Quieting the noise

August 24th, 2011 § 0 comments

Plognark gets diagnosed with ADHD

Yeah, I know, big deal, right?

Well, I didn’t figure this out until this month, August 2011. Note that, next month, I turn THIRTY-FUCKING-THREE. This is, to put it mildly, something that should have been figured out decades ago. At least two would have been nice. Earlier would have been fantastic.

But no, no such luck. I won’t try to be one of those insufferable high-road pricks and say that I’m not bitter and annoyed about the whole thing. I’m bitter, and annoyed. Really bitter, and really annoyed, actually.

I didn’t know shit about ADHD until recently. It’s one of those mental conditions that a lot of people think is just laziness and a lack of discipline and motivation. I admit, I once thought that as well. Let’s just chalk that one up to ignorance. As it turns out, it’s a brain chemistry thing. It’s not laziness or any sort of moral failing… it’s tough giving every last ounce of energy your brain can muster to focus on the simplest task, like drawing for more than fifteen minutes at a stretch. Hell, sometimes more than five minutes.

It’s like having hundreds of little mini anxiety attacks every day. I never really knew what boredom was because I always kept my brain engaged thinking about stuff. For me, and other people with ADHD, I assume, boredom is like death. You’ve got to do anything you possibly can to keep the dopamine levels high, to get that little burst to keep your mental gears churning.

There’s plenty of literature on it and a ton of information on the internet. I won’t bore you with more details about what it is, just a quick overview. It’s a dopamine dysfunction, plain and simple. Some combination of screwy genes making screwy proteins making your brain permanently short on dopamine.

It’s a huge part of why my artistic productivity is so inconsistent. I love art. It’s what I want to do, it’s what I think about all the time. And yet, I hit patches where I just can’t do it. It’s not a traditional art block; it’s something else.

Imagine if there was something you loved, that you were good at, that you wanted desperately to work on all the time, that everyone told you you should be working on.

Now imagine that you have a mini anxiety attack after five minutes of doing it. That you have to go and do something else or it feels like your spine is going to crawl out of the back of your neck to go do something else, dragging your brain with it.

And gets prescribed amphetamines…

So I took the pill. I was sitting at work, waiting to see what would happen.

Yep, waited a while.

Felt like an eternity. That’s another thing with ADHD; we don’t track the passage of time very well. Humans are bad at it in general; people like me are even worse.

And then, quiet.

I never really understood how loud the inside of my head is. I knew that I had racing thoughts; hell, it’s kept me from sleep as long as I can remember. But the quiet… was not what I expected. The idea of taking an amphetamine (technically dextroamphetamine) is sort of nuts in general, and the idea that it would lead to such quiet and calm is even more so.

But it did. Just quiet, and calm. No racing sounds and images, no anxiety from every little thing going on, no exhausting fight to keep things focused in my head.

Go read the whole post. For someonw that knows virtually nothing about ADHD it was quite interesting. Not in a medical way, but just interesting.

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