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Aphantasia Atomoxetine Atomoxetine (Strattera) Mental Health Recovery Sobriety Strattera

Coming Off Strattera

Written on 20.09.20 Coming off Strattera has been a roller-coaster ride. These past 6 months have been the most mentally challenging months of my life and I feel like every step of the way I am being tested and challenged. . These past 6 months have been the most mentally challenging months of my life and I feel like every step of the way I am being tested and challenged.

I started tapering down the dose (as recommended by the Psychiatrist) from 80mg on July 14th 2020 and then halved the dose to 40mg for 4 weeks month then 18mg for 4 weeks and now I am writing this on my 5th day Strattera free.

Although it was the psychiatrist that suggested tapering me off to then try mood stabilisers, I had also had the same idea to taper off and was going to ask her what her thoughts were.

Fear of Coming Off Medication

Although I was scared, the fact that she had suggested this to me before I had even asked her gave me confidence because I felt like it was fate. I had told myself from the beginning that I would follow the Psychiatrists instructions not only so I can experience these medications for myself but also so that I will be able to write about them and my journey through these treatments.

It is so hard to know whether I am getting better or worse. The Strattera, (prescribed to help control ADHD symptoms), worked amazingly for me. It calmed me, it massively helped me to focus, it controlled impulses, removed the craving for alcohol and drugs and improved my life massively.

Side Effects of Strattera

However, of course all medications have their side effects and come at a cost. It was never my intention to be on a medication for my whole life because I felt that in order to gain the benefits of the drug I had to sacrifice a part of myself and my personality.

As I delve further into spirituality and my  investigations into different religions, the possibility of god(s) and angels I feel my intuition and senses have heightened.

This, I imagine, is part of growing up. I am no longer a kid with no responsibilities or consequences to worry about, I am a man trying to grow in this tumultuous time whilst trying to truly discover who I am and how to find happiness.

The more I probe, the more I discover and sometimes it all becomes too much and I find myself frequently breaking down in tears.

Each day I feel like I am peeling back a bit more of my skin and revealing my true self (Removing Your Three Masks). I can’t be sure whether it is due to withdrawing from Strattera, or if it is a result of the constant meditation, mindfulness, days of silence and self reflection that I have been undertaking. I imagine it is a combination of both.

Aphantasia and Feelings of Isolation

I have always felt so lost and lonely, always surrounded by people but with a feeling of total isolation, and it has only been this year that I started coming across the possible reasons for this.

Memory is always something that has confused me and it was only this year I found out that some people can replay memories in their heads in video format.

This totally blew my mind.

I have no memories which I could count as real. I have memories of situations, and how they made me feel, but very limited photographic memory of these situations.

It may sound stupid but until the beginning of this year I didn’t know that people could actually recall situations like this.

I wrote a couple of posts about Aphantasia which is the inability to use your “third eye” (or other mental senses) and this then sent me down a rabbit hole as people started contacting me to share their experiences with visualisation, mental imagery, memory and other sensory differences.

We are all amazing creatures and it fascinates me to hear all the differences between us.

I know this post has been somewhat convoluted and I actually am posting this nearly a year later as I wrote it and didnt post it at the time.

After being free from Strattera for over a year I have learned a lot. I learned there is no easy way to conquer your brain and that sooner or later, if you really want to heal, you need to spend time totally sober and invest your time and effort into overcoming trauma and a healthy lifestyle. Read Overcoming Addiction: Your Deceptive Brain for more information on addiction recovery.

Get In Contact

I would love to hear your thoughts on this post and also to hear about people´s different experiences of visualisation.

Leave a comment on the article or, if you prefer, send me an email to conor@thequestforwisdom.com

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Addiction ADHD Atomoxetine Atomoxetine (Strattera) Depression Drugs Meditation Mental Health Sobriety Strattera Treatment Wellness

Life After Strattera

Just over 3 years since taking those first steps into the Doctor´s, (25.09.17), to admit that I had a problem with alcohol and ask for help, I find myself sober, and trying to piece together my life and personality, whilst giving my brain some TLC and the much-needed freedom from the shackles of substance abuse. Life after Strattera has not been easy but each day that passes I feel more positive and closer to finding the inner peace that I have spent my life searching for.

