The Brink

I often suspect that I abuse my body and mind to the extent that I do so in order to enjoy the euphoria of health, of energy, of well-rested enthusiasm and unbridled youth that so often ensues such abuse. My “enthusiasm” and “youth”(fullness) are indeed unbridled, no matter how much shit I pump into my brain (alcohol doesn’t kill people, PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE!!)

I like to feel weightless after being anchored down by relentless sleep deprivation and laughable nutrition (I owe dino nuggets my life). Like that goddamn cliched metaphor from House on Mango Street. The freaking Red Balloon. I tie myself down but I always remember (I never stop feeling) weightless.

Weightlessness is far preferable to the tumultuous emotional trajectory of my typical trials and failures; failure reminds me how to succeed, generally (but come on, who doesn’t occasionally come home after missing a midterm and pound down a six-pack alone and cry while watching Grey’s Anatomy and relishing the sick, sweet teen angst?!). Generally. Not that I enjoy failure, but I must say I’m quite well versed in its many, many manifestations. Failure is weight; fucking up weighs me down in a soulful way, and so I literally and figuratively vandalize my physiology in order to derail myself from whatever my current path happens to be. I desecrate the temple that some would call my body in order to kick the healing into high gear. I awake to a bright and shiny new world, one where the sun seeps in through the blinds and teases the silhouette of reluctant curtains. One where the daylight is intoxicating and organic — one where I smile, rise from the depths of my tantalizingly soft catacombs that are my sheets, and throw back the curtains (thus proving once and for all I am not, in fact, a vampire or any such nonhuman creature of darkness). The stark contrast of rest, of excitement, of childish glee as I draw the sunlight into my lungs and into my heavy, heavy soul — it is this extreme along the spectrum of human emotion that reminds me that I am, indeed, human. That I am, indeed, alive, and glad to be so.

I wouldn’t be an ADD kid if I didn’t live for the unfathomably lofty mountain peaks and hellish but poignant depths of the valleys that define the spectrum of my emotion — the spectrum of my existence.

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How Stimulants Control Hyperactivity

I recently stumbled on this article that talks about stimulant medications and how they reduce hyperactivity — a phenomenon which seems at first glance to be quite paradoxical. The dopamine receptors called DRD4 located in the basal ganglia and neighboring brain regions are responsible for this effect; in rat studies, DRD4 knockout rats (rats genetically modified so they have fewer to no DRD4 receptors in these areas) exhibited greatly increased motor activity (i.e. the fidgeting and bouncing off the walls I’m sure so many of you are familiar with!). When these rats were treated with amphetamine, their excess motor activity (hyperactivity) disappeared. There’s more to it, naturally, but that’s the crash course.

This intrigued me for two reasons:

One, because this means that hyperactivity is probably inherited genetically, for the most part, and perhaps is somewhat independent from other aspects of ADHD (inattention, impulsivity, etc). This could lead to more refined subcategories of ADHD, and hopefully to more individualized pharmacotherapy if Big Pharma ever gets around to updating their hopelessly antiquated stimulant formulations (this shit’s been around since 1937, we’re ready for version 2.0).

Two, because this suggests that ADHD arises from dysfunctional DRD4 receptors in SUBcortical areas (lizard brain areas) rather than in the prefrontal cortex (associated with planning, working memory, impulse control, sustained attention, etc). Non-stimulant medications such as Strattera and Intuniv primarily target the prefrontal cortex and exhibit little to no effects in the subcortical areas, whereas stimulants target both the PFC and aforementioned “lizard brain parts” — and as we all know, stimulant medications are far more effective than any other available treatment.

Moral of the story: the ADHD kid’s lizard brain is tragically messed up, and apparently we all need a properly functioning lizard in our brains in order to sit still and be boring. Damn lizards.

Trash day?


Oh you know, just… half my college career’s worth of garbage.. no big deal.

Best ADHD Quiz EVER.

The quiz below is from a book called “Delivered From Distraction” by Edward Hallowell.

Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder

It’s pretty long, and the quality isn’t great — but take a look at it and tell me if you don’t answer yes (or perhaps HOLY FUCK THIS GUY HAS BEEN FOLLOWING ME, HOW DOES HE KNOW THIS) to an overwhelming majority of the questions. I answered “no” to about 5 or 6 out of about 128 questions. I love when people with ADHD write books for other people with ADHD… it’s amazing how similar we all are, despite how heterogeneous ADD can be.

