MDMA Recovery (Stories & Support - 4)

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socrilus

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Agreed about that last part cause the unknown time length does cause anxiety in me at least.

And doesn't the biology drive rumination as well? Are you saying to control your rumination since that is the part that you have some control over vs directly controlling the symptoms of negative depressive affect?

I also do think that the problem is the time link between cutting off the rumination and actually feeling better.
Cause when you don't feel better the rumination cycle essentially begins again and this time ruminating about how not ruminating didnt do anything lol.
 

Cotcha Yankinov

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Biology definitely drives rumination - the trippy thing is that you just reading these words right now has an effect on your biology. The brain is essentially input -> output, and you reading these words right now is an input. The output might be that you start to practice mindfulness a lot and apply it throughout the day once I rant about it enough. Essentially your brain can amplify a small input like this and cause a large cascading effect on your neurophysiology that culminates in extensive practice of mindfulness and a significant change in the brain. A butterfly flaps its wings, if you will.
 

socrilus

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I have the book "Mindful way through Depression" but its hard for me to really connect to the examples they give of people who have had life stresses (some pretty severe) and/or bad outlooks causing depression.

I unfortunately havent seen much discussion about what about when mental illness has been triggered biochemically when everything else in life was going just fine.

Cause this book talks about stopping the spiral into depression but I also feel like there isn't anything I couldve done to stop the LTC after the fact (as in of course i cant go back and not take it) and I have no idea how I could have actively stopped the spiral to begin with since it just happened.

But in the examples they provide I see a lot of ways that the spiral could be prevented.
 

socrilus

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Also on a seperate note but kind of related what causes social anxiety symptom in LTC?

Changing my thoughts a la CBT isnt helping because I still have trouble with conversations and the anxiety is AUTOMATIC. I shouldnt have it in the first place since I never had it before the LTC so that in itself causes rumination over having the social anxiety.

What is causing social anxiety? Everywhere I see it talks about social rejection etc but that isnt a factor given that this only started day 1 of LTC and therefore isnt a conditioned thought pattern in the typical sense

Its very frustrating cause whenever I try to apply the typical mental illness cures like CBT they dont actually cure anything at all....

Could lowered Testosterone levels be contributimg to the social anxiety as a result of decreased confidence?
 
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Cotcha Yankinov

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Social anxiety could be due to alterations in the function of the amygdala, particularly the oscillatory facilitated coupling of the medial pre-frontal cortex and the amygdala.

While chronic "social defeat stress" (an environmental animal model) can cause abnormal theta frequency oscillation between the pre-frontal cortex and amygdala, there are abnormalities with this coupling in biological models like serotonin transporter knockout mice, or with people who have a short allele at 5-HTTLPR (they have a lower expression of the serotonin transporter).

So there can probably be fast acting biological causes of what may take years of environmental stress to build in other people, and although there may be nuanced differences, the treatment may not differ too much (perception of the predicament re: MDMA has fried my brain cells will certainly be a nuanced difference between someone who has depersonalization and depression/anxiety without drug use and someone who has). However, as we talk about biological causes of mental illness and so forth, its really important to stay away from fatalism.

Fatalism is essentially where you say "Well its all biology so what control do I have". Wiki for example says that fatalism is "The view that we are powerless to do anything other than what we actually do. Included in this is that man has no power to influence the future, or indeed, his own actions."

This is essentially a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I totally understand that mindfulness is really hard and that when you don't completely succeed it is frustrating but just try to take it day by day, concentrated session by concentrated session. Figuring out a regimen for the concentrated sessions is a good idea, along with placing sticky notes and reminders around your place to help you remember to stay mindful throughout the day. Miracles don't happen overnight. Think back to the analogy of building muscle back up after severe atrophy.

For quite a long time you're going to be much more sore and dysfunctional after working out, and that could be analogous to getting frustrated with mindfulness. Ultimately the soreness after working out is a sign that its exactly what you need, and in the case of muscle atrophy, the only way it'll get better remotely quickly is by pushing through the soreness.

