One of the first things you’re going to notice when you quit Adderall (at least during the 5 hours per day that you manage to stay awake) is that time moves excruciatingly slowly without Adderall. But that’s just the beginning. Over the course of quitting Adderall and rebuilding yourself, your perception of time will change several times in weird ways.
Time moves fast on Adderall
You’re accustomed to going into work, popping a pill, getting your nice Adderall buzz, and then diving into work so deeply that you don’t even get to what you intended to do that day until the sun starts to go down (because you’ve been lost in minutiae all day).Â Every Adderall-fueled workday can be like a race against the clock. You’ll think: “Ok, I’ll just tweak this little thing…there…now I can get back to that other tweak, and then finally back to what I started out to do — crap another hour is gone!Â It keeps moving so fast and I have so much epic work to do!”
Time slows down when you quit Adderall
When you quit Adderall, your relationship with the clock changes. You still keep looking at it every 2 minutes, but not because you’re anxious about it moving so fast — because you’re tortured by how excruciatingly slow it moves. You try to do a little work. Try to distract yourself. Try to resist checking the clock. But then you finally look. You must have killed an hour by now. That felt like an hour. Nope, it was just 14 lousy minutes. Urgh! Kill me now! This day will never end! I’ve got to pop a pill; I can’t handle this.
Finding a new “slacker groove” at work speeds time back up
OK, slacking off at work is bad…we all know that. But when you first quit Adderall, you’re going to slack like you’ve never slacked in your life. You will come in as late as you can. You will leave as early as you can get away with. You will look for any and every excuse to escape into smoke breaks/long lunches/errands of questionable-necessity/whatever.
But eventually you won’t be able to escape anymore. You cannot maintain the frequent-escape schedule and still keep your job. You’ve got to figure out how you can make it the whole day tethered to your miserable desk/cash register/stripper pole/whatever.
After forcing yourself to sit at your desk for 8 hours, you figure out how to make it bearable: you simply don’t do any work. For you desk jockeys, this means lots of time on sites like reddit, StumbleUpon, YouTube, Facebook, Hulu, Netflix, and anything else that you can dive into and get your happy/entertained juices flowing.
Of course, you have to squeeze in some work, or people will get wise.
After a while, you learn to squeeze in about equal parts slacking and work. It gets comfortable. You can go through the whole day without having to think hardly at all. Time at work isn’t so unbearable anymore. At the end of the day you have next to zero feeling of accomplishment, and you’ll be exhausted from all that not thinking and not working, but at least you’re getting through the day.
You learn to kill whole weeks with this “slack + minimum effort” routine…and then you start killing whole months. And then you’ve killed a year. And then you have a new problem.
How to slow time back down when you’re ready
Eventually, you may find that you’ve gotten a little too good at killing the days and weeks. Now your life is rushing beneath you, and you’re getting nothing of merit accomplished during the day. That starts to matter to you.
Having to stare at the clock while every second takes an eternity to tick away is bad; realizing that it’s Friday again and you haven’t had a significant thought all week is worse.
Now you can venture out. With your time-speeding minimum slack routine there to fall back to, you can start adding some meaningful effort-requiring tasks and obligations to your life. Basically, you’ve learned how to walk for as far as you want; now it’s time to add in a little jogging.
The proper speed of time
Everybody says “time flies”. Or “time moves so tragically fast”. “Life is over in an instant”, they say. Now, take a person who fell in love, but was only able to spend two months with their Love before he/she died. Ask them about that time of their life, and they will say “I lived an eternity in those two months.”
The more love and enjoyment you add to your life, and the more you keep something worthwhile in focus, the more time assumes its proper speed: slow an memorable.
Short of falling in love, here are some quick ways to pleasantly slow time down:
- Add events that you look forward to at the end of the day. A hot date after work. Meeting up with friends. Or failing that, something that is just a little awesome. Some of my slowest, happiest days at work are when I bring my bike to work (so I can hit the trails at the local park when I get off).
- Schedule fun events in the future, so you have to wait on them. A vacation. A big purchase that you’re saving for.
- Get in the habit of regenerative breaking (purposeful slacking) during the day
- Keep adding unique experiences to your life. You need to keep cramming your memory with new stuff that matters, otherwise your brain starts glossing over everything because it’s all the same.
- Don’t forget to build in some pursuits where the passage of time works in your favor. Get into a positive-trending routine with your finances and your education. That way if you change nothing else for two years, at least you’ll have paid off a lot of debts and gotten much closer to your next degree…all without thinking consciously about it.
Remember: A wasted life passes beneath you in dull, mediocre instant. A life truly lived, with every moment cherished and growth pursued, moves more slowly and deliberately, one goal at a time.