fasting while ADHD

Well, we’re almost there folks, for ramadhan, and it’s my first year fasting while on ADHD meds. It’s been an interesting experience, emotionally and intellectually, as I spent most of it thinking about my condition recontextualising my previous experience fasting. Last year was really an odd time in my life, and was the period that triggered my desire to get my long-suspected condition finally addressed medicinally.

That said, still being in lockdown is not doing my focus any favours, especially since now I am conscious as to partly why. Having a limited range of medications in the country was also a challenge: I completely forgot to account for the fact Ritalin is short-acting that I only remembered to check with the clinic on the first day of puasa (lol) if I could change on a longer release option, which is Concerta (which takes about 7-8 hours). Luckily it interacted well enough with my body, but the problem remains it’s still too short if I start to fast by 6am, especially since I still need to account for my sleep deficit with a post-prayer snooze.

Concerta is also another form of methyphenidate. I saw on tumblr that stimulants interact negatively with Vit C including citric acid, which seems to be held wisdom in a lot of ADHD civilian resources out there. On the other hand, doesn’t report any known such interactions. If you know how prevalent citric acid is in commercially prepared foodstuffs, you can imagine my conundrum if I have to account between meds and not eating too early for sahur if I’m fasting. On the other hand, grapefruit (and its sour lime progeny) is absolutely a contraindicative item (great Atlas Obscura article per usual). But that’s not got anything to do with Vitamic C/ascorbic acid, but rather the furanocoumarin compound which apparently knocks out this particular enzyme, cytochrome P450, for a good part of the day, and that’s the enzyme that your body depends on for effective and timely absorption of active ingredients, or rather the opposite of, because it turns out drug manufacturers account for the enzyme by packaging tabs that would overdose you if the enzyme is knocked out.

Still, I had my post-sahur coffee. The issue is even 8 hours is still too short. I’ve heard of Vyvanse which lasts even longer, but I’ve not heard if it’s available here (there’s a lot of self-advocacy here even if I can at least afford the private option for this, so I don’t know. I might have still missed it).  I was also looking at transdermal patches, but you can also guess if it’s available or not here (no, it’s not). 

Overall, I would say it’s been a wash, this month. I think my focus was mostly maintained, but with the meds the usual dehydration that comes from fasting was also a bigger deal, which then had a knock-on impact on my wakefulness etc etc. The sleep deficit is still real, because I’m a baby who prefers to sleep at 2am except now I had to wake at 4.30am, and I’m not even the one prepping the food. Anyway, it was times like that I’d stop myself short and consider that this condition is eligible for official OKU status and I’d be like, huh I’m disabled (neurologically), which technically makes me one of the categories of people who doesn’t need to fast. Except I managed at least 25+ years of my adult life with it, so you know…? It’s one of those typical Muslim moments of, ‘God has factored in allowances, but am I taking it too easy??’. I’d probably be more chill if I could access the longer-acting meds or the transdermal patches. Browsing online I’ve seen some nutty suggestions (nutty to me anyway, I can’t find the juristic support for it) such as swallowing a tablet dry because you’re not drinking water with it, when uh… you’re still ingesting something.

Next year, I don’t know what’s my plan. No doubt I’m also affected by the hormonal changes as I move into middle age (or at least my uterus is well and truly ready for retirement), which amplifies some of this. Even if I’m taking the days easy (and you really shouldn’t), I couldn’t use the nights for the intellectual work because I would have other obligations. Ah well, we’ll cross the bridge when we get there. It’s not like I’m not already incredibly fortunate to have built-in accommodations in my life already. 

ETA: links and stuff

so excited to finally have the brainpower to post something yesterday, i forgot to share a couple of related links that I had queued up:


This Pakistani channel’s schtick is to gather a group of telegenic tribal people and have them react to (what is to them) unusual foods. It’s actually a small setup, and they’re quite middle-class. I mention this because for all the various titles (‘tribal people try italian food’; ‘tribal people try american breakfast foods’) the inadvertent underlying commentary seems to be globalisation, the flattening of identities via (usually) American chain restaurants and middle class purchasing power in Pakistan. What I’m trying to say is, if they say ‘italian’ they mean ‘italian-american’ by way of Olive Garden and Domino’s. 

Still these two videos are just Muslim-on-Muslim violence (yes even if a number of their tribal talents aren’t Muslim, it’s the Muslim ones who are the saltiest).

Don’t try to revive me, I’m still dead at Mustafa’s final conclusion regarding Russian Muslim food. 

And I did a post on Mefi, on cats bothering their praying humans, because after commenting in this post about observing time-based religious practices at the two poles, I realised I hadn’t made a post during Ramadan in a while now. 

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