1 year and a couple months clean.

Postby exstonerinhell » Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:01 am

Well, I made it. I can confidently say I'm past the worst of what PAWS threw at me. I've been feeling pretty damn good for a few months now, but considering how awful the past year was I never really trusted it. I was always waiting for the setback to come along, but it didn't and hasn't.

I've started enjoying life again, started moving on and past all the wasted time smoking, all the wasted money. I'm able to enjoy things without the artificial blissed out numbness that I lived with for over 20 years. I'm comfortable in my skin again, I'm at the wheel as opposed to being driven by the existential pain, depression, anxiety, and just out of body experience that is marijuana induced PAWS.

My emotional response to things is 'normal' again. Though what is normal? Lets just say I finally got to a comfortable baseline. Life has its ups and downs still, but I'm able to deal with them again as I thought I could deal with them while high all the time. In truth I was just ignoring them, and now I get to explore them. The good and the bad, and it's pretty great. Not being completely sidelined by anything bad that happens and being able to feel 'good' again is a pretty awesome thing, considering the last year.

I can enjoy all the things I always enjoyed most while being high all the time and it's a great feeling considering how long I went feeling nothing at all. I've picked up new hobbies, and am slowly making my way back into life.

It's impossible to describe the hell of this last year. Especially the first 3-6 months of it. Just no way, you have to experience it to believe how completely awful it truly is. Robbie1e_g also just passed a year and a few months and I completely agree with everything he said regarding his own recovery. It's scary the thoughts that cross your mind, completely terrifying at times. When you can't feel anything but sadness, pain, and stress you begin to look for a way out. ANY way out, and that can get dark and is the most horrible thing.

I'm here to say, though, that it will pass. It DOES pass. You just need to hold on. Keep pushing through one minute, then five minutes, then an hour, a day, a week, a month...a year. You will find you're getting better, it is just so slow and incremental you'll almost not notice the day you're 'better' and tell weeks to months later. It's...it's hard to explain but it WILL happen for you, I promise.

You'll read a ton of posts that give you some advice or another about how to get through, but here's mine.

Reach out.
Bring people in to your suffering. I don't mean always be a downer around them, but let people close to you know what you're going through. At times you'll hate it, you won't want to be around people but at the same time you won't want to be alone. This is all normal for what you're going through, but keep people close to keep tabs on you. The people around me noticed I was getting better before I did, their feedback is invaluable. Seek professional help if things get really bad. I did, and I honestly don't know how I would have made it without my doctors and a weekly therapy visit. Most importantly, reach out to the people here who have made it to the other side, send them private messages if you have to. At the time it might not feel all that great, but you'll soon realise that support in your real life and on these boards will get you through.

Don't spend too much time on the boards.
Your recovery is going to be different than everyone else's, I promise you. You'll see some similarities in the posts you read but another person's struggle is no way going to be an indicator on how your struggle is going to go. You can't make their timeline your timeline. You're journey is going to have its own unique flavor of awfulness. Accept that, and take from these boards the most important thing: Hope that you will, in time, recover. You just need to be strong. Find the posts that give you hope and read them over and over again, but do try to limit your time here.

Exercise.
Don't go crazy, especially if you haven't done much exercising before in your life. Start with a simple walk. Every night, morning, afternoon, whenever. Get into a routine. A routine of anything will help you so much as you push through. The exercise will help you heal. When the walks become routine, add something else, anything else. One small thing at a time. Exercise is proven to give you some of the feel good chemicals that you're sorely lacking right now. It's not an instant or quick fix, but it will pay dividends, I promise.

Don't listen to your depression.
Depression lies to you. It will tell you that you're never going to get better. That you will always feel the way you do. That you ruined your brain, that there's no going back. That it's hopeless. Don't believe it. You'll have to listen to it, but you don't have to believe it. Don't think you've done some kind of permanent damage. Don't spend hours and hours on Dr. Google and come to the conclusion that you're not experiencing PAWS and you have developed some kind of mental disorder. If you have fears see someone, a doctor/psychiatrist/therapist, SOMEONE. Express your fears to them, but don't feed them through hours and hours of internet searching for what is 'really' wrong with you.

