Day 80: Anxiety & headaches

Postby acomoncold » Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:01 pm

Just found this website. Seems like a great discussion forum. I’m super grateful to have found it as it seems like a lot of you people know a lot about PAWS. I’ve done so much reading today on this website & got familiar with a lot of stories. Today I would like to share mine & would love insight & support. If you read this, I am appreciative of your time & help.

I am 20 years old. Started smoking weed in my junior year of high school. Started off occasionally like many others. This, of course, led to daily use. After high school, I moved states to go to university. I now live away from family & needed to make new friends & had zero access to weed. About a month into school, I found someone else who smoked weed & we started smoking together daily. Sometimes multiple times a day. By the way, when I involuntarily quit for the first month of college, I had ZERO withdrawal symptoms.

Fast forward to the end of my sophomore year of college. I have been smoking in my house everyday multiple times a day for a year. Dabbing concentrated mostly in the last 2-3 months of my smoking career. I had a very bad experience with cocaine where I became incredibly anxious(probably only my fifth time doing coke). This pushed me to drop everything & head back to my home state. I have been stone cold sober ever since. Dropped caffeine. The only addiction that continues is a nicotine addiction to Juul (psychiatrist thinks I should hold off on quitting this until I feel more baseline).

I am now 80 days into my sobriety & don’t feel like I have felt “normal” since 80 days ago. Something happened on that day that I can’t explain. I feel like i’m dealing with PAWS. I have this terrible anxiety that I f***ed myself for life. Like I messed up my brain permanently or have developed some mental disorder that makes me anxious.

This is accompanied by the absolute weirdest sensation in my head. It feels pressurized in my forehead. Like somebody smacked me with a hammer lol. It’s persisted & its constant. Never feel better. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt perse by most of the time it does ache.

Can somebody please relate to me? Is this normal? Is this PAWS? I hope it is just PAWS, but then again, I don’t like either option lol. Either I have a two year journey ahead of me, or I have something wrong & need to take pills. I don’t wanna do either, but here I am. Anyways, i’m not unhappy, mostly just anxious & wanting everything to go back to normal.
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#1

Postby acomoncold » Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:05 pm

By the way, I have been maintaining relatively good health, diet, & meditation habits. I just kinda want some reassurances that it will pass & that I probably don’t have anything wrong with me. Thanks again everyone!
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#2

Postby PAWSsurvivor » Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:13 am

My vote would be it's some sort of withdrawl which will sort itself in time. My experience is with a short use of cannabis for a few months. Thats all I can speak to.

Anxiety (catastrophizing) can make things worse and cause other related problems, so if what you have going on isn't too bad, maybe just sort of accept that the head pressure sucks, but don't give it much more thought, and give it some more time and see how it goes. You will have your own unique timeline. Some people feel better in weeks, months, and also years. I feel like I'm learning the hard way that the less anxiety one drums up about this, the easier it is to heal. Easier said than done for sure! My thoughts are if you can handle it with out anxiety medication, it will be for the best, but as always consult your doctor. For what it's worth, I've found measuring recovery in 3 month intervals to be the best measuring stick, and most people seem to notice significant improvements in months 3-6.

Best to you! We will be here for you.
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#3

Postby acomoncold » Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:29 am

PAWSsurvivor im super grateful in your response. It relieves me that people start feeling better in the 3-6 month period because that means i’m close to the beginning of relief.

Surviving for 80 days without some form of acceptance is absolutely impossible so I’ve definitely been working on that. My functionality has remained okay, but everything just kinda sucks. I just have weird feelings. I’d assume they all stem from anxiety too. I honestly think a lot of PAWS symptoms stem from the underlying anxiety, but what do I know.

Im in a 12 step program & am awaiting a spiritual experience so that I can truly let the control go. Let myself experience with the knowledge & wisdom that it’s completely out of my control if that makes sense.

I hope you’re doing well too.
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#4

Postby tokeless » Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:03 am

Im in a 12 step program & am awaiting a spiritual experience so that I can truly let the control go. Let myself experience with the knowledge & wisdom that it’s completely out of my control if that makes sense.

I hope you’re doing well too.
acomoncold


No offence meant but you don't gain control by giving it to a higher being and then taking its guidance for the rest of your life. It's another dependency really. Your choice I guess but these places are businesses too.
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#5

Postby PAWSsurvivor » Sun Oct 18, 2020 1:40 pm

Yeah, there's "top down anxiety" as in what we consciously think and do with out thoughts and time (diet, exercise, meditation). And "bottom up" anxiety. Biological variables and unconscious processes happening withing us (withdrawl, genetics, etc). There's always a mix. Both forms of anxiety are a part of this. No worries, lots of understanding to you.
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#6

Postby acomoncold » Sun Oct 18, 2020 2:27 pm

tokeless. AA is absolutely not a business. Read the first page of the big book. It literally talks about how they don’t want any money. It’s a self sustaining group.

