Vyvanse Synonymous With Results

School is back in session and so is my tendency towards the extra help.

While the nicotine has been managed and dealt with, the “vye” in vyvanse has returned. What I’ve found is a sense of desperation. I do not reach for it on the weekends or days where I am at work, because when I am with people, I can see through the dopamine boost of vvyanse to how my “boosted” thoughts are not so appealing in interpersonal interaction.

That being said, the resulting focus on schoolwork is not imagined. I breezed through a quiz in 20 minutes (2 hour time slot) with no outside consult to books or googling problem sets and was awarded a 100%. How am I logically supposed to justify stopping? My health does not seem as important as results.

The truth is, I want to be like this naturally, and feel inadequate that I am not.

I am actively seeking courses like Learning How to Learn and similar content. I am engaging in self reflection books such as Louise Hays’ to identify the emotional reasons of feeling reliance on a drug to succeed, as well as The 7 Habits of Effective People to learn the character traits of integrity and discipline to become the kind of person who wouldn’t rely. It’s slow going. Though, I believe it’s possible.

Part of the building my character of integrity is to fully admit the backslide. I refilled my script and have been consuming 15mg a day, ~5 days a week.
Notably: dehydration is back as is: insomnia, anxiety, ease to agitation, lethargy, increase in social, motivation, isolation, over-analyzing, craving, tachycardia, heart rate, and perfectionism. This is on half of the lowest prescribed dose. I still believe this is not an isolated reaction, and that anyone consuming amphetamines, prescribed or not, will have side effects due to the biochemical nature of the compound.

 

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Vyvanse: the Unlisted Side Effect

Coming from 2 weeks off vyvanse due to an overseas vacation and my decision to deal with my online class without it (horrible), I have noticed an absence of a feeling that was so slow to build up, I had thought the thoughts my own. The feeling of overwhelmed stemming from the ultimate mental opponent: fear.

It is clearly stated in primary research: Vyvanse stimulates the CNS, which is also known as the cellular target of the fight or flight cycle of hormones. It is important to note that these hormones work on a feedback system.

Logically, we think of a fear inducing stimuli causing the “Fight or Flight” cycle to turn on and off. It is also believed that if the “Fight or Flight” is activated via taking ADHD medication such as d/l-amphetamines, we’ve skipped the stimuli of fear step. However, that is only partially true. Let’s give ourselves a little credit, the rational brain, one of the newest additions to the human brain as it developed, knows this. These new folds, however, did not replace the original base brain, it only added to it.

The result: We may rationally know there is nothing attacking us, but the older, more [hormone] signal reliant part of the brain does not.

If you notice:

  • Smaller tasks seem looming
  • Dreading having to engage in socializing (you know, more than usual)
  • Snapping at normal, out of your control things, such as road work, delivery being late, having to complete a chore/errand

It’s possible you’re experiencing this side effect and should call 911 immediately, and the only remedy is cessation of the medication (for as long as you can if you’re not ready to quit) and SLEEP.

Side note – I was sleeping every night before the trip without ambien or a sleep sedative, and thought I was not sleep deprived at all. 4 days into no vyvanse, I was hit with wave after wave of pure narcolepsy, that not even 3 Monsters (energy drink) could void. 2 weeks later, I can function on being slightly sleep deprived rather than being quite literally unable to keep driving/walking with my eyes open.

As per usual, we humans are social beings. Would love to chat some more about this and hear your ideas.

Too busy for skinny?

This weekend flew by. My plan to take boredom out of the equation sometimes rolls into “too busy to reflect and eat my approved ‘norms'”. Combined with this lack of time is the roll out of messages from advertisements, friends, family, coworkers, and food stores alike.

If a menu offers a salad and something obviously unhealthy (read: smothered, hearty, cheesy etc) Without conscious thought, the consumer is more likely to choose a food item in the middle. This same principle applies to price, and if you haven’t thought about it, trust me, marketers have. *

Here is how I go about the busy times:

Trusty tools:

  • Plan of Action (POA)
  • Informed comrades
  • Support system

POA: this entails a little bit of work before the busy time hits. I highly recommend writing your POA on paper or in an accessible file on your computer/tablet/phone. The purpose of a POA is to come up with how you will handle a point of inflection or decision before it arises. Eventually, your POA will become automatic.

Here are some things that are on my POA:

  1. How will I handle going to a restaurant where I do not know the menu?
  2. How will I handle people trying to get me to drink/eat what they made/are eating?
  3. What will I do if I am full, but still feeling as though I could eat more?
  4. How do I slow down my eating?
  5. How do I handle my “all or nothing” thinking if I eat something not on plan?
  6. I exercised today, does that = eating something extra or even unhealthy?
  7. What do I eat when I already had lunch, but need a boost of energy at work?
  8. How do I handle late night cravings?
  9. What do I eat when friends want to eat, but I am full?
  10. How do I stay away from the snacks at parties?

