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Daydreambeliever

Finally quit--Day 8

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So I'm new here. After reading everyones' adderall stories, I felt like it was time to share mine... forgive me if this gets a little long-winded (also forgive my stupid user name--it was chosen in the spirit of remaining anonymous!) I am going to try and focus on only the relevant parts of my story because I can feel myself about to go down a rabbit hole.  

I recently quit Adderall after almost 3 years of habitual use, which started in grad school. I'll start with some background.  I don't think I am textbook ADD or ADHD---I always did well in school, though it was never too hard. I am what you call a daydreamer, creative type. I hate to read instructions. I can focus on things if I find meaning in it, which can sometimes turn into obsession. Weirdly though, I also can be extremely complacent, even lazy, about some really important things. Its like an all or nothing focus, which hinges on the level of interest and intrinsic personal significance I find in the subject, which probably isn't that unusual. As you might be able to tell, I'm having to rediscover myself a bit without the Adderall, which makes me sad for the time I lost. 

I never really "abused" it in the traditional sense, but I was using too much, too often. Like many others, I started out at 20 mg, and went to up to 30, plus some. 60 mg was the most I ever used. When I got it, everything was great... for about six months--I was SUPER skinny and confident, and more social than ever. I also really liked that adderall made me bulletproof emotionally. I was so much more task oriented--things beyond the task at hand didn't phase me. This wasn't me--I am a super sensitive person, and I used rehash every interaction in my head at ungodly hours of the night.  I was surprised with the way I would act socially, and not in a good way-- I was not smooth and could be really assertive/almost abrasive, and I don't think my true self was ever really comfortable with my new way of interacting with people. This did have some positives though. I felt powerful and energetic, like there was nothing I couldn't do. 

Anyway, I quickly became addicted. I couldn't get out of bed without it and used it to do things that were supposed to be "fun." Pretty soon I wasn't doing anything for fun and I spiraled into a depression that has continued to get worse. My adderall use peaked when I was a studying for a major exam after grad school, one that had huge implications for my career and educational investment. Point being, I think the whole experienced changed something in my brain. I can be an anxious, type A, obsessive person as it is, and the adderall pushed me over the edge. I wasn't ready to see that at the time, though. I would spend HOURS picking at my face, like I was on meth. I RUINED my skin (it is better now, I do have scars and it will never be my pre-adderall skin). And the isolation. Adderall isolates you and sucks the emotion out of you--you don't even realize its happening. I was so numb and unhappy, but I didn't stop.

I got a job after I found out I passed my test and of course continued to take adderall.  Although I was back down to 30 mg, I started to realize the life I made for myself wasn't me, it was something adderall me had created. I couldnt shake the feeling of emptiness, wondering what my life would have been like had I never gone down this road. It started to become more clear that everything was all wrong. My life was completely devoid of all happiness and joy.   I gradually started taking less adderall, and gradually started to hate my job more and more. I became more and more depressed. So now you're pretty much caught up.  I managed to cut my dose down to 15 mg per day. I ran out right before Thanksgiving. Its been about two weeks since I ran out (I took it one last time at day 6, so I restarted the clock and now I'm on day 8). The thing that I am struggling with the most is feeling the flood of emotions coming back to me, the overwhelming depression, and the sense that my true self was frozen in time for those 3 years. I am not used to having to handle my crazy emotions and I don't remember how to deal with the constant barrage of thoughts and feelings.  The thought that my true, non-adderall self could have matured and experienced personal growth during that time makes me more depressed and sad. I don't know where I am getting the strength to keep going and or how I'm not turning back to adderall, but I like being able to feel and take in the moment--even if it is sad and depressing. I was finally at a point where I was miserable on adderall and willing to acknowledge that. And because of that I am willing to try something else.  The fact that I am feeling again and not stuffing my emotions with a pill gives me hope that maybe things will get better. Maybe this will all be the catalyst I needed to change things and go in a different direction. Maybe it's the right direction, or at least a better one.  Anyway, thanks for reading. 

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Congrats on making it through your first 8 days! It sounds like you’re in the right place, there is so much in your story that many of us can relate to. 

 

When you feel like you’ve run out of strength (which does happen) reach out for help instead of Adderall. You can do this. Welcome. 

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2 hours ago, DrewK15 said:

Congrats on making it through your first 8 days! It sounds like you’re in the right place, there is so much in your story that many of us can relate to. 

 

When you feel like you’ve run out of strength (which does happen) reach out for help instead of Adderall. You can do this. Welcome. 

 

Thanks for your response. I’m grateful to have found this forum and people who know this struggle. 

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Hey there.

I can relate to your story almost to a T. Never textbook ADD, no problems in school, got into NYU without adderall, creative, day dreamer type, complacent being lazy too and just pondering my thoughts and creative ideas. The only difference in our stories would be I started my use as a sophomore in college and continued until age 30. I am now 32 and have been off for a couple months over 2 years. 

I think part of the reason I became so addicted to and in love with adderall was I felt that it “fixed” the parts of me that needed fixing. Made me super task oriented, felt bulletproof, my delicate sensitivities were suddenly overridden with an enormous sense of ego, it basically perverted everything sensitive and beautiful about me that made me me. I now see that in hindsight.

i think there is a real appeal of this drug for people like us, and this is why it can be so easy to “fall in love” with it, and so painfully hard to quit it. 

