Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 08:37 am
I have been hesitant to discuss this, mostly because it is hard to explain to people who do not see me in daily life....

But I was diagnosed with ADD about 2 months ago.

Now that I have been taking the medication for it, Im almost feeling 'depressed' about how I used to live,and what I used to call normal.

I wouldnt finish a thing. Not even my food. None of my tasks, ideas or projects were ever done. Yet my head, everything was in order.
I would forget to eat, forget to work, remember parts of conversations that never happened or start something, and since I had it all outlined in my head, i would truly THINK I finished it ... but never did.

I would constantly go BACK to the same thing, same idea, same topic because I never remembered that i already visited it, already worked it out...etc..etc.

The doctor described my thinking and my patterns like this -

He said ' if i were to give you 10 things to do, you would remember, comprehend and perform about 7 . There would be no acknowledgment , no understanding and no MISSING the other steps because they just do not register. Its as if they do not exist. That fits on the extreme side of ADD , even for an adult. '

I went through a few tests because I knew something was wrong.
Once I moved out , and I was able to calm down and work on my diet and really pay attention to my body, I noticed, even with removing chemicals and other junk .. SOMETHING was still wrong.
At first I thought I just had way too much energy.
Then i thought it was just stress
Then ...well.. a long list of things. .. but I still felt very , spacey, very disconnected. Conversations were always hard to maintain and stay aware in. I almost did not enjoy talking to people because of it, yet I would get very lonely with out contact.

So, long story short, my whole ******* life has changed now, thanks to figuring out what is going on.

For the first time in my life, my laundry is done. ALL of it, not just piled by the washer. Not just sitting in the machine. And not just piled in a basket.
I know that sounds like nothing to everyone else.. but things like that to me are an entirely new experience.

I can plan a meal from start to finish, eat it, store it for later, and not come back to half of it on the plate and wonder how it got there.

I remember to work

I remember to take care of my car

I remember plans, dates, parties..

And now that I can see everything I need to, and I am able to focus and concentrate.......welll........holy **** things are a mess. How in the world did I survive while missing , quite literally, a portion of my life? I dont even make enough money to pay my bills right now. Why? Because I didnt SEE everything. I really feel like I just walked into a room that is a disarray and I am here to clean it up. Holy **** how did someone LIVE in this room ? Know what I mean?

Now I know why I am not successful when I should be. I was incapable of finishing anything. Even jobs because I didnt see everything, I didnt comprehend and did not retain enough. I could not focus to finish things in a row nor could I identify that row.

Now I know why my marriage was so uncomfortable. We really are not compatible. In any way. I see that now. So does he. Its an amazing revelation. Because NOW.. now that I can function, we are looking at each other as entirely different people discussing what life was like in that "room".

Now I know why my body got SO unhealthy. I was forgetting to eat, forgetting to take care of myself and forgetting the things i was doing.

Just.. wow.

....... am I the only one here with this?

I would love to hear how medications have helped others, what you watch out for.. and how you work with this .

Its not a handicap, its not a label and it s not a burden.. for me right now it is just a new revelation and a new life.

In fact, even now.. I question...
Did I already talk about this before?
What dont I remember?
What have i said. ?
haha.. its like i said, I walked into a room that is a mess and I need to clean it up , not even remembering that most of the mess is mine.

whoa.. life.. :0)
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 08:47 am
I don't have any experience with this but I'm really curious to know.... what was your creative output during this time of disorganization? Has being on medication changed that?

I'm glad you found the help you need but I'm sorry you're feeling depressed about your past. It sounds like you've acknowledged the problems and that should help you move past them.
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 08:52 am
I have picked up my camera since then.

Its not the same. My results are a little ... different? The pull is different?

To sum it up easily.. its like picking up someone elses camera, and having to force a photo IMMEDIATELY. No chance to get used to dials, no chance to learn the camera.. you just have to DO it..

thats what it felt like.

I have shot a few things lately.. and the more I shoot, the more I have learned to accommodate this.. different feeling..

I feel off my mark though the work doesnt QUITE look off the mark..

