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I had a lovely few days on that last hypomanic high – felt great and got a lot of work done. Now I’m back to what I consider a normal operating range – I’m not euphoric, but I don’t feel bad. So long as I can pay attention to what I’m doing, I can be pretty darn functional.

So when I feel “fine” like this, the issue stops being the crazy mood swings and becomes attention. After a week’s wait for insurance approval, I got my new Rx (methylphenidate, aka Concerta) and started that yesterday. I have to admit, it’s hugely disappointing. I was on Adderall before, and it was the best drug ever when it came to knocking out the ADHD symptoms. But I recognize that the docs are going to require me to take it slow and use their preferred meds.

This is a little frustrating. I have so much work to do in a limited period of time that it’s hard not to let myself panic over it. I actually have a few tabs of Adderall left, and a 10mg dose gets me from 8 AM to 3 PM with optimal productivity. I don’t want to take Concerta when Adderall works so much better! And this Mickey Mouse dosage is not going to cut it; 18mg once a day is too little to even notice a difference. It will be another week and a half before I go back to the psych’s office so they can make adjustments.

I’m already tempted to take the Adderall until it’s gone before going back to the Concerta. I’m tempted to skip the ADHD meds altogether for the weekends, so long as I’m not trying to do academic work. With those two inadvisable strategies, I’d end up with an extra couple of pills so I could double-up later on. Yeah, I know, that would be abusing the meds. I’m generally a good little rule-follower, so I must be approaching the limits of my patience to be considering screwing around with prescription drugs this way. It’s extremely difficult to remain patient with this, since I really need to be at full functioning right now. And I’m giving up smoking pot for what? Subjectively, nothing, at the moment. So I haven’t actually quit yet.

I am managing to do some work, which is an improvement, but nothing compares to my hypomanic productivity so it’s hard to set realistic expectations. I’ve been burned on this over and over, so many times that you’d think I’d learn, but I never do. I got a 2-page subsection written this morning before my attention span disappeared again. I’m going to spend the afternoon trying to force myself through another two or three subsections. I don’t expect to actually get through anything more than one subsection, but I have to keep trying anyway.

And suddenly it becomes clear: yes, this is the downslope of hypomania. Irritability. I’m irritated at stupid online forum posters this morning, the ones who don’t read even a few threads before they ask the same damn question everyone else has already asked and answered. I’m irritated beyond belief at the slow pace of medication adjustment. I’m irritated at myself for not being able to buckle down and get to work (which is really rather unfair…) I’m irritated that I’m feeling irritated.

I just hope I can stay at a more or less normal mood level for a few days. I want to enjoy having guests over for dinner tomorrow, and I desperately want to finish writing up this case study sometime in the next week. If I start to get depressed again, then my meds will be switched up again at my next psych appointment, so it won’t last forever. But even a few days of the blues causes a bottleneck that becomes hard to work through (unless I get hypomanic again, of course…) My original plan was that I’d finish writing all three case studies in December. At this pace, I might get through two of them, and I really don’t expect to finish more than one. It’s a stressful and worrisome situation under the best of circumstances. I know that it could certainly be worse, but this is quite difficult enough for me.