September 17, 2010

Titrated up to 50 mg of Strattera & an Adult ADHD / Russell Barkley Video

I went to my doctor this week and he seems to be responding to me in a more effective manner than the previous two visits that I'd had with him. I too was responding differently - not saying much, as I'd had a rough day at work and was feeling a bit sorry for myself.

But my doctor sounded very positive about my progress and asked if I would like to be titrated up from 40 mg of Strattera daily to 50 mg, or "half way to the maximum dose we can consider". I said that I would like that, but would listen to his advice on the matter. I guess I wanted to give him a chance to present his opinion. Plus the fact that he had the ADHD clinic's notes clutched carefully in his hands (suggesting that he had read them and wanted me to know that) made me think he would have some insight.

So he said "Yes, let's do it." And so today I am on 50 mg of Strattera. I drank a litre of water during a meeting this morning. My mistake. One of the key stakeholders is notorious for talking on and on - he just might be distantly related to Fidel Castro. But the water seemed to allay any dry mouth symptoms and so far I've not felt nauseous or anything.

I am pleased with how things are going for me. Work is a bit odd, our company was bought last week (subject to a government body approval) outright, and so we all wonder what sort of redundancies and layoffs might occur... but I'm darned employable, and all the more now that I have the knowledge of my diagnosis and coping skills around Adult ADHD.

When you have some time, have a look at this great Russell Barkley video about ADHD:



Hope you all have a great weekend,

Cheers,

Mungo

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September 15, 2010

The Hunt: Harvesting, Cooking and Eating a Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom

Okay, here's another nature related post. The only thing it has to do with ADHD is that getting out into nature seems to really calm my ADHD brain and restore me for a few days... Has anyone else noticed this effect of getting out into nature?

The other day I went on a hunt in a local conservation area. I harvested, cooked and ate some of a Giant Puffball Calvatia gigantea. These are choice mushrooms, and considered highly edible when still white and firm.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
Giant Puffball, with characteristically cratered surface.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
This Giant Puffball shows the characteristically cratered surface, along with an almost bi-lobed body.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I pulled a Giant Puffball out of the ground, and you can see the very small 'root' that provides nutrition to it. This was about as thick as a graphite pencil.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
Carrying the Giant Puffball was surprisingly tricky. I didn't want to dent it, and at the same time, the weight of it began to make my arm sore. I mean, it wasn't probably more than 5 pounds, but it was bulky.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I put it on the cutting board, took out the frying pan and stared at the rounded beast before me for a few moments.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I started by removing the base. You can see the base interior beginning to turn brown - the eventual state of this Giant Puffball is a big powdery, dry, dark brown crusty ball, emitting spores into the wind as it crumbles into pieces.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I pared away some of the skin and harvested out the white, firm flesh.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
Here is a closeup of the marshmallow-like texture. It was cool to the touch, because of the moisture contained within the tissue.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I skinned the beast.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I cut it up into bread slice thickness.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I noticed quickly that I had way too much to consume by myself, and ended up giving some to my neighbour.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I dredged it in flour, salt and black pepper.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I shook off the dredging powder and laid the pieces aside. I was wondering what it would taste like, but soldiered on.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
Soon a rich scent filled the kitchen - and the mushroom began to resemble chicken strips.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
It smelled glorious. It didn't smell like normal button mushrooms, more like - well, more like chicken and zucchini.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
Into the frying pan, I put a little bit of olive oil, and butter. Once it was hot, I laid the strips of the Giant Puffball onto the pan. It sizzled.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I put it onto a plate, and gobbled it all down. It was amazing. I am going to do this again soon, and highly recommend that every single person reading this post, who lives near Giant Puffball mushrooms, immediately go out, harvest, cook and eat some.

Cheers,

Mungo

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September 14, 2010

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path - Soothing Nature

I find when I get anxious at work, or when it gets a little too much, I like to go for a walk on the path around the campus - it is a 1-mile pathway through some nice undergrowth, and wild areas in the north of Toronto. I noticed today after about 20 minutes, I felt calmer and my thoughts were much smoother, and less scattered and rushing. Nature works for my ADHD!

Here are some pictures that I took:

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Bracket Fungus - Polypore.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Unknown Gilled Mushroom.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Wild Grapes - tart and tangy.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Poison Hemlock.