Let me see if I can post a few that I have taken lately.
it might help to show a difference.. Because I know exactly what you are meaning and getting at. yeah, the creativity has taken a turn. I dont think a bad one, but its obvious to ME..
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 08:59 am
Thanks for answering, I know that "offness" feeling too.

I've taken antidepressants on and off (mostly on) for years and years and I've been prescribed a variety of different kinds. I've never found one that allowed my creativity to flourish. I wasn't taking bad pictures, they just seemed predictable and pedestrian.

For me, the trade off was enormous. I hope it isn't that way for you.

I'd love to see some of the things you're working on!
0 Replies
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 09:00 am
what are you being prescribed? I was diagnosed many years ago and had gone into normal therapy because everything would mess with my blood pressure meds.

Theres a PBS special called "ADD and loving it". It is a means to dela with and turn ones life around so that focus is possible . My research has been made more in depth and I no longer need just to be satisfied with consulting assignments (Assignments in my area tend to be a year or two in length and not draggy enough to become ignored and candidates for non completion.

Amazing aint it? what you once thought was a terrible affliction of your own incompetence or reflected your lack of abilities is actually a handleable chronic condition.
Green Witch
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 09:01 am
Don't drag the past around like Ol' Marley and the chains he forged in life, picture yourself cutting them off with a hack saw and that you are free to move ahead. Embrace the Now.
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 09:06 am
Ok. Here is a before ....
A random portrait.. J and i were in the lobby of a hotel sort of frustrated because an idea that he had and wanted to finish was called off before he was even able to secure a location.
So there we sat talking, grumbling and thinking.. and I just picked up the camera.. 2 shots.. got this.
Loved it.

yes, I know it is not technically perfect, but I shoot BEST when things are not technically perfect.
Its personal.
Its about HIM
and, its done by "me"

Now fast forward.....

A month into meds.
R and I were in a cemetery . its old , its over grown and full of odd things. The grass had not been cut for months and in my head.. i see this vast field of very pretty tan dead long grass and a man that I find very attractive in the middle of it.
In my head I see lines of waving gold and a broad shouldered man in a black jacket, black glasses.. just randomly standing in the middle of it.
In my head... this shot would be awesome, especially if I caught the horizon reflection in his glasses.

but, this is what I got.
A 'technically' perfect shot... but.. no soul.

I personally see a huge difference in the 2 even though, in my head it all works out the same.
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 09:06 am
@Green Witch,
No, you must be able to recognize how your improvement in focus is allowing completions in various tasks compared to the way you were.
We will always feel a bit depressed for whats past, but this can enable us to recognize new healthier patterns developing. Part of my past drinking problem was actually ADD manifesting itself.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 09:11 am
farmerman wrote:

what are you being prescribed? I was diagnosed many years ago and had gone into normal therapy because everything would mess with my blood pressure meds.

Theres a PBS special called "ADD and loving it". It is a means to dela with and turn ones life around so that focus is possible . My research has been made more in depth and I no longer need just to be satisfied with consulting assignments (Assignments in my area tend to be a year or two in length and not draggy enough to become ignored and candidates for non completion.

Amazing aint it? what you once thought was a terrible affliction of your own incompetence or reflected your lack of abilities is actually a handleable chronic condition.

Right now I am taking adderall.
We had to ( we , my doc and I ) make sure that I hit my deductible before he wrote anything else just due to cost alone.
My first bottle cost me 110.00. I scraped change off the floor to make that happen, know what I mean?
Now, its covered and my RX are just the 10 co pay.

I feel a HUGE difference, yet I feel the blips of it not being the perfect RX for me just yet..
but the mere FACT that I can feel those blips is .. amazing to me.
When i look around and i see things that are tell tale signs of the med not working, I can just stand in awe of what it is like NOW vs then.

