5 months in

Postby soulvice » Mon Jan 18, 2016 12:19 am

Hey all,

Not strictly looking for any advice/guidance just wanted to share my story and I feel like this is a good place I can document my journey and at least have this post to look back on when I am hopefully feeling better. In saying that I do welcome any replies and any similar experiences if you relate.

I'm going to make it as short as possible.

First smoked weed with high school friends sometime in 2010, smoked through til 2011 but only ever with my friends never by myself, I'd never even had my own stash just with friends, and usually was only on a weekend every couple weeks or whatever. It literally never affected me when I was sober, like ofcourse I had the day if not a couple days of feeling foggy and depersonalised a tad but like a hangover that wore off and all was back to normal. I was in year 12 and never found too much trouble with memory, concentration, I did reasonably well in year 12 and was doing a sound engineering course during this and also in a band so it wasn't like I was fully lazy. Once I left school I sorta drifted away from those mates and didn't do it again until 2014. So basically It didn't give me any trouble quitting or whatever and it didn't have a single long term affect on me, let's say this was from about 16-17 I was during that first period of smoking.

So then basically I met my girlfriend just after I finished school and that has been going great ever since, band had been going well, I got a job doing audio stuff about a year after i left school, and still have that job now. However in 2014 I was out in town one night and a friend of a friend had some and it had never affected me so I was like yea i'll try some again and all my mates were doing it now so it just seemed fine. Then I stupidly thought, hey my girlfriend should try this cause it makes things taste awesome, makes movies/music better etc etc, and 6 months later we had our own bong etc and we were doing it like once a week maybe. so the first time we did it was jan 2014 and probably by about june it became a more regular thing like once a week. then as months went by more of a once every few days type thing, and there was a couple weeks here and there of doing it most nights but the thing is we were never full on stoners like we wouldn't do it during the day, I would still work she would go to school etc, but towards when i quit (August 2015) I started noticing it affecting my work. It was getting hard to go and ask one of my workmates a question over the other side of the building cause I'd forget it. And when I was talking to them it started feeling really weird like I wasn't fully there, which i later discovered is depersonalisation. However this still wasn't really coming into other aspects of my life, i was still really happy and could still concentrate on stuff fairly well after a coffee etc, could still enjoy my band etc. So then my other band went on a tour in June 2015 and it was the first time i had smoked weed actually on tour. It sucked and I remember one of the first times I really felt endangered by this depersonalisation thing was driving on the highway at night after a show, I couldn't concentrate and it felt like I had no control what so ever over the car. Again I thought yea its cause i smoked so i stopped the whole rest of the tour and I thought it would pass.


Anyway so my band had another tour coming up which was in October, and i figured alright I'm gonna just stop before that because this is intefering with memory and driving and those are things I need if i'm gonna be in a band and tour etc. So i stopped in August, and things seemed to be getting a lot better I was still happy just had some trouble focusing etc, but then one day in September it just all hit me. I was at work and it just struck me, this massive pain in my chest, the full depersonalisation and just complete anxiety. So a few days later I went to the doctor and he said yep anxiety etc (didn't tell him about weed yet) and he got a blood test and referred my to a psychologist. I then got my blood test back and saw him again and he said everything was pretty much perfect. I told him maybe it has something to do with withdrawal from cannibis and he thought it probably did but talking to psychologist would fix it. So I saw that guy a few times and by this stage I was fully under the impression all I had was depersonalisation disorder. I was, and still am having this feeling 24/7. I haven't had a second of properly feeling present yet.

Did hours upon hours of research on that and how to beat it (a lot of people get it from just anxiety) and I had been in contact with various people who had beaten it, although seen many posts on forums from people who had it for years, even decades, so that scared me. I told the psychologist about what I had and he somewhat understood but I ended it after 3 sessions cause most of the people that had recovered said speaking about it in anyway was a trigger for it and to just get on with your life as if you don't have it. Speaking of which they all say forums are bad but to be honest if it wasn't for the forums of people saying they had recovered and how I'd be feeling 1000x more hopeless than I do now, so thank you.

Then my mum put me onto some anxiety specialist GP and he just straight away tested me for this MTHFR gene (think of what it sounds like an abbreviation of haha) and I do have one copy of that gene, i'll leave you to research it. Anyway he gave me these vitamins like folinic acid, methyl b12, and now has me on 5-mthf all of which I feel really hasn't done anything, I ran out of them the other day and haven't taken any since and can't say I'm feeling any worse. I am also taking some omega 3 tablets but ive read info proving and disproving this is good for memory so who knows there.

So basically more recently I have been reading this forum and reading about PAWS etc and I feel this is fairly in tune with what I have been feeling and the depersonalisation is just one part of that. I have very bad memory, and the DP basically accounts for the other cognitive problems and troubles concentrating. I also have a totally different view on life since all of this and I feel much more aware that I'm actually going to die one day and that time is very real and I feel every second I spend in this state is wasting a good life I could have. I have lost basically any co ordination I once had due to this DP as well and I find it super hard to get motivated to do something when I'm going to have no chance of concentrating on it.

Anyhow, on the more positive side, I have been reading here and have found quite a few people who claim after this 2 year mark it is usually getting very close to back to normal state for some people. One particular guy was feeling almost no symptoms after 8 months, so that is great to hear. But i've only found 1 or 2 that have succeeded from their starting age being 16/17 like me. However as I said I stopped and i had no symptoms then so I am unsure whether that original period actually did any damage or not, or whether it was when I started more frequently when I was 19/20. And this also makes me wonder about the whole brain development thing where studies have shown cognitive failure has been shown to be permanent in people who started before 17 or whatever. But the thing is that I wasn't a full on stoner like some people in here like people have done it everyday for 3 or 4 years and still been able to get better so I feel like my chances have to be better than theirs, but who knows.

I have a great life and I'm truly grateful for everything in it. It's just getting hard to physically enjoy that life and that's what's troubling me.

I would love to hear from someone who started near the age I did and how long it might have taken them to feel no depersonalisation or a good standard of short term memory/concentration etc.

In terms of my own recovery I have definitely noticed that I've been able to worry just a little less about all of this and a little more on my actual life but the dread is always there and it seems every little thing reminds me of this DP feeling and well it's pretty hard to just tune out t hat you have shocking memory. I have noticed that my conversating is getting a little bit better, I can watch a movie and get into it more than previous (really getting into making a murderer so if you've seen it feel free to discuss!)

I do feel BETTER than I did 5 months ago so at least I know progress is somewhat being made.

Thanks a lot for listening!
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#1

Postby endofdelta9 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 3:16 am

Soulvice Dear

i enjoyed your post very well written this indicates to me that you will be alright i understand your position of DP i had it very strong and also the fear of dying was right in my face after quitting it seems MJ makes you live much in the moment but is very sneaky what it does to you i started also quite young and smoked 30 years i am now one and a half year after quitting and i can report it was the best decision made from my experience i am back to happy feeling before i thought i needed it
can relate to your doc story very similar to mine in the end nothing will help EXcept the Time to heal and this is from person to person different and probably how much one smoked and what strenght..

very good that you have 5 month and that you know you are doing better

your chances are great to heal i wish you the BEST and i am glad you see the value of the forum

DElta9
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#2

Postby soulvice » Mon Jan 18, 2016 3:23 am

Thanks for the speedy reply Delta9!

Already it is showing the compassion on this forum..

That's awesome to hear you're feeling happiness again! I think for me I know I can easily feel that happiness again once I can concentrate on something. I get the enjoyment out of a lot of jokes and even starting to get some enjoyment of music again (the biggest part of my life) it's just not being able to retain as much of what I see and hear. Once that returns I know my happiness will too. If you don't mind me asking what age did you start? And now you are 1 and half years in what would you say are your worst symptoms now?
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#3

Postby endofdelta9 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 3:40 am

Dear soulvice

i just wrote some more that you had a "deciding moment" with the massive anxiety and pain in your chest this is a great GIFT one does not know it but its a gift to get out and to know that you do not need it at all
i started 16 years old but like you did not do it daily i really thing you will be fine i know it
my worst symptoms now are none existing now i never thought i would get there i was ready to die it was that bad
with MJ one is almost possessed and taken off course Soulvice there are many studies that even after long time use the brain recovers you got the best chances

sweet that you see the compassion here your are Good

Delta9

Chris Sullivan "the joy of quitting Cannabis " is a fantastic description of what MJ is and what it does

he said a simple hello from a friend would take him half an hour to analyze how the friend meant this thats how insecure MJ makes one

you are on your way it want take long
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#4

Postby Theguider » Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:33 pm

Hello soulvice,

I'm currently 8 months into recovery. Upon reading your post I can definitely Identify with some of the symptoms and issues you're dealing with. I smoked for about a year starting at 19 during my second year in college without virtually zero consequences in regards to academic performance and social skills. I too gradually Went from not smoking very much to atleast a few times a week. This continued till summer time when I decicded to quit. Though it wasnt because of any issues with weed,so I thought at the time but in retrospect it was definitely a factor. But primarily, I gave it up because I want to optimize my potential as a person and realisticly I couldn't that while smoking weed. Three months later, I'm just about done summer school, doing well in my classes and developed a really efficient regiment for school/athletics, so life was going well. Then one night I went to the pub with some buddies and thats when the depersonalization/derealization feeling came over me but I wasnt sure what was happening so I just shook it off. Anyways, im back in my apartment laying bed then bam!! panic attack. Woke up the next day and I found my self deep in depths of depersonalization, couldn't even recognize my self, physically and psychologically.

I was reading alot of psychology/philosophy at the time, I believe this feuled the existential crisis that is a common theme in dp. I documented that experience, might share that later. Futhermore, I did countless reasearch online. I quickly learned that I was suffering from anxiexty which induced the dp. So I spent quite some time on the dp forum, which Ironically gave me more anxiety from reading the stories of people who have had it forever haha. Eventually, I made it to uncommon forum and read some of the stories which are more in line with my experience.

8 months later, I can tell you for sure that its been a f***king battle. Similarly, my ability to concentrate is what bothers me the most. I cant hold abstract concepts in my head like I use to, even basic reading is difficult. I try to engage in mental stimulation everday and things have gotten better. I am confident in my ability to fully recovery because when I juxtapose my current state of mind with my mind at 5 months, I can see a huge difference in cognition. Your head will become clear, though its impalpable. Hence, its paradoxical nature. Anyways man it was nice reading your story and good luck!
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#5

Postby soulvice » Mon Jan 18, 2016 11:58 pm

Wow Theguider it is uncanny how similar our experiences have been! Good to hear that you've seen a difference too!

You are very well spoken in this reply and that tells me your intelligence has not suffered maybe as much as even you think! I feel like if you do it maybe once every few weeks etc your brain has just enough time to rewire and put you on the path of "normal" until the next time it receives the brain altering chemicals, but I feel like if it's more than once a week it doesn't get that oppurtunity and just has to roll with depending on those chemicals to get it back into a 'normal' state so while we feel very depersonalised/unfocused etc whilst high the brain gets the chemical fix and is able to get you through to the next session knowing that it won't be too far away. but once you remove that and whether it be a few weeks later or in my case about a month, it figures out it's not going to get that fix it thought was coming and hits you with the anxiety that in turn causes the DP.

So now you're not only dealing with short term memory loss due to the cannibinoids or whatever, but you are dealing with anxiety induced DP and you feel almost demented. One thing that I regret most in this life is not listening to my mother when she simply said "don't do drugs" (which i have since learnt she tried it herself and she is also a 3 glass of wine a night type person so this is probably why i didn't take that advice).

However I would really like to see some more education about this within schools/colleges/universities. Legalisation is all good and well with alcohol and smoking because we know the exact risks, lung cancer/cravings etc with smoking, liver cancer/dependence as well with alcohol, but we are constantly told Marijuana is not addictive, which it may not be physically but all of us here know it is psychologically. And to me these mental repercussions are just as bad if not worse than quitting smoking/drinking.

I would really just like an organisation to get out to schools and start saying look marijuana withdrawal will completely destroy your ability to concentrate, to remember, to ENJOY things, to feel comfortable in your own skin etc because i know that would've definitely had much more impact on me. Anyway this is just my two cents thanks again for the reply!
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#6

Postby soulvice » Wed Feb 17, 2016 2:54 am

Updating as I head into month 6. Some people say they see a breakthrough at this stage. I can't say i've seen anything specific but just the inevitable snails pace progress. I'll always look back to the first week and how hard that was and where I am now is much much better.

I have found that i can really get in the zone with a PC game Counter Strike (I'm 21 so I'm not too old for this stuff right? :P )
I can do reasonably well at it in terms of concentration and I feel like maybe I'm clinging a little bit too much to it as it is something I'm getting to enjoy but I feel like it can't be too bad of a thing.

I am trying to say yes to any opportunity to put myself in a situation where I have to just deal with it and usually it ends up being ok and I can tell myself after look you got through that. For example I did the music during my sisters wedding ceremony in december and only got shown what to do the night before and managed to pull it off, so that's good, although I had a massive brain fart and introduced myself to the celebrant "Hi I'm Lauren's sister" (instead of brother obviously) and so that was super embarrassing but she just laughed it off and thought i was joking, but it is little things like that that show me my brain sometimes can't fully handle that stress just yet. My girlfriend is finishing her schooling at a college as she dropped out in year 10 and she has just started her year so it is a little extra stress but honestly having her around is one of the main things keeping me going so I'm eternally grateful to her.

