Ready4Change

15 Month Update

5 posts in this topic

Hello my friends. I have been lurking too much lately and I have been feeling guilty about not contributing more so I figured I would give everyone an update. I have some positive news and some nagging issues that are still making me feel nuts. Let’s start with the good news. 
-I have definitely got my energy back 110%. Around the one year mark I went from slug mode to electrified energy mode. My energy came back before my executive function and ability to use this new energy in a productive way did. It was good to not feel like I could only sleep and eat but it really increased my restlessness and unease. Lots of energy and nothing to do with it. At this point I was forced to begin making positive changes to use up this new found energy. I had gained 40lbs the first year and my health really suffered. Stiff joints, hips, knees and stretch marks on my stomach all came quickly during year one. I ate to try to feel something. I was so depleted of dopamine that food and sleep were the only things that provided an ounce of comfort and escape . In early June I recognized the insatiable hunger was subsiding and being in quarantine with energy that was driving my wife crazy, I decided to start exercising and eating well. I already felt like shit so why not move more and feel like shit. LOL. With The fog lifting and some improved clarity I really noticed that my central nervous system was really damaged and if I was going to get a handle on my extreme anxiety, panic and increasing agoraphobia, then I needed to start some work that required sacrifice and commitment. Many of the changes I made are thanks to many of you in this forum. I read all of the recommendations early on in the journey but I was not ready, willing or able to take action. I was in a state of survival.  Now I feel like I am in a growth and action stage.  In early June I was not only ready but I really needed to do something. 

-I cut sugar, caffeine and all other carbs. The stimulative and inflammatory side effects of those things were really hurting me. I already don’t drink or do drugs so stopping those vices was not needed. 
-I got a FitBit and started tracking my sleep, diet, exercise and heart rate. This helped me to be more accountable and it also tracked my progress and goals. 
- Started exercising 30 minutes A day 5-6 days per week. I used a cardio workout from YouTube. Body project cardio starter is the name of it. Low impact but it leaves me drenched with sweat when I’m done. This is my daily medication. 
-Started counting calories and lowered my daily intake to 1200ish calories per day. 
-Began intermittent fasting. 16 hour fast and 8 hours eating window. This really helps when lowering caloric intake. I get hungry the last three hours of the fast but it’s manageable. 
-Set a consistent sleep schedule. A goal of 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Same time to bed and wake daily     I still have bouts of insomnia, restless legs, panic and other sleep issues but it’s improving and I enjoy and need the structure  

In the last 2 months I have lost 40lbs and I am feeling much better physically. Mentally I have real noticeable improvements but I am still struggling at times. The better I get the harder it hurts when a wave comes again. 
 

the issues I’m still struggling with

-I am still hyper sensitive to emotions, movies, stress, drama, fighting, arguments, sounds and anything else that ignites my nervous system. I can’t watch the news, horror movies, action movies or anything that is unsettling.  I’m hyper sensitive to everything now. I did not experience this the first 9 months. This is a new issue for me and watching TV is really a challenge. This makes me want to retreat to a private place that is quiet and controlled. 
- I still have anhedonia pretty bad. I don’t have a drive to buy things, go out, watch anything or seek pleasure. I sit and stare into space and usually get lost in thoughts about the past or future. That does not help with anxiety. Rumination and cyclical thoughts. I ponder if I have underlying mental health issues that are surfacing. This journey will really make you question your own sanity. 
-I have had an ever increasing level of paranoia. I constantly have to ask my wife if I am acting crazy. I can’t help but project all of my greatest fears onto everything and everyone around me. I am like a newborn in a dangerous and crazy world and I am hyper alert to the danger and darkness. This is impacting work, relationships and my personal well being. I have been doing breathe work including WimHof but it’s still a major hurdle that I hope to work past. Mindfulness is great but if I’m not engaged in things I enjoy throughout the day as a distraction then it’s only so effective. I feel lost and without a pull of desire or interest to guide me. I’m rambling. 
-I still feel fear and anxiety regularly but it is improving. The huge adrenaline surges, pacing, hand wringing, crying and panic attacks have almost completely disappeared. Now I just feel really anxious first thing in the morning or if something unexpected or jarring happens. Stress lights up my symptoms and I pay for a few days after  

-Mostly, I just feel...everything. I was so blind to how much Adderall and Effexor were blunting my emotions and awareness. Life is scary, hard, uncertain, challenging and so many more things that I am slowly building myself up to be capable of handling. It’s embarrassing and very lonely. I used Adderall and psych meds for 15 years without any breaks. I’m 42 and I feel like a kid in a middle aged mans body. I have so much growing up to do and I feel like everyone around me doesn’t see the pain, suffering and hard work I need to give just to be here everyday. I know most of you understand. I’m humbled by the strength of everyone getting through life right now. 

