AmeliePoulain

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  1. 60 hours out - will I ever feel normal again?

    Thank you all so much for the kind thoughts and care. I am still here, still clean. It's been very hard. Very sad news - my cousin died a couple of days ago of cancer. He was only 18. My family are all pulling together over this terrible tragedy, but I am still in another country, wishing I was there with them. The kind words of encouragement and understanding that you've all offered mean the world to me. I'm glad to be able to tell you I've stayed off the medication. Just taking one day at a time.
  2. Quotes and wise words that have helped you through?

    Thanks Jon Had to share this one too - it's Edgar Allen Poe: “I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom."
  3. 60 hours out - will I ever feel normal again?

    Day 21. Help. I feel absolutely horrible today. I have just ditched the final medication that I was on - amitriptyline - about four days ago. I'm hungover (i just wanted to go out and have fun last night and stop thinking about things) and now I feel like absolute hell. I've never felt more like just taking one dexamphetamine tablet, just to help me get back on track. This is really, really hard - I know that taking it would make me feel amazing. Right now, I feel exhausted, insecure, really hating myself and feeling weak and sad. I have put on lots of weight, just in the last three weeks. I am physically in pain. It's just awful. I am berating myself for going out last night. None of my clothes fit. At this moment, life feels really hopeless. Today is the first time in 21 days I've really, really felt like taking the drug again. My brain is telling me "just a couple of days back on it, you can exercise, get back in shape, get on top of things, start to feel good about yourself." I just need to be strong and give the healing time. But this is so hard, I am so sad and I am so tired of trying and fighting all the time. I just want to give up.
  4. Hi whosthisguy I am in a similar position - I'm not sure I have any good news, but I can share my thoughts. I know this sounds really trite, but recovery takes time. Not only do you have to get used to not being on the drug, but you have to change your performance standards and get used to doing things differently. It's not worse - just slower and less intense - and you have to modify your self expectations to accommodate that. Your performance measures can't be the same as they were before - you'll be a bit foggier, move more slowly and (I believe) produce more carefully considered work. I have been "lucky" because I've got a break from study and work to withdraw and recover. Regarding your immediate situation, a few things. Firstly, you are worried about what your professor is thinking, but you probably don't know what he is really thinking - the standards and deadlines are probably self imposed expectations about how you think you should perform. Is that right? Just re-set the bar. Maybe write to him and tell him that you'll be another week. Don't feel the need to weave complex stories - this is just life and you are both adults. If he inquires or gives concrete reasons for why it needs to be sooner, then deal with that at the time. But don't pre-empt his disapproval. You need a little more time, so just create it for yourself. Most likely the world will conform to you - he will be ok with it (he has his own life to get on with and unlikely that you are the centre of his world!), the time will materialise and no one will take a second look. Once you've got time and breathing space, then you can consider your own motivations and how to get the work done. What works well for you? A little bit of work each day maybe? Rewards? Set yourself time deadlines rather than task based deadlines. E.g. I'm not going to finish this job today, all i'm going to do is work on it for an hour. Then the starting is easier. Take the pressure off yourself. You expect so much from yourself and it becomes unbearable. Be gentle. Maybe once you've got the extra time, you need an extra full day off to let go of all the self judgment. I hope this makes some sense and might help. I know exactly what you're going through - just take it step by step, you're doing a great job.
  5. Hi all, During this quit/recovery process, I've found it really inspiring to read quotes and poetry about addiction, adversity, patience and recovery. I was wondering if other people have had similar experiences and if they would like to share those words here. It was Jon's reference to The Journey that made me think of this. A few of my favourites right now: “One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.†― Andre Gide No matter how hopeless or bleak things appear, the moment always comes when suddenly our spirit revives, and hope is reborn. That is why we must never give up. “One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.†― Sigmund Freud “Another page turns on the calendar, April now, not March…I wanted to swallow the bitter seeds of forgetfulness... Somehow, I dragged myself out of the dark and asked for help. I spin and weave and knit my words and visions until a life starts to take shape. There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn't matter anymore. I am thawing.†― Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls “Scars are not injuries, Tanner Sack. A scar is a healing. After injury, a scar is what makes you whole.†― China Miéville, The Scar “We must be content to grow slowly. Most of us will still barely be at the beginning of our recovery by the time we die. But that is better than killing ourselves pretending to be healthy.†― Simon Tugwell “How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world! How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make their contribution toward introducing justice straightaway… And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!†― Anne Frank “Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.â€â€• Ayn Rand There are so many things I would love to post along these lines – I’ve tried to keep it limited. I look forward to hearing the words that inspire others.
  6. 60 hours out - will I ever feel normal again?