Socrates was executed by being made to drink a potion of poison hemlock.
"Socrates' death is described at the end of Plato's Phaedo. Socrates turned down the pleas of Crito to attempt an escape from prison. After drinking the poison, he was instructed to walk around until his legs felt numb. After he lay down, the man who administered the poison pinched his foot. Socrates could no longer feel his legs. The numbness slowly crept up his body until it reached his heart. Shortly before his death, Socrates speaks his last words to Crito: "Crito, we owe a rooster to Asclepius. Please, don't forget to pay the debt." Asclepius was the Greek god for curing illness, and it is likely Socrates' last words meant that death is the cure—and freedom, of the soul from the body. Additionally, in Why Socrates Died: Dispelling the Myths, Robin Waterfield adds another interpretation of Socrates' last words. He suggests that Socrates was a voluntary scapegoat; his death was the purifying remedy for Athens’ misfortunes. In this view, the token of appreciation for Asclepius would represent a cure for the ailments of Athens."
A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Poison Hemlock

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Aster.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Unknown Berry.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Unknown Berry.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Slightly Out Of Focus Grasshopper.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Immature Dryad's Saddle - very tasty and edible at this stage, or so I have read.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Oyster Mushrooms - Think I'll take some and have them for dinner sometime this week!

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Artist's Conk - You can use a twig to gently draw on the white underside of this polypore, and it looks like you have drawn on it with a graphite pencil. Natives of North America made quite an art-form of this, and you can find many current examples for sale on the web.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Artist's Conk.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Artist's Conk.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Oyster Mushrooms.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Oyster Mushrooms.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Oyster Mushrooms.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Unknown - possibly partially decayed Dryad's Saddle.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Oyster Mushrooms.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Common Inkcap - I've posted about this in greater detail before.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Common Inkcap.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Snail Shell.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Cattail Reeds (Typha latifolia) - Fenlander has made Cattail pollen bread.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Cattail Reeds (Typha latifolia) - Owen has made cattail mats.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Cattail Reeds (Typha latifolia) - Make a Cattail duck toy, and look at Jon's nice Cattail woven mats.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Unknown gilled mushroom, growing in pine litter.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Forget the name of this wonderful looking fungus.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Unknown, amazing colouring, firm, growing on dead wood.

A Lunchtime Walk on the Path
Will try to find out what this is - such a nice looking fungus.

I had a great walk, looking forward to what the rest of September and the coming Autumn brings...

Cheers,

Mungo

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September 13, 2010

I'm Still Here! Improving Day by Day and Getting Things Done!

I'm still here - I haven't posted for 19 days now. I have lots of content built up, but have had other priorities to attend to. Mostly, I've been 'getting things done'. Which is amazing.

I had a week of vacation recently, and I call it a week of 'chorecation' because I did chores. I don't resent this, because I see it as paying down the debt of having not attended to the important, priority things for the last several decades. I'm on my way to changing habits in a good way - I credit the effects that Strattera is making in me - my working memory is improving like crazy, my impulsivity has dwindled considerably, my 'hyperfocus' or inappropriately focused perseveration has diminished a great deal. My relationship with my wife is improving, as she is noticing changes in me too. I'm very pleased with my progress.

I'm up to 40 mg of Strattera a day now, feeling good about it. Dry mouth from time to time but nothing a glass of water won't fix. At least I'm not suffering from limbs-falling-off side-effects.

I came across this video just now, and thought you might find it as interesting as I did:


Enjoy,

Cheers,

Mungo

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August 25, 2010

That Which I Accomplished This Fine Day In Spite of my ADHD Addled Brain

This week I have been on vacation, and I although I've been burning the candle at both ends (going to bed late, knowing that our little boy would wake up early as he has been feeling poorly), I took a nap yesterday for 2 hours and felt like that fixed me up for a day or two. I really need to get more sleep. I am working on that, my dear ADHD-addled brain. Oh yes, I'm talking to you.

On the weekend, we went to Chapters books. I bought "ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life", by Judith Kolberg & Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D. This is quite possibly the awesomest (yes, I just wrote that) book I have read on ADHD self-help so far. I will get more into it in a few days, but I have spent two hours or so reading it, and picked up on a few great tips. It is a classic decluttering organization book, but written to an ADHD audience - noting tendencies and explaining how these disorganized habits relate to the ADHD brain. Oh yes, I'm working on you, dear brain.

I am actually really excited about this book - can't wait to read more of it tonight. While reading it, I have my notebook to take notes in, as the book seems to inevitably spark reminders in my head.