I don't know if I would focus on testosterone too much, that seems like one of those things that can detract from the goal of staying in the present moment without ruminating to yourself, and it could end up having a much bigger impact on your recovery even if you are being affected by lower than average testosterone. It is also the case that your neurophysiology/mood is going to affect your testosterone, not just that your testosterone is going to affect your mood/neurophysiology.

I have hard that some people and species of higher primates may response to stressors with testosterone, while others respond to stress with cortisol, and that this cortisol response can more so be the case in submissive (socially defeated) animals.
 
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socrilus

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I think there is a huge difference between this fatalism and trying to actively improve your biology though. I don't think I am being fatalistic (As you know I don't believe in the permanant damage)

Cause simply being mindful isnt enough and doesn't give the acute fast antidepressant antianxiety relief that a lot of people want to varying degrees. Its not like ill be the same overnight like you said so the problem is in regards to social anxiety that whenver I do socialize the anxiety is always there.

Im starting to wonder if rather than real social anxiety this is being induced biologically AND/OR as a byproduct of the overall affect of depression/anxiety. Because if it is that then fixing the LTC itself by any means should also correct the abnormal social stuff as a direct result.

And yea I agree the connection between T and neurophysiology is a 2 way street. But I am just trying to figure out if there are viable biological alternatives to try if you havent responded to SSRIs or other psych meds.

Because mindfulness alone is very difficult and frustrating when depressed and even John Kabat Zinn, John Teasdale, etc know that and mentions it in books to try it when you feel less depressed. So basically when its less severe. A lot of their studies have been on relapse prevention more than acute depression relief. Its not that severe for me but I know there are LTCers with severe depression symptoms.

By the way, my tinnitus obsession went away again before I knew it. I can think about it (like i am right now) and im not obsessing over it. What helped me--- distraction distraction distraction. I turned on the fans and just distracted myself. I tried mindfulness but it didnt seem to rid me of the obsession this quickly. Could it be that different things just work for different individuals and that even if data says mindfulness > distraction by X% that is only 'averages' and not individuals who indeed could be the other way around?
 
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Cotcha Yankinov

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There are probably different advantages to different cognitive strategies - there are even big differences between mindfulness based stress reduction and mindfulness based CBT (mindfulness based CBT is much more effective as I recall, and has longer lasting benefits). The issue is probably mindfulness proficiency, which is going to vary from person to person and how long/hard and in what manner they've been practicing will be critical. A person with acute depression is probably going to have a much easier time with mindfulness than a person with chronic depression/anxiety. And then SSRIs are more effective in people with severe depression.

So none of these treatments affect all populations the same essentially. In the case of the difficulty of mindfulness and the length of time you need to practice (and with what concentration), it could just be similar to muscle atrophy in the sense that it is much harder at first to work out and you'll have to workout for a while before you see real progress, and you'll be much more sore after working out than a normal person. So I wouldn't say that there are some people that won't benefit from mindfulness at all, but there are certainly some people who think think think all the time and will have a really hard time partially succeeding at mindfulness in the beginning.

Distraction's benefits will probably be nuanced and different from mindfulness, especially as a function of time. By all means distract yourself, but there could be greater long term benefits to mindfulness, and you could also consider checking in with how hard mindfulness is as you go along or doing it selectively when you feel like trying it while trying to cruise on distraction for a while.

I mention fatalism just because its really easy to say to oneself "my brain can't do mindfulness" and then to get frustrated and give up on it, and that reaction is ironically the total opposite of staying mindful and being in the present moment without really altering the present moment with thoughts.
 

socrilus

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But also is the cause of the LTC because we aren't being mindful enough?

Is the cause really what out internal monologue is saying?

