YOU GUYS. I didn’t actually die! SUCCESS!
But seriously. The past four weeks have been… Well, they’ve certainly been.
So. You know what’s a thing no one ever talks about?
Now, I assumed no one ever talks about this because it’s not, like, an actual thing, but…
AU CONTRAIRE, MON FRERE.
It’s totes a thing and holy shitsnacks, was it intense.
See, I just thought I’d quit and be fussy for a few days because I still wanted to get high. But all of a sudden, I was exhausted. Like, E-X-H-A-U-S-T-E-D. I’m actually a morning person and generally (mostly) happy and ready to get up with or before the sun, but although my normally restless sleep was obviously much deeper, I was waking up feeling like I had literally just closed my eyes. And regardless of how much caffeine I drank or how many naps I took, I felt like that alllllllllllll day. Seriously. I kept having flashes of that scene from A Clockwork Orange and wishing I could fashion some sort of medieval-looking contraption for holding my eyelids open while eyedrops were continually applied so I could just go about my day.
But not really. Because I hate that scene. Much like I hate that entire movie. *shudder*
The first week was, by far, the worst. The exhaustion was joined by intense fucking headaches, which I rarely get normally, so I’m a big fat baby when I do get them. I also experienced really disconcerting tremors, especially in my hands. I had an x-ray of my wrist taken three days in and literally could not hold my hand and arm still for the two minutes the entire process took. Yeah. Also, night sweats. BAD night sweats, which are, you know, less than fun. And I almost completely lost my appetite, which was admittedly awesome for kickstarting the weight loss, but clearly not normal since I obviously like to eat. But my pattern many days was not eating at all during the day until I got high later in the afternoon/evening, and then I’d make up for it basically by eating till I fell asleep (this being compounded by really awful eating habits from my childhood as well). So not being a daytime eater anyway, and then not having the pot as an appetite trigger later in the day, I just wasn’t interested in food much for those first few weeks, my appetite only really coming back in the past week or so. Again, not the most horrible side-effect for me personally, but certainly not my norm.
After the first few days of all this, I was like, dude, wtaf? And that’s when I started perusing online forums and realized that all of this was apparently perfectly normal for cannabis withdrawal. And seemingly NO ONE who hasn’t been through the actual process themselves has any fucking CLUE that cannabis withdrawal is even a thing, which is, of course, a super lame effect of this country’s asinine attitude toward cannabis. Literally everyone I have mentioned it to, all well-informed, educated, not anti-pot types, have been completely blown away that they’ve never even heard of such a thing. So consider this your PSA, people, should this information be relevant to you or someone you know in the future. Cannabis withdrawal and detox is a thing because something something dopamine, and it totally fucking sucks, but after a week or two, it gets better. Best online resource for support and info, by far, is the reddit sub r/leaves.
Now, because my timing is always fairly epic and I’m a bit of a go big or go home kind of girl, I quit smoking pot about a week after quitting the antidepressant/anxiety I’ve been taking for several years and starting a new one. I don’t know. It seemed like a good idea at the time. *shrug* So once my main cannabis withdrawal symptoms started to die down, I was slammed with super intense side-effects from the new meds, including, you guessed it, debilitating exhaustion and stupid awful headaches!
So yeah. I’ve basically been one huge ball of not very awesome while I was free-falling these past weeks, and instead of dealing with it by writing about it like I intended, I essentially just turtled and pretended like I didn’t exist.
But wait! There’s been good stuff, too!
I deleted the Facebook and Messenger apps from my phone and have almost completely been off social media for weeks, which was definitely the right move for me. And because I was using it as a news aggregator, I have essentially been on a news blackout this entire time as well, which, on the one hand, is challenging for someone like me, who has always prided myself on being well-informed about current events, but on the other hand, has been a ginormous breath of fresh air and really damn good for my mental health. I won’t be officially deleting Facebook until the end of this month because I intend to spam everyone till then with links to ways of following and keeping track of me elsewhere, as well as a way of supporting me more directly if anyone is so inclined via the Patreon account I’m creating and desperately seeking the courage to officially launch and share. Look for that info soon here on the blog as well.