A recent picture in the Parc del Laberint del Horta in Barcelona 03.01.21

Life After Strattera

Although I have been free of alcohol for over 3 years, I was never truly liberated as I passed through different stages of addiction, medication (Strattera / Atomoxetine), and addiction recovery. Click here to read about how Strattera Changed My Life

As I wrote in a previous article, Overcoming Addiction: Your Deceptive Brain, our brains will try anything they can to replace the fix that they once had. It is a highly problematic situation because any substance or activity, no matter how mundane or innocent it may seem, can quickly turn into an addiction or an obsession.

I came to realise that the fear and inability to be sober and alone with our thoughts is the driving force behind the addictive, escapist behaviour that so many of us exhibit.

When was the last time you spent a week without any mind altering substance?

The unbalanced levels of neurotransmitters in the brain such as Dopamine and Serotonin due to alcohol, drugs, poor diet, lack of sleep, stress, trauma, and repressed emotions or memories cause us to be in altered states of consciousness and this affects our mood and view on life.

Searching For Comfort And Pleasure

Some time in 2018 during my Shisha phase

After quitting drinking, I passed through a heavy nicotine addiction – smoking shisha for about 2 hours a day for a year, a caffeine addiction, periods of MDMA and Ketamine use, an addiction to work, exercise, Tinder, and just about anything to distract myself from being sober.

This all culminated in the decision to leave Barcelona and head to Brazil with a one-way ticket (click here to check a short documentary that I made in the Amazon Rainforest).

I thought that I could literally run away from my problems by leaving my life behind. At the time I thought I would never come back but of course, you cannot run forever and eventually I was forced back into reality and back to a life that hadn´t changed in my absence.

Learning To Accept Your True Self

It has taken me the good part of 3 years to learn to recognise and accept this escapist behaviour, and try to sit down with myself and really be me with no substance or distractions. This hasn´t been a particularly pleasant process, as there is no hiding from intrusive thoughts or past mistakes.

Over the summer I tried to push this to the extreme by spending entire days fasting in silence. I wanted to really experience this inner silence and be alone with myself, whilst also resisting the urge to talk, or write.

To people around me it seemed like a stupid exercise but in a few short days I feel that I really learned to appreciate silence and began to learn to control the urge to constantly blurt things out.

I came to realise that we learn far more when we stay silent and observe than when we incessantly talk.

In a desperate attempt to experience being my true self, I took what I believed to be the appropriate measures to help myself flush out the innate need inside me for stimulation. I tried to remove as many external pleasures from my life as I could:

Alchohol, Medication, Drugs, Caffeine, Sugar, Animal products, Gluten Excercise.

Fighting Depression

I thought that this would just magically solve all of my problems but after coming off my medication Strattera / Atomoxetine, I quickly entered into a deep depression.

Removing all of the things from my life which gave me pleasure was very difficult and just pushed me further down but I felt that it was necessary to try and “reset” my brain. Whether or not this is the best way to handle it I am not sure. I have always been a person to take drastic measures to try and break habits and learn new things.

My logic was that if I could fight through the depression with as little external stimuli as possible then I would reset my base level of happiness. If I could learn to use natural tools such as breathing and meditation to help control my mood and productivity then I would be able to free myself from the need for an addiction or distraction.

I came to realise that we should be able to find happiness and gratitude in all aspects of life, but that it just takes a bit (or a lot) of practice. Click here to read about How to Become Grateful.

Hallucinations From Meditation

Once I found out that we can reach levels of intense euphoria, hallucinations, and visions just from breathwork and meditation I turned my attention to learning this art. Euphoria and hallucinations are the goal of most drug users, so learning that this was possible using our own physiology made me a very happy man.