My band goes on tour next week and I'm quite scared about that but i've already done a tour with this and this one's with an American band so we have a driver so I don't have to do any driving thank god. The only thing that worries me is some of them are mexican and apparently big partiers (is that a word? haha) and apparently have been known to smoke bongs in the van (we are sharing a 12 seater) so I'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

The other thing was I had a doctors appointment last week where he had gotten me to have a blood test for testosterone levels. We didn't even talk about that and I didn't realise till after (bad memory) but I figured the results were inconclusive if he didn't mention it. I told him i stopped the MTHF supps and hadn't felt any different or if anything better, and he was really happy with that. In fact so happy that he decided to tell me some crap about how my nerve stores were really low in September and had built up due to the supps and when i came off I had enough to keep going or whatever, load of rubbish like c'mon man I can't be fixing myself it has to be the medicine right? So anyway I took another one of his 'depression/anxiety' tests i'm sure you guys are familiar with. I don't trust this guy and i certainly don't trust these tests. Apparently i'd gone from extreme in my first one to mild now, which does make me feel a bit better but he said it's not good enough and I need to go back onto the MTHF, which I know isn't doing anything, the only thing that has changed is my attitude. So I have an appointment in 2 months and I'm really considering just lying in it to say i'm better to get him off my back, I only went to him cause my mum said he specialises in anxiety. Maybe he does, but does he specialise in marijuana withdrawal, PAWS, depersonalisation? hell no.

Anyway so that's my story so far. I'm guessing I'll come back in a months time and update again. One thing that does put some hope into my day is coming here and getting a reply from your guys or seeing a success story so thank you and seriously please reply if you have anything to add I really like to hear other people's experiences!
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#7

Postby soulvice » Wed Mar 16, 2016 4:20 am

Another month. Month 7. Everyday I am getting a little bit better, it's getting a tiny bit easier to handle stressful situations.

My band went on tour again and for a small fraction of it I was actually able to forget about everything and have a good time, I even drank a beer or two and didn't affect me in any bad way at all.

Another thing I have noticed is my memory. I am starting to remember things just a tiny bit quicker and my sentences are getting a little better constructed, although I still definitely have mind blanks occasionally but I am starting to believe I might get better.

I think I now understand the whole bad days vs good days ratio and how it can change. I would say maybe they're about 50/50 at the moment but I've had weeks where its tipped towards the good side.

The biggest thing at the moment for me is the depersonalisation and existential thoughts. They've both decreased but I am not letting them defeat me and getting on with my day and I think this is the biggest lesson I've learnt. You won't feel 100% better RIGHT NOW and you just have to accept that it's a process and just live your life as you would.

Thanks for listening again, and to all suffering, I am sorry this has happened to us but the best way to get back to reality is to accept it. Live your life no matter what and reality will come to you.
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#8

Postby Wave » Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:58 pm

Excellent update and well done on 7 months! I am impressed you can be enjoying your band tour, focusing on the good things in life without weed pulling you down!

I think as you approach nearer a year the spells of bad days fades and gradually you return to your pre-addicted self!

Keep up the good work!
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#9

Postby soulvice » Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:03 am

Wave, thanks a lot for your reply and I have just brushed over your entries and I want to say congrats for your 11 months+ effort! I do believe I have ended my relationship with marijuana as this feeling makes it impossible for me to physically want to smoke again. Mentally ofcourse I would love to do it and have no consequence like the past but that was then and this is now. It has affected me and I must accept that. Doing it again can only make everything worse. I know I won't do it again because my girlfriend still does it on the odd occasion sometimes even in our house so I have the will to stay away all I have to do is think about the damage it has done to me, I know you can stay strong too!
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#10

Postby soulvice » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:45 am

into month 8. Today I remembered to come here and write because I'm actually having a bad day. But you know what, it's my first 'bad' day in what feels like a while, so much so I almost forgot how bad 'bad' days are.

I had to stay down at my mums which is about an hour from where I live so had to get up several hours earlier than normal to get to work so I think I am just really tired. Also my band is going to South East Asia in a few weeks which I am excited about but also very anxious about. Today was the tip of the iceberg as my phone just recently started not charging while on but does while off (weird?) so I took to get fixed and they said it's basically going to cost what the phone is worth and I also managed to get a parking ticket whilst doing it so that didn't help with anxiety, combined with my worry for money leading up to this trip, but I am soldiering on. I fretted about the parking ticket for a good hour and hated myself but I am already over it and accepting it and moving on, as I have learnt this valuable lesson through depersonalisation and everything else I have stated above.

