PAWS ?

Postby Elpino91 » Tue Sep 28, 2021 5:55 pm

Hi All,

I believe i have PAWS but wanted to share my story with you to get your thoughts on it.

I have been smoking cannabis for around 12 years - (18 to 30 years old) with the last few years smoking daily but very small doses ( for example 80% tabacco / 20% weed).

In July I decided to try and stop smoking - i didn't really experience any symptoms until week 2 when one night i couldn't sleep, felt very weak and thought I was about to faint - ended up having diarrhoea. Never really felt like my true self and feel dizzy regularly since then. Sleep wasn't great but nothing too bad. I also would like to point that I ended up having a couple of tokes after i got ill (maybe 2/3 times) All this time i thought it was related to my stomach but got everything checked out and all good.

Near the end of august i went on holiday to see family where I ended up smoking small amounts again until I had one joint with my brother and i ended up having a bad trip - the outer body kind of experience. His weed is homegrown so not strong at all. But nevertheless this was the final straw for me . This was on the 29th of August - so i guess this is my first proper month sober. Since my bad trip i've had loads of different symptoms

Waking up with the fear like something is wrong
OCD symptoms - scared I would hurt someone or loose control
Anxiety - about everything and nothing - as soon as I get over one anxiety it's like my brain is looking for something new. I could be in the car and i start overthinking everything ( am i crazy etc etc)
Mood swings - like today i was really positive and then other of nowhere i end up being annoyed / any for not particular reason - thankfully it passed
Headaches mild
depersonalisation
Sleeping difficulties - wake up constantly and not able to sleep again - vivid dreams as well
Wake up with the fear
Intrusive thoughts - hurting people / loosing control ' what if'
Heart Palpitation.

All the above were really intense for the first 3 weeks since my bad trip in august. I have been seeing a hypnotherapist and as well as meditating which have helped massively. Things are much more bearable now but I just wanted to know if this was potentially PAWS ? I don't seem to have waves of bad days but it's more like i could wake up feeling good and then suddenly it's like i remember all the above and I start having anxiety again.

Thanks in advance everyone
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#1

Postby PowerOfMyMind » Wed Sep 29, 2021 3:05 pm

It sounds like paws to me. You may still be in acute withdrawal though too. Unfortunately time will tell here how things pan out. Try to remember it will pass and you will heal in time
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#2

Postby Elpino91 » Wed Sep 29, 2021 3:28 pm

Thank you for reply @powerofmymind !
I meant to say ‘if this is PAWS ‘as I’m still experiencing all this symptoms but much more bearable at the moment.

I just find it amazing that long term PAWS is not a known medical condition !!! But it’s been great to read various stories and support from this forum !

I’ll keep you posted on my recovery- stay strong everyone !
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#3

Postby Elpino91 » Tue Oct 26, 2021 8:10 am

As I get closer to my second month sober I want to share my experience with everyone as I kind find it therapeutic but also hoping other people can share there experience regardless at what stage they are at in their recovery.

Second month has been similar to the first but do feel things are less intense most of the time.

Intrusive thoughts / OCD : I’ve had all kinds of intrusive thoughts but the main ones have been around harming people I’m closest to and it’s been horrible. It’s also been around thinking I might be mentally ill and the occasional HOCD. However I have been dealing it with much better by keeping busy and not letting it overwhelm me.

Sleep : I have been able to fall asleep quite easily but I always wake up around 3/4am and then I can’t fall back to sleep. It’s like my brain is in full throttle and I can’t control the thoughts. Vivid dreams are still in full flow but not as intense as the first month.

Confusion : this happen rarely but there has been few instances where I feel confused for no particular reason and then that brings anxiety. Last week I couldn’t remenber what days it was for about 5 seconds and I started thinking that I’m mentally ill etc etc - does this happen to anyone ? I also think I’ve had brain fog for a while.

Memory : my memory has been getting better but it’s more the timelines I struggle with. Sometimes I feel like the weeks just fly by and it’s scary.

Anxiety : of course it’s always there but again I’m able to cope with it much better by staying busy , exercising and meditating.

