Starting my journey to recovery...Potential PAWs case

Postby WeWillDoThis » Tue May 18, 2021 2:01 pm

Hi All-I just wanted to reach out for support and guidance through my recovery journey. I've done a lot of reading through these forums in the last few days and everyone's experience and stories have been enlightening and has helped me ground myself for what may be to come. I'm a mid 30's professional that has been smoking cumulatively for approx 17 years, with varying frequency. The last 1.5 years has been daily usage. My volume was pretty low, I was truly using it to "medicate" to relieve stress and would indulge a little heavier on the weekends, I'd maybe use a gram in a week to 10 days (if that) and would typically stick with flower (non dispensary grade). I honestly got to a point where I didn't like to get "stoned" but would rather use it to calm my mind/energize me to get things done (at least that's what I told myself...)

I had a random panic attack about 6 weeks ago after a big presentation at work and that triggered me to want to quit. I went 2 weeks w/ out it and had severe anxiety and mild/moderate depression. My doctor prescribed Vysteril (hydroxizine) to help w/ the anxiety and help w/ sleep. I believe it did help me sleep but not sure what it did about my anxiety, other than make me feel groggy in the mornings. I then became weak and did a small celebration on 4/20 and immediately regretted it. I gave away all of my paraphernalia to my friend and I've been clean now for nearly just over 3 weeks, but am having a hard time w/ the anxiety and depression. I have no idea if this is PAWS or I'm still in the detox/acute recovery phase. I have a fairly stressful job and blessed to have two young children which is likely compounding things. I want to remain strong for my kids, my wife and for my career but I'm already fearful that my anxiety and depression are only going to get worse in the coming weeks/months. My doctor recommended I use the Vysteril if needed and she even recommended trying something called Buspar if things get worse but, from what I've been reading that can make things worse or lengthen the recovery time. I've also read conflicting stories on CBD products, I've used them in the past to help w/ stress and focus and have had positive results but again, don't want to derail my recovery. One thing is for certain, I don't want to use Marijuana any more and I'm committed to getting through this! Thank you everyone for sharing their stories and experience.
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#1

Postby Luna824 » Tue May 18, 2021 9:05 pm

Hey there! Congrats on making it this far. Similar to you I was using it to help with stress. I was smoking every day after work to relax. After quitting my worst symptom has been anxiety. I’ve always had some form of anxiety but always very manageable. Now I get these waves of just doom, that turns into physical symptoms which then increases my anxiety. It’s such a vicious cycle. Funny my doctor also gave my hydroxizine and I’ve taken it a few times. It honestly has done nothing to help my anxiety but has helped the physical symptoms like nausea, loss of appetite. But I hate how groggy it makes me. I’ve been trying to figure out why anxiety is hitting me like a brick wall. Why now? Why can’t I keep a handle on things. It’s like I have zero control over my feelings. And as silly as it sounds the conclusion I’ve come up with is because I’ve been using weed to not deal with things. Not deal with stress, sadness etc. and now I have to basically re-train myself. Weed was my outlet. It was a way for me to numb my mind. To relax and now I need to find different ways to do it. So now when I’m stressed out it’s harder for me to deal with it because I don’t have my outlet (weed). I don’t know if that makes any sense.

For me the first 2 months were hell. Just going through the motions. I’m currently on month 3 and the anxiety is better. It usually comes in waves which is great because I have some good days/weeks in between to be able to tackle the next wave. It will get better. I promise you. I haven’t had a “wave” in over 3 weeks. I did have a moment of anxiety the other day when eating out for the first time in months but as soon as I got back into the car I was fine.
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#2

Postby WeWillDoThis » Wed May 19, 2021 12:33 pm

Hey Luna-Thanks for sharing! I read your thread and it does indeed seem we're in similar situations. I've come to a similar conclusion, yes I have additional stressors in my life since I started smoking (new job, baby, etc) and I too had an anxious, overthinking/curious mind since I was a kid but I never had panic feelings when going out in public, going to meet friends, etc. At first I thought it was the Pandemic as the feelings started coinciding but now I recognize its likely the weed. I too have good days and bad days, and even the bad days offer some relief at some point in the day (an hour or two) but I can't help to think this is something I'll have to deal with for a LONG time and when the waves do happen, it brings some acute depression along with it...

I've been trying to look at the bright side of things more, not dwell on the bad feelings, appreciate the good days and power through. CBD (Feals 1200mg) tincture def. seems to help the anxiety but again I don't want to derail recovery too much. I only take the Vyseril when needed if I've had a really bad day but again, it doesn't seem to help and only knocks me out to sleep a bit. I've also starting researching 5-HTP and L-DOPA to help with serotonin and dopamine production to increase mood but its likely snake oil. Going for long walks and just talking to people (neighbors, friends, family) seems to help keep me grounded as well. I know its going to be a journey/war but again I'm determined to get better. I'll have a real test in a couple of weeks when I have a big family wedding to attend...

