Your baked brain.

Postby exstonerinhell » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:02 pm

If you're coming here, suffering from Marijuana PAWS, first and foremost, you have to accept you're brain damaged right now. Yep, terrifying, but it's true. You pumped your brain full of a foreign substance, and to counteract that substance your brain had to go against its natural order to come to a level of homeostasis with what you were doing to it. The brain is not meant to feel that much pleasure at the flick of a lighter over, and over, and over again. And now, you've made the right move and have stepped away from weed, but Oh no!, now you're suffering.

Why? Because you've made your brain suffer for so long and now it's getting back at you? No, the suffering you're going through now is healing. Just as when you get a virus or a stomach bug, your body reacts violently to right itself and to protect you.

Don't freak out, just because you're brain damaged doesn't mean that you can't/won't heal, you absolutely can and will (and I write this with total confidence, deep, deep within the hellish grip of PAWS) heal.

People who come out of a coma and can't walk (you can) heal.
People who come out of a coma and can't recognize their loved ones (you can) heal.
They can't speak (you can), write (you can), or read (you can) and they heal.

So, what in the hell is going on then? Why are you so depressed, anxious, racing thoughts, crying spells, suffering from depersonalization, headaches, cold spells, sweating, and all the fun things our brain puts us through during this process? You are healing. Your mind and body are trying to find a balance within themselves in an attempt to intrinsically heal themselves, and now you're along for the ride.

Let's look at the bits of your brain that are freaking out right now, trying to balance themselves out after the trauma you caused by this so-called innocent, harmless and non-addictive drug.

Amygdala
Fear, this is the bit of your brain that creates fear to protect you from a tiger in the brush, a bear in the woods, or a snake in the jungle. It, when working properly, is there to protect you. Now, you're sitting in front of your computer, maybe right now you're afraid of the moon, afraid to leave your house, afraid of your own shadow, afraid you'll never get better and you can't shake that fear. I know, I've felt it pretty much everyday since I've started on this journey. It's important to realise that this fear isn't generated in your mind, it's in your brain. You're in constant fear because your amygdala is healing. It may be like this for a while, it may pass and then come on stronger when a bad wave hits you. It's okay, this is healing and sooner or later this piece of your brain will get its chemistry in order and the fear will go away.

Hippocampus
The memory part of your brain. Why do you keep having these racing thoughts, and strange memoires pop up out of nowhere? This bit of your brain ties in old memories to emotions, and it's going haywire right now. These thoughts, emotions and memories that bubble up can be disturbing and mentally painful to re-live but it can't hurt you. Just like the amygdala it's in a state of shock right now, but it'll settle itself, and restore itself to a steady state.

Hypothalamus
Body temperature. Getting hot, or cold? Sweating in bed a lot? No, that sweating isn't your body 'flushing' toxins, it has other ways to get rid of the THC. Your hypothalamus is trying to figure out what's going on and is righting itself.

Frontal lobe
This bit is for planning things, making decisions, and inhibiting emotions appropriately. Why are you freaking out because you can't focus on a task and crying all the time? Frontal lobe is chemically screwy right now. This will calm down, and things will come back.

Occipital lobe
World looks screwed up right now? Seeing floaters? Lights too bright? Maybe even catching a visual hallucination from time to time? Occipital lobe is healing, working its way back to stasis.

Vestibular system
Dizzy? Feeling like your on a boat from time to time? Well, combine this with the occipital lobe and it's like you're in some kind of crazy funhouse. None of this is dangerous (as long as you're not driving at the worst of it) and is just chemically righting itself from the loss of the obscene amount of chemicals you've been dumping into your brain.

Temporal Lobe
This is where auditory information is processed, but also where your brain picks up on the meaning of what you're hearing, how it interprets it and bounces it to the other parts of your brain. Having a hard time with conversations? Not following along and feeling like you're some kind of space alien pretending to be you? Also, are you hearing weird things, maybe playing a song over and over and over in your head?

Alright, so that's, in a simplistic way, what's going on. These things all work together to make your brain function. But it's important to distinguish between your mind and your brain here. You brain is doing a lot of crazy stuff to right the ship right now and your mind is caught in the middle of all this construction work. Would you stand in the middle of a large building being built? Well, you wouldn't but in this case you are and have to. That's why it is all so distressing, why it all feels so crazy and you don't feel like you. It's not because you're going crazy, it's not because you are crazy. It's because your brain is trying to do everything it can to come to some sort of a baseline level of functionality, and one way it does that is by firing off and receiving chemicals. You've deprived it of a chemical and so therefore it's working around that, bringing you back to a level of intrinsic health. But your brain doesn't care about your mind, and what it's going through during all this. It's just trying to protect you by healing itself.

But your brain doesn't recognize your mind as something it needs to heal, that's your job, so you need to put any dark and scary thoughts (perhaps even suicidal thoughts) here into their proper perspective. Your brain isn't responsible for your mind, you are. So whatever your brain throws at you right now, it's your mind that has to put that stuff in proper perspective. Which is, "My brains messed up right now, sorting itself out and it's scary, strange, and weird but I need to let it do its thing, while protecting my mind. I must realise this will take time, a good amount of time, and be patient and kind to myself. And know it will end."

