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Alright--first post, so bear with me here. 

 

It took me about five minutes to figure out what to type after that sentence. As much as I'd like to write a memoir on this forum about my insane drug-induced disordered life, I'll try to make my questions simple. Really, I couldn't decide if I should post in this thread or the OCD, social phobia, depersonalization, or addictions one. 

 

I used to be a crazy, outgoing kid that loved going out in public. Pulling pranks on people in grocery stores and getting in trouble at fast food drive-thru's were my favorite hobbies. I had been like this my whole life, up until I started using marijuana when I was 16. A few years into my addiction (that's what I'll call it) I had some sort of psychotic break in one of my high school classes. I was on venlafaxine at the time for depression; anxiety was never an issue. 

 

I've read of all sorts of these depersonalized episodes due to cannabis use (especially when using as an adolescent). These reoccur and are something I'll have to accept until I find a cure, hopefully. I gave up smoking the day it happened, which was three years ago, and haven't touched it since. 

 

The only why my psych was able to help me out was by prescribing clonazepam. It was a blessing until, you know, I got hooked like everyone else. It seemed to slow me down a bit. It took the edge off, but being a socially gimped zombie wasn't what I wanted. After a year I wanted to speed things up, so that's what I asked for; Adderall. I started at 30 and was at 50 within a month. Sometimes I wonder if I would make a better psychiatrist. But, I asked for it, and I knew what I was getting myself into.

 

Whether I have ADD or not, I enjoyed Adderall and have been taking it for over a year (clonazepam for two years). After tolerance built up though, all I was left with was blue hands and feet. I've gone down to 40 milligrams and am really hitting the wall. I need to get to the point; this is only the addiction portion. 

 

My life now: I rarely leave the house (or even my room for that matter), take college courses online, write, and draw. I'm not afraid to leave the house, I simply don't want to. I do fear conversations though, or people in general. I can't make eye contact with anyone, lose my words between each sentence, and can see myself from their POV. All of this makes me (or how I see me) look like a stuttering, paranoid person with schizophrenia. The only times I leave the house are when I have to, and I rarely take my Klonopin during the day due to the zombie hazes.

 

I have a feeling the Adderall has contributed to a mix of OCD and OCPD. Matter of fact, I believe all of the symptoms that make me a completely dysfunctional individual are due to drugs. The weed started the engine and the pharmaceuticals added fuel to it. I'm trying to wean off of everything slowly right now but it's still a disaster.

 

I just want to be able to make a simple phone call without writing down what I'm going to say first. I'm tired of leaving earth at a family dinner. And I'm tired of needing to carry a pocket-full of pills everywhere I go, if I go.

 

Any comments, questions, or answers to why I define every anxiety disorder in the DSM-5 will be greatly appreciated.

 

 

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It took me about five minutes to figure out what to type after that sentence. As much as I'd like to write a memoir on this forum about my insane drug-induced disordered life, I'll try to make my questions simple.

 

I'm sorry I don't have an answer to your question, but there is a blog section here where you can write whatever/whenever and however much you want.

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It sounds like you might have some social anxiety, but you need to talk with a doctor about diagnoses.  The only way I've found to deal with social anxiety, aside from benzodiazepines, is to practice.  I force myself to go to the store and talk with the clerk ringing me up.  When I say "force myself", I don't mean to imply that I am hard on myself, I just don't accept any of my usual excuses for not getting out and being with people.  A lot of times I will reward myself for doing something tough, like going to the grocery store.  Just a "good" coffee or some other treat.  The more you put yourself in social situations, the easier it gets.  And I think you will feel better after socializing.

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With the exception of the drugs, I can relate to you. Kinda in the same boat at least to a point. I can't - or rather don't want to go out, I can't think of any real reason to do so, there's very little out there that's interesting to me. And on a blue moon if I do want to do something constructive I have absolute zero understanding of how to put the ball into motion.
Eye contact recently went completely down the drain with me, it was going that way for about a year now I guess, I think I find it easier when I'm not visually stimulated to be able to keep track of the words I'm saying or listen to someone talking. Dunno if that's actually the case but that's my reasoning behind it. Speech too can be a painful experience if I'm having to talk to myself, getting lost in the middle of a sentence for a good thirty seconds and occasional times when I completely forget everything I was talking about. The long, awkward silences are really painful experiences if it's with someone who doesn't know me all that well. I've always attributed it as a sort of remnant of a speech problem I had as a child but now I'm not too sure. Where does one end and something else begins?

Anyway, my knowledge is probably pretty sparse but looks to be the case for me is that they're gonna get me to do in combination to medicine is some voluntary work to help break me back into a life of some fulfillment or something. I don't think it's anything too involved, I'm not going to be answering phones or talking to people all the time in order to fulfill a task. That's basically my suggestion there, if your doctor hasn't already suggested it to you. You might think that's too much to handle, I don't know. I know that I don't want to be thrown into that situation, but eased into slowly and gradually. Meds are great but they need to be used in combination with positive activities, I think
Other than that, I'd say - and the hypocrisy is palpable right here - is to try not to get caught up in your symptoms. Recognise if you must when you're doing something but don't dwell on it. 

I dunno if that helped at all. Probably told you nothing you don't already know but I hoped it helped in at least the slightest. It's a really long road, I know, and rarely is it straight.

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Thanks for the comments/advice. I agree with you, Southern; it's painful as hell. When it comes to knowledge, I would consider myself a pretty bright guy. I have a 3.9 GPA and am often praised for it. It's discouraging though, at the same time, since I want to be a clinical psychologist. How am I supposed to help others when my brain just "shuts off" like this? I don't know why it happens, but lately it's been pissing me off more than embarrassing me.

