Last night I came across a pop-science video about the link between ADHD and sleep disruptions, and it raised an interesting point: many of the ADHD symptoms are also symptoms of sleep deprivation, and the sleep disruption aspects of ADHD might actually be the underlying cause of many of them.
I’ve always had great difficulty with sleep, with trouble falling asleep at night but then being incredibly fatigued during the day. And I can’t help but wonder how many of my other issues are just plain due to crappy sleep. Maybe my chronic pain isn’t because of an underlying neurological cause, but is because I’m not properly sleeping and healing at night?
I’ve had three sleep studies at this point. The first in-home study vaguely diagnosed me with obstructive apnea, and is why I got a CPAP machine. The CPAP machine didn’t help at all, so a second study to rule out narcolepsy happened. Then the third one verified that CPAP doesn’t actually make a difference for me.
Anyway, one of the things mentioned in the video is that there’s been some success with treating some forms of childhood ADHD with time-release melatonin. So starting tonight I’m going to try taking time-release melatonin and see if that helps me any.
I also often feel like the fibromyalgia diagnosis hasn’t been at all helpful; it was the result of doctors throwing up their hands and saying, “I dunno what’s wrong with you or why you’re in so much pain.” While some of the fibro-specific symptoms are present, there’s also very clearly something physical going on with my body; the fact that I have chronic tendon inflammation, which has also sometimes progressed to carpal/cubital tunnel syndrome, for example. And the nervous-system treatments I’ve tried (nortriptyline, gabapentin, etc.) haven’t helped with the pain long-term (at best they’ve helped with the neurological bits until the physical bits kick in), and their side effects were worse than what was being treated.
Meanwhile, every time I have a new pain symptom, doctors just rush to blame the fibro, and I’ll be miserable for months, and refuse to provide any physical interventions; when it finally clears up they congratulate themselves for getting me to “just relax” or whatever.
And on the ADHD front, I mean, while stimulants help my focus, they also make me, y'know, way too stimulated. As in massive blood pressure spike. And I’m constantly fatigued which is the real problem I’m trying to deal with; I can focus pretty easily when I get into something, I’m just too damn tired to get into anything these days. (And the pain doesn’t help at all, either.)
One thing I’ve been cautioned about regarding taking melatonin long-term is that supposedly it reduces your natural melatonin production, but if that SciShow video is to be believed, one of the many problems with ADHD is that I probably just don’t produce enough melatonin to begin with. So at this point I’m just like… ready to give better living through chemistry a try. And hey, the few times I had been experimenting with induced sleep, it really helped me figure some shit out.
It always feels like the only time I get any restful sleep is when I’m just so fatigued that I’m falling-over tired, so yeah, maybe I’ve just been burning the candle at both ends my whole life, whether I’ve been overactive or not.
Anyway, at the very least I expect I’m going to have some pretty vivid dreams. Maybe tomorrow I’ll also feel some real clarity for the first time in a while.