Sample questions:

55. Do you find driving a car fast to be a soothing experience?

49. Are you a dreamer?

3. Are you more generous than most people?

8. Do you tend to solve problems intuitively rather than logically and methodically?

9. Do words like logically and methodically bring back bad memories?

ADD quiz

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Whiteboard Shenanigans


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Smoking & Stimulant Medications

I’m not sure if this applies to any of you, but though I’m not exactly a “consistent” smoker (certainly not a pack a day sort of thing), I typically will smoke occasionally when I’m pulling all nighters or having trouble focusing/stressing out, etc. The few times I’ve tried smoking on days where I don’t take my medication, I usually smoking about half a cigarette before I get nauseous and dizzy and stop smoking for quite a while. BUT, when I do smoke, I find it has far fewer “physical” effects (dizziness, nausea, etc) and far more “pleasurable” effects (reduced anxiety, mild euphoric effects, reinforcing/addictive qualities). Some medications (Adderall, namely) even produce acute nicotine cravings even when I haven’t smoked for days or weeks beforehand. It’s quite odd!

In any case, I found an article that discusses the cross-potentiation effects of nicotine and psychostimulants like methylphendiate (Ritalin) and amphetamine (Adderall, Dexedrine). Well, it primarily focuses on amphetamines, but I imagine the same holds true for Ritalin to at least a small degree. Here are the bullet points:


  • Psychostimulants are often used in close tempo- ral proximity to nicotine and have been reported to enhance acutely nicotine’s desirability in humans.
  • When administered simultaneously, nicotine and amphetamine produced a predominantly additive effect on locomotor behavior.
  • However amphetamine, when given 2– 4 h before nicotine, strongly potentiated nicotine-induced locomotor activity.
  • Correspondingly, nicotine given 1–4 h before amphetamine robustly enhanced amphetamine- stimulated locomotor activity even when the effects of the nicotine pretreatment dissipated.
  • Overall, the present data demonstrate that acute interactions of nicotine and other psychomotor stimulants produce potentiative effects and that these transient inter- actions may play a role in the frequent co-use and abuse of nicotine and other stimulants.

The article itself is a bit technical (sorry!) but the bullet points are pretty clear: nicotine before amphetamine, never been… more stimulated? amphetamine before nicotine… still more stimulated? I came, I tried to rhyme, I failed. I apologize for my poetic shortcomings. Anyway, please leave comments of your experiences on the matter! I’d love to know I’m not alone in my stimulant co-use and abuse, to quote the article (and I suspect I’m not!)!


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ADHD song of the year. Believe it or not, I was obsessed with this song before I even listened to the (eerily appropriate) lyrics — which are incredible.

“Blame it on my ADD, baby!”

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“Unconventional” ADHD Symptoms

This is an article that talks about the more “unique” symptoms of ADHD. I found it to be quite interesting.. and QUITE accurate. I hope I’m not the only one with ALL of the rather unusual telltale signs. Maybe it’s not eczema, you quack of a dermatologist! Maybe it’s ADD subjecting my body to its indomitable, capricious will!

I copied and pasted the main bullet points:

  • Poor oral health Yep, we tend to have bad teeth. Do we forget to buy toothpaste? Forget to brush and floss? Forget to make dental appointments or forget to go when we do make them? Or can we just not afford to go to the dentist? All good questions.
  • Poor financial organization We are more likely to have a financial plan for the weekend than for our retirement. Our idea of planning for the future is a more short term thing. Many of us are just trying to remember that we have the rent or mortgage to pay on the first.
  • Hoarding and clutter Which came first, the chicken or the egg? These two siblings of a disorganized life are hallmarks of our disorder. Like our symptoms though, not all ADHDers suffer from them, in fact the randomly chosen ADHDer may be insufferably organized, if that’s something they hyper-focus on.
  • Dysgraphia Dysgraphia is poor penmanship turned up to ten. I have to print if I want to have a hope of others being able to read what I have written. I can decipher it, but even I have trouble.
  • Skin hypersensitivity Itchy material, scratchy tags, clothing that is too tight or too loose, all these can prove to be irritating. My three big ones are collars that are too tight, long sleeves, and labels on the back of my neck.
  • Lateness Being late or missing appointments all together isn’t cool, I try hard not to do that, but I don’t always succeed. I’m better at it than many of our tribe, but there is still room for improvement.
  • Undone taxes Yes, the reason my road is in such great need of repair is because I’m two years behind on my taxes. I think it may be time to find someone who will do my taxes for me … or at least with me.

Oh, the joys and perils of the ADHD mind (and body).

