Band-aid Solutions

My son has been having anxiety about school to the point of vomiting in the mornings.  I’ve gone rounds with the school who tells me to “just bring him in”.  Even after he’s vomited out my car window.  There came a point when I was ready to yank him out of school and teach him myself.  I’m fully capable.  On the other hand, I realize that school gives him more than basic education. It also teaches him how to thrive in a group setting and socialization.  No one likes feral children. 

In our, hopefully, last meeting with his teachers and principal, I explained that bringing him in when he was vomiting was a band-aid solution to a real problem and that as a team, we needed to solve what was causing him such anxiety.  I left the meeting feeling heard and confident that we were working on the same page.

Band-Aid solutions.  It’s a rampant trend in this world.  It’s easier than digging to the root and fixing the real problem.  The government is especially fond of band-aid solutions, such as testing welfare recipients for drugs, instead of providing them with the mental health care they need.  Marriages break after trying a whole box of band-aid solutions, instead of sitting down and being truly honest about their needs and feelings.  The education system…well, don’t get me started on the education system and their blanket teaching that ignores individual learning styles among students.

Today, I’m trying to quit smoking.  I’ve already slipped twice. Organizations, doctors, legislatures, and non-smokers want me to quit. I want to quit.  I never expected quitting to be easy.  Nothing good in life is.  But the “Just Quit” attitude is a blanket solution to a real problem. 

I’ve read articles and advice on quitting.  Through my reading, I’ve studied the effects cessation will have on my body.  None of them fit.  I don’t gain weight.  I lose weight…a lot of weight.  Talking about food makes me nauseous.  And the worst part is this…I can’t stop moving. Last summer when I tried to quit, I stopped the truck by a playground and made my son run across it several times.  A few weekends ago, I cleaned my house until every corner sparkled.  The cleaning spree lasted until one in the morning when I finally made myself sit down.  That’s when I failed.  At one point, I stopped mid-mopping and did jumping jacks until I felt satisfied and returned to mopping.  Needless to say, writing becomes unbearable because I can’t keep up with my thoughts enough to get them down.

When I left therapy last year, my therapist asked me, “What else do you need to work on?”

“Um?”

“Your ADD.”  Or ADHD.  I’m not sure which because I wasn’t really paying attention.

Quit smoking.  It’s a band-aid solution to a real problem.  The real problem is ADD, or ADHD.  I suspect that I have ADHD, but smoking tempers the “H”.  There has been little research done on smoking cessation for those who self medicate.  It all comes down to brain chemicals and mine are a little funky.  Smoking releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps with attention and impulse control.  Without my precious nicotine, I’m a bouncy ball set free in a space shuttle orbiting the earth.  ADHD also has lower than normal levels of GABA and glutamate levels. 

A study byS Fallon, E Shearman, H Sershen, A Lajtha (showabstract.php?pmid=16909314  found, “The results suggest that the excitatory glutamatergic- and inhibitory GABAergic-amino acid receptors are both involved in mediating nicotine-induced neurotransmitter responses, and their inhibitory or stimulatory effects are receptor subtype and brain region dependent.”

Nicotine has effects on brain chemicals that are different in people with ADHD, which means cessation methods should be different, but the die-hard’s spouting to “Just Quit” ignore these facts and throw a box of band-aid’s. 

Well, it’s time to put away my graphs and notes on brain chemistry because it’s been a while since I’ve had a cigarette and my thoughts are racing too much to make sense of it all right now.  One day, I’d love to crack the code of brain chemistry that makes me who I am.  But for now, I’m going to run around my house and clean like crazy and hope that this time, “Just Quit” will work.   Wish me luck!

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About author A. Lynn

A. Lynn has enjoyed the craft of writing since she finished the songs in Barry Manilow's songs as a five year old, prancing around her grandparents rural farm. Her style has changed as she's grown up. In the past ten years, she's experimented until finding her style and voice. Now, she's ready to take an effort to share her stories with the world. amberlynnk@yahoo.com View all posts by author A. Lynn

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