I know, I know – I couldn’t come up with any clever titles for this post. But that actually makes a point. A point about Provigil.
But first, I will rewind 12 hours or so. Actually – first let’s go 12 months back, to around the time of my first Adderall posts. Somewhere, back in one of those posts, I know I’ve talked about Provigil. About how it’s what I really want (as opposed to Adderall), but how I can’t have it because of it’s high cost, and very narrow range of insurance-recognized uses. And I talked about how I was stuck with Adderall for now, the high-power amphetamine. The highly addictive, $5-bucks-a-pop-on-campus, orange bundle of world-conquering energy. The one that turns your fingers cold, your skin clammy, and sets your heart a’palpitating.
12 hours ago I happened across a “7 days Provigil supply for free” coupon on the official Provigil website. I called my doctor, who happened to have an opening an hour later – at 10:30 am. To make a short story shorter, I took 200mg of Provigil around 11:30. Then I crossed my fingers, and sat around waiting for fireworks to go off in my head.
An open letter to my friend is appropriate at this time.
Oh Adderall… you set the bar so high. With you, there is nothing I can’t do. You’ve been there for me when I’ve had impossible deadlines, and needed to pull off 24-hour one-sitting-with-bathroom-breaks work sessions. You were by my side through many awkward conversations – conversations that were necessary, but that I couldn’t bring myself to partake in on my own. You kept me safe on the road on more than one occasion, when technically I should have been too tired to drive. You inspire me.
Yes, sometimes you were a jerk. Sometimes you are hard to predict. I’ve gone far more hours without sleep then I should ever have had to - because of your tricky, manipulative ways. Through some of those long working nights, you made my fingers and toes stiff with coldness. You’ve woken me up from sleep with a gasp, as my heart skipped a beat, then did what felt like a back-flip to catch up. I often have to avoid shaking hands – because my sweaty palms would gross people out.
But those flaws aren’t totally your fault. “30mgs” per day, they said. And yet… sometimes… you’re so irresistable. “All things in moderation” they say. And yet – the brain’s reward circuit is so powerful.
Overall, the good times far outweigh the bad. If I could go back – I would gladly do it all again. The day I have to go back to my “hypersomniatic” schedule will be the day I double my zoloft prescription.
Now, where was I?
Oh yes -the fireworks. They never came. I gave up waiting after about 4 hours, noticing no effect beyond what a caffien pill of the same mass would provide. I gave up – and laid down for a nap (having given up Adderall for the day, per Dr.’s instructions).
30 minutes later, I got up. At that point, I felt very awake (this onset time does not seem typical from what I’ve read, but it’s what I experienced!). No fireworks, just very awake. And now, 8.5 hours later, still very awake.
But it’s very different from the “Adderall Awake.” For one, I am not at this moment striving for world domination. Also, my mind is not spontaneously striking out on odd tangents like it does with Adderall – something that is expressed as “creativity” when it’s happening. And that brings us back to the title of this post. No creativity whatsoever. : (
On Adderall – my mind works like a pot of popcorn, cooking old-school style – you know… on the stove, a little oil, a handful of seeds - and within minutes the pot’s lid has risen 3 inches on an unstoppable, expanding column of popcorn. Ideas flowing, churning, just on the border of consciousness – combinations, permutations, associations, ideas - all of which would have seemed “dumb” in process under normal brain-chemistry circumstances, and yet the “dumb in process” turns into “beautiful in completion” on Adderall because my dopamine-flooded neurons had the guts to charge forward with what appeared at first to be a “dumb idea.”
“What? I can’t play those notes together! That’ll sound awful!”
“Just do it. Trust me.”
[plays several very dissonant notes]
“See? It sounds like cra… cra… …”
[dissonant notes resolve in an amazing chord sequence I never would have guessed sounded good]
“Holy crap, that gave me shivers! That is so beautiful!… wait, what? No no, THAT one will sound bad….”
A third observation: does this post seem to meander a bit?
Here’s how I explain Adderalls “focusing” effects to people.
A stream of thought is like a car on the freeway. On Adderall, the wheels are stuck in a groove in one lane. The car resists changing lanes. You can even let go of the steering wheel, and the car will navigate turns on it’s own, so deep are those grooves. On Provigil, which has minimal “focusing” effects, the car will drift right off the shoulder if you’re not actively correcting it. And indeed, my mind has wondered (pun intended) off the shoulder of this post at least a dozen times.
I guess to close – Provigil is perfectlysufficient for my true issues. All I ever asked for was to stay awake for a normal number of hours. But see, I’ve been spoiled now. And after all this time, I think I’ll stick with Adderall. Not to mention Provigil costs 8 times more without insurance…. that’s 30 times more with Adderall covered, but Provigil not.
Now, excuse me, for I am being distracted and must go.