Prioritization of efforts is key to organizing a life wracked with ADHD (awesomest verb of the day). For example, you want to do First Things First, as opposed to doing thing based on a strategy of doing whatever occurs at the moment, etc... I've been doing that most of my life, or so it would seem.

I had a vacation day today, so was able to get quite a few things done at home. Here is my list as of 3:30 PM today:

  • Fed the little boy in his highchair, played with him, and then changed his diaper and dressed him, and then my wife drove him off to daycare.
  • Read some of my daily allotment of news in my Google Reader, and on my free HootSuite Twitter site.
  • Scheduled a reoccurring weekday/daily reminder in my Google Calendar to stop browsing the internet by 7:45 am and shower, shave, prepare lunch and leave for work (a tip from my book).
  • Decluttered boxes containing camping equipment. I am a bit of a pack-rat, and have decided that I store about 2 or 3 times more gear than I realistically will ever use. Great to think I can use a giant tin can for a cooking container over a fire, but I already have proper cooking equipment (etcetera, etcetera). Ideas are good but don't have to translate into physical clutter.
  • Practiced on the guitar, and recorded it onto video to see how it sounded. Sounds better than I think it does while actually playing. Great use of time, huh (given that I had a bunch of priorities and this was NOT one of them)? I guess I'm allowed a bit of distraction - after all, it is my vacation.
  • Sanded 2 rooms worth of walls that I PollyFilla-ed yesterday, and painted them.
  • I disassembled my wife's office desk, after clearing all the materials out of it and placing it on the sofa, and put it in the garage, for eventual pickup by a charity truck. We're changing some things around in the house.
  • Carried two large armchairs up from the basement, moved 2 side tables and a coffee table from the shed and moved them into the garage, for eventual pickup by a charity truck. Having done this, I got my workout for the day.
  • I picked up my prescription of Strattera from the local pharmacist.
  • While waiting to pick up my prescription, I thought over my earlier plan to go to the hardware store to buy some bark mulch for the garden, along with some bleach (for the house), but reconsidered because I recognized that this was not the best use of my time. Felt good I had prioritized, even though going to Home Depot is very stimulating and exciting - great for my ADHD brain. I'll go tomorrow instead - don't worry, brain.
  • I washed my car, and the front section of the house, after locating the hose nozzle which I had been looking for a couple of months. It was in the garden, obscured by soil. Don't know how it got there! This was something not on my priority list. But it sure was fun.
  • Put out the recycling into the garage.
  • Showered and shaved.
  • Vacuumed the room of the dust created by sanding.
  • Vacuumed out the computer I removed from my wife's office, not on my priority list, but oh how easy it is for my brain to lead me astray./li>
  • Answered the phone to realize I had missed a dentist appointment scheduled today for 1:30 pm. I had written down the scheduled time in Notepad on Windows, but literally a minute later we had a power blip (yesterday) which shut down my computer and erased the note. I ended up writing the wrong time down: 3:00 pm (I knew it had a 3 in it somewhere). I had scheduled my day madly today to get ready to leave in time for a 3:00 pm appointment. Lesson: Use paper or Google Calendar, and ensure that the appointment is saved. I then wrote down the new time (tomorrow at 8:00 am) again in Notepad on my computer - whoops. But I remembered about 10 minutes later and put it into Google Calendar. Phew. I guess I could have phoned the dentist this morning to confirm the time, but I was 90% certain the time I'd remembered after the power blip was correct. Shoulda trusted my instincts... :-)
  • Installed Picasa 3.8 on my computer and spent some off-task time watching the face recognition software do its thing on several thousand images. I knew I was off task, but found it hard to pull myself way. Eventually did (shiny things, and all that).
  • Ate a late lunch.
  • Put cement caulking in the back step brick gaps, and then filled all the remaining gaps with sand to stop the interlock bricks from wobbling.
  • Stopped to check e-mail.
  • Wrote this post.

That's it for now - more on my new book soon. Buy it here if you'd like... I highly recommend it!

Cheers,

Mungo

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August 24, 2010

The Trials & Tribulations of Titration

On Friday I went to my family physician for a scheduled appointment - 4 weeks after he titrated me from 20 mg to 30 mg daily of Strattera.

I have been noticing that my impulsivity - both verbal and 'action' stuff - has improved drastically with the medication. I am more calm, taking conversations in and digesting them before speaking. My weight continues to remain down, and I had a thought yesterday that this too was likely due to improved impulse control with my diet - I wait out the temptations and have a glass of water instead of a chocolate bar and have a light meal instead of something heavy.

