The beginning of this year was absolutely maddening.
My three-year relationship ended, I finally had my own place and I had just quit my second job as an overnight worker in a toy store.
I had a full-time day job, but I needed the second to afford to move out. I relied on an old friend to get me through the grueling hours: Adderall.
I got acquainted with Adderall two years prior and had used it on and off, just to push through the 80-hour weeks.
This time, however, I became too friendly with it, and I left the holiday season with an itch for it.
For years, I pushed forward, ignoring myself and masking the problems in my life. While the road felt like an eternity, it all culminated instantly.
Before I could start the climb back out of the hole, I sat on my couch and thought about ending my life.
People glorify partying, addiction and depression, but no one tells you how it is to actually lose your mind:
1. The road to the bottom is quick.
I guess it all started sometime in January. My relationship ended, and I fell into a quick depression that had been years in the making. I began to party to fill a void, and I binged for two months.
I was on a plethora of substances: uppers and downers, screamers and laughers. I was on so much Adderall I would be up for days and then crash into a deep depression for a week.
After burning through all my money, getting arrested and becoming suicidal, I had to reevaluate my entire life. Within an instant, two months had passed.
Now heavily in debt and repaying back what I’ve lost, I assure the trail out is much more difficult than the smooth slide down. The road to the bottom is quick, but the climb back out feels like an eternity.
2. Don't chase addictions.
The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster.” If he were alive today, he would have probably said “Don't mess with addictions, or you’ll get one.”
This society seems to almost glorify addictions. I always prided myself on my tolerance and how I could indulge in substances and then quit.
It was mind over matter. Even as I could feel the dependency grow and the thirst for it consume me, I trivialized it.
I thought I was like Hunter S. Thompson, a man whose drug use fueled his writing. But I stopped writing entirely. I just existed.
3. Drug psychosis is real and terrifying.
I knew some people who fell down the rabbit hole, as we called it. These kids fried themselves.
I wasn't sure if it was a result of using the drugs themselves or if it was from other mental issues that arose as a result of the drugs, but I knew the problems existed. Adderall is isolating.
It always made me more social, but when everyone goes home and it’s 4 am and you’re sitting on your couch, the silence becomes debilitating. The productive amphetamine surge dissipates with tolerance.
The very substance that once had you cleaning, writing and organizing now has you sitting and thinking. I was making all different sorts of crazy connections about everything in my life.
It wasn’t until after it finally left my system that I noticed the madness.
4. You will eventually fall.
I thought I found the answer. I was a drug-fueled author. I thought I was the exact representation of what I had always admired: a man who dwelled in madness and used it to fuel his creativity.
In reality, I was craving to feel it swim through my veins. Work became unbearable without it. I needed it to work, to sleep and to even exist.
Alcohol became boring without it. Without it, I looked for ways to distract my mind, like shoplifting.
It all culminated to being in the back of a cop car, not even remembering how I found myself there. All roller coasters chug up, but there is always a drop, no matter how long it seems.
5. Who are you when the party's over?
The world is full of fair-weather friends. When the party is raging, everyone is your best friend. The bottles pop and the nights seem to drag on, blurring into the following day.
After the party ends, those friends who you swear by will move onto other spots. They’re like crabs in a bucket: as soon as one tries to crawl out of the bucket, the others will pull you back in.
One day, at 6 am with a destroyed apartment, you'll find yourself wondering who you are after the last guest leaves your five-day banger. Those moments are rough.
Sobriety is deafening. There is no one left at the end of the day except for yourself. I learned my self-loathing only went away while the party raged. I had to deal with who I was beneath the madness.
6. Treating depression with drugs is like putting out a fire with gasoline.
Looking back at all of this, I noticed there was something wrong with me as a whole. Like a hole in a blanket, I could tape over it or just let it unravel, but it would never be truly whole unless I identified the problem and stitched it back together.
I had an underlying sadness in my life I tried to cover up with drugs, alcohol, relationships and excitement for years.
You can’t treat depression with drugs, with love or with anything else. You need to figure it all out from the inside out.
Sometimes, you can’t really ever find yourself unless you lose your mind first.