On a positive note, I finally got rid of the doctor that was giving me these vitamin supplements that hadn't been doing anything, I just rang up and cancelled the appointment and that was that. I believe now I am on the right track to fixing myself without feeling like any person or medicine is helping me.

My band also goes to Melbourne this weekend and I am hiring a van so I will be doing a little bit of driving on freeways which will be my first time doing it with the band since this all happened, I could easily get someone else to but I think I am going to man up and do the first few hours, but just take it easy and if I feel overwhelmed let someone take over. But this is a sign I am feeling more confident in myself and that's the real positive.

My memory is slowly improving and I'm a bit better at recalling information, obviously not 100% but I do feel improvements. I've been trying to keep my mind on tasks as much as I can and starting a bit more exercise when I can.

I know this is probably boring any of you reading but it's for me. One thing I can't stop thinking about lately is how amazing the human brain is, and how much we can actually do with it, how much information is stored and this always makes me feel grateful for what I have rather than dissapointed in what I don't, and I'm enjoying that.
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#11

Postby lmcbride » Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:06 pm

Keep it up Soulvice! I hit 8 months clean this weekend. I feel quite similar to you.

The last few weeks I experienced all of the PAWS symptoms I had in the beginning, but to a much lesser severity. It had been months since I felt anything like that so I know I must be getting better!

Once I get past this PAWS wave, I'm sure it'll be like 5 or 6 months before I get them again.

We can do this!
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#12

Postby soulvice » Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:57 am

Hey lmcbride thanks heaps for the reply.

It's great to hear from someone on the exact same timeline as me and going through it all. I am having another bad day today so this is definitely one of the 'waves' you're speaking of, I have a fair amount of stress organising this tour and another major thing in my girlfriends life just happened which could majorly effect mine too so I can't put it all down to unwarranted anxiety. I think the best thing you can do is get into a mindset where you're patting yourself on the back rather than whipping it like a horse to hurry up your recovery (if that analogy makes sense haha).

The main problems I am left with is DP and existential thoughts, or even just worrying about where my life is headed type of thoughts. My DP is terrible today and I'm just wondering what you're like with yours? Has it reduced in severity and how about your memory as well?
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#13

Postby Theguider » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:30 am

Im assuming you have a naturally active and intelligent mind. The dp and existential thoughts do pass however, it'll be difficult for someone with a philosophically inclined mind. First, a solution for me was to simply acknowledge the state of mind I am experiencing for what it is at the present moment I think you nailed that. Secondly, I won't lie it requires tremendous energy to recapture your life during this experience, therefore try not to carry the burden of others, being selfish is ok so don't feel bad and have safeguards for when situations get tough cause they do. for example: I enjoy walking in the woods. Lastly, and the most important You must accept that "you can not cure the mind with the mind". Engage with your body in external world. For example getting a massage/yoga calms the body which effectively keeps me grounded and clear headed. Good luck mate
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#14

Postby soulvice » Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:43 am

Hey Theguider. I only just saw your reply, I have been quite busy with life it seems.

I guess this is month 9.

Looks like this update comes in 2 months later than my usual 1 month clock on remembering to do this, which probably is a good thing in terms of forgetting about DP in general.

Ofcourse I have not forgotten, and no I'm not "100% better". But every month I am learning more and more what 'normal' feels like again and it almost feels like I'm training myself to live in the world all over again. A lot of things that used to baffle me 9 months ago are either let go by my conscience or are a lot easier to make sense of. My head feels clearer, key word clearer not cleared. My band went to South East Asia and that was a crazy experience, we got back almost a month ago now but I only really feel like I've just settled back in to my daily life. There was a lot of crazy things I saw there that made me so grateful for the country I live in and for the life I live. It made me want to just get over this and stop complaining, I felt like I didn't have a right to, and in a way that has worked for me, everytime a task is really nerve racking or makes me feel very DP I just think what about that family on a scooter in the rain driving home from their labour job to their hut that's probably flooded and having mouths to feed, I just can't feel this way and complain about it.

Anyway I managed to handle myself pretty well through 10 flights and 8 shows over 12 days as well as being the main guy to organise it all and talk to all the non-english speakers so I must be doing ok if I can do that.

It's all just slow progress but if there's anything I'd say to my 9 month in the past suicidal self would be, you WILL feel better, I don't know when you'll BE better but you will FEEL better soon, and you just have to really live for that feeling and put every strength into NOT worrying about when that is and getting on with your life.

Thanks for listening maybe see you in a month again!
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