Ghost

Feeling hopeless at 4 months.

15 posts in this topic

So my last dose was October 27th, 2015. I had had enough. 3 years of 30-60mg a day, every day, even on days I didn't "need" it. I had forgotten what I was like off the medicine. I was missing out on day to day experiences with my children because I was constantly pushing everyone away so I could get stuff done. Stuff that wasn't important. I was pushing my friends away, wife away, everyone away because they were just "in the way" of what I was trying to do at the time.

 

It made me a robot, and I became dependent on it. I felt like everything I had accomplished at work wasn't the real me. They weren't really my accomplishments. They were "super" Ghost's accomplishments because he had the brain drug that made complex code easy to understand and follow. I wanted my accomplishments and praise to feel earned, not stolen.

 

I feel like I was skipping out on time I should be spending on becoming a better person, not skipping to the finish line with nothing truly gained.

 

So I quit cold turkey. I had tried somewhat tapering off, but maybe tapered off too soon. Went from 30 to 15 in a week, then a week later to 7.5, then a few days later, nothing.

 

I haven't looked back, nor have I even been tempted to look back. But, in its wake, I've experienced a whole new set of issues.

 

Crushing "omg I'm dying" Anxiety, brain fog, discombulation, I feel so out of whack, I feel like I'm dying of cancer or have MS or something awful. (I've had ECGs, holter monitor, blood tests galore, lyme test, etc, all came back negative) I've had arm heaviness or what feels like my hands don't work right for a day or two but always seems to come and go. I wake up with numb limbs far more than is normal for me. It always feels like someone is pinching my airways closed in my esophagus. I'll have moments where I feel like at any moment I could just drop down dead.

I've had two doctors now tell me it's just Generalize Anxiety Disorder and "Oh, I don't think it has anything to do with you coming off Adderall cold turkey".

 

Randomly I'll have a day where I feel completely normal. Then the next I'm completely back to feeling crazy. What is happening!?!?! I'm getting so frustrated because my wife and kids are having to put up with this MESS of a guy as their husband/father, and my boss has had to put up with virtually ZERO work accomplished for 4 months now and I'm losing hope that things will get better.

 

My family doctor put me on 150mg of Welbutrin XL which I've taken for 6 weeks now and it's almost made everything worse. So I started halving the pills 2 weeks ago. I have an appointment with her today and I think I'm going to ask her to take me off the Welbutrin. It's not helping, and no pills would be better maybe? I just can't get this anxiety to leave me alone. I NEVER had it before Adderall and so naturally I'm assuming it's because of the Adderall quitting.

 

After lurking on here for awhile I have seen that anxiety is very common for people that quit, but I just feel like mine is SO BAD. Like. constant 24/7 feeling of doom and inability to breathe full breaths. I know I'm rambling, but I feel like this is a safe space and I can't talk to anyone else about it right now, (my wife is on Adderall herself so any "anti-Adderall" talk gets her feeling bad and feeling attacked.

 

Please help. Has anyone else felt anxiety this intense for this long directly after quitting cold turkey? Will it stop? Will I feel normal again? Should I stay off any meds and stick to just good diet and exercise? Should I stay away from redbull/5-hours? While on adderall I would most often supplement with caffeine toward the end of the day. I know I shouldn't have mixed stims, but I always felt like I needed to to be able to handle the wife and kids at home and chores, etc.

 

I've relied on drugs for getting me through life for 3 years.... now I need to remember how to do it on my own.

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First of all, welcome to the forums. :)

Your story sounds very similar to mine. Although I wasn't using as often as you, I was on and off for about 3 years time, with a consistent use for the final 6 months or so.

Prior to taking adderall, I was not someone you'd describe as having anxiety. Although I did struggle with depression bouts, it was nothing out of the ordinary. But since quitting ~6 months ago, I've gone through quite possibly the most difficult 6 months of my life. Battling through cancer twice doesn't even compare to how difficult this struggle has been. But by pushing through and pushing through, I have finally begun to see light at the end of the tunnel. The intense "oh my God, I'm dying" or "I'll never get better" anxiety has lessened as of late. I've had a decrease in brain fog. Things, overall, are getting better. And just as you've described, there are days where the symptoms come back full force, but that's just part of the process. During post acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), you won't heal in a linear fashion. You will begin to notice good days sprinkled about your bad days, but as you progress you'll begin to notice the good days become more frequent until eventually the good days outnumber the bad days. The thing to keep in mind is this: it takes time. On average, PAWS can last 2 years. Just roll with the punches and let your brain do its thing. You're not going crazy. Rest assured, what you're going through is completely normal.

