positivethoughts

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About positivethoughts

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    Running, biking, car restoration, brewing beer, fishing, golfing.

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  1. Good to hear from you quit-once, hope you are doing well!

    1. inhagnila

      inhagnila

      http://freedmanyde784.shutterfly.com/

  2. 4 years clean - checking in

    I wasn't clinically diagnosed with PAWS, but looking at the symptoms - sleep disruption, low energy, anxiety, mental fog - they definitely describe how I felt for quite a while after I stopped taking stimulants. Sleep was definitely a big issue, as was mental fog. I'm also reading that the PAWS "can last for a few days, and these can continue cyclically for a year" which is interesting because some days and weeks were definitely more difficult than others. It makes sense to think of the withdrawals as rhythmic looking back at that first year.
  3. 4 years clean - checking in

    I recently passed 4 years clean of vyvanse and adderall, and had an interaction with some people that compelled me to come back and check in with this wonderful community. Quick back story, I took heavy doses of both vyvanse and adderall for 2 years between 2014 and 2016. I started taking ritalin and adderall on and off in college before that time, but didn't feel like I relied on it. Once I started working in Finance, I felt like I could not keep up, be on my game for 10+ hours a day, so I saw a doctor and got a prescription. The prescription eventually got up to 70mg of Vyvanse so I was pretty "on point" for the whole day. I also took it every single day, without fail. Then suddenly came the panic attacks and anxiety. Toward the end of 2016 tried to just reduce my dosage but it felt like it made it worse, I was sure I was experiencing withdrawls so I quit cold turkey, against the advice of my doctor. Those were the worst 6+ months of my life. I went the ER twice with what I had convinced myself were strokes or some kind of heart attack. Had a CT scan of my brain. Nothing. Emptiness is probably the only word to describe that time. If you've seen that movie "Get Out" where the main character gets trapped in his own mind, looking out from afar - it felt like that. Fast forward to today. I probably wouldn't have even realized it was my anniversary of being clean had I not got some drinks with old friends. The topic of adderall came up and all three of them revealed they had begun taking it in recent years. One of them were experiencing panic attacks, so she was moving to every other day and not taking it on weekends. They lamented that now they didn't think they could perform their jobs without the drug, and asked me what it was like to just stop using it. I said how horrible it was, like soul crushing, to no longer have that rush of dopamine on a consistent basis, but it does get better. That feeling of being "in it" and being uber-productive does come back, it's just not on demand. When I do find it, that old familar flow, I will try and maximize it in the moment, get everything done that I possibly can. I know that you might not think about it during the withdrawals, but I truly feel you will know yourself and your capabilities, as a result of all of this. I'm rambling now, so I'll move onto some things I wish I knew in that first year: Don't look for a replacement. Caffeine, acetyle-l choline, ginko biloba, huperzine A ... so many supplements. Caffeine is 100% a trigger for anxiety, for me (I now drink 1/2 caffeine coffee 1x in the morning), and the supplements, while helpful perhaps, aren't going to change your life. Alcohol is not an escape. This may be indicative of other, more personal problems, but I leaned heavily on alcohol ... for a long time. I honestly still struggle