12 weeks clean today

Postby lefttheleaf » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:12 am

Hi guys,

This is my first time posting - I am a 30 year old year guy from the UK. Today marks 12 weeks since i cut smoking weed out from my life. It was a necessity but at the time i didnt realise how much so. Looking back I feel saddened and quite ashamed at my usage.

The weeks leading up to me stopping weed were quite stressful and i felt that i had lost alot of control of how i felt and my emotions during that time. I was quite quick to anger and quick to becoming emotional. My levels of anxiety were also only by this point dealt with by smoking alot of weed to numb myself.

I realised things needed to change after lighting up the morning of the day before I quit and getting hit with an incredible bout of anxiety. I decided that the next day that was it for me.

To say i loved weed is an understatement - i am an amateur musician and it was wired into everything i would do through the day in my spare time when I wasn't working. I felt i couldnt make music without it which became a self fulfilling issue for me. My thoughts have now changed to the total opposite and where i would once love the idea of a new strain or rolling up a perfect spliff it now fills me with fear and worry. I would also come home from work and smoke the whole evening and tell myself I needed to so I could relax to be able to work the next day.

Work became a lot hard for me as my short term memory was poor by the last 6 months and I was not able to handle the levels of stress that some aspects of my job place on me. It would make my mental capacity overflow and I had to go home on a 2-3 occasions - obviously to smoke :(

I only actually smoked weed for 18 months but before that I would drink heavily. Binge drink to be exact. My weed use however quickly became very heavy - I was never one to drink at home by myself but smoking felt less of an issue. For the last 3-4 months before quitting I was maybe smoking between 5-8g a day of what you would call 'loud pack bud - good quality trees basically' depending on what I was doing. If I was at home all day making music it would be 7g+. To put things into perspective I would have my first spliff (maybe 0.8g) with tobacco and would only get a light buzz. I never really felt any effects that at the time I considered 'bad' - I thought I was happy. I would experience mild paranoia occasionally when high but I cant say I ever had a bad experience with weed which made me feel like I could quit easily. Every smoke was enjoyable until maybe the last week of smoking.

The experience of the first week was terrible - I would say the worst of my life to date. Sickness, Feverish dreams and flu like feelings through the day. loss of appetite, intense anxiety, and paranoia and a general fear about life and the future - I also could not feel any enjoyment in anything I was doing - I also stopped making music for a month. My brain function felt very slow and constrained, and I was not able to see past the end of the day. Time felt like it had stopped for me and life was continuing around me.

My head also felt incredibly cloudy and as if i was 1 or 2 steps back from what was happening - having regretably spent time on Google i think maybe this was a level of depersonalisation?

The first month for me now feels like a blur - the incredibly levels of anxiety, and at some points paranoia driven by intrusive thoughts and anxious worries remained with me daily. My mind would race and i would feel as if i was having feverish type dreams through the night and wake quite confused and anxious.

The second month continued much the same - and I have only really found some level of perceived normality this last week? But the anxiety persists - very aggressively in the morning and it drives me to think at times that this new sense of normality is actually just me having lost my mind which is a really upsetting thought.

One thing i have held onto through the process is that i have had a level of insight as to what has been happening. But sadly i havent been able to keep myself from Googling things and i have now developed an incredibly potent anxious feeling and worry about having cause myself long term mental harm and/or having triggered something in my brain that has allowed a repression of schizophrenia to now develop. Its very upsetting and this thought sticks with me at times during the day. It is spurred on by double thinking about sounds I hear or things I may think I see out of the corner of my eye, etc. The more I feed these thoughts the worse they seem to get.

12 weeks today and i do feel better. The past 2-3 days have for the most part been quite good for me. I have been laughing with my partner and enjoying our dog walks, along with enjoying a new box set we are watching - I have spent time reading all of the contributors stories on here and they have helped a lot which has driven me to post myself.