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The impossibly conflicting emotions of perpetual impatience (or, slowly going bat-shit crazy)

The funny thing about ADD is that it doesn’t make any sense at all. Right this moment, I’m actively avoiding my work (which was due several days ago — pneumonia to the rescue?). I actively am choosing to write this nonsense instead of the other nonsense I have a vested interest in writing. Yet I’m also, in the back of my mind, dreading the moment when I finally finish this monstrosity of an assignment, marking the end of the “crunch” and the beginning of a week-long lull before my final exam (my one and only!). I’m literally dreading it. It’s the most bizarre feeling; for as much as I resent having to exert mental energy to finish a complex, multi-step task such as this one, I don’t quite know where I’ll channel all my resentment and mental energy come next Thursday when it’s REALLY over. It used to be that stimulant medications made all kinds of things seem like complex, multi-step tasks that I could settle upon in the absence of an actual task. However, tasks like using a toothbrush to dust the baseboards, or implementing an effective filing system for all four of the bills that still come in the mail, have lost their appeal. I’ll probably spend most of the break staring idly off into space, in typical Strattera fashion, and perhaps abuse a variety of substances to avoid the boredom of a quiet, unchallenged mind.

Don’t get me wrong, ADD sucks and makes everything I do ten times harder than it is for everyone else. But I’m not looking forward to experiencing for the first time the unsettling tranquility of being, not bored, but boring.

I’m starting to worry that in suppressing my ADD symptoms, I’m erasing the only part of me that feels alive, alive and a part of the world.

The other funny thing about ADD is that the feeling will pass just as quickly as it came, probably before I even finish editing this posting.

And now, all I’m thinking about is pumpkin log and sticky buns and those ridiculous Pillsbury sugar cookies with the reindeer on them and for the love of Christ, there had better be Dram Buie. Maybe Christmas break won’t be so bad after all.

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Empty shampoo bottles in the tub, empty soda bottles in the car

Confession time.

When a bottle of shampoo runs out in my apartment, generally it remains in the shower for any number of weeks or months until it has multiplied and taken over the sacred altar of cleansing, until it becomes hazardous for an ADD kid to step into the tub (without looking or remembering that he himself had neglected to take every single one of those shampoo bottles out).

So, still writhing in pain and crying out with rage at my most recent Tony Hawk Dove-boarding Extreme incident, I hurled the culprits over the shower curtain onto the bathroom floor. And as you can imagine, I’m now faced with a choice…

Either I let shampoo bottles accumulate to dangerous levels, or I hurl them over the shower curtain as soon as I run out. Granted, later on I generally put the bottles in the recycling — the trash turnaround rate of floor-dwelling Dove bottles is astonishingly speedy. So my question is this: am I alone in chucking my empty Lethal Luges out of the shower? Or are there fellow irrational beings who face this same problem?

I also compulsively go to Public Library booksales and buy inordinate amounts of the shittiest books imaginable, especially on $5-box Sunday (A WHOLE BOX OF BOOKS — ANY BOOKS!! — FOR $5!). It’s just so cheap… and there are so many books… but after four years of hoarding all the novels based on movies and all the novels with pictures of women in rural areas sitting in pity-evoking but somehow “self-reliant” poses. Or at least that’s what I think when I look at Stony Hollow Here My Woman Cry or whatever the hell that weird book is called.

And, in all honesty, I haven’t read a single one of those damn books. It’s embarrassing.

All right! Now that I’ve satisfied my Catholic urge to confess my sins from behind a veil of anonymity (internet = confessional? that’s gotta be a sacrilege right there), the post comes to a close. And anyway — the empty soda bottles in my car which I have intentionally avoided mentioning until just now are FAR more shameful and overwhelming than a shampoo bottle on the floor or an extra bookshelf. I hope that one day I can stage some sort of ADHD-exclusive messiest car contest. Everyone would have to take pictures or video or whatever of their cars (and obviously, our cars are never clean) and everyone would have to identify where the shit came from, maybe depict scenes where people yells at them to throw some piece of garbage away and they refuse.. or perhaps in some sort of semi-serious emergency, an acquaintance (like a professor or a colleague, but one you don’t know well or one that is your superior somehow) has to sit in the backseat or something on top of the massive conglomerate of the majority of your belongings that maintains a permanent residence in your backseats. OH MY GOD and bonus points if they’re germophobes or OCD or something like that.

…Wow, that was an elaborate plan. I hope this really pans out someday. Competitive ADD-ing..? Eh. I’ll find a better name for it.


Parting words: books are heavy as shit to box up and move EVERY SINGLE YEAR, and if you have any weird ADD stuff that you do (like my shampoo shot-put or my Dewey Decimal fetish) feel free to share it in a comment or something. Your insanity would offer me MUCH consolation. Ha.

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