28 months along

Postby PAWSsurvivor » Tue Dec 28, 2021 2:58 am

Hey everyone,

A couple of more months have rolled by.

Hard to believe 28 months later I'm still in this thing. Generally speaking, everything is mild and I can handle alot more stress. In fact, I'm living my life exactly as if I didn't have this anxiety disorder. So basically my life is normal despite the mild discomfort I still have. I go to work, socialize, exercise, all the normal things. I sleep 8 hours. Drink water.

Some days like today, I'm ok with my condition, others I'm not and get frustrated. I sure hope things clear up this year. I'm most proud of myself though for living a good life despite whats happened to me.

Some notable highlights:
Still have my fuzzy head pressure thing, seems to be the most sticky thing
Got my booster, no symptoms
Socialized with my girlfriends family for 3 days, I didn't take any breaks to meditate and recharge, and I was fine.
Drank some minimal booze, no symptoms
Had a decaf coffee, had some symptoms, gonna hold off another 6 months
I can now exercise without flare ups
Sex is easier. I could have sex last year, though I'd get really bad twitching, now it's pretty normal.
I have a lot more focus, energy, and stamina.
Head tingles have almost completely stopped.
Weird electrical feeling in my nervous system is gone.

I'm really proud that in the last two months I paid off my debt (23k, took almost 3 years), and rejoined a hip hop class and danced on stage. Thats a pretty major improvement after the hell of year #1.

So there it is. I'll just keep giving time time. Good luck everyone. It does get better for everyone.
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#1

Postby biohack9 » Tue Dec 28, 2021 3:17 am

Much respect to you and thanks for keeping us updated! Nice work.
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#2

Postby tokeless » Tue Dec 28, 2021 8:45 am

So there it is. I'll just keep giving time time.

Sounds like you've cracked it at last. Now, I know some people will jump on me for this and I hope you see what I am saying for what it is.... reading your post, you're saying that life is pretty good and you're basically symptom free except for the odd day of frustration... so, my question is. When will you just stop analysing yourself and accept life is good now. You're as normal as you are? Odd frustrating days is just life and doesn't need to be connected to PAWS...
As I said, I'm not being clever, it's an observation that's all. You've done amazing... stay amazing and just get on.
Best wishes
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#3

Postby PAWSsurvivor » Tue Dec 28, 2021 2:00 pm

Yes. I live life fully.
I have some symptoms that bother me. I’m still going forward that time will allow them to fade away.

It’s not always easy. Still. But it’s tilted on the positive side.

All I can say is I was sober essentially for 38 years. I remember how I used to feel. Im not there yet. That is disappointing. It’s not just life and regular bad days, my body / brain hasn’t recovered yet. But the trend is still positive. Maybe one day I’ll feel like I used to. Maybe not. However even my anxiety counseler says we can’t just repress what we are thinking about. So occasionally I’ll write an update.

Today I’m going to clean up my condo a bit, practice guitar, make supper for my family and visit, despite my 24/7 yet completely benign fuzzy head / foggy head. Life goes on. Cheers.

You are right, no choice but to go forward.
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#4

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Dec 28, 2021 2:39 pm

PAWSsurvivor wrote: I decided to use weed recreationally last summer with my vaporizer… I used Cannabis for about 3 months….Right after that I went cold-turkey off weed.


28 months and counting from using weed for 3 months.

Psychosomatic.

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/d ... c-disorder
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#5

Postby PAWSsurvivor » Tue Dec 28, 2021 3:35 pm

Oh sure i can believe thats true. Really it's just another term for anxiety disorder. However the beginning of this disorder was quite extreme. I won't recap it all. But if I have a remaining "psychosomatic" issue, it stemmed from something far worse in the beginning. I'm glad my head isn't filled with lightning storms anymore. Staying positive.

Also I haven't had a medical check in for over a year. beyond normal things. I don't think I'm pressing that button overly. Kinda tough somedays with all thats gone on in my body, but I choose to believe in time.
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#6

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Dec 28, 2021 3:52 pm

PAWSsurvivor wrote:…but I choose to believe in time.


I think that is the key. You choose.

And what you have chosen is to select a point in time 28 months ago and to evaluate every current feeling against that point in time. You reinforce that as causal again, and again, and again. You give it power.

You have mentally anchored yourself to that event, to that narrow slice of time in your past.

Today you feel a bit anxious or a headache coming on? You, without any effort, try and connect it to events 28 months ago. It might have zero to do with 28 months ago, but you have spent so much effort building this explanation, that you convince yourself it must be the continuation of PAWS.

So in time, what will change? 36, 72, 144 months from now you feel a bit anxious and still connect that feeling with that one summer you smoked a bit of weed.
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#7

Postby PAWSsurvivor » Tue Dec 28, 2021 4:28 pm

It wasn't a bit of weed. How about 5 or so bowls of HIGH thc weed in one sitting. I mean seriously Richard, if you think it's so benign, give it try. (I 100% DON'T RECCOMEND IT)

The answer is no. I had a bad reaction to cannabis. At some point that ended, and what's left is the residual anxiety from that traumatic event.

