Sunday Night I was laying in bed trying to sleep and I could not. No matter what I did, how I moved or anything else, I could not fall asleep but for a few minutes at a time. For once I could not blame my ADD for not being able to sleep. Realizing it wasn’t my ADD that was keeping me awake, I had to smile. The reason I was unable to fall asleep was because I was living life in real time. For me, that was so cool!
Let Me Explain: After 5 nights of being the social media point man for my clients, covering the PBR World Finals in Las Vegas, with all the deadlines, commitments and everything else that goes along with being a media person during a live sporting event; you tend to have a huge energy crash as you unwind afterward. I know I did. After filing the last article and making sure the last update was sent out everything was put to bed, I was finally home, in my own bed trying to sleep and yet I could not sleep.
It wasn’t the 5-Hour energy shots, the Dr Pepper’s or the adrenaline you get from being on a 5-day constant deadline. No, it wasn’t that. It wasn’t the fact that the melatonin I take at night wasn’t working or that I was reciting the thousand and one things I need to do the following day that was keeping me awake. In fact its the fact that I wasn’t thinking of the 1001 things I needed to do Monday that made me stop and think. My head was empty of thoughts and deadlines and commitments. The squirrels in my head were all fast asleep. That’s it! My squirrels were all asleep and I wasn’t. That’s what made me smile!
The reason I wasn’t sleeping was because for the first time in years, I was living life in real time. That’s New For Me! It was the world around me at that moment that was keeping me awake. The fact that after 5 nights of being on point at the PBR, the home life still continues and I was catching up on that. That’s why I wasn’t falling asleep. The feeling of being in the moment was a new experience.
For a lot of entrepreneurs with ADD, we are used to having a hundred different things going through our minds at any one moment – about things we think we “need” to accomplish, not forget and get done tomorrow. We tend to not live in the moment, but to be thinking past the current moment in time and looking in the future. The squirrels in my head normally never take a night off. But they had. My head was somewhat of a quiet place tonight.
For most people that may sound strange that I was smiling because I was not sleeping. I was smiling because my body was reacting to the world around it at that moment. The things that needed to be attended to at home but were not because we were gone or we were focused on the business. I was reacting to my body being overly tired, the toll my health took while being on media duty and not eating right and sleeping wrong. I was living in the moment right now and that really is a new experience for me.
A New Drug
It was only a week earlier that I finally talked to my doctor and told him that I needed something for my ADD. I have been self-medicating and controlling my ADD for the last 15 or so years. For the most part, I thought I was doing it successfully. I just reached a point in my life and career that I finally decided that I needed help. Or at least wanted to try medication again.
The first time they tried to put me on Wellbutrin and had disastrous results. I am not good at being normal. I hated the feeling of being what was explained to me as everybody else’s “normal” thanks to the Wellbutrin. It wasn’t me and the people around me told me that. Ritalin was out of my budget, so I went medication free (with some periodic help from naturalists).
My new doctor prescribed a low dosage of ADDerall to see what happens. After a week of being on it, I can say that I am loving the response. However I’m feeling a little like a drug addict, taking ADDerall in the morning than after a full day of more focused work (YEA!), play and life, I take melatonin at night and that lets the squirrels go to sleep. Between the two I am having a wonderful time living and working. Being more organized, better focused, keeping the commitments in check and not taking on the world alone or fighting battles I know should be left alone.
With the low dosage, I still have several friendly squirrels running around in my head with new ideas or new paths they want to take, but at least it’s not like before with a 100 squirrels running around saying “do this… No, no, do this…” I am still having my entrepreneurial “Aha” moments that I love and the new inspirations are coming with better thoughts and cleaner decision making.
One of the key parts of my ADD diagnosis was that I would have ten different projects going at the same time. I never lived in the moment, never in real time. I was always moving on to a new project(s) even before the current project was completed. Leaving a lot of projects unfinished, ignored or abandoned. I was always moving forward. This quirk killed a lot of business deals and ruined a lot of relationships.
I know, it’s only been a week, but I am seeing the differences. My focus is more on today, not tomorrow as much. I had one bad day at the PBR when I think my body finally accepted the new drug and let it do all its magic, but otherwise I am feeling fine and smiling at the world, not fighting the world as I used to. The best part is that I am still not “normal”, I am still me… Mark Anthony… just now the ADD is better managed. Living in Real Time for a change!
- Book: Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood