Successfully Recovered from Pot Induced Depression

Postby overcome » Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:48 pm

Hi everyone!

(sorry if my English in this post isn't flawless, it's not my main language)

Last year, daily pot smoking was becoming unbearable. My memory and mood were getting seriously affected, and paranoia was my constant companion.

I quit smoking pot on mid August of 2011. On September, an unwelcome full blown depression started. Spontaneous crying spells were not uncommon. I was constantly extremely anxious. What scared me the most was that I couldn't think straight, my focus was nonexistent, I had to make an enormous effort to speech properly, to keep my attention on what was being said to me and basically felt like a retarded. In social settings I acted in a really awkward way, I knew it and couldn't help it. I couldn't sleep properly and woke up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding and in a big anxiety attack. I felt no pleasure for any activity, no motivation, no hope whatsoever and my libido was below zero.

Since I was in this situation for a long time, I was starting to believe that I had made some kind of permanent damage to my brain. I thought of suicide daily and was starting to plan it.

I'm studying psychology, and because the negative symptoms of schizophrenia are similar to those of major depression, I was really afraid that I had become schizophrenic. To spice things up, I went to a psychiatrist and he prescribed me an antidepressant (wellbutrin) that made my anxiety even worse but helped somewhat with my focus and motivation. But it had an awful side effect: I started hearing music in my head all the time, 24/7. It wasn't quite an hallucination, the music didn't came from anywhere, I knew it was in my head but it kept repeating and scaring the sh*t out of me. In the beginning I didn't associated it with the medication and thought it was a positive symptom of schizophrenia, but then I started searching the web I found other people that had the same 'music in the head all the time' effect from wellbutrin and it stopped after they stopped the medication.

I started therapy with an experienced psychologist and he was absolutely sure that I wasn't a schizophrenic. It was a relief. I stopped the medication and the f*cking strange music in my head went away.

What REALLY helped me was reading this forum. I can't thank you enough for all the shared experiences. So, I'm giving back my experience to this forum. It took about 8 months for some people to fully recover. So, I started a reversed calendar, with how many days are left until the 8 month mark. I also started taking an Omega-3 supplement (which I still take everyday) since it helped many people.

I only started seeing a notable improvement in the 5 months mark after I quit smoking pot. My motivation, intelligence and social skills were getting back, my paranoia, anxiety and crying spells were going away. I was becoming my old/normal self again.

When I hit the 8 month mark, I was (and am) fully 100% recovered.

I'd like to say to anyone experiencing the nightmare that I had gone through to hold tight, things will REALLY get better, and you will get out of that hole stronger than before.

And as Winston Churchill (who also suffered from episodes of depression) said: "If your going through hell, keep going."


Also, consider taking the Omega-3 supplement, it will eventually help the repair process of your neurochemistry.

I don't wish to demonize weed. I respect the plant and it's history as a tool for searching through consciousness and it's medicinal and plain recreational value - but misused and abused, the results can be catastrophic.

Wishing you all the best!

Overcome
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#1

Postby AdamUK » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:56 pm

Hi, well done. So you found signs of improvement at the 5 month mark? At what stage in the 5 months or after were you taking the Wellbutrin?
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#2

Postby Phobea » Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:25 pm

Hi overcome.

First of all i'd like to say, your English is almost perfect, well done.

Secondly, your story is great. I'm on my first day of giving up cannabis and have been using this forum as a crutch.

It sorties like this one that really give people like myself, the courage and determination to stick at what they're doing. So thank you for taking your time to help others in this forum.

I really wish I was where you are right now, having kicked the habit and getting on with life in a more realistic way. I've got a long way to go and a journey to embark on, but as long as people keep on posting stories like these, i'm sure i'll make it!

-Simon
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#3

Postby bmp104 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:23 pm

Overcome: Thank you for your post. I had a similar situation when I quit 6 months, I think the very first week I quit I was driving home and just burst into te oars thinking what have I done these last 2 years!!! I realized the extent of damage pot may have did to me and I was so regretful. But things have def got a lot better since then, started taking fish oil pills, st. johns wort, multi vitamin. For a while though I was filling this void with a lot of fast food, caffenie, coffees, donuts, anything to keep my mind off marijuana and feel some kind of reward. Im looking to completely change my diet and flush out my system, I was very athletic and worked out a lot prior to becoming a pothead, so I figure once I get my fitness back and really sweat out whatever is left of THC in me I will be good to go. I also was flirting with tobacco during the last year of pot use (only smoked for about 2 years) the occassional black and mild turned into the occassional cigarette turned into smoking ciggs after a blunt turned into smoking ciggs just to smoke them, so I quit all forms of smoking last October. I believe this was a huge shock to my system I actually quit the tobacco about a month before weed and kept smoking weed, either way I was more into the weed for sure. But it is great to know you feel fully recovered at 8 months because im almost there. Do you still crave it anymore?