I don't think it is and that part of CBT or mindfulness I don't like. Because if you look at my internal monologue pre LTC it would not be negative and even if it was there it would be about "oh I plan to do xyz today" or "im going to hit on that girl today" etc. Its not something you actually "notice" if pre LTC if you know what I mean.
For me I do have anxiety about thinking itself and how I am noticing all these thoughts in the first place so maybe thats why at least acutely distraction has worked better to give a quick push. Also, I don't know if mindfulness works better for acute depression than chronic cause a lot of studies have been about relapse which I assume by the name "relapse" means chronic and not a 1 off thing.

I really do think there is a middle ground like you implied and maybe the treatment is attacking it from both the bio and psych angle.
 

Cotcha Yankinov

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I would think about an internal monologue as being either abstractly positive or negative, and the same part of your brain that presents these abstractly positive or negative thoughts to your emotional centers (limbic system) is probably communicating non-linguistic thoughts as well. Pre LTC, it could have been that the monologue was pretty positive/neutral and that there wasn't much dysfunctional non-linguistic communication to the limbic system, but if with an LTC you have excess negative and non-linguistic thoughts propagating through to your limbic system (and elsewhere) that world certainly be something to address now even if the inner monologue was never an issue previously because it essentially mostly had good things to say.

Anyways, I totally get that there are molecular things causing the rumination but altering your neurophysiology towards no monologue at all should still help if you're having negative thoughts. Thoughts like "I need to take out the trash" et cetera are most certainly necessary for us to function but just watch out for the automatic negative thought patterns that we tend to engage in on a daily basis. Think back to if all your thoughts were played on a loudspeaker. We may argue that most people think quite a lot, but there is also quite a lot of mental illness and neurosis going around these days.

I've always wondered if a human that hadn't learned language and didn't know anything about MDMA but was still given it would have nearly as severe as an LTC, maybe they would recover much faster or something.

"Also, I don't know if mindfulness works better for acute depression than chronic cause a lot of studies have been about relapse which I assume by the name "relapse" means chronic and not a 1 off thing"

Recurring depression is typically much more difficult to treat than mild/moderate depression by any means but the subtype of depression that mindfulness is especially effective for is ruminating depression, which is really most depression. However, SSRIs may only have better efficacy than placebo for treating severe depression (over mild/moderate), so in that scenario you actually have a treatment that only really works that well for a severe case and doesn't have much effect on mild/moderate cases (over placebo). Kinda backwards.

Regarding "relapse", I think the key point is probably that constant rumination/stress leads to a shift in biology over time and then that can cause depression/abnormal physiology. So the reduction of stress/rumination that we can get with mindfulness proficiency is protective. But my theory is that reduction of stress/rumination while actively during a depressive episode is still going to help people because its reducing the wood we're throwing on the fire - however, it will be harder to be proficient at it while in the midst of an episode.

An analogy is saying that acing "Through the Fire and Flames" (hard guitar song) will give you a mood boost. Proficiently practicing mindfulness 24/7 for a while will surely help reset our brains, but not everyone is going to be as capable at first. Some people may have to practice guitar quite a bit before being able to noodle their way through that song. Some people with severe schizophrenia may essentially be missing a few fingers. I wouldn't say that LTC sufferers are missing fingers, but they are certainly newbies at guitar. I hope that puts the proficiency thing into context. Kind of a bad example though because its not like you have to absolutely ace a song like Through the Fire and Flames to get a mood boost from guitar, but it can still be frustrating when you're first trying to learn simple riffs and get your foundation.
 

Fossy45

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Hi my name is bobby

I am 22 years old and I got into a bad habit which lead me to some health issues and severe mental health issues. I was addicted to drugs and lost my job, got kicked out of my home and basically my life was ruined.

