2 weeks off of ADHD meds. Stopped doing ADHD for 2 weeks. Felt terrible then. Feel great and renewed now.

adhd

Sorry for the long text

I mean, I am on ADHD meds, so I can write longer than usual. Hopefully my report makes sense, I know some people on ADHD can talk a lot and say little because of the meds giving them and extra, and unhealthy boost and confidence.

Your opinion is valuable

youropinion

Specially if you are a doctor, but regardless, this is my first day back on meds, so tell me how I am writing and if what I say makes, or not, sense. Thank you!

About me

software dev

I am writing this on my lunch break time and reflecting that the 2 weeks break from my ADHD med (Vyvanse 70mg) and how great it is to start fresh again.

I am a sofware dev, saying it for context and because I love developing software, but being unable to focus and being unorganized makes bad code, and bad code leads to depression and time/energy wasted. I was in a very dark place this last 2 weeks, everything felt as it was my fault and I was ashamed of my work.

Detox

detox

I was for 2 weeks without taking my ADHD meds (my doctors approved), it was hard and painful, but it paid off. My tolerance is lower and I can feel I am motivated and satisfied in general. I don’t think 2 weeks was enough to return my tolerance to zero, but I am not on vacation, so I couldn’t delay the return to the meds as I have things to do.

I have been going to a psychiatrists and a psychologist for months or years, can’t really remember. Was on Vyvanse 70mg for almost 1 year (only taking on days that I knew I had to work and/or study, no need for it on weekends, vacations, or days that I only had a quick and easy job to do).

I am sharing this because I was very bad for the past 2 weeks and very depressed for not being productive, I was ashamed to tell my colleagues about my mistakes, about what I couldn’t do, and mainly ashamed of asking for help.

When I was off the meds these two weeks (on purpouse, with knowledge and approval of my doctor, to reset my tolerance) I felt terrible. Taking a break was something I had to do because I could see I was losing interest in my work and interest in studying even when I had to do easy things and even though I was taking my meds right. I couldn’t even focus on watching movies or playing anything for over 10 minutes.

How it feels to not take ADHD meds

howitfeels

Off the meds I feel like I had to do everything, not because I wanted to, but because I had responsibilities. I did not know what to do, how to do, how to start, and even less so how to continue or finish! Some things I still don’t know how to do, but I don’t feel bad asking for help today, on the meds and just after resetting my tolerance.

I couldn’t organize my thoughts and spent my days by either switching back and forth on tasks, but managing to finish nothing and by doing nothing because I felt bad for being underproductive and that was snowballing (I think depression is a side effect from withdrawal). I would continue to 3 weeks or even 4, but I think I am past the limit, my work and my colleagues need me and I can’t let my insecurity hurt them, I consider my work colleagues good friends, and they have always treated me with respect and sympathy. I fee lime in my company I am always learning.

Daily challenges of work and study

workandstudy

Although I am a senior developer, I entered the company to develop Javascript (Reach, Express/Nest, and NodeJS) but ended up working with SAP products (iRPA 2.0, HANA and SAPUI5), I had never worked with that, but it revolves on a lot of Javascript, so I manage to do some things, but I still have A LOT to learn.

I am studying and learning everyday, this last 2 weeks my communication was poor, but today I am doing a bit better at asking questions to the team and getting help.

Started taking them again

vyvanse

I took a 70mg just 4 hours ago, after these 2 weeks, and now I feel energized and motivated and confident. I know I have lots of things to do, but I know that to do them I need to do one at a time and I feel comfortable being patient. If doing something means not managing to do others today, I do not feel bad because I accept I am limited.

I feel fulfilled and even managed to take a quick nap after lunch. Last week anxiety was not allowing me to sleep because my mind was restless thinking I should be working to avoid delays and studying, but I was disorganized and couldn’t do. I was really really sad for being unproductive and it was snowballing.

How I feel and function

mindfunction

I did my work for the morning, could not finish everything because I am working on an overdue project full of technical debts, I just jumped it the middle of some badly designed code (it was one of their first projects and is very old, so hard to work with.

Development in this specific project is difficult and slow. I was blaming myself during these past 2 weeks. Now I still admit my flaws and know I still have lots to learn. But I do not feel bad for it, I am doing what I can and I hope my colleagues notice and I manage to help them like they help me, also hope I can clearly explain to my team what I did/am doing, what I could not do, also the why or why nots.