with it. And I am not talking about housing a bottle of vodka or going off the deep end, I'm talking about 2 cocktails a night, or 3 beers, or 2 glasses of wine type of thing. These were enough to numb me and help me sleep. The whole recovery needs to focus on yourself, and you're not yourself when you're buzzed. In fact, I think you lose your sense of self when you're doing it so consistently. I do drink now, but I have rules for myself, never during the week, never more than 4 in a sitting, etc. Meditate. For the love of god, meditate. And I don't mean just sit there and think about nothing to quiet your mind - which is good don't get me wrong - but learn about meditation and their techniques. It started with this video for me (I know it's a long one), and now I use the Headspace app on my phone for guided meditations. The best technique I ever heard to describe meditation is going to a place in your mind that is an empty field, looking up and seeing all the "thought clouds". Some are stormy and horrible. But the meditation helps you seperate from the thought, observe it ... but also just rest. Not think about anything in particular. Once you do this, you can do it in real life. In that moment you're having anxiety, you can start to remind yourself, "this is anxiety, I am anxious" ... and then examine the reasons for being anxious. For me, it's driving. I now know that driving is a trigger for me, I don't know why, and I just observe it when it happens. It doesn't make it go away in the moment, but it's more like ... hey screw you driving ... and then don't carry that experience with you the rest of the day. I think it's a vicious cycle when you get anxious, then get worried about why you're anxious, then get more anxious, etc. I sounds pretty dumb as I read back, but I assure you, if you can meditate 10-15 minutes a day, every day, you'll be better off. Exercise. I actually did this quite a bit in the first year, and I think it helped a lot. I kind of thought about the recovery like a prison sentence. I had read enough from other people that it would eventually get better, or I'd at least get used to life without stimulants, so I might as well do something productive like exercise while I'm here. Have confidence in yourself, even if you don't think it's there. The person that you were on adderall is still you. Continue to put yourself in situations that adderall-you would have volunteered for. Engage with friends, do new projects at work, whatever it takes. Talk to someone. Probably the most important. I didn't do this until the end of year 1 I think, but I told a friend that I felt like a shell of my former self, that I couldn't feel anything, I hated myself, I never thought I'd be normal again, and I didn't know if I wanted to go on. He had served a tour in Iraq and had his own struggles, but helped me realize that I'm still me. We are still the people we have always been. These experiences changed us, yes, but we move on to the next experience and the next one, and continue to change. Just focus on what the next change could be, and set yourself up for success. I don't know if any of this is helpful. I just remember when I was first getting clean, I searched all over the internet for an answer of "does it ever get better". Looking at me now, 4 years later, yes. I'm still trying to improve myself every day. Some are better than others. I wrestle with self-esteem, confidence, sobriety ... but I just keep working at it. One thing is for sure, I've made hella progress. If I could say something to myself when I was first starting, it's probably "you're stronger than you know right now". You'll come out of the other side of this, and you'll have a better idea of who you are. Forgive yourself, love yourself, and then focus on making yourself (and others) happy. Keep going.
  4. Three years down

