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Thread: Focusing, medication, etc.

  1. #1
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    Focusing, medication, etc.

    Hi everyone. To be honest, I feel really stupid asking about this, but I'm fairly certain it's going to be a huge problem for me.

    I know a lot of things Pagans do involve concentration and the ability to focus on something without getting distracted. I knew from the get-go that this would be a huge problem for me because I have ADHD. I don't think I ever have a blank, clear, empty mind - there's always something in the background, whether it's fandom or bodily awareness or having a song stuck in my head. I can't keep my attention on any one thing for a long time, and I usually have to have more than one thing going on at a time in order to function.

    I do have medication for it - when I was in school I was (supposed to be) taking Adderall to keep it under control and I still have a lot left. I've also been told by my mental health people that going on meds for my anxiety/depression issues might help boost my ability to concentrate. I don't quite know at this time if I can take both together, but I might end up needing to when I go back to school in the fall.

    And now for the question.

    Should I start taking my ADHD meds again in order to help me focus on things like meditation, visualization, etc.? Or should I try to learn how without my meds, and only start using them to help me focus if it turns out that after giving myself awhile to learn, I just can't?

    Would the medicine hinder my spiritual development at all? And if I start taking the medicine to focus on meditation, visualization, etc., would I run the risk of becoming dependent on the extra boost from the medicine in order to do those things?

    Sorry, this got long-winded-ish, but it's one of my biggest worries as I'm starting out. Thank you all, love and blessings.
    Last edited by Fluffix; April 24th, 2012 at 07:52 PM.
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  2. #2
    Garm's Avatar
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    I know a lot of things Pagans do involve concentration and the ability to focus on something without getting distracted

    ---------You can go a long way on your path before you have to deal with this

    . I knew from the get-go that this would be a huge problem for me

    -------It's a huge problem for every one not blessed with the talent for it

    I don't think I ever have a blank, clear, empty mind - there's always something in the background, whether it's fandom or bodily awareness or having a song stuck in my head. I can't keep my attention on any one thing for a long time, and I usually have to have more than one thing going on at a time in order to function.

    -------A lot of people aren't introspective enough to even pick up on their own background noise. You may have it a bit worse than normal but what you are describing is common

    I've also been told by my mental health people that going on meds for my anxiety/depression issues might help boost my ability to concentrate.

    -----They are making an assumption that my own experience with haldoperidol does not at all agree. They told me it would help me concentrate. I have since refused to deal with their kind for my entire adult life

    Should I start taking my ADHD meds again in order to help me focus on things like meditation, visualization, etc.? Or should I try to learn how without my meds, and only start using them to help me focus if it turns out that after giving myself awhile to learn, I just can't?

    ---------Ideally you should start without drugs to figure out how you react to meditating normally. Only when you are really clear on that would you take these drugs to see what difference they may actually make. Don't rely on preconcieved notions

    Would the medicine hinder my spiritual development at all? And if I start taking the medicine to focus on meditation, visualization, etc., would I run the risk of becoming dependent on the extra boost from the medicine in order to do those things?

    -------If, and only if, the medicine does give you a boost then you are going to have to relearn how to do it with out the medicine. It might not be a total waste of time to do things this way because the process of relearning will be quicker if you have a better idea of what you are actually trying to do

    And in conclusion I feel you should be working on your meditation to help yourself learn how to concentrate and focus before you start going after any spiritual type goals just to set yourself up with more modest and achievable objectives to begin with. I recommend making a habit of trying to still your mind very briefly, for periods of 1 to a few seconds, on a very frequent basis. This will help develop the mental "muscle" for the periods of set aside quietude.

    Don't surprised or discouraged if the process takes years, I found it worth the time and effort
    Last edited by Garm; May 15th, 2012 at 03:12 AM.
    "One between two worlds chants, "fire walk with me""

  3. #3
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    Firstly I would like to say that I agree with everything Garm says and have found that meditation, listening to different meditation music does help. I had tried those Subliminal things but then stopped because with the subiminals, you dont really know what you are programing your subconscious with dispite all the fancy advertisments and testimonials.