Lol. im not going to church. I think 12 step is a lot different to what you’re thinking it is.
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#7

Postby tokeless » Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:24 pm

acomoncold wrote:tokeless. AA is absolutely not a business. Read the first page of the big book. It literally talks about how they don’t want any money. It’s a self sustaining group.

Lol. im not going to church. I think 12 step is a lot different to what you’re thinking it is.


https://www.forbes.com/sites/danmunro/2 ... -industry/

I think you'll find it is. The AA movement promoted the belief that addicts have to surrender to a higher power or one greater than them, which was God. They then dampened down that because of criticism, to the power of the group. Either way, to leave is the addict fooling you that you are no longer an addict. It has its benefits to those who need that type of support but I wouldn't say it's an answer... that has always been in you.
Good luck anyway
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#8

Postby SparkleFly12 » Sun Oct 18, 2020 5:33 pm

Hi @acomoncold,

Ive been there. Similar to you. Oddly, I created my first thread here at 80 days clean too ("80 days clean of weed"). I had a plethora of symptoms, one of them was headache and it was exactly as you describe. Well, what you describe sounds like my headache after a few months (after it had gotten better a bit). When it started, it was like my brain was 2 sizes bigger than my skull and felt like there was incredible pressure around it, squeezing it. It was 11/10 painful, I was absolutely miserable all the time. After 8 months or so it was better, and as you describe - like a pressure in the forehead and temples area. It felt like a blunt force injury, but no bruising - my head felt rattled and in pain/pressure. I also had anxiety, but not as bad and completely manageable. This has since gone away.

I dont want to worry you, because your timeline is obviously different. But it took a good year and a few months before my headache went away. I still have some lingering symptoms now at ~18-20 months but overall much better - and no headache.

The other thing Ill say is that how much you smoke really matters for PAWS, and concentrates are almost certainly what f***ed me up. I have "quit" many times; the first time I remember feeling a very mild headache for 2 weeks was when I used to smoke a small bowl every night (maybe 1 gram every 3-4 days). Another time I quit for 2 months after smoking 1-2 grams a day for many months - I had headache, anxiety, insomnia...mild-moderate. The last time I quit was after smoking lots of concentrates and herb for a long time. Its been 16-20 months now and Im waay better than when I started, but still have a few lingering symptoms.

It just takes time. Nothing you can do to make it better, so just go on with your life. Stay active, stay prodictive even though its hard some days.
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#9

Postby acomoncold » Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:36 pm

I actually saw your post right after you responded to me. Maybe you commented on your own post & sent it up to the top of active posts? Not sure, but that’s a super weird coincidence. I really appreciate your response. I’m happy that im not alone on the weird sensation in my head. It’s like “head pressure” doesn’t perfectly describe it. My brain being too big for my head definitely is closer, but still not exactly. Super hard to explain this sensation.

So bizarre that the brain can be this damaged by weed. PAWS has honestly been pretty traumatic for me & definitely don’t see me going back. Thanks for the response Sparkle.
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#10

Postby acomoncold » Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:13 pm

Tokeless. Addiction recovery & AA are two different things. I’m not in rehab. I would say that rehab is a business. A very profitable one. Similar to a hospital.
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#11

Postby SparkleFly12 » Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:37 pm

Yes, I commented on my post right after this one. You're not crazy.
I use it as a log to track my symptoms, and if anyone else ever wants to read throguh it. Dont really need the support/advice these days since I know my symptoms and their trajectory very well now.

Cheers
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#12

Postby tokeless » Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:11 pm

acomoncold wrote:Tokeless. Addiction recovery & AA are two different things. I’m not in rehab. I would say that rehab is a business. A very profitable one. Similar to a hospital.


If you're in a 12 step recovery programme there is little difference other than how it's marketed. Bottom line it is your decision and I wish you well.
Question: When do you know you've recovered?
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#13

Postby acomoncold » Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:34 pm

tokeless wrote:
If you're in a 12 step recovery programme there is little difference other than how it's marketed. Bottom line it is your decision and I wish you well.
Question: When do you know you've recovered?


Im recovered when I have an identity not based around sobriety. The program argues that you never recover. I don’t want my identity to be sobriety like a lot of AA folks. I want a life that involves being sober, but isn’t the main focus.
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#14

Postby acomoncold » Mon Oct 19, 2020 6:31 pm

Sparkle, how long did you dab concentrates? I feel like my obsession over my mental health is restricting me from truly healing. I don't know if that concern ever crossed your mind too. I just feel like i'm never gonna be the same again. If i'm constantly checking in with how I am doing, will I ever be better? It's like this recovery journey has traumatized me & made me unstable. I'm hoping time will help me.
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