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Here we go!

No vlog this week — I am still feeling a little under the weather, mostly with a persistent cough. I do not really feel bad otherwise, so it may be some form of allergies, as Spring is breaking out here. Regardless, I will not subject you to my mouth full of lozenges and occasional sneezing. I also want to locate a couple of items before I record a "video tour" of my workspace.

Thursday morning I met with my psychiatrist, and after speaking with her for about an hour and a half, I left with a prescription for the lowest dosage of an extended-release ADHD stimulant medication. Thursday felt weird. By the evening, I was in an exceptionally crabby mood, which improved after eating. I was able to stay at my computer desk and edit about seventy photographs along with the video for my Dugsi Academy visit, including the corresponding posts and uploads. That took roughly ten hours with a working dinner break. Friday and Saturday, I worked at my day job. Friday I felt very "awake" and definitely noticed the crash about eight hours in. However, I am also reducing myself down from a high caffeine intake, and one Excedrin gave me a second wind about an hour later. Saturday was "smoother" and my co-workers were surprised to see me show up a few minutes early for my shift. I did not really make any extra effort, but it is easier to be punctual when not distracted by everything, constantly. Time will tell if this dose is effective long-term, though she did give me her permission to double-up if I feel I need it. I suspect that may be necessary for my most tedious projects, especially inking.

Saturday evening I also noticed I felt much less compelled to check my phone constantly, or respond to messages instantly. In my interview the psychiatrist did bring up OCD, which I have long suspected I have a mild degree of. Door locking and checking repetitively is the big one, related to childhood traumas, but primarily the type centered around rumination. (This is, in fact, where the title of my blog comes from, sharing a title with this series of comics — which in retrospect is more accurately an illustration of ADHD.) She commented that I seem quite analytical and offered me to take the MMPI if I would like to, so I am going to complete that this week as scheduling permits, before I see her and the therapist again. They both seem significantly more insightful than the therapist I saw for anxiety issues in 2016, which was a waste of time.

The best I can describe what it has been like "inside" my head until this point is to imagine yourself locked in a room with a dozen televisions and countless radios, playing different and sometimes contradictory channels at full volume, constantly. It creates a mental "fog" that demands a huge amount of energy and deliberate effort to stick with one track of thought, even manifesting into physical exhaustion. The bursts of hyperfocus on projects I am excited about are where I have traditionally gotten big things accomplished. Of course, that can be, rarely, artificially-induced by procrastinating until deadlines, etc.

By Friday and Saturday, I started to feel the "fog" clear, as if putting on the correct pair of eye-glasses for the first time. It is a strangely calm, quiet, and peaceful sensation, nothing like the lethargy and sluggishness characteristic of anxiety drugs I have taken in the past like lorazepam. I am confident that with the combination of medication, feedback from my therapist, and lifestyle modifications (such as using earplugs to fight overstimulation), my struggles with productivity can finally be overcome. I have seven books to finish.

Five years ago, I accepted a commission for a watercolour piece "in the style of Bill Watterson" or as closely as I can emulate it. I still cannot recall why?! I accepted this fool's errand to begin with, but I decided I am ready to tackle it at this time. How quickly I can complete this is going to be the first real test of the efficacy of my ADHD medication. Let the experiment begin.

Jin's Office Tour

A short video tour because MY OFFICE IS CLEAN!

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This week's video blog: https://youtu.be/jeLrF9txdyY

Jin's Office

So, I have been on ADHD medication for almost two weeks now, and this has been a game-changer for me. It feels incredible to not be exhausted all of the time. This drug is also used to treat narcolepsy, which makes sense, but even with a full eight hours of sleep and multiple energy drinks in me I would often be sleepy throughout the day. I drastically reduced my caffeine intake!! Other than the first few days of caffeine withdrawal headaches, I have felt great.

Tuesday last week, I completed the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) so my therapist can do more of a general evaluation, and help me develop more effective strategies to accomplish my goals. Since beginning my medication I have been on time to my day job every day, knocked out a list of over-due errands, cleaned and organized my office and supplies, and created that past-due watercolour commission in a week instead of a month. (Actually less, because I painted it once, was not satisfied, and redid the whole thing.) The lower dose is sufficient to keep my head in the game at my day job, but I did need more to keep my ass at the table while I was inking and painting. It feels so good to just DO WHAT I WANT TO DO, rather than chase every stray thought or shiny object in the periphery of my brain. And I found even as the medication wears off for the day, or the days of "break" I have taken when it is not needed (recommended by the doctor to help reduce tolerance), I feel less overwhelmed. I can listen when people talk to me, it does not turn into gobbledegook after five minutes! I can remember things for longer than thirty seconds! I CAN READ A BOOK. WITH THE PAGES. IN ORDER.

Golden Hour after Bill Watterson

Golden Hour after Bill Watterson

So, yeah, game-changer. I am also back on my carb-free protein shakes, and in the gym four or five days per week. Sadly I did lose some of my gainz. I am working out harder and more frequently than before, and eating more. Now I get to really learn how quickly I can build muscle. On to Swolehalla!!!

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