Monday, August 24, 2009


I'm having a hard time with food tonight. I am absolutely craving chocolate and have eaten two Kashi bars just for the taste of the sprinkling of chocolate chips sprinkled inside them. Before that I had trouble stopping myself from eating chicken. I've been craving chocolate for days. I can't wait for my fill tomorrow. It won't take away the craving but it will help limit the damage. Sometimes I actually overeat good-for-me-stuff in order to avoid pigging out on what I crave.

I've been doing so good. So now I've got to figure out why the cravings are so strong. Well, it seems obvious to me. School starts on Wednesday. I have always used food to help me focus and get on task. I miss my drug. It may be that now that my blood pressure is down and I'm on fewer and fewer meds, I may have to see about going on ADHD meds. They have some new ones out that aren't stimulants.

One of the best adult tests for adult ADHD assesses the following five clusters. These remain in adults as hyperactivity and impulsivity characteristic in childhood ADHD diminish.

•Organizing and activating to work.
•Sustaining attention and concentration.
•Sustaining energy and effort.
•Managing affective interference.
•Using working memory and accessing recall.

When I read this yesterday in Psychiatric Times, it was almost more than I could take. I have all five of those symptoms and they are all currently overactive. Chocolate and coffee are particularly effective in self-medicating those symptoms. I drink decaf and I've had very little chocolate since having my lapband surgery. So I'm trying to handle my ADHD without my most effective medicine.

When I was a teenager I lived on chocolate. I never ate breakfast, had a light lunch but ate candy bars whenever available, and ate a hearty supper with chocolate ice cream for dessert. I was very active. When I added coffee in college and as a young mother, chocolate and coffee were my mainstays. I could live my life on chocolate and coffee.

Recently I talked with another bandster who, now that she's lost the weight, lives on chocolate and coffee. She remains very thin. That's an enormous temptation for me. Sometimes I've wondered if I'd mostly eaten that and ate just a little other food, that I might not have gained all the weight. The problem was all the "healthy" food I ate on top of it because I figured I needed the nutrients. And, like today, when I deny myself what I crave, I overeat "healthy" foods.

It's going to be an interesting year. I don't know if there's going to be enough NCLB funding available to keep me and my assistant working. We are paid according to the number of children I see each week. So far, I have no idea how many RCS students are returning. Last year we had 240 total students, this year we are at 140 with school starting in two days. I need my assistant. She does all the paperwork for NCLB, does all the record-keeping and keeps everything organized so I'm free to teach. Last year I cut down to having her two days instead of three, and another assistant two days. This year I won't have the second assistant.

Next year a new vendor will be in charge and is not obligated to hire me. Everytime I walk in my classroom I'm having trouble sitting down and focusing and getting stuff done. I've already talked about how bad my memory's been this summer (and its definitely my working memory, not my longterm that's affected and its affecting my ability to recall information. Well, I can't organize and activate to work, I can't sustain attention and concentration or energy and effort, and I'm not managing affective (emotional) interference.

It will take the pressure of school actually starting to get me to concentrate. That's not unusual for me, to a certain extent it happens every year, but it feels worse this year. So I'm considering medication. Often, for ADHD people, drugs that specifically work on ADHD are necessary to help a person lose weight and maintain weight loss so that they don't use food to self-medicate the ADHD symptoms.

We'll see. I've been on meds before and done very well. But then my blood pressure started going up a little and I panicked. Well, my blood pressure really went up without the ADHD meds as I gained and gained weight. I just hate more Dr.'s visits.

This is my 9th year of teaching at RCS and each year has brought major challenges and I'm constantly adapting to fit the circumstances. The challenge has always helped me to focus. I'm just not sure the challenges I'm facing this year are the kind that will help me focus. I feel like my program is going backwards.

I'm going to see how it goes. I'm scared. All the old feelings of inadequacy about being able to hold down a job are back. So much of my life has been spent hiding my ADHD under a veneer of competency that I couldn't sustain. This job I've done so well because I designed it around my ADHD and haven't tried to disguise it. Now circumstances are changing and its bringing back old fears.

I want to eat.

Lord, I need your help. I'm powerless over food and over my ADHD. I ask you to take over my mind and my stomach. Get me through this time of uncertainty, hold my hand, take care of me.