SamJo

Finally Finding Strength

27 posts in this topic

I'm going to try and make this short and sweet but my words might get carried away. Basically I have been on and off this site for a whole year and i just found the strength and will to post and introduce myself. I quit vyvanse 3 months ago and let me tell you, its been the worst 3 months of my life, BUT, today when I woke up I finally felt hope and happiness and clear minded and I just FELT. I am so sad that this has what my life has become but I am working on forgiving myself everyday. I was on adderall/vyvanse for about 10 years, it mainly started because of my eating disorder when I was 17 but I began abusing it in college to study for exams and then after college I thought I would quit but I got a job and blah blah blah im sure you guys have heard this type of story a million times. ANYWAYS, the last 2 years I was abusing vyvanse very badly, I made a lot of big changes in my life and tried to mask the pain of situations I hadn't dealt with. I tried to quit all last year and I wouldn't take it for a few days but then I would go on a bender and take 5 or 6 30mg vyvanse in one night and drinking on it just to feel alive. I have heart issues because of my eating disorder when I was younger so abusing it this badly really takes a toll on my body. I'm an actor in LA and sometimes the vyvanse even helped me get to places I needed to go for my character but it wasn't healthy. One night I took so many vyvanse I was scared to go to sleep and ended up taking a bar of xanax and the next few days after that I felt so off and like my brain wasn't working that I told myself I would never take a vyvanse again. I honestly don't even crave it anymore because of how bad it fucked with my brain. I couldn't think straight for two days and then I just drank and smoked weed to hide from what was happening. I really thought I messed up my brain for good but after a month I realized i was just going through hardcore withdrawals. Its been three months now and I've gained almost 15 pounds, have done nothing but eat and lay in bed wanting to die. I even tried to slit my wrists so deep so I could bleed to death but my boyfriend came home and stopped me (he is to his breaking point with me). My thoughts are probley everywhere right now lol im trying to make this as short as possible but there are so many things to say. The main reason im posting is to say that TODAY, i felt ALMOST normal again. I haven't been able to feel feelings for three months, I've hated everyone and everything, i have been so depressed i just wanted to die so badly. I haven't been able to think straight or clearly, I feel like i had no opinions or ideas of my own and that I was just going to lay as a vegetable forever. I turned down every acting job because I can't act worth shit anymore and if i can't live my passion i don't want to be alive at all. But today I feel joy because its the first day i feel somewhat like myself, and that ill get through this, and that my life isn't over, and that I don't want to die. Okay my rant is over lol but I hope everyday keeps getting better because wanting to die is the scariest thing and I hope I never get back to that place and I hope I recover 100%. I don't want to hurt anymore people that love me. 

 

Anyways, my name is Sam, I would love to talk to some of you on here about your journey and have people to connect with because feeling alone is the worst. 

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Hey Sam, I've battled hell for the past 12 months since quitting and like you the only reason I haven't died is the idea of what it would do to my family and the people that love me. I know what it's like to have nothing to live for and to hate everything and want to die. It's terrible thing but it has gotten better since my first few months. I can only hope it continues to get better because if I didn't have family I would have checked out by now. I try to keep hope that there's a reason to continue and that one day I'll find lasting happiness. I believe everyone deserves it and will find it eventually if you're willing to fight for it. You're definitely not alone in the dark abyss of pain and depression. There's many that are there and have been there and made it out to find love and happiness, it can be done but not without a price. I hope you continue to have good days. I know what it's like to feel alone but you're not. Hang in there and feel free to message with any questions and look for support here.  

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@SeanW thanks so much for responding! It’s nice to know I have support :) did you deal with mental fog/fatigue/memory issues in the first few months as well? I feel like my brain works so slow and sometimes I forget simple things and some days I feel like I can’t even talk because I have nothing to say or my words are just going to be jibberish. Does this go away? The other day was a good one but this morning sucks. I want to act so bad and I can’t do it so I’m struggling to find anything to make me happy. Ugh this is a nightmare. I feel like if I wouldn’t have abused the vyvanse that one night and taken so many my brain wouldn’t be like this and it’s hard for me to think I didn’t fuck myself up permanently. Can anyone relate??

