Just Getting Started (painfully long)

Postby IntoTheVoid » Sat Feb 27, 2021 5:50 pm

Heyo. I'm new around here, but I feel like I know a couple of you pretty well already. I've been obsessively stalking many of the veterans here. Trying to figure out when the pounding ends, when my joyful spirit will return, when I'll see the colors of the world again.

I always thought I'd one day smoke weed, as I'd been researching it since about the age of 13. All reports and studies told me there was little to no physical withdrawl, and any cognitive impairment caused by weed was temporary and more importantly, negligible. I figured if the difference between sober me and stoned me wasn't noticeable, there's no harm in trying it.

Fast forward to senior year of high school, and it happened. And I enjoyed it. It made everything funnier, brighter, more vivid. However, I realized that this was also a bad thing. While physical addiction was off the table, I have an extremely addictive personality. I've been a serial masturbator for as long as I can remember, and I tend to get set in my ways, regardless of the phase of life I'm in. I smoked pretty infrequently that year, and life was good.

I graduated, and that summer was my first introduction to the now infamous THC Cartridges. Man those things were nice. Less noticeable smell, easy access, no clean up, holy crap. These things were a godsend. I only used them about once a week, which was fine. I eventually dropped the carts because of my upcoming college semester, and subsequently dropped weed entirely for a while. I had no real attachment to weed at this point, so there were no issues physically or mentally. I then started working at a Pizza Hut, which may have put the nail in the coffin for me. There isn't a single person there who isn't stoned 24/7. I eventually joined the fun and started smoking daily, and using edibles on my day off.

Eventually, I got sucked into my job as it was making me decent money, and it allowed me to get high whenever I pleased. I call this kind of lifestyle Stonerism. A life where you do just enough to get by, not fulfilled but content. Not joyful but happy, in a shallow kind of way. Eventually, I realized this was unsustainable. I wanted to get out, but I wasn't sure how. Then, in April of 2020, my dad passed away. This made things tremendously worse. My weed use spiked from stoned most of the time, to all of the time. Eventually, my tolerance got so high that only one thing was good enough.

Those good old THC Carts. My memory of the past 6 months is seriously hazy. I believe I even went through a single gram cart in a day at one point. One day, I snapped out of it. I decided I was done for good, that this blurry, emotionless lifestyle wasn't for me. I want to achieve, I want to excel. I remember who I was in high school and that's who I want to be.

The first few days of quitting weren't even that bad. I'd taken tolerance breaks before, so my feelings were nothing out of the ordinary. Just the usual insomnia, anxiety, and lack of appetite. Unfortunately, this was the calm before the storm. On day 7, something felt very very off. I wanted to cry. My memory seemed worse than usual. My heart was pounding. I had no idea what was happening to me. I figured these weren't even things that could happen during withdrawl, and was confused. The next day I felt worse. I woke up feeling depressed, anxious, my ears were ringing and my libido was gone. I finally did some research about what the hell could be going on, and found this forum.

Hello, PAWS. Nice to meet you. Hopefully we get to know each other pretty well on this journey. I'm on day 16 now and I've never felt so bad in my life. Currently, the worst of it comes in the morning and subsides by the evening. The constant symptoms are bad memory, brain fog, and lack of appetite. Depression and anhedonia are always there as well, but ease up as the days go on.

I have no idea how I'm going to beat this. I've seen some Inspirational stories on here, but some terrifying ones as well. I guess the one thing keeping me going is this: all paths ahead of me lead to a lack of suffering. If I can't function with PAWS, I will return to smoking. I'm 19, I need to get going in life now. I can't afford to take 2 years off of life. I'll be moving in 7 months, and hopefully a lot wiser on my situation by then. However, the idea of returning to smoking is very undesirable. I would prefer to ride this hellish existence out for 2 years, as long as I can function, with the promise of a return to normality.

Thanks for reading. I would love to talk to anyone else going through this, as it is extremely therapeutic to communicate with others that suffer in the same way I do.
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Postby PAWSsurvivor » Sat Feb 27, 2021 11:31 pm

We are all here to lend ears and thoughts.

Something to consider, it may not last 2 years. That's a scary proposition. One you shouldn't put on yourself. Many people feel better in a much shorter time. Also even if it does go a long time, it's not like it's horrible every day. There's many good days, and you'll feel improvements over time. :)

One day at a time.

Also I want you to consider that even though your body is readapting without Cannabis, it's important not to add anxiety on top of anxiety (as in being afraid of your symptoms, being afraid of the future) No matter what happens, you'll just feel uncomfortable. That's it. Accept the discomfort and then go about life as you can handle. You can handle this. Even with life happening. I think it will be important to have a support group to help you when you need it. I'd highly recommend avoiding sugar and caffeine, and try to drink a reasonable amount of water.

Many people have nervous system problems without ceasing cannabis. It can happen after the deaths of loved ones, and other kinds of trauma. A really helpful book is "Hope and Health for your Nerves"by Claire Weekes. The gist is the more we accept what our bodies are doing, the more they can heal without us interfering in the process. The more we fight, the more stress hormones are released getting in the way. The DARE app might be useful as well. It's based on her work.

Just a thought and some advice. I wish I had been pointed towards this more when all this first happened to me.

You'll be ok :)
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Postby FriendlyFriend » Sat Feb 27, 2021 11:33 pm

Hey Void. At 16 days you are very likely still in the acute withdrawal phase which, given the extent of your use, is not going to be fun either! At such level of use, it can take several days for the serum THC levels to drop to a point where the withdrawal will truly begin. This seems to have happened to you at the 7 day mark. In my experience weeks 2 and 3 are the hardest period of the acute withdrawal. Post-acute withdrawal typically begins at 4-5 weeks, if it is to begin at all (not everyone gets it by any means). In any case, it may be that it is going to take at least a couple of months until you begin to feel considerably better.

Here is an quality chart someone who did not suffer from PAWS made of his recovery. You may find it helpful in assessing your own recovery (remove spaces):

https: //imgur. com/a/ZvMJl3T

Wish you the best!
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Postby IntoTheVoid » Sun Feb 28, 2021 5:56 pm

Thanks for the responses guys.

Yeah, I agree. "Overthinking, overanalysing, separates the body from the mind" is one of my favorite song lyrics from the band Tool, and I never quite understood it as deeply as I do now. Sort of like boiling the frog, you can't measure any improvement if you're always looking for it. That's something I'll have to work on. I took a look at some of Claire Weekes stuff and its interesting, I'll have to dive deeper into that later.

I agree it would be strange if not impossible to suffer PAWS symptoms so early on in my recover. However, it seems a switch absolutely flipped on day 7. I can fall asleep whenever now, but with disturbances no matter what. My anxiety was never like this until now, and I certainly didn't have tinnitus before day 7. Maybe it isn't exactly PAWS but a shock to my nervous system that is inducing paws-like symptoms. It is all very strange to me.
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