    Thanks Jon! The support is so much appreciated.
  7. Thanks Quit-once, very wise words. I think this is exactly right. Remembering that it will just be a chapter in our lives is critical - at the moment it feels all consuming. Keeping perspective is the key.
  8. Calo - I hope some of that might be helpful for you? I know it's so damn hard. I'm going through all the dreariness now too. I feel fat and tired and can't remember anything. I feel useless to everyone. But I've realised that I have to decide my own standards for what a good performance is or what amounts to an achievement. Right now, if I get out of bed, go for a little walk or swim, chat to people, try to eat enough healthy food (in addition to all the rubbish that is now so irresistible!), that's a good day. I used to do so much all the time - my old self wants to berate me for being unfit and slothful, for not thinking properly, for forgetting things, getting lost or 'spacing out' like you say - my old self wants to label these things as 'failings'. I am not good enough; I'm not doing what other people appear to be doing; I'm not doing as well as I 'should' in life. But it's upto me to reset the bar. I'm coming off a drug - right now, staying off, resting and taking it slowly are achievements. Not hating myself - that is an achievement. Taking a deep breath and remembering that just because i'm spaced out now, that doesn't mean I'm a bad person or a failure. Life is so long, there is time for us to heal and to try again. Go easy on yourself. There is nothing wrong and you are doing a good job. I think it's about patience - we'll get there.
  9. I know this post is mostly old but thought I might chime in. I have worked as a solicitor and lecturer for a couple of years and have just finished my Masters in Law at a top uni. I was absolutely terrified that I wouldn't be able to perform at the necessary level anymore without the drug. But as I learned the hard way, an Adderall ADDICTION will NOT make you perform better at the highest levels. It will not. I nearly failed this year - I've never even come close to that before. I was moving too quickly, skimming over important complexities, failing to engage patiently and sensibly with the real issues and was exhausted/anxious/stressed out of my brain. The fear that you can't do it on your own is horrible and gut wrenching. I've only been off the medication for two weeks, but already I am slowly realising that the analytical skills I value and need were not because of the drug -- the drug just intensifies and extends. So, sure, I won't be able to analyse the law for 15 hours straight anymore - but who wants to do that? I would rather take my time, consider the issues properly and get it right. The drugs made me better at law firm 'manual labour' - I could work faster and longer. But they didn't make me better at analysis, which is necessary at the upper levels of academia. I felt more intelligent, of course, I thought I was a super genius. But I wasn't. In all honesty, I was better before. I really and truly believe that now. It was harder - but I did it better. Stanford Law (if you do come back), I think you said that you felt different to others on here because you've never experienced academia without Adderall? Well, the good news is that Adderall can't make you smart. That's just you. It can drive and motivate you, but we can learn these habits. It's not always easy, especially if you do have ADHD, but I really believe that alternative techniques and fostering good habits can be immensely helpful. You are much more capable than you think you are. The question raised in this forum is critical for me, because I want to continue a career in academia - and I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to do that on my own. But I have much more faith now. It's not going to happen straight away - but I really believe that slowly I will rehabilitate. I might not go at a million miles a minute anymore, but I think overall my performance will improve.
  10. 60 hours out - will I ever feel normal again?

    Day thirteen. I can't believe how much has happened over the last 13 days. I finished my exams and was in a sleep-wake daze for about three days, withdrawing from the dexamphetamine (like Adderall) and zopiclone (sleeping medication). The first week was horrendous, but things picked up at day seven. I was starting to feel present again, like myself. I had full conversations with people. I remembered that my passion and excitement for things wasn't the meds, it was really me. This was a great realisation. I slept and ate - a lot. I have put on weight, but I started to feel freer. The last few days have been much harder again. Bombshell #1: Yesterday I got the exam results from the masters I've been doing for the last year. I passed, but the marks were really bad. I am used to getting very high marks - it's hard to explain how traumatising this has been for me. I have always valued myself according to my academic successes - they are all I've ever had, I've failed at relationships and everything else. These marks were close to a fail - so the sense of worthlessness has been overwhelming. I shouldn't have been surprised - the anxiety, stress and depression caused by the medication during the year was almost unbearable - I was close to the edge more than once. It is a miracle that I even made it to the exams, and should just be proud to have finished. But accepting those things is hard. Especially when I am surrounded by overachievers who don't know anything about my drug struggles this year. It really did feel (does feel?) like my future was hopeless and I am just incompetent. I am trying to remind myself about the challenges I've faced - and be glad to have passed. Bombshell #2: Today I told my parents everything. They have come to visit me at college and I hadn't seen them for a year. I told them about my ADHD diagnosis from 18 months ago, about the medicine I've been taking since then, the to and fro from one psych to another, and I told them about the hell of the last 12 months. They weren't upset or angry - they were just so relieved and so grateful to know the truth. They were so proud of me. I was so scared that they would be worried and upset (that's why I haven't told them) but they weren't - they were strong for me and just told me how much they loved me. They hugged me and told me everything would be ok - they would look after me and we would get through all this, whatever the outcome. So I guess things are ok. I didn't get my first class honours - but I'm alive, right? And my parents still love me, even now they know the whole story. I believe there is enough time in life for us to make mistakes and to try again and to keep on going. I think we will all be so much stronger and better for having been through these problems. I believe that we really are so courageous for getting to this point and for talking about it and helping each other. We're brave for trying again and again. Thank you for reading and sharing this experience with me. I am absolutely inspired by all of your courage and strength.
  11. 60 hours out - will I ever feel normal again?

