Up early. Typing on Mom’s crashes-every-three-minutes computer, in Yahoo Mail even though I am not going to send an email, because the Drafts section seems to catch and retain every keystroke when the computer bluescreens. So I’ll be able to come back in here and get it back. I’ll paste over to ProseBox when I’m done.
No coffee, because I must go and sell my plasma today (second donation of the week - $45) and any stimulants nudge my heart rate up over the plasma center’s cutoff. I wouldn’t be taking my ADD medication today either, for the same reason on “donation” days, it’s a stimulant too… but I haven’t had the option for a few days. I find I have a new doctor, who will not give any more refills until he has had a consult with me about my ADD, and the nearest appointment I could get to meet with him is two weeks from tomorrow. I was just running out of pills when I found out about this four days ago. So, here’s me. Drifting in the wind.
Feeling very low in spirit.
I had been meaning to see my doctor (old one - whichever one) about my ADD anyway, to see if there were any medications that would have more effect on working memory. What I’m taking has been gradually losing its zap anyway, to the point where I have been alternating taking it and not taking it in order to alternate between two unsatisfactory states, and to slow or moderate the increase in drug tolerance that is weakening the effect. When I’m unmedicated I have no attention span but am (potentially, if memory serves, have been?) creative. When I’m medicated and the effect has been weakening/moderating, it makes me glummer and often simply makes me a monomaniac… I make no more intelligent decisions than before (no more decisions, period), and indeed I behave more stupidly because I lock onto whatever random thing I am doing and do it for hours, whatever it is. I would like to know that there’s another alternative to this (covered by my insurance) than simply increasing the dosage another notch again.
My problem is, has been, is always my working memory. It’s like having a chessboard that is two squares long and wide, three on the best days. (This will be a somewhat mangled chess metaphor… so be it.) If you use it as a tray, but if you can only put things down where there’s a space, nearly any new thing introduced onto the board will bump something else off, entirely out of immediate consciousness… and that’s only the evident part. The worse part, the more insidious, is that - well, you can only consider and think through and work with what you have in mind. And you cannot fit, for example, a full chessboard problem onto a 2x2 chessboard. I am always thinking things through very partially, in distorted little momentary bits. Inadequate bits. Including, very much including, my awareness of my priorities. Between the two, I … most days I act like an idiot. There’s really no other way to describe the drifting random walk I do. You would not believe. Or, if you were watching (watching more closely than I would ever affrightedly allow you to do), you would not believe that there is, or could be, anything other than meatheadness going on with me.
Of course right now as I type I’m in the unmedicated teeth of it. Honestly, if dementia were to start shading in there’d be very little way that anyone could tell from watching me.
It’s always been like this. Of course, not quite; there’s been a difference. There has always been my personal experience as a thinking person, of being a mind, where the particular extremely narrow shine and successes have cast a light of… inexplicability… on the “distraction” and disarray that surrounds me. (Physical disarray too; I will not describe it, although in an entry or two long ago I dared to, but the uniquely(?) helpless slobbishness… you can perhaps generalize from that micro-chessboard entry to get a way of understanding that no one, literally no one, in all sanity would keep their stuff and surroundings as I do, nor do I “wish to”… nor is it going to change…) It has been reasonable, much more reasonable, to assume that I am a normal, often-smart person who is going to sort all this out. Because that’s what I experience, of course (I am only ever aware of what IS in my head). And that’s what my sense of people and how they “go,” from reading and from observing people, sort of promised to me. I won’t succeed in describing how non-evident things can have been to me… but they were. Just got to get organized, that’s all. But at this end of the long learning process, well. I’ve had a long time to watch what happens and to learn how to watch myself, watch what’s really happening. Watch the history. The “distractibility,” if you want to call it that, is not something separate from me, something affecting me; it is me. Likewise it can’t really be sustained to separate “my problem” from “my intelligence level.” There are not two things. I’m the one system, the one thing. The output is the output. And I spend a lot of time not glancing back at the horrifying number of people I’ve known in person throughout my life who have been, after all, right in their nasty, puzzling, baffling impressions of me. Spilled milk, that is. But I’ve been invisibly (to only me) this, all this time. I am forty-seven years of age, and I’m reverse Pinocchio. The reason I’ve been noticing that there is something odd-looking about the joints of my arms and legs is that they are made of wood.
Ha. Yes. Low in spirit.
So, I have been meaning to talk with the doctor (you know how hard it is to think to actually make an appointment? or to think to do so at the moment? well, that’s redundant at this point…) about whether anything more can be done about my working memory. And it will not be a stretch of a segue at this point if I write that I have also been thinking about asking about antidepressants. The reason may be a step more complex than usual…
I’ve always been “like this.” What has changed? My expectations, and my awareness of my situation. Which could be pure poison for me. Because, before (a lot of befores), I’ve been assuming that things were going to come of what I did. And I addledly did what I addledly did, and some things, of some sort anyway, did come of it. Now… these days I’m aware, in cold reason, that I could be totally screwed. I could be. I mean, in truth, and this is the problem and paradox in total: What is the best plan for a person who is generally, observably incapable of holding onto or carrying out any plans? (The reader will recoil, but it’s just a matter of my not having explained things well enough.) … But - a person cannot live in that. A person’s life is over if he believes that.
Even if he isn’t wrong.
And I have to somehow find editing work, and make a career of it. Or find good work. Or else I fail my mother… and when she dies I become homeless, on the street. Or … as I am either very good at something or very bad at it, again for the same reasons; things either fall within my narrow talents for organization or they DON’T… I end up working again at a job where I work myself gray and ragged every day trying to do a good job and instead be the guy who knows accurately that the only reason that the boss hasn’t fired him is that the boss doesn’t want to deal with the problem of finding a replacement. Almost nothing on Earth is worse than being bad at your job. I have done that. To do that again. To be that again. I am terrified of it.
So… antidepressant questions.
There is another reason for me to ask about antidepressants, which will have been becoming more and more apparent to the reader. I have tended to say, truthfully, that I am not depressed or prone to depression. Because of the working memory, the attention span. And it does help me (irresistibly help me) toward being “in the moment,” being a smelling-the-roses appreciator hedonist. Absent extraordinary circumstances, I am only ever aware of being down briefly. Except that the ADD medication makes me feel a bit less happy.
But… in another example of how things can be less than obvious to me… with my working memory being how it is, how would I know if I’m depressed? If I were depressed, I might not know - it wouldn’t stick in the spotlight. Because nothing does stick in my spotlight. While it would be there and would ineluctably shape the things I thought and did.
And, mysteriously, when I go to write about being out of ADD medication I come out with something like this.
Last updated September 29, 2014