Living with ADHD (pt 1.)
Had a huge breakthrough yesterday, a little one, that written down looks like nothing.
I’m a recovering alcoholic and recovering drug addict. I’ve been sober, one day at a time since I was 26, I’ve been drug free, one day at a time, since I was 30.
I have to be super careful with things that can be addictive. I’ve no off switch, and I very easily learn how to use chemicals to control and tweak my moods in such a way that I don’t have to deal with self reflection and that gaping chasm of worthlessness in my psyche.
I’ve spent years developing self knowledge, what I do, why I do it, which of my internal monologues is my friend, and which one wants to hurt me.
Accepting that sometimes my head doesn’t have my best interest at heart and how to cope with that is a daily struggle.
But, 13 and a half years down the line, from my last drink I feel like I’ve got a handle on it.
I’ve had to take codeine recently for a neck problem, and every morning after the first dose to the last I’d wake up with The Fear™️
Because as a recovering addict, drugs and booze are broken promises. They tell you every time “this will be like the first time! You know when it took away the noise in your head and had no comedown?”
But it never is. It’s always like the last time.
This is background to let you know that I’m always on the lookout for my sneaky little addict brain telling me things.
So I went to see the ADHD shrink yesterday and we talked for an hour about how I’d improved, what effects the medication was having etc. At the end she said “so what do you want to do in regards to the medication? You can stop, you can stay the same or you can increase it?”
My head went “increase it” and so I said “I think I’d like to stay on the same dose please”
Because fear and shame made me think any attempt to increase it was caving in to the sneaky junkie in my head. The better angel of my nature was sat on my shoulder going “you’re only thinking that to try to get more drugs out of them, you’re trying to trick them you filthy junkie.”
Finally my rational brain that had been beaten up and left tied to a chair in a disused warehouse somewhere managed to make itself known and I finally said “actually, I think I’d like to increase the dose please. I noticed the effects lessened after a week or so.”
And then I nearly cried.
From outside it went:
Her “Would you like to change your dose?”
Me: “I think I’ll stay with this one, [pause] actually, can I try a slightly higher dose, the effects faded after a week”
It’s nothing. It’s perfectly reasonable, it’s appropriate and it’s normal.
I just feel guilty about getting the healthcare I need. Like I’ve got too much wrong with me and I should be happy with the bare minimum to take the edge off the worst symptoms.
My brain second guessed me, it said “you only want more because you know people use these recreationally and the first week you felt really good and you’re chasing that high”
And like all great lies we tell ourselves it’s partly true.
That first week it did feel great. It felt great because it took away all the symptoms of a disability. It left me with only 2 disabilities and half a dozen cronic health issues to cope with.
Plus the drugs don’t effect me in the same way they do to people who don’t have ADHD, and even some of the people who do.
They don’t make me look and sound and come across as a coked up asshole, they calm me, focus me, and allow me to sit still and listen.
Recognising that guilt, and that it makes me feel like I have to be sneaky when taking prescription drugs is part of my addiction, and it’s something I feel like yesterday I finally acknowledged and overcame.
While you’re here if you like what I do and want to help keep the wolf from the door you can always drop me a little cash, a couple of quid for a brew would help massively in allowing me to keep on doing what I do best without panicking about meeting my rent paypal.me/BethanyBlackComedy