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I hate going to the mental health center and having them ask me if I feel better. What does better mean anyway? Before now, I had never taken psychoactive drugs, so my only point of reference is my own experience. And before now, for most of my life I would have insisted that I felt fine, because even though I didn't, how I felt was all I knew. It took me these 33 years to get to a point where I finally went "oh, being fidgety, intense, reactive, impulsive, anxious and compelled all the time isn't how life is supposed to be". And I'm pretty sure that both of my parents have ADHD also so I didn't stand out as abnormal in my home.

So even though I feel different, and many of those changes are positive, I think I'm gonna pop if someone asks me one more time how I feel, or if I feel "better". I don't even know what "better" or "normal" is supposed to feel like! If I freaking did, I wouldn't be at a mental health center asking for help!

I'm taking Strattera and my understand is that it's a more lightweight ADHD drug. I'm taking it because I have a tendency towards being anxious so they figured they try me on the first instead of stimulants (I have panic attacks even from coffee, just for reference).

Overall, it seems like Strattera, for me "takes the edge off" of most of the things that bother me. I feel softer around the edges. Less reactive, less compelled, the thoughts in my head "poof" into my head instead of exploding, and I'm more calm. Downside is that I'm calm enough that even though I feel more able to focus on one thing at a time, I seriously feel like I am having a harder time getting things done. Maybe it's a matter of perception: I'm used to doing so many things at a time that I think I'm less productive even though I'm really just operating more realistically now. And it's true that now that I'm seeing life more realistically, I do look around at my life and go "oh my god, who made this life, it's way too busy", which I know is true. Working on THAT stuff with my awesome therapist...

But I don't like the ridigity of my focus now. Is that problem with all ADHD drugs? I do have to still work a little to focus with the Strattera, but man, once I'm focused, don't f*** with me. I used to just happily welcome any distraction (and get nothing done). Now, a distraction comes along (could just be someone trying to tell me something) and if I'm really hell bent on something I know I have to do, I start to freak out a little because I ust can't handle/tolerate that distraction. My relationship with distractions was negative before, but pleasant. Now it's just cranky, lol...honestly, I think it's more "normal"...but geez, if that's normal, then maybe ADHD wasn't that bad, LOL!

So I guess my point is that...going through this process and having people ask you if you feel better, or feel okay is frustrating, because I have no idea what that means...I don't know what I'm supposed to feel like, and...I'm willing to bet money that the trick here is that there's no firm answer to that question.

But I would like to hear others' thoughts on this...or any experiences others have had with Strattera...and if the focus that people experience with other ADHD drugs is similar, or different from what I'm describing.

Thanks much...it's a relief to have a forum where you can ask other people about these things. My partner is not an ADHD-er so while he is awesomely supportive, he doesn't always know what I'm talking about...

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The one thing that I learned is that medication is trail and error. Sometimes it is just a matter of finding the perfect dosage just for your body, but at other times it becomes more complicated to nail down the medication with the least amount of negative side effects and at the same time provides the most positive benefits.

Always remember, every single individual is unique and they may have other medical conditions to put into consideration when a specialist is determining which medication to try. For instance, a patient who has ADHD and a heart condition may have to attempt treating ADHD symptoms with a non-stimulant, due to most stimulant medication causing an increase in heart rate.

For me, Strattera helped with focusing, staying on task, motivation, beginning and completing projects and accomplishing more than usual. However, what I disliked about Strattera is the fact that I always felt as if a "black cloud" were over my head. My bubbly personality dramatically changed to "blah!"

To me, feeling good means that I am emotionally stable, emotionally calm, able to speak and think clearly and productively as well as capable of accomplishing tasks with the help of a timer. (No anxiety, no depression, no irritability, no anger, no impulsive outbursts and no hostility.) However, I imagine for everyone that feeling good can be slightly different, depending on many circumstances.