Thanks again for sharing your positive progress-it gives me hope that things will get more manageable in the coming weeks/months! I wish you well with your recovery and will check in again soon.
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#3

Postby WeWillDoThis » Tue May 25, 2021 3:08 pm

Hi All-Just checking in and updating my journey thus far....
8 weeks after daily use...
5 weeks total cessation...

I've still had good days and bad days when it comes to the anxiety/depression. I've only had a handful of nights of insomnia but tend to wake up anxious and startled easier (likely due to not being in the consistent haze). Overall-I'd say things are improving, I've had days where I've felt normal but when the intrusive thoughts/overthinking kicks in it can bring me down. I'm doing my best to not dwell on things. I think seeing what others have gone through in some cases has inspired me but also have made me fearful that things will get worse instead of getting better (which is not always the case!) and that causes me to ruminate and question how I'm feeling a lot of the time. I haven't really gotten any significant cravings any longer and have even enjoyed a glass of wine with my wife and not felt any ill effects (again if I don't overthink it) but remain to avoid alcohol and caffeine to a large extent. I've had numerous doctor appts, they are pushing to stay off any anxiety/depression meds for at least another month if things keep improving (I agree). I think it helped to get a clean bill of health as well, bloodwork came back as normal other than some high cholesterol which means I need to work out more (bonus!). I've also schedule a session with a therapist to talk through things to help me normalize my life and set realistic expectations but for now I'm just enjoying the ride sort of speak. I cherish the good days and try to learn from the bad.

Remember, whatever you feed will grow, regardless if its good or bad. Unfortunately for most, the bad tends to grow faster then the good.

Luna824 wrote:
For me the first 2 months were hell. Just going through the motions. I’m currently on month 3 and the anxiety is better. It usually comes in waves which is great because I have some good days/weeks in between to be able to tackle the next wave. It will get better. I promise you. I haven’t had a “wave” in over 3 weeks. I did have a moment of anxiety the other day when eating out for the first time in months but as soon as I got back into the car I was fine.


Luna I'm hope your right and still getting better week over week! Thanks again for sharing your story!
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#4

Postby WeWillDoThis » Fri Jul 02, 2021 8:29 pm

Hi All Just wanted to check back in to see how everyone else is fairing in their fight.

I'm currently at 10 weeks quit, and still having issues w/ brain fog, anxiety and depression. I've been lucky to avoid any panic attacks although had a close call when on the boardwalk w/ my family on vacation :oops: I've been seeing a therapist and my doctor on a regular basis, I'll get to that in a moment....

I still continue to have good days and bad days, but the bad days seem to be persisting more as of recently. I'm nearly obsessed with researching anxiety, paws and all my symptoms hoping to find some relief but I know the best recipe is time. I continue to walk everyday, meditate multiple times a week, eating healthy and have minimized caffeine and alcohol (1-2 drinks a week). My family and wife are both worried about me as they've noted I haven't been myself since my original panic attack. I used to be a social person and enjoy engaging with people but have become more reclusive.

Another interesting note is that I still test positive for THC after 10 weeks, I'm guessing this is due to the CBD that I had been taking since it has trace amounts in it, but was kinda surprised by that.

So at this point my doctor and therapist are pushing me to try an SSRI (Lexapro) and to be honest I'm terrified to try it, its been sitting in my cabinet for a week. I've asked them about my concerns (messing my brain chemistry, withdrawl, etc) and they continue to tell me it'll be ok and its only to help me through this period and then they'll taper me down. Dose is 5mg. Has anyone had any success with this? (I know this is not preferred...)

I wish everyone the best in their recovery, I may be one that's in it for the long haul....
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#5

Postby Luna824 » Sat Jul 03, 2021 2:57 am

Hi! Glad to hear from you. Also glad to hear you’re having some good days. No experience with the specific meditation but my doctor did prescribe a really low dose anxiety pill which I took a total of 5 times. It didn’t do much for me expect help with nausea. If you feel like you suffer from anxiety/depression outside of PAWS I would recommend it. But if you feel like you’re only like this because of quitting/PAWS I would recommend NOT taking it. I know it’s easier said then done, but I strongly believe the reason I’m going through Paws is because I relied on weed too much. I wouldn’t allow myself to cope with anything and instead just used weed to cover up my feelings and emotions. The way I look at it is you’re just going to replace weed with the medication. You have to go through the motions to get yourself back to the way you use to be. Unfortunately it takes time. I struggled a lot from going out in public/anxiety. I didn’t go out for months. Not even to the grocery store. The other week I went to the mall for the first time in months and didn’t panic. I know everyone is different but it’s been over a month since I had a major wave. I’m 4.5 months sober and I really noticed an improvement at 3 months. And I know I’m lucky because most people don’t feel better till closer to 6. The one thing I know for sure about this hell most people are going through is that it will get better. It just takes time. I also read someone write, “What goes up must come down.” And as corny as it sounds it’s true. I was high as a f***ing bird for years and now it’s time for me to pay my dues. Message me if you ever want to chat!