    Arts and crafts can be great therapy too!, Even gardening ... those types of things help you with focus and concentration while at the same time allow you to be creative and express yourself.



    Secondly, with reguards to the medication. After my most recent trip to the hospital and surgery for my Chron's disease, I am now with a different Psych Dr. Sure I was ok with the one I had but while I was in the hospital a Psych Dr from the hospital had came up to see me and he asked me things my own Psych Dr didn't even address..

    There are some Dr's who seem concerned enough to see you and perscribe you medication, then there are those who work with a team of both Psychiatrists and Psychotherapists.. for some people Pychotherapy helps because it gives you the chance to talk about your life and work on healing and moving on from things ... my childhood was not horrible but there were things that did affect me that I didn't realise untill later in life.. So I am going to give this a go because at least trying is better than not trying..

    There are different meds and different Dr's. The main thing you want to decide is if you honestly getting the care and are feeling better and enjoying the quality of life you want to have. This is where you need to be honest with yourself... otherwise, like in my case, I was just merely tossing water on the fire by dealing with the physical symptoms of my depression/ADHD... When it got to the point where my DR was sitting at his desk paying more attention to what he was doing on his laptop, that was my first clue that perhaps I would be better off with another one... yet still, because I felt ok sorta, I kept going to him ...

    Each person's brain chemistry is different, what works for one might not always work for another. Speaking from recent personal experience, for example, I take medication for my depression and anxiety along with adderall as well for my ADHD. For me, the combination seems to be working pretty good. It did take a while for me to find the right combination but all through the process I had been going to a Psychiatrist.

    When it comes to Psych meds, it is not something to second guess and you should NEVER make any changes to your meds without first asking your Psych DR.

    A Psych Dr is the only one who is liscensed to prescibe these meds because of the dangers involved ..
    Overmedicating, or even stopping can cause very undesireable side effects and put you in a situation where you are not only harming yourself but possibly it can affect those around you... Trust me, I worked in a Hospital and also a Nursing home as a CNA, Your own safety as well as the safety of others is taken into consideration..

    I hope this helps and wish you all the best, I still have a bit to work on but I do feel encouraged and I am starting to notice that I am feeling better and actually enjoying things again.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffix View Post
    And now for the question.

    Should I start taking my ADHD meds again in order to help me focus on things like meditation, visualization, etc.? Or should I try to learn how without my meds, and only start using them to help me focus if it turns out that after giving myself awhile to learn, I just can't?

    Would the medicine hinder my spiritual development at all? And if I start taking the medicine to focus on meditation, visualization, etc., would I run the risk of becoming dependent on the extra boost from the medicine in order to do those things?
    Taking meds to feel better is something you need to decide to function. Your spiritual development can work around whatever you decide. If meds will help with your daily life, work and getting through your day that should be what decided it for you.

    As far as mediation not everyone can focus well. There are techniques like repetitive tasks, movement, drumming and listening to guided meditations that can help you focus. People take meds for all sorts of issues and none complain to much about it affecting their spiritual growth. You can learn to work around any issues you have. Most diabetics can't fast for long periods, etc. Can you discuss your spiritual practice with your doctor? They might have some insight too.

  5. #5
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    It seems like it might be a good idea to try both with and without the meds. My boyfriend (not pagan, but a grad student, so focus still very much a requirement) got on meds for ADHD back in January and would do a few days on and a few days off and things like that to see if he wanted to take them all of the time, for certain things, only during the semester, etc. With meditation and rituals it will likely be harder than that, since it takes a lot of practice, but you may find that you feel different off of the meds and prefer that feeling for ritual or vice versa.

    The nice thing about the ADHD meds I know of is that it does not require a build up in your system to work, so this is a realistic option, unlike with meds for other conditions.

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