Mer

I am afraid.

13 posts in this topic

I came across this website this week and it has truly been life-changing.  I have been so alone, watching something alter my mind and body and not being able to discuss my anxieties with anyone for fear of scaring them.

I started taking Adderall in August.  I'd taken it and loved it (loved it) before then, but I only took it from time to time.  I've had depression since I was eleven and was prescribed Adderall once before (not for depression, but I'd been prescribed anti-depressants also) when I was thirteen or fourteen, but I didn't trust pills and wouldn't take them.  I've been going through hell with my depression for the past few years and it got to a point where I knew it was beyond my control.  It took me a long time to decide I would try medication, just to get me off the ground and give me the motivation to help myself get better.  About ten months ago, I met with a psychiatrist and after the first appointment, I was diagnosed with ADHD and handed a prescription for Adderall 20mg XR.  I felt...a lot of things.  I had gone in expecting an anti-depressant and came out with what felt like a key to heaven.  I felt guilty and elated.  I felt validated.

I had identified a goal: fix myself.  And my Adderall-induced brain went to work.  I became obsessed with consciousness and psychology.  I was having constant epiphanies about life and the world and myself--and though my mind was in a limbo of euphoria and sadness, I really did discover so many things about myself and what I believe.  My journey with Adderall was a spiritual one.  I consumed podcasts and TedTalks like potato chips.  My interest in the world was superfocused and I was picking it apart like a puzzle.

But while my internal world was populating, my external world was falling apart.  I was in a relationship that was definitely emotionally abusive with a guy who is very critical and controlling, and my depression and the Adderall just kept me spinning around and around, looking for this "better self" that I was trying to achieve.  I couldn't sleep and I didn't eat.  I lost a ton of weight.  My skin looked like shit.  I had rings underneath my eyes that I couldn't hide with any amount of make up.  Prior to Adderall, though I needed time alone to rejuvenate and recalibrate, I had always had lots of great friends and was social.  I have alienated myself from most of my friends, offending them or acting crazy with my monstrous and wounded ego (and a boyfriend whom they all hated).  Adderall exaggerated other addictions, which I think is inevitably good because it made me recognize them for what they were.  I was using external substitutes as ways to control myself because I felt out of control from the inside.

I changed my prescription months ago to 10mg IR.  I am still not myself.  Not that I expected to be my full self.  I don't remember what that feels like anymore.

I am so fucking scared of returning to where I was before I began medication.  I am scared of being sedentary, and returning to hopelessness.  Adderall gave me the drive and focus that I have always desired and hated myself for lacking.  But now I am an empty shell, I don't trust myself to be myself, and I'm terrified of what I am doing to my mind and body.  My heart is constantly racing.  I often cannot take a full breath.  My veins look fucking terrifying and I can feel that my teeth and gums are just a little bit...different.  I can't communicate clearly, interrupting myself midsentence and speaking it parables.  I can't converse without philosophizing.  With a lowered dosage, my brain gets tired and I am often fighting with it for consciousness as it longs to drift off into a fantasy world of tangents.  I don't know what of my mind is mine and what is a drug anymore.  I want to regain myself, but I also don't want to lose myself.  I am so afraid that I will no longer be intelligent without medication, that the static will creep back into my mind and all of my thoughts will be erased.

I am moving back home in a month.  I wrote a letter to my mom, inspired by this website.

I just...learning is so important to me.  I don't want to lose my ability to do so.  I don't want to lose my luster for life.  But I am exhausted and hurt and lost.

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I'm able to identify with a lot of the stuff you mentioned, so I'll give my perspective (currently 16ish months clean from a 5+ year addiction to vyvanse/adderall/zenzedi).

I also was on a mad pursuit to "fix myself" when I first hopped on stimulant medications. I felt like Adderall was the key that unlocked my brain and I became voracious for information in the name of self-improvement. There was something ironic about this endeavor, I was gulping down Adderall after Adderall to be able to do all this self-improvement stuff to be able to be a better, smarter, and happier person in society.. only to lose all my friends and close relationships in the process. What the hell is the point of learning all this shit if you're just sitting on it while cooped up in the house being all anti-social? 