 

For example, yesterday I worked up the courage to attend an NA meeting. If anyone has been in one before, you know that there are those very common awkward silences. The attention was definitely directed to me, since I hadn't been to a meeting in over half a year. Anyway, one of the silences happened and I knew I had to wing it; I had to try to speak my mind. It went something like this: "My name's ____, and I'm an addict." Then everyone, (probably 20 people) go, "Hi ____!" 

 

I stuttered a lot and it's actually hard to remember what I said, but it started with, "Note that my mind goes blank.. sometimes.. and.. well.. it's probably, well.. maybe due to.. umm.. all of the.. umm... drugs I've done." After I spoke, I couldn't remember anything I said besides that--but I was humiliated. I wish someone could record me speaking in public so I count all of the face touching, looking down, and umms I make. I really did want to speak, I just couldn't. This has become such a vicious cycle and I often wonder if I will ever conquer it and become a "normal speaking" individual. 

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Yep, fragmented speech and thoughts, I have literally been doing it right there trying to construct a response, ten, fifteen minutes now? I'm not even on anything at the moment. I think it's probably something that'll get easier with practice, very slowly. I hope that isn't just glass half full thinking.  So often I rehearse responses to questions I think I'm going to have directed at me, I like to think it helps me prepare to answer them, at least in a way that's a little more constructive. I was in group CBT this time last year, I did find comfort in the knowledge that I was with people who were "broken" to a degree like me. There's probably a good chance that there's people at these groups who have been in as bad or worse situations, their problems might manifest in a different area but I've found a little solace in that. But yeah, stick with the group though even if it's just for a few more meetings, at the very least you won't need to give your reasoning to explain yourself anymore.

Yes, by no means are you the only one who has the joys of this experience.

That took probably 45 minutes to make?

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I don't know about your addictive behavior. Marijuana is not a physical addiction, although obviously, you used too much of it. The dissociations and psychoses are real, but that is not the same as addiction.

 

I may be misreading this, but other than the pot, to me it doesn't sound like you have the drug abuse problem you are worried about.

 

It sounds like you were physically dependent, not addicted to the adderall. You aren't enjoying stopping it, but you aren't on the street looking for it, either. You just feel sucky, but you are following your pdoc's orders. If you were an addict, you would not necessarily be complying with your pdoc.

 

As for the Klonopin, not only does *not* everyone get addicted, it is about the least addictive benzo. I can't tell what makes you think you were addicted, but if you were able to come off it under your pdoc's care without major issue, you were probably just dependent.

 

There is a pin in the  benzos forum discussing the difference between addiction and dependence I think you should read.

 

I'm not trying to say, "You definitely are not addicted to anything." I'm just saying there are other explanations for your difficulties.

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The only why my psych was able to help me out was by prescribing clonazepam. It was a blessing until, you know, I got hooked like everyone else. It seemed to slow me down a bit. It took the edge off, but being a socially gimped zombie wasn't what I wanted. After a year I wanted to speed things up, so that's what I asked for; Adderall.

 

Instead of taking klonopin, then adding adderall to speed things up, could you ask your pdoc if s/he could reduce the dose of klonopin, because that in and of itself might make you feel less like a zombie?  And then you might not even need the adderall.  Just a thought.  But make sure to talk to your pdoc about it.

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Again, thanks for the advice--and also again, Southern, that's exactly what happens to me. I dislike posting on forums sometimes because I don't have an idea of how long it's going to take. I was considering CBT, it's just the expense and doubt that it's going to work for me. I just want to know what the fuck happened to me. I hate having to fake my smiles and laughter when being around others. I think you're the only person that's ever been able to relate.

 

Queen, you're probably right on the chemical dependence standpoint; I'm not sure if I'm actually addicted physically to the drugs. But I know one thing, and that's that I know when I need clonazepam. My confusion is amplified, I sweat, my head hurts--things are just scary and I don't know what to do besides pop another pill. One of my biggest problems though, is the constant thought of getting high. I have days when it's all I think about. At least once a week I have dreams of relapsing, and figure what's the point of not abusing drugs when I'm already a social louse and have messed up my head. It was hard to comply with my doctor; I didn't want to stop Adderall and clonazepam until I realized that it's only making things worse. Recently I've just been drinking, because I can't get my mind to just "turn off." I think so much that I can't think, if that makes sense. 

 

That's a good idea, melissaw, and is actually what I just started doing. It's hard to cope with the weaning off right now, but I'm hoping that there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I wish I knew if drugs are the full cause of this or if it's just something that happened to me over the last three years. 

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^^Please make sure you talk to your DR before changing/weaning off any meds.

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Group CBT did help me to an extent; I didn't get worse but I also didn't get a lot better. It probably helps people who are able to have functioning daily lives, which I can't for some reason. What it did give me, however, was an understanding of my anxiety and a couple of coping mechanisms that I've found useful, what works for me on most occasions when I do have an episode of anxiety is to rate it raising and falling on a scale from 1 to 10. CBT did also give me a small network of other people I met from the sessions, we meet up every month and that's at least given me a purpose to get out.

 

I think the whole thing was based off the American programme by the same name? They gave us all the chance to buy a copy of book "Mind Over Mood" which I've still yet to actually read. I would blame my difficulties to pay continuous attention when reading but considering I got through most of the 500 or so A4 pages of Vampire: The Masquerade, I'm blaming my lack of motivation more so. Anyway, tangent.

 

While the waiting times are frustrating, I'm so glad my country has the NHS providing free* services. Every developed country should have a system like it to some extent.

Edited by Southern Discomfort

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