Thursday, July 21, 2011

Definitely the Lamictal Stupids, and they're different than ADHD

Over at the CrazyMeds anti-convulsant page, Jared Poole talks about "the stupids" as a common side effect of anti-epileptic drugs.  Yesterday I wrote about having trouble finding the words for some of the art materials I've used for years.  Last night I had another such experience.

I was making dinner.  It's a dish I've been making for years and it's very simple.  First you throw some garlic in the food processor and grind it up finely.  Then you ... um ...

It wasn't just that I couldn't find the words.  When words are "on the tip of my tongue" my visual cortex often kicks in and supplies me with an image of the object, which I recognize and can then name.  This was as if there was a hole where these ideas should be.

I stood in my kitchen for about thirty seconds trying to remember what to do next.  My brain showed me an image of tomatoes in the food processor.  No, that's wrong; there's another step before the tomatoes go in.  What is it?  What is it?

I stood there until it finally came to me: olives and capers.  First step is garlic.  Next step is olives and capers.  Then the tomatoes.

Making dinner last night was a slow process.  I'm used to losing track of what I'm doing; I have ADHD. And certainly, several of the mistakes I made last night are attributable to ADHD: forgetting to add the olive oil to the sauce.  Getting the ratio of quinoa to water wrong.  Making enough quinoa for an army of vegans, when my husband is out of town this week and I'm the only one eating this stuff.

Attention deficit disorder is exactly what it sounds like -- lapses in attention that frequently lead to bone-headed errors.  The lamictal stupids are nothing like that.  It's like your brain just stops, as if your train of thought comes to a washed-out bridge.

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