One post that sticks in my mind is that if mental illness was at play here then I would not feel better at all - I would be feeling worse and I try to keep telling myself this. I have also now been to see a therapist and my GP and they have both told me that having a level of insight is something which a disorder would strip me of. I also understand and keep telling myself that I am 30 year old male with no history of psychiatric illness so statistically the likelihood is very low. It is however so hard at times to keep this thought in mind whilst dealing with the symptoms of what I now understand to potentially be PAWS as some seem to cross over quite a lot?

My weed use coincided with a time in my life where I wasn't happy with who I was or what I was doing. It was a friend to me at a lonely time but I now have a wonderful partner who loves me dearly and I have made the changes in my own life for me to feel happier - and today 12 weeks in I do have a feeling of happiness. I have a new dog and I am back making music - sober. I feel quite emotional at the thought that I smoked weed as more than anything now I would like to return to the clear light hearted head I had 2 or so years ago.

I am also meditating twice daily and have been doing so for 6 weeks, and I am now back at the gym (something I gave up whilst smoking having been an avid gym goer my whole life).

Looking back I feel like I took to smoking to deal with feelings of depression and perceived sadness at where I was in life - and at first it helped, but it then sucked me further into the hole without me knowing - a warm embrace that slowly turned into a choking hold. My friends all smoked and it seemed like a good thing to be doing together.

I have just realised that I have written a lot for a first post and I am unsure whether anyone will take the time to read it all however this is in a way cathartic for me too as its the first time I have put down my thoughts and feelings in their entirety.

I feel that bit more connected to the world and my place in it and it is beginning to feel a little bit more like the world i remember leaving behind when i first started smoking. Weed at first made me think i had become 'enlightened' in a way and i could see things more clearly but after time i slowly see now that it made my world become a closed smokey bubble and the world seemed very small.

I am not sure what i am looking for with this post in regard to replies but it does help massively to know people are and have been in the same place as me. I am sure I have left some things out so if you have any questions or suggestions please do go for it.

Thanks for reading - I am commited now to total abstainance for life as all i want is to feel calm and collected enough to enjoy the small things in life without the worry that i have damaged myself.
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#1

Postby AngryDwarf » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:24 pm

Welcome. I can relate with your sentiments about feeling like you are about to go insane. I also used weed for the musical creativity and motivation it gave me. I would do nothing but smoke and create songs for months. I still have over 400 unfinished tracks in my HDD that I haven't touched since I quit 4½ months ago. The thought of opening m DAW and starting creating kind of terrifies me now, I'm afraid that I'll discover how little I enjoy producing now - I have mostly just been playing live instruments when I feel like it. It's as if I'm waiting for some natural nudge towards creating music that may or may not ever come.

Well this became quite a self-centered post, just wanted to offer you my support. Stay strong - it will only get better and better!
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#2

Postby lefttheleaf » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:43 pm

Hi
Thanks for commenting. I realise I wrote a lot so I’m not sure how many people will read it all but it was pretty good writing things down.
In terms of the music - I felt the same as you but since getting back to it I’ve enjoyed creating more than when I was high. I’m more appreciative now and although it’s not as ‘easy’ as I have to block out other things in my mind its rewarding.
I just told myself that it was me who made the music and not the weed. Hopefully this helps you?
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#3

Postby Cthompson21 » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:28 pm

Paws is a process. You're at the beginning now and this forum will help you see that people went through it/are going through it differently. You'll also find some success stories which prove that it's a time based thing. The more time passes the better you'll feel. Usually it takes 6 months to a year for things to start to really get better....see the posts soneone on here by the username Transformer. Reading his posts helped me out a lot. I wish you all the best!
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#4

Postby lefttheleaf » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:41 pm

Thanks. I’ll chrck them out. Appreciate it a lot.
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#5

Postby Bagobones » Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:01 pm

[quote="lefttheleaf"]But sadly i havent been able to keep myself from Googling things and i have now developed an incredibly potent anxious feeling and worry about having cause myself long term mental harm and/or having triggered something in my brain that has allowed a repression of schizophrenia to now develop. Its very upsetting and this thought sticks with me at times during the day. It is spurred on by double thinking about sounds I hear or things I may think I see out of the corner of my eye, etc. The more I feed these thoughts the worse they seem to get.[/quote

HI and welcome.. I read what you wrote. Good job. You will get through it. This is not so much a message to you, but more for all reading your thread..