    Thanks so much Ashley. I have seen bits and pieces of your story and it is really inspiring. The place in between - where you don't quite know if it's the withdrawal anymore or just inexplicable sadness - is really rough. Thanks for the reassurance and the company. As so many have said, this is a lonely place. I'm so grateful to have company here.
  12. The Journey

    Hi Jon, I'm a recent quitter (7 days!) and thank you for your post. The Mary Oliver words are extremely powerful - it describes how I feel perfectly, pushing through the hundreds of voices and just waiting for something honest to come through. I also like the idea that one day you know, and all you can do is begin. You can't know where you're going to end up, how hard it will be, if you'll succeed or what is waiting at the end. All you can do is have faith and take the first step. I wish you the best of luck in managing your work schedule right now. It's difficult to say much with authority - but in terms of the opinions of others, I definitely think that people are paying less attention to us than we tend to think! Lots of people go through down times at work - whether because of illness, personal problems or simply busy times in their lives - this is just one of those (not to downplay it). Please try your best to be gentle with yourself if you can. Try to rest when possible - and perhaps consider taking some time off if that's available? Even if it's a financial challenge, it's worth considering - this is your health and your life. It's really important and noone else will prioritise it for you. It's difficult to know what more to say - everyone has difficult and unique circumstances. I have taken time off work to go through this withdrawal - I will end up in a lot of debt because of this but I really and truly want to feel good again, to feel rested and confident and healthy. Once I worked out my priorities, time off was simply the only option. But that's not available to everyone, I understand that, and I am sure you will be fine if you have to keep working - it just means you have to be that much more gentle with yourself, keep perspective, don't let the achievement anxiety get to you. Of course, now that I have actually quit, I feel older still. In fact I feel as though I’ve been buried alive, so heavy is the burden of racking up hours paid in bed. You absolutely have to ditch the psychological burden you're talking about, the guilt of being tired, of not being able to work. You have to find a way to forgive yourself and surrender to the process. You are the only one who can do that. The guilt and the burden are doing far more damage than the actual quitting OR the shift work. Thanks for sharing your story - you are doing a great job, that much is clear. I look forward to hearing the next chapter.
  13. 60 hours out - will I ever feel normal again?

    God this is so hard. Early hours of the morning, can't sleep, heart racing, feeling unhealthier and less capable than ever. Hating myself for getting into this mess, for starting this drug in the first place. I feel so utterly weak and useless. And this is only day six. How do I even know if it's the drugs and withdrawal making me feel crap? Maybe this shitty depression and hopelessness is just me. Just trying to find some courage to keep going.
  14. 60 hours out - will I ever feel normal again?

    Thanks for all the words. Six days out. This time is so strange - tired, moody and slothful - but I knew that was coming, I'm giving myself permission and that just has to be ok. I keep telling myself, like a mantra, that time will heal, that I will get fitter and happier and more driven on my own without medication - I just need to give it time. The really overwhelming thoughts are the ones telling me it wouldn't be such a big deal to just start up again. "Hmmm I think I'm already over the bad bit - obviously the meds are not as big a deal as I thought - doctors me it's ok, so it must be ok, right? I'm sleeping a bit, eating a lot and generally doing 'life things' so how much could it possibly have messed me around??" I am trying to remind myself that it really did mess me around - the anxiety, the panic, the absolute desperation and mania. It was really and truly that bad. And (if all of that fails) I am just trying to tell myself that a few months off is a good idea anyway - regardless of what happens then. Start with a clean slate - see some new doctors - and try to remember how much pain this medication has caused me. But really, i think i'm done with it altogether. I'm trying to be prepared for the ups and downs that await me without scaring myself off. One foot in front of the other. I'm not going back.
  15. 60 hours out - will I ever feel normal again?

    thank you so much. 76 hours (and unfortunately counting...). I am so scared - but i don't want to drown out reality anymore. In the big picture, I want to find a way to accept myself, limitations and all, and to find value in myself - even if i can't chug out 15 hours of work a day or come first in everything. I just want to believe that i'm worthwhile anyway. The physical pain has been awful - 3 or so days of just screaming in my ears, fidgety discomfort in all of my limbs, heaviness and hunger in my body. I think the drug should be just about gone - and i am totally exhausted. One foot in front of the other. Trying not to be dragged down by the sadness and self pity, i want to believe that i can create the life i always imagined.