ResilientCat

I quit dexies 2 1/2 years ago here is an update

3 posts in this topic

Hi everyone, 

It has been nearly 3 years since my original post on here, declaring my plan to quit dexamphetamine after being on them for 13 years. I imagined myself being on here a lot through the journey, but it turned out I preferred to leave the whole thing behind and move on entirely. Now I am ready to share my story in the hope it can help others. 

I stuck to my plan and weaned down my dose over a period of about 6 months (from 6-7 pills per day down to 2 per day) then quit completely. (I was prescribed 10 per day and for some earlier years was taking this much, yikes!)

To actually quit, I took a month of annual leave and started with a weekend meditation retreat, highly recommend this if it is at all possible. Great way to start to enjoy the feeling of slowing everything down and being in the moment. I thought in this first month I would want to sleep all the time and get really depressed, but I didnt. I meditated and exercised everyday to get some healthy habits going, and realised natural endorphins are amazing! Oh and I also quit a daily weed smoking habit at the same time. My partner at the time was very supportive cheering me on, which helped a lot. 

It was like I was getting to know my true self for the first time, which was actually a beautiful experience (and still is!). Going back to full time work was not as hard as I had imagined it would be (I work as a dietitian). Nobody seemed to notice. 

It hasn’t however been without some immense challenges which I am still dealing with, and Im sure would be different for everyone. One thing to bear in mind is that I was put on dexies as a treatment for bulimia at age 22. I was told I may have also had ADD but I don’t think so. 

So my biggest challenges since quitting have been anxiety and insomnia. I had been self-medicating with weed for many many years and stopped that cold turkey. I had also been taking sleeping pills, mostly over the counter but also prescribed, for many years while on the dexies. So I really messed with my sleep wake cycles. 

Looking back, it is unbelievable how much I was able to function with no sleep and no dexies! So many days I just managed to get through the day somehow, it was almost like I was a robot superhuman :) I would have 1 coffee in the morning, that was it. 

Now it has been 2 1/2 years and I haven’t looked back. I have moments where I am filled with joy everyday and just so grateful to be able to function without drugs. The only things I take now are melatonin and L-tryptophan, which both help with sleep. Although I don’t think it is bad if you do need other meds to get you through this process, whatever it takes it will be worth it!

I still struggle with sleep and anxiety but it is overall improving. I wake up every 1 - 2 hours, but now I am often getting back to sleep more easily. I see a craniosacral therapist every 3 weeks who is amazing and helping to repair my nervous system.  

The other thing I have to admit is that I completely stopped socialising for about a year. This was necessary for me, I had to simplify my life as much as possible, and working full time took most of my energy! On weekends I would actually enjoy meditating and doing housework and cooking and just being in a relaxed state, and of course Netflix helps enormously :) I still get anxious if I make plans so my close friends know I am better with deciding to catch up on the day. 

I then also had a relationship break up - I left my partner as I had become such a different human. Once I had a clear head off all the drugs, I slowly realised I couldn’t picture a future together (I was also paying for everything for our whole relationship of 4 years and it became clear this was never going to change).

So for the past year I have been living alone and actually loving my independence. Not having any social responsibilities attached to a partner has been a relief for me too. This is still something I need to work on, as I don’t really have much desire to socialise, especially not at night, as I am quite tired by then and I like going to bed early! But I have reconnected with a few very close friends and left the masses behind. I also really enjoy time with my family now, which I didn’t before because I was always hiding something! 

So I know this is a long post, I would just like to mention the tools that have helped me throughout this process. 

1. Donna Eden 5 minute energy medicine routine - I do this every morning - it makes you feel so good. Sometimes I do it after lunch at work as well. I have read her books and did one online course but you can just follow along with the 5 min routine on you tube til you learn it.

2. Yoga most days at home - I love Yoga with Adriene on youtube, she is great! 

3. Daily exercise - so important to get the endorphins flowing and feel empowered and energised - I love walking and listening to a good podcast (highly recommend WTF with Marc Maron) 

4. Qi Gong - I did this almost daily for the first year - on youtube Lee Holden morning and evening qi gong sessions are great. Still go back to this when I feel anxious or stuck in my head, its like hitting a reset button. 

5. Meditation - I use the Insight Timer meditation app - it is amazing so many great guided meditations on there. 

6. Listening to self-help podcasts - I love Tara Brach and listened to her podcasts a lot while going for walks in the first year. Her meditations are great too and all are available on her website for free www.tarabrach.com 

7. EFT tapping - when I get into a bad patch - I use tapping as it seems to shift my energy quite quickly. Heaps of tapping videos on youtube - I really like Brad Yates. 

8. Healthy eating - I did find my appetite increased off the meds (but not as much as I expected). Regular healthy snacks and proper balanced meals - loads of veg/salad, 1/4 plate carbs 1/4 protein with lunch and dinner to help feel full. I have put on about 2-3 kg since I quit, and am working on adopting a healthy body image and accepting this. 

9. Ecstatic dance - I started this about 1.5 years in when I was yearning to connect with people but not feeling up for socialising. You go to a class and you dance your heart out and connect with all these people without having to have a conversation, suits me perfectly! Helped a lot when I started feeling very lonely and isolated. 

10. Finally I have recently discovered epsom salt baths are a really nice way to relax if you are anxious, and a lovely way to unwind after work, or just to pass the time and nurture yourself :) 

So you can see I have really devoted my whole life to my healing for the past few years, it isnt easy but I truly love doing all those things. And it was necessary to use every tool possible after being on the meds for so long. I really hope this brings hope to anyone still contemplating quitting or those going through the process, if I can do it after 13 years on meds, anyone can! I honestly cant express how much better life is off the meds. You can truly connect with yourself and others on a much deeper level, it is beautiful. And I am accepting this is a slow process, I still have a long way to go but I will eventually find my way back to living a more social life again. 

If you made it this far, thanks for listening :)

All the best to you all, 

Vanessa 

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I love this, thank you for sharing. I’ve been realizing some of the same things- mostly realizing that I have to dedicate the majority of my free time to healing and growthful activities. It’s like I’m finally learning how to grow the garden of myself. Sounds like you are quite a practiced gardener of the self at this point. Thanks again for sharing your tips and tricks and sharing your journey. 

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Yes it is like growing our “self garden” i love your analogy Lovebear. I have found with all the healing activities, the motivation to do more comes easily because you feel so much better. But it does take up a lot of time! My challenge now will be to be able to live a more normal life, spend more time socializing etc while still keeping my garden healthy :) 

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