On Inattention and Teleportation

This past week I marked 30 days of being on Adderall. I had my one-month check-in with my doctor, and we determined that we’re going to keep me on it.

But Josh, you say. Adderall is for people with ADHD. You don’t have ADHD — do you?

I do, gentle reader. A doctor on the internet told me so.

I’ve always associated ADHD with hyperactivity; you know, the stereotype of the kid who can’t sit still, is impulsive, gets easily distracted. It wasn’t until talking with my therapist and sharing with him some of the things I struggle with now, and have always struggled with, that I learned there is a form of ADHD where hyperactivity doesn’t present — the inattentive type. He encouraged me to get tested. When I got home, I did some reading on the subject, and well… let’s just say I felt seen.

The nine symptoms of the inattentive type of ADHD, according to the Cleveland Clinic, are:

  1. Often has trouble staying focused on tasks at work, home or play.
  2. Frequently does not pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes at work or while doing other tasks.
  3. Often has trouble organizing tasks or activities (misses deadlines, disorganized work).
  4. Is easily distracted.
  5. Frequently does not follow through on instructions or fails to complete work assignments, chores or other activities.
  6. Often forgets doing routine chores (like paying bills, returning phone calls, keeping appointments).
  7. Avoids tasks that require long periods of mental focus (preparing reports, filling out forms).
  8. Often loses items needed to complete tasks or activities.
  9. Does not appear to be listening even when spoken to directly.

2, 3, 6, and 8 haven’t presented much of a problem in my adult life (at least the last decade or so). I am good at my job, and it would be hard to be good at my job if I consistently struggled with these things. The other five, though? Oh yeah.

Apparently, people who discover as an adult that they have the inattentive type of ADHD, probably also had it when they were younger; however, because the hyperactivity element wasn’t present, it went undiagnosed. This tracks for me personally because when I was a kid, I struggled mightily in school with paying attention, completing assignments, forgetting things, losing things, etc. In fact, it’s a piece of family lore that one of my elementary school teachers once told my parents that I reminded her of “a little absentminded professor.”

Artist’s rendering of the writer as a child.

My therapist suggested an online ADHD treatment provider, which sounded like a gray market solution to me. Was this going to be the amphetamine equivalent of pill mill, passing out pills to anyone who’s ever been too lazy to do a chore? I wasn’t opposed to such a thing, but I really wasn’t on getting scammed. Then my primary care doctor said he’d heard of the provider and felt it was reputable enough, so it seemed worth a roll of the dice. I signed up, took a looong ADHD assessment, and a week later had a telehealth visit with a clinician. She was lovely and diagnosed me with… ADHD, inattentive type in adults. To help manage things, I was prescribed a relatively low dose of Adderall.

I won’t lie: it was a relief to have my concerns validated my a medical professional, even if she is from the internet.

Nothing about the experience felt shady, which, if I’m being honest, was a little disappointing. I can appreciate and will occasionally even welcome an element of shadiness and disreputability in an experience — but from a health and well-being perspective, above-board and respectable are probably good things.

So how am I feeling after 30 days of amphetamines? Pretty fucking great, actually. I won’t pretend it’s been as lifechanging as when I started taking medication to help manage my ulcerative colitis several years ago, but I’ve noticed a lot of improvements. I feel sharper. My memory is better. I am able to pay closer attention to someone when they’re talking to me. My ability to focus is better, which as a writer has been immensely beneficial. The biggest change I’ve noticed is also one I wasn’t expecting: my fatigue has finally — finally — subsided. I can at last get through a workday without having to take a nap during lunch and after work, something I’ve been doing consistently for the last year. Even with those naps, I would still feel exhausted all the time. The whole thing was impacting my ability to do my job well, or at least that’s how it felt to me.

In general, I am just feeling more like… me than I have in a long time.

Here’s what I’ve been up to the past week. Spoiler alert: it’s mostly involved books.

Reading:

I have continued on the JUMPER train and read the next three books in the series, REFLEX, IMPULSE, and EXO.

I haven’t read REFLEX since it first came out nearly twenty years ago. It was good, but I’m reminded why I haven’t ever reread it, especially since I love the other books in the series so much (and author Steven Gould’s books in general). One of the two main plot threads involves Davy, the protagonist from JUMPER, being imprisoned for pretty much the entire book. It’s interesting, sure, and Gould does a wonderful job at thinking through all the ways one might imprison a teleporter. But being stuck with Davy while he is methodically tortured and subjugated for half a book gets a little bleak, and eventually becomes tedious. The other main plot thread involves Millie, Davy’s wife, tracking him down while avoiding the bad guys, and eventually pulling off a rescue. Millie is just as engaging a protagonist as Davy, if not moreso, and it is ultimately her narrative that got me through the book.

IMPULSE is set 15 years or so after REFLEX, and focuses on Millie and Davy’s teenage daughter, Cent. This one is just as good as JUMPER, and Gould begins to do interesting things with the concept of teleportation and extrapolating what else one might be able to do with the ability. EXO, book four, takes the extrapolation even further and is basically JUMPER… IN SPAAAAACE.

I love this series so much.

Wanting:

The Folio Society editions of JURASSIC PARK and THE LOST WORLD. [Insert drooling emoji]

Watching:

Since I’ve spent most of my free time this week reading, I have watched zero tv. Didn’t even turn it on, in fact. It’s been nice.

Listening

The new Miley Cyrus song is a mellow bop, and I am here for it.

And Kirby:

This is one of my favorite photos of Kirby. This little dude totally doesn’t have FOMO.

[Deckard voice] ENHANCE

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