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About Emily

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  1. 72 days clean

    Hey all, I am 72 days clean and I wanted to give an update on some things I've learned. As many of you know, some days REALLY suck, but I think the bad days are getting farther apart now. I felt pretty good the first month. The second month was actually a lot harder. I kept thinking 'it's been 2 months. I should be feeling better now.' I started to get impatient and lose some of the self-love, nurturing routines that gave me courage to quit in the first place. There were a couple times I started to think it wasn't a big deal to go back on the pills, but I know that was the addiction talking. Anyway, I know it may sound silly, but I truly think the biggest thing that has helped me make it this far is self love. I keep a journal that I write in every day. I try to be as honest as possible about my cravings, depression, anxiety, etc. I also try to do some yoga, breathing exercises, and daily walks/runs. Most days I really don't feel like doing any of it, but the one little bit of intrinsic motivation comes from a sense of gratitude that the stimulants didn't kill me. I feel like I was given a second chance, and even though it's dark most days, I am so grateful to be able to go on this recovery journey. I understand how easy it is to give into the self-loathing and pessimism, but I think those thought patterns only make the recovery worse. When I write in my journal, I try to think of my addict self as if it were an old friend that I've outgrown. She is wrong and dangerous, but I don't hate her. I have just outgrown that relationship. If I can personify my addiction but also see it as something separate from my 'true' self, I am less attached. This helps with cravings too. They are the worst when I am working or when I have to do something new and challenging. When I observe the cravings rather than obsess over them, I notice that they subside as the day goes on. The cravings are temporary just like the tired adderall-obsessed identity. I love my future self too much to give up now. I write letters to myself and quotes on the bathroom mirror. I even recorded a message to listen to when I am feeling especially weak. All this may seem silly, but honestly it's the strongest thing I know that helps to combat the negative thought patterns that reinforced my addiction for so many years. You are rewiring your brain. Your self talk is important. Your thoughts about your progress shape your recovery. I also try to find at least one moment each day to acknowledge how a certain experience is better than it would have been if I were on Adderall. For me, music has been a HUGE part of my recovery. I have several go-to playlists for my good and bad days. I have listened to more music in the last 72 days than I did in the 5 years I was on Adderall. It's worth all the bad days to be able to really hear music again. Your interests are going to be different and that's ok. Get creative with discovering what you truly enjoy. If you have to chill inside, that's ok too. The biggest thing is to not make your recovery worse by beating yourself up about how you got here in the first place. Your life is not ruined. You're exactly where you need to be. You had to hit rock bottom, but now you're on your way up. It's going to be dark for a little while, but you WILL get better and there is so much beauty in your unravelling.
  2. Hi! It sounds like your experience has been very similar to mine. I am approaching one month clean, and I have a couple of tips: 1) sleep as much as you can. Honestly, you probably need it. I wouldn't be too alarmed by needing 10-11 hours plus a nap. It's totally normal during early withdrawal. I tend to have vivid dreams and I know every night I get a deep night's sleep means my brain is recovering. 2) I don't think there is anything wrong with having a little bit of caffeine if you feel lethargic. Habits are easiest to change when you actively replace an old pattern with a new behavior that gives you a similar reward. Obviously, caffeine doesn't come close to giving you the feeling the pills did, but it may help on days that are extra hard. 3) when you feel extra low, it helps to go outside and get your heart rate up. This may be really difficult bc of lack of motivation and low energy, but you won't regret it. Exercise is probably the best thing you can do for yourself in this state. It will help your brain get back to somewhat normal neurotransmitter levels. 4) if it's extra difficult to get started on work, add a little something extra. For example, I will light a candle or play some music in the background. We need that little extra stimulation to get started. You might be surprised at how some days you may be able to get into a creative flow and be pretty focused for a while. Obviously this focus will feel different than when you were on the meds, but personally there has been no more rewarding feeling than when I discover the right balance of natural stimuli to get me in a good headspace to work. Be open and creative and try and have fun with rediscovering your mind's natural little idiosyncrasies. 5) get plenty of veggies, fruit, and water! I have made the mistake plenty of times that I can eat whatever and still focus because that was how it was on the pills. Healthy diet is just as important, if not more important, than exercise. Just think of all those nutrients coming directly from the food you eat that help with natural neurotransmitter production. I have a green drink I take daily called Athletic Greens. It's a little pricey, but there are cheaper alternatives as well. It makes me feel awesome and is a fantastic pre workout drink. 6) Be kind to yourself! This is SO important! The negative self talk can trigger a whole load of thoughts that will make it easy to justify taking the pills. For example, if I miss something super obvious and make a mistake while working, it's easy to automatically think 'I can't do anything without my meds. Why am I even trying?' In the past, these thoughts have always led to me getting back on the pills and inevitably ending up in the same destructive cycle of abuse. The thing that has been so helpful this time around is actively observing my thoughts and redirecting when I notice the negative self talk. I now try and think that every little mistake means my brain is learning and adapting. I have to believe that this phase is temporary and that every day that passes means that my mind is getting a little bit stronger. I have to believe that my future self will thank me for going through this struggle. I am making this sacrifice for my future self and future relationships. Honestly, what other choice do you have? You owe it to your future self to see what you're made of without the pills. Have faith in yourself and know there is so much beauty in the struggle. You will be so much stronger because of it.
  3. Almost a month clean

    Hi all, I am almost one month clean and I have a few questions. First of all, I definitely had good days and bad days, and I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice about diet and foods to avoid that may make attention issues and withdrawal worse. I try and eat plenty of fruit and veggies, but yesterday I sort of splurged and got pizza with my fiance. I ate so much yesterday and today, and I feel SO scatterbrained and inattentive. I tried to do some work earlier, and I got overwhelmed with the smallest things. Also, I feel very silly, and I know my fiance thinks it's funny, but I'm honestly a little uncomfortable that I can't seem to turn it off. I want to be professional and to be taken seriously, but right now I just feel ridiculous. The second question I have regards relationships. My fiance has been really supportive of me getting clean. I have struggled with this for 5 years and I was on it for our entire relationship. I know in the long run, I will be a better partner for him, but my recovery takes up so much energy that I'm afraid he doesn't fully understand. I feel like I'm talking about it constantly because sometimes ADHD meds are all I can think about. Also, I keep forgetting little things and he gets annoyed and impatient. This usually triggers a plethora of negative thoughts that makes me think I can't function without my meds, and why am I even trying. I know this is just my addiction talking, so I try and observe these thoughts and redirect my thinking to be patient and forgiving with myself. I am healing and it takes time. I just wish I could get my fiance to understand that it will take some time before I am as productive as I was before and that's ok. I may make little mistakes. I may forget little things. I don't want him to think I am just making excuses for having trouble accomplishing small tasks. Any advice?