As for the stimulant supplements and Wellbutrin, I would recommend tapering off of both. It is only my opinion, but I think anything that is going to alter your dopamine activity is going to hinder the natural progression in your healing process. Adderall has completely ravaged your dopamine basal levels, receptors, and transporters. Your brain is hard at work at repairing these mechanisms, but if some outside substance is altering their levels, it makes it more difficult to repair what is wrong. Again, this is only my opinion. Others on this site have healed just fine while using caffeine as a supplement, but in my opinion, I think it may play some role in the length of your recovery. But also, on top of this, stimulants and anxiety do not mesh well. If you are struggling with anxiety, I recommend limiting your stimulant intake. Both caffeine and Wellbutrin have been known to affect anxiety levels. I would keep the Wellbutrin on hand for days where you absolutely need a pick me up. Just try to use it more sparingly. Stick to a clean diet, strong exercise regime, and adequate amounts of sleep. Keep pushing. It will get better, brotha. Feel free to message me if you're ever in need of a talk.

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Thank you so much for your reply Renascido!! You've given me hope! I will keep my head up and keep on pushing through. I spoke to my doctor, and she's having me stop Welbutrin. So today is my first day off Welbutrin in 6 weeks, so here... we... go!!!! THANKS AGAIN!

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I've been reading several posts on this site over the past week or so, but after reading your post Ghost I decided to make a profile and reach out. I can absolutely relate to what you are going through. Just reading your descriptions gave me a great sense of relief, because prior to reading your post (and finding this wonderful place), I felt like nobody could understand what I was going through. I took adderall on and off for 3 years and then vyvanse 70mg daily for over two years. I started taking the daily dose because I was working very long hours and felt I could not keep up. It felt great for awhile, I was able to concentrate all day (sometimes working much longer than I should have). But after awhile it started to turn on me, I would start projects that I could not finish, couldnt keep focused on one thing, started getting headaches, or would have terrible mood swings - likely because I had built up a tolerance. I decided to start trying to taper off in November 2015 and quickly began having horrible anxiety. I had never experienced anxiety like this before, and it was terrifying. I even went to the hospital twice in December, first for a panic attack (I was sure that I was dying and having a heart attack), and second for an intense headache (my girlfriend noticed one pupil was larger than the other, and I began freaking out that I was having a stroke or something). I went through a barrage of tests, including a brain MRI, blood tests -- all showed nothing -- and Doctors told me I had generalized anxiety disorder. And rather surprisingly, all of said "I dont think this has to do with the vyvanse" - even my psychiatrist! this made me feel worse, made me feel like I was going crazy. I gave up on trying to taper off January 15, 2016. I flushed all of them down the toilet, and have been stimulant-free since. 

 

I felt so ashamed. After my hospital visits, my family was so concerned and could tell that I was depressed. A few times I tried to tell them how I felt - like a shell, with no motivation to do anything, heavy arms, sudden painful headaches, insomnia, anxiety about anything (or nothing), like I could feel my own heart beat all the time, horribly depressed like my life had no meaning and that I would never feel better, like my brain was several steps behind my thoughts. I described it to my girlfriend as sitting there and pondering your own existence - a terrible dark place in which you feel infinitely small and meaningless.  Telling them did not make it any better, it just made them more concerned, and made them think I was a hypochondriac. I'd never felt depression before, so it really scared me. I had no idea what was going on in my head, all I knew was that it felt permanent and hopeless. I keep reminding myself that I feel this way because I relied on this drug to function, I took it every day, and now I am just working out how to live without it. It will get better ... it will get better

 

Renascido, thank you very much for your post. Over the past few weeks I have found that I feel much better on days that I eat fruits, vegatables, and do not consume alochol or caffeine, or any excessive meat or high fat foods. Prior to taking stimulants, I drank coffee every morning, sometimes twice a day. But now that I have stopped, I feel that any amount of caffeine can trigger anxiety and "bad thoughts" as I generally call them. I know that everyone says "eat healthier and exercise" - but in this case I really do think it helps. My question is, will I ever be able to drink coffee/drink caffeine?