Realise that thoughts are just thoughts, and as distressing and painful as they can be you are still in control of your actions. Your mind controls, your brain does the rest.

To go back to my coma patient talk of earlier though, you have to understand that these people don't heal by just sitting there waiting to heal, they have to work for it, and so do we. How? Push yourself to do the things you used to do, no matter how uncomfortable. Walk, talk, socialize, clean your room, cook dinner, do everything you used to do before this nightmare to retrain your brain, to let it know it still can do these things, even without tons of THC running rampant through your grey matter.

Look, it sucks where we are. It's going to take your brain a lot of time to right itself, but understand it does get better and it does get worse. Your brain has to function while it's repairing itself and your mind is caught in the middle of this. Put that into perspective, keep your focus on your mind and let the brain do it's own healing. Sooner, or later, the two will sync back up.

You need to be patient, kind to yourself but also need to push yourself. You need to be strong, you need to protect your mind from your brain right now. It will get easier as time goes on, but that's going to be your ally and your enemy right now. Time.

Stay strong, you (and I) will get through this and you will be stronger because of it as long as you work to find yourself (your whole self) throughout this process. You need to retrain your mind, but you also need to go easy on yourself. Rest when you need to rest and don't push yourself too hard too fast. You're brain-damaged, but not mind-damaged and you will heal.

I know it. This isn't withdrawal, this is recovery.
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#1

Postby tokeless » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:53 am

I'm sure you're really pumped on quitting and as for all people I'm pleased for you, but this is projection of your own beliefs.
I smoked daily for 35 years and stopped without much of a problem. Maybe I got lucky but I certainly didn't develop brain damage and I know many like me.
You sound evangelical and that's okay but please try and take on board this is your experience and whilst others may say "Hey, that's me right there", it's not gonna fit all.
Just my opinion but why not just quit and stop the preaching a little.
Best wishes
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#2

Postby exstonerinhell » Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:05 am

Wasn't trying to be evangelical or preachy, that wasn't my intent. Just comforting myself, and passing the time while going through a horrendous quit and a serious bout of PAWS. Not pumped at all about what I've been going through. But you're right, this is my own personal experience.
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#3

Postby tokeless » Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:37 am

Hi,
I don't mean any offence but I notice with this forum that in my opinion some get way too analytical about quitting. They look for reasoning and theory when really, if you step back from that it comes down to making choices. It was for me anyway. I got in to it through opportunity and enjoyed it so kept doing it. Weed then became such a huge part of my life it was normal and I saw no problem with it and thought it was the greatest thing for me. After having my children I realised I couldn't keep smoking the way I did because I'd never want my children to see me doing that. I then had to think about changing the way I was.
I chose to do that and it was empowering.
Ask yourself if you couldn't find weed anywhere would it be easier to let it go? To stop thinking about it. You'd get over the symptoms at some point but because weed is easy to get we have to choose not to use it.. That's the battle and it's in the mind.
You can stop... Because you can. Live now and make the right choices. Try not analyse and just tell yourself what you're suffering will stop and you don't smoke anymore.
Best wishes
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#4

Postby exstonerinhell » Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:46 am

My suffering will stop, and I don't smoke anymore.
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#5

Postby Candid » Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:14 am

tokeless wrote:if you step back from that it comes down to making choices.


That's it in a nutshell, tokeless.

Allen Carr https://www.allencarr.com/ has gotta be one of the most famous, if not the most famous, quitters of all time. His book The Only Way To Give Up Smoking https://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-Way-Stop- ... 1405916389 is a tour-de-force. The only way to stop a bad (expensive and health-damaging) habit is to stop, finito, done -- but Allan took his reader by the hand and wrote a cracking page-turner, often very funny, always compulsive reading right to the end.

I don't often post in the Addictions forum but almost every day when I log in I see loads of quit diaries, PAWS threads, haven't-toked-for-a-year threads and general commiseration going on about how hard it is and how tough it gets. This is self-hypnosis, entrenching the idea of "we're all in this together" and in many ways making it harder to stop. I agree with you, tokeless, that if supply was suddenly cut off people would get over it very quickly.

When life after addiction is all about addiction and quitting symptoms, small wonder so many relapse. This forum unwittingly makes it that much easier for people to focus day after day on the very things they want to be rid of.
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#6

Postby tokeless » Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:29 am

Hi Candid,
I agree. I don't advocate counting days because it keeps you focused on your suffering. I wouldn't count the days I've been out of prison in the hope it'll stop me going back. I worked in addictions for 16 years and found out so much from users and I guess about my own using towards the end. I don't believe cannabis is physically addictive but it is habit forming as are most things we enjoy or find helpful. When you quit you have to accept you will feel differently and the battles are in your mind because of beliefs and feelings etc.
Just stop and deal with the symptoms but ultimately we choose to stay stopped or lapse because we chose to think we couldn't do it.
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#7

Postby Candid » Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:18 am

tokeless wrote: it keeps you focused on your suffering.


Quite.

I don't believe cannabis is physically addictive...


