When (Medicated) ADHD As A Kid Turns Into Depression As A Teenager
My Experience Having Both Disorders
So my experience begins as early as 1969. I was 3 years old and way too big and wild for my small 5 foot 2 and disabled(from polio when she was small)mom to handle. She took me to a child psych who determined right off that I was indeed "hyperactive" was the term they used back then. I immediately spied the doctors stool on wheels, flopped down on it and started "orbiting" the room.
Orbiting was something I did a lot. My poor mom could never catch me when I run away from her. Which was probably all the time but I didn't like getting hit and screamed at either.
Anyway the doctor put me on Ritalin straight away which was given to me on and off until I was 12 years old.
I don't know when the night terrors started maybe at age 5, 6-I definitely remember having them when I was 7..I remember vividly when our family took a family vacation out west from where I grew up outside of the Chicago suburbs. We drove out west and one of the stops of course was Disneyland, where it was at the DL hotel where I recall having some really terrific night terrors and visual hallucinations, I'd say they were almost like hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations except there was no paralysis involved at all(that comes way later in my teens, from Imipramine).
They were night terrors of a futuristic theme- war and big machines that were robots, they looked like certain water towers.
Anyhow, I remember being generally not completely out of control but always moving, never sitting still. My head felt untethered, like I was not looking out of my eyes but rather from above myself. But honestly I can't tell you if that was my natural self or when I was on the Ritalin, I was far to young to even know why they gave me the medicine or what it was.
I was tossed out of several nursery schools(that's what they were called back then) for sassing the teachers and calling some of the other kids names only because I could get a shocked reaction using swear words, which I readily heard at home. But I was wild, I recall a teacher pushing desks out of the way trying to catch me.
They found out around oh I don't even know when somewhere between age 3 and 7 that I have only 50 % hearing. Maybe mumps when I was 3, maybe born like that who knows? But it's nerve damage and cannot be fixed. Total deafness in my right ear.
When they weaned me from Ritalin at 12 it was a minute before I plunged into depression and an inward crisis and I couldn't tell anyone. Puberty hits which contributed to more internal crisis and home life was hell, my mother overprotected me with a violent and controlling hand.
My siblings had it a bit easier because they were naturally calmer and more obedient but they also are all a lot smarter than me. I mean frickin' genius levels.
But not me, I was struggling in school. And they never knew how to handle a Ritalin child at any school I went to, we moved around a lot so there were many. My mom did make sure that I explain to my teachers that I'm half deaf and needed to be up in the front of the classroom. And to my mom's credit she was very conscientious of diet and knew that sugar, red 40, artificals and preservatives adversely effected my behavior and mood.
And I just have to say that also to my mom's credit that she was vigilant and involved with what was going on with me because certainly it is NOT the school systems job to initially observe and address these issues without the parents being proactive and knowing these problems exist already.
The school should not fail anyone whose parent is not afraid to acknowlege there's a problem and is proactive in finding a solution. Albeit, Ritalin probably wasn't the best choice but given what they knew about "hyperactivity" in the late 60's and early 70's it was probably the most convenient thing to do especially since my mom wasn't above taking mothers little helper herself at times.
Obviously my mother is ADHD too and add/adhd manifests differently in everyone who has it. We seem to be the only ones in our immediate family that has this. Lucky for us having add/adhd has made us insatiably curious and avid book readers, my whole family in fact we all love learning and reading.
And yes, I was assessed for learning disabilities which shockingly, even with my hearing problem--no learning disabilities. In any event I ended up missing a lot in school anyway because of the hearing deficit and my hyperactivity.
My teachers always said that I was bright but not working up to my potential, I'd clown and would disrupt the class, getting sent out of it slamming the door behind me, get sent to principles office for being disruptive, I had trouble completing my homework-like I could be excited and initiate but lacked follow through, I'd get bored easily distracted.
And I was extremely depressed and despondent. It wasn't until I ran away from home at almost 16 and mom took me to a shrink who put me on antidepressants-a tricyclic, old class medication Imipramine, that my grades improved significantly from c's and d's to a's and (mostly) b's . My memory retention improved and I stopped having suicidal ideation.
But that's when the sleep paralysis began, about 3 months into taking the antidepressant. Well actually first were the waking dreams and even a bit of lucid dreaming. I'd no sooner lay down put my head on the pillow and I'd be dreaming/hallucinating before I was even asleep. Within a short time though within months I'd say I was having full on OBE's and sleep paralysis sometimes both at the same time.
I started smoking pot when I was 16-still do to this day. I helps me in more ways than I can say. I stayed on antidepressants-changing to Prozac in early 90's, then some others were tried.
I was reassessed in late 1990's and put on fast acting dexedrine and effexor but they started clamping down and weren't acknowledging and treating adhd in adults. At the time adult adhd wasn't acknowledged as a legitimate disorder in their DSM. One needs a good private doctor because county docstors have to follow policies set by county government(& in turn set by DSM standards)-so they'll tell you they won't prescribe amphetamine to an adult. And numerous times have they tried some other SSRI or SNRI to treat the adhd. Doesn't work for that, in me.
So for various reasons I decided to go off all scripts- the effexor and the dexies. Dexies were introduced as in time release so that wasn't going to work for me-tried 'em. And the ever increasing little brain zaps from any ssri is with me to this day and I quit them all more than 10 years ago. I don't care what anyone says, SSRI's are dangerous.
Those brain zaps are just too much, been having them on and off since mid 1990's from Prozac. They also were happening if I was late or missed a dose. Talk about Stepfordian! Nuh-uh.
If the depression ever got that bad again I'd be way more inclined to take a tricyclic again than ANY ssri or snri. Besides after all this time off antidepressants, my body is starting to produce sertonin and norepinepherine on its own again. I'd rather it be this way than suffer with those damn brain zaps.
The one thing I do miss about the antidepressants is that I believe they improved cognitive function to the point that it raised my IQ however slightly but I could tell when I felt like I was running on all cylinders-I miss that. Now I can stare at a blank wall and be content-I hate that!
My mind needs to be occupied, I love learning things(that doesn't necessarily mean I'm easily understanding the thing I'm learning). I don't think I've ever been bored my whole life. There's always something to feed the brain.
I'm still way adhd, it's difficult to not want to self-medicate. I'll always smoke weed and for 2 years now I've been microdosing magic mushrooms roughly twice a week-which helps with both disorders. The mushrooms quiet my at times noisy brain.
Music, writing and motion have been therapeutic and have allowed for the sublimation of negative thoughts and feelings.
In the past few years I've come to the understanding that I don't believe my diagnosis to be just ADHD and clinical depression though. I see definite traits of autism in myself, they've always been there. But that's another article.
Just my experience.