Now, I was able to completely empathize with your hesitation to quit when you brought up the possibility of 'no longer being intelligent'. That thought alone kept me on the medication for the last 2-3 years. Sure my body was deteriorating on Adderall, I understood that, but I didn't want to lose my active intelligence that Adderall seemed to unlock. And I bold-faced the word seemed for a reason, because I strongly believe, in the vast majority of users and in the vast number of circumstances, Adderall provides the FEELING of increased intelligence, but doesn't actually raise your IQ to any significant effect. This is especially true in the long-run when the years of poor sleep and poor lifestyle eventually takes its inevitable toll. 

I quit Adderall in the middle of one of the most difficult and more relevant semesters in graduate school. I couldn't stand the person I became on Adderall when it came to interacting with other people. I became socially avoidant and just plain fuckin' awkward around everyone. I went from talking someone's ear off when the medication was peaking to wanting to be by myself in the corner when it wore off. Interestingly enough, my test grades were not significantly different. In fact, my test grades actually increased by 3-5 points! I know that may not constitute as "significant", but I found it interesting. After being off Adderall this long, I can tell you that it didn't make me smarter.. it just made me feel smarter. Right now, I'm a LOT more connected with what I know and what I don't know and need to research versus being absolutely confident on anything and everything on Adderall (wrongly so in many cases). 

I still love to learn new shit, though I may not be as obsessive with doing so as I was when I was on Adderall. You will still want to keep learning about new cool, exciting things once you quit Adderall, trust me. It may be difficult early on in the recovery, but you'll get there. You can't go on like this. Quit now, you haven't been taking it that long. You will bounce back quicker if you quit now vs waiting for 4 additional years like I did. And yes, I mean quit taking it altogether. Tapering is fine if you wish to do it that way, but as I've said in my previous post, if you're taking Adderall for a specific purpose in mind (in this case, you definitely are), then you will not be able to sustain taking a fixed dose over a long period of time, because the effects will wear off through tolerance and you will need to keep increasing your dosage till it's out of control..

 

Best of luck, reach out to me if you need anything. 

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You're beautiful and you'll be okay. Your story/perspective/values/personality etc feel and appear so similar to mine and what I was/am going through. I can relate so hard to the constant philosophy, constant perspective change on topics making so hard to relay a point because you're beautiful and you're considering all these points of view and trying to understand at the deepest of levels while holding so tightly to yourself and your moral standards and values. I've had depression since childhood but also didn't believe in meds, i just was dealt a shit hand and figured i'd just tough it out but my perspective never changed. I stumbled upon adderall and went on a two year conscious endeavor where I lost myself, went through hell with it, had an abusive long term relationship end and developed some serious fear/trauma/paranoia/anxiety. I'm at a point now three months off where my body is much healthier I'm feeling better definitely from when I was on but the thought structure and pattern of always bouncing perspectives leads to in my case multiple emotional selfs because these thoughts from different points of view/perspectives have emotion attatched. This is where we lose our selves/ old self. In my case I'm in a mix of emotions that are too overwhelming to comphrehend. We still have our conscious self "the voice" in our head but it has separated from our emotional chaos. All you can do is stick to your convictions and what you believe even though for some time your emotions won't agree due to all the chaos or abuse but in time the storm will settle and you'll see what remains. These first few months have been rough, but try to find what you believe you should do and remain focused on that while putting your diet and sleep at the top of your priorities. Also, I wouldn't right away but maybe consider therapy and possible light antidepressant since the depression was so pre-existing and long term. You will get yourself back, it's not going to be easy, it has been very very painful so far for me but I'm finally feeling better. I'm considering medication too finally after ten years of foolish pride and pain. We'll see how that goes.. Reading your post felt like I was reading something I wrote. Hang in there, I can tell you're tough and you'll make it back stronger and having learned so much.

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Can not tell you how much your reply means.  I carried it in my mind throughout my day, and there were some trying moments.

Thank you.

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So I didn't take Adderall today. 

Parked outside of an NA meeting, but I couldn't bring myself to go in.  It was located in a mildly seedy part of the city and I had anxiety about walking through a door guarded by an older biker-type gentleman into a meeting for which I was already a little bit late.  I attempted to muster some grit, but my backbone is already bent with shame and it would have taken a lot to stroll in with my shorts and ponytail.

Instead, I went to the closest wooded area and walked for awhile.  I went to a diner by myself.  I came home and did some dishes and watched Russell Brand's "From Addiction to Recovery."  And that all felt pretty good.