Let time do its thing.
This is the most important one. Time is your ally and your enemy in this. You'll have time to improve yourself, but it's going to take time to heal. And it will slow to a crawl sometimes. I remember when minutes would feel like hours, days would feel like months. It's BRUTAL but it's the process. Let your brain heal, give it time to set things right. Your mind and brain are two different things, but once your brain starts getting things right again, your mind will follow suit. Let time pass, trust the process. An addict is always looking for the quick fix, accept right now there is no quick fix and you'll be on the other side before you know it. Trust me.

Anyway, I'm going to close this out for now. I'll try to be around to help out anyone I can as others helped me.

Speaking of which I want to thank some people on this board for getting me through what was the shittiest, most difficult thing I've ever done:

Bagobones, cleanofgreen, Transformer, and reckoning, you guys are the best. I truly can't explain how you helped a complete stranger fight through this. You'll never know the impact that your words of encouragement and advice gave me. Just know that it kept me going and got me to where I am now. Thank you, bless you all.

As to some good journals that I would read time and time again I'll offer these names: Tokes, johnrlivingston, cleanofgreen, bagobones, reckoning, soulfull, Wave, and crap--there's like two more I can't remember right now. If I dig them up I'll post in here.

Stay strong guys, reach out if you need. I'll be around. This place gives you hope when you need it most. Believe in it, believe in yourself and just keep going. You'll make it, I swear.
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#1

Postby thegreatdane » Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:28 pm

Respect to you, that is so awesome that you are feeling better. When did this start to happen? Im at 13 months and even though things are not AS bad as it was in the first 6 months, i still feel pretty bad and waiting for good days to come. When did you start feeling better?
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#2

Postby Upfull » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:39 pm

Great story of recovery, we need to hear them thats for sure. So happy for you!
You never mention sleep, did you ever have an issue with that and did it get better? How many hours were you getting at is worst and how many now?
Wishing you all the best for the future
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#3

Postby exstonerinhell » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:58 pm

@thegreatdane
It's hard to pinpoint exactly when I started feeling better. It was more of a gradual (extremely gradual) shift towards normalcy. I would say around early November that the clouds began to break up. I wouldn't describe it as a great 'euphoric' feeling. Just a plodding trek away from the nightmare.

I don't want to discourage you, I know how you feel right now. We all have different timelines in this, but I couldn't tell I was coming out of it when I was. It wasn't until looking back that I really could appreciate how much my baseline had risen.

@Upfull
Sleep has definitely been a roller coaster. At the very beginning it was brutal to get to sleep. I was so, SO anxious all the time that I couldn't even lie in bed without just freaking out. I'd go days without sleep and it was rough. When I did get to sleep I'd have the crazy hyper realistic dreams that'd wake me up and I'd find it impossible to get back to sleep.

Then I started getting a TON of sleep. It was SO hard to wake up and get out of bed, still had the dreams but I was so exhausted all the time that I'd go down for 10 hours sometimes and feel like I hadn't slept at all when I woke up.

It would sort of vacillate between those two extremes for months and months. Then at some point, I can't say for sure when, it was a lot easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. I will say that I was never a great sleeper when I was smoking all the time. Even if I was exhausted it would take me at least an hour just to doze off. Just about any noise would wake me up.

Now, as long as I'm tired, I fall asleep within 10-15 mins of lying down and I sleep like the dead. Waking up isn't the battle it was.

At its worst I got 0 sleep, now I sleep for about 6-7 hours on average and that seems about all I need. I'll catch a nap every now and again, usually for about an hour or so.
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#4

Postby Sherwood1999 » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:10 am

Exstoner I’m glad to have gotten your closure post. I joined the forum last month and my life has been utterly horrible.

I’m 19 and started smoking when I was 16. I started off smoking every once and a while but at 17 I was dabbing all day everyday. From morning till night I dabbed nonstop.

I quit back in December and got all the symptoms. Nightmares, terrible appetite, some anxiety. Then the depression set in and it was horrendous. It was absolute hell. Then around early January I started to have some good days again.

