5 Months - Update

Postby NoProblem » Sun Sep 04, 2016 6:20 pm

Hi all,

I've wanted to post an update and give some insight on my current situation. Around May 2016, I posted about my on-going experience with Marijuana Withdrawal (found here viewtopic.php?t=95743) and the symptoms I have experienced. I am now currently just 4 days shy of 5 months since my last consumption, and I can definitely say that things have gotten exponentially better.

As a refresher, I smoked daily for 8 months (until I quit in April) and on/off for 3 years (twice a month or so). My worst symptoms happened within the first two weeks of quitting followed by the hell the majority of us have come to know, which still partially haunts me today. Symptoms included severe anxiety, severe depression, suicidal thoughts, shaking, anxiety attacks, brain fog, DP/DR, trouble focusing, anhedonia, and insomnia (only early on). In my last post, I mentioned that I had an anxiety attack (not full blown panic) on an airplane upon departure shortly after quitting which spiralled me into the withdrawal phase. I have had trouble flying since then; however, as time goes on, I am continuing to gain confidence in my ability to fly yet again. The reason I bring this up is due to its significance on the past 3 months.

Throughout my withdrawal experience, I felt I have become claustrophobic, panic disorder ridden and borderline agoraphobic. Up until 2 weeks ago, I had three benzos (1 Xanax 0.25mg, 2 Valiums (2mg)) in a pill container keychain that I would carry around with me all the time wherever I went like a security blanket. The moment I would get anxious, I would remind myself that I had my "band-aid" close by. My anxiety would diminish shortly thereafter. The funny part is that I was psychologically addicted to the safety blanket! I had only taken 2 Xanax early on in my withdrawals and never took them since. But I felt extremely anxious when they weren't around. Very irrational considering that it would take either of those pills 30+ minutes to take effect, where by then, I would have calmed myself down from panic. But that's another story, lol.

2 weeks ago, I got fed up and threw the pill container across my room and left my house. I was anxious for all of 30 seconds and it seemed that the psychological addiction wasn't as bad as I thought. Today, whenever I have anxiety or remind myself that I don't have the "safety blanket" around, I feel panic symptoms arise, but they are not as strong any more. I can feel my brain recovering, but I still get worried travelling far distances from home (> 100mi) without the meds.

As a result of the withdrawals, I have had issues going into tunnels, elevators, airplanes, high buildings or even riding passenger, all of which have NEVER bothered me until all of this happened. But things are getting better each day that goes by. My last PAWS wave happened at the end of July which was the hardest it's been since the acute phase early on. It lasted about 7 days and went away overnight. Severe depression, suicidal thoughts, severe anxiety, etc. I had to cancel a vacation due to this. I still occasionally get some of these symptoms randomly, but significantly less intense.

There have been a couple of posts around here discussing the use of antidepressants during withdrawals. I went and saw my family doctor during my most recent PAWS wave and he prescribed me Cipralex (lexapro) 10mg. I sat in my car for 30 minutes in front of the pharmacy and decided against getting it filled. I am yet to do this and things have gotten better. I still experience brain fog, hard time focusing (especially during conversations with others) and anxiety.

The one thing I have found when it comes to anxiety and anxiety attacks: if it's not top of mind, I do not experience ANY symptoms of panic. But the minute my troll brain decides to remind myself about what MIGHT happen, I feel I go into a mental spiral. As time has gone by, things have gotten better every so often.

What I've done to help during this time: I exercise 6 days a week which includes intense weight lifting and cardio (30 minute walks, jogs or runs). I meditate 20 minutes per day in two 10 minute chunks. I have cut out caffeine and sugary substances from my diet. I have tried to focus a lot more on myself and take everything one step at a time. For example, any of the 'phobias' I developed such as driving through a tunnel, I would force myself to do this just to overcome it. Easily the most difficult thing during this process.

If anyone can relate to any of this, please, I would love to hear what you may have done to improve.

Hope everyone is doing well and we're all going to make it! Time is all we need.
NoProblem
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#1

Postby akash agarwal » Sun Sep 04, 2016 7:58 pm

Congrats ....on ur 5month
I m 5.5month clean and i too have issue like u said.
But i feel scared and anxious panic if i go far from my place like 50 miles away.
If i go to historical place or jungle or garden where is nobody there. I feel hell anxious and panic attack feeling. I dnt knw is there have any of medicine wich can help me out to leave my city.
My friend invited me to stay at his placd but its impossible to me. I dnt think i have dp dr but i feel like i m in my different mind set and i m in a movie.
Over all anxiety better until i go far away.
And u said that focusing problem. Yes i have alot of vision and focus problems. I feel like i will faint so ur not alone and i felt good that i can make u feel comfortable some how

Blessings
akash agarwal
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#2

Postby hsal » Sun Sep 04, 2016 10:06 pm

I used it for 6 years . Basically I was chain smoker before that so I switched cigs with joints . In the very beginning I would smoke two or 3 daily but not long after that i started smoking 10-15 a day . My worst issue was I developed social anxiety and depression leading to de motivation . I never had an anxiety attack on it . I first tried to quit it 2-3 years ago and during the withdrawal I found out that my girl cheated on me and that put me into such a panic state I can't explain , couldn't breathe , couldn't eat and sleep for two days . So I quickly went back to smoking up again. that experience taught me something of value and it was never to excite myself to a point where I am vulnerable to such attacks . I am currently 2.5 months sober . I do get anxiety thou not as bad as the first month but I feel like I have learned to control a switch in my Brain that can put me into panic state if it goes of . I do it by identifying the thoughts that put me into panic or anxiety and trying to change them or just try nd ignore them .
hsal
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#3

Postby NoProblem » Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:37 pm

Akash:

Glad to hear you're doing better man! Anytime I thought things were going to be worse, they always got better. But I made sure to do everything I can to make anxiety my friend and challenge myself through the feelings of panic. It may seem easier said than done, but it is worth it. Definitely one of the most difficult experiences I've had in my life. Keep on working with your anxiety and bit by bit, chip away at what scares you. What I noticed was that over time, those same feelings of panic bothered me less and less. They still exist; however less intense than they were. I still get the shakes, increased heart rate and tight chest, but the feeling of immediate doom and "I have to run from here now" have gradually lessened. With time, you desensitize to those feelings and gain the confidence to do those things again - you just have to challenge yourself bit by bit. Don't do it all at once. But always remember that anxiety is something everyone has. Our minds just take it a bit over normal because of what we went through.

Hsal:

You nailed it. I feel like whenever anxiety is top of mind, I feel panicky (not as bad as before) and afraid. But as soon as my train of though changes, I feel normal again. If you don't mind me asking, how do you work towards changing your thoughts or ignoring them? I try positive affirmations against the negative thoughts, but ignoring has not worked too well for me yet as they just creep back in.

Thanks!
NoProblem
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