    I realized today that the three-year mark from when I quit adderall/vyvanse (2+ years daily use) passed last month. I didn't even realize it the date came and passed. I remember how hard it was in that first year, and how important this forum was to me. I logged back in today to read some of the topics, it good to see people still sharing information and helping one another. That guide that's pinned to the top of the general discussion is excellent, I wish I had read that when I first quit. For all of you still in your first year of quitting, just know it gets better. Since I quit, I finished my MBA, got married, moved with my wife to San Francisco from Chicago, and fulfilled a life-long dream of getting a dog. There are things to look forward to, your life right now will not be your life forever. And you are already making the change you want to see in your life, so keep going. I have posted before about some supplements that are supposed to help. I still take some daily (Ginko Biloba, Vinpocetine, Vitamin D, Acetyl L Carnitine, Huperzine A), I wouldn't say they change your mood immediately, but I like to think they've helped me long term. I got these from a study about brain damage in athletes and drug abusers, I'll include the link below. Take care all.
  5. One Year

    Hello All. I'm very happy to say that it's been one full year since I quit. I had spent two years taking 70mg vyvanse daily, and I was finally able to quit one year ago today. I wish I could say, "it feels like yesterday" that I flushed a decent sized (and expensive) stash down the toilet, but it doesn't. It's been a very long year with some very long nights and days. But in that time I finished a one year MBA program, got a new job, got a promotion, got engaged, and am now working on starting a side business as well. But more importantly, I feel better, and I feel human again. For a solid 8 months I felt very little, I was emotionless and nihilistic. After that, I began to feel normal in the sense that appropriate emotions began to return to me. I don't know if everyone here would agree with me on this, but my theory is that we were so used to feeling confident, invincible and artificially happy from adderall/vyvanse, that we all forgot what real emotions were supposed to feel like, and when we were supposed to feel them. And, at least for me, I wasn't very good at handling them as they slowly began to return back to me. When things aren't going well, or you are bored, you are supposed to feel uneasy and anxious, and when you're scared it's supposed to be terrifying. So, that is why I say I feel human in the sense that I now feel appropriate emotions - sadness comes when I should feel sad, anxiety hits when I am uneasy or bored, as it should. And the best part is, that happiness comes when I should feel happy. And finally, I am able to get back to finding and doing those things. I remember reading other posts when I had first quit where some people were saying they were a year+ clean and still didn't feel 100% - this terrified me at the time. I now understand what they meant, only I would say, at one year clean, that I do in fact feel 100%, I just don't feel 150% like when I was on vyvanse - and I am very happy with that. I know it is cliche to say, but I am stronger from this whole ordeal. I feel I have a better grasp on life, on what I want to do with it, what things I really care about. If I could pass one thing along to try and help those that are struggling, remember that much of this recovery process is a function of time. You may be terrified of the notion, "I will not ever be back to normal. What if I don't recover fully", but I assure you, give it another day, another month, another year. You will not feel this way forever, it just might be a little longer than you want it to be. But that's ok, it's about time we all re-learned what it feels like to be impatient
  6. Hello All - it has been awhile since I last came to post something on here. I remember when I had first quit vyvanse I had wished there were more people who were further along in recovery to say "it gets better". It was a senior member's post, quit-once, that inspired me to flush my decent sized vyvanse stash down the toilet. I had taken vyvanse for 2 years, 70mg a day, and was fully dependent. I began having withdrawals toward the end, even though I was still taking it - panic attacks, insomnia, anxiety, so much so that I visited the hospital twice because I thought I was dying. They just prescribed me anti-anxiety pills. It was then that realized that there is no way that this drug was not causing this. Even though everything you read, and your doctor says, it's safe. It's therapy - "look at the progress you've made!". To anyone who has just quit, or is thinking about quitting, god bless you. It's the hardest thing you may ever do, at least it was for me. I remember thinking, in the beginning, "I can't feel anything, happy, sad, nothing". I thought there HAD to be something wrong with me, my brain must be broken, some deformity or disease (even got 2 brain MRIs, they found nothing). Did the vyvanse ruin for me forever? Nobody feels like this, everyone else walks around, feeling normal. I also slipped into a bit of nihilism, feeling like my life didn't matter, that I could die tomorrow and it wouldn't affect the universe. But it's so important to realize in these first few months, even first few years for some, it's not you. That is your brain returning to equilibrium. For an extended period of time, I took a drug that controlled the amount dopamine that was in my brain, and by "controlled", I mean it pretty much just turned on the faucet and left it going. It will take time for that level back out, and that's ok. The other thing I realized that, once I was starting to feel like I was "recovering" in months 6-7, that the bad thoughts would come back when I was overwhelmed or stressed - but then it hit me, well no duh, I'm stressed, I feel terrible, this is when your brain is supposed to NOT feel good. Without making this too long, I'm 10.5 months clean. I just finished my MBA last week from Loyola in Chicago, and I got better grades than I would have thought when I first signed on a year ago. In the last 6 months I also landed a good job working at a consulting company, and got a promotion. I also started my own business with my best friend, raising money for schools, and we are setting up to launch officially soon. It may not seem like it for some, but I honestly feel stronger because of this. It's kind of corny, but I fell in love with the quote from the movie V for Vendetta "What was done to me created me. It's a basic principle of the universe that every action causes an equal and opposing reaction". I can't hate myself for having taken vyvanse. It led me here, and I am alive, and I am spending every day trying to better myself. I felt like the equal/opposite reaction of this battle is a great deal of strength and power. I am finally at peace with myself and the person I want to be. I am so thankful for this site, and the people on it. Everyone on here is understanding and caring, even though none of us have ever met one another in person. It's truly amazing.
  7. man, this website

