Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Note from Normal

As you may recall, I was recently diagnosed with ADD.  Nearly three hours ago I took my very first dose of Adderal ever.

This is the first time in my adult life that I've ever sustained the kind of mental focus I'm now experiencing for longer than 45 minutes at a stretch.  Not a narrow, intense focus either...a generalized, 'yeah, uh-huh' kind of focus.  And I'm not knocking that; it's interesting in a 'yeah, uh-huh' kind of way.  I'm also discovering just how much of my time and energy has gone into maintaining a whole battery of coping strategies.  Having that extra mental activity absent, letting those strategies go unused for this long is also mildly interesting; the key adjective so far being 'mildly'.  So far, 'normal' as a base state is kind of like moving from Castle Frankenfurter into an anonymous tract home.

What in heaven's name do you people get out of this?

When my life is going well and outside annoyances aren't being annoying, the inside of my head is entertaining as hell, vivid and colorful.  I experience the world as a succession of intensely interesting, surprising, and exciting things. This is not to say that it isn't also full of giant robot pterodactyls and  wiener dogs and Volkswagens and stuff, because it is. 

Apparently the average mind is an index that operates like a three-dimensional flow chart, and query 'x' will always, in the average mind, follow proscribed pathways through that flow chart to arrive at solution 'y'.  My mind, however, is like a latex Habitrail in a state of constant molecular passage through an intricate perpetual-motion sculpture filled with hummingbirds and random explosions. 
You will always reliably arrive at 'y'. 
I'll arrive at 'y' too, but the process will also trigger a hundred other operations along the way, so I'll simultaneosly arrive at w, r, q and d. And a small cow.

On the other hand, my learning and coping abilities, such as they are, have been forged by the kind of undersea pressures that would crush your average lifelong normal thudpucker.  Now that I've emerged from those aphotic depths, lurching like some unimaginably primeval beast from the midnight sea onto the innocent shore, garlanded with seaweed and emanating a presentiment of ancient evil like a foul aura beneath the frozen moons' averted gaze and so forth, beware all upon whom I turn my unswerving gaze.

I noted the same effect when I was treated for depression years ago (minus the seaweed.)    Once the fog was lifted, all the strength of will I had developed in the effort to simply survive catapulted me into the lead. I was able to process and internalize twice the recovery twice as fast.  Now I can feel the same potential for forward progress. I think that once I learn how to trust that my attention will remain undivided, anything that I train that faculty upon will eventually give way before it, or be whammed into chowder with a shovel, depending on the mood.

Still, I honestly fail to see what this state has to recommend for itself on a long-term basis. This is so...average.  But now I finally understand why the rest of you take drugs. 

You take drugs to feel like I do when I'm not on drugs.