6 week marijuana abstinence. Paws?

Postby Dbanfiel » Tue Oct 11, 2016 4:59 pm

I started smoking marijuana habitually in 2008. I smoked just about everyday and a lot on the weekends. I never smoked before or during work. Pretty much any time I wasn't working. Then my girlfri be and I got engaged. The wedding planning was beginning to stress me out to I decided to quit. 2 weeks after quitting I experience some sort of anxiety attack but it went away. After that I didn't give it much though and I continued to be clean for 8 months. Then we got married. I felt such a huge weight of pressure off my shoulders that I started smoking the next day and on our honeymoon. Then I proceeded to start smoking heavily again for the next 5 months. Once I got to the end of my 2nd ounce over those 5 months I decided to quit. I guess at 34 I just felt it was time to grow up and I wanted to start having a family. A week after quitting I woke up at 230 in the middle of the night to sever panic attack. I went to walk outside in the middle of the night to cool off and I didn't go back to sleep until 7. The next week I experienced anxiety which tapered off throughout the week. Then, for the next 4 weeks, I felt just fine; normal. Then one Saturday night over dinner, 5 weeks from when I quit for good, the anxiety started to set in. Not a full blown panic attack but just terrible. I felt like I was also losing myself and my grip on reality. I didn't know what was going on and I'm scared to death. Now I'm in week 6 of abstinence. I'm still petrified. The anxiety and feelings of dread come and go but when they come on it's the worst thing in the world. I am deathly afraid I have damaged myself forever and I couldn't imagine living my life this way. I continue to excercise 4 times a week and I eat very clean. I haven't touched alcohol in almost 2 weeks as I'm afraid of how it will make me feel. I feel the lingering uncertainty in the back of my head. I have even started to meditate but when the anxiety is unbearable it didn't seem to serve me much purpose. I am currently working to set up my first appointment with a therapist. I want to find out if I will ever recover. I am reluctant to use drugs and they are the thing that may have gotten me into this mess in the first place. I also don't want to become addicted to something else. Does anyone have any advice or similar circumstances. Feeling fine the 8 months before my wedding when I first quit has certainly kept me guessing. I wouldn't wish this feeling on my worst enemy.
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#1

Postby Seiruk » Sun Oct 16, 2016 3:21 am

Hey Dbanfiel,

Whilst I'm not a specialist on the topic, I do have personal experience with a very close friend of mine who experienced some level of anxiety in relation to his weed addiction. Since he'd begun smoking from age 15 (is now about 30) he'd gone through bouts of quitting here and there, for a few months at a time. Once to join the army, another because his girlfriend forced him to. However I'd like to remind you of something that you may have lost touch with since starting your journey with the green bitch ;)

I imagine the love for weed came from either a place of boredom, or a curiosity. Or it could have been peer pressure. Whatever the reason, it got you to where you are at this point. It may help you to know that there are NO conclusive studies in the literature suggesting that weed causes permanent neurological damage. However, what it can stimulate is a psychological reaction (your fear) based on the unknown elements of the substance. Marijuana is a plant that can be cultivated for both its good (medicinal qualities, relaxation, self-discovery) and its bad (anxiety induction, social stigma, addiction). But it is up to the user to decide which qualities are emphasised. This is a classic case where your mind is an extremely powerful tool that can dictate what happens in the rest of the body (mental AS WELL AS physical) as we're taught in the field. This can get to a point where your fear of the substance is actually manifesting physiological reactions as well as psychological ones (panic, anxiety, depression). But if you dig deep enough you may find that what is actually going on here is that the plant is teaching you an important lesson. Not like "I am the Weed God and you must obey me" but in a way that shows you who you are, what underlies your simple everyday cognitions and why your fear of weed has gotten so great. We can all use bandaid solutions like diffuse from our thoughts, try to separate ourselves from our thinking, but at the end of the day what needs to be done is burrowing into the root of the issue. And a lot of the time that lies with who we are as people and whether or not we like who we are/where we're headed. Not everyone is willing to explore this minefield of triggering memories and emotional confrontations - but that is exactly what mind-exploring substances like weed, shrooms, acid all do for us. And if we aren't ready to go down that path, then don't do the drugs man.

