The Adderall Road So Far

Photo of Redwood Highway, a two-lane highway with a double yellow line dividing the two lanes. A metal guardrail with fir trees behind them on the lines the left side of the highway. The right side of the highway is lined by an incline with fir trees.

Note to readers with visual disabilities and/or have issues with text walls: I’ve been working on doing more image descriptions in alt text. Please let me know if there is information missing that would be more helpful than what I have. I also broke this post up with a lot of pictures to avoid text walls.

A few months ago there were days when I felt like I hadn’t taken my Adderall, leading to Doug asking me if my Adderall was broken. Maybe. The struggles came with the temperature drop making it hard to sus out.

I separated out the meds and supplements with added Vitamin C, ascorbic acid, or citric acid, taking those an hour or 2 after taking Adderall. This includes my midday meds. Vitamin C can interfere with Adderall and other ADHD meds containing amphetamine or dextroamphetamine. This has helped the most and I didn’t need to ask for a change at my last med check.

Switching to showering at night instead of the morning, gave me a consistent time to shower instead of sometime in the morning or early afternoon when I had time between chores and writing. It also helps me reclaim some time so I don’t feel like I’m losing writing time to a shower routine on top of the hours I lose preparing breakfast, lunch, and dinner (I cook during the week, Chaz cooks on the weekend). I used to always shower at night back home. It didn’t make sense to shower in the morning just to get sweaty and gross as soon as I walked out into the tropical heat and humidity.

Digital image of orange-yellow stars, planet (in top right corner), and a faceless person sitting at a desk with a someone standing behind them with their left arm raised (in the bottom right corner) on black background. Text in yellow in the middle reads: Quite simply put, a Body Double is a supportive person who remains present to help prompt or enable us to complete tasks or reach goals we set for ourselves. @PlanetADHD
Not the same meme I mention below, but one more succinctly explaining how my friend and I do it.

As a result, I left for some morning appointments and errands forgetting to brush my teeth, put in contacts, and/or wash my face. To help me remember, I line everything up on the bathroom counter the night before like I do with putting my bujo (bullet journal), purse, and anything else I need to take with me together by the shoes. No more forgetting any of the morning care routine before walking out the door.

I ran across a meme for people with ADHD and how body doubling helps us get tasks done and stay focused. Laurie and I used to do this in Second Life years ago; parking our avatars somewhere in-world, usually 1 of the 2 sims that Chaz and I have land in. Not knowing there was a name for it, we called it Productivity Pad. I suggested to her that we do it again. She was reluctant because of the streaming she was doing. At the end of the year she changed her mind and on the last Monday of 2021, we were in-world getting shit done like we never stopped doing Productivity Pad. Even the days when I end up down rabbit holes longer than I should, I still get more done than if we weren’t in-world together.

PIxelated photo of author's Second Life avatar (hair is styled in a burgundy bob, wearing red & black plaid dress), back to the camera in the foreground, sitting on an orange mid-century chair at a set of 4 U-shaped light-woodgrain desks. Her friend's avatar is in the backgroud, also back to the camera, sitting at a drawing board and wearing a light colored tank and blue jeans.

A friend noticed we were both in-world and messaged me. I let her know what we’re doing and why. She thought it sounded interesting and helpful. I invited her to join us if she wanted. The following week she was sitting at a desk with us and getting her own shit done.

Screenshot from Second Life. A set of 4 U-shaped desks in the foreground. 3 desks have LG monitors and one avatar in a taupe tank top, pink hair in 2 top buns is sitting at one in the foreground. Author's avatar (burgundy bob and sleeveless red dress) is at the desk with no monitor. Third avatar is in the back lounging on an upholstered orange seat, leaning on an arm of the seat.

Since restarting Productivity Pad, I finished my recipe bujo, doing a little every day. It’s a project I started years ago and had difficulty finishing between activation issues (thanks, ADHD) and pain in my hands that made handwriting anything difficult. Adderall took my baseline pain levels down so writing became easier.

Outside of Productivity Pad, I finally organized my stickers, both for my bullet journaling and for scrapbooking, into binders with trading card and photo pockets. It took me less than a week and being able to binge watch Pennyworth with Chaz got me through the bulk of the work the first 2 days. It’s totally genius. I can flip through to find what I need with everything visible.

Photo of an open black, 3-ring, zippered binder with assorted journaling stickers in page protector.

Organizing the stickers left me with an empty drawer organizer that I used for the scrapbooking stickers. It took me a couple of days to remember something I’ve been wanting to do for months. Last summer, I watched this TikTok from @catieosaurus:

Christmas and other consumer holidays are a great time to buy those gift boxes where you get a bunch of stuff, usually travel/trial sized, for $10 – $20. I did this at Target this past Christmas season and included their box of trial size mascaras for $15—a good friend suggested the latter on her TikTok because it needs to be tossed every 3-4 months to prevent serious bacterial infections in your eyes due to microbial growth in the mascara after your first use; especially for those who don’t use mascara regularly or don’t have the budget to replace full-size mascara every 3-4 months.

I thought putting together the Sample Box would be quick, but since I wasn’t just dumping everything in one box, it took a little more Productivity Pad time but it was worth it. All the travel/trial size products were a perfect fit in the drawers. Some full-size stuff fit as well, but not all of it. The result is organized products in drawers that are easy to find without rooting around looking for what I want.

