As we all have in common, I too fell into the habit of relying on a tiny pill(s) to feel somewhat “normal”. I have been pretty much habitually addicted to Adderall for the past 5 years or so. Unlike a lot of users, I began taking prescribed ADD medication early in my 20’s. I had taken it a few times throughout college to cram for late night study sessions, but other than that I had very little knowledge or experience with it.
I began taking very minimal doses of Adderall XR and that was the slow downfall of it all. After a little while taken the XR, I began experiencing weird neck pains and what felt like living in slow motion 24/7. After discussing with my doctor, I was switched to Vyvanse for quite a while to the point of being prescribed the highest dose that my doc could legally give me. Initially I really liked vyvanse and how I handled it, but like every other time, that initial honeymoon period ends.
I worked at a restaurant 60+ hours a week on top of taking a full class schedule to earn my Bachelors degree so I suffered through the negative side effects that came with Vyvanse. I lost all my personality where I came of as unapproachable and was fast becoming an emotionless zombie that didn’t really care about anything, that resulted in losing a number of friendships as well as serious, long term relationship I was in at that time. I again went to my doctor and tried a few other medications that didn’t seem to work at all before settling on Adderall IR. I began at 20mg daily (I think) a few years ago to being prescribed (2) 30 MG peach shaped football pills daily, which is far too much for most people. This prescription was the only time I didn’t forget to eat for days at a time or became an insomniac on, so I kept taking them daily for years straight.
For all the pros I enjoyed on my medication, the cons slowly started outweighing everything. I again started losing any emotion to anything really and started isolating myself from everything. As a result or seeming upset or stand offish from Adderall changing my personality , I lost my well paying job I had been at for almost 10 years and had no idea what I was going to do. I don’t know about anybody else that regularly took Adderall, but I had a big problem of impulsively buying stuff that A. I didn’t need and B. Was well above my means. I had very little saved up that I was ashamed of since I had a good paying job and made a very livable salary for someone in their early 20’s that was still in school. I fell deeply into debt and also drinking alcohol in excess almost every day. I had to settle on a job that was far below what I was doing or making just to try and make ends meet. I ended up moving back to my parents house because I couldn’t afford minimal rent on top of trying to cover all the dumb bills I accumulated from reckless spending for years. On top of stressing over how I would pay my bills and being beyond ashamed of where I was in life, my body started wrecking havoc on itself after years of pounding from the abuse of ADD drugs that still haven’t been fixed and makes day to day living riddled with pains
This is roughly when the first time I realized I was experiencing a quasi rock bottom. I started heavily reading up on quitting Adderall and tried and failed over and over. I finally graduated after years and years of schooling and fortunately got offered a job that was 1000 + miles from where I grew up at and it seemed like a god send. I took it as a sign and opportunity to try and get my life back together. I tried quitting cold turkey and lasted around a month, but realized that it was not a good decision because it was hurting my performance at a new job that I couldn’t afford to lose. I lost all the motivation and drive I used to have to take care of myself and just started neglecting everything and anything that didn’t involve my actual work ethic. For all the years I have been on Adderall, working hard never suffered because of reliance on medication. My personal life and well being was where it basically changed who I was entirely and not for the best.
Prior to getting swallowed in this long rut in my life, I had always been fairly put together and a decent looking guy that always tried to take care of himself physically and mentally. I never in a million years imagined myself not being like that or being overweight and whatnot. By no means am I trying to offend someone or seem arrogant by saying that. The only way I can actually share this is by typing it online where nobody knows me personally, so that should put it into perspective. My friends and coworkers have always jokingly said that I must live in the most pristine apartment or that Im probably very driven to take care of myself because of how hard I worked on the job and from people knowing me growing up how dedicated I was to sports and whatnot. That may have been somewhat accurate in the past, not it’s the furthest thing from the truth at this point in my life.
The things they have no idea about is that I am ashamed of how I am as a person after all these years, or that even though I used to be a collegiate soccer player for a short period and that I was beyond dedicated to staying in shape and taking care of myself and lifestyle, I haven’t stepped foot in a gym for over two years or that I can’t remember the last time I kicked a soccer ball when it was all I wanted to do up until my late, late teens. Or how I never had a problem feeling insecure with how I looked, to now being ashamed of getting out of shape and putting on noticeable weight to where I purposely avoid beaches or pools for that exact reason. They also don’t know that I usually let my apartment become beyond dirty before some specific reason comes up to deep clean it for I won’t be embarrassed how it usually is. I essentially live a quasi double life that probably would baffle them. The worst part is that I know that I need to change those things for my own well being, yet I just can’t seem to find the motivation or drive anymore.
This was my second realization of truly hitting rock bottom. I still haven’t told anyone really about any of this besides right now, but for once I don’t feel so negative about it. I finally decided once and for all, to start tapering off as much as I could take it and to also not go back to my long time family doctor to renew my medication which only left me with a 6 month time line of being able to fill a script and try and taper down to where the withdrawal was minimal.
That was October of this past year and its truly one of the hardest things I’ve had to come to terms with. It’s terrifying to realize that I’m going to have to be productive doing anything without the little push Adderall gave me. It’s also terrifying to Think of basically relearning most facets of normal everyday life down to the smallest thing as doing laundry or having conversations with someone. As painful as it is to know it’s going to be a long road, I am happy that I can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel, however small it may be. It’s comforting to know that I’m not on this road to recovery alone and I can read stories of people accepting this same thing before it’s too late.