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Hello guys, I'm new to this forum and I'd like to share my story with you. I'm 19 years old and began smoking weed back when I was 16. It all started for fun and the first 2 years of the weed use were pretty normal, you know smoking a few times per month but no dependency or any abuse from the drug. Within time I began smoking more and more until I got to the point of smoking every single day on every single occasion. I began abusing of weed back in October 2012 and kept increasing my drug usage within time. I smoked every single day.. From monday to thursday I would usually smoke every night and on weekends I would smoke all day long. I kept this habit for around 6 months. (Some days I would smoke in the morning and all day long). Anyway, I began feeling paranoid on my last months of using weed. It all changed back in June. I was in the car on a long road trip together with my brother and my mom. My mom was driving and I was not high at all.. I had smoked a little in the morning from that day but nothing to worry about. Anyway, when we were traveling in the car, I began feeling pretty scared about a thought that came in to mind. The thought was about me punching my mom, although I love my mom with my entire life and would never do anything bad to her. I didn't know what a panic attack was at all, I didn't know what the symptoms of anxiety were and didn't know what the hell was happening to me. Anyway, I began to feel very very scared. We got to the hotel and I tried to forget about that scary thought my smoking later on that day. On the next day, the thought was still in my mind and I kept fighting with it until I researched and knew I suffered from a panic attack. I never in life had experienced anything similar to it and never had any type of anxiety issues. Since that experience, I decided to quit smoking pot so I did cold turkey. I also quit smoking cigarette and reducing my alcohol usage. Later on, I began experiencing the withdrawal symptoms. Extreme anxiety, panic attacks every day, and began to feel weird around my parents since I got that scary thought. I coped with it and the symptoms reduce their intensity one month after. I was feeling pretty good a month ago, coping with a little anxiety but everything seemed ok. But two weeks ago my anxiety was raised and worsened again. Now I'm feeling very scared because I'm not sure if I'm still experiencing withdrawals or if I really developed and anxiety disorder because of my weed use abuse. I get anxious every time I remind myself that I'm anxious, I'm scared of feeling this way my entire life and scared of thinking I screwed my life up. Has anyone experienced anything similar to this and cured from it????? Was my anxiety caused by my drug abuse or am I only experiencing withdrawals? Any recommendations? I pray everyday and try to keep myself positive every day. I'm a normal guy.. Some days I feel well but somedays are the hell to me. I don't have social anxiety and I keep living my normal life. Please help guys :(

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Hi George,

You are in an anxiety cycle. Anxiety attacks usually start from a single event. Once it has started, you enter this cycle where anxiety is perpetuating the fight-flight response in your body. You become more sensitive for all kinds of triggers, either thoughts or external inputs. This makes you even more anxious and in turn perpetuates the fight-flight response. The fear for anxiety itself perpetuates or triggers this cycle.

I benefited greatly from a book by Claire Weekes, Essential Help for your Nerves.

In short it is all about breaking the cycle.

1) Face the anxiety.  Don't run away from any thoughts or external triggers, don't shy away.

2) Accept the anxiety. Accept that you will get that anxious feeling. Let it visit you, you might even welcome it.

3) Float the anxiety. Let it be there, don't fight it as that will sensitize you further.

4) Give it time. By doing so you will slowly desensitize and loose the fear for the anxiety.

 

The thing with cannabis is that it makes you more focussed on symptoms. A single thought can grow to gigantic proportions in you mind. The sound of a cup falling on the ground can make you jump up to the ceiling. In your case, cannabis might have acted as a catalyst and it will not help you from recovering.

The good news is that you will get better if you work on it one way or another. I used Claire Weekes' method and sometimes use meditation to get myself in a lower state of sensitivity. It helped me tremendously. I can smoke again after 8 months, but need to be relaxed beforehand and can't smoke too much. Don't smoke if you feel strained, it will repress your emotions which is like filling the proverbial bucket and one day it will start spilling.

To get back to what brought on your first attack.. it isn't abnormal at all to get a thought of punching someone you love dearly. It is an unconscious process that suddenly rises to conscious. It could be that you are unconsciously angry about something that is related directly or indirectly to your mother. It might have been something you were denied by her, anger about stupid things she did to herself or to others, anger about not having a good relationship with your father... the list of possibilies goes on and on. Another part of your recovery might lie in uncovering this, although it isn't essential. Again, this is normal human behaviour!! Don't feel guilty, anxious or angry about it, we all have it once and a while. The trick is to once and a while reflect what might be bothering you and deal with it. For example, tell your mom what might have made you angry. People who say that they never have had them are either lying or ticking time bombs :)

take care man, hope I helped you in some way. Don't mind the bad English sentences, it is not my native language :) ... oh, and buy the book!

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Adam, I cannot find the words to tell you how much I appreciate your reponse. This helped me a lot to have an idea and understand what is going on in my mind! I will definitely get the book as soon as I can! I just recently started going with a therapist once a week and working out every morning! Thank you very very very much! I'm not a native english speaker also so no worries at all haha :D Take care!
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good luck to you, the road to recovery will take some time and be prepared to hit a few potholes along the way. Bottom line, be faithful that you will feel better in time.
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I have a question? Did you have any other thoughts? Did you have also have any physical symptoms? 

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What do you mean by thoughts?

Body symptoms: chest pain, abdominal pain, head aches, stiff painful neck and back, feeling like standing on a waterbed, weak legs, tiredness / lack of energy, lack of appetite, the runnings etc. etc. etc.
Mind symptoms: depressions, anxiety, anger, guilt (those mind symptoms are really the cause of the body symptoms!)

Another thought I had is affirmations: "I am calm, relaxed, patient and confident". Repeat this for a couple of minutes to yourself and do this 3-5 times a day. It really helps.
Also you might combine this with meditating and focussing on your breathing. It is a proven method for lowering your stress levels. In time you will find it becomes more effective as you are really rewiring your brain by doing these things.
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Well what I mean by thoughts were question like is this my time to die? I asked myself or it popped in my head. I am not suicidal so when this sh*t popped in my head i became really uncomfortable and scared, sad, and angry. 

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Pretty normal thoughts if you ask me :) In fact at this moment there is another thread going on about this exact fear.
Don't fight death, accept that one day you will die and try to live in the now, not in the past or future. Easily said but it is so true.

The most important thing that kept my spirits up was the fact that I knew somehow this c**p I was experiencing would make me stronger in the end. Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom before you can climb high mountains....

Jay, buy the book and if you feel like it find some 'mindfulness' recordings/video's. I think you will benefit greatly from it as it really makes you connect to your inner feelings and learn to accept them, not fight them.

If you have any more questions, I will answer some time later this week. take care.
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i will defiantly look at the book because this sh*t is really getting to me and i am not happy anymore. i am losing interest in everything. making me feel really low and i am sick of feeling like sh*t.

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Hey Jay! I think I've suffered from all of the physical symptoms Adam described to you. Lately I've been very lightheaded and being shaky once in a while. I've experienced extreme chest pain, sweating, insomnia, nightmares, lack of appetite and many others but now lightheadedness would be the only one being manifested on my body. These symptoms are caused by the negative fears and thoughts. Try not to focus on them and don't give them any importance. Let them flow! What Adam told me has helped me tremendously on these last days. About the thoughts I've had... damn... I've had almost any kind of fear f*****g with my mind. I've been afraid of being anxious the rest of my life, of having disturbing thoughts about my loved ones, of not being able to enjoy life again, of not having mental peace, of not being normal as friends and the list goes on. But right now I'm being very faithful and positive. I just recently started with therapy, working out every morning, sleeping well and trying to eat better. I'll definitely get the book! You're not alone man... there are plenty of us fighting and struggling with the same issue every day! But it DEFINITELY gets better, believe it or not.. you'll feel better each day by keeping positive and you'll notice how the symptoms begin to loose their intensity. Have faith bro...
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Everyone is suffering and the only cute is to turn back to religion in my case it's Islam and i really feel better trust me mine were really intense as well but the only cute rests with the creator and if you read 'Ya Shafee' which means O Healer (Allah is the source and coz of all healing ) just read 'Ya Shafee' as much as you can and believe in Allah that he will cute you and he will coz only he knows what you are going through and only He can help you and cure you. InshaAllah (if Allah wills ) everyone can be alright but promise yourselves to never repeat it coz it only would cause your destruction .
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*cure correction . Thanks
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I developed a panic disorder shorty after stopping chronic daily use of cannabis, about two weeks after. Currently being treated with benzos and other meds to keep it at Bay. I was told the chronic use over years caused the panic disorder. Wish you luck
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