I believe my brain is fine. I've proven it. I've done every reasonable life activity and done them well, and perhaps better than average. I don't take any meds, and I don't bother my doctor about it anymore.

I know what a bit anxious feels like.

It doesn't feel like waking up with brain shakes every morning, or flashing lights in my eyes, as I wake up. It doesn't feel like electrical pains in my extremities, it does not feel like double vision, or 7 months of 24/7 ongoing tinnitus, or hallucinations. Or giant zaps in my body. It does not feel like visceral burning pain, or being pulled back behind your eyes. Or a year long migraine, or constant brain fog, chronic fatigue, etc.

Almost all of the above has cleared up. Some only a few months ago. My body is so much more like normal.

When will I stop counting? When do you stop counting your birthdays? When do you stop counting your bank account? I'm a human being with a brain. I won't ever forget how or when this began. I can't hit a delete button. Just because I post here occasionally doesn't mean I don't live my life the other 99.9% of the time, or that I give it as great of importance as you seem to think. I use my anxiety recovery tools when things suck, and it keeps me going forward. And occasionally I need to write about this, because it's a part of my life. I don't use it as an excuse.

I'm recovering, I'm happy about that, life goes on. I look forward to month 36, because that will be 36 months of good life habits and memories that don't involve cannabis. Who knows, maybe I'll even feel a bit better. Cheers
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#8

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Dec 28, 2021 5:09 pm

PAWSsurvivor wrote:When will I stop counting? When do you stop counting your birthdays? When do you stop counting your bank account?


When I have a birthday it is in the present, not the past. Same as when I check my back account. I have minimal recollections of what transpired in the past on my birthdays. I do remember a piggy bank I had. I don’t have any salient memories of those events that cause me recurring mental strife.

I'm a human being with a brain. I won't ever forget how or when this began. I can't hit a delete button. And occasionally I need to write about this, because it's a part of my life.


Maybe what you meant to try and convey is that we never forget dates related to “trauma”. We never forget that on this day, X years ago a loved one passed away. And I get that. Most certainly, anyone that has made it into adulthood has suffered more than one or two traumas of some sort.

Off the top of my head, I can think of several traumatic events I survived or had to deal with over the years. I have no dates however. Like you, I’m human and won’t ever forget. I can’t hit a delete button on those events.

But none of those events define me in the present. I didn’t join a forum and create the user name “Activeshootersurvivor” and then begin to chronicle how many months it has been since the event and how I’m currently feeling. Why would I do that?

Should I keep a dream journal and occasionally post about the nightmares I experience? And would it serve me to connect my dreams back to that event? Last night I had a nightmare about XYZ…going on 28 months of surviving the active shooter.

I wouldn’t use that approach, because I think it is choosing to intentionally define my life around that event and intentionally reinforcing that event over and over and over to myself.

That is what I think you have done and are continuing to do. You have chosen to define your life, to frame your life around the event. You are and always will be a “PAWSsurvivor” because you have decide that is a badge, a core part of your identity. And that is fine. We all make those choices.

Some people go through a trauma and it becomes core to who they are. Others don’t define themselves by their traumas. It’s not right or wrong. It’s just life. It’s the choices we make. The use of weed was a negative experience and you have decided to make it a core part of your identity. Okay. We all do that. We are all human.

I don't use it as an excuse.


I don’t mean that you use it as an excuse. I think you use it as an identity. To what extent does the identity work for you? It seems to work pretty well, I guess. It provides you meaning. It wouldn’t be an identity I would choose to adopt, but to each their own. You seem to be getting out of it what you want. More power to you.
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#9

Postby tokeless » Tue Dec 28, 2021 5:31 pm

Maybe one day I’ll feel like I used.

How was that? We all change over time, it's healthy and thinking we can go back to a specific point in time creates a feeling of loss, or frustration because the facts are we can't. We can get back to a certain weight that we were happy with, but psychologically we can't because things will have happened, events will have taken place that will have altered us... this is why I asked how long is long enough? You seem to be chasing the past you... if you truly believe smoking weed changed you to that degree that 28 months later you still feel the effects, you cannot go back to you 'pre weed'. That person doesn't exist. People often say when their relationship runs in to trouble, I wish we could go back to how we were... this ignores what got you to the bad bit.. if I rewind a movie because I don't like the ending, I still get the same movie because nothing has changed.
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#10

Postby PAWSsurvivor » Tue Dec 28, 2021 5:44 pm

Please forget about my username. I certainly have. I made it over 2 years ago, that was a completely different time. I can't change it on here. You can call me Graham if you want. Thats my name and identity. Not some user board name.

