Ritalin diary

I’m hoping you guys will stick with me as I make my way through yet another medication. Will it work long term? Will it overwhelm me like the Topamax did? Because it’s a way-off-label use, I thought it might be a good idea to keep a Ritalin Diary.

Day 2: Woke up this morning, with some slight dizziness upon standing and a so-brief-it-might-have-been-imagined tracer.

When I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror, I was shocked at the difference. My eyes are no longer the eyes of the sick. I am awake…and alive….and normal. That gray look is gone. I have color in my cheeks and it’s not green!

Took my medications, 5mg Ritalin and 40 mg of Verapamil about 20 minutes before breakfast.

I went about my business, went to work to care for my patient after seeing my daughter off to school and feeding the outtie ducks. IT WAS EXTRAORDINARY. The bone-crushing weight of exhaustion has lifted. There’s a slight sensation at the top of my forehead…dizziness? Side effect of Ritalin? No pain…just a funny, slightly buzzy sensation. Weird…but I can live with it.

After I change/cleane and run her through her range of motion exercises, I usually begin feeling that exhaustion and I’m anxious to get home and get horizontal. Not today. We lotioned and paid bills and laughed and worked on her new computer. I left there after helping her through lunch and headed for the bank, then the gym.

I didn’t want to overdo - but I definitely wanted to keep my heart rate above 120 for 20 minutes. I couldn’t keep it that low and settled for 137. A bit uneasy when I got off the machine - but a good drink of water and things were back to normal. It felt SO good to sweat and breathe hard, of all things. I could have stayed longer.

A quick clean up after the gym and I did the grocery shopping. Yeah. I did. Came home, put it all away and…wait for it……I MADE myself sit down!!!

I’m experiencing euphoria. Not sure if it’s the Ritalin or just the fact that I’m feeling like me. Feeling like I did before I crashed in June.

Yesterday’s experience - by 6:30, I was getting dizzy and muddle-brained. By 8:30, that familiar exhaustion kicked in and I was in bed by 9:30.

MJ - great news. I know you noted that your energy levels have improved. However, what about the dizziness? I wasn’t clear on how dizzy you were before the ritalin.

— Begin quote from “MAVLisa”

MJ - great news. I know you noted that your energy levels have improved. However, what about the dizziness? I wasn’t clear on how dizzy you were before the ritalin.

— End quote

There was always some level of dizziness. Sometimes bad enough I had to sit or head for bed. I figure the ‘baseline’ dizziness is probably my UVL - and when it got really bad, I was having a migraine. The Verapamil got rid of the brain fog, most of the confusion and the worst of the dizziness. So…in answer to your question - I had constant dizziness of varying degrees but always enough to need to touch a wall, watch my feet/ground where I walked and usually had head-tilt going on.

Day 3 morning:

Same as the day before. Began feeling more dizziness by 6pm or so and the pressure of exhaustion began. By 9:30, I was in bed. Last night’s sleep was fitful, strung with dreamettes, each unrelated to the other. I’d roll over as each one ended. I usually wake up in the same position I went to sleep in. I am unconcerned, however. I already take meds for sleep and have no problems with the dr increasing that dose in order to insure that my days are THIS normal.

I’ve figured it takes about 90 minutes for the Ritalin to fully ‘set’ and have already taken up the habit of ignoring what symptoms I do experience prior to that time. I’m still experiencing fullness in my right ear…less in my left. This could be due to not having paid as close attention to my sodium intake just as much as it could be weather related. I’m still trying to figure out what’s UVL and what’s MAV. Alot of the symptoms are the same.

Morning energy isn’t as strong as afternoon energy - and absence of dizziness isn’t as complete as it is in the afternoon. I do plan a trip to the gym today and am SO looking forward to it.

Day 4:

Complete and total loss.

Woke up with a painful migraine (I don’t get those, remember?) that I tried to wait out for 90 minutes after the meds. At that time, I took 800 Ibuprofen. With the Ritalin on board, I was unable to sleep, so I restlessly laid about, minimizing noise and light as much as possible. I ate breakfast late, being sort of sick to my stomach.

I took my second dose at noon - at a bowl of bran cereal wtih a banana. The migraine returned - same place. Behind my eye all the say down to behind my left ear, mastoid region. No fever. Significant dizziness and tons of disappointment.

Nothing worked. I finally took a pain pill left over from tennis elbow days and went to bed.

It’s 2 hours before bedtime now. I’m up, migraine is gone and dizziness is minimal…a few twists here and there.

I’m counting on this Ritalin to work like it did on those first three days.
Positive attitude. Tomorow is another day.

Day 5:

Beautiful morning skies are blue. I woke before the alarm, my body is in sync with the time I went to bed. I like this. There’s a bruised sensation on the inside of my forehead over my left eye…like a bruise…a migraine hangover?

Still dealing with a very mild sense of surreality - not the ‘whose world is this I’m bumping through’ confusion that comes with both migraine and inner ear problems. It’s almost like high clouds in my brain - non-threatening and allowing me to clearly see where I am despite their presence.

A few transient dizzy twists.

I went to the gym and did 20 minutes on the bike and recorded top effort for the degree of difficulty I’d chosen. Kept my heart rate a little lower than last time (under 140 at all times) and didn’t experience the dizziness I did on Saturday…or was it Friday.

I am amped up. I don’t feel jittery, but I’ve got energy to spare. I am making conscious efforts to slow my speech and my typing. No where near hyper - just faster than I’ve been used to for the past 4 months.

Four weeks, I’m told, before I’m primed on this stuff - so the occasional migraine can slip through. I’m about to put in a call to my GP for something to take when those migraines DO poke through.

Overall, I’ll take how I’m feeling - and even the slip-through migraine that kept me horizontal almost all day yesterday, over what I lived before this. I really didn’t realize how bad I’d become. I occasionally find myself stifling tears of joy. This just didn’t seem possible. How quickly and closely I’d come to simply accepting that this was how it was gonna be. I’m not even titrated up to 10MG BID. I may not have to.