And also do you abstain from drinking as well? I never had a problem drinking I was a social drinker before becoming a pothead, then didn't think twice about once weed entered my life. Would rather be high than drunk everyday of the week lol. When I quit I found myself reaching for a beer more often, but I realized I didn't wanna trade one addiction for another. So within the past few months I have probably had a total of 8 beers if that...here and there. Im so very careful about it part of me feels like I can't drink ever again or I shouldn't alter my mind in any way shape or form, yet the more I feel recovered the more I feel back to my old self and think hey a beer won't hurt. What do you think about this?
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#4

Postby netty28661 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:58 am

Hi, I'm at day 21 of quitting & finding it REALLY REALLY hard. I will keep going & find the posts on this site are an inspiration, however the way I feel today & tha fact that it will be 5 months more or less before I get rid of these feelings is depressing but at least I know it will end & no pain no gain. I'm struggling so much I started a new topic in the hope someone will answer & give me some hope!
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#5

Postby overcome » Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:22 pm

Thank you all for your replies!

AdamUK: I was in the one month and half mark of taking the wellbutrin. Stopped taking it cold turkey after the two months mark and had no unpleasant effects.

Phobea: Glad you liked my story! The recovery might be relatively long, but it is totally worth it.

bmp104: I don't crave weed, but I occasionally smoke it socially from time to time. I didn't touched it in the recovery process. Once again, I don't think it is a terrible thing in itself, but it's abuse is devastating. Daily smoking is a no-no for me, as I can't manage to keep my full mental capacity, motivation and emotional stability - something that I really need in my current personal and work related projects. I don't recommend occasional use to everyone, since some people might be vulnerable to slipping into daily use. I also didn't drink often, but a guy told me that he used alcohol as a crutch when he had a rough time stopping weed. You are probably just trying to use alcohol to ease the the dreadful anxiety of this process. I did, however, used a benzo medication that was prescribed to me for some time (about a month or so) that helped me. I stopped it really quick because I know that a benzo addiction is eventually worse in the long-term than weed addiction. But it has (and had for me) a therapeutic value if used only in anxiety crisis, and stopped as soon as possible. Talk to your doctor about it.


netty28661: It's really good to know that my story inspired you! You WILL get better. Keep in mind even tough those 5/8 months seemed to me like an eternity, I felt blessed that they only lasted that long - because most of the time, I was afraid that I would be that way forever. It is an illusion. Try to find simple activities that you enjoy or simply distract you. I started playing stupid games to keep my mind busy, and it kind of worked. I know what you are going through and how soul-wrenching it is. Also, really try starting the fish oil/ omega-3 supplements. Magnesium also helps a lot of people, you give it a shot.
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#6

Postby bmp104 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:46 pm

@ Overcome: Thank you for your reply, that is interesting you can smoke it occassionally now without getting addicted. How often would you say you smoke it now? Because a part of me feels like after 8 months I could reach that point. For instance some days I feel so back to normal my brain starts telling me I could take a toke here and there. Although most people recomend not to do this. It's weird because in the beginning of my smoking career I was not addicted at all, smoked it if it was around or offered for the first 6 months. Then I learned how to roll and started buying and it was downhill for another 24 more straights, I was a pothead. And thats the total of my smoking career, 30 months. But sometimes I feel so back to normal having quit 6 months ago I flirt with the idea of occassional use. How often do you smoke now? And you don't find yourself slipping back into addiction?
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#7

Postby netty28661 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:57 pm

hi, all & especially overcome that's so great you replying to the 3 of us individually. I went for a long brisk 1& a half hour walk & apart from aching I definately felt better. I used to run at least 5 days a wk between 3 & 10 miles at a time & did a half marathon (the pinnacle of my running career, lol) I then stupidly broke my hip at age 40 when drunk - dont ask, then developed osteoarthritis in said hip, I couldnt run due to the pain & I had a pin in which I could feel tendons catching on & couldnt even get upstairs & couldnt walk without a stick, the hosp didnt want to do replacement, they thought I was too young, eventually at age 43 had it done but due to the type I cant run & not interested in other forms of excercise. I started smoking weed 9 yrs ago after breaking hip, it was the only form of pain relief that worked & helped me sleep & here I am 9 yrs later, what a waste, it was ruling my life, I didnt think it was doing any harm as its known not to be addictive (crap!). Walking definately helps my mood & makes me sleep a bit better, 1st 3 wks were hell but its slowly improving. My digestive system awful & can not tolerate fat, so I'm eating alot of salad & fresh foods, I take a multi vit for over 50 yr old women, I've ordered L Theanine & eat tuna twice a wk, but will take your advise on Magnesium.

