Supplements Vs. Pharmaceuticals Vs. Out Of Sight Out Of Mind Vs. Growing Questions About Yoga: A Wee ADD Rant
A few years ago, it was commonplace for me to share the endless ups and downs with my then-newish relationship with medicines meant to help people with Attention Deficit Disorder. Eventually the cycles became so tiresome I knew if I was as exhausted by the blog posts chronicling the journey to find The Perfect Way To Calm My ADD Brain So I Could Get Consistent Quality Work Done, my readers must be, too. So I mostly stopped writing them.
This is not a return to those days. But I'm in the mood to tell you a little about where I find myself today. After years-long cycles of attempts at being medicated and not medicated, using alternative supplements and a more healthy diet, I'm nowhere close to declaring achievement. What I have reached, instead, is a fairly comfortable relationship with the situation of NOT having found the answers I was seeking. Sometimes the best decision of all is to just decide to roll with it.
Some days I wake up and it weighs heavily on my mind that everything I touch seems to take me further and further from the To-Do List, and I crave something to just turn off the rushing waves of thoughts, Just For A Little While. On quite other kinds of days I never give it a second thought. I have, after all, been living with this particular kind of wiring for always. Long before "it" had a label.
Although recently I've enjoyed the uber-healthy Shaklee supplement, Mental Acuity Plus which I actually quite like and tend to place under the heading "Things that some days make life noticeably better than others, but not always, and although it would be cool to have a consistent answer, I love knowing I'm not adding toxins to my body when I take the stuff and on occasion the effects are positive enough to even justify the expense." On those days I would highly recommend this product to others, but sometimes I just forget to purchase the stuff (refresh your memory, darlings, with some data about ADD, if you like,) or, when I've run out and I do remember to order more, sometimes the timing is such that I can't justify the expense, which is not negligible, since I've managed to reallocate my spending money toward other, more immediate means of gratification. (I realize that most of you put "Health Expenses" under a far different category in your budgets than "Entertainment," but I haven't mastered that consistently yet, so there you have it.)
Which led me in search of something a bit less pricey that could be obtained without waiting for a delivery and paying excessive shipping fees. Earth Fare, conveniently on my route through a round of errands, offered up Irwin Naturals Ginkgo Smart which I picked up for about half the price of Mental Acuity Plus and I can't tell you really whether I like it more or less because the day I took my first dose I looked up Ginkgo online and found myself embroiled in a fascinating round of ping pong by some folks touting some studies that suggest the supplement may trigger seizures to some, in spite of the masses who believe it's The Most Amazing Thing Ever. While I'm savvy enough to know that one study a factual situation does not make, it still caught my attention. In fact, it alarmed me enough to be nominally put off by the stuff (as well as the other supplement, as they both contain Ginkgo) since two of my relatives, one still living, have/had Epilepsy, which puts it squarely in my gene pool. And guess what? Seizures aren't fun!
But then again, we still don't know the long-term affects of all those pharmaceutical options I poured into my body over the course of several years, either, do we? And while I know which ones definitely did not work for me, and which side-effects made me say, "Fine, I'll live with the overactive attention span, just take away the personality wonkiness or anxiety or inability to sleep or [fill in the blank with additional side-effects I'm not really in the mood to bother recalling, but which still weigh enough on my psyche that I'm not willing to go down most of those roads again, thank you very much, and if you look up side-effects to these meds, I recall having been affected by more than half of the ones I saw, over the course of those years I dabbled in possible solutions]" nevertheless, sometimes, on a Sun Streamed In Through The Clouds And The Angels Started Warming Up Their Voices kind of day, I loved me some ADD meds. Particularly Adderall. Which I ultimately realized I couldn't take for more than 3 days sequentially without having to supplement with a side cocktail of something to calm the anxiety. But when it was working, it was kind of a little magic pill for helping me focus.
Talk about having to make choices.
It's been months, I'm fairly sure, since I've popped more than one or two of those little guys. But guess what? Wednesday while visiting my storage unit to pick up some Happy Footwear because finally the sun has been peeking through long enough to declare It Is Time To Get Out Your Flipflops, My Children!!!, I peeked through some drawers and boxes and bags - sometimes doing so can result in a feeling not unlike the one brought by Christmas morning's arrival - and came upon my stashed leftover Adderall. And I brought it home with me on a whim.
Which is what led me to dust off this old topic for my blog readers today, since You Would Not Believe how much I've already accomplished today, and it's only 12:30. Thank you to the client who, last night, canceled our 10am appointment for today. I haven't left the house yet but have already flown through an impressive number of things on my list with no signs of it letting up.
The funny thing about the ADD brain is that those of us offered this little gem of a Personal Challenge are accustomed to hearing from others, "I can't believe what you get done on a given day, especially since you can't focus and concentrate as well as I can." It's true - having a challenging attention span can bring its share of struggles, but on the flip side, while I might not complete half the projects I set out to accomplish (we're talking those outside the Projects For Paying Clients realm here, of course, because you always, always put your obligations to your customers at the top of the list,) the number of things I set out to accomplish on any given week can be staggering. So while we don't get 'em all done, it's easier to impress low-energy folks with the ones we do complete.
Peeking back over the length of this rant, I feel compelled to apologize, but I won't. Readers who would deserve the apology, ie. those who would find it annoying beyond belief, won't have read this far anyway, and so they'll never see my little attempt to brighten the day. For the other three of you who read to the end, hey y'all! Welcome to the inside of my brain, nowadays customarily kept far, far away from my blog. It's cool to have you here, playing along with me!
And if some random stranger (or friend, for that matter!) shows up here and can relate, I'd love to hear your own experiences with the trials and tribulations of finding the right answer to this everlasting question: What Am I Going To Do About This Brain Of Mine?
Meanwhile, I would be remiss if I didn't at least say one tiny thing about Yoga, that topic I included in the title of this post. What I said there pretty much sums it up: I have a growing curiosity about whether incorporating the practice would help me focus more. I'm playing yoga music right now, even as I write, which is to "doing yoga" what "eating donuts out of a box" is to "becoming a pastry chef." So yea, I have no first-hand knowledge as to whether or not that will help. I also know myself well enough to refrain from making promises here, in black and white, that I'm going to take up any new hobby, particularly one that has me commit to one more thing every day. But that doesn't mean I'm not doing my best to pay attention to the nagging voice that says "Even if it doesn't calm your mind, it's great for your body and nobody here would even think of arguing with that."
Which is probably a good place to end this piece. That and a final note of well wishes that your own Friday is as grand as my own has been so far.