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On 4/15/2018 at 0:21 AM, SamJo said:

I turned down every acting job because I can't act worth shit anymore and if i can't live my passion i don't want to be alive at all

i had a similar mentality for some time- if i don't win, then what's the point? here's what someone told me, and it's had the most profound impact on my life:

"Take care and be kind to yourself. You don't have to "win" anything, it is okay just to live :)"

all you need is time, cause if you just keep living, you'll keep having opportunities to win (:

so glad to hear that you're past the first hill in this journey! keep it up, and keep us posted!

 

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@sleepystupid thanks so much! But ugh sometimes I’m so paranoid I had a stroke or something bc my thinking is so messed up and I feel like my personality is just gone and that my brain function will never fully come back. Am I just being paranoid? What if I actually do have brain damage? My doctor won’t believe me and won’t do any tests 

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“I haven't been able to think straight or clearly, I feel like i had no opinions or ideas of my own and that I was just going to lay as a vegetable forever.”

yes I felt this way in the early stages of quitting but it gets better. Slowly. Very very slowly it will get better.  I still have times when I feel foggy but they are fewer as time goes on and mixed in with times when I feel sharp as a tack. 

Stick with it. Congrats on three months. 

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you're not being paranoid in the sense that what you're feeling right now is definitely real. it's not exactly brain damage, but over the course of 10 years, you've changed your brain chemistry quite radically. it will take some time to feel normal again. you said it yourself, it took 3 months just to have your first good day. your personality and emotions will probably balance themselves out fairly quickly. you may still feel depressed, but it will feel like "your own" emotion, and you will be able to manage it. 

2 hours ago, SamJo said:

I feel like my brain works so slow and sometimes I forget simple things and some days I feel like I can’t even talk because I have nothing to say or my words are just going to be jibberish. Does this go away?

it does go away, but it takes effort. not gonna sugar coat this.. this is the biggest challenge, especially given your profession. i'd imagine that you do a lot of improv in your line of work- it is going to be very difficult. but you need to force yourself through this. you need to re-train your brain and the only way to do it is practice. maybe there's a local theater group you can join? take some classes again? meetup.com is fantastic for this kind of stuff.  


 

 

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@sleepystupid thanks so much for talking to me, honestly. I am in an improv/scene study 2 year program and I want to quit everyday because getting onstage is honestly embarrassing. I used to be such a great actress now when I get on stage I don’t know if I’m going to be able to form the right words or understand the scene or relate or feel empathy. One time I even slurred some of my words and that day I convinced myself I had to have had a stroke at some point during my vyvanse use but I’m praying this is just paranoia and i didn’t actually have one. I just want to be the fun and lively person I once was, no one wants to be around me anymore and I don’t want to be around myself. Having shitty healthcare also sucks. I just want to cry my eyes out but I can’t get that emotion out right now. I feel so guilty for what I’ve done to myself. Props to everyone who has made it through this. At least I can hold on to the one good day I have and hope that the man I love won’t leave me because or this. He is my soulmate but it seems the longer this goes on the more he’s fading away from me. Anyways, any other suggestions on how to get through this would be great. I wish I could just sit and read a book but my mind is too scattered. Writing on here helps though :) 

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1 hour ago, Subtracterall said:

“I haven't been able to think straight or clearly, I feel like i had no opinions or ideas of my own and that I was just going to lay as a vegetable forever.”

yes I felt this way in the early stages of quitting but it gets better. Slowly. Very very slowly it will get better.  I still have times when I feel foggy but they are fewer as time goes on and mixed in with times when I feel sharp as a tack. 

Stick with it. Congrats on three months. 

Ugh thanks so much. Did you have confusion and sometimes slurring of words? It’s only occasionally but really scares me 

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23 minutes ago, SamJo said:

I am in an improv/scene study 2 year program and I want to quit everyday because getting onstage is honestly embarrassing. I used to be such a great actress now when I get on stage I don’t know if I’m going to be able to form the right words or understand the scene or relate or feel empathy. One time I even slurred some of my words and that day I convinced myself I had to have had a stroke at some point during my vyvanse use but I’m praying this is just paranoia and i didn’t actually have one.

totally been there. my job sometimes involves doing hour long sales presentations. when i first quit, i dreaded these, because even though i had the sales script memorized and internalized, i would flub words, literally just blank out in the middle of a sentence, sure some slurring too i'm sure. the best way i can describe it is the words would "tumble" out of my mouth. it was terrifying not knowing when or how it would happen.

that being said, i think you can rule out the stroke thing. it turns out that this is a fairly common experience in early recovery. it's just that some people experience it more regularly because their work or something forces them into these situations.