    sadderall - I completely understand what you mean when you say 'the side effects are driving me to be a different person' - but its so important I think to realize that those are just side effects. The true you will come back once your body is at equilibrium again. And on the same token, and as I think you have already realized, you are not at equilibrium right now. Racing thoughts, depression, anxiety, panic - all symptoms that I had when I was first quitting, but you realize that its just your body fighting to get back to a level that it was before. I'm 10.5 months off now, and I feel much better. I just finished my MBA last week while working a full-time job - something I never thought I could do when I first quit. I was so scared that I would just go crazy and be nothing, and be worth nothing. But your desire to better yourself is there, and it will get you through this. Don't fear, you are capable more than you know.
  8. When will it get better?

    iambuki - congratulations on your decision. I did not take adderall for as long as you have, I was on it for about 2 years (vyvanse 70mg daily) before I decided to quit. I am almost 10.5 months off of it now, and I can tell you that it is absolutely worth it. When I first quit, it seemed like everything I read pointed to one year. But I definitely disagree, I began to see improvements at about 4 months, and I felt like it started to get lot better between 6-7 months. I had a great deal of trouble sleeping for the first several months, but I was lucky in that I had just quit my job to pursue my MBA full-time. I would work out, usually jogging several miles, to wear me out. Sometimes it would work. I saw you mentioned you would drink red bull/5 hr energy, everyone is different, but I definitely wouldn't recommend that. I did the same, drinking vast amounts of coffee in the beginning, but once I stopped doing that I realize I felt much better - and I was able to sleep a lot better. I've written this in other areas/forums on this site, but the best advice I can offer is to keep doing things - plan things, take up new projects, keep yourself busy. I realize this is very difficult in the beginning, but once I proved to myself that I could operate at a relatively high pace again, I was much happier. And quite frankly, I didn't have time to think about the depression, anxiety, as much. Don't get me wrong, it will still be there, but the faster you can move forward, the faster you can recover. When it comes to recovery, progress is measured in time. It gets better, I promise.
  9. What is happening to me