And now, I feel...like jumping off of a fucking bridge.  I am so ashamed of my own selfishness.  For my move at the end of July, I have to pack up a house that I live in with a friend who I now haven't spoken to in over a month.  His sister is a recovered alcoholic, addiction has had a substantial impact on him and his family and he has an unempathetic view of addicts--in our last conversation, he told me that he didn't believe addicts were capable of understanding addiction, that he wasn't going to be anyone's savior, that "this is what addiction looks like."  Most of the people I have been close to don't trust me, and rightfully so.  I've been a monster and I can't imagine what it has been like to tolerate my behavior, I don't know that there is much that I can do right now to humanize my experience when my state has been completely unrelatable and downright toxic.  There isn't anything that I can say that won't be interpreted through the narrative that I have created. 

I went home to my parents' yesterday, back to the house of disorganized chaos where unfinished projects and partially-read books clutter each surface (an ADHD household in its truest form).  I wanted to be honest with my mom so badly, but she's...you know, a mother.  And frequently my problems become more about how she can help than what I really need.  She will call and text constantly after dabbling in research about any issue I have whether or not the advice is invited.  Though I appreciate her support I REALLY REALLY DO, I feel instantly discouraged, overwhelmed, and disempowered by her need for purpose.  And I don't know how to find myself in a home that feels like it has no space for me, one that is just as anarchic as my head.

At almost 30, I have faded from the seemingly promising pursuit of my dream career.  I have lost incredibly meaningful relationships, my reputation, and my mind--and they were all my own doing.  My job is a trigger for a lot of substances but I'm afraid I won't be able to start a new one when I come back down to Earth and see a fucking slug in the mirror.  But what I see in the mirror now makes my heart break.

I just feel pretty alone, and I feel like I deserve to be.

 

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I've had and still am having evenings just like yours, those last few hours in the evening when you've ran out of stuff to keep busy are the worst.. it feels like you're just soaking in pain and disappointment and it's terrible. Totally understand parents over reacting and overwhelming you. You just have to work through the past and keep in mind that it doesn't necessarily determine your future and where you can go from now. It's hard and sometimes seems impossible to let it go and start a new chapter but these are just different ways to look at it to try and help. It's really hard on your own, scrambled from the abuse, and everything else. That's how I've pretty much been doing it and I've spent many evenings in what I consider agony. I just try to get to sleep so I can start a new day. True friends will still be there for you if you try and reconcile. Anyway, try not to be too hard on yourself.. just do your best and hang in there 

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Mer,

I literally have the same story. im the same age too. I remember feeling really scared when I decided I needed to quit. It all got better once I ripped the band aid off.  I'm 2 months now and I'm in love with my new self! No more anxiety, no more mood swings. My husband and I have never been happier.  All in all I'm just more enjoyable to be around.  It has been the best decision of my life.  I know you can do it!  

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Oh yeah - you are DEFINITELY ready to quit Adderall. This self-loathing thing you're doing is actually progress, though I'm sorry you're going through it. And no, you do not deserve to be alone, though I understand where you're coming from, I felt the same way towards the end of my stimulant addiction. What you're going through now is a process of self-realization. You're realizing how you've affected the people around you with your Adderall usage and beginning to take ownership of the situation. This does not mean you're a monster or a psychopath. If you were a natural "monster" or psychopath, you would've been this way prior to Adderall, which is sounds like you weren't. Your brain is going through a tumultuous journey of fluctuating levels of neurotransmitters. Your brain cannot strike a balance, so it sends you into various states ranging from panic, to depression, to disassociation, and to apathy. Just remind yourself - THIS IS PART OF THE PROCESS. This isn't some grand realization that you're a terrible person no matter how much your brain is trying to convince you otherwise. 

You're going to be tested throughout this process, but whatever happens, you will handle it. I probably had to tell myself that upwards to a million times throughout my recovery.. 'Whatever happens, I will handle it'. 

 

Please reach out to me or anyone else on this board if you need help, and keep posting!! 

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Keep in mind a lot of people come late to NA meetings addicts aren't known for being prompt. If your not comfortable because of the area maybe look somewhere else better part of town maybe. I understand a lot what u say but yeah adderall isn't the cure to depression lucky you found out this soon took me 9yrs to admit to myself it's a big fucking problem and must stop. Good luck it's hard but I beleive those with only a year or two of addiction will recover at a faster pace vs those of us who took it for many years. 

