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.