 

I very much agree that there are good days and bad days. I do not think I am to the point of having more good than bad, but each good day gives me strength and hope. Today is a good day, probably why I decided to muster up the courage to post on here. Ghost, you are not alone. I will check back on here periodically for more posts, but feel free to contact me if you ever want to talk about it. Just posting this has made me feel much better. I'm very thankful to have found this place

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I just want to say I love the power of this site!  This is such a unique journey and it's so awesome there are people here to help get you through it!  

 

I've been off of it so long now I have a hard time relating to those of you just getting clean because I just don't remember it as well.  What I can tell you is that I am so far over the hump I don't even think about it.  It's kind of like an old boyfriend (or girlfriend) that once broke your heart and you thought you'd never be able to love again.  But then 10 or 20 years go by and you can't even remember their name.  You no longer struggle because it's simply in the past.  The cravings are gone.  And you can even come to this site and talk about it without feeling triggered.  

 

All I can tell you is that I have gone through a lot of different phases in my life.  I've gone through a lot of ups and downs.  I've been addicted to adderall.  I've at times been a hard core binge drinker and used other drugs.  The best I've EVER felt in all my ups and downs are the times when I have done a lot of running, biking, lifting, and exercise of whatever kind outdoors.  You get your heart pumping and you get all those endorphins naturally from exercise, I promise you, you will feel like a million bucks.  You won't even need any anti-depressant because exercise is the best medication out there.  Do that and do some yoga outside and learn to meditate when you get stressed out.  It is hard work in the beginning, but the more you do it, the more you will find it getting easier and you will be hooked on it.  It will get better.  Just hang in there!!  You got this!!!  :)

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First of all, congrats on quitting. That's more of an accomplishment than getting your work done. Your health should be your number one priority.  everything that you wrote above makes sense. stimulants trigger anxiety so stay away from caffeine. ur doctors don't know crap about drug comedowns so they'll say what they want to say. I used to combine caffeine with adderall for a big boost. Your depression is from adderall comedown, it's not biological. you don't want to be dependant on any pills for the rest of your life. Go exercise. 

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I can relate as well! A couple weeks ago I went to the ER and had all these damn tests thinking I was dying or having a heart attack and my poor family had to go through panic while I was in there. It was just anxiety and of course, they didn't think it had to do with coming off adderall.

Crazy how much shock our systems are going through by coming off this damn drug. Makes u realize how evil it really is.

Lastly, I too have noticed that my anxiety is almost non-existent when I don't use stimulants (caffeine, nicotine) or even sugar. Makes me wonder if I should cut those out too, but I'm scared to quit yet another thing.

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UPDATE POST:

So it's been almost a full month since my initial post on this thread. Thank you, again, for all that have taken the time to post. 

 

So about a week after my last post I was back to feeling somewhat normal. The "discombobulation" has since left since stopping that Welbutrin so that was good. So in the last month I've had just about 2 weeks of REALLY GOOD life. Just, great. No symptoms of anxiety; no feeling like I was dying; no feeling like I couldn't get a full breath; no rushing to check my pulse; no waking up with numb limbs; no numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in my hands and arms... I was feeling like I was finally getting back to my old self again. But then 3 days ago... I was talking to a friend on the phone and I had a heart palpitation... which was ironic because I had JUST finished telling him I was feeling so much better and the anxiety was gone. Well this lone palpitation was accompanied with fear and panic. So the last 3 days have been awful... I can't seem to slip back out of this anxiety funk. Deep breathing has helped. But now I'm back to being super ultra sensitive and aware of what my body is doing, every little pain or discomfort automatically translates into "Bro you have cancer" or "Bro your appendix is about to burst" or "Bro you have a tumor"... just ridiculous thoughts that are completely unfounded and are obviously because of anxiety.

 

So that being said, I've reflected on what @Renascido has said... that the good days will be sprinkled in with the bad. So I'm just waiting out these bad days, with faith that they will once again be good.

