ADHD Mom: Fun with Amphetamines, Part 2 (Is It Working?)

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I can’t tell if my Adderall is working or not. I have had mixed results over the course of the first week on it, starting at half the target dose. Now that I’m on my third day at the target dose, I can’t say for certain that it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing, at least to the extent that it should be. Earlier today I despaired at the thought that this, my second attempt at an ADHD medication (the first was Strattera, a non-stimulant), could be another failure. Even now, after the wearing off of the initial high from the second dose, the feelings of disorganization and chaos in my brain are returning at full force. I’m getting antsy, noticing unfinished projects everywhere, and carrying things into rooms with me only to forget what I intended to do with them in the first place. I was getting to the point where I considered that the Adderall may actually be making things worse, not better.

But then I realized something.

Most of my weekends are chaotic, due to being home with the kids and having fifty million things to do that all seem to share the same level of priority. I used to spend every Sunday afternoon wondering why I was so exhausted, and how it could be that after doing so much, I had only half a basket of folded laundry to show for it.

Today is different, because while the chaos remains, I am looking around this place and gaining a subtle but growing awareness of the things that are contributing to the chaos.

Today I pulled out a shirt and sweater set that my mother gave Aurelia for Christmas. Yes, it was still sitting in a gift bag in our living room, in late February. I told you: chaos. I decided today was the day I would cut the tags off and get these clothes into the laundry, before the kid grows out of them. Yes!

So I promptly walked upstairs, got distracted by the kids, decided to do a number of other things, and ended up leaving the clothes in my office, next to my computer.

Later, I walked back into my office to find the clothes. I instantly remembered why they were there, and could retrace my steps to see exactly how I got off track with my objective of retrieving scissors from my office so I could cut off the tags, and then place the clothes in the kids’ laundry hamper.

If this is sounding less than remarkable to you, consider this: in the past, I might have completely forgotten how those clothes had gotten there in the first place.

That’s not true of everything. If I leave a pot of water boiling on the stove, only to find a near-empty pot when I amble back into the kitchen later, it’s very likely that I’ll recall instantly that I was going to hard boil some eggs a while ago. So it won’t just be like AAAAAHHHHH MYSTERY POT!! That would be a different kind of disorder. But those subtler signals that tell you where things got off track in the first place would often be lost on me. Until I had kids, this was never bad enough to get in the way of living a decently healthy and productive life. Now, with the constant noise and activity of two preschoolers living under my roof, life is just hectic enough that my compensatory strategies of yore will no longer suffice.

POSTSCRIPT:  I actually drafted this post last week, so by now I’ve experienced a few more symptoms and changes.  If there’s any indication of interest, maybe I’ll blog more on this topic, but if not, then we’ll see if I’m up for it.  As I mentioned last week, it is astonishing to realize that all this time, you have been fighting an uphill battle just to navigate your world and make it through your day. You no longer wonder why you’ve been so exhausted and frustrated – maybe not every day, but on too many days to chock it up to happenstance. In fact, I’m beginning to feel a bit of amazement that I ever managed to accomplish anything at all.

Image credit: M. Dunn

7 thoughts on “ADHD Mom: Fun with Amphetamines, Part 2 (Is It Working?)

  1. Hi Melanie,

    I took add meds most of my childhood/teens and early twenties. I stopped taking them because I felt iritable and was not my self fast forward a couple years and I now have a 7 month old and work about 20 hours a week from home while watching my baby and I feel like my life is falling appart. I have also gained about 50 pounds since quitting. I am struggling with the thought of going back on them. Obviously I should wait till I’m done bread feeding which will be at least 4 more months from now anyway what I’m wondering is do you have a current update? Where are you now in life and with the medication? Do you feel it has helped you through motherhood for the better or do you regret taking the medication?

    Thanks so much.

  2. I am watching you go through the same thing I did 7years ago. I feel and felt exactly the way you do. You remind me of myself when my kids were toddlers. My daughter was 2 and I had an infant and everything fell apart for me. It was having two kids that tipped the scales. Like you I had compensated and worked hard before kids and thought I was doing fine. My husband was diagnosed in graduate school (yes. I know. Sigh.) and I kept thinking that I had some of the same symptoms as he. But not all of them so I didn’t think I could have ADD. (I didn’t know it presented in so many different ways)

    It was hard to face that I was having a hard time with typical mommy duties—and I was a graphic designer/artist, only taking on a few jobs at home at a time. Crying every time I went on errands because I always forgot the most important things and was exhausted and overwhelmed by the time I got home. Then I had to cook dinner. Ugh. Hated. And getting the kids ready to go somewhere took so long that sometimes I decided it wasn’t worth it.

    Man! Did I feel like a failure. Especially when you see moms around you doing it with seemingly ease.

    Finally getting a diagnosis of ADD was a turning point and gave me relief but like you, sadness too, wondering what more I might have accomplished up to that point. I had always felt like I could do so much more and never really got anywhere even though I had confidence in my talent and ability. I still struggle with that.

    Don’t give up on the meds. Have your Dr. Adjust the dosage if needed. You should start to see more differences. Sometimes they are more noticible if you don’t take it for a day or so—then you will know it was working. It shouldn’t feel like speed for you. It’s odd, but for us (with ADD) it actually focuses the brain, or even slows it down a little so that you can notice things.

    So now I’ll go make my girl her Mac-n-cheese—because she’s a picky kid with add and I hate to cook…

  3. The differences you describe do sound significant. I hope you keep discovering more! Wishing for you!

  4. This is an expression of interest in your experiences. Hoping you write more. It is also an expression of support and admiration for your efforts to care for yourself and your family. Wishing you the best.

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