I then quit taking drugs and ive been trying to create a good life for myself, but the drugs have put me in a very unstable condition mentally and physically. About the first few weeks off the drugs I noticed how bad I was and how messed up my body was, I had pains in my stomache and bowel movements all the time, I was so agitated all the time I couldn't sit still without having to move or tapping something. I had very bad insomnia, I couldn't watch t.v. or listen to music. I started to do some research and from my research I believe I have poisoned my body from taking drugs. I don't feel any pleasure anymore or any natural highs and my head felt like it was in between a clamp with loads off pressure all the time. I have severe brain fog which makes my life so hard as I'm finding it hard to be able to socialise and even keep my job. Anyway my symptoms kept persisting and persisting.

Then 1 day in the summer I felt so messed up I couldn't handle it so I stupidly had a relapse 4 months after taking my last drug. It put me back to square 1 because I did make some progress prior my relapse. After my relapse I noticed some off my symptoms had stooped ie severe agitation, insomnia had worn off and my head didn't feel like it was clamped anymore but I feel worse because I still have no emotions or any feelings! My brain fog has gotten alot worse I feel like I'm trapped in a content mind because I feel constantly content but I have no feelings or emotions what so ever, I feel the relapse had shut down my recovery and it feels like my body is content in the state that I'm in. I am 4months into after my relapse and I still feel the same I don't have symptons other than pains in my stomach and severe brain fog.

I know I have been so stupid but I have never meant any harm to anyone, I'm not a bad person but I have dug my self a whole and I feel permanently trapped, I can't go on like this I need my emotions back because at the moment I feel like an empty shell which gets exploited by other people because I'm so numb.

Can anyone help me with my issues and has anyone been in my place and recovered

Can someone please help me I'm so desperate I just want some hope that things will get better

Kind regards
 
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Amml

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Fossy45 that sounds like severe depression to me. I had to deal with it too during my recovery for a long time. In my case SSRI's (concrete Sertraline) helped overcoming this emptiness. I also highly recommend physical activities in groups like dancing, material arts or hiking. They help staying active in life and not going more down and also speed up the recovery.

Healthy nutrition is also VERY important, that means a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy fats (especially omega-3), they help your body to get fit again and also have a great impact on the mind and brain.

As supplements I would recommend a liposomal curcumin product, acerola juice and natural multivitamin supplements. Herbal teas like valerian could be helpful for relaxing and focus. Antioxidants and photochemicals (from food and supplements if needed) are very important for recovery.

Some users here mentioned that they had problems with SSRI's and curcumin, in my case both helped a lot, try them yourself how they work on you.

I also remember that some here profited from low dosed benzodiazepines to overcome the racing thoughts, but they need to be used carefully to not slip into the next problem.

Anyway seeking a psychiatrist is the best step to do next, especially because you mentioned that you lost your job, got kicked out and so on. They could support you getting your life in order again.

It would be helpful for us if you tell us which drugs you consumed, over which period of time, dosage and so on.
 

Fossy45

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Hi Amml, thanks for the reply

I have been a depressed person for a number of years about 5 years to be exact. I had a bad childhood which is why my depression was so bad. I know if am not depressed tho in believe I have anhedonia, inability to feel pleasure and emotions. Honestly please belive me I know I have something wrong and I know my feelings and emotions have gone, I feel derealisation from the world. It don't seem as great and exciting as it use to, now I feel like I just exist.

When I was binging drugs I was taking cocaine, Mkat, Speed, ecstasy pills and cannabis along with drinking alchohol all the time to I was in a state where my body felt like it needed drugs to keep my alive I felt dependant on drugs.

Since coming off the drugs my body and mind feel fried, I have no motivation, I feel disconnected from my head. I know I shouldn't feel like this it's not right. But the worst thing about it is I feel content.

I am smoker to and I am a coffee drinker I don't know if I should stop drinking coffee and stop smoking. I feel so messed up mentally I don't know what to do. I just want some hope that I will get out of this nightmare
 

socrilus

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Well I tried coffee for the first time in a while and im glad to say that it didn't create problems for me....phew does this mean recovery should be relatively close? It kind of actually helped me with motivation.
 