I have a little bit experience with schizophrenia. During my "worst" I actually worked with some schizophrenic people as a social worker.. They really was not part of my job, but my colleagues. I am no excpert..

But schizophrenia and psychosis "insidents" is hardcore! Most of the guys I have met was "angry" at the system for "claiming" they where ill. They have completely dead eyes, and hate the people that "locked them up".. They are usually young too, under 25 when they get it the first time. And the ones I have met, had no idea.. Not a clue, that for example chatting with an imaginary bot online for 5 months in a row was not normal, and got angry and violent when they where picked up by healthcare. They had not showered for weeks, and had no contact with anyone, maybe their parents...

Its paranoia that you have caused some damage, then there is the real deal. The real psychosis, the real schizophrenia, the real mania and the real bipolar. When I was close to a person that slowly got a psychotic episode, it was no question that the dude was far gone.. The only one that was not aware that he got a psychosis was him.. You did not have to be a doctor or expert to know that something serious was going on. Just his eyes was enough to tell you that here is a case for health, and health should probably get support from police to handle him...

But its many different ways of being mentally ill with these illnesses, and as I have understood, most of the time, and when they are medicated they are fairly normal.. But during an episode, its no question for anyone that this is mental illness.. That they are F*CKED up!

You dont go googling "do I have schizophrenia"? Your friends and family calls an ambulance or police on your sorry crazy a*s.. Google is not needed.. Sorry to be so blunt...
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#6

Postby lefttheleaf » Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:52 pm

Thanks for taking the time to reply mate. Put my mind at ease
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#7

Postby lefttheleaf » Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:01 am

Hi everyone
A quick update for you all on progress as maybe this will help people reading this who are feeling or experiencing the same.

Its the start of week 13 for me today.
Anxiety is there daily still - mainly for the morning hours and if I don't work hard to get hold of my thoughts early in the day I lose the day so to speak.
I feel like I slip between moments of clarity and normalness and moments of total derealisation / depersonalisation.
The feelings of having caused myself long term chronic mental illness through triggering a repressed condition are still there but I just try and think rationally and shrug it off - it isn't helped however by the fact that my mind is racing with thoughts and at times I have totally confused bouts of thinking - a symptom of schizophrenia which I have read online (probably the worst thing ever to do). I still also have the feelings of thinking I am seeing things out of the corner of my eye etc however I work to remind myself that this is anxiety and I should not indulge in the feelings. I also take comfort from the poster above and his experience with mental health conditions through work.
For anyone reading this on the same journey as me please do comment as I cant honestly say that knowing that I am not the only person who has felt like this has and does help and I think it helps us all in the same way.
If anyone has any questions - go ahead
Thanks
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#8

Postby Cthompson21 » Wed Nov 21, 2018 11:48 am

I can relate I was in your shoes about two months ago. I just hit month four and I can say that symptoms have improved and I am far from healed but the first three months were utter hell. Now I'm still in hell but it's another circle of hell thats less intense. My symptoms are DR/DP which have really gotten less noticeable but they are still there and anxiety is lower too, in the beginning my stomach was cramping nonstop now it only does if I'm stressed. Things are still pretty hard but more
doable, I'm hoping they get better too since I don't want to be in this state forever but I can tell you keep being patient and they will slowly improve. just keep checking in and posting for support.
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#9

Postby lefttheleaf » Wed Nov 21, 2018 12:31 pm

Thanks for replying - I will keep up the posts with how the journey progresses.
I can only wonder with the increased cannabis use across the world as it becomes more widely accepted how many more people will start to feel a similar way.
Sadly I never really believed that weed would have a negative effect on me as I never once felt strange or anxious whilst under its influence. Funny how things turn out isn't it!
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#10

