2 years recovery (PAWS) my story

Postby bvl » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:55 pm

Hello everybody

My story began on 26th of March 2012, 2 years ago, after I had experienced a really bad high. Like many others on this forum, I had that awful panic attack after smoking weed. It was the worst feeling I have ever experienced in my entire life and I still can't find the words to describe it's intensity.

Since then, hell came out into my life. Every single day I was experiencing panic attacks, severe anxiety and depression, DP/DR, suicidal thoughts, memory loss, brain fog, fatigue and some sort of psychosis. The first 4 months were the worst. Actually, the worst of my life!

After finding this forum and starting talking to some people who found themselves in the same situation as myself, I had a slight relief knowing that i'm not alone and others understand what i'm going through. I was really scared that I will remain a mess for the rest of my life, but there were vague informations that stated otherwise.

Until I was 1 year clean, things were pretty rough. I couldn't deal with social situations and completing normal tasks and I was hopeless that I will ever be a normal person again. I had a general feeling of despair.

I was seeing very small improvements every 2 or 3 months, but when I was having a bad day, it felt like I haven't made any progress in my recovery.

After the 1 year mark things slowly got easier, symptoms subsided, but they were still there, unfortunately. It was the 1 year and a half mark when I really began to see some real progress. I started Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which helped alot and from that point I started thinking, feeling and acting like a normal person.

Today, i'm just a few days over the 2 years mark, and I made a promise to myself when I joined this forum, to make this post when this mark will be reached.
I feel so much better, I started enjoying life in it's many forms, i'm feeling much more positive with everything around me, I don't get angry on everything and everyone anymore and I regained control over my thoughts and feelings. I do still have some bad days but they are nothing compared to what I was feeling last April and I can overcome them by doing something constructive or relaxing. I'm still working on improving myself.

For those who are still battling with PAWS, my advice would be to be easy on yourselves. Try to be patient (I know it is almost impossible, but try) and have faith that this is just temporary and you will soon be feeling normal again. Don't forget to exercise (life saver), take some natural supplements (vitamins, omega 3, magnesium and a B complex of vitamins).
I would also suggest you find a spiritual practice which suits you best.

There is no shortcut to complete recovery! You have to know this and to accept it. It is a life lesson and you will learn something at the end of it.

God bless you all!
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#1

Postby Fabulous Furnace » Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:30 pm

Fantastic to hear such a good story. I feel very good for you and what you have accomplished.
I am only 100 days clean and it's nice to hear it does get better.
How was your sleep at 100 days? I find it hard to fall asleep everynite, and then am tired in afternoons. can nap if time but hope it gets better.

FF
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#2

Postby Salsa » Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:35 pm

Thank you for your inspirational story bvl! I read some of your older posts and relate a lot to your situation. Nice to read that things got better. Enjoy your life and keep up the good work.
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#3

Postby lynne66 » Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:04 am

Thank you for sharing this. I've been struggling for a long time now getting off of antidepressants and now weed on top of having bipolar disorder, so I will not be surprised if I end up going through something similar. I won't expect it or set myself up to expect it, but it is nice to know it can all be gotten through eventually. I think our brains have a lot of power to heal and that it is greater than anything we put in it. We may have some alterations long-term, but knowing that the body seeks returns to health, I think PAWS can heal.

Come to think of it, I was reading on a forum about surviving antidepressants, that someone went through two years of hell after quitting his medication and now he feels better than he's ever felt and his whole life has turned around. So I am just going to use these stories and yours to remember to hang on.

I also am inspired you gave CBT a try. I want to do that as well. It has helped another bipolar friend of mine deal with this ups and downs.

Not that many people have the strength and the self-love to do what you have done but I think that is what it takes, immense self-love and love of life and hope.

Congratulations. You are a success story, even if you still have some weird days.
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#4

Postby lynne66 » Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:01 am

I also wonder why it is that some people have a really hard time withdrawing and then with PAWS and others just continue to feel better and level off easier?

Maybe we also had some really strong weed and it triggered an anxiety disorder- sort of like someone I used to know who was using a lot of weed and a lot of other psychedelic drugs and now he is a dangerous schizophrenic on court-ordered med injections. He'll never be the same, but he continues drug-seeking behavior and use and that may be a main factor.
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#5

Postby bvl » Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:32 am

Thank your for your replies

@Fabulous Furnace I didn't have trouble sleeping at night but I did have moments during the day where I would get so tired and fall asleep for 10 minutes or so. Very weird. My sleep wasn't very affected, I do sleep good.

@Salsa, thank you aswell, I read your posts and as far as I can tell you are on the right track. Things will improve substantially.

@lynne66 I strongly reccomend you quit antidepressants, go into CBT and take control over your mind and feelings, no matter how hard it might get. CBT really helped me alot. I know from my therapist that even bipolar disorder can be put under control to some extent.

Best of luck to you guys!

And I apologize for any mistake in writting. (Not a native English speaker)
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#6

Postby lynne66 » Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:49 pm

Hi - I already got off of my meds. They were making me worse. It took me a year to withdraw off of two of them so I think I am going through PAWS over that as well by now on top of the MJ withdrawal. I've been medicated for most of my life. Definitely will try CBT! Thanks! Medications don't really do that much for me and weren't doing anything but killing my energy and worsening cognitive problems for years.
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#7

Postby Furtive » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:06 pm

Thanks for posting, bvl.

