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Three weeks in...

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This site has been extremely helpful for me during my recovery process. Hearing other people's stories motivated me to actually flush my (almost full) bottle of pills down the toilet (which was not an easy thing to do, to say the least). I quit during spring break so I could go through the withdrawal process without having anything to do (although it wasn't planned that way). I just reached my breaking point- I felt like I was going crazy...I was crying daily. I couldn't have normal interactions with people. Adderall and I have had such a love/hate relationship for the past couple of years, making this break-up a hard one. It helped me SO much- but nearly took over my life...and I am not willing to sacrifice the good for all of the bad that comes with it. My story is very similar to many of yours... It's been such a long road it's hard to translate it into an organized, composed letter.. but here I go.

I am a college student and I got prescribed to adderall about a year and a half ago. I told my doctor the absolute truth about not being able to concentrate during class or focus on reading, being extremely compulsive, etc. Initially, I thought Adderall was the best thing that had ever happened to me...I am naturally a driven and motivated person, and being able to actually focus allowed me to do/accomplish things I hadn't been able to before. Also, I have always been very conscious about my weight and body image, so I thought it was great that I didn't have to put any effort into being thin. Before taking adderall I loved to exercise and eating healthy was a priority. I was into the idea of alternative medicine and believed in a holistic lifestyle. That all changed when I became physically dependent on this horrible drug. Being on adderall, motivation (to exercise) wasn't a problem- could never make time to go to the gym because I felt under so much pressure to get a million other things done, and when I did make time to go I felt a great deal of anxiety and my heart would feel like it was beating out of my chest when I ran or did other cardio, which was unsettling every time (even though I didn't feel any 'speeding' effects when I wasn't exercising). Last semester I went to the emergency room TWICE for anxiety attacks. I felt like a zombie. I would get little sores on my tongue and I would chew on my cheeks. I frequently took nyquil or melatonin to sleep because otherwise there was no way I would get to sleep. When I drank alcohol with friends I had to get really drunk to have fun-otherwise I was zombied out and awkward. I had to plan when I would drink because the hangovers were unbearable. I might have looked good when I went out, but I wasn't nearly as much fun as I am when I'm not on adderall.

I felt flat. I felt anxious. I felt like a fake, counterfeit person. I got to the point where I couldn't even laugh at a good joke. I didn't know myself anymore... where was my personality, my sense of humor, and my compassion? I couldn't even feel emotions anymore- my boyfriend broke up with me and taking adderall allowed me to kind of go through the 'healing' process by just ignoring any feelings I had by keeping busy busy busy. I got to the point where I knew I hated adderall, I just couldn't bring myself to go through the horrible withdrawal that comes along with quitting. Also, I never felt like there was a good time to quit--I felt like my life was going to crumble. Well, I'm not as on top of things as I was-I am nervous about my future and how I am going to accomplish all of my dreams... I feel like concentrating on studying is nearly impossible. I have a huge test coming up and I am extremely nervous about bombing it because I am still trying to accomplish getting every-day things done- work, assignments, laundry, exercise, readings... But I think I can do it- I am going to get through this no matter what it takes.

I am here to tell you that if you're considering quitting...don't wait any longer! There will never be a perfect (or even good) time to quit... After you get through the very worst of it, you will be so happy you did. There are things that I definitely miss about it, but I must keep reminding myself of why I am doing this. I have gained about ten pounds in these three weeks, but I am okay with that. During the first few days it will be HELL-I was so depressed for about 4-5 days that it was just should have a support system when you're going through this (as I did NOT- making it VERY hard and more depressing)... do whatever you can to get through the first few days of feeling very uncomfortable, even if it means eating an entire pan of brownies. After that, it will take an extreme amount of conscious effort on your part to get through each day without everything falling apart- Everything I do in a day takes 10 times more effort, but I tell myself that this is my choice- I can either get back on the pill and waste my life or I can be off of the pill and cope with life as it is. Every day gets a little easier. I am tired more often and don't get as much done, but I am such a HAPPIER person- I am feeling more and more like myself. I have gotten through this by forcing myself to eat a lot of nutrient-rich foods and get exercise-go on walks, go on hikes, bike rides.. I have been keeping a journal to record my struggles and accomplishments as well. Sorry I just rambled so much- it feels good to get it out... and I feel like I only covered half of the story. Godspeed.... <3

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