Friday, July 17, 2009

Sue Scheff: ADHD and a Bad Reaction

Source: ADDitude Magazine

People with ADHD tend to run with negative thoughts and emotions. When I don't notice the present—and fixate on the past—there is a sense of desperation, and no one to share it with.

The vicious cycle continues. Ever since I've been taking Adderall for my adult attention deficit disorder, I've felt focused, and yet sadder and angry. There is an edge that is sharpened by this medication, and I'm not sure that I like it. I wonder if it is childhood trauma, a personality disorder, or the ADHD medication. There are extreme ups and downs, and little control over either.

The new guy's name is Mr. Put Together, clean, organized, on the heavy side, smart, and attentive. He has many friends (many of them female), is very social, and has given me the keys to his apartment. And yet I am hung up on the Chef, who has clearly told me that we're not dating. There is no interest, he's bored. I wonder if that is how I will be too. After the chase what else is there? I too will be bored.

Recently, the father, Mr. Put Together, and I met at a fund-raising benefits event that I helped put together. It was truly a New York moment. The event was held in an expansive loft with a grand terrace, and one of the finest views of Columbus Circle and Central Park.

The caterers served white sangria and all-you-could-drink red and white wine. We sat on the terrace, the sky above gray, the wind kicking up a notch, and talked. Mr. Put Together loves to talk. He's very ambitious and has grand plans—life after his government career includes a best-selling novel. And yet I felt extremely subdued. I wanted no part of the party and the conversation, I was not happy.

Later, when we had drinks at a restaurant not far from the event, I was equally as blue. In desperation I called up the Chef, who brusquely asked me what I wanted. I lied and said I had a crisis. There was a mouse under the sink. "Can I come over, I'll sleep on the couch," I said.
There was a long pause, and he said, "OK, but I have to get up at 4 a.m." I felt like a swimmer lost at sea who had stumbled upon an island at last. I did not want sex, I did not want a boyfriend, and I did not want to go back to the room in the sketchy neighborhood.

I wanted an oasis and a place to exhale. That much the Chef gave me. He buzzed me in and threw me a pillow and sheet. "Do what you want, Jane," he said. "I'm going to sleep."

I thought back to the night. Mr. Put Together had observed that I seemed stressed and jittery. I said that I'm really an introvert and I just need a bit of down time, time to work out and swim. There is truth in that, but at the same time I don't know what is going wrong, why the sadness and feeling of hopelessness. There is much that is wrong and much that is right, too. Perhaps the greatest tragedy is when we don't notice the present, and I fear that once again I am fixated on the past, on beating a dead horse. I wish that I were more carefree, more focused, that I lived up to my potential.

Will I tell Mr. Put Together about the meds, and what might be his reaction to them? Perhaps at some point, but right now it's too early. The result would be like aborting a flight that had not even taken off yet.
by Jane D.

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