 

I too was on a daily dosage of 30 mg. Never took any off days. Not Christmas, not sunday, never. Ever. Not in 10+ years. I didn’t know how to function or who I was without the little blue pills telling me how to think and be. 

 

Its been a grueling last 2+ years for me, internally. Everything you described is completely what happens for a good amount of time. You are going to have to get reaccustomed to emotions on your emotions terms. 

 

Youre in the right place, and you’re doing the right thing if you feel you lost a very important part of you by taking this drug. I know that was my experience. 

 

Im here if you want to chat more. 

Xx

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I also would like to add, about your time lost. I too lost all of my 20s being my authentic self because I was too cracked out being isolated and organizing and perfecting and basically being a robot exhibiting insane behavior (at the time, I thought I was getting stuff done and being my best self— that’s how delusional the drug makes you). 

When i first quit, I was completely overwhelmed and devastated by the reality of what had happened. It felt like I had lived in a fog for the prior decade. I was completely heart broken at my life choice to remain on this drug for so long. For many, many months, I grieved all the time wasted, lost, friendships lost, good times not had, experiences not lived, trips not taken, challenges not met, the list goes on, and on, and on. Eventually, I let it go. But that took time. 

You are feeling regret, and that is normal. Allow yourself those feelings. They feel sad, and uncomfortable. But they will eventually pass, and you will eventually forgive yourself as you start to heal, and you will eventually let it go when you are ready. 

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On 12/5/2018 at 1:05 AM, StillOffAndConfused said:

I also would like to add, about your time lost. I too lost all of my 20s being my authentic self because I was too cracked out being isolated and organizing and perfecting and basically being a robot exhibiting insane behavior (at the time, I thought I was getting stuff done and being my best self— that’s how delusional the drug makes you). 

When i first quit, I was completely overwhelmed and devastated by the reality of what had happened. It felt like I had lived in a fog for the prior decade. I was completely heart broken at my life choice to remain on this drug for so long. For many, many months, I grieved all the time wasted, lost, friendships lost, good times not had, experiences not lived, trips not taken, challenges not met, the list goes on, and on, and on. Eventually, I let it go. But that took time. 

You are feeling regret, and thatht is normal. Allow yourself those feelings. They feel sad, and uncomfortable. But they will eventually pass, and you will eventually forgive yourself as you start to heal, and you will eventually let it go when you are ready. 

Thanks for the input. I totally agree we are a similar type of person. I think I am beginning to accept what has happened and try to move forward and use it for good. I did just start taking Wellbutrin and I think its helping. But honestly, I feel like its cheating because it feels a lot like a low dose of adderall, so I am not sure its a good thing. It seems to provide less of the focus effect, and I feel on edge and restless. So now I'm not sure what is a side effect of the Wellbutrin and what is adderall withdrawal. Also, I am about to quit my job. Maybe this restlessness and frustration is a side effect of the real me just being unable to deal with my adderall-created life.  I kind of feel like I am doing better, kind of feel like I am going crazy. I don't trust myself. For now, I am just biding my time. 

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9 hours ago, Daydreambeliever said:

Also, I am about to quit my job. Maybe this restlessness and frustration is a side effect of the real me just being unable to deal with my adderall-created life. 

the concept of the "adderall-created life" is a very real one. it's like you spend years on this drug crafting what you believe to be the ultimate life, only to realize that the person you created it for no longer exists. when you decide to return to that person, you realize you don't even WANT that life the adderall person created for you. it's an absolute psychological mess for sure.

i too was a creatively driven daydreamer back then. Mike has written some fantastic articles on the main site about why our personality profiles are more susceptible to an adderall addiction, but i think it has to do with this sense of an unfulfilled dream--a dream that for one reason or another has been suppressed. we become addicted because adderall suddenly makes us feel powerful enough to accomplish those dreams AND handle our regular lives. it doesn't feel like a drug addiction because you're not getting "high" and wasting away, quite the opposite!

as you've experienced though, the flip side is that it literally changes who you are as a person. that dream becomes warped, twisted, sometimes even replaced altogether in a whirlwind of speed fueled obsessions. if somehow you actually manage to achieve that goal, the victory is bittersweet as you realize it wasn't you who got there.

 

anyway... congratulations on almost 2 weeks!!! as others have said, embrace all the emotions that are now assaulting you. sure, you may have lost a few years to speed, but you're young and have plenty of years ahead of you to redefine what happiness means to you. (:

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1 hour ago, sleepystupid said:

the concept of the "adderall-created life" is a very real one. it's like you spend years on this drug crafting what you believe to be the ultimate life, only to realize that the person you created it for no longer exists. when you decide to return to that person, you realize you don't even WANT that life the adderall person created for you. it's an absolute psychological mess for sure.

Thanks for the encouragement! This is exactly how I feel. I’m at work bored out of my mind and it’s not so much that I can’t do my work, it’s that I don’t care and it doesn’t align with my overall long term goals, other than providing a reliable source of income. Adderall has a way of deceiving you. It disguises the sources of disatisfaction in your life. Truthfully I’ve been unhappy for a long time, even on adderall, but the adderall allowed me to stuff those things in the back of mind and forget. Just get stuff done, that is the mentality.  So I feel like making big changes right now but I just don’t want to have any regrets. I want to be practical, but I also want to really start living my life. 

 

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