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constant need for stimulation


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so... as my wonderful new pdoc continues to tease out my symptoms and explore my particular flavor of crazy, i'm beginning to wonder if much of my anxiety and depression stem from a constant need for high stimulation.

does anybody else feel they fit into this category?

and, even better, does anybody know a remedy for this?

my remedies - ocassionally picking fights, making up things to worry about and compulsive internet use - are not so beneficial.

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Former Wild Child, here. Used to do lots of crazy (but relatively harmless to everyone but me, aside from drinking too much and driving that way, in my twenties) things to keep the stim level up. Didn't care for drugs, but used to hitchhike to nowhere in particular and back, pick up hitchhikers and drive them several hours down the road becasue I liked the changing scenery and talking to new people, go to sketchy, somewhat dangerous bars and such and get all fascinated with the oddballs who populated them - even when I wasn't drinking much. And more. Casual sex was big on my menu, too (though not with the oddballs, thanks - super-bright "bad boy" types (ADHD also?), college boys and older men, mostly).

I got much less nutty in my expression of this stim-need when I inadvertently stumbled on a couple of more healthy ways of dealing with it:

In one particular bar (only borderline sketchy, mostly okay - still underage at the time but passing plus not drinking excessively yet), I learned to shoot pool. As t turns out, I had an affinity for it. I could very literally feel my brain change when I racked up - the lights in my head were suddenly on oh-so-bright. Got good enough to gamble and stay ahead, even found a fellow shark to make the rounds with - we'd clean up all over town.

Here you hade the following: Loud thumpa-thumpa music, lots of people and chatter, busy decor what with various lighted beer signs etc all over the place, the occasional fight on the other side of the room - and best of all: Immediate, short-term, high-level cerebral and physical challenge (for those who do not shoot: Strategy, Coordination, Planning, Execution, Concentration, STAKES/danger, - but only for a few minutes). In short, the Pliestocene Hunter Russell Barkley refutes then later indirectly substantiates in his lecture posted on this board.

Funny thing is - if you put me at a table in someone's rec room, I cannot perform nearly as weel. It is an enormous struggle to call on the skills listed above, let alone make them synchronize. ALL THE STIM FACTORS HAVE TO BE IN PLACE OR NO DICE (cues?).

The second successful healthy channeling/utilization of my stim-need was even more accidental. I simply lucked into a job at a high-stim facility (MR/ED Adults with Severe Behavior Disorders - lots of dangerous aggression and self-injury - plus teaching and relationship building - same thing- LIGHTS WENT ON) where my supervisors knew how to use me. They simply noticed what I could do and that I had a very active mind, and just moved me from position to position as I got bored. After working the "trenches" and dveloping programs and systems that worked, they started sending my from department to department every year or so - to "fix" the department and set up systems that made it run more easily. As soon as I go all drifty and listless, they'd offer me a new position and a little more money. I did this for almost nine years. I loved it. Sadly, I never learned how to ask for a promotion or a raise (I guess the "Response Deficit" component of ADHD - just reacting to now rather than referencing any kind of "future").

I always felt like a crazy, out of control headcase before that job. Couldn't manage school, any previous jobs lasted only a short time before I couldn't handle it for long; I'd descend into unbearable ennui (the physical jobs always lasted a bit longer) and become scattered and depressed - looking for anything to flip the brain-switch. It was there that I realized I wasn't crazy, I just really, really did need ongoing changes in scenery and adequate challenges to keep the lights on.

Parenthood has been similar - nothing changes faster than a small child. Plus I could decide "Today I am going to build a new floor for the shed", or "I think I need to rearrange the house (I have honestly rearranged the entire house from time to time, not just rooms, to chase the boredom away..."Let's see - the living room is a much better size for my bedroom - plus I think it will be nice to have the living room right across the hall from baby). Baby, now in 6th grade, spent her early years in every museum, nature park, coffee shop, library, playgound etc all over town - punctuated by spells of a couple of weeks, here and there, while I repaired my wiring). Granted, she has never lived in a fastidiously clean and neat environment - but she knows a lot of stuff.

So yeah - I have that problem, but I have found that used right, it's can be an advantage at times.

pigs

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so... as my wonderful new pdoc continues to tease out my symptoms and explore my particular flavor of crazy, i'm beginning to wonder if much of my anxiety and depression stem from a constant need for high stimulation.

does anybody else feel they fit into this category?

and, even better, does anybody know a remedy for this?

my remedies - ocassionally picking fights, making up things to worry about and compulsive internet use - are not so beneficial.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hey, you've been watching me on a secret camera!  ;)

Seriously, what you're describing could be a LOT of things, some with an organic, mental illness sort of root cause, some just the way you are or maybe you are just bored and acting normally.

