Hello, sleepy corner of the internet! I am going to post this on my on blog page instead of sharing it to other places because I honestly don’t think many people want to hear me drone on forever about my experiences with IH and Adderall.
For my idiopathic hypersomnia, I was prescribed Adderall XR by my wonderful doctor. She said to start out with the 10mg, but if I still can’t seem to wake up I can pop a second one after a couple of hours. My insurance has a quantity limit on how much I can take, so they cut my prescription for 60 pills down to 30. Ok, whatever. I had never taken Adderall, so best to start small anyway.
The first day I got my medication it was after I had spent a total of 13 hours sleeping. 10 of those in my normal sleep cycle, and 3 after struggling to get out of bed for hours, waking up just long enough to feed my dog and do yoga, and then giving up entirely. So my first foray into the waking world wasn’t until about 5:00 pm. I was still groggy, but even though it was late in the day I figured it was the weekend and I wanted to be awake after sleeping all day. An hour and a half in I felt great! I got that rush of happy feeling, my eyes opened up all of the way for once, and I was convinced this is what it feels like to wake up like Cinderella with the singing mice and birds. But after 2-3 hours, I was back to yawning and feeling exhausted, only this time I was also still alert.My first night I slept alright. It wasn’t a great full night, but it was 6 hours plenty.
I had volunteering at the animal shelter on day 2, and I was looking forward to being alert and active during my shift for once. I had a fatty, protein rich breakfast and took double the dose, since I was worried that it would wear off quickly like the night before. Being on my feet, needing to interact with a lot of people and animals, is probably the worst time to come down and potentially be irritable. My volunteer shift was one of the best ones I have had in a long time. Instead of staring at the clock and waiting to rush out by ent end of my shift, I lingered a little and gave an extra snuggle to one of my favorite animals, before leaving and heading to the grocery store.
I knew loss of appetite was going to be a potential side effect, so I loaded up my cart with frozen fruits and vegetables, oats, almond milk, and a couple of other staples for a healthy diet focused on smoothies and light dinners. Once I got home, I could feel the hunger pangs hit me but nothing sounded appealing. I mean nothing. Everything sounded absolutely revolting and nauseating. I am a sugar addict with zero qualms about food; I am the complete opposite of a picky eater. So it was incredibly upsetting to even think that I would find so much disgust in everything in my kitchen. But after lots of kind advice from GT, I decided to tough it out and make smoothies like I originally intended. One cannot sustain themselves on 2 fried eggs with cheese and sun dried tomatoes for breakfast, and a handful of peanuts 7 hours later. I turned a smoothie recipe meant to serve 2 into a serving of 5, that is how little I wanted to eat.
That night I had a wonderful 8 hours of sleep even with my semi empty stomach. Today, day 3, was the real test. I had to go to work and see just how well my brain handled Adderall during a full work day. Due to the scheduling of my thyroid medication, which requires a completely empty stomach for an hour after ingesting, I couldn’t take it until I got to work. I had some string cheese and a smoothie for breakfast, and knowing that I wouldn’t be so hungry I packed a baggie of peanuts for snacking.
The first half of the day, I was on fire! Even after just 1 pill. I was super productive, managing my workload and feeling like I had finally conquered the sleep monster! But by 1:00pm, that feeling had faded entirely. I was back to sneaking away into bathroom stalls to close my eyes for a bit, I could feel the fatigue headache kicking in. I drank so much water, but nothing was keeping me awake. I held out for as long as I could, but I needed to take that second pill. This time, the second pill did very little. I was alert enough to finish out the day (with mini breaks for some shut eye), and I didn’t feel like such a danger driving home, which was a first in a long time. But I was still very tired.
Coming home, my energy crashed hard. I fell asleep on the couch for 2 hours. Something isn’t working here. My revulsion against food went away for long enough to cook. I love cooking, so this at least felt good. I grilled a chicken breast, made too much pasta, and tossed it with some pesto I had in the fridge. I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish it, so I only served myself a small portion. I couldn’t finish it. 3 forks of pasta in and I was done. I was disappointed in myself, but I was happy that I managed to eat anything in the first place. I packed the leftovers in the fridge and vowed to eat them for breakfast before my next pill.
I don’t know how much of an adjustment period there needs to be, but I hope it settles in soon. I emailed my doctor and gave her an update, but we’ll see how long it takes to feel awake again. I’m on a small dose, and I am afraid of sounding like some kind of pill popping addict, but I think I need more.