Can’t slow the brain down (looooong)

So, here I sit at 4:43 AM, working on the computer because I still can’t sleep. After turning off the lights and trying to get to sleep, I couldn’t. It’s one of those nights where I just can’t shut my brain down. I’m not really that tired right now, and that’s the times I have the greatest trouble sleeping. I put my head down, pull up the covers, and wait for sleep. Instead, I get my brain kicking in to high gear…

I could never fall in love with a girl like you…

Castle, tall central tower, flag pole on fire…

I really need to get back to that book on assembly language programming…

Do, do, duh-doo, doot, duh-doo, doot, duh-doo…

I haven’t updated that system I’m running under VMWare in a few days. I need to check on that…

If I don’t get to sleep soon, I can probably fix my boys something decent for breakfast…

I could never fall in love with a girl like you…

Did I save that blog update I was working on Thursday night?

I’d like to buy that book on building a game console. But I really need to learn to program better…

Castle, tall central tower, door opens to a library, some lightly armored man climbing the outer walls…

I need to get back to that book on assembly language programming. I guess I should update that VMWare session and use that as my work environment for learning…

I wonder if I can get my wife to buy me an XGameStation so I can work on it?

Well, there’s that whole assembly language book thing again…

That’s just 3-4 minutes of thought for my poor brain. I can’t slow it down. I can’t focus on a single topic and consider it and wrap my mind around it. I can’t get my body to relax, because my brain is just pumping out thoughts. It even gets my heart rate up just a bit. Not enough to compensate in any way for a missed workout, but enough that I can feel it. Which makes me more aware of how awake I am. Which gets me thinking about sleep. Which starts the whole rapid-fire brain thought bursts all over again. After 20 minutes of this, I’m too wired to sleep. Soooooo, I get up, come downstairs for breakfast, and sit down to blog.

And then that gets me thinking of my inability to sustain a blog. I’ve tried about 20 times over the past 4-5 years to get a website up and running. I lose steam each time, typically in just a few weeks. I want to be better. But the whole issue of focus and attention creeps up and bites my ass again, and again, and again, and again.

I take medicine for my ADD. Unfortunately, the one that works best scares me off. Concerta is like magic in a pill. I feel too good when I take it. And I’ve read up a bit on the pharmacology of the drug. Sounds to me like prescription crack in a slow release form. When I take it, I can focus on things, the stray thoughts I usually have fade out, and I can really get work done. But I’m also awake, whether or not I’d like to get some rest. I’m more jittery than usual. I can get so much done, that my normal feeling that everyone else is moving in slow-motion is amplified. I get more impatient than usual, because it seems that everyone is working themselves out of a tar pit while I’m trying to get things done. And I’m even more hyper than most folks are accustomed to seeing me. So, Concerta, for all it’s up sides, is one I’ve decided to avoid. I worry about getting hooked on it for the good feelings I get from it and the good effects it provides while also worrying about the negatives and the extra hyperactivity I go through while on it.

Now, I’m taking Strattera.  It works, but not nearly as well as Concerta.  Day to day, I tend to focus a bit better while on Strattera than when not taking anything.  But I still get distracted, still lose focus on things I want or need to work on, and still have some nights where I just can’t sleep because my brain won’t rest.  Usually, when that happens, I end up playing games.  Of course, this is terribly counter-productive, because the games end up making me wake up more, rather than helping me relax more.  But, sometimes the games distract my brain enough that I stop thinking of 173 new things every second.  And when that happens, I can finally sleep.

Tonight, I chose writing over gaming.  We’ll see how that pans out once the kids are in school and I try again to sleep.  Will I be able to wake up in time to get to work (hint: probably not, unless I can get family members to call and make sure I’m up)?  Will I get a good breakfast made for the kids (no idea – haven’t checked yet to see what’s available that they would think was something special)?  Will I try working on one of my other web sites that I’d like to get active and running (probably not, but I’m considering it)?  I don’t know.  I just know I’d like to sleep, and after a couple of hours in bed, I haven’t been able to.

I want to learn how to stop my brain when this happens.  My wife suggests yoga might help.  A former co-worker said meditation.  I’ve long been a skeptic of those things, but at this point, I have to come up with something.  I’m getting too old to be up all night like this.

To those that read everything to the end, I apologize.  That’s far more writing than I sat down to do.  But thank you for reading.

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