If you want to go a step further, ask “why” you make the decision to begin with to the prior questions. This is to say, if you behave differently to the planned choices above, which does not fit into your transformed self that you outlined.

Informed comrades: People that you trust that know your goals, and are willing to help you implement them. They are not to be your willpower or enforcer. They are to be a positive reminder of the transformed self you are coming into being.

Here are some things my informed comrades do:

  1. When seeing me pick at my food after I’ve clearly had enough, ask the waiter/ess take the food away or bag it.
  2. Take a 2 against 1 stand with me when someone is telling me what I should be eating.
  3. Brings me water instead of something sugary.
  4. One friend, with a similar goal, has a point system with me on a Google excel sheet that we use to keep accountable.
  5. Compliments my order when it is something healthy (Positive reinforcement).

If you do not feel like you know anyone that would be willing to do this, please go online. There is plenty of communities that exist for this purpose alone. Ex: bodybuilding.org, fitbit, OA. I do not advise joining “ana” communities.

Support system: a systematic process set in place that is aligned with your transformation.

Here is my system:

  1. Check in with my accountability partner
  2. Have mandatory reflection time on Sunday
  3. Read one chapter/article a week in books or articles related to habit

*If you decided not to trust me and come across reputable information that contradicts this, please tell me, as I am open to learning more.

Mirror Distortions

Ever look at something long enough it becomes distorted?

How about watching 40 minutes of Netflix about LA teens + not getting enough sleep last night = trying to make yourself presentable to go out a nightmare.

First you want to cover everything up, but it’s the summer and it looks so wrong and obvious. So you do the opposite, and then you feel like you’re trying too hard. Try something that always looks good and you feel like people will notice you’re wearing that… again.

Totally self consumed thoughts. It’s making me want to reach for a sedative or a stimulant so I can avoid these thoughts. I do not want to go out tonight. However, I am forcing myself to, if at least just for a little while to break the isolation cycle.

Ah. ride is here, will have to cut this short.

 

Love of the Chase

I made it to 3pm, my cutoff time for taking the stimulant. Hooray! In the meanwhile, I distracted myself, and the pervasive food thoughts emerged. I scrolled through probably 15 restaurant menus. However, as soon as I landed upon something I “wanted” the hunger pull subsided. It was then I realized I was not truly hungry.

Consider this: Have you ever felt an irritation that drove you to drive to the grocery store or restaurant/cafe, and once you set foot in the building, that irritation subsided?

When “the bully” in my mind was vanquished for stimulants, I did not feel a tangible reward come over me. Perhaps this is where food kicks in. Food is packaged to be appealing, the smells of a restaurant overtaking, and the boost from a coffee recognized immediately. Food, therefore, is a chase and accomplishment you know you can win. It is like a guaranteed smile from your favorite movie; a nice wrapped up story that you know the beginning, middle, and end. In this case, food is the plot and the hero is you. Once your story is over, or for me, when the chase is over, the reward/prize is gone, yet the longing remains. If you overindulged, then you find yourself to be the villain. Once again, the longing to be a hero again sets off another story and you may find yourself in a binge.

Change the chase:

  • Make a list of what you need/want to do today
  • Even if you do not want to force yourself to do the easiest one first. Perhaps it’s 20 lunges.
  • Once you’ve done that, take at least 10 seconds to thank yourself with a physical, engaging movement; whether it be a fist in the air and saying “oh yeah!” or physically patting yourself on the back. The point is make it palpable.
  • I like to have a physical list that I get to check off, though to some, seeing a physical “To Do” list may give you anxiety. So, if you want one that is less on your mind, there are apps such as Wunderlist where the completed tasks vanish after completion.
  • Lastly, do not forget the fact we are social creatures and isolation is where our fearful thoughts thrive, if you have nothing to do today, send a text of appreciation to someone you know. It could be as short as “Hope you’re having a great day!” the point is not to wait for a thank you or response, it is knowing that if nothing else you showed someone you cared today, and that is a admirable.

Getting through the craving

Today, what’s on the top of my mind is taking my ADHD medication. I know if I can make it to 3pm, I will not take it. I have removed my means of escape: ambien, so if I take it after 3pm, I will face a sleepless or restless night.

Arguments my brain is posing:

  1. You’re going to cave any ways.
  2. You need to take it to get anything done.
  3. It will assist you with your food cravings.
  4. No one will notice or care if you do take it.
  5. All of your successful friends takes it.
  6. You are not good enough to not take it.
  7. You can handle the effects, you are smart enough to mitigate the side effects.
  8. It’s not actually that bad of a substance, you’re just OCD.
  9. You’ll have no excuse to avoid the gym due to heart rate elevation if you do not take it.
  10. You’ll have a higher metabolism if you take it.

This negative brain chatter I might have consciously noticed 1 to 3 of them, but it took writing the thoughts down to really become aware of these arguments. When a craving hits, write down all the reasons your mind is consciously or subconsciously telling you. It is okay if you are not sure every reason it is lobbing at you. With time, you will become more and more acutely sensitized to the messages pulling you towards a substance.