Me neither. Most people mix it with nicotine, which is, but focus on any habit entrenches it. Carr's triumph was over nicotine, going from five packs a day to zero.

I smoked grass in my teens and early 20s. A personal crisis stopped me in my tracks because I was forced to start mixing with different people, which meant my supply was cut off. I do believe all kinds of things can be emotionally addictive. I remember crying buckets at the time because I had to face what was going on for me.

The same can be said of psych meds, even the "most addictive" ones such as benzos. People lie awake for a few nights when they stop and cry "withdrawal symptoms!", forgetting insomnia was the reason they took pills in the first place.

Just stop and deal with the symptoms...


That's what Carr taught. The organization he founded still carries the message, with quit seminars all over the world.

... but ultimately we choose to stay stopped or lapse because we chose to think we couldn't do it.


That's the only block, and please don't think I underestimate it. There's never a good time to stop. As with everything else, it's about accepting the present. This is the only time there is.
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#8

Postby Freedomhfx » Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:10 pm

Thank you for this interesting perspective. Makes a ton of sense to me and I’ve appreciated being able to refer to it.
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#9

Postby potsleep » Sat Mar 24, 2018 1:30 am

Yeah I kinda disagree. I quit weed and nicotine cold turkey over 4 months ago and only now staring to feel somewhat human. I could care less about using. Actually the thought of using again scares me to death. I had no idea how bad the physical and mental withdrawal symptoms would be. I had no choices there. Glad it was no problem for you.

It’s not fun sweating through 5 shirts a day for 3 weeks, not sleeping for 15 days and crying for no reason. Throw in a trip to ER on New Year’s Eve and constant anxiety and depression while trying to balance a full time career, family and social life.

People are scared and looking for comfort here. I don’t think they’re just making it up so they can start smoking again.
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#10

Postby Marcster44 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:56 am

Agreed.. I feel like I don't relate to any other people at 12 step meetings because of my addiction to weed. I smoked it from 12-26 years old. It sure is a psychological addiction to start with.. But its not like being addicted to chocolate or video games. At least not for me. But then again I've always felt like an oddity. I mean I've done heroin around 100-200 times over the last 8 years and for some ODD reason I don't get addicted to it. But when I'm in stonerville I treat heroin like a typical westerners treats getting drunk( I do it about every other weekend. Then I feel just tired and moody for a day or so. And smoke more weed than usual to help me feel more normal). Yeah opiates are my favorite hard drug and I've done all the rest. But my pot addiction is the one that I will my pawn my belongings for and the one that I've just gone EXTREMELY out of my way for. My social anxiety, sleep, and anger has just gotten noticeably better over the last couple of months. My face is looking healthier, my gait is getting better.Yeah dude pot messes me up for awhile after I quit. I've barely got 7 months clean btw. Which is the longest I've ever been clean since I was 12.

Some people really can just go without it and not have any issues, even after having used it for awhile. Then there is a small fraction of us who truly aren't so lucky. And for those of us it usually became an "insidious" drug. Whereas heroin, cocaine or meth never did (my experience anyway).
But ya...kudos to those who haven't had any real debilitating long term effects from it.
Just my 2 cents
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#11

Postby tokeless » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:12 am

potsleep wrote:Yeah I kinda disagree. I quit weed and nicotine cold turkey over 4 months ago and only now staring to feel somewhat human. I could care less about using. Actually the thought of using again scares me to death. I had no idea how bad the physical and mental withdrawal symptoms would be. I had no choices there. Glad it was no problem for you.

It’s not fun sweating through 5 shirts a day for 3 weeks, not sleeping for 15 days and crying for no reason. Throw in a trip to ER on New Year’s Eve and constant anxiety and depression while trying to balance a full time career, family and social life.

People are scared and looking for comfort here. I don’t think they’re just making it up so they can start smoking again.



I said you choose to smoke not experience the symptoms you have when you don't. They will vary depending on the person. The issue I questioned was that you got brain damage as stated as 'fact' which I didn't get. Each person has the right to do what they want with their body and mind but that involves choice.. Do you or don't you? There are consequences to things and feeling rough after using drugs is often one of them. Accept that and you've made a start.
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#12

Postby Candid » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:32 am

Anything that soothes is hard to give up. People forget they had problems before they started.
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#13

Postby tokeless » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:52 am

Candid wrote:Anything that soothes is hard to give up. People forget they had problems before they started.


Absolutely. When I worked in addictions I never met a user who 'fell out of love' with the drug itself, just the consequences of using it. This is often why people relapse because they still feel the drug helps in some way despite the evidence. Here in the UK we demonise the user and wonder why they never feel part of society anymore because "once an addict, always an addict".
If we helped deal with the underlying issues then it may help this in the longer term but it's more costly than banging someone on methadone and keeping them in the loop. Our society needs an enemy or bogey man... Step up the junkie or migrant.
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#14

Postby Candid » Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:19 am

tokeless wrote:people relapse because they still feel the drug helps in some way...


Even if it's 'only' keeping those agonising PAWS symptoms at bay! :roll: The symptoms the drug created...
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