PAWS and/or Anxiety - Month 11

Postby PAWSsurvivor » Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:26 pm

Hey everyone,

Hope y'all are hanging in there in the fight against this weed induced dilemma many of us have.

My quick backstory. Only used weed for 3 months. Had a bunch on my birthday, definitely too much fo me. 3 days later, had a panic attack. And then months of awful awful symptoms as I quit it cold turkey.

Months 1-4 = hell. - Here I felt like 2 out of 10.
Months 4-6 - glimmers of improvement
Months 6-9 - Weird stuff / symptoms but also improvement
Months 9-11 - A sense of normalcy, but still a ways to go.

Right now I feel I bounce between a 7 out of 10 and 8 out of 10. My main symptoms now are constant head pressure, racing thoughts and anxiety. I have some weird occasional symptoms, but they always come and go. So have hope young PAWS people, this sh** gets easier. I don't doubt for me that it could be 2 years or so. Feels right, it seems the better I get, the slower I heal. So it may take me another year to get to 9 out of 10. and another for 10 out of 10. Who knows? I'm hoping I can induce healing faster though.

I want to share some thoughts and ideas about this condition. And I'll even shout out Richard. I want to talk about Anxiety.

Anxiety is maybe at the root of this thing called PAWS. Yes I know, it seems absurd for something so viciously intense. I don't doubt there's immediate withdrawl from weed, and the damage it does to our brain. But anxiety seems to provoke and or subside our symptoms to a degree. I've read ALOT of books / articles on Neuroscience and health etc in the past year. The more I've read about trauma and anxiety and panic attacks, the more it seems that it is related to our problems. Serotonin I think might be more at play than Dopamine for the symptoms. At least for my own.

Strangely enough, people can get these weird symptoms from all kinds of traumatic events. Divorces, car crashes.

In our brain there's something called the HPA-Axis. It regulates our stress response. The theory goes is that when we have a panic attack or a real massive trauma, the axis gets "stuck" looking for threats all the time. Cortisol, and all the other stress hormones get pumped out 24/7, and as we obsess over our symptoms, the stress of the obsession keeps sending out our stress chemicals. Over days, weeks, and months, those chemicals create their own problems. And now that we are in the feedback loop, we can't seem to break it, and our symptoms persist.

So the only way to get our system back to normal is to find a way to calm this system down. Over a long period of time.

It seems that people who improve faster with this, are people who find something else to care about. My understanding of the brain, is that while you can't delete the past, you can overwrite it and make it less important. So to put this thing behind us all quicker, the best thing is to do the general obvious healthy lifestyle habits we should all be doing anyways. Read a book, sing, dance, ANYTHING to not think about this, so our HPA-Axis gets a chance to calm down and regroup.

Exercise helps the HPA-Axis too. Because after about 30 minutes of cardio, your HPA gets a natural "break" induced from the body. It's a good way to give it some relaxation time (Read this in the book Spark). And of course a healthy balanced diet with colorful veggies and healthy fats and protein.

It was the books "Spark", "Breathe" "Body Keeps the Score", and Shaun O Connor's Depersonalization website that really tuned me into this concept, and how anxiety is a real killer for ourselves. In fact when I google my symptom + the word anxiety, it always comes up as a correlation.

Even if there's no exact proof, I think we'd all agree anxiety is not helpful. Don't get me wrong, I know my own anxiety i coming from the "bottom" of me. It bubbles up out of nowhere. Constantly. But I can ignore it / deal with it by with keeping my mind on something else. That's "top down" therapy.

So for myself, I'm going to focus on exactly that. Exercise and any habit that makes me not think of this. I'm singing throughout the day, chewing gum, writing, reading books out loud, calling friends, learning new skills, counting my steps, focusing on my breath, doing work, anything to not dwell on PAWS - or whatever the hell this is anymore. Channeling my obsessive brain into healthy things. I want my brain to overwrite it's old thought patterns. Currently I'm finding 20 minute free writes on positive topics (Like writing 20 minutes about puppys) or singing along with happy songs (Beach Boys!) extremely helpful. These happy topics get stuck in my head, and then without knowing it I calm down.

That also means no more Dr. Google, or even forums like this. I wanted to come in and share, but now I won't be back for 3-6 months. I will still see my Dr. at 3 month intervals.

Hey! I wish you all well! I know all of us are different and at different stages, but maybe consider how much unhealthy anxiety (obsessive thoughts) you can remove from your life! I do wonder how many of us are OCD type-A kind of people before this all came down on us. I know I am the obsessive type, now I need to bring it out of the dark side and into good healthy habits again.

I'll respond for a day or so if you like, and then I'm away for awhile. Keep the faith everyone!
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