Photo of a blue ombre, 5-drawer, cardboard organizer. All drawers are open and staggered to see the first inch or two of personal care products, mostly trial/travel sized, in each drawer.

This last year there were very few days that I took “off.” As a writer, I can write daily and was doing that for a long time. But there’s also household chores and cooking. I spread out the chores because I still get B O R E D. I swear, when I’m dusting, “You JUST did this” repeats in my head the whole time. I loathe housework and if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic I’d have hired someone by now to make it easier on my neurodivergent brain as well as give me more time for writing during the day. Even after I’ve cleaned an area spotless, there is no dopamine. Kind of like after exercise I have no endorphins, thus I have no motivation for either. Organizing, on the other hand, gives me the dopamine hit I crave. With New Year’s Day on a Saturday this year, I made sure to organize my week so that the only thing I had to do that day was reheat leftovers for lunch and shower.

My brain was relaxed. No racing nor intrusive thoughts. No thinking about what needs to be done the next day, running down my task list mentally. I think the last time my brain felt that stress-free was the last time I was at a beach back home. I was just existing without an existential crisis. I felt . . . free.

Since then, I’ve made a point to have a day where I schedule a handful of basic tasks and can do whatever I want. Read all day? Yes, please! Hyperfixate on organizing stickers? CHECK. Guilt-free binge watching/movie marathon? *PRESS PLAY* This is me taking care of the child who was doing dishes at age 7, and cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, and dusting at age 8. The oldest sibling who did their siblings’ chores when they didn’t do them to prevent being grounded. The little girl who grew up way too fast and was called “mature” by adults. The latchkey kid who fed and parented her siblings. The undiagnosed ADHD student who no one noticed was struggling 24/7 and didn’t know what it was like for someone to attend to her needs, making sure she was being nurtured and taken care of the way children should be cared for. The teenager who felt trapped by walls closing in on her and almost took her own life to escape. The young adult who nearly drowned in stress. I took care of others through all that and didn’t know how to truly care for myself. I’m doing that now.

One of the major differences on Adderall is I’m reading less. And not because I want to, it just happens. Out of boredom, I started listening the Pants podcast one day and couldn’t stop listening. I did it while cleaning and other non-writing tasks. It was then that I realized it makes cleaning less boring and that I can pay attention, which could be the Adderall. If I can listen to a podcast then surely I can listen to audiobooks that I have the physical books for. I hadn’t used my library card in years so I had to go in and get it reactivated. I really love my librarians, they’ve always been super helpful and friendly—the one who helped me made it so I didn’t have to be issued a new card and number. That’s how great they are. Since then, I’ve been listening to audiobooks weekday mornings after breakfast up until I start working on Book 4. The ultimate ADHD multi-task!

Photo of stacked books that author listened to/read in January 2022. From top to bottom: Tristan Strong Destroys the World by Kwame Mbalia, Why We Fly by Kimberly Jones & Gilly Segal, After Alice by Gregory Maguire, Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, and No-No Boy by John Okada.

I finally asked my doctor for an epinephrine prescription. It’s recommended that masties carry epinephrine even without a history of anaphylaxis. Like I kept forgetting to ask her about adult ADHD evaluations, I did the same with asking for the epinephrine. I now have Auvi-Q injectors and I’m glad I specifically requested them. I would be the one in the middle of anaphylaxis trying to remember how long I’m supposed to hold the injector in my thigh so the audio instructions are great. It’ll also be clear for anyone who hasn’t used one and has to help.

I also ordered a Medical ID Bracelet, a feat in itself. I had the Lauren’s Hope tab open on my phone since it was recommended by a fellow mastie years ago. The choices were overwhelming since the bracelets are no longer the plain silver metal chains. Lauren’s Hope has tags with interchangeable bracelets—chains, beaded, leather—all in different metals: silver, gold, rose gold, black. They also have ones that are not interchangeable, as well as ones with silicone bands. Hello, Decision Paralysis!

Photo of part of author's left hand and wrist, wearing a Medical ID tag with a filigree design and a 5-strand beaded bracelet attached by clasps on each side of the tag. Above is another bracelet, thin silver metal engraved in it is: What In The Actual Fuck? Resting on her hand is a rectangular Auvi-Q epinephrine injection auto-injector.

I wrote most of this post weeks ago and in the time since I signed up for a meal subscription service. My doctor threw too much information at my neurodivergent brain while reviewing labs and by the time I got off the telemed call I was stressed and overwhelmed. A longtime gf blogger friend had posted on FB just the day before (or two), a photo of her Splendid Spoon order after I had been checking out Cookunity. I’ve looked at several meal services, including Splendid Spoon, over the years but never tried any of them because they didn’t have a good selection once eliminating the foods I can’t have. Cookunity had a wide enough selection when I looked that we could have something different for dinner and lunch the next day (I’ve relied on leftovers for lunch most of my adult life).

Of course, there is always more going on like trying to organize the art I bought last year by FilAm artists and create gallery walls in different rooms. Or the TV breaking and not wanting to go out to look for a new one because 1) I really don’t like shopping for appliances and electronics and 2) it often leads to decision paralysis. But those are for another post.