    I apologize for my late response - I cant tell you how much I appreciate everyone's input and support. Its finals week for me this week, I have one more to go tomorrow and then I am done for a month before fall quarter starts up. It has really kept me going to get these responses in the past few days, and I am blown away by the depth of your posts. Truly thank you. Bluemoon - I can't fathom how difficult it must be to live in a new place AND be recovering from adderall. You must be a very strong person. I absolutely would think that the situation you've described would have something to do with your mood and emotions during the recovery months. It is a new thing for me, since my girlfriend moved away, to feel stranded and alone during a time of discomfort, and I would imagine that you have had similar feelings all along being in an unfamiliar place. Not to say you don't have some level of support from friends in your new city but I think there is always comfort in familiarity of your surroundings. I hope you are able to find contentment in your new home and new job - if you haven't done so already. Regarding relationships, just as this website shows everyday that there are really amazing people out there that care for one another, and can empathize with others, I think you too can find someone that you will find that you enjoy being around and will support you. I know I am very thankful to have had someone with me throughout this process. I am not saying "Hey, you should go get out there!", because I know its not that easy when you are struggling to feel normal emotions. Nonetheless, I hope that you get surprised by meeting somebody new, you never know it could happen at a time you don't expect. And to answer your other questions, my girlfriend and I don't have it fully worked out how long this move would be for her. Originally we thought it would make sense for her to at least go out there and feel out this new position, and then decide on whether or not I would move there after school - or she would move back if she didn't like it. We are kind of caught in the middle right now, which doesn't make things easier. Best of luck going forward, thank you very much for sharing your story - lets both get through this. Duffman - I really really like your approach to this. I need to remind myself that this isn't really "me" so to speak that is causing the discomfort, its a function of my brain recovering from an addiction and the environment that affects it. And like you said, the recovery itself can't be influenced (other than to hinder it with poor health decisions), but the environment can be altered so as not to overwhelm and cause even more stress. At the very least, I think I will re-tweak my schedule for my next term to perhaps only include 2 classes instead of 4, that way I can spread out my workload and have time to recover. I've also thought about approaching my boss and asking for reduced work hours on days that I have class. I'm not sure which I will end up doing, but either way your input has made me start to lay out some options. I will also take your advice on making it a point to see my girlfriend, instead of talking to her over the phone or texting. I definitely have already experienced the fatigue of feeling like I should call and text her consistently/constantly, but like you said, its different when you actually see the person and see their emotions. I actually just got off of a face-time with her, it went for over an hour (a good thing), much longer than our normal phone conversations at night. I try not to bring up my recovery too much in our conversations, especially now that she has moved away, because I don't want her to think that I am not thinking about her and am only thinking about myself - and I don't want to make it seem like I cant handle the recovery on my own and somehow blame her for leaving, which I absolutely do not. But you're right, I do need to open up about it, especially in difficult times. Thank you for putting this all into perspective in this way, you've made me feel like this all is more manageable with the right mindset. Hope your recovery continues swiftly as well. BeHereNow - Ever since reading your post, I've been repeating your sentence "The body builds dopamine reserves through food, sleep, and exercise, and TIME" in my head over and over again. It is a clear formula to battle the stresses and aid in recovery. Honestly, having lived with my girlfriend for over a year in a studio, I'm not used to having alone/me time as much, and I think I relied almost too much on her to take my mind of things. I need to find strength and also solace in being alone, as you said, during the recovery. I will try hard to work on this, my friend suggested meditation, have you tried this and if so would you recommend it?
  10. What is happening to me

    I'm 7 months clean, and in the last few months I was actually doing really well. I was looking forward to things, making plans, enjoying myself. I was starting to feel emotions - and from reading other people's posts, it sounds like that's really what we all want. In the last week or so things took a turn for the worse. I just feel nothing. Life feels pointless. I am having terrible thoughts that I can't seem to avoid. All I keep thinking is will it ever get better, is this going to be my battle for the rest of my life? I look at everyone else walking down the street, young and old, they seem so carefree. I envy them for not being locked in a horrible self-struggle. Why can't I be like them? Will I ever feel like that again? If I can't live a life that I can feel, what's the point It's also worth noting that in the past month a few major-ish events have happened. My girlfriend of 2 years accepted a great job in Utah (I am in Chicago) and moved there in the end of May. Her family lives there as well, and they were going through some rough times, she wanted to be with them. We are still together. I don't ever plan on leaving her, she's the best thing that ever happened to me - and I know she feels the same. But that doesnt mean I don't feel abandoned and alone. Before she left, I was not working as I am a full time MBA student. After she left I took a full-time job downtown. I was hoping that it would keep my mind busy, keep my mind off the fact that she was not there every time I went home. So now I have 4 classes per week at night, and work 5 days a week. I'm sure that this has something to do with my horrible feelings. I have to change something. I have to move to Utah, or quit my job and focus on school, or something. I also want to propose to my girlfriend, but am afraid that I would be doing it to try and change something for myself. I am also terrified that if I proposed while feeling this terrible ... I wouldnt feel it. I don't know what I am looking for, or really why I posted this. Here is the only place I feel like anyone knows what I am talking about. Please tell me it gets better.
  11. Blood pressure changes?