Seeing all the different success stories in this forum has been really helpful. So please share your stories whether you are past PAWS or right in it like me. Any tips are welcomed
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#4

Postby WeWillHeal » Tue Nov 16, 2021 8:20 pm

Hey Elpino! We are similar ages and smoked for a similar period of time. I had a terrible trip on August 22nd, quit cold turkey, and have had similar symptoms that you report in this thread. My OCD is different but I have been rather obsessive about things. Confidence is not where it used to be. Health anxiety is extremely high. I am noticing improvements as I approach 3 months but I also am aware I have a long ways to go.

Honestly, I don't know if I ever would have quit for good if it wasn't for this experience. I quit multiple times over the last decade for a month here and a month there and I never had any of this happen and would always go back. Not this time..Too much to lose. This will end up being a blessing in disguise. I can never go back.

We got this! Keep us updated on your progress and what helps.
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#5

Postby Elpino91 » Tue Nov 16, 2021 9:59 pm

WeWillHeal wrote:Hey Elpino! We are similar ages and smoked for a similar period of time. I had a terrible trip on August 22nd, quit cold turkey, and have had similar symptoms that you report in this thread. My OCD is different but I have been rather obsessive about things. Confidence is not where it used to be. Health anxiety is extremely high. I am noticing improvements as I approach 3 months but I also am aware I have a long ways to go.

Honestly, I don't know if I ever would have quit for good if it wasn't for this experience. I quit multiple times over the last decade for a month here and a month there and I never had any of this happen and would always go back. Not this time..Too much to lose. This will end up being a blessing in disguise. I can never go back.

We got this! Keep us updated on your progress and what helps.


Hi mate

Like you - I stopped a few times but always smoked again. But as you say with what we are living right now I know I will never smoke again. I don’t want to live this twice.

I had a little episode on Sunday because of an intrusive thoughts that really scared me and anxiety was like the first weeks. But managed it and it only lasted a day (thank god). As you say we have a long way to go but I do feel we are improving.

One thing that helped me was a post called ‘baked brain from exstonerinhell. Really makes you understand why we are living this. There’s other post that talk about how the brain is just trying to find the right balance after years of smoking weed. Another thing that has helped is being open about it with my closest friends and family. They’ve been really supportive and encouraging.

But yeah we will get though this with time ! Keep believing and always try to find the positives in the negatives !
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#6

Postby quietvoice » Wed Nov 17, 2021 1:12 pm

Elpino91 wrote:One thing that helped me was a post called ‘baked brain from exstonerinhell.


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#7

Postby Elpino91 » Wed Dec 08, 2021 9:53 am

Hi

Just posting a quick update as I’ve just past 3 months since I stopped smoking. Things keep improving slowly but surely.

Intrusive thoughts :they keep diminishing and don’t affect me as much as they used to so that’s a plus.

Sleep : sleep is getting better But still have occasional nights where I don’t sleep that much.

Anxiety : still there but manageable - it’s mainly due to all the negative thoughts I have which makes me sad and increase anxiety. These resolve around ‘ will I have be happy / normal again?’and an irrational fears. I used to be scared to be on my own because I thought I would do something bad - now that’s no longer the case. But I know I have a fear of time - since everything happened it’s like a new born and I keep thinking of the past and how everything has gone by so quickly ! Then I think of my parents who are in their 60s and think we haven’t got much time left with them etc etc. All these irrational fears that I never used to have before… really weird. I just keep saying to myself that it’s my brain re wiring itself and I try to live day by day. Be great if people experienced the same thing and if with time they will diminish ???

Emotions : they are returning as well but it’s a real rollercoaster. Most days im doing fine but like sometimes I get really emotional. For example I spoke to my mum a few days back and I cried without really knowing why (most likely cause of the sad thoughts) but then I was fine.

I’m grateful that I’m able to function and get on with my life most days but still a long way to go. I keep meditating be grateful for the things I have.

