Apologies for the massive delay since my last post. My couple of months in Brasil I spent training Martial Arts, (Muay Thai, Capoeira, Jiu Jitsu, Judo and a bit of boxing). I dedicated myself completely to this and so couldnt focus on anything else. It was extremely challenging and I spent basically all day trying to make sure to eat enough food to fuel myself for the intense training. My first few sessions I pushed myself so hard that I puked and I realised that I needed to slow down and try and focus on the technique not just brute force.
Martial arts are amazing. They teach you patience, give you structure, keep you motivated and push your body to the limits. I need to continue this here in Spain so that I can really develop. Although I learned a lot it was all too much too quick, and it is something that requires a lot of patience.
Slow Down and Breathe – There Is No Rush
This is something which I need to apply to life, SLOW DOWN, relax, breathe and take things one step at a time. During the last couple of months in Brasil I was so absorbed by the training that I missed out on opportunities to explore and overcome some of the other challenges and personal problems that I wanted to resolve.
This left me feeling a bit deflated and I went from being excited to return home to nervous. The last 2 weeks of my trip I had run out of Atomoxetine, (the medication I take for ADHD), and so I split the dose so that it would last until I arrived home. I probably could have found a way of getting it whilst I was there but I was also stupid and curious to find out what it would be like to be off the medication and if I really had been, “cured”.
Coming off the Atomoxetine
The first week I didnt really notice anything but then after the second week I lost the ability to read, to write, and basically to do anything. It would take me hours to do anything, I couldnt get to sleep properly and I felt myself begin to crave alcohol and drugs.
As I arrived to my family home I had to spend 2 days without the medication and I noticed it leaving my system. I was quite ill for a few days and felt terrible and depressed. I was just wanting to sleep all day and couldnt bring myself to even write in my journal,
I managed to get some Atomoxetine as an emergency prescription and I tried to taper up the dose again. Atomoxetine takes 2-4 weeks to start working in your system and so since the 5th of August I have had a really tough time. I have been miserable, depressed and spiralling towards insanity again. I have been searching for any sort of stimulus or buzz and have been acting irrationally, recklessly, and searching for danger.
ADHD and Norepinephrine / Noradrenaline
I soon realised that I have not been, “cured”, and probably never will be. There is something different within my brain which causes me to be the way I am. I was reading that it is, (almost), proven that people with ADHD have lower levels of Noradrenaline, (also called Norepinepherine and responsible for the “fight or flight” mechanism), which produces Dopamine in the brain and controls:
- Frontal cortex. This region orchestrates high-level functioning: maintaining attention, organization, and executive function. A deficiency of norepinephrine within this brain region might cause inattention, problems with organization, and/or impaired executive functioning.
- Limbic system. This region, located deeper in the brain, regulates our emotions. A deficiency in this region might result in restlessness, inattention, or emotional volatility.
- Basal ganglia. These neural circuits regulate communication within the brain. Information from all regions of the brain enters the basal ganglia, and is then relayed to the correct sites in the brain. A deficiency in the basal ganglia can cause information to “short-circuit,” resulting in inattention or impulsivity.
- Reticular activating system. This is the major relay system among the many pathways that enter and leave the brain. A deficiency in the RAS can cause inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity.
Taking risks and searching for danger
I have been putting myself in dangerous situations on purpose and literally lost all perception of risk and danger. I feel like I have lost control of my actions once again. I am hoping that as the medication starts to work again I will go back to being normal and happy.
As well as this I have piled myself with a ton of pressure to try and keep me occupied but I know now that this is not healthy. I have to spend some time thinking about myself, spending time with friends and hanging out with people and doing normal things.
Asking for help and talking about how I feel
I realised that I have real issues when it comes to talking about how I feel or asking for help and I guess that is why I like writing. I was very depressed a few days ago and wrote some poems and when I read them back I realised that they were all very sad and reflected how I feel.
I feel lonely and like noone understands me, and I think I have always felt like that. But this is stupid, I dont need to keep closed up and go around trying to solve other peoples problems just to make myself feel happy and useful. I have plenty of friends who are willing to help. So many people rely on me and I carry the weight of this around, but never stop to consider myself.
I went to Brazil to escape this but as I came back I realised that not much had changed and so now it is time to kick into action and start focusing on my ideas and my life. I am not going to work for a while and just live cheaply so that I can have time to launch some of the projects that I have been developing in my head,
The Creative Curiosity Experiment
The first of these is a social experiment to try and connect interesting and curious people around the world, I have posted a Facebook status asking for people to be involved and so within the next couple of weeks people will receive letters or instructions with tasks and things they need to do. I havent got it all figured out yet but as I progress with the work the ideas will arrive and will hopefully spread.
The idea is to get people using their creativity and create a community and a space with some amazing ideas and creative pieces. I want to involve people from all the world including some people on death row so that between us we can all learn and create.
The 5 Dying Wishes
Recently I read a study done by an Australian nurse called Bronnie Ware, where she asked dying people for their 5 biggest regrets/ pieces of advice and I will list them below for you all.
- I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself and not the life others expected of me
- I wish I hadn´t worked so hard
- I wish I had the courage to express my feelings
- I wish I had stayed in contact with my friends
- I wish I had let myself be happy
This has really been playing on my mind and it is so true. We are sucked into wasting our lives working working working, buying into the consumer lifestyle. Constantly searching for more, a better car, a better job, a better house, but we never let ourselves be happy with what we have and what we are surrounded with.
In my time in Spain, Brasil and Argentina, I discovered how different the Latin culture is. Their focus in life is to enjoy themselves. The levels of stress are so much lower in general. Even the poorest people often manage to find happiness in the simplicities of life. Almost everyone I met has some sort of hobby – martial arts, painting, writing, helping homeless people, volunteering etc. And comparatively speaking they find their happiness through productive things that arent just quick highs – such as alcohol or drugs.
This is not to say that these countries do not have their own socio/political/economic problems and that everyone is perfectly happy in life, but their aim in life is to be happy – something that we don´t seem to understand well in the UK.
I really want to try and encourage people to step out of their comfort zone, try something different, and find pleasure from using their brains and using their curiosity and creativity. Most of the people reading this blog are in their 20s and so don´t waste your younger years working yourself to the bone and keeping your problems bottled up!
Ask Me Anything
I am going to end this post now, even though I have a lot more to write about. If anyone wants to read some of the poems I have written or if anyone wants to know anything more specific about my trip, or would like to be involved in the experiement, then I would love to hear from you. You can contact me on any of the methods below.
Or if you want you can leave a comment on here so that everyone can see, (this can be anonymous if you want).
Cover photo © 2015 Anubis