Sometimes I think, I wish I had never been introduced to Adderall. Because had I not, I would have experienced 2 years of life that I lost to this drug. But I learned so much about myself through this whole process, and I believe I am a stronger individual because of it. As a disclaimer, I write this as someone who has never had ADHD or needed any such medication.
How it began:
The story of how I started abusing this drug begins like many others. I was excelling at a (very) competitive university all on my own, but one day I decided to take an Adderall that was offered to me. It was just half of a 10 mg and I loved it. With my heart beating fast and euphoria racing through my veins, I studied all night and the next day. I conned my way into getting a prescription and the rest is history. I would rip through my high-dosage bottles after 2 weeks. This occurred for two years. Through my addiction, I gained a fair amount of weight and lost confidence. My addiction weakened my resolve all around, and made me a person I didn't recognize. I didn't sleep, I binge ate carbs, I was grouchy, I was antisocial and awkward. I'd rather have cleaned my room than hang out with my friends. (I'm sure if you're reading this, you are familiar with all of this). I tried to quit a few times, but it failed when I became miserable and anxious over my laziness and constant snacking. With the stress of school, and seeing pictures of myself with extra weight on myself, I would always get back on the Adderall. It was a vicious, vicious cycle: Decide it’s time to quit —> binge eat, sleep all day—> hate myself, become anxious about school/work —> get back on Adderall —> tweak out, not sleep —> build up tolerance/run out of pills —> decide it’s time to quit —> binge eat, sleep—>anxiety—> get back on, ETC.!
HOW TO CONQUER IT:
A vicious cycle is the damn truth. I wish I had a better solution for you but the truth is: the only way out is THROUGH. You have to give yourself the withdrawal month or 2 months of being lazy, of snacking, of sleeping. You’ve got to find a way to be OK with gaining weight and being lazy. You’ve got to give yourself the self compassion that you need, instead of beating yourself up about the whole thing. As someone who is extremely self-critical about my looks and my willpower, I’ll admit this is not an easy thing to do. But here is where you have to put the big picture into vision. You either go through this time in your life, and yes it’s going to suck, OR you continue to lose your life to this drug. You stay in the same damn Adderall cycle for the rest of your life. You miss out on real human interaction, on feeling the humanness that bonds us to people. You miss out on love, laughter, and life. At times, it’s going to seem “not worth it” to quit. I experienced this in my cycle when I tried to quit and failed. I would think, “omg, I can’t now, I have this big event where I need to look good, or this big test!”. But tell me- when are you going to do it? Is there ever an ideal time? Well, no there’s really not. Because life is always going to seem better when you’re not a lazy slug, off your meds eating half the pantry. But like I said, you’ve gotta go through it. That is truly, truly, the only way out. No more time for excuses: “I’m gonna get really skinny then get off Adderall; I’m gonna nail this test then go off.” Because you’re literally always going to have those excuses. Put your blinders on and focus on what really matters. And give yourself compassion. Life is hard, you’re only human. But quitting is truly the BEST thing you can do for yourself. Making that decision and doing it is admirable, and you should be proud of yourself. Be proud of yourself even as you’re sitting there devouring a bag of Doritos and napping for 3 hours. When you feel like yourself again (and you will), you’re going to care about yourself and your wellness. You’re going to lose that weight and get back into shape the way you used to: exercise and healthy eating, NOT Adderall starvation. It’s not going to be easy watching yourself transform from a tweaked-out busy bee to a lazy slug; but for you to become the pre-Adderall YOU again, that transformation has to happen. You will become the person you are meant to be when you end the cycle once and for all.
Those are the things I learned from my experience quitting. I am still working on getting back in shape and building up my good habits again, but I can tell you that I’m a huge leap and bound away from the slug that I was in my withdrawal month/2 months. Most importantly however, I am myself again. I feel ease in my soul because I am living life as the woman I was born to be.
So last words about quitting: It sucks when you’re in it but STAY IN IT to make it out. The only way out is through. And you WILL make it through. Give yourself compassion, give yourself time. You got this.