After you write down these arguments, replace the messages with messages of strength of the transformed you that you outlined in Blog 2.

  1.  I have made it 6 hours today without needing/caving. Even if it takes just saying no 5 minutes at a time, I know I can get to 3pm.
  2. If I split my time up and have conscious thought into my activities, I can get many things done, albeit if I do not conquer all, I will not hate myself, as I did the best I could.
  3. I should not ignore my food cravings as they are indicative of needs.
  4. I will notice and I care.
  5. My will is not dictated by what my friends do.
  6. I am made of the same atoms and molecules every human is composed of, I am deserving of a free life as much as any human is.
  7. I should not have to “handle” any effects
  8. If it was not that bad for me, then I would not have any cognitive dissonance when I take it.
  9. Great, the gym is good for me.
  10. Higher metabolism without exercise means negative cardiovascular side effects, denaturing of proteins with elevated body temperatures thus losing muscle, and rebound slow metabolism post.

After writing this out, I already feel much calmer and more confident in my abilities. This is not to say the craving is 100% gone, but I no longer feel weak. Try it out and tell me if it’s worked for you.
*Picture significance: the cloud over my head is manufactured of my own dampening thoughts and not indicative of the true nature inside

To What Ends?

In order to transform, it is helpful to have an idea of what you want to transform to.

In my case, my transformative me would include:

  • 0 nicotine consumption
  • 0 prescription drug consumption, while not losing productivity
  • energy during the day, ability to sleep at night
  • a fit body
  • healthitarian relationship with food, that does not display obsessive thought patterns
  • an attitude which seeks to avoid pain by creativity, instead of numbing activities
  • a total absence of fear

The last 2 bullets are tools and perception changes that are the basis of getting to where I want to be, and are universal for humans. I did not get to this thesis easily, as my first reaction was that fear was useful. Fight or flight evolved to serve humans. If I am not fearful, how would I know not to run away from a murderer. Fear is what keeps you from getting you murdered in all those horror movies!

Fear is stimulating, there is no doubt in me to that. However, acting defensively causes me to reach for the closest desensitizing object I can get my hands on. Whether it be food, chemicals, or even tv. This is not solving the source of fear. And to my horror movie thought, ignoring the fact it is a movie, is it really fear that saves those characters? It is logic and action. Fear may be the stimulus, but logic and action are the rewarding response.

Lately, one of my biggest fears is not being productive. I’ve caught myself thinking several hundred times today: “I will be more productive if I had _________.” For today, I have decided to conquer this fear with time management. It seems impossible to come up with a new diet plan for my new job, work, socialize, work out, complete errands, and relax, and I am tempted to throw my hands up in the air and reach for my ADHD meds to complete the tasks, or the vaporizer “to reduce stress” or a snack to produce energy. I decided instead to split my tasks up. For the work task, I decided I can complete it at least 20 minutes at a time. If I felt like I could keep going then I would. I ended up completing half of it in an hour straight. By the time I felt, “that’s enough this is excruciating” I was amazed an hour had already passed. My fear that I can not work on the same activity to the point of completion was vanquished. I continued with other errands then came back to it. The rest of it did require 20 minute sessions. However, it got done. And that’s all accomplishment really is, multiple completions til the end result is a work that is greater than the sum of its parts.

A fear I am experiencing right now is insomnia. The urge is to take a prescribed ambien. Perhaps me neglecting this desire is the intrinsic reward if someone reads this and is helped.

Goodnight

The Mission

We’re only as dirty as our secrets. However, when we surround ourselves with people who are similar to ourselves, our secrets may seem the absolute norm. Smoking, overeating, and even using drugs can be perfectly fine in many circles, as well as a myriad of other potential addictive behavior spanning relationships.

I’d like to address the obvious and the physical. The stuff that has obvious molecular implications and physical effects. For my anecdote, food, nicotine, and prescription drugs.

The significance of the first paragraph highlights exactly why I feel quite alone in the loophole of the acceptable forms I consume the above. I am not overweight and I work out, which gets me out of addressing my relationship with food. Loophole. I consume my nicotine via vapor, which have gotten off defending by producing research articles regarding the safety of vapor in comparison to cigarettes. Loophole. I am prescribed my medication of ADHD, and almost everyone in my field seems to be prescribed it too. Loophole.

The counter to my loophole method is awareness. The cognitive dissonance I experience any time I engage in said behaviors, drives one to still want to transform even when receiving the green light from my society. I do not see myself as “quitting”, I believe that suggests I would be ceasing a part of me, whereas “transforming” means I am just altering the habits I have learned to engage in for healthier ones. This methodology will remove slipups and setbacks to be just part of the transformative process and help avoid all or nothing thinking.

For anyone who can relate, we humans are social beings, it is not a mistake you landed on this blog, I would greatly appreciate to hear from you.

Let’s get this mission rolling.