I have not yet had any crazy experiences but I am not losing sight of the goal. Neither am I very advanced at meditation or breath work but it is a work in progress. Just like going to the gym to train our muscles, we must train our brain to change frequency and enter new levels of relaxation, creativity and love.

These are the sort of hallucinations that can be experienced from psychedelic drugs and I hope to be able to see these sober one day!

To try and maintain sanity I have been trying to meditate as frequently as possible. I have also been trialling different methods of breathwork and have recently started a self-hypnosis course to learn how to enter into states of trance and either relax, or program new positive thoughts into the brain.

One of the most inspirational people that I follow is Wim Hof – the “Ice man”. Check out this video below where he introduces his breathwork.

There is a wealth of resources out there and I think the key is finding what works best for you. It is important to enter any new practice with an open mind and no expectations. Consistency is vital and incorporating any new practice into your routine takes time and dedication.

Strattera / Atomoxetine has been an amazing help in my life and I am so grateful to have experienced its effects. Life after Strattera is a whole new experience but it is a welcome challenge.

Support My Work!

This blog and other related projects require a lot of time and money but I do it because I want to help people.

If you have benefitted from my content and would like to help me to keep creating more, then I would be so grateful for any donations through my Patreon account.

life after strattera
Fireworks to mark the start of 2021 from Montjuic Mountain in Barcelona

Please Get In Contact!

I love hearing from people so please don´t be shy. If there is anything that you would like to hear more about or if you have any questions then you can contact me in any way that you would like!

Leave a comment on the article or, if you prefer, send me an email to conor@thequestforwisdom.com

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Addiction Alcohol Atomoxetine Atomoxetine (Strattera) Drugs Mental Health Philosophy Sobriety Strattera

Removing Your Three Masks

First of all, I would like to apologise for abandoning the blog for such a long time. I was undergoing a lot of changes mentally and was really struggling to get anything done. I knew I had to just ride out the tough times, try to learn as much from it all, and emerge stronger on the other side. During this time, I began to unknowingly chip away at the three masks I will talk about in this article.

I know a lot of people have been waiting to hear the rest of the story with my experience with Strattera (Atomoxetine) and so I apologise for keeping you waiting. I felt like it would be unfair of me to write anything before the journey had properly ended.

I am glad to say that the story has a happy ending, and I am beginning to return to what I believe is a new and improved version of my “normal” self.

Since my decision to quit drinking alcohol in September 2017 I have been on a tumultuous path towards what I hope to be a life free from addiction and the mental burden that comes with this.

Along my path I have been forced to face the ugly truths and explore the deep parts of my soul that I had kept hidden even from myself. By doing this I began to unknowingly demask myself, and I am now trying to live a life as faithful to my true self as possible.

masking
Typical Carnival masks. Click here to read “What Actually is Carnival”

It Is Believed That We Have Three Faces or “Masks”

The First Mask

The first mask is what we show to the world, the person that we want everyone to think we are – often: flawless, confident, and happy. This first mask is fuelled by: alcohol, drugs, caffeine, nicotine, sugar, and all other stimulants or false pleasures that give us false confidence.

The more substances you consume, the thicker your mask will be.

The Second Mask

The second mask is reserved for close friends and family and reveals us at a more intimate level. We feel comfortable enough to reveal some of our less pleasant characteristics and a deeper insight into our personality is observed.

The Third Mask

The third mask is what we believe about ourselves before spending time to introspect and really get to know our true self. The third mask often suffers the negative effects of the substances that we put inside ourselves. The anxiety, fear, and depression that all substances -even sugar- cause.

Interestingly, what we believe about ourselves is often far worse than the actual truth. We often focus in on every possible negative aspect and extrapolate them into the ugly picture we paint of ourselves – to ourselves. It is curious that we do this, but it is possibly because we have evolved to air on the side of caution, often underestimating our ability to save us from harm.

This third mask is by far the most dangerous and harmful.

