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ADHD and emotionality

Jun 26, 2018

Good article in ADDitude about ADHD and emotions. I've always just referred to it as emotional dysregulation and thought of it as a symptom of whatever ails our prefrontal cortex. But is definitely a real thing.


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My new favorite fidget toy

Jun 22, 2018

My son brought home this super addictive fidget toy the other day. Of course he got it as some sort of craft in after school. But I promptly appropriated it for fidgeting purposes. Play foam. 

Pros:
  1. It apparently stays sticky and moldable... forever!
  2. It's super fun to smush up.
  3. It doesn't get stuck to anything except itself.
Cons:
  1. I have noticed that after a week of so the color starts to come off a bit in my hands.
  2. It is, believe it or not, a bit noisy. Not great for super quiet environments. 

My new favorite fidget toy

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What's in that box?

Jun 15, 2018

So, I usually like to do a series of posts over the summer. I think I'll start this summer with some quick tips on how to get organized... or more specifically, how to get rid of the clutter. It has been my professional experience that most people who have disorganized homes don't struggle as much as they think with how to be "organized." Rather, they usually struggle with how to get rid of things. Once we get rid of the excess, it is so much easier to organize what's left. So, here's tip number one. 

Most people with substantial clutter have tried many times to get that clutter under control. That usually means boxes, bags, crates, shelves, drawers, or piles of stuff. Often those boxes haven't even been looked through in months or years. Those boxes become sources of stress and anxiety. They feel impossible to go through or deal with in any way. Well, here's a quick tip to make it much easier. 

There are two ways to look at that box of old stuff. First is to think, "That box is full of great stuff. I'll look through it and see if there is anything I can get rid of." Second is to think, "This is a box of junk. Let me check quickly to see if there is anything worth keeping." You might think this is a semantic argument. But it makes a big difference how you approach that box. It's all about the burden of proof. Make those things in the box prove to you that they deserve to stay in your life, rather than keeping them being the default state. This applies even more the longer that box has been sitting around. If you haven't touched it in over a year, consider taking it right to the curb. 


Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. An imperfect post completed is better than a perfect post that goes unposted.



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Medication side effects... or not... or are they?

Jun 8, 2018

I am not a doctor. But I have tremendous experience with taking medication and with working with my clients to help them understand how their meds are working... or not working. What I have found is that individuals often experience effects or side effects that are not listed in the literature. Some doctors poho-pooh these unreported side effects. But, my experience has been that, unless you are a legit hypochondriac, you're probably right if you think you're having a specific effect. And, over time, it's pretty easy to figure out if it is related to the meds. But sometimes it's hard to tell until you change dosages, take the med for a period of time, or go change. It's also tough if you are a person who is not particularly attuned to you how your body works on a daily basis. 

I'm lucky that I've got a pretty good level of self awareness. Always have. It was a real benefit when I was first trying meds at age 10. And, it continues to be as I continue to manage my brain chemistry with my amazing doctor. I'm going to use my current antidepressant as an example. It is called Trintellix (Vortioxetine.) It's a pretty new drug. As far as I know it is in it's own category. It is not a trycyclic, SSRI, or SNRI. The following the latest chapter in my antidepressant journey. 

My most recent depressive episode began about 3 1/2 years ago. It was my third and I caught it quickly. I had had success with Zoloft (Sertraline) in the past. But this time it actually made me worse. That is strange thing number one. Just because something worked once, doesn't mean it will now. My doctor wanted to go right to Trintellix after that, but the insurance company made me try Wellbutrin (Bupropion) first. I took that for three days and it made my depression go away, but made my anxiety so bad that it felt like the walls were closing in. Apparently not a particularly out there side effect. 

So, then it was on to the Trintellix... which has been an interesting journey. On the whole it is amazing. It deals with my depression and anxiety better than anything else has, with no weight gain or sexual side effects. But it is complicated. It gives me a far better effect if I take it at night. But the more I take at night the harder it is to fall asleep and then my sleep is restless because I have wacky technicolor dreams all night. So, I took it upon myself to split the dose and take some in the morning and some at night. Which requires splitting some of the tiny teardrop shaped pills... which sucks. But it is necessary anyway since I mostly take 12.5 mg. 