i can totally understand the desire to quit your program. honestly, that kind of public exposure every day might not be healthy for you right now. at best, you're fumbling your way through, but not gaining anything out of the experience. at worst it will put so much pressure on you that you'll go back to using. is there any way to take a medical leave of absence? talk to your professor or school. they will be more accommodating than you think.

you just need some time right now to heal. i wouldn't worry about your talent. in a year or two you will be on the other side of this entire thing, and frankly have way more life experience to draw from and empathize with. this pain will pass, and will make you a better actor than ever before (:

 

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6 hours ago, SamJo said:

@SeanW thanks so much for responding! It’s nice to know I have support :) did you deal with mental fog/fatigue/memory issues in the first few months as well? I feel like my brain works so slow and sometimes I forget simple things and some days I feel like I can’t even talk because I have nothing to say or my words are just going to be jibberish. Does this go away? The other day was a good one but this morning sucks. I want to act so bad and I can’t do it so I’m struggling to find anything to make me happy. Ugh this is a nightmare. I feel like if I wouldn’t have abused the vyvanse that one night and taken so many my brain wouldn’t be like this and it’s hard for me to think I didn’t fuck myself up permanently. Can anyone relate??

Yeah I felt just like that not having anything to say just completely blank but I'm doing better now at one year clean. You're not permanently fucked, my self and other people have taken absurd amounts of adderall and vyvanse along with other shit and have healed with time.  The whole scattered brain dead thing really sucks you just have to do what you can and not be too hard on yourself and let time heal you.

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Just remember your conscious brain plays tricks on you, and makes you think its hopeless.  But remember the core of who you are was formed long before you started taking vyvanse.  Trust the process and you will find the original you. Its in there. You can do it. I am in the same boat as you, I took ridiculous amounts for almost 20 years. But I'm slowly feeling better, and I know I will completely recover in time. 

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Hey @SamJo, you will get through this but first you have to believe you will get through it.  I went through the same thing as you where I was constantly worrying that I permanently damaged my brain.  Doing this produces nothing but negative thoughts, anxiety and depression.  Instead, you have to fight these thoughts and focus on taking proactive steps to get better.  Try to take steps towards a healthier diet, make it a habit to exercise, pick up a hobby - anything is better than dwelling on the negative.  Once you start to fill your day with positivity you will be amazed at the positive results.

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23 hours ago, SamJo said:

One time I even slurred some of my words and that day I convinced myself I had to have had a stroke at some point during my vyvanse use but I’m praying this is just paranoia and i didn’t actually have one

That "word salad" is brutal. It gets significantly better. Brain's just figuring out new neural pathways and occasionally misfires. I'm no neurologist but I think that's what's happening. 

I joined Toastmasters about 18 months ago and it's really helped. . 

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I definetly relate to all these posts. I had occasional slurring earlier on. I still fight to find words and misplace things. Forget what I forgot and chase my tail a bit even at almost a year now. I have been to Neurologists and they can’t help.

Basically as said above the days I do healthy things and don’t think about it I am at my best. If I start to dwell on it or worry it really brings me down to where I am very dysfunctional and depressed.

Eat healthy, try to exercise and stay positive is the best advise I have.

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I had a lot confusion when I quit and at the time I thought I must have had a stroke too.  My primary doctor told me I was having severe anxiety. My confusion is about 99% resolved and I’m at about 16 months off the drug. 

Occasionally I get these weird episodes of confusion.. for example I’m in the bathroom stall on a different floor at work and I forget that, and think I’m on my floor, and when I leave the stall I’m a bit turned around but I think some of that is a result of getting older (I’m in my early 40s)  

I still occasionally have some word slurring/it’s almost like a tiny studder.  But compared to the beginning I’m doing much much much better with that. It’s a very slow process.. 

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On 4/16/2018 at 2:38 PM, SeanW said:

Yeah I felt just like that not having anything to say just completely blank but I'm doing better now at one year clean. You're not permanently fucked, my self and other people have taken absurd amounts of adderall and vyvanse along with other shit and have healed with time.  The whole scattered brain dead thing really sucks you just have to do what you can and not be too hard on yourself and let time heal you.

Are you back to 100% or close do you think? This is giving me a lot of hope so thank you! Did any supplements help heal you faster? 

6 hours ago, hyper_critical said:

That "word salad" is brutal. It gets significantly better. Brain's just figuring out new neural pathways and occasionally misfires. I'm no neurologist but I think that's what's happening. 