Hope this helps somewhat; this topic really interests me. My final message is this; don't be afraid of the substance. Just use the experience to take a good hard look at yourself and explore things in a safe and loving way.
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#2

Postby Dbanfiel » Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:02 pm

This is helpful information and greatly appreciated. I have had non stop anxiety for the last 2 weeks with intermittent panic attacks. It is the most difficult thing i have ever encountered in my life. After exercise, yoga, meditation, healthy diet, taking vitamins, etc... I had a breaking point and went to doctor. They prescribed Xanax and offered anti-depressants. The thought of taking anti-depressants scared me to death and i declined but did take the Xanax as I cannot sleep through the night. I have tremendous guilt for having to take Xanax and fear of addiction so i working to be as careful as possible to use sparingly. I usually need .5mg to 1 mg to calm down for sleep. I have taken a total of 2mg over the last 3 days to cope and sleep. I have an appointment with a therapist on Thursday finally. I am trying to remain strong though this period but I am really struggling. All advice and responses are greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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#3

Postby Seiruk » Sun Oct 16, 2016 10:07 pm

I'm glad to have provided some sort of useful information. It does sound like you're having a really tough time and I think it does come down to a matter of being strong through this period. It may help you to read an article, if you google "uplift connect mutiny of the soul". I can't post the URL here, it won't let me cause its saying it is spam >:|

Sometimes it'll come up with really weird formatting on the website, but if you just scroll down to where the text begins you should be fine. It basically talks about how a lot of the time when we feel depressed or anxious, we self-blame. But sometimes we can ask ourselves the question: "What is my body, in all its perfect wisdom, responding to?" --> that is, if my body already knows what's good for me and tells me when its hurt and in pain, what is happening in my external environment that is causing my body to respond this way? Is it really the drug? And it may be a drug, occasionally it is, but I would venture as far to say that in your situation it is more a battle of the mind. And there's a certain power in realising that it isn't your brain that's wrong - its actually the outside system that you are a part of. That might help kickstart some serious introspective thought, to debase the fear that is crippling you and let go of all that you are afraid of.

I wish you all the best in overcoming this hard time, and kudos to the people around you who are providing their loving support. Do a sweeping search online and see what comes up for people who are having POSITIVE experiences with marijuana or anti-depressants. There is always a time and place for drugs, and with anti-depressants I strongly strongly urge you to only take them alongside psychological therapy (see a psych or counsellor, someone you can trust that won't judge you and who can help you improve emotionally and mentally).

Good luck!
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#4

Postby Dbanfiel » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:55 pm

now i am 8 weeks away from the last time I smoked weed. At this point i am not sure if the weed is the culprit behind the thoughts and intense feelings. this last week the anxiety had gone down tremendously. i keep getting weird thoughts that can best be described as depressive. I am actually having a hard time explaining what i am feeling, just that I am not in control of my mind. I have only met my therapist once so i am eager to tell her about these feeling but afraid that i will not be able to explain what is going on in my head. I can literally feel my head tingling and "tightening" . It very strange and quite scary.
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#5

Postby slick_willy » Tue Oct 25, 2016 6:19 am

Hey Dbanfiel... I quit smoking weed just over 7 months ago and I can tell you that I really feel that it changed my life, and not really for the better, lol. I still have some anxiety and depressed moods which only started happening a few years into my smoking habit. I wasn't sharp enough to see it for what it was and so eventually I quit when my symptoms got EXTREMELY bad (like, I could barely talk to people face to face, couldn't focus and stuff.) At seven months, it is much better though.

Honestly man, I feel you on the meds thing. I tried to tough it out for a long time and only take xanax when needed, but eventually I decided to give antidepressants a shot, and they have helped me tons. I waited til 5 months sober to try them, but I am glad I did. I do still take xanax when needed but I am trying to get past that as I feel it is a crutch and that it might numb our emotions the same way weed does.

It sounds like you are making some great choices man, congratulations on your new marriage and the thought of starting a family! Best of luck to you
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#6

Postby Dbanfiel » Fri Oct 28, 2016 5:33 pm

i am now 9 weeks free of marijuana. I am not sure what is happening to me but PAWS seems to closest to describing what i am feeling. The anxiety appears to have dissipated greatly but now i am feeling very depressed. The depression comes in waves, sometime more intense than others. Sleep has been my greatest challenge. I don't believe the .5 mg of Xanax is really helping me sleep anymore. I took Benadryl one night with great results, only to find it didn't work the next night. The lack of sleep is very tough. Has anyone else out there felt the transition in their PAWS from anxiety, to depression? If so, does the depression finally work its way out and then you are cured? Any advice, sharing or answers are greatly appreciated. Good luck to anyone out there remaining strong and preserving through this affliction.
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#7

Postby Dbanfiel » Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:14 pm

Feeling cloudy, slightly anxious and not excited about anything these days. 9 weeks in and about to look into anti-depressants. I am not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel and I am at the point where i would do anything to feel normal again. I hope i am not making the biggest mistake of my life. Going to the therapist tonight for the second session and hoping she can talk me out of meds. i can't even explain what i am feeling anymore.
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#8

Postby lmcbride » Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:06 pm

You are going through classic PAWS symptoms dude. I would get the worst anxiety, and then it would ease off and be followed by depression. At 9 weeks in you are right in the thick of it. As I told you, the first 3 months were absolutely brutal for me.

