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Slay the demons in the basement of your mind

Do you remember being scared to go down into the basement alone? I know I do. You can probably remember a few times when you were a little kid and found yourself alone in the basement, got scared, and ran like crazy up the stairs, swearing you could sense the monster practically snapping at your heals.

Imagine being trapped down there in that terrifying basement all by yourself. Imagine if there really were monsters down there.

When you quit Adderall, you’re going to be surprised at how many psychological issues and hang-ups were actually just you and not the pill. Many of your insecurities, faults, and weaknesses were there long before you started taking Adderall. Quitting Adderall is not the fix-all it can sometimes seem like before you muster the courage to quit. But it is the giant first step to being able to fix the rest of your issues (things you don’t like about yourself).

Being on Adderall masks your underlying issues. It keeps you happy upstairs cleaning the kitchen neurotically, trying to make every inch of that tile floor gleam white and perfect, ignoring the existence of the scary basement.

Quitting Adderall is like falling into basement of your mind, and forcing yourself to confront all your demons one by one before you can get out again.

This is a healthy process. But it can be disheartening at times.

The trick is that for every personal demon there is a special weapon that slays it. Concentrate on finding those weapons. Sometimes that weapon comes in the form of a personal slogan or an inspiring text. Sometimes that weapon is an honest conversation that’s long overdue. Sometimes that weapon is a new day job. Sometimes that weapon is a self-invented therapy routine or activity. Just treat each of your issues like a problem to solve and never forget that you were meant to change and that it’s only a matter of finding the right solution.

Use this method to address everything you ever disliked about yourself — to cut away everything that holds you back as a person — until you are fast and strong and fierce enough to burst from the basement as the highest incarnation of the very best within you, with the scalps of your demons hanging at your side.

9 Responses to “Slay the demons in the basement of your mind”

  1. Tony Gawarecki says:

    haha love it

  2. Tommy says:

    Hello everybody. It is with some fear that I have come to this site. I have been on some form of add medicine for like 5 years now. Straterra first, with terrible side effects. Then ritalin for a while, then about mid summer 08 I was prescribed adderall. This drug not only made me feel like superman, but to my wife and mother-in-law, I was. I quit drinking alchohol, I started an MBA program, bought a house, got a great job, etc. I am now up to 60mg a day and I’m losing touch of the people & things that mean the most to me. I know that there is a dpendancy problem, because I don’t feel good anymore, and the side effects are outweighing the benefits. I hate the way I am right now. For 30 years I was “funny Tommy” that everyone wanted to be around. I am completely numb now. I can’t even remember what it was like to have fun, I really can’t. I haven’t even seen a my best friend in months. I constantly feel like nothing is getting done and I try and get everything done, but there aren’t enough hours in the day. I am laid off and can’t even find the time to even look at my resume. I obsess, stew, and worry over everything including this post. I want so badly to quit adderall but I am afraid of failure without it and not being able to move off the couch for 2 weeks. I’m afraid my wife won’t like the real me, or think I’m a pussy or too emotional, even though she fell in love with the real me. I’m afraid I won’t finish my MBA. I’m afraid my wife will have to work more, because I won’t be as succesfull as I think I can be, while I’m on Adderall. I’m afraid of never having a drink with my wife again, like we used to.

    I ran out of pills for 4 days last month, and felt empty, scared, tired, alone, and could not find a shred of confidence to save my life.- not to mention physical withdrawl pain. In the past week I have been subconsciously crying out for help at my wifes expense. She smokes pot once in a while but graduated college with honors and has had a succesfull career for 10+ years. She even quit smoking cigaretts when we met! She doesn’t have any problems with her little release-besides me now. I never cared a single bit that she smokes once in a while. The past week I have been accusing her of being an addict, and telling her that her behaviors are dispicable. I was causing vicious arguments out of nowhere about it. I ruined our first night out in months. I almost even told her mother who is also like a mom to me.

    I did not take my medicine this morning, and realize that the “Fun Tommy” inside of me is crying out for help. I know my wife and she will probably think I’m being to hard on myself, or she may think “well Tommy self loathes sometimes,” But I feel like I am living a lie anymore. And I am lying to myself about who I am and how I behave. Like I said though, I am afraid of not completing my MBA, chores, etc., etc, etc, And I’m afraid of letting my wife & mom-in-law down, or having them think I’m a head-case. The two people who believe in me, I might add.

    I thought I was going crazy until I found this site.

  3. Mike says:

    Hi Tommy,

    Yep. You sound about ready to quit to me!

    That constant over-obsessing and worrying is a sure sign that you’re taking too high a dose and/or have been on Adderall too long. That will take a while to get rid of even after you quit. It gradually goes away as you learn to get tasks done more brutally.

    Your sense of humor will come back. Old Tommy will get to play again.

    As for your fear that you will be an over-emotional, depressed pussy who can’t get anything done to save is life: That is exactly how you’ll be at first. The trick is to keep remembering that that is just how you feel for a while after you quit, not who you are. That gets better gradually.

