I've been taking Adderall for about 6 months now. I started because I couldn't concentrate and get my work done. A friend gave me a pill to try, which boosted my productivity immensely. I found a psychiatrist and got a prescription.
I'm quitting Adderall as of tomorrow.
Why I'm Quitting Adderall
I've been learning to love myself. After reading "Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It" I've had the most incredible experiences of self-love and enjoying life.
But the downside is, I find that every time I take adderall it completely snaps me out of it. It takes me out of my body and into my head, which runs at a mile a minute and feels like it's buzzing. I feel emotionally shut off and unable to access happiness, love or enjoyment.
Previously, that wasn't a big deal, because honestly I wasn't enjoying life that much anyway. But now being unable to feel actually feels very painful.
Of course, on top of that, there's the whole wanting to feel self-efficacy and confidence thing. Plus, I want to see how high I can go naturally. Adderall is definitely a detriment to that. Basically, I want to feel attractive, powerful, happy and loving instead of dependent and numb.
My Main Challenge ...
My main challenge is that I started taking Adderall for a reason. I couldn't get my work done. Now that I've decided to quit Adderall, I need to not only overcome the mental / chemical addiction, but also address the issues that had me not get things done in the first place.
Fortunately, I've only been using Adderall for 5-6 months, so I think the chemical addiction isn't nearly as strong as what a lot of people here have to go through. Mentally, I don't know if I'm "addicted" per se; I just know it's gonna be hard to get things done.
1) Focus on starting instead of finishing. Instead of saying "I need to finish this 40 page paper," I'm going to say "I'm going to start a 7 minute block of work time." Make tasks seem smaller and more manageable in my mind.
I'm going to slowly increase the amount of time I spend in each block of work time. Think of it like the Pomodoro Technique, but on a much smaller scale. The idea is to systematically train my brain to be able to concentrate on one task for a pre-set amount of time. I'm going to start it small, at 5-7 minutes, then gradually increase it until I can get an uninterrupted block of 25 minutes done at a time.
2) CELEBRATE each success. Success defined as the completion of one block of work time. The idea is to condition my brain to look forward to that celebration of success, instead of feeling dread for having to do a huge block of work.
In short, make blocks of work smaller and more manageable and CELEBRATE each success.
3) Take breaks during the day to play music and say "I love myself" to myself. Access self-compassion.
4) Exercise during the day. Jog around the block. Pushups in the office. Get the blood flowing.
5) Eat well. Eat Paleo. Eat organic greens, organic chicken. Start the day with a health superfoods shake, including Spirulina, Cacao, organic fruits and organic greens.
6) Be committed to play time and regeneration. Rejuvenate and recharge.
Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of not getting things done. I can't really take 2 weeks to "ease in" nor can I really afford poor performance. Basically I need to be able to maintain about 80% of my Adderall productivity, without Adderall.
My Theory on Why I Needed Adderall in the First Place
A lot of my work feels like rote work. Work that I hate doing. Here's what I believe happened:
1) I feel dread or anxiety about doing the work
2) I tell myself "I have to do it." I take on an authoritarian voice with myself, subtly.
3) The rebel "part of myself" feels subtly angry. The feeling of not wanting to do the work increases.
4) Over time, the feeling of not wanting to do the work, the pain of doing something I don't like, the dread, etc all adds up to one big paralyzing sensation.
Here's how I want to overcome it:
1) Have a deep sense of self-love and love of life.
2) Reward myself for small accomplishments and train my mind to view my work as many small chunks with rewards at the end.
3) Rewire my brain to experience joy and reward in work.
4) Notice when I'm saying "I have to" or "I should" and replace those statements with "I love myself, so I choose to do X because of Y" (E.g. "I love myself, so I choose to spend the next 7 minutes writing this article because doing so will give me the free time I need to change my career.")
Also really recommend "The Now Habit" which breaks down a lot of these authoritarian - rebel self-talk complexes in detail.
So, that's my thoughts and that's how I plan to quit. My intention is to post in this thread regularly. To update on what I find challenging or how the whole process goes.
I love that there's this support community. Thank you guys.