I should also add I have a 4 year old son. So it’s hard to just be locked up at home. I couldn’t even find enjoyment with my son at times. It was very difficult but my partner is super supportive and knows when I’m having a wave and need to just stay at home.
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#6

Postby WeWillDoThis » Wed Jul 07, 2021 2:05 pm

Hi Luna-Happy to hear from you and glad to hear you're still doing well and recovering nicely. I had symptoms of anxiety and depression while smoking and now that I've quit, they've really began to peak. My therapist (addiction/abuse specialist) thinks that I may have been mildly depressed/anxious for years now and the recent increase in stressors (new baby, new job, pandemic, family illness, etc) finally pushed it over the edge where my self medicating would no longer suffice. I'm not doubting that I wasn't experiencing some depression, I had lost a lot of motivation and lust for life/work in the last months but I didn't think it was THIS bad. I don't expect a quick fix in this situation, but between my anxiety and depression, I'm finding it very hard to develop healthy coping skills. I spend hours a day glued to my phone reading through reddit/uncommon on my symptoms and recovery timelines and I can't seem to get out of the rut, its making work and family life very hard.

Against my better judgement, I decided to go with my doctors/therapists decision to try Lexapro, the first couple of days have been ok, no real relief of anything. I'm on my 5th day now and my anxiety has been through the roof the last couple of days, I'm told this is normal but I've barely been able to function and feel like I've regressed at this point. Hoping and praying things improve soon and I can get back to living a semi normal life and continue therapy to lead a happy/healthy life again

Thanks again for the support and I hope we can continue to connect on our journey to recovery!
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#7

Postby Luna824 » Thu Jul 08, 2021 8:12 pm

Hey! So sorry to hear about the anxiety even with the medication. I’m sure you will feel some relief soon. Please keep us updating on your journey. Just take everything day by day.
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#8

Postby PowerOfMyMind » Fri Jul 16, 2021 7:40 pm

How are you getting on with the antidepressants? You should stabilise after a few weeks
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#9

Postby PowerOfMyMind » Sun Aug 01, 2021 6:45 pm

WeWillDoThis wrote:Hi Luna-Happy to hear from you and glad to hear you're still doing well and recovering nicely. I had symptoms of anxiety and depression while smoking and now that I've quit, they've really began to peak. My therapist (addiction/abuse specialist) thinks that I may have been mildly depressed/anxious for years now and the recent increase in stressors (new baby, new job, pandemic, family illness, etc) finally pushed it over the edge where my self medicating would no longer suffice. I'm not doubting that I wasn't experiencing some depression, I had lost a lot of motivation and lust for life/work in the last months but I didn't think it was THIS bad. I don't expect a quick fix in this situation, but between my anxiety and depression, I'm finding it very hard to develop healthy coping skills. I spend hours a day glued to my phone reading through reddit/uncommon on my symptoms and recovery timelines and I can't seem to get out of the rut, its making work and family life very hard.

Against my better judgement, I decided to go with my doctors/therapists decision to try Lexapro, the first couple of days have been ok, no real relief of anything. I'm on my 5th day now and my anxiety has been through the roof the last couple of days, I'm told this is normal but I've barely been able to function and feel like I've regressed at this point. Hoping and praying things improve soon and I can get back to living a semi normal life and continue therapy to lead a happy/healthy life again

Thanks again for the support and I hope we can continue to connect on our journey to recovery!


Thinking of you buddy, hope things are ok. Its hard going but hang in there as it does get better in time.
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#10

Postby WeWillDoThis » Wed Aug 25, 2021 2:22 pm

Hi All-Checking back in to update on how things have been going. I appreciate people checking in and providing well wishes, it really means a lot.

To this day, I've noted marginal improvements overall but improvements non the less. My anxiety has improved after 3-4 weeks on 10mg of Lexapro, but I still get waves of bad days (today being one) where the mornings are tough. I just do my best for forge through and keep moving forward. My sleep has degraded since being on the meds, I can fall asleep but I feel like my sleep quality/length has compromised a bit (maybe get 4-5 hrs of good rest a night) and constant fatigued during the day.