We tell ourselves that we are not capable, not smart enough, not good looking enough, not strong enough to achieve what we truly desire even though deep within we know that of course we are capable.

masking

The True Self

Beyond the third mask and deep within is our true self. It is often a part of ourselves that not even we know and understand. It is the part that we try our hardest to hide from the world, and even from ourselves.

The true self carries all the suffering that we have ever endured. All the regrets, past trauma, and negative emotions that have impacted our lives.

Connecting with your true self can be very painful because once you begin to remove the masks the pains of a lifetime can return to haunt you. Your entire view on the world can begin to change as realisations completely knock you sideways.

Freeing Yourself From The Past

You are held accountable for all your wrongdoings as repressed memories flood back. As you try open your mind again to the world you begin to allow yourself to experience all the trapped emotions inside.

This process can be very unpleasant, but you know that it is worthwhile as you can feel yourself evolving and releasing the emotional burden that has been weighing you down.

Freeing yourself from addiction is a long and painful process but once you embark upon your journey and you get a taste of freedom you won´t want to turn back.       

This end goal is now even closer than ever as I am on my final week taking Depakine (Sodium Valproate / Valproic acid) – hopefully the final stage of my medication process.

Read more about coming off Strattera (Atomoxetine) in the next article .

I am trying to keep my articles shorter so that they are easier to follow,.

Support My Work!

This blog and other related projects require a lot of time and money but I do it because I want to help people.

If you have benefitted from my content and would like to help me to keep creating more, then I would be so grateful for any donations through my Patreon account.

Please Get In Contact!

I would love to hear from anybody that is considering going through this process or if anybody has had similar experiences.

Leave a comment on the article or, if you prefer, send me an email to conor@thequestforwisdom.com

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Addiction ADHD Alcohol Atomoxetine Drugs Mental Health Mind Obsession Sobriety Strattera Wellness

What´s It Like To Be Completely Sober?

What´s it like to be completely sober?

This article was written on 24.04.20 but re-published due to a site update

I would like to start this by saying that I AM NOT completely sober. I take a mind-altering substance every single day to help me live a normal life as well as recreational Psychedelic drugs from time to time because they FASCINATE me.

What do I take? I take Strattera, (Atomoxetine), which is a Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitor. This is a medication designed for people with ADHD who are expected to have an imbalance of Noradrenaline. Noradrenaline, amongst other things is responsible for our fight or flight response.

I have however passed through various stages of (almost) complete sobriety.

Complete sobriety I think is very nearly impossible. Everyone has their vice

Starting with the biggest killer in the world…

SUGAR

Followed by the next most popular poison of choice

CAFFEINE

Followed by

ALCOHOL

Followed by

NICOTINE

Illegal Drugs

After these come all of the “bad” drugs. The other drugs that all have very similar mind-altering effects but are considered damaging to society and thus illegal.

At least one of the “big 4” is freely available to purchase or consume in almost every part of the world and they are the “socially accepted” drugs – but by far amongst the most powerful.

I do not drink alcohol, I do not smoke (weed or cigarettes), I do not consume caffeine, I do not use cocaine. I do however use Psychedelic drugs from time to time.

So What´s It Like Be Sober With ADHD?

When I came back from Brazil I had come off my medication and was going somewhat crazy. Read about My Strattera experience here. Strattera can take up to 2 months to take effect in your body and so the changes that it makes are slow but quite drastic on a neurological and physical level. Coming off it was horrible.

For long term prescription drugs such as this it is highly unrecommended to suddenly stop, because although it is not a physically addictive drug, (there are no physical withdrawals or cravings), it does change how your body functions and so there can be a lot of side effects.

The first few days I noticed my anxiety levels shoot through the roof – partly due to the fear of uncertainty – but partly due to the rise in Noradrenaline.

Within a fairly short space of time I started to feel more and more out of control. When I am “sober” and not medicated I feel like I have adrenaline surging through my body.

I can feel it pulsing and if I try and sit still my muscles get cramped and agitated and I get restless leg syndrome. Some part of my body is constantly moving, twitching, shaking. Sometimes I will be sat “still” and my entire body will be vibrating.