I want to provide hope for those still using Adderall but I also want to be real. I used Adderall for a long time. Never abused or ran out of my prescription. We are all so different. Your process and recovery might be very different from mine. I just know that reading many of your stories of struggles, growth and hope helped and continues to help me. I hope my contributions might also do the same.
YOU ARE SO MUCH STRONGER THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE.  
Our future selves will never forget the commitment and sacrifices we are making to set ourselves free and find who we really are. I appreciate all of you so much. 
 

 

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Great news!  Congrats on 15 months, getting your energy back, and your weight loss! Thats huge progress. The rest will come. Numbing out emotions for 15 years with this sh.. might mean some arrested development for sure. I get it. Late bloomer here we come. Getting into action always seems to be the ticket.  Whats the next indicated action. I didn't notice any comments about your spiritual progress, but I cant recommend it enough. Faith will overcome fear and anxiety. The cant exist together. Lets put on the "shield of faith". Cant hurt to pray. Your doing so great.  Have a great week. 

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Wow! Congrats on your progress! This is so inspiring.

That's crazy, all the changes you have made I have done the same thing.. they are truly great, effective life changes. 16:8 intermittent fasting, staying at 1200 calls a day, exercising 5-6 days per week, sleeping consistently, cutting out sugar.

I have also recently made the decision to go Vegetarian and I am working on becoming Vegan as a long term goal.

The things you are still struggling with, are major issues that I have right now too. It can be pretty exhausting. I second @speedracer about keeping Faith an integral part of your recovery. I keep God at the center of everything I do, and I have been able to overcome mountains that I would never have been able to climb or even have the desire to climb without Him.

keep up the great work!!

 

 

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@Ready4Change Amazing and inspiring progress!! Thank you for this update. The sensitivities (sensory and emotional) as well as paranoia are big for me as well. What you stated about TV was spot on. I was off of Adderall for 2.5 years (pulling myself out of a 3 month relapse now). I know that I had these sensitivities prior to Adderall. I’m actually not sure if they got worse following Adderall or not. I would love to keep in touch for ideas to mitigate them.  

One thought regarding the paranoia - your intellectual profile may predispose you to paranoia. I have had to take formal IQ and achievement tests since age 10 (way before Adderall use) and I’ve always tested through the ceiling on a section called verbal abstract reasoning. I suspect that many others in these forums would also test high in this area (given a link to NF personality types). The psychiatrist told me that very high scores in this section strongly correlate to high levels of paranoia - I’d imagine that it is related to the rate and manner in which you connect the dots. My belief is that Adderall actually impaired my verbal abstract reasoning ability when I was on it, and I thus became less paranoid. The return of paranoia when off of Adderall indicates the return of this particular intellectual ability. Basically, your paranoia may indicate that your brain is up and running like it should be again.

There may be factors beyond this impacting the paranoia - but I’m hoping the above is validating or encouraging to you in some way. I would also love any advice on how to channel this paranoia to be helpful rather than hurtful in daily life. I no longer wish to be paranoid about paranoia!

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15 hours ago, Ash20 said:

@Ready4Change Amazing and inspiring progress!! Thank you for this update. The sensitivities (sensory and emotional) as well as paranoia are big for me as well. What you stated about TV was spot on. I was off of Adderall for 2.5 years (pulling myself out of a 3 month relapse now). I know that I had these sensitivities prior to Adderall. I’m actually not sure if they got worse following Adderall or not. I would love to keep in touch for ideas to mitigate them.  

One thought regarding the paranoia - your intellectual profile may predispose you to paranoia. I have had to take formal IQ and achievement tests since age 10 (way before Adderall use) and I’ve always tested through the ceiling on a section called verbal abstract reasoning. I suspect that many others in these forums would also test high in this area (given a link to NF personality types). The psychiatrist told me that very high scores in this section strongly correlate to high levels of paranoia - I’d imagine that it is related to the rate and manner in which you connect the dots. My belief is that Adderall actually impaired my verbal abstract reasoning ability when I was on it, and I thus became less paranoid. The return of paranoia when off of Adderall indicates the return of this particular intellectual ability. Basically, your paranoia may indicate that your brain is up and running like it should be again.

There may be factors beyond this impacting the paranoia - but I’m hoping the above is validating or encouraging to you in some way. I would also love any advice on how to channel this paranoia to be helpful rather than hurtful in daily life. I no longer wish to be paranoid about paranoia!

Very interesting information

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