I made it through without AD's or medication and am now almost 1 year and 3 months clean. Life is much much better on the other side. It took me about 6 months to finally realize that.

Stay strong!
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#9

Postby slick_willy » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:27 pm

Yeah man I agree with lmcbride. Try to tough it out as best you can since you sound like you are definitely going through paws. I can identify with everything you said, and I am at seven months and also have been taking adps for the last three. They help somewhat but this is a journey that we have to make as a result of our decisions. Be careful with any strategies which are designed to avoid the discomfort of paws, as they might make things worse.

That being said, adp's have helped and as long as you are doing the other stuff... exercising, eating right etc then maybe it is an option.
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#10

Postby Dbanfiel » Mon Nov 14, 2016 9:55 pm

i am now 11 weeks abstinent of marijuana. What I have learned is that whether this is from marijuana or not, what i am feeling is anxiety. All the denationalization/de-realization, depression, cloudiness, inability to focus and intrusive thoughts are derived from one root: anxiety. Just knowing that is a big win in my battle to feel whole again.

I have been listening to an audio book called "Panic Away", by Barry McDonagh. It has been extremely helpful in coping and healing myself of the anxiety. I would recommend anyone going through this take a look into the audio book. He has some free stuff on YouTube if you want to take a glance and the book is about 15 bucks.

I find myself going back to it during the tough times. getting out of this anxiety is not a linear path. it comes and goes but with the right techniques it will go away over time. I can feel myself getting better and I feel the light at the end of the tunnel. He teaches you to stop fueling your anxiety by avoiding it, but instead living in it. Embracing it. It sounds counter-intuitive but it works. Would love feedback if anyone has some or if anyone has a question i am certainly available. We are all in this together. We will all heal together.

My trouble is still with sleep. I have been taking have mg of Xanax to cope and some nights i am able to go without, but not many yet. any advice here is greatly appreciated.
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#11

Postby Seiruk » Tue Nov 15, 2016 2:51 am

Find Gabor Mate's TED talk on youtube and if you can get your hands on his book, "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts" check it out too. Amazing dude. Here's a bit on him:

"Canadian physician Gabor Maté is a specialist in terminal illnesses, chemical dependents, and HIV positive patients. Dr. Maté is a renowned author of books and columnist known for his knowledge about attention deficit disorder, stress, chronic illness and parental relations. His theme at TEDxRio+20 was addiction -- from drugs to power. From the lack of love to the desire to escape oneself, from susceptibility of the being to interior power -- nothing escapes. And he risks a generic and generous prescription: "Find your nature and be nice to yourself."
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#12

Postby Dbanfiel » Fri Nov 18, 2016 2:39 pm

The insomnia is killing me these days. 2 -5 hours of heavily interrupted sleep most nights. When you're tired the next day the anxiety his more heightened. It's a vicious cycle. 12 weeks free of marijuana now. This sh** needs to end soon. I need my sleep.
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#13

Postby tokes » Fri Nov 18, 2016 3:47 pm

lmcbride wrote:You are going through classic PAWS symptoms dude. I would get the worst anxiety, and then it would ease off and be followed by depression. At 9 weeks in you are right in the thick of it. As I told you, the first 3 months were absolutely brutal for me.

I made it through without AD's or medication and am now almost 1 year and 3 months clean. Life is much much better on the other side. It took me about 6 months to finally realize that.

Stay strong!


/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ What he said.

Don't start thinking it's something else....its not.
I think I had a million tests for a million types of diseases all came out clean. It Paws bro.... you just gotta hit the 6 month mark and things will level out and it will be less rocky. Keep it up!
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#14

Postby Dbanfiel » Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:35 pm

I really, really appreciate feedback like this. It helps me tremendously. I also found out that my wife is 5 weeks pregnant. I am very excited I be a father but when I am in the anxiety bubble I get nervous about being a bad father. I hope over the next 8 months most of this goes away so I can be a good parent.
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