decide which drug works best for me.