Take care !
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#8

Postby Trinere » Thu Dec 23, 2021 9:43 am

Hi Elpino,
how are you doing? In your posts before I have read that you suffer from the occasional HOCD. I suffer from it too and I do panic a lot. I am now 3 month in and depression & anxiety kills me. It is horrible. At the moment I live my life from day to day because I can't look bright into the future. My life is kinda boring. Can you describe your anxiety a little bit more? And have you always suffered from HOCD?
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#9

Postby biohack9 » Fri Dec 24, 2021 2:54 am

I just posted in your thread but what you’re going through is typical paws symptoms with depression and anxiety. I’m going through it as well and am approaching 4 months. It started around 3 months. It is day by day, hard to predict. Just gotta keep moving forward. It gets better. Much better.
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#10

Postby Elpino91 » Fri Dec 24, 2021 12:40 pm

Trinere wrote:Hi Elpino,
how are you doing? In your posts before I have read that you suffer from the occasional HOCD. I suffer from it too and I do panic a lot. I am now 3 month in and depression & anxiety kills me. It is horrible. At the moment I live my life from day to day because I can't look bright into the future. My life is kinda boring. Can you describe your anxiety a little bit more? And have you always suffered from HOCD?


Hi Trinere,

First of all - well done for the 3 months sober ! Like me, it's probably been the hardest 3 months of your life.

My anxiety is usually feeling like that impeding doom or like something is wrong. There's nothing in particular to make me feel this way. Which is why I think OCD / intrusive thoughts are down to the anxiety we are having. I've never had any kind of OCD before i stopped smoking. My anxiety is not as intense as the first couple of months, i have been seeing a hypnotherapist, meditating and exercising which has have helped a lot. Since then my OCD / intrusive thoughts are not as often and I am able to manage them.

Like Biohack says anxiety and depression is part of it but just keep going and you will get better with time.

Here if you need any help.

Take care
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#11

Postby Elpino91 » Mon Jan 10, 2022 2:42 pm

Hi UF

Just wanted to give an update.

Nearing 5 months and most of the symptoms are gone. I still have weird dreams but otherwise I sleep okay.

But Seems like I’m still stuck with intrusive thoughts ( harming loved ones and suicidal) and anxiety / fear - not as often or intense as the first month though.

Like for example this morning I walk into the office and then I see a window and boom I’ve got an image of me jumping out of it. Then I get this weird feeling that something bad ( the fear) will happen and anxiety starts. Then all the what ifs come (e.g what if this won’t ever go away etc etc). Like before I know I’m not going to hurt anyone or kill myself but they feel so real when they happen - draining to say the least. Anyone have any advice on this ? These phases usually don’t last too long as I try to snap out and keep busy.

It probably doesn’t look like I’m better but I know am I. Like I was dreading Christmas with the family because of what I was living. Turned out to a great week for me ( even had karaoke night) and felt like my old self again. All these things are showing me im making progress.

I saw a therapist from the NHs for the first time last week and he mentioned that possibly had GAD and that weed helped me coped with it all these years. Is he right ? Maybe but I still believe this anxiety / fear is temporary and I will Overcome it.

Eat healthy, therapy, workouts, socialise and meditation are helping.

Take care !
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#12

Postby biohack9 » Wed Jan 12, 2022 7:07 pm

Hey Elpino sounds like you're progressing and congrats on 5 months. The weird dreams are really something else but great to hear that your sleep quality is improving. I have all those intrusive thoughts as well at 4 months and they should lesson as time marches on and hoping for a turnaround at month 6+. It's possible that cannabis was helping an underlying mental health condition but the only way to know for sure is to abstain and go the distance. Surely much of it is just still withdrawals/paws and should improve. It's just so hard when paws can last so long so I greatly do empathize brother. Just got to keep on going and be patient. You're definitely showing positive signs which is very encouraging!
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#13

Postby Elpino91 » Sun Feb 27, 2022 10:33 am

Hi UC

It has been 6 months since i stopped smoking. Glad to say I am much better than the first month and only have intrusive thoughts and anxiety to deal… still hard but I can see that I am improving. And the belief that will come out of this one day is getting stronger every day. I have moments of clarity which give me so much hope. I am managing my thoughts and anxiety much better. Having said that I’m still learning so much about PAWS and my mental health. As I have been in a good place for a few weeks I had some drinks and nicotine vape the last couple of weekends. I believed it triggered my PAWS last night feeling of impeding doom, intrusive thoughts were in full force. Woke up with anxiety, feeling down etc . Cried and spoke to a housemate and feel better now. But this is a reminder that I am still recovering and will not be drinking or vaping for the next few months.

I hope you are doing well in your recovery
Take care
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