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On 6/19/2017 at 9:39 PM, Mer said:

I came across this website this week and it has truly been life-changing.  I have been so alone, watching something alter my mind and body and not being able to discuss my anxieties with anyone for fear of scaring them.

I started taking Adderall in August.  I'd taken it and loved it (loved it) before then, but I only took it from time to time.  I've had depression since I was eleven and was prescribed Adderall once before (not for depression, but I'd been prescribed anti-depressants also) when I was thirteen or fourteen, but I didn't trust pills and wouldn't take them.  I've been going through hell with my depression for the past few years and it got to a point where I knew it was beyond my control.  It took me a long time to decide I would try medication, just to get me off the ground and give me the motivation to help myself get better.  About ten months ago, I met with a psychiatrist and after the first appointment, I was diagnosed with ADHD and handed a prescription for Adderall 20mg XR.  I felt...a lot of things.  I had gone in expecting an anti-depressant and came out with what felt like a key to heaven.  I felt guilty and elated.  I felt validated.

I had identified a goal: fix myself.  And my Adderall-induced brain went to work.  I became obsessed with consciousness and psychology.  I was having constant epiphanies about life and the world and myself--and though my mind was in a limbo of euphoria and sadness, I really did discover so many things about myself and what I believe.  My journey with Adderall was a spiritual one.  I consumed podcasts and TedTalks like potato chips.  My interest in the world was superfocused and I was picking it apart like a puzzle.

But while my internal world was populating, my external world was falling apart.  I was in a relationship that was definitely emotionally abusive with a guy who is very critical and controlling, and my depression and the Adderall just kept me spinning around and around, looking for this "better self" that I was trying to achieve.  I couldn't sleep and I didn't eat.  I lost a ton of weight.  My skin looked like shit.  I had rings underneath my eyes that I couldn't hide with any amount of make up.  Prior to Adderall, though I needed time alone to rejuvenate and recalibrate, I had always had lots of great friends and was social.  I have alienated myself from most of my friends, offending them or acting crazy with my monstrous and wounded ego (and a boyfriend whom they all hated).  Adderall exaggerated other addictions, which I think is inevitably good because it made me recognize them for what they were.  I was using external substitutes as ways to control myself because I felt out of control from the inside.

I changed my prescription months ago to 10mg IR.  I am still not myself.  Not that I expected to be my full self.  I don't remember what that feels like anymore.

I am so fucking scared of returning to where I was before I began medication.  I am scared of being sedentary, and returning to hopelessness.  Adderall gave me the drive and focus that I have always desired and hated myself for lacking.  But now I am an empty shell, I don't trust myself to be myself, and I'm terrified of what I am doing to my mind and body.  My heart is constantly racing.  I often cannot take a full breath.  My veins look fucking terrifying and I can feel that my teeth and gums are just a little bit...different.  I can't communicate clearly, interrupting myself midsentence and speaking it parables.  I can't converse without philosophizing.  With a lowered dosage, my brain gets tired and I am often fighting with it for consciousness as it longs to drift off into a fantasy world of tangents.  I don't know what of my mind is mine and what is a drug anymore.  I want to regain myself, but I also don't want to lose myself.  I am so afraid that I will no longer be intelligent without medication, that the static will creep back into my mind and all of my thoughts will be erased.

I am moving back home in a month.  I wrote a letter to my mom, inspired by this website.

I just...learning is so important to me.  I don't want to lose my ability to do so.  I don't want to lose my luster for life.  But I am exhausted and hurt and lost.

I had goosebumps reading your post. Welcome to 'our' place.  I have to tell you, being off adderall since last sept after being on in for almost 10 years, this website and the people here have really helped me and kept me going. People here have hope and remind me things will get better, so just remember that.

i feel like I should be careful what I say because you obviously have a deep issue with depression and I've never experienced that (until just quitting adderall). Maybe it's me, but whynot talk to your dr about what you're feeling? Better yet, show him/her this post. MOST drs want to help and MOST have your best interest at heart. I am by no means a doctor but from just reading your post it seems that you need to find the right antidepressant and get off the adderall.  Drs are so quick to throw this stuff at their patients. I almost wanna say this stuff ruined the last ten years of my life but that seems so dramatic....  

That's good you wrote your mom a letter, I hope she can help you. you have a voice, use it.  you have to want to help yourself.  took me a long time to learn that, and not in the best way.

good luck and welcome to the board ;) xo

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