I joined Toastmasters about 18 months ago and it's really helped. . 

I’ll have to look up what toastmasters is thank you! Do you still get word salad ever? It’s so hard forgiving myself for what I’ve done but I’m trying....I used to be so articulate and I’m hoping I can get back to that again as well. It’s embarassing when ppl tell you you’ve changed...

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Not at all but it's only been a year. I'm prolly 30-50% better 

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@SeanW ugh. Fuck. Idk if I even know what normal feels like. A year and only 30-50%? I wish I could give up 

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You can't give up just realize you're not the same person as you were years ago before abuse regardless of the abuse you still would have changed and been a different person with a different 'normal' so just try and except the situation and do your best and you never know how things will work out

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@SeanW man I wish so badly I wanted to carry on and not die. I wanna be with God. Nothing seems worth while. What really is there to live for? At least when I was on adderall/vyvanse being alone didn’t feel as bad. I’m gone as a person. 

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I've had the same thoughts over and over Ive sat and soaked in pain and suffering. One day hope will come. I just tell myself suicide is not and option and do whatever I can to ease the pain- exercise, friends, occasional alcohol, sleep. Love is lost at the moment, adderall gave you a poisonious love that eventually would kill you and not last because it's not a real love. Your brain is use to a super high level of excitement and elevated version of reality. I look at it as a line and graph where there's a base level we left that far behind and shot to the moon in adderall for a long time then when we quit well fell down below base at an equal distance that we were above it with adderall so now we have to deal with the climb back to base level where we'll find peace. It's daunting to think how far you have to go and the pain is overwhelming but you just have to carry on.. if you survive this and find peace no one will be able to take that from you and you'll be in disbelief that you made it but you can. At least I keep hope as of now that I can.. some days I feel hopeless but just try to make it one day at a time.. living is that sense of excitement and it'll be few and far between for awhile just appreciate the few moments you get and keep hope that one day it'll come and stay.

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13 hours ago, SamJo said:

It’s embarassing when ppl tell you you’ve changed...

it's even more embarrassing when people ask "are you okay?", cause you look like you haven't slept in days (you haven't). 

it's even more embarrassing when you're hands shake uncontrollably, your jaw is locked and you're grinding your teeth like a maniac.

it's even more embarrassing when you start neglecting hygiene.

you're right- it's definitely embarrassing to have people notice and point out your lower energy. but...there are plenty of much more embarrassing things about being on speed, many of which you don't realize and people don't mention out of courtesy.

 

12 hours ago, SamJo said:

Fuck. Idk if I even know what normal feels like. A year and only 30-50%? I wish I could give up 

"normal" isn't so much a feeling as it is a state of being. we only think of "normal" as a feeling because speed has a very distinct feeling (excessively powerful, amped up, motivated, etc.). being normal doesn't mean you can't have those feelings, it just means that they come naturally from you, not a drug. being normal means living your life and not having to wait for that feeling of speed to kick in. being normal means putting effort before reward. these things will come back. and when they do? frankly, you'll be a much different person than you are and were before. a better person.

i don't think you actually want to give up. i believe you know how talented and successful you can be, but you think that you've ruined that opportunity and permanently damaged yourself (which is not true). this is a quote from someone's forum signature (back when we still had them!), unfortunately i don't know whose it was, but it really resonated with me:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us."

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10 hours ago, SamJo said:

I’m gone as a person. 

Far from it. You're just starting to come alive. 

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"man I wish so badly I wanted to carry on and not die. I wanna be with God. Nothing seems worth while. What really is there to live for? At least when I was on adderall/vyvanse being alone didn’t feel as bad. I’m gone as a person."

@SamJo Nobody has reported back that being with God is better than this life.  Until someone does, we need you here. Just sharing your experience, as hard as it is to talk about/live through, inspires the rest of us to keep trying, and to stay on the straight and narrow. There are days when my depression is so bad, I think what would it hurt to go back on the Adderall/vyvanse. I have both right in my cabinet, because I've learned throwing them away doesn't stop me from getting more. But instead, I remember the hours and days that I lost chasing that high, and then the days after those days where I did nothing but sleep.  I'm taking a low dose of Wellbutrin, and the real me is slowly coming back. Somedays are not so good, but as numerous people have pointed out, good food and exercise help.  You CAN do it. This feeling won't last forever. 

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