It IS amazing.
Like I said, I can only describe it as walking into someones house for the first time (on meds) and looking around at how someone had to live and wondering HOW they did it ( not on meds)

Its a totally new life ticket.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 09:12 am
@Green Witch,
Oh no.
Im not dragging it around. Its still a new experience so Im still in a state of shock, and awe frankly..
but not dragging .
Like i said, i dont see it as a label, as a monkey on my back, nor as an excuse card.

its .. just amazing. very very very amazing
0 Replies
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 09:13 am
and maybe I should not go as far as to say its 'depression' about my past.

its embarrassment if I get to the red hot truth. Though.. only NOW am I aware of WHY things were that way. I couldnt help it and I see that..

but yeah..

0 Replies
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 09:20 am

not ADD, but OCD

I always even as a child realized I HAD to count something, count it again, etc.
Did I turn something off? Better check. Better touch the on/off button, even though it's in the off position already. Better turn it back on, then turn it off again to make SURE it's off.

I decided to cut back on my meds a while back, which I was taking for panic attacks. Haven't had one in years, so I figured it would be nice to put less stuff in my body.

I take Zoloft, which most people see as a drug for depression. I've never suffered from depression, but it also takes care of panic disorder and OCD (at least low level OCD, which I figure I have)

Shewolf, you've now made me realize and look at something I have been thinking is off about me.
I've been watching to make sure I don't feel I'm stepping up to the edge of that cliff and toppling off, which is what the start of a panic attack feels like. One second you're fine, or merely feeling stressed, the next second your center of gravity shifts enough that you'll fall off that cliff, no matter how much you windmill your arms to go back. Once you do go over the edge, that's it, until it runs its course.

What I haven't look at is the OCD component of it. I have been experiencing that "let me check these numbers again"

It's easy to start to call that checking comforting. But it's comforting in a way that leads you further away.

I'm not going to say any more right now. I have to think about this.

Thanks for sharing this shewolf.
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 09:22 am
Yeah... I see the difference.

But I don't want to get your thread too off track from you're original question. I was just curious.

The important think is that you're happy and feel that your life is more manageable. Everything else will flow from that.
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 09:26 am
I get it.
I really do.

It was that feeling that got ME asking questions about myself.

One of the things I used to have to do to hold a conversation was to pay attention to my blinking. Which.. made me blink more.. but for that one second, I could focus on something else in hope of resetting MY focus on the conversation at hand.
I could stay aware for a few moments in a conversation, then i could feel that flighty feeling coming on in my head.. blink. blink hard, blink soft, did they notice that? hope not, blink again.. blink blink fast..blink blink slow.. ok.. Now, what did she just say.......

I thought that was from conversations being boring, or my having too much energy, or if I just FINISHED what ever it was on my head right then, I wouldnt have a problem focusing. I had too much going on, or I was stressed, or I didnt sleep much ( blink blink ) ........

conversations can go on for hours, I can walk away from a conversation to do something like get a drink, go to the bathroom..what ever.. and I come right back to where it left off and not on an entirely different subject because my brain went elsewhere almost forgetting the person I was with just a few minutes ago.

It WAS comforting.. blink blink.. because it gave me control over an issue I was not really aware I had.

i get it.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 09:28 am
its not side tracking.

its part of the whole picture too.. and something im going to have to learn to work with.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 09:32 am
OMG, I see what you mean about those 2 photos.

It's, well, shocking to me I'll admit.

however, you've still got it, it just might not be all the time.

Seriously, post that picture here you took of Wally the other day, the one where he's just to the right of the center of the shot, and he's in the background, leaning over, with the table in front of him.

THAT captured his soul. Maybe I love that picture more than any other one I've seen taken of him, or even I'll admit, any other that I've seen you take, because I know 100% it's captured his essence. ESPECIALLY when his essence had been hidden for a long time, and is now visable again.

It's nothing like that 2nd picture you showed. Maybe you, like other artists who are not in their artistic state 24/7, can funnel that creativity into the times when it DOES come all together.
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 09:48 am
thats exactly what I mean.

The first photo, J.... he is a photographer too.
With him he always has his stuff, his stress, his life, his phone his laptop..etc..etc.
There were 2 shots I took that day, that one and this one -

this one was just before that first one I posted.
When he opened his laptop and saw the email that said the shoot was off after him and I spent 2 hours trying to find a spot to do it in.