Postby Cthompson21 » Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:26 pm

I agree. PAWS is most documented for alcohol since it's a legal drug. I'm sure weed will be more studied because of its legal status, and more people will be affected. I never believed it would affect me badly either but now I know I can never touch it again without serious consequences, a life lesson for sure.
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#11

Postby lefttheleaf » Thu Nov 22, 2018 9:53 pm

Evening everyone (if anyone is reading this lol)
A new ailment I seem to be more conscious of is a feeling of motion - so for example over the last few days I’ve felt at times as if I’m on a boat so to speak - a sensation of motion so to speak. It’s nof as acute as dizziness so I can’t describe it as such but more a sense of swaying whilst being still.
Anyone felt this before?
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#12

Postby Astro413 » Thu Nov 22, 2018 10:38 pm

It’s normal buddy I went through it too, a sort of dizzyness? It was one of my shorter lived symptoms. I would just recommend drinking water and not pushing yourself to hard until you feel comfortable enough to do so. The anxiety is going to cause you to overthink most of your symptoms.
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#13

Postby Bagobones » Thu Nov 22, 2018 11:29 pm

lefttheleaf wrote:Thanks for replying - I will keep up the posts with how the journey progresses.
I can only wonder with the increased cannabis use across the world as it becomes more widely accepted how many more people will start to feel a similar way.
Sadly I never really believed that weed would have a negative effect on me as I never once felt strange or anxious whilst under its influence. Funny how things turn out isn't it!


Hopefully it will lead to honesty about weed.

We are at the end of of a loooong strech of time where the no side has been making fantasies about weed, and its negative effects, not based on reasearch but fear mongering.

But now we see the yes side does the same. The stoners acts like know it all farmasists and wont listen to reason, and wont admit that the socalled plants thats being produced now, is not the same as the niiiiiice chill bud of the past. If you see a show called strainhunters on youtube, you will see Amsterdams finest growers cant find good natural seeds almost anywhere on the planet anymore. They just find their own very gene manipulated "high-grade" seeds and weed from here to the Himalayas..

At the same time we see the big money men moving inn fast. They too are running on no real research or the greater good, just greed!

So its a lot of just fantasies (the stoners) and greed (the money men) at the moment..

The healthcare, at least in my country is in disbelief about the situation, and they are not helping anyone at all, more making the problems for the struggling stoner worst. They just add to the confusion.. Specially the mental health teams working with weed. Or they work with addiction. But healthcare is built on research, and when its not been any or the little that has been has been so lousy and full of lies, I cant blame them for failing so bad. They have in large part been part of the problem in this whole mess...

I am quite certain that with good research and time, the stoners will change. One thing I think will change is the attitude about smoking every day all day. Another that using weed is sooo healthy and nice to do 24/7. Recreational druguse is not very healthy, period. Its fun, but not really good for anything...

So hopefully more safe use, better drugs (and I dont mean stronger higher THC weed by saying that), and less lying about weed. And better healthcare for the people that get into trouble.
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#14

Postby lefttheleaf » Fri Nov 23, 2018 9:03 am

Astro413 wrote:It’s normal buddy I went through it too, a sort of dizzyness? It was one of my shorter lived symptoms. I would just recommend drinking water and not pushing yourself to hard until you feel comfortable enough to do so. The anxiety is going to cause you to overthink most of your symptoms.


Yes mate that’s the one. A dizziness so to speak. Especially when focusing like now writing this on my phone for example.
And yeah you’re right about the anxiety - it’s driving me to second guess everything and worry about stuff I wouldn’t have even considered an issue previously.

Just hoping that things do continue to improve as I’ve felt a little better the last day or so compared to how I was say 3-4 weeks ago. The low mood has stopped and I’m experiencing happiness again now whilst walking my dog and seeing him have fun so I’m taking that as a good sign.

Also taking that as a sign that I don’t have anything chronically wrong with my mental health as I’m telling myself that if I did I wouldn’t have these fleeting moments of happiness and clarity.

Thank you to everyone for all your comments so far. They’re helping and I hope they help others too.
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