Side effects are minimal - some dry mouth, but that's about it.

When my doctor entered the exam room he asked me 'How are you doing?' I reviewed my experience with him for a minute or two. He then began to tell me how it is important it is to balance the side effects with the clinical effects of the drug. I sort of watched him speaking, wondering what he was getting at. Then he explained how I will need to take 'drug holidays', and that I 'can't be on this forever'. So then I began to wonder if he thought Strattera was a stimulant medication. I have close to zero faith in my family doctor's knowledge about ADHD.

I told him that I had read 'drug holidays' are no longer recommended to patients who take stimulant medications. And I said either way, it didn't apply to me as Strattera is a non-stimulant medication. I didn't even bring up his 'forever' comment - I was thinking instead about what my new doctor will be like, the one I intend to switch to from this idiot.

He then abruptly told me that I should come back in a month and continue to monitor my progress. Given that he hadn't actually asked me any specific questions about my progress, other than 'How are you doing?', I doubted his judgment, and immediately responded to him.

I brought up that I understood from the Canadian ADHD Practice Guidelines that the dose of Strattera can be brought up to 60 to 80 and generally not more than 100 mg, and that my understanding generally from reading a great deal about Adult ADHD, that it is not at all unreasonable to increase the rate of titration given the relatively low side effects that I am experiencing. He began to talk about how the medication can keep me awake, and I quickly reminded him that Strattera is not classified amongst the psychostimulants, and therefore would generally not have an effect on my sleep. And that indeed Strattera has been demonstrated to be an effective anxiolytic in the case of co-morbid anxiety disorder, as I am led to believe my diagnosis contained. I told him that it was my expectation, and that "respectfully, I have to disagree with your opinion on this", that I was going to get an increase in medication.

He paused, and then casually suggested that we go up to 40 mg of Strattera, and that we meet again in a month. I politely agreed. He wrote the prescription and I said 'thanks' without wishing him a good day.

So my intention is to change doctors - to one who has experience with Adult ADHD, and one who is in Toronto (where I live).

A quick question for readers - I asked my doctor a couple of visits ago if I could see the diagnostic notes that the clinic had delivered to him for my records, and he told me that 'these things are generally confidential'. I didn't pursue it, but it kinda seems that they are my patient records, and that I should be allowed to view them. Plus I would really like to read the diagnosis and notes, because I believe it will help me more fully understand my diagnosis, towards the goal of self-coaching and understanding my treatment more. Am I being unreasonable?

Cheers,

Mungo

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August 20, 2010

Twitter Posting Roundup from @MungosADHD

Here is a roundup of my most recent Twitter posts from @MungosADHD:
Cheers,

Mungo

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August 18, 2010

Twitter Posting Roundup from @MungosADHD

Here is a roundup of my most recent Twitter posts from @MungosADHD:
  • Are We There Yet?.....No?..... Damn.: writing...writing...and more writing.... http://ow.ly/2qNgV
  • Efficacy of Meta-Cognitive Therapy for Adult ADHD -- Solanto et al. 167 (8): 958 -- Am J Psychiatry http://ow.ly/2qNeK
  • ADD'ing it all up: The triggers for my son http://ow.ly/2qNcY
  • Coach Nancy: Eight Strategies to Help You Get Moving http://ow.ly/2qNaK
  • Adult ADHD Relationships: How Does Love Survive ADHD? | ADDaboy! - HealthyPlace http://ow.ly/2qN9X
  • ADHD Roller Coaster: "Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?" · ADHD Cyber Command On The Watch! http://ow.ly/2qMXB
  • (Part 1 of 2) Is It You, Me, or Adult non-ADHD? 10 Tips for Living with a non-ADDer | ADHD from A to Zoë http://ow.ly/2qMWm
  • (Part 2 of 2) Is It You, Me, or Adult non-ADHD? 10 Tips for Living with a non-ADDer | ADHD from A to Zoë http://ow.ly/2qMVu
  • Your Way | ADHD and Marriage http://ow.ly/2qMUD
  • ADHD and Intensity - 6 Tips for Damage Control | ADDaboy! - HealthyPlace http://ow.ly/2qMSl
  • ADD'ing it all up: Great ideas out the window. http://ow.ly/2qMQl
Cheers,

Mungo

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