Again.....not technically perfect but it is ALL about him. All about who he is and you can hear the story of the setting as you look at the photo even if I do not narrate..

R's photo?
Was, in my head about SO much more than what I got.
That was the first time I picked up my camera after I started taking the meds.
Him and I went to a cemetery off of 183 outside of Buda. That place was full of really awesome things but I handed him my camera and let him shoot.

When he stood in that field, I was farther away and I just stared at him. It was a great setting, great image... and again.. in my head, you could have heard a story behind it with out any words.

but what I got was .. stoic.. I even struggled with it a bit.

That was a month ago.

I have taken a few since then attempting to work with that... stoic stuff.

Here is Wally Tea taken just last week -

and another good comparison, here is a pool game I shot for MJ's bar a few months ago. (before meds)

I wont fill space with more photos.. I think the point is made.
But yeah
it changes everything.
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 10:33 am
I'm reading this particular thread with rapt attention for several reasons.
FWIW, here are some thoughts from someone with some common parallels:

Before I forget there was a very useful book I read somewhere around 1990
by a Dr. Hallowell, a fellow ADD/ADHD sufferer. Let's see if I can get the name of the book: "Driven to Distraction". Here's a link to the world-famous expert and author Hallowell's lectures and other books:

1. I've ADD/ADHD and I'm 60. (BTW, I'm 2 x divorced and have had several long-term relationship which all seem to end in frustration that may relate to not addressing my symptoms). I've been dealing ineffectively with this sort of behavorial issue almost all my adult life.

2. I'm a lifelong semi-prof photographer who is struggling for my financial survival, pushing my creativity while completing career-enhancing projects.

3. You're creative energy and photo images are VERY good - inspired and inspiring. You need to know that critique is coming from someone with professional experience. I've seen 1000s of B&W and color images. Don't stop and don't worry. Keep going forward.

4. I'm interested in anyone's progress whos been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and has had lifelong dysfunctionality.

5. Changing the dynamics of this affliction can be addressed in more than one way. Psycho-babblers call this using several modalities. Medicines are not the only assistance that can help change the behavior. Sometimes cognitive therapy where they direct and help you learn about gaining new coping skills and gain time management skills might help in the long run, too.

In summary:
I'm resarching too about the long term help from meds. I think that meds can help SOME people temporarily. In your case meds could be the whole solution. But I'd make sure that a psych counselor who is objective regularly checks in that things don't shift back.

Some people can be and are helped by also focusing on healthy lifestyle with a well balanced exercise and diet regime.

PS : Perhaps this a bit hard to believe but for awhile, even though I had ADD/ADHD, for 10 years I worked as a technical writer - a career that involved intense concentration and deadlines. I took no meds at all and, FWIW, struggled mightily while I went exhausted one of my 2 marriages and 2 long term relationships.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 11:37 am
Don't take this as flippant, this is offered seriously. Perhaps this has been common throughout history, and teamwork mitigates the effect. Many Nobel prizes are issued to teams of scientists, two, three or more individuals being awarded the prize for their work. If one of them has such a problem, the work of the others could serve to focus their efforts. The German army, from the time of Frederick the Great onward, had a system in which each army had a commander and a chief of staff. The general in command was responsible (with his staff) for administration, and issuing marching orders and commanding subordinates in battle. The chief of staff was responsible for tactical doctrine and operational planning and orders. This system worked well, too, and there is a dramatic example. When the Russians invaded East Prussia in 1914, von Pritwitz, the commander of Eighth Army lost it, he went to pieces. But his chief of staff, Max Hoffman, took charge, and the result was the stunning destruction of the Russian Second Army at the battle of Tannenberg.

I wonder if, many times in the past, brilliant individuals weren't sufferers from ADD or bi-polar disorder, and were "saved" by the participation of others through teamwork.
Reply Thu 30 Dec, 2010 11:43 am
Sorry, but at first I thought your's was a misplaced post in this thread. How does this help OP master her ADD/ADHD demons and her creative effort? With her photography she is not part of any team there.

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