Then mid January I got hit with DP/DR and it’s been 24/7 nonstop hell. It’s so horrible. I wish I could trade it back for my horrendous depression. I can barely recognise myself in the mirror, physically and psychologically. My family and friends just seem like strangers. Life seems weird and my surroundings don’t seem familiar. Also it feels like I’m looking at everything through a pane of glass. Also my perception of time is completely out the window.

Its so damn hard man.

Honestly though your post gives me some hope but idk. I’m glad your doing well. I can’t wait till I’m there one day. I think I’m at 85 days. :((
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#5

Postby exstonerinhell » Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:44 am

Sherwood1999 wrote:Exstoner I’m glad to have gotten your closure post. I joined the forum last month and my life has been utterly horrible.

I’m 19 and started smoking when I was 16. I started off smoking every once and a while but at 17 I was dabbing all day everyday. From morning till night I dabbed nonstop.

I quit back in December and got all the symptoms. Nightmares, terrible appetite, some anxiety. Then the depression set in and it was horrendous. It was absolute hell. Then around early January I started to have some good days again.

Then mid January I got hit with DP/DR and it’s been 24/7 nonstop hell. It’s so horrible. I wish I could trade it back for my horrendous depression. I can barely recognise myself in the mirror, physically and psychologically. My family and friends just seem like strangers. Life seems weird and my surroundings don’t seem familiar. Also it feels like I’m looking at everything through a pane of glass. Also my perception of time is completely out the window.

Its so damn hard man.

Honestly though your post gives me some hope but idk. I’m glad your doing well. I can’t wait till I’m there one day. I think I’m at 85 days. :((


I know what you're going through, trust me I do. You've cut your brain off from a chemical soup that it had come to rely on. The worst part is the delay of the nastier of the symptoms, which was for me too the DP/DR disconnected feeling from everything. It was like the whole world was flipped upside down and just nothing was how it should be. The delay is because of the fat soluble nature of our drug of choice. It sticks around in the fat, and our brain is over half fat so it's a slow, slow burn off.

85 days is amazing, you just got to keep up the struggle. And it's going to be a struggle for a while. For me, though, the DP/DR stuff was pretty terrible. It waxed and waned for months, but it did eventually leave and I'm confident it will for you too. It's going to take some time, do what you can to just ignore it. I know, easier said than done, but the more I focused on it the worse it became. The less I fought it the more it seemed to run its course and life began to look normal again. It's a slow process but you will get through.
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#6

Postby Sherwood1999 » Tue Feb 26, 2019 6:20 am

Thanks for taking the time to respond man I appreciate it. I do try my hardest not to give it the time of day but when it affects nearly all perceptions of your life it can be hard.

I just hope I’ll see some improvement by month 6
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#7

Postby exstonerinhell » Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:58 am

You will, it won't be like a light switch (bam, one day you're better) but you will see improvements. Those small incremental improvements will keep building up until one day you'll be like, "Holy cow, I haven't felt like crap in a while...weird."
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#8

Postby lefttheleaf » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:51 am

Sherwood1999 wrote:Exstoner I’m glad to have gotten your closure post. I joined the forum last month and my life has been utterly horrible.

I’m 19 and started smoking when I was 16. I started off smoking every once and a while but at 17 I was dabbing all day everyday. From morning till night I dabbed nonstop.

I quit back in December and got all the symptoms. Nightmares, terrible appetite, some anxiety. Then the depression set in and it was horrendous. It was absolute hell. Then around early January I started to have some good days again.

Then mid January I got hit with DP/DR and it’s been 24/7 nonstop hell. It’s so horrible. I wish I could trade it back for my horrendous depression. I can barely recognise myself in the mirror, physically and psychologically. My family and friends just seem like strangers. Life seems weird and my surroundings don’t seem familiar. Also it feels like I’m looking at everything through a pane of glass. Also my perception of time is completely out the window.

Its so damn hard man.

