ADHD medication after 3 months

After 3 months ADHD medication titration where nothing seemed to work, something has changed. Am I operating within normal parameters now?

ADHD medication after 3 months

ADHD medication after 3 months

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an update on how things are going with my ADHD medication.

Would I say that the meds work? Honestly, it does not feel like they do. I take my morning pill and feel nothing. No energy boost, clarity of thought or eagerness to do my accounts. I do sit down and work with a reduction in impulsive task switching. I’m still easily distracted if I choose to be, but I’m maybe more aware of that and better able to resist. If the meds are working then they work like my hearing aids. I’m unaware of their utility unless I stop using them.

For about 2.5 months I’ve felt this way, until a week ago. Something… changed. Euphoria kicked in.

It’s been a strange 10 days or so. I would take my morning medication, 40 mg of Medikinet (brand name for methylphenidate) with breakfast and by 10 AM I was buzzing. Properly buzzing. I felt alive. Let me at the world! Energy coursed through my body and for possibly the first time I was confident I could deal with the day. Proper Scrappy-do energy. Lemme at em!

Is this how it feels like to drink coffee? I used to enjoy espressos when I could have caffeine but there was never any boost. Nothing happened. While everyone was downing Redbull at uni, I didn’t see the point. It was a weird-flavoured drink that did nothing. Why would anyone enjoy that? Now I’m beginning to get it. The things I could have done if only coffee had worked.

The best way to describe this feeling is an adrenaline rush. This feeling is rare for me because I’m never truly in the moment. I’m enjoying it but also analysing it because of autism or ADHD. As it’s rare I can clearly remember those moments. For example;

Those moments stuck with me. That feeling of being alive stuck with me. If only I could feel that way more, maybe I could be a better photographer. Maybe I could make more money? Maybe I could finally stop feeling like a failure.

I thought about these moments often and tested myself when stressed. Could I find something to naturally trigger a rush of adrenaline so I could function as a human? Music helped. I knew that if I was energised by watching the latest episode of some show, then the next day I could listen to the soundtrack and feel good. It helped a little. On my way to photography commissions, I would put a specific playlist on filled with empowering songs. It helped. Finding photography work that was always a new experience, where I could learn something or see something new also helped. It’s why I love working in the arts. These things all help, but the feeling was never as strong as those key moments.

An odd alignment of the stars meant I was commissioned to photograph everyday people firewalking. They had a 1.5-hour introduction to prepare them and then they walked across a few metres worth of hot coals at around 1,000 c. I was confused as to why anyone would do that but the staff explained and I realised it wasn’t too dissimilar from cold water dipping. The experience was safe and you were in complete control. As you do it you become very aware of your body and it quickly focuses the mind to that moment. Afterwards, you feel the rush of adrenaline. You feel alive in that moment. The act is supposed to be something that stays with you so when you need it you can go back to the place and feel strong.

It got me thinking and reminded me of skinny dipping or running into the sea wearing only a thong. That was a real rush, much stronger than listening to music. I pondered starting my day by throwing my clothes off on the banks of the River Mersey, in front of a passing oil tanker, and running naked into the water. That would certainly trigger a strong adrenaline rush and get my dopamine flowing. Every morning though? Not sustainable. You can get away with it for a New Year dip, but you can’t do it at 8 am on a Thursday while people are walking their dogs. “It’s OK! I’m doing wellness work.” Nope.

These were interesting thoughts, but I wasn’t about to run around naked on a public beach in front of my neighbours for science. It was highlighting the connection between ADHD and being an adrenaline junkie. Having had 45 years without any effect from coffee and avoiding adrenaline-triggering experiences out of fear, I realised I needed them. I wanted to feel alive.

This idea has been bouncing around my head for years. In 2020 I wrote about cycling up the Great Orme in Wales and how I felt alive.

That might be nice but I think I key part of feeling happy, of reducing anxiety and depression is to get my heart going. When I reach the top of a big hill, barely catching my breath, and I’m rewarded with an incredible view I feel amazing. I think I need my body to be in that physical state not just a mental one. It’s not enough to be in nature I have to work for it. Could I…could I be an adrenaline junkie? Is that what’s going on?

4 years later, with a formal diagnosis of ADHD, I think I understand my brain a bit better. For me to have any real chance of getting my tax return done early I need to run naked into the sea. Okie dokie. At least, I need the energy that experience provides. For whatever reason, 2 months into taking methylphenidate for ADHD, it’s doing exactly that. By 10 AM I feel like I’ve just run naked along the beach without a care in the world. I feel great. Raaaaa! Let me at the world. The medicine finally works. I’m seeing the benefit.

Should I be worried? Doing a tax return in your home office at 10 am on a Monday while feeling as euphoric as if you just ran naked into a Greggs for a vegan sausage roll seems… odd. Is this how I should feel or a side-effect that will go away? Are the meds too high? Has everyone else been feeling this way all their lives and I’m only just finding out that this is how life should be? I don’t know, but I am discussing it all with the titration team instead of Reddit. I’m logging blood pressure, heart rate information and feelings so they can assess and advise. Right now they are OK with my health, but are going to lower the morning dose and see how it goes.

Whatever happens with this feeling, right now there’s something incredibly comforting about it. I can look forward to tomorrow. I’ll take the pills, feel good about myself and do good things. I’ve never experienced this level of security in my mental health. To know that I will feel good tomorrow, it’s absurd. I can feel good today because I know I’ll be good tomorrow. What?! Assuming it’s a side effect and I shouldn’t feel this way, I’ll miss that. If you see me running naked down the beach holding a tax return, you’ll know the feeling has gone.

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