What it takes to get my brain to focus

Dealing with ADHD is frustrating and expensive. I try to function sans medication, but clearly there is a reason that meds and other techniques are popular among folks who have a brain running a thousand miles a minute. Here are the things that apparently help me focus:

adderall
A low dose makes me feel anxious and slightly depressed in an irritable sort of way but allows my brain to turn off the part that listens to every single conversation happening around me. a higher dose turns my hands blue and gives me hives. i’ve stopped with the high dose, but it’s amazing what I can accomplish on a low dose. too bad it’s so expensive and not good for me over the long run. it also has a terrible withdrawl period, even after taking a very small dose that lasts 3-4 hours.

exhaustion
I seem to focus best after a night of not sleeping, as my body and brain is too tired to be hyperactively aware. That only last for a few hours before I fall asleep, or take an adderall to maintain that zen like state of focus.

exercise
I should do this more. The effect works for a few hours, especially if I exercise in the morning. It doesn’t really help me focus more, it just helps the depressive part of my brain turn off so I can get things done.

red bull
like adderall, but requires a constant fix. sugar free works fine. gives me a stomach ache, makes my heart pound like crazy, makes me think i might die, but helps me focus.

working in bed or in a private area at home
A lot of my inability to focus stems from stress of being around people, and also freaking out about time. When I am home there is still an issue with time, but I don’t feel like I have a set amount of time to start and finish a project, I just focus on getting it done and doing a good job. I spent less time adjusting to new environments and being distracted, and get get some of my best work done, especially in terms of writing.

Other than exercise I don’t think these are healthy ways to focus. Nor are they very affordable ways. I get so frustrated with how fast the hours go by each day. I just want to hide in a closet and get everything done.

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