Thoughts and observations on PAWS

Postby Jalakee » Mon Jul 27, 2020 3:34 am

What's up guys. I joined here recently (see my "17 months" post) and have been really enjoying going back through some of the threads here. Up until now I only had r/leaves on Reddit which does have a few PAWS sufferers, but sadly not enough and there are some really helpful stories here.

Here are some things I've learned over the last 1.5 years; from my own experience and reading others' stories.

    - PAWS is absolutely real (not that any of you needed convincing), and it is neurochemical. You've created a deficit of dopamine and likely other NTs as well from years of hammering your brain with THC. That's not to say underlying psychological problems and even spiritual issues cant play a role, but PAWS is the result of a damaged brain.

    - PAWS does not effect everyone equally. Many, of course, do not get it at all. Some get it after a few months of heavy use and others after decades of daily use. The first time I quit after about 6 years of daily use I had zero PAWS symptoms. The second time after another 6 years was a completely different story. I have noticed that most PAWS sufferers were either very high-intensity users or long term users.

    - The healing process is truncated and non-linear. What I have observed is the good intervals tend to get longer and longer; and the bad waves tend to get less severe, at least on balance.

    - The PAWS brain is a sensitive brain. It reacts to things more strongly and often out of proportion to the causative factor. Personally I have found alcohol is to be avoided (I can get by with the occasional drink but for a long time I could not), caffeine I have to be careful with (1-2 cups and my frame of mind has to be good), and certain stresses in life can set off a wave.

    - There is not always a 1:1 relationship with life circumstances and a bad wave. I do know that trying to make sense of it and isolate cause and effect is not usually a helpful exercise. It can drag you into anxiety or melancholy.

    - There are things that help, but I dont believe any one thing is curative other than time. Years of chemical abuse cannot be repaired in a jiffy.

    - There are many things that DONT help; and the worst of these are other psychotropic drugs (including antidepressants), alcohol, and negative external input.

    - There is nothing to suggest that PAWS will not go away for good. This is evidenced by the inexorable improving trajectory (although not linear of course), and the fact that many PAWS sufferers have come back to these forums after years away and said yeah, it did go away fully and I'm not just riding a good wave. It is gone baby gone.
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#1

Postby imondayXX » Tue Jul 28, 2020 6:41 am

this could be the best post i've seen on here, thank you.
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#2

Postby biohack9 » Tue Jul 28, 2020 5:30 pm

+1 great post!!!
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#3

Postby Elpino91 » Thu Jan 27, 2022 1:09 pm

Jalakee wrote:What's up guys. I joined here recently (see my "17 months" post) and have been really enjoying going back through some of the threads here. Up until now I only had r/leaves on Reddit which does have a few PAWS sufferers, but sadly not enough and there are some really helpful stories here.

Here are some things I've learned over the last 1.5 years; from my own experience and reading others' stories.

    - PAWS is absolutely real (not that any of you needed convincing), and it is neurochemical. You've created a deficit of dopamine and likely other NTs as well from years of hammering your brain with THC. That's not to say underlying psychological problems and even spiritual issues cant play a role, but PAWS is the result of a damaged brain.

    - PAWS does not effect everyone equally. Many, of course, do not get it at all. Some get it after a few months of heavy use and others after decades of daily use. The first time I quit after about 6 years of daily use I had zero PAWS symptoms. The second time after another 6 years was a completely different story. I have noticed that most PAWS sufferers were either very high-intensity users or long term users.

    - The healing process is truncated and non-linear. What I have observed is the good intervals tend to get longer and longer; and the bad waves tend to get less severe, at least on balance.

    - The PAWS brain is a sensitive brain. It reacts to things more strongly and often out of proportion to the causative factor. Personally I have found alcohol is to be avoided (I can get by with the occasional drink but for a long time I could not), caffeine I have to be careful with (1-2 cups and my frame of mind has to be good), and certain stresses in life can set off a wave.

    - There is not always a 1:1 relationship with life circumstances and a bad wave. I do know that trying to make sense of it and isolate cause and effect is not usually a helpful exercise. It can drag you into anxiety or melancholy.

    - There are things that help, but I dont believe any one thing is curative other than time. Years of chemical abuse cannot be repaired in a jiffy.

    - There are many things that DONT help; and the worst of these are other psychotropic drugs (including antidepressants), alcohol, and negative external input.

    - There is nothing to suggest that PAWS will not go away for good. This is evidenced by the inexorable improving trajectory (although not linear of course), and the fact that many PAWS sufferers have come back to these forums after years away and said yeah, it did go away fully and I'm not just riding a good wave. It is gone baby gone.


I’m sure you’re not around anymore but thank you for this ! Smoked for over 12 years on a daily basis ! Around 5 month clean and i had a few good weeks where all my symptômes were manageable but got hit by a strong wave on Tuesday and it’s been difficult since.
But seeing this gives me strength and to keep going! I hope you’re doing well these days !