    I just passed my 6 month point of being off vyvanse, and until a few weeks ago I was feeling great mentally. I am an MBA student and I've been doing much better in classes, been keeping up with friends and family more consistently, and even taken up some side projects like brewing beer. But in the past 2 weeks I've started experiencing some very strange physical symptoms. Ever since college I have had pre-hypertension, high blood pressure but not so high that they would consider it to be dangerous (I believe it was 128 over 80?). But more recently my blood pressure has dropped significantly, as low as 112 over 58. I've read that in most cases, low blood pressure is a good thing. But the problem is that I can feel it - I feel headrushes, slight dizziness, palpitations. I started a diet and have been eating much healthier, mostly vegetables, cutting back on sugar and sodium. I have a hard time believing that my diet caused my BP to drop so significantly, and I feel like I shouldn't really "feel" the drop. I wanted to throw this out there to see if anyone else felt any physical changes related to their heart during their vyvanse/adderall recovery. Hopefully this is just a phase and it goes away.
  12. On being overly capable..

    REALLY liked this post. I too am in grad school (MBA) and struggled with the feeling that I didn't understand everything that was being presented in some of my classes. But like you said, I don't think I would've understood it fully on vyvanse either, I would have just felt like I was. This is good motivation to keep pushing further. Thank you for posting
  13. blue moon, I am at a little over 5 months, but I definitely know what you mean. When I quit cold turkey (2.5 yrs 70 mg of vyvanse/daily) I felt like nothingness, like nothing mattered, that I had no energy to do anything, and even if I did I wasnt sure if it would make me happy. Or if I ever could be happy ever ... at all. Its a truly dark place that feels like there is not a way out. It started with panic attacks, but then just turned into anxiety, combined with tiredness. The brain fog was paralyzing, sleep was terrible, the list goes on. But more recently my mind has changed, don't get me wrong, I still have bad days, but I am starting to find that there are things I really want to do. And I've found that doing anything that gets me closer to something that I have even the faintest inkling of wanting to do, makes me feel better. Is there an old friend you want to see? Shoot them a text and set up a get together or just start a conversation. Feel like doing nothing and playing video games? Look ahead in your schedule and figure out when you can do that - and then look forward to that. Is there a movie thats coming out that you might want to see? Go see it, even by yourself (I did this and got a big box of popcorn, it felt great). Think of it this way, during the recovery, which could take 6 more months, you arent expected to do much of anything - you arent well equipped to be able to do very much of anything - so anything you can do for yourself right now is a HUGE step in the right direction. And after awhile, all of these things will add up. After awhile of this, I find myself getting excited for things again. Getting excited to see people. And even though I still feel stress sometimes, or have misplaced anxiety, or feel depressed -- I am still getting closer and closer to the goal, happiness. Also, I've cut out a lot of drinking, dont drink a lot of caffeine, drink relaxing teas, try to work out a few times a week, and eat lots of good foods (I have gained a talent making shakes every morning with veggies and fruits). Hang in there. I know sometimes it feels like its going nowhere, and you are totally lost, but thats when you look for those little things that you want to do. I used to hate hearing that the recovery could take years, but as I've gotten better, you realize you just focus on the good stuff, and do what you can to make more of the good stuff. You are stronger than you think!
  14. "Reversing Brain Damage" Supplements

    Renascido - it's been a little over a month, I was wondering how your regiment has been going? I feel like it has helped. I am an MBA student and in the months after I quit using vyvanse I was useless, it was so difficult to sit down and write a paper or do an assignment. But I have definitely noticed that once I sit down and commit to it, I have been able to concentrate and complete the given task, in the past month. Now, I'm also coming up on over 5 months without having taken vyvanse, so perhaps my progress could be attributed to the natural recovery of coming off the drug. I also used to have quite a bit of anxiety, and I still do, but I feel there has been a lot of progress in my overall mood/anxiety level when at rest. My heart doesn't feel like its beating really hard at random times. I know the vincetpotene, ginko, and fish oil are supposed to help with circulation, so perhaps thats why my heart rate feels slower and more relaxed? Overall, I feel better, but nothing so prolific that points directly to the vitamins as the responsible addition. Nonetheless, more happy days = progress = I'll take it! I will check in again perhaps in another month or so.
  15. Never Give Up!

    Your words are truly inspiring, thank you for sharing this. I really needed it. God bless