I contacted the people from my team, that I thought could help me on the work difficulties I am having. Off the meds I would feel bad and ill judged by asking for help, as if I were not enough and felt that asking was something bad and a weakness, it was shameful. On the meds today I feel like that asking for help/admitting my difficulties was the obvious thing to do and I think I even worded well my questions and messages. They replied, as always, super nicely and were understandable and called me for a few minutes of explanation to try and help me.

If I can’t finish a task right now but this task must be finished. I need team communication so that the seniors above me can both help me and also take their decisions being better informed on the situation of my work. I think the medicine helped me break the communication barriers, I don’t feel shy or ashamed for talking to them about issues, difficulties and questions.

I liked lowering my tolerance

lowertolerancedetox

I will talk it all to my doctor and psychologist, to report, but I had to share it here because I feel very satisfied, after a long time of feeling down. I will see how often I can take these breaks, I saw it was good.

Before the break I was taking Vyvanse (70mg) but because of the tolerance was not really able to really do stuff, I could focus a bit, but became disorganized and easily frustrated as days and weeks went by. when my tolerance is high my focus is an ADHD kind of focus, where I am doing something just to do but already thinking about what other tasks I have to do.

I am not a machine though

ianorobot

Today I feel organized and accepting of what works and what doesn’t woks, what is in or out of my control. But I am not a machine, I don't sit like a madman on my computer pumping code, I just feel like I can control myself, get up every 30 minutes, strech and do some quick 30 seconds exercises to keep my physical and mental health in check. And I don't feel bad for doing so, I feel satisfied "I am doing my job, I am get up and strech for 1 minute every 30 hours".

I am able to get a task and focus (not a crazy focus, just able to control my thoughts), I know about the other stuff I have to do, but I know that if I switch I will never finish any, so I put stickers or write down the ideas fort the other tasks, but don't waste more than 1 or 2 minutes of time and quickly get back to what I have on hands.

Stimulants

dopamine

Vyvanse is a stimulant, and it works for me in a way that no coffee or energy drink can. Coffee makes me messy and anxious.

During those 2 weeks off of Vyvanse I was trying to make up by heavily drinking a lot of coffee a day. Although coffee could “wake me up” it was not motivating, I just felt energetically able to do a lot of stuff, but still felt very disorganized and unable to do anything top the end, so with coffee I could do stuff, I just dod not really felt like doing them. I also didn’t not know how to start, where to start, and most importantly, how to finish, so coffee was definitely not helpful to replace my ADHD med.

I am wondering if I should drink coffee today. I like coffee, but I am afraid that it might give me anxiety or make me disorganized and give me the type of focus that is not good. So I will avoid it for now.

I am not sure if I am addicted to Vyvanse, possibly not, I take this medicine seriously because it is literally amphetamine (in low dose). But I know I am addicted to coffee, one day without it and I feel headaches and spaced out of reality. I hope I don't crave Coffee as I don't know it will deminish the benefits of the meds. When my tolerance goes up and Vyvanse loses effect, maybe I can try having a cup of coffee in the afternoon if I really want, but for now I feel I can manage to desire for coffee, it might even be good if I manage to cut coffee.

Going forward

sysiphus

Healthcare is not expensive here in Brazil (compared to what I hear from for the USA), and I am glad. Even though psychologist and psychiatrists are still expensive (for what I make), their monitoring of me and my mind/psyche/brain (however you wanna call it) and overall health and progress is useful.

Looking forward to my vacations, though they might be months away, I want to to try 1 month of no meds (if, and according to how my doctor suggests, of course) and hope to lower my tolerance even more, and come back feeling even better.

Beware

Taking ADHD meds has helped me, but I know they are addictive, so I take serious cautions to avoid taking when not necessary. I keep in mind that I need to clean my tolerance once in a while.

Meds are a powerful tool to help me live a fulfilling life and to do good to me and to others (like my colleagues that depend on me doing my work). It would be terrible to abuse and lose the positive effects due to a possible addiction, so I try to mindful of this.

To avoid the traps of amphetamines I always talk to my doctors, I respect the meds and do not take more than prescribed, nor take it unnecessarily, and always keep in mind that I might need to "detox" from it once in a while to clear my tolerance and get back the full good effects.

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