Cheers
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#4

Postby Jalakee » Thu Jan 27, 2022 4:11 pm

I actually forgot about this forum but I did get a post reply email. I'm glad my experience has helped you.

As long as I'm here I'll give an update:

It's been nearly 3 years since I stopped smoking weed. I am completely free of PAWS, thanks be to God. It's hard to say when exactly it ended. I think I could divide my time into acute withdrawal, PAWS, post-PAWS issues, and full recovery. Depression was the last thing to go for me and I think a lot of that had to do with the psychological damage done during PAWS. I developed a lot of false beliefs about God, life, and myself that kept dragging me down and had to be confronted. I also had a porn addiction that I just would not quite let go of, so once I started going to meetings and addressing that is when I finally walked out of the woods, so to speak.

Now I no longer wake up inexplicably sad or depressed, or have "waves" like I would get during PAWS. My baseline is strong. Of course I have had moments of anxiety and temptations to depression. That's part of being human. But having been there, done that I dont get sucked back into the lies.

Have faith your PAWS journey will end. Your sick brain will heal. Keep pushing towards the light and dont ever believe that life is meaningless and what we do here doesnt matter. It does. God bless my friend.
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#5

Postby iHatePaws94 » Thu Jan 27, 2022 9:30 pm

Hey man congratulations! You should be really proud. That’s awesome that you were able to recover fully. I’ve felt confident that it will get better but I was unsure if I could ever get to 100%. Kind of like a bad injury where it heals but it’s never 100% again. Do you feel 100% recovered like you never had Paws? There’s no lingering issues with libido or sensitivities to caffeine , alcohol, stress or anything like that? Your mind and memory are sharp? Obviously there’s gonna be some anxiety/depression because that’s life but nothing out of the ordinary?

Also, was your porn addiction ongoing with Paws? I ask because I too have that problem. It’s not bad it’s usually just before bed but whenever I try to stop I feel horrible. I get insomnia and trigger paws symptoms. I figured I would wait till I’m further recovered to try to conquer that. I don’t want to be to demanding of myself right now. I was wondering if you think that’s a good strategy or if I shouldn’t put it off and try to stop now. I don’t want to drag paws on later than necessary
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#6

Postby Jalakee » Fri Jan 28, 2022 3:28 am

I would say I'm 100% recovered, but not the same person. That experience matured me a lot in different ways. I had to learn how to deal with my thoughts and emotions. I dont look at people's depression/anxiety the same anymore. I can see the lies at the root of people's depression and I want to help them. I also have ZERO desire to ever do drugs or be intoxicated. I like being sober. I enjoy a beer here and there, but it took me along time to get there and I dont like anything beyond that. I enjoy caffeine now. Memory and cognition I think are quite good, considering I blasted my brain with THC for 12 years. Is it as good as it could have been had I never smoked? I'll never know.

As far as porn, I think the sooner you can quit the better. I remember during PAWS a porn binge would always precipitate a spell of anxiety or depression. I think dabbling in it just keeps the addiction alive. You have to be serious about it and cut it all out, no matter how innocent. I still struggle with temptation and let some peeks in here and there, but my desire to watch actual porn is not there anymore. Ultimately I'd like to get to the point where my only source of sexuality is my wife. That's my ideal though. So I'd say start cutting it out of your life now. It's a process...dont expect perfection. But over time you will lose your taste for it. God bless.
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#7

Postby Luna824 » Sat Jan 29, 2022 9:06 am

This is an amazing thread! I hope more people read it. Jalakee, you really touched on a lot of important topics. Like how everyone goes through paws differently and the biggest one that I’ve also noticed after 1 year sober is that our brain is/was damaged through the use of THC and it needs to heal itself. I hope more people read this and find comfort in knowing you can 100% get over paws. Like I mentioned I’m 1 year sober and I’m finally starting to feel like myself. I know I’m not 100% back but everything is now manageable. I don’t have that crippling feeling of doom. I do believe taking a few months away from this site helped. It helped me force myself to not constantly think about paws.
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#8

Postby Elpino91 » Sat Jan 29, 2022 10:14 am

Luna824 wrote:This is an amazing thread! I hope more people read it. Jalakee, you really touched on a lot of important topics. Like how everyone goes through paws differently and the biggest one that I’ve also noticed after 1 year sober is that our brain is/was damaged through the use of THC and it needs to heal itself. I hope more people read this and find comfort in knowing you can 100% get over paws. Like I mentioned I’m 1 year sober and I’m finally starting to feel like myself. I know I’m not 100% back but everything is now manageable. I don’t have that crippling feeling of doom. I do believe taking a few months away from this site helped. It helped me force myself to not constantly think about paws.


I think you are right when it all started this website helped me a lot but can also be bad. I remenbered reading some of the symptoms other people would have and started thinking i would have them aswell. Thankfully i'm past that now - i had a good fews and when the wave hit I felt lost again. But by reading these positive posts it calmed me down and it is just the brain healing.
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