And speaking of fresh air, I planted some veggies, fruit, and herbs in containers a few weeks ago, and having a garden to tend has been really therapeutic and has forced me out into our admittedly super nice yard on a daily basis. Because even though it’s often hard for me, I do actually love being outside, and I especially love fresh air. Our windows and doors are always open to some degree basically all year, and most of the year, they are wide open, and I can usually be found very near an open door or window at all times. This way, I can enjoy the sun and fresh air without actually going outside, where, you know, someone might see me. Even though our yard backs to a creek and is actually really private. But rational anxiety is not. (As an aside, I’m not really into online support forums, but I was looking something related up the other day and found myself reading a thread of people with anxiety talking about how they also don’t go outside unless absolutely necessary and do things like fetch the mail after dark to avoid people just like I do. It’s amazing how helpful realizing you’re not a total freak is.) And even though going outside and consistency are both really fucking challenging for me, I have managed to water my cute little plants essentially every damn day for weeks now! Little wins, you know?
I’ve also been hiking with our three-year-old blue nose pit/boxer mix, Indigo, who is, of course, such a good fucking girl. We are super fortunate to live a few blocks from a cluster of regional and state parks with a gorgeous lake and picturesque trails and a campground and all that, so we’re able to do a loop from the house that clocks in at just under three miles and is pretty hilly, which is what I prefer for exercise. It takes us a little under an hour and we have the best damn time. Even if I don’t want to do it and have to force myself and the first mile kind of sucks, I always feel awesome by the time we get home and am super happy I pushed through the lack of motivation. The husband has been supremely supportive and encouraging in this (and EVERY) arena by reminding me of precisely how good I’ll feel afterwards when I’m balking, and he’s always right. Imagine that. And wearing my Apple Watch on our hikes has been awesome for seeing progress and helping with continuing motivation. My average speed and heart rate have both come down fairly significantly just in the past two or so weeks of hiking 2-3 times a week, so that’s pretty cool. My goal is an every-other-day if not daily hike, and once I’ve shed a bit more weight, I intend to get back to running as well. I will consider consistently trail-running in the mornings very next-level. We’ll see.
And, as I mentioned, I’ve lost some weight, enough to have an old denim skirt finally fit again after a few years, which was fairly exciting. And I needed to buy a new bra, which was, of course, exciting and obnoxious at the same time because I’ll be doing that several more times before all is said and done. And I fucking HATE bras and I especially fucking hate BUYING bras, so it will definitely NOT be my favourite part of this process. Sigh.
Oh, AND the husband finally convinced me to ask our doctor for an actual as-needed anti-anxiety med, something I’ve been reticent to admit I really do actually need, and you know what? It’s fucking awesome. I’ve used it twice for family gatherings and it’s super low-key but makes me not question every godsdamn word coming out of my mouth or feel like I just need to go hide in the bathroom or a back room and hope everyone forgets I exist. So that’s been a huge relief. Better living through chemistry, right?
All in all, there have been some extremely shit days when I barely functioned, as well as much better days when I might almost have passed for real people, but the trend is definitely on the up, I think. I’m not nearly as exhausted these days, the headaches are much less frequent now, and I think the new meds may finally be starting to have a positive effect on my mood and outlook. And escaping back into the worlds of Martha Wells has been a lifeline for me during this time, as only fantasy truly can be for me, and has encouraged me to really, truly get back to writing my own fantasy novel because it’s way past fucking time to let that fucker out of my head and onto the page.
And, of course, I literally would not have gotten this far without the unwavering love, understanding, support, and encouragement of my sexy beast of a husband, who has been hugely successful in his own addiction struggles over the past couple of years, and of whom I am SO proud and with whom I am SO fucking still in love after all these years.
So, a huge shoutout to my scruffy-looking nerfherder. You can shoot first anytime, baby.
Yep, I went there.