Hi BMP104 - just a thought, I've previously been at the 6 month clean mark & thought I could get away with 1 smoke at night but was soon back to smoking full time, I obviously have an addictive personality & I know I can never smoke again. I was also drinking every night to help me sleep so was replacing 1 addiction with another, I havent had adrink for over a wk although that doesnt bother me, I've replaced that with choc ovaltine! I suffer with depression but havent taken antidepressants for about 3 mths & I'm determined not to, there's alot to be said for diet & excercise. I listen to relaxation tapes which help & of course reading other peoples stories.
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#8

Postby justin92 » Tue May 01, 2012 5:56 am

overcome, i went through the same thing you did. i am 5 months clean now and feel great but the first months were complete terror. The anxiety is what really got to me and along with all the bad thoughts in your head, but now its like i never had a problem.it is soo worth it for people who are still struggling. i saw improvements at 3 1/2 months mark and still enjoy the benefits of being weed free everyday.
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#9

Postby overcome » Wed May 02, 2012 4:52 am

bmp104: I smoke about twice a month. Keep in mind that there are several factors that unable me from slipping into addiction: family responsibilities that demand full sobriety; the nature of my current work related projects; the effects that an weed binge has on my mood, motivation and mind clarity. These things prevent me from going further than occasional smoking. So, it might not be just the merit of self discipline, my current life situation prevents me from getting addicted - if I was in a different situation, I would eventually be more likely to become a pothead again.


netty28661: Don't forget the omega-3! There are TONS of studies backing it up. Also, beware that if you were using weed for it's painkilling properties, I think that removing it from your life involves a new pain management plan.


justin92: It's great to know that you also overcame it :wink:
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#10

Postby FreeWill? » Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:53 pm

Hi Overcome,

I feel exactly how you described yourself in your bolded paragraph towards the begining. I feel socially retarded and unable to connect with anyone. My story is that I was smoking pot from when i was 14 till i was 19. I've really cut down the past couple months but that alone isn't helping. Everyday I wake up feeling identified with this stupidity and it hurts so much.

I feel as if because I started so early there is nothing I can do. When did you start smoking? Can anyone else relate to me and give me words of advice?
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#11

Postby netty28661 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:35 pm

Hi Freewill, I'm not an expert by any means but I have heard that weed can affect the developing brain, which at 14 it is still doing, however from what I've read & learnt I would think the earlier you quit the more likely your brain has to recover, it may take a while but it will, you may have to do some brain training excercises. I'm at the other end of the scale - I'm 50 & smoked for 9 yrs - my brain/memory is crap, presume partly from smoking weed & partly due to age but I have read many posts that assure me brain capacity & function will come back. You are young enough to overcome this, please dont WASTE your life smoking, its not worth it. Also my 25 yr old son who'd smoked nicotine & weed for 10 yrs to my knowledge had to have a throat polyp removed, as it happened it turned out to not be cancerous but he was told had he been over 40 it would almost certainly have been cancerous & he was told it was caused by smoking.

It really isnt worth it! Good look, I would also say speak to a medical expert who can help advise you & look up as much information up on the internet.
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#12

Postby FreeWill? » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:15 am

netty28661 wrote:Hi Freewill, I'm not an expert by any means but I have heard that weed can affect the developing brain, which at 14 it is still doing, however from what I've read & learnt I would think the earlier you quit the more likely your brain has to recover, it may take a while but it will, you may have to do some brain training excercises. I'm at the other end of the scale - I'm 50 & smoked for 9 yrs - my brain/memory is crap, presume partly from smoking weed & partly due to age but I have read many posts that assure me brain capacity & function will come back. You are young enough to overcome this, please dont WASTE your life smoking, its not worth it. Also my 25 yr old son who'd smoked nicotine & weed for 10 yrs to my knowledge had to have a throat polyp removed, as it happened it turned out to not be cancerous but he was told had he been over 40 it would almost certainly have been cancerous & he was told it was caused by smoking.

It really isnt worth it! Good look, I would also say speak to a medical expert who can help advise you & look up as much information up on the internet.




Netty, thanks for replying I really appreciate it.

I'm only 22 so I'm hoping that I will get full cognitive
ability back but it sure doesn't feel like it will any time
soon because this monkey has been on my back
for the past year and the amount of pot I smoke is close to zero now.

What are your suggestions for brain exercises?
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#13

Postby netty28661 » Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:25 pm

Hi Freewill, I know Nintendo DS do brain training games, but anything that makes you think & try to work things out e.g crosswords, suduko, word puzzles, even just reading a book is bound to help. Put brain training excercises into a search engine on computer, I'm sure something will come up. I keep reading Omega 3 helps with brain function but you need to check how much EPA/DHA is in each capsule, it varies enormously.
Good luck.
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