 

To note: I started drinking caffeine again.... for a week straight. I think this may have triggered the palpitation and I KNEW I shouldn't have drank it, but it was giving me the buzz I needed to not fall asleep at my desk. I'm going to try again to stay away from caffeine and work more diligently on exercising and eating fresh and non processed foods to see if it helps me get out of this new funk quicker. Will report back!

 

Again, thank you everyone for your words!!!!

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First of all, welcome to the forums. :)

Your story sounds very similar to mine. Although I wasn't using as often as you, I was on and off for about 3 years time, with a consistent use for the final 6 months or so.

Prior to taking adderall, I was not someone you'd describe as having anxiety. Although I did struggle with depression bouts, it was nothing out of the ordinary. But since quitting ~6 months ago, I've gone through quite possibly the most difficult 6 months of my life. Battling through cancer twice doesn't even compare to how difficult this struggle has been. But by pushing through and pushing through, I have finally begun to see light at the end of the tunnel. The intense "oh my God, I'm dying" or "I'll never get better" anxiety has lessened as of late. I've had a decrease in brain fog. Things, overall, are getting better. And just as you've described, there are days where the symptoms come back full force, but that's just part of the process. During post acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), you won't heal in a linear fashion. You will begin to notice good days sprinkled about your bad days, but as you progress you'll begin to notice the good days become more frequent until eventually the good days outnumber the bad days. The thing to keep in mind is this: it takes time. On average, PAWS can last 2 years. Just roll with the punches and let your brain do its thing. You're not going crazy. Rest assured, what you're going through is completely normal.

As for the stimulant supplements and Wellbutrin, I would recommend tapering off of both. It is only my opinion, but I think anything that is going to alter your dopamine activity is going to hinder the natural progression in your healing process. Adderall has completely ravaged your dopamine basal levels, receptors, and transporters. Your brain is hard at work at repairing these mechanisms, but if some outside substance is altering their levels, it makes it more difficult to repair what is wrong. Again, this is only my opinion. Others on this site have healed just fine while using caffeine as a supplement, but in my opinion, I think it may play some role in the length of your recovery. But also, on top of this, stimulants and anxiety do not mesh well. If you are struggling with anxiety, I recommend limiting your stimulant intake. Both caffeine and Wellbutrin have been known to affect anxiety levels. I would keep the Wellbutrin on hand for days where you absolutely need a pick me up. Just try to use it more sparingly. Stick to a clean diet, strong exercise regime, and adequate amounts of sleep. Keep pushing. It will get better, brotha. Feel free to message me if you're ever in need of a talk.

For fuck sakes this can last two years? Well if I don't off myself by then for being so discussed with myself guess it will be fucking worth it. Guess I'll be moving my family entire a goddamn trailer park because I won't be making any money for another year or so.

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For fuck sakes this can last two years? Well if I don't off myself by then for being so discussed with myself guess it will be fucking worth it. Guess I'll be moving my family entire a goddamn trailer park because I won't be making any money for another year or so.

 

I don't think he meant to imply that the average person's PAWS lasts 2 years, rather I believe he meant it *can* last up to 2 years in some individuals. Let's take the worst case scenario though, 2 year recovery time. Even in this case (which again I'd argue is on the extreme end), there will be improvements throughout the recovery process. The three month mark may be rock bottom, the 6 month mark may begin to show marked improvement, the 9 month mark you'll start experiencing natural motivation, etc. Recovery in the brain is a process and is non-linear. 

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Well I'm glad to hear 9 months you should start to see natural motivation at least. I abused this pretty hard for several years time to pay the piper now I guess.

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At 10 months I began to feel much better.  It has been exponentially better, with an exception here and there, ever since.

 

BUT, don't forget that you can be tempted at any point.  I was 18 months clean and was severely tempted to take some adipex pills I found in a drawer.  Set yourself up for success and don't have any access to it. 

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I agree with that no way will I ever have any at my house. I'm always scared I'll find a old pill laying around and be at a weak point adderal is very powerful. Im just past the point of missing the pill popping but still have huge hurdles to be better. I still have that other addiction I'm kicking at the same time that's what scares me more I could always score a old pain pill from places and I must really fight myself on that. Just like to hear any success stories from a adderal and oxy addict who successfully has over a years time. Maybe that does not apply to anyone on here maybe I'll be the first hopefully so. My goal is a year free from both anything less is a failure.

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