Cotcha Yankinov

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Hey Fossy, I think it would be a great idea to get to a psychiatrist if thats an option but for now I would start practicing mindfulness (youtube and an App called headspace are good to start with) and start doing cardio if you are physically capable. If not physically capable for whatever reason feel free to tell about what limits you so I can try to help you there.

Are you in withdrawal from any drugs in particular? Opioids?

Sleep is really important as you have probably noticed, I would start practicing mindfulness and doing cardio to get the best drug-free sleep as you can. If you've been taking opioids or benzos it can certainly take some time for your sleep to come back around to normal though. Hang in there.
 

fnono33

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I'm no docotr but taking pain killers for this doesn't seem wise.
 
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Amml

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Hi Amml, thanks for the reply

I have been a depressed person for a number of years about 5 years to be exact. I had a bad childhood which is why my depression was so bad. I know if am not depressed tho in believe I have anhedonia, inability to feel pleasure and emotions. Honestly please belive me I know I have something wrong and I know my feelings and emotions have gone, I feel derealisation from the world. It don't seem as great and exciting as it use to, now I feel like I just exist.

When I was binging drugs I was taking cocaine, Mkat, Speed, ecstasy pills and cannabis along with drinking alchohol all the time to I was in a state where my body felt like it needed drugs to keep my alive I felt dependant on drugs.

Since coming off the drugs my body and mind feel fried, I have no motivation, I feel disconnected from my head. I know I shouldn't feel like this it's not right. But the worst thing about it is I feel content.

I am smoker to and I am a coffee drinker I don't know if I should stop drinking coffee and stop smoking. I feel so messed up mentally I don't know what to do. I just want some hope that I will get out of this nightmare
As mentioned before Sertraline got me out of this anhedonic depressed state. Speak with a psychiatrist about an antidepressant therapy, it really helps!
And don't forget the other things like sports, nutrition and as Cotcha said also mindfulness meditation. I know this is really hard to do in this state that you are now, but remember it. When you are on medication it's important to follow this steps to stabilize yourself.
I'm now 2 months without medication (except if you count curcumin as medication) and I'm nearly feeling normal and stable now.
 

Brain_fog88

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Amml, I'm approaching 10 months into my LTC and I think I've stabilized but I'm still no where near as happy I used to be. I'm fairly certain my gf of 3 years wants to break up and I don't feel any emotion towards the situation. I know for a fact I would be really sad about it before the LTC.

Did you have as blunted emotions as I'm having before you went on the antidepressants? Do you have full access to your emotions now? Also, did you notice situational memory issues before the treatment that went away afterwards?
 

Amml

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Amml, I'm approaching 10 months into my LTC and I think I've stabilized but I'm still no where near as happy I used to be. I'm fairly certain my gf of 3 years wants to break up and I don't feel any emotion towards the situation. I know for a fact I would be really sad about it before the LTC.

Did you have as blunted emotions as I'm having before you went on the antidepressants? Do you have full access to your emotions now? Also, did you notice situational memory issues before the treatment that went away afterwards?
Yes, no good and no bad emotions, totally numb before the treatment.
I remember getting a kind of blackout situation in cinemas. I often couldn't watch the movie because after 10 minutes in I forgot who the main characters were, even what the name of the movie was, was acting completely spaced out and couldn't talk to anyone and so on. This got clearly better after the treatment, now I would say that I can't find a situation where something like that happens to me anymore.
The only thing that was still different directly after the treatment was that I was acting very impulsive, I interprete this as kind of rebound effect of the depression, so don't worry if you are not feeling the same person you were before shortly after the treatment, you will get back to baseline after 1-2 months.
 

Cotcha Yankinov

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The only thing that was still different directly after the treatment was that I was acting very impulsive, I interprete this as kind of rebound effect of the depression, so don't worry if you are not feeling the same person you were before shortly after the treatment, you will get back to baseline after 1-2 months.
People with depression actually have an exaggerated response to amphetamine - this might be due to sensitization of dopamine receptors from not using them very much. Could explain some of he rebound.
 
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