I'm continuing bi-weekly talks with my therapist and have decided to see a psychiatrist to better manage by medication (might elect to get off altogether) as I haven't noticed a huge improvement but do feel a bit more stable and don't tend to ruminate as much. I still have good days and bad days, the bad days have high anxiety, low energy and depression (I question everything, my life, can I continue to do this, did I make the wrong choices, how can I continue to support my family like this, etc.) All of these demons I need to continue address and conquer and I'm really hoping therapy can help with that. I also need to do better about sticking to a routine as I've allowed myself to fall back into bad habits, going to bed late, drinking coffee, having an occasional beer. Just need to be accountable and present.

Again, this has been one of the hardest things I've ever experienced but I know things will get better in time. I wish everyone the best wherever they are in their journey and hope to stay connected with you all (also on Reddit: u/TimeConsumer87).

Peace and love.
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#11

Postby john5:6 » Thu Aug 26, 2021 12:44 am

WeWillDoThis wrote:Hi All-Checking back in to update on how things have been going. I appreciate people checking in and providing well wishes, it really means a lot.

To this day, I've noted marginal improvements overall but improvements non the less. My anxiety has improved after 3-4 weeks on 10mg of Lexapro, but I still get waves of bad days (today being one) where the mornings are tough. I just do my best for forge through and keep moving forward. My sleep has degraded since being on the meds, I can fall asleep but I feel like my sleep quality/length has compromised a bit (maybe get 4-5 hrs of good rest a night) and constant fatigued during the day.

I'm continuing bi-weekly talks with my therapist and have decided to see a psychiatrist to better manage by medication (might elect to get off altogether) as I haven't noticed a huge improvement but do feel a bit more stable and don't tend to ruminate as much. I still have good days and bad days, the bad days have high anxiety, low energy and depression (I question everything, my life, can I continue to do this, did I make the wrong choices, how can I continue to support my family like this, etc.) All of these demons I need to continue address and conquer and I'm really hoping therapy can help with that. I also need to do better about sticking to a routine as I've allowed myself to fall back into bad habits, going to bed late, drinking coffee, having an occasional beer. Just need to be accountable and present.

Again, this has been one of the hardest things I've ever experienced but I know things will get better in time. I wish everyone the best wherever they are in their journey and hope to stay connected with you all (also on Reddit: u/TimeConsumer87).

Peace and love.


Hey man! I’m guessing you should be around 3 months post-quit now. Congratulations on your progress!! PAWS is a character building experience. I’m 9 months in, and I’m still in the thick of it, but I’ve kept pushing on and I’m a lot better now than I was in those first months. This month I’ve had old symptoms come back that I thought were long gone, but thats the wave phase of PAWS. It sure is discouraging, but its part of the process. I’ve done my best to get through this without any meds, and its been tough. I was prescribed buspar but didn’t take it. I did take an ocasional Ativan in moments that the anxiety was crippling, but that may account to only 8 or 12 times in 9 months.

Hope you keep getting better man! Best wishes.
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#12

Postby WeWillDoThis » Thu Aug 26, 2021 2:27 pm

Thanks John-I appreciate the kind words and encouragement. I'm just at 4 months post quit and the anxiety/depression and associated backpain are the only real complaints I have, but when they peak its really hard to do anything. The mornings are the worst for sure, just hoping to continue to heal and have a break through soon!

I wish you the best in your recovery and hope things improve soon!
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#13

Postby Luna824 » Sat Sep 11, 2021 6:56 am

Hey Wewilldothis! Just checking in to see how you’re doing? I’m a few days shy of 7 months sober and feeling indifferent about the situation. I’m thankful I’m able to function and go weeks without a symptom/anxiety attack but also frustrated anytime I feel the slightest anxiety. This entire process has been exhausting. But if I can offer words of encouragement I noticed a huge different after 4 months and I hope you do too! Anyways keep me updated.
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#14

Postby georgemukela » Sat Sep 11, 2021 12:40 pm

Congratulations for your move. It is not easy to make such courageous moves. These feelings of anxiety will come every now and then. It's a long road, but worth it and you are doing your family a great job. Take time and be happy for this first move you have made. You can still be happy and live a fulfilled life. Give yourself time to know that your body is going through changes and your mind is leaning to live a drug free life. Take it step by step. Find time to relax, take deep breaths and believe in yourself that you are well able to overcome whatever challenges may come through. For every bold step we make in life, there is a mountain to overcome and this is one of them. It not easy, but it is very possible. Give yourself time, take one step at time and know that you are on a great road of success. You will find challenges, but with the will power you have, for you to make such a step, you will overcome it.
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