Honestly though your post gives me some hope but idk. I’m glad your doing well. I can’t wait till I’m there one day. I think I’m at 85 days. :((


Whats up Sherwood? How are you feeling today?
I have read a few of your posts and i know we have exchange comments previously.
Sorry to hijack the thread but feel free to send me a DM if you feel the need.
I think you have read my story and i am just over 6 months into this - i feel better man but the DP/DR persists. It doesnt just go and i truly believe the way through this is torture is acceptance.
The DP/DR i have and am experiencing comes and goes and its agony but dont let it win.
I have recently started getting into Japanese culture, Buddhism, and generally the way of the East. Look into it yourself mate and what defines some peoples days out there - its really interesting and has shifted my mindset about life and certain stuff. It helped me.
All the best
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#9

Postby Ade,wales » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:09 pm

Exstoner

Can totally agree with what you’re saying. I’m over 4years now. After the first 12 months or so you definitely realise - ok, things are starting to level off now. It’s pretty much all out of your system , you just need to re-learn to live like a normal person. The person you should have been all those years in a stoned mess.

And I don’t know if you think in the same way as me but there’s no way I could smoke again because I couldn’t put myself through that 12 months of pure hell again. It just simply wouldn’t be worth it.

Good on you buddy, you did it. Respect
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#10

Postby Sherwood1999 » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:31 pm

Leftheleaf,

Hey man thanks for the thoughtful response. Actually having a good day today.
I’ve noticed when I stay busy and don’t think about my f***ed up perceptions and symptoms that go along with DPDR I don’t obsess and even notice it. That said it’s still very hard. The most frustrating thing is feeling like a stranger to myself and the people and places in my life.

I know acceptance is the way to overcoming this experience, I’ve read many stories about people who once had DPDR and overcame it by acceptance, then distraction. That being said it’s still hard af. Where I’m at today is a lot better than where I was @ even compared to last week.

I have to ask tho, do you think you’ll fully overcome DPDR one day? And do you have similar symptoms to me?
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#11

Postby lefttheleaf » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:13 pm

Hi mate
I have to hope that I’ll rid myself of it one day. I didn’t have it whilst I was smoking and I didn’t have it before I blazed so I tell myself that I’ll get past this.
Physiologically it’s down to, as i understand it, a stress overload and it’s a defence mechanism that your brain applies to distance yourself from the perceived danger or threat - hence why being and feeling anxious or worrying seems to make it worse.
I’m not sure exactly how you feel but I’ll describe my experience and let me know if it resonates with you?

So I feel as if I have tunnel vision most the day and the easiest way for me to describe how I feel is as if I’m in a first person shooter game. I look down at my hands and at times it feels weird to be in my body. I sometimes feel as if my fiancé and dog some times look and feel strange but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that’s weird. And I generally feel one step back so to speak from what’s happening around me.

Hopefully that describes it abit for you?
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#12

Postby exstonerinhell » Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:17 am

Ade,wales wrote:Exstoner

Can totally agree with what you’re saying. I’m over 4years now. After the first 12 months or so you definitely realise - ok, things are starting to level off now. It’s pretty much all out of your system , you just need to re-learn to live like a normal person. The person you should have been all those years in a stoned mess.

And I don’t know if you think in the same way as me but there’s no way I could smoke again because I couldn’t put myself through that 12 months of pure hell again. It just simply wouldn’t be worth it.

Good on you buddy, you did it. Respect


Ade,wales,

Dude, I'm so glad you chimed in. I meant to put your name up on my original post as your own diary of your experience got me through a bunch of really, REALLY crappy nights and days. You had a rough go of things and you pushed through in an awesome way. I was searching and searching for your diary when I posted this but couldn't remember your name. :oops:

Yeah, I do think that way. I couldn't go through that year ever again. I'm still a bit shook up by the whole experience, to be honest. It was insane, the whole thing. But I'm glad I can look back and say, "Holy sh**... I did it! Now, what else can I do?"

Anyway, man, you were super inspirational to me in my quit, thanks so much for recording your journey, being in this forum, and sticking around for the people who came after you.
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#13

Postby Ade,wales » Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:14 pm

Glad my crazy ramblings has helped someone. Without this forum I don’t know if I would have got through it.

And yes, having done this feels like a major achievement. If we can do what we’ve done we can do anything.

As the time goes by you’re gonna feel further and further away from the stoner you were until it’s like you never were one. And it feels fantastic
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#14

Postby exstonerinhell » Sun Mar 03, 2019 6:09 am

You're the man, Ade :!:
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