As for my identity, i work on changing it for the better everyday through my actions. I think you should really note the change in my tone over the last two years. Do you really think I'm still the same "PAWSSURVIVOR" as I was at the beginning? Also when Trauma is a new experience, it's utterly confusing. I've had traumas before this too, but maybe they weren't traumas because they never affected me this much in my body. I have made it through a serious highway car accident, a co-habited relationship breakup, even a tragic death of one of my students. I don't know why those didn't affect me like this. I've also learned that "why" is a pointless question it seems.

You are right in that the time doesn't matter, just got to live life. But still, there's lots of people here struggling. I tell you, when I was at my worst, hearing positive stories helped me have faith and is part of recovery. It gives hope. I'm not special. I tell others the way forward is the same, live a healthy good life and this experience will fade. I recommend people to join an anxiety support group and to try and move past this.

One of the ways of moving past it is looking at one's symptoms without any fear attached. Just as you told me now something very personal from your life. That isn't dwelling on it, it's looking at it from a detached point of view. That is the tone I attempt to convey.

Goals for next 6 months. Lift a 28 KG kettlebell in a turkish get up. Take a 1 week trip to Eastern Canada. Take two dance performance classes again. Continue my goal of biking to work. Lose 20 pounds. Downsize my Condo. Be kind to myself and others. Enjoy taking rests. Visit my mom 1-2 times a week. Save more money so I can get a house and a dog one day. This is my identity, despite how I feel. :)
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#11

Postby PAWSsurvivor » Tue Dec 28, 2021 5:51 pm

Also Tokeless, I agree with you, I'm becoming a better version of myself. More compassionate, and balanced. I just want to be a person without the head fuzzyness and the weird night disturbances. I'd like to think I can become better than I was. I suppose only time will answer that question. I was happy as a kid, and then I got depressed, and then i was happy again, and then depressed again, and then happy for a long while. So I don't see why feelings can't improve. I've heard enough recovery stories to believe in the possibility. Cheers
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#12

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue Dec 28, 2021 6:07 pm

Graham wrote: I have made it through a serious highway car accident, a co-habited relationship breakup, even a tragic death of one of my students. I don't know why those didn't affect me like this.


I had a serious car accident. Drunk hit me. Four hours being stitched back up, but nothing debilitating. I’ve got visible injuries that remind me daily of what happened. Really I was very lucky. Was over a decade ago and then just this last year I was informed the drunk had skipped bail and had just been arrested. Funny, I had no idea the case was still unresolved. I received letters that they would sentence him in September. I’m not sure what happened.

I’ve also been through a co-habitated relationship breakup. Was a 5 year relationship. Never lost a student…at least not one where we were very close.

My guess is the cannabis event hit you especially hard, because you seem to be very health conscious.

Goals for next 6 months. Lift a 28 KG kettlebell in a turkish get up. Take a 1 week trip to Eastern Canada. Take two dance performance classes again. Continue my goal of biking to work. Lose 20 pounds. Downsize my Condo. Be kind to myself and others. Enjoy taking rests. Visit my mom 1-2 times a week. Save more money so I can get a house and a dog one day. This is my identity, despite how I feel. :)


Sounds like some decent goals. That’s what you should post about, lol.
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#13

Postby tokeless » Tue Dec 28, 2021 6:29 pm

I regret nothing really, because positives and negatives have shaped me. I see myself as a jigsaw and all the things that have happened in my life are the pieces. If I tried to take out the negative ones because I didn't like them, it wouldn't be me and how would I fill the gaps I created? I can't live a life and only accept the bits I like... it just isn't like that. I broke my back in 2018 jumping off a waterfall with my 16 year old son in Bali... he asked if I regretted it. I said, if I hadn't have done that jump with him, I wouldn't have shared and experienced that moment with him. That I would have regretted my whole life. I got lucky, wasn't paralysed and as he says, it makes a great story dad.. one that he will remember all his life.
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#14

Postby PAWSsurvivor » Tue Dec 28, 2021 7:52 pm

Lol, nice work in changing my quote to "Graham wrote". Haha. Works for me :) I post about those things, far more often. Just not here lol.

I remember getting massively drunk and hungover in my 20s. Had some Hangovers that lasted for days. Still, nothing like this. Ah who knows and whatever. It doesn't matter anymore.

It's nice to see, once we pull back all the anonymity on the internet, we are all humans with stories and suffering, yet also growth, and joy. I wish you both well, it's always brave to share stories. Thanks for opening up about yours.

I don't have regrets either, I've come to terms if it wasn't weed, I probably would have had a panic attack from something else. I have led a great life, even now my life is good, despite this. I've learned so much about kindness and compassion. It was a missing piece in my life, and now from this experience I understand its value. I'm also learning not to take my health so seriously. I won't live forever, and thats fine. Focusing on being kind and helpful to people is more important to me now.

Again, I wish you both well. In the end we're all just walking each other home. Best to be kind to each other and ourselves as we learn and travel on the path.
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