Here is my list of what "feeling good" does NOT mean:

1) It does not mean that I have a perfect memory.
2) It does not mean that I do not interrupt someone when they are speaking. (I am not trying to be rude, either, but it is just an ADDer issue of mine.)
3) It does not mean that I can sit perfectly still during a boring lecture. (I prefer a more stimulating topic to help me maintain my attention for long lengths of time.)
4) It does not mean that I have suddenly become an organize guru.
5) It certainly does not mean that I will never over-react because I may tend to over-react from time to time.
6) It does not mean that I will never again become distracted. (Distraction is an ongoing concern for all of us ADDers, but to some degree we may have to learn how to limit our distractions if there is such a thing?)
7) It does not mean that I am always in control.

If the Strattera does take the edge off, I think that is definite progress! Try to take one day at a time, ask plenty of questions when you are at an appointment with your doctor or mental health professional and do not be afraid to boldly ask what they mean by "how do you feel?" Personally, I think that you are correct about there being no firm answer to your question on how you are feeling.

I hope that I have been helpful and not confusing. Take care!
I LOVE your list :) Thank you for your response. Not confusing at all, in fact what you're saying makes a lot of sense.

I think there's a lot of truth there. I too have started to realize that there are certain things that are never going to be perfect, but they do feel so much better that the times when ADHD does "peek through" aren't going to bother me or anyone else quite so much. In fact, my boyfriend now seems to think that certain things that used to annoy the crap out of him about me are really funny now when they happen. Because they're not intruding on our lives all the time anymore. It's a lot nicer...to know that now he can just enjoy my wackiness instead of feel overwhelmed by it. Same goes for me...I just feel a lot better, so I guess that's progress :)

After mulling it over more, I think I hit the nail on the head before about feeling unproductive. I'm learning how to be productive in a different way. I guess that's just going to take time. I mean, I knew it was bad for me to be multi-tasking 80 things at a tie before (and not really finishing most of them). It was stressful and demoralizing. I am going to work on celebrating these things I am able to finish one at a time...because honestly, my piles are getting smaller, my work is getting done. Not as fast as I would like but probably more thoroughly and maybe even faster than it was before. I think I have this fantasy about how productive I was before that I really need to exorcise from my mind...it wasn't realistic, and it wasn't helpful. And that's not the medication's fault.

I have heard someone else comment that Strattera made them feel a little "dark". It's not really doing that to me right now...I am just much calmer and I like that. Isn't it interesting though how each person reacts differently? It makes me wish we could turn medications like a dial instead of taking them in these set dosages. So if you were feeling a little dark you could just tweak it a teeeensy bit to the left and feel better. Instead of taking 10 or 20 more mg of something and having it feel like you're turning a Roulette wheel!
Strattera made me crawl the walls and I couldn't get past the first 4 days of axiety and lack of sleep.

I won't take simulates to become a better worker bee in our already messed of world. However, I'd love to find something that will take the edge off and run my motor slower.\
lisa
I know what you mean about the first few days...and holy canoli, the FIRST day on Strattera? It was awful but it was so novel that I kept taking it...first the anxiety was insane, but then I felt like I'd just smoked a ton of pot or something. Everything looked REALLY PRETTY and sounded AMAZING and tasted FANTASTIC in an insanely intense way...pretty funny. As a result I was non-functional for the purposes of normal for a few days. I think what really pulled me through though was the fact that my NP warned me that it might kick my ass with anxiety at first...knowing that this was a normal side effect made it less scary to just power through and see what came next. What came next was a full week where I would get so absorbed in things that I had no concept of time passage or anything else for that matter and would sit painting watercolors, happy as a clam for HOURS on end...one day my phone was sitting right next to me, ringing and ringing as my family looked for me, drviing around town, fearing I was missing or something. They knocked on my door and I had no clue...they drove around some more, and finally came back. I finally heard them (the door was right next to me and I didn't hear them the first time, lol) and was like "what are you guys doing here!?". I'd told them that I'd meet them at noon and it was 3pm...and I had no clue because I hadn't looked up for three hours, I was so absorbed in painting. Thank goodness THAT doesn't happen anymore!
Update: I'm feeling pretty groovy with the Strattera now. Might actually want to up the dosage just a little bit because it's still taking the edge off the vigilance, I feel pretty relaxed, but not getting the extra focus benefit as much--and dare I say, I sort of miss it a little? HAHA... HOWEVER, I have a lot of boring commitments right now that make it hard for me to be objective about that...I think any normal person would be annoyed too if they were having to do what I've been doing lately too, lol.