So for a few years I had been taking 7.5mg in the am and 5mg in the pm. Then last September I made a mistake when filling my pill containers and accidentally went down to 10 mg. Honestly, I can't remember how that happened. Before I realized my mistake, here's what happened. I woke up one day and felt like I got hit by a truck. If you've every had a flu that give you really bad muscle pain, it was like that, but I wasn't sick and it wouldn't go away. I couldn't sleep, or work out. Nightmare. I went to my amazing chiropractor, paid for an hour long massage at my gym, took a hard-core anti-inflammatory that I had left over from a previous injury, iced, stretched, took plenty of Ativan (Lorazepam....) and nothing made it better. When I realized what had happened with the pills, I corrected it, and was fine with in three days. 

I have also noticed over the years, that I have more heat sensitivity, that my vision is intermittently blurry when I change doses, I run really hot - especially at night, and I have a lot more heart burn. But I also have more energy, less pain, and usually eat better. Side effects of the med or of not being depressed and anxious? Debatable. But Trintellix doesn't list most of this stuff in the medication pamphlet. (Trintellix)

My point is that the information that is available in terms of recognized side effects is very, very important. But I think we're fooling ourselves if we think it is a comprehensive list. So, trust your body. I mean, approach it scientifically, but if you think there is something going on... there just might be.


Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. An imperfect post completed is better than a perfect post that goes unposted.



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My new favorite podcasts

May 31, 2018

I've posted before about the idea that we sometimes work better doing more than one thing than we do doing a single thing. And that we can use that as a strategy to get through boring stuff. I listen to music, podcasts, or sports radio... in the shower, doing chores, cooking dinner, getting the kids ready in the morning, doing dishes, working in the garden, driving, laundry, and pretty much whatever else you can think of.  Having something stimulating to occupy my mind while I'm doing something boring or routine help me get through it. Podcasts in particular have been a great resource for me in the last half dozen years. I'm using them more than anything else lately. So, I like to post once in a while about my current favorites. Here are some of them. I'll try not to include ones that I've mentioned before.

If you like true crime/mysteries:
  1. Casefile True Crime. This is my all time favorite. Great story telling with no fluff. Isn't too graphic about the details.
  2. Accused. Season one and two are very different but both are excellent. Done by an actual newspaper reporter. Great reporting.
  3. Hollywood & Crime. Great series about Hollywood murders.
  4. Young Charlie (by Hollywood & Crime) All about Manson. 
  5. Dirty John (by Hollywood & Crime) Story of a master manipulator. 
  6. Up and Vanished. Amazing story of woman gone missing.
  7. Shit town. Is he crazy or not?
If you are into less crime-y stuff...
  1. Business wars. Nike vs. Adidas, Netflix vs. Blockbuster, Sony vs. Nintendo. Great stuff
  2. American innovators. Really interesting and new. Currently the history of DNA.
  3. Stuff you should know. A bit rambley sometimes. Full disclosure. The rest of my family hates it and refers to it as, "the boring podcast." But it's safe for kids. Episodes vary. Try a few if you don't like the first one. 

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If it doesn’t work...Change it up!

May 24, 2018

I like problem solving. It pisses me off when something I want to work doesn’t. It brings me great satisfaction when I figure out how to make it work. So maybe I get an inherent dopamine buzz when I solve a problem? Either way, it has served me well. Here’s a small example that happened recently to use as a template.


I have a huge garden. It is my primary hobby, brings me great enjoyment, but is a lot of work. And, by definition, is a seasonal endeavor. This is my fifth year doing it. When I started, I had read a few books and knew, essentially, nothing about gardening. Five years later, I know slightly more than nothing. But it is an improvement.


The problem is that what I do know, I tend to forget over the winter. When do I start the seeds indoors? When should I transplant? How much do I harden them off first? What diseases happen and when? What do I need to order? How long will it take for everything to germinate? How much yield am I getting? How many of each plants should I plant? Since I don’t necessarily remember the answers to all of these questions… or any of them, I need to take notes. I’ve always had a nice little 4x6ish leather notebook that I keep in my gardening dry sink (see picture) on the porch. The problem is that I basically never used it.


This year I asked myself why I never used it. The best answer I could come up with was that it wasn’t visual enough and felt like it was way too much work to find the info I was looking for. Really it was just a blank book that I wrote a date on the top of the page and filled in details. Not much structure either. I decided that a month view calendar would would better. As you can see, I’ve kept super up to date. (Though I’m still dreading transferring the early season notes from the other notebook.)


Of course it took me four years to question my paradigm and figure all this out. But the takeaway is: if it’s not working, question it! And keep trying solutions until you find one.




Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. An imperfect post completed is better than a perfect post that goes unposted.


If it doesn’t work...Change it up!
If it doesn’t work...Change it up!

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