It can be exciting, it feels like you are supercharged and unstoppable. It feels like being on a stimulant drug such as Cocaine or Amphetamine. However, being “high” like this all day causes me to be agitated and anxious. I talk incessantly, blurt things out, say totally inappropriate things because the “filter” that the Strattera gives me goes.

Those are the irritating parts but not the dangerous parts. The dangerous part is that I start WANTING danger. I start to search for any possible way to occupy my mind and give me pleasure. Anything that will stimulate me and excite me. I start craving alcohol, I start taking drugs, I start looking for sex, I start arguments, I start doing absolutely anything that will distract me from myself. I WANT the danger and I want the stimulation and I do anything to find it.

I got through this after a couple of months of insanity and then went to speak to a private therapist for the first time as I needed help and answers for some problems going on in my life. When I explained to her that I had been using recreational drugs from time to time she explained to me that it is not possible to give any sort of accurate evaluation until I had passed 3 months of sobriety – as a sober mind is a mind that is free from any sort of drug.

This made total sense and so I decided to stop absolutely everything that was mind altering in any way. I stopped having sex, I stopped taking any sort of drug, I stopped consuming caffeine, and then I even stopped consuming sugar by living off Huel (a vegan, organic, meal replacement shake), and then a diet almost 100% free of added sugars.

Quitting sugar and caffeine was absolute hell and made me realise how savagely addictive these substances are. The withdrawal symptoms are horrible and the depression that they cause is far worse than that of any other drug withdrawal I have experienced. Caffeine withdrawal for me lasted roughly a month and drinking caffeine was on my mind most of the time.

Trinity college
Trinity College, Dublin
A recent sober trip to Ireland – The land of drunkards

The whole point of this story is that by being as close to 100% sober as possible I was forced to see myself fully unmasked, without the added confidence and stimulation of caffeine, without the buzz of sugar, without the exciting thoughts from psychedelics, without the affection of sex. I was forced to experience life without any unnatural “buzz”.

I was faced head on with even more personal problems and insights into my personality and toxic behaviour traits. There was literally nowhere to run, and I found myself struggling to get out of bed as it was all too much.

What´s It Like To Be Sober

I was trying to stimulate myself in healthy ways, by going to creative events – poetry, comedy etc. and meeting new and interesting people. I was exercising, trying to get work done, and trying to be a normal human being. Sadly at the end of the day I was still miserable.

I was going through some family and relationship problems at the time as well and so this obviously didn’t help but I realise that I was, and have been for my whole life – DEPRESSED

When I realised this, it made total sense and seemed obvious as day. I had always thought I couldn’t be depressed because only depressed people get depressed. But obviously I was one of those depressed people.

Sane people don’t become addicts at the age of 12. This was actually something that my Therapist had to make me understand.

Depression and Sobriety

Depressed / people suffering with personality disorders / identity issues turn to drugs as an escape method. This of course does not mean that all people that take drugs have issues. Drugs are a wonderful pleasure of life so long as you use them responsibly. The tough part is using them responsibly.

The more troubled a person is, or the more toxic their environment the more likely they are to turn to drugs.

In my case these problems stemmed from the inability to control my brain and my thoughts. I have had major personality and identity issues my whole life and this has only started becoming clearer very recently through therapy.

On that cliff-hanger I will end the article. I have been writing more about my discoveries through therapy but that is for another day so stay tuned!

To read about my experience quitting drinking click here

If you have been having dental trouble read this interesting article about why ADHD can cause dental issues ADHD and dental issues

Support My Work!

This blog and other related projects require a lot of time and money but I do it because I want to help people.

If you have benefitted from my content and would like to help me to keep creating more, then I would be so grateful for any donations through my Patreon account.

Please Get In Contact!

I love hearing from people so please don´t be shy. If there is anything that you would like to hear more about or if you have any questions then you can contact me in any way that you would like!

Leave a comment on the article or, if you prefer, send me an email to conor@thequestforwisdom.com

You can also contact me Via

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