I am less worried now about what it's supposed to be doing...because...it seems to be doing what I need it to for the most part. It takes the edge off. That's what I wanted. I still think all the same things, just less fast...which is great. I feel less anxious, which is great. A little more focus sometimes might be nice, so...maybe another 20mg will help with that, we'll see...such a process figuring our brains out!
Lots of food for thought there Miss K :)

I have been taking Concerta for twelve months and , on balance, I like it.

I tried two weeks off and found the biggest problems when NOT on the medication were really fluctuating energy levels and mood swings.

I find my focus and concentration much better on Concerta - but choosing what to focus on is still a huge issue.

I was referred for therapy 2 years ago - I have been on the waiting list since then. I have just had a letter to say 'Do you still want to be on the waiting list?'

Ah well - all things come to s/he who waits!

I am 52 now and have never had any help from the health services before - so I can wait another few months.

I had to get a private referral for an appointment with a Psychiatrist as the PCT would not fund a referral for me evn though my GP was behind me 100%

My private diagnosis was severe ADHD



One thing about ADDers - we are resilient - we have to be!!


Keep on keeping on :)
Switched drugs now me-self...trying a stimulant and an anti-depressant...Strattera wasn't consistent enough for me.

So I'm back to zero...but I will say this...these are not kicking my butt like the Strattera did. So far, just normal "brain readjusting" stuff.

Same issue as Mags...and this cracks me up. Yes, I am more able to focus, but choosing what to focus on...sheesh, what the hell ever...still working on that one ;)

K
I know how crazy it can be when your doctor/therapist asks "how are you feeling", or worse, "are you doing better", but once we are aware of our difficulties, we really can tell if we are on a more even keel, getting some things done, etc. We should definitely not worry about having everything flow & be cool & mellow & everything gets done, cause the reality is, even people without any diagnosable mental condition is very "challenged" these days. Most people have too much to do, too many places to go, too much stimulation, distractions, and things they want to, or "should be" doing. Plus, many are also more forgetful, absent-minded, scattered, etc., due to life's busyness. So, anything we feel, any "progress" we make, has got to be relative to that of our overall wackadoodoo pace of life....

Every improvement will bring up other things to deal with, or simply allow us to be more aware of our more subtle quirks....
Haha...good point. Life is pretty crazy these days!

I guess part of the challenge is that when you're at the very beginning of getting diagnosed and trying medication for the first time, even though you know some of the things about your behavior that are shooting you in the butt, you're still figuring some of them out. So when he asks me that I'm like well...hmmm...I have to think about it.

One of the things that's challenging for me is that one of my coping mechanisms is overworking. It's very stressful of course. Then when I take medication it makes me mellow out. Not all bad and drugged up feeling, it just genuinely makes me relax, and feel good and when I'm relaxed...I just don't worry so much about getting things done...so I just don't do them...so yes, I feel better...but I'm less productive because I'm not letting myself be driven by constant anxiety...I don't know how to get anything done without overworking myself at full throttle. I'm mellow and feeling good...but am unproductive. I guess I have to learn to "get life done" without being so all or nothing but man...talk about a challenge. I seriously don't know how to do that. I do also think I need to up the dosage on these particular meds though because I just started them so I'm still at a low dosage and I definitely feel like we could crank it up to see if more benefit is possible...when I first started with the Vyvanse, for example, it did give me some REALLY focused focus...it's much softer now...just keep tinkering a little I guess...and have the therapist help me figure out the "all or nothing" phenomenon...

I really do appreciate the reminder to be kinder to myself though, and to acknowledge that life in general can be pretty nuts :)
I've never found a drug to make me relax at all. Not sure "relax" is in my vocabulary. I'm am not working and still am stressed out. My mind moves a mile a minute.

So if you can some sense of peace, cool for you.

peace,

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