I have a serious addiction to excitment. No so in the xtreme sports kind of way, I'm a wuss when it comes to possible getting hurt physically--unless you don't count riding around in cars wasted. I don't do that anymore.

I have ADD without H, and I still have a very, very low threshold for boredom. And I can't concentrate on anything unless I'm really into it, then you can't pull me away.

Good luck, keep us posted!

HB

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Heh. Between the ADD and depression - once I get bored it's shutdown time,

and then it's hard to get started again.  Even when I'm sick I usually try to

come in to work to fill out the sick day request, otherwise I probably wouldn't

make it out of bed. (Recently had a cold. Went home. Once I sacked out that

was IT. Vegetated the rest of the weekend.)

In one particular bar (only borderline sketchy, mostly okay - still underage at the time but passing plus not drinking excessively yet), I learned to shoot pool. As t turns out, I had an affinity for it. I could very literally feel my brain change when I racked up - the lights in my head were suddenly on oh-so-bright. Got good enough to gamble and stay ahead, even found a fellow shark to make the rounds with - we'd clean up all over town.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'd lay odds you didn't and don't drink much when shooting pool - alcohol has

some 'shiny', pool has a lot more.  Side bet - when you were concentrating

on a shot the rest of the world vanished, or the music/noise just seemed to

lock into an accompanying groove.

If I go out these days, there'd better be loud, fast music and the possibility of

dancing. (Mosh pits count!)

my remedies - ocassionally picking fights, making up things to worry about and compulsive internet use - are not so beneficial

Oh yeah.

Wellbutrin made for a complete turnaround on that for me. But... well, it was a

known risk.

Still, the hyperfocus that comes with it is critical for many of the things I do,

even if it does mean loading enough code and data structures in my head

that my social awareness drops to "wha?" If I get too bored I have email,

Google, the work I'm supposed to be doing, the odd job running that I'm

not sure will run by itself, and a critical backlog issue that is starting to

strain a system that I don't have a backup person for, and the collateral

stuff.

It sounds like that would leave most people anxious. But, music on the

headphones helps.  I just wish my time sense/time management weren't

so horrendously bad. THAT is a bother.

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I'd lay odds you didn't and don't drink much when shooting pool - alcohol has some 'shiny', pool has a lot more.

You break even on that one, Null. Gave up pool mostly, so's drinking is (until adderall) the only current shiny of the two. But you are correct, I did not do so much together, in the day - just sometimes.

  Side bet - when you were concentrating

on a shot the rest of the world vanished, or the music/noise just seemed to

lock into an accompanying groove.

DING DING DING! Everything melded together until it was just one slow, steady heartbeat. Like being in the womb, I suppose.

pigs, who is missing the pool hall right now. And what's his name, country-boy hustler from Warrenton, come to the "big city" to seek his gambling fortune. Sigh.

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pigs, i am truly astonished that our lives are apparently carbon copies.

i just wish i had something i was passionate about to fill time.

lots of it for me is guilt too - i just recently started adderall, and it makes me so insanely close to normal that i feel this huge push to "make up" for all the fuck ups in my past...

so for everyone who has posted and feels the same way i do, are you taking an antidepressant?  or how do you deal with that unscratchable itch?

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I have never tolerated typical antidepressants, either old school or SSRIs. Strattera nixed  the most dismal aspects of depression, Adderall is working the attending/response and motivation a little . If I stabilize the stims (by type/dose) to a useful degree, I hope to add back in a low dose of strattera for the NE/Executive funtioning kick. If I can make all that feel slightly balanced, I will seek some way to adjust the seratonin to release the sub-clinical OCD demons.  But so far, seratonin is the enemy - although I suspect that if I balance the other big two - NE and DA - first, I will see good results. Maybe. I'm truly desperate enough to try.

Just working on my Junior Neurochemists of North America Merit Badge, thank you. As if I were 16, and functioning correctly.

Seriously, what brought me here in the first place was a series of serious blows to the delicate natural balance of "passion inspired" neurochemical working-order I had managed/established through the years (long, ugly story). See the Thread labeled something like ADHD and Stress Neurochemistry or some such, in which is contained an article and usefule page numbers for scientific insight into the current me.

Add all this to perimenopause and estrogen decline, and I am fucked. I can't find any passion anywhere, thus no natural chemical engagement.

Every device I have employed since whatever-knows-when is shot; I can not  any longer seem to find a center to reach for.

How I miss the days/times when I could.

sad pigs - who does not any longer recognize herself in the nmirror - on any plane.

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