It's good to know you made it through that.
I've been really surprised recently how I suddenly feel so bad again after weeks of improvement.

Everyone tends to focus on the positives which is fine
Until you hit a bad patch
it's bloody good to know its not unusual and that you broke on through to the other side.
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#8

Postby wakinglife » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:47 pm

bvl wrote:Today, i'm just a few days over the 2 years mark, and I made a promise to myself when I joined this forum, to make this post when this mark will be reached.
I feel so much better, I started enjoying life in it's many forms, i'm feeling much more positive with everything around me, I don't get angry on everything and everyone anymore and I regained control over my thoughts and feelings. I do still have some bad days but they are nothing compared to what I was feeling last April and I can overcome them by doing something constructive or relaxing. I'm still working on improving myself.


Thanks for coming back to update all of us, bvl! Your story is sure to help others who are having a rough time during the early (or late) stages of recovery.

:)
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#9

Postby netty28661 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:51 am

Hey bvl, my old quitting buddy!

Great to hear from you, I knew you quit around same time as me. You have certainly had a rough time of it & its fantastic you have come out the other side! I can definately sympathise having gone through similar.

I would say you are right about CBT, it helped me, also as much exercise as you can manage, life saver for me & the spiritual practice yes - 2 years ago I would have poo poo'd that, however I have found mindfullness/meditation another life saver, I'm not a religious person & even after going to classes at a Buddhist temple it wasnt religion based, I found it excellent, I also find if I havent meditated for a few days I get that awful anxiety back, it really keeps it at bay, even just 20 mins a day.

I'm sure like me you are still finding improvements although they are more subtle now, but improvement all the same!

Good luck with the rest of your life.
Jannette
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#10

Postby bvl » Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:26 pm

netty28661 wrote:Hey bvl, my old quitting buddy!

Great to hear from you, I knew you quit around same time as me. You have certainly had a rough time of it & its fantastic you have come out the other side! I can definately sympathise having gone through similar.

I would say you are right about CBT, it helped me, also as much exercise as you can manage, life saver for me & the spiritual practice yes - 2 years ago I would have poo poo'd that, however I have found mindfullness/meditation another life saver, I'm not a religious person & even after going to classes at a Buddhist temple it wasnt religion based, I found it excellent, I also find if I havent meditated for a few days I get that awful anxiety back, it really keeps it at bay, even just 20 mins a day.

I'm sure like me you are still finding improvements although they are more subtle now, but improvement all the same!

Good luck with the rest of your life.
Jannette


Very nice to hear from you netty!

How have you been?
I remember when I first told you that I can hardly wait to reach this 2 year mark and now here we are. Things got alot easier by now and yes, improvements sarted to occur faster than before.

I'm glad you find mindfulness helpful, and you don't necesarily have to be a religious person to experience the benefits of a spiritual practice.

Thank you, I'll keep posting around here even though I feel better! Good luck to you too!
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#11

Postby Salsa » Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:07 pm

bvl, do you still battle any issues? For example anxiety, social anxiety, dp/dr ... ?

Can you give me some information what CBT actually is/how it works?
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#12

Postby bvl » Mon Apr 07, 2014 5:56 pm

Hi salsa,

Well, sometimes I do get irritated/angry easily on random people but I can control myself. I have a history with a bit of violence in it so it's still an accomplishment for me to control my anger. I do no longer have anxiety, I do feel stressed at times but it's not as bothering as before, as in those terrible anxiety attacks. And the good news is that these "bad" moments are becoming rare and bearable.

Overall I have a positive outlook on life for I know now that things improve and soon it will be just a memory and life lesson.

CBT is a form of therapy on which you simply talk to the therapist. At first the therapist makes an evaluation of your past, personality and other useful informations, then you begin to modify those negative beliefs and disfunctional thinking with constructive ways to cope with anxiety, destructive thinking, negative beliefs. ( I don't know how to put it in psychological terms). It may not sound to much of a deal but you will be surprised the things you'll be learning about yourself and how your own way of destructive thinking and set of beliefs brought you to your current situation.
It takes time but you may end up seeing some real benefits!
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#13

Postby netty28661 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:43 am

Hey bvl,
I'm good thanks, I was 2 years clean on 9th April. Like you say you can never quite envisage getting to this point & you learn so much about yourself on the way & realise just how strong you are!

I think its so important to show those just starting their journey that it can be done.

Just keep going & enjoy life with all its ups & downs.

Jannette
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#14

Postby olskoolru » Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:15 pm

Fabulous Furnace wrote:Fantastic to hear such a good story. I feel very good for you and what you have accomplished.
I am only 100 days clean and it's nice to hear it does get better.
How was your sleep at 100 days? I find it hard to fall asleep everynite, and then am tired in afternoons. can nap if time but hope it gets better.

FF


FF,

It can take up to 2 years for your sleep to recover. Practice "Sleep Hygiene." Look it up. Make it a hanit and it will work wonders. Good luck!
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