New and improved me

This is a half-assed live-blog of my first full day on Adderall 10m 2x/day. Does the world need that? Jury’s out on the need for a live-blog but I believe the world will be a better place with a medicated Jane.

Sunday

7:55a Here we go.

9:06a Well. An hour on Adderall and what I’ve discovered is that I have no idea what to expect from Adderall.

It’s hard to tell if the mild nausea and touch of GERD is from the drugs or from my fear of the drugs.

(My fear of the drugs is so far the biggest surprise. I’ve been so focused on how much I want this tool to examine how I feel about this tool.)

9:08a Oh wait. I’m nauseous because I haven’t eaten. I brought in food from the kitchen but so far all I’ve done is arrange it on a tray. Welcome to ADHD.

Apparently when I attack ADHD with drugs, it’s gonna buck a little.

9:12a It’s definitely kicked in because my bowels are SUDDENLY AWAKE. Not in a good way.

(No, I haven’t eaten yet. Still fiddling away happily at formatting.)

But I can confirm that the first feature of my emerging new personality is gastrointestinal distress.

An hour into Adderall therapy and I still can’t be arsed to comb anything. I did, however, erase the chin hairs.  I’m not a slob. (LATER: Oops. Some of the chin hairs.)

9:29a I still haven’t eaten.

9:30a I feel… yellow.

A friend (who isn’t reading this) just reminded me not to forget to eat. I laughed, so my new personality includes appreciation of irony. That’s comforting.

Someday I need to write about how my teenage autistic brain created this whole weird narrative around ideal femininity based entirely on mixed messages from women’s magazines.

9:37a Making myself eat.

My goal today, loosely, was to do some real work for my job. So far that motivation is not emerging.

Considering opening my laptop now only because typing here will be easier. (Narrator: She never opened her laptop.)

I’ve heard about this: stimulants don’t automatically make you productive in the way you need them to. That’s fine. All joking aside, I know that all of this is really complex and the drugs are kind of an imprecise and capricious magic. Might become a more effective person; might summon Yog-Sothoth. (Or the middle ground: become a person who bothers to learn how to spell Yog-Sothoth.)

10:05a I ate something.

This (below) is me all morning but with everything, not just coffee. Clearly a single 10m dose of Adderall is not gonna fix everything.

It is interesting to note that so far the feeling of simulants in my body is a massive distraction. That’s funny and surprising. I don’t feel “speedy” (yay!) but I am hyper-aware of a whole constellation of sensations, from stomach acid to a mild burning feeling in my muscles and joints to, frankly, the simple existence of my hair.  (This could simply be me being in my body, though, unrelated to the drug.)

10:14a Now Adderall wants me to get bangs.

No, Adderall. You’re wrong about getting bangs.
My papa specifically warned me about the dangers of amphetamines and DIY hair projects.

10:15a I do feel really calm. My breathing feels deeper. Everything is about 5% more pleasant than usual.

10:21a Time is different. I’m not sure I can explain how, but I think this new experience of time is going to be an adventure.

10:33a Observing that so far the pattern is about 2 hours of what I’ll call “burn” (acid stomach, weird but not useful change of focus, feeling of mild inflammation in muscles and joints, generalized discomfort) and now a really solid calm.

This is encouraging. One of the things I’m hoping for is better emotional regulation. I’m prepared for that effect to be indirect (drugs provide more motivation and general fortitude, I fail less in general, so I’m on more solid ground emotionally), but it’s possible the effect could be very direct: on stimulants I’ll just be calmer.

10:43a My intestines do seem to be full of industrious rodents.

11:04a Honest to Pete, I think I need a nap.

11:55a I didn’t nap. I could have but I didn’t want to miss my noon dose.

So I’m rounding the corner on the end of my first dose (4 hours) and I’m really not feeling much of it anymore. I think the 4 hour prediction is true. The first one wears off as it becomes time for the next.

I also suspect this dose may be too low. It’s true that 10mg had a dramatic effect on my gut, but I gather from others’ experiences that this gets better or you get used to it. Meanwhile I felt the calming effect on my frenetic brain, but only a little. And I really REALLY didn’t feel any urge to work, even though a deadline does in fact loom. (I’ll have to do this work tomorrow no matter what.)

Note to self: urge to work may need to be self-generated.

I’ll stick with this dose today and take the second 10mg pill in a few minutes, but I think tomorrow I’ll take the liberty my doctor offered and raise the dose to 15mg twice.

I do want to expand on how time feels. It’s pretty simple: in four hours, I never lost track of time once. Is this how time feels for neurotypical people?

Like, minutes just progress?

12:36p Took the second dose. With actual food this time. 10mg Adderall, 5 units insulin, granola bar. This may be the routine for a while.

(My autism requests please that I have a samefood routine for my meds. I get it. This is a lot, twice a day. My autism also wants please for that samefood to be scrambled eggs, but that’s a lot of steps. Granola is a compromise between ease and sensory comfort. Sorry, autism. You can’t win every cage match in a rout. Just most of them.)

12:52p New dose requires costume change. Hair up, blanket tossed aside, still pretty fucking autistic in the face (what is that expression?).

1:05 WAITAMINNIT. Is that libido I feel?

BRB.

[Jeopardy music]

Yeah that was libido. Huh. Interesting. Also kinda boring. Y’know?

3:34p Got distracted by stuff here. House stuff. Partner stuff.

One note though: part of my conversation with my partner was about recent bad communication between us, and while it was distressing, I found I could easily back away from that momentary pain and turn my attention elsewhere. I didn’t melt down. I felt sad but not upset. Calm.

So, if that’s a feature of the drug, it’s a big win.

Rounding the corner on the end of the second dose, I definitely want to bump it up to 15mgx2 tomorrow. The drug feels safe enough and it’s really mild.

So. Onward!

PS: Dry mouth is definitely a thing. So is forgetting to eat. And forgetting to smoke!

And gas.

Monday

7:00a 15mg with breakfast

I’m starting the day with a mild headache that feels like dehydration so I’m pounding liquids and nasal saline to take care of that. (This is pretty common for me.)

7:57a There it is. The burn. It’s not unpleasant, but I can’t imagine doing this recreationally. And oh, so much dry mouth.

I suppose I should start work.

11:27a … And honestly I kinda didn’t feel the meds at all. Huh.

I mean I felt it wake me up a bit, and I was calm all morning. But I felt less gastric distribution and very little … Well, anything else.

I suppose if I try to bump it to 20mgx2 (upper limit my doctor recommended this round) the worst that can happen is that I don’t sleep well, and I dial it back the next day.

I’ll stop the live blog tho. Nothing interesting is going to happen here. As ultimately predicted by some friends, there’s no new personality waiting to be revealed. Just me, a little stronger.

Tuesday Quick Update

Today was my first work day on Adderall, at 20mg twice a day, or twice the initial dose (but within her guardrails for safe experimentation) and I gotta say, this felt great. Easily among the top 20 work days I’ve had in the last year. Productive, optimistic, enjoyed meetings more, took on less stress. Mostly, more confident.

Oh, and I found masking easier, and less draining. I minimize masking when I can anyway because I’ve been living on the boundary of full autistic burnout for several months, so I managed not to have to mask much today. But where it added value – like in a conversation with a colleague who has been stress-inducing for me in the past – I was able to hide sudden feelings and process them better in the moment and I was able to project the particular kind of normal he needs to feel comfortable even though it’s far from my actual personality. And I didn’t fall apart or need a nap afterwards.

So THAT is a really unexpected and significant effect of this drug, if it continues. Genuinely life-changing, even if it’s only an intermittent benefit.


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