    This is going to be kind of like breaking your spine on purpose so you can teach yourself how to walk all over again (but better this time). Keeping with that metaphor, your feeling is akin to “But if I do that then I won’t be able to walk!”. Exactly. Until you learn how to again. That’s what it’s like quitting Adderall. You won’t be able to do anything…until you teach yourself how to do it again. But better this time.

    As for your wife thinking you’re a pussy. She probably will sometimes. Unless she has the foresight/faith to understand in advance that what you are doing (quitting Adderall and rebuilding yourself) is an act of strength. Even the weak periods you will go through are themselves acts of strength…because you are enduring them voluntarily. One pill would take the pain away instantly at any time, but you’re staying strong (and enduring your weakness) because you have faith in this endeavor…faith that you will pull out and be better than ever.

    But please, if you don’t listen to anything else I say on this site, hear me now: WARN YOUR WIFE FIRST.

    Show her this site if you have to. Show her the list of common side-effects of quitting Adderall. Let her know what she’s in for. Let her know why you’re doing it. Let her know that it could take a year or more for you to really recover. Let her know that she has the power to make this much less difficult for you by supporting you and being eternally patient with your weakness out of her love and faith. Let her know also that she has the power to make this very, very hard on you by not supporting you and criticizing your sudden incompetence and making you painfully aware of her disapproval. That will make it next to impossible for you if she chooses to act like that (understand though that she will slip into that naturally sometimes when she gets frustrated…just gonna happen).

    Look, if she was just your girlfriend and this was just a dating relationship we were talking about, I’d say you might have cause to worry and that you might be better doing this on your own. A girlfriend sees that you’ve all of a sudden gone from the man of steel to an amorphous blob and freaks…she kicks you to the curb for fear that you’re not going anywhere and will drag her down.

    But we’re talking about a marriage here. Marriages last decades. Dating relationships last a couple years. Spending an entire year trying to rebuild yourself from “worthless slug” to “cripple finding his true path” is a big deal to a dating relationship. A year is a big slice of the time…half or more of the entire time you’ve been together maybe.

    But to a marriage, a year should matter much less in context off all your decades together.

    Dating relationships break up at a big sign of trouble like this…that’s what they’re meant for…testing people out while still remaining agile. But marriages should weather through…because that’s what they’re meant for…compatibility that is deeper than a year long phase can shake.

    Now, as for your MBA. You may have to drop out for a semester. I won’t tell you not to try. But really, six months to a year off won’t kill you, especially compared to how much you’re going to be growing in the mean time. Don’t be afraid of that. If you are meant to finish it (read: if you still want to when you find your true path again off Adderall) you will.

    One more thing. You said you had a problem with drinking and not doing crap before you started taking ADD drugs and Adderall. You will have to fix those flaws in yourself. Quitting Adderall and rebuilding your ability to do work also gives you a tremendous opportunity to fix all the qualities you didn’t like about yourself even before you went on Adderall. Because you already have the “I’m working on myself and confronting my big issues right now” attitude…it’s natural to start working on your other, more personal problems that may have nothing to do with the Adderall….while you’re at it.

    You can use this constant upward movement and focus on self-repair to address your drinking problem as well as any lack of motivation/discipline you may have had before the pills.

    Hell, even if that means making a rule that you can only drink with your wife and sticking to it. You’ll figure it out. Just never forget that whatever your personal problem…there is a solution…you just have to find it.

    In summary:
    1. Warn her first.
    2. Do it.

    Hang in there, buddy. You can do this. You’ll make it though. I promise you it’s so much brighter over here on this side.

  4. Anonymous says:

    my son is 13 and has been on adderall xr 40mg for more than 8 years, the doctors have put him on 9 different pills at one time, I successfully got him off of all that except the adderall and clonidine. I do not know my son at all, who he really is, all I know is he is aggitated and hates his life, but he is not depressed, yes I know that sounds weird, but just is not content with anything but skating, I have fear for him when he is older and he will not be able to deal with society on his own, because this medicine is a mask, he is not learning skills like he should, I wish there was someone to talk with about this, feel very alone even though I know I am not,

  5. Mike says:

    @Anonymous – Have you asked your son what he wants to do? How does he feel about the medication? When does he feel happiest? You may also want to try and find a good therapist that he likes. There is a such a thing as a counselor/psychiatrist that can get more than dull obligated responses from teenagers. Find one that your son really responds to. All of these are just options. Good luck.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is exactly how I feel!! So many times I quit adderall & I still have mad problems. Then I wonder is it the adderall?? Your def right that a lot of these insecurities were there before hand & the adderall masks them. So its like any insecurity Ive had the past x amount of years on adderall Ive basically been ignoring. Now off the adderall I have to come to the realization of what my life truly is. The slaying demons in the basement is the best analogy but thanks for letting me know its normal. Half of my symptoms are believing Im fuckin wierd for these thoughts which made things even more complicated.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Great post!

  8. Finn 31 says:

    Wow, u nailed it quite poetically and poignantly. Going to have to begin long scary Trip of withdrawal in a few days I’m sad to see daddy’s go but it really inhibits me as a person it hides my shine. However we ran our course & all has come to a natural ending w/ abuse out-of-control… left to put pieces back together

  9. Giovanni says:

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