Citation: Dylen the Villen. "Did it For Me: An Experience with 5-HTP (exp72094)". Erowid.org. Feb 3, 2012. erowid.org/exp/72094
My names Dylan, Iím a nineteen-year-old male, and live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I weigh 135lbs, am 5í8, and my hobbyís are: going to the gym a couple times a week, hanging out with friends, beat-boxing, writing, free-styling, and writing poetry.
I used to believe depression was a part of my character. I mean it ran all over my mother and fatherís side of the family ó mostly depression and anxiety. Iím no scientist, but when someone is depressed he or she will have less serotonin in their brain. Having less serotonin means they donít feel as content. Naturally, if a personís serotonin baseline is lower they will begin to fixate (or obsess) over whatever they can do to make themselves feel better in the moment, like: sex or drugs. Their life could be run by impulsive behaviors because they never feel good in the long-term or when theyíre not under the influence of substances, or in the act of sex. This was the case for me.
I could not go a day without smoking pot. I felt so good after just a couple hits and all my problems went up in smoke. The problem is I know that in the long-term weed insidiously makes me more depressed, without me necessarily even knowing it. Itís not long before I need to get high before a friend comes over just so Iím not too irritable around them. It doesnít feel good living your life this way. Iím not saying donít smoke pot, but I definitely feel better about doing substances when I use them in moderation. Anyways, I didnít write this about pot, I wrote it about 5-HTP.
Being a poor nineteen year old teenager, I donít have much cash. Two months ago I was buying a salad over at Whole Foods and ended up stealing 5-HTP off the medicine shelf. I had read about 5-HTP before, but didnít know too much about it. I just knew that it was an antidepressant. I wasnít even planning on taking it, but I figured it might be useful to have. It was somewhere in the ballpark of $25, and at the time stealing seemed like the most ideal way to get it, because of how broke I was. Iím not saying if youíre depressed go to the Health store and steal 5-HTP, but on second thought, if youíre good at slipping pills in your pocket, more power to you.
When I turned seventeen, a psychologist at a free adolescent healthcare clinic diagnosed me as Bipolar II. About two months ago I was constantly complaining to my parents that, ďI didnít want to be here anymoreĒ, because I didnít. I spent the majority of my spare time, which was when I was not working, lying on my bed fantasizing about hanging myself. It seemed like the ideal thing to do, because I had no reason to live. Even though I am selfish, I was not selfish enough to kill myself, because I couldnít imagine my parents coming up with an explanation for my friends and family. I didnít really want to put them in that kind of situation.
My parents set me up for an appointment with an expensive psychiatrist--$325 for the initial session. I was reluctant to go, because if my parents put $325 in my pocket I figured Iíd be cured from my depression, because Iíd actually have money to do shit. But, they ended up paying for it. The psychiatrist was a pretty cool guy. I told him about how I was feeling for about forty minutes, and that I was reluctant to taking pharmaceutical drugs because they might zap my creativity abilities. Just to let you know, I am obsessed with poetry. I spend all of my alone time free-styling, beat-boxing, and writing poetry. Also, since in that time period I was contemplating suicide daily, I was convinced that I would either figure out how to make money rhyming or kill myself. I thought that mood stabilizer medication would destroy my free-styling abilities and make me unsuccessful as a creative artist. It was all a bunch of bullshit. He diagnosed me as Bipolar four, or atypical Bipolar Disorder. I couldnít really accept his diagnosis either, because the fucking guy only knew me for an hour. He didnít know the full picture.
Long story short, I was delivering bagels for my uncleís bagel business at the time. Delivering them five days a week and I had to wake up at 3:30AM in the morning. Being the stereotypical teenager, I would go to bed at 1:30AM, wake up at 3:30AM for my deliveries, be in the shittiest mood ever, eventually get through the deliveries, go home, smoke pot, sleep for another couple hours, wake up, then smoke another bowl, hang out with friends, get stoned again and go to sleep at 1:30AM, and then wake up at 3:30AM for deliveries the following morning. That was my sleep schedule. Obviously, from how much pot I was smoking and how I was sleeping, I figured that alone was enough to cause bipolar symptoms. I was living in a fog. Towards the end of my work week the sleep deprivation would catch up to me. I felt like I was schizophrenic, because I could no longer control my thoughts. The combination of smoking weed and averaging five hours of sleep per day (between two or three naps) had made me delusional. My psychiatrist didnít know the half of it.
I stopped seeing my psychiatrist. I wanted to change my work and sleep schedule, modify my drug habits and addictions, and then see how I felt after that. I wanted to see if I would still fit the atypical bipolar diagnosis after sleeping like a normal person. I put in my two weeks notice at my uncleís bagel business.
There they were sitting on my desk: The 5-HTPs. I didnít even think they did anything and at the time I didnít want to get addicted to another substance. But, for some reason, I decided that I would start taking two pills a day; one before bed and one in the morning. I pretended they were a sugar pill and as long as I was taking them I would have to cut down on my cigarette and weed smoking. Initially, I wasnít really sure what the pills were doing, because I was still smoking weed about four to five times a day. I was definitely feeling better because I was sleeping though. I could not believe how great it was to sleep seven hours in a row interrupted. Sleep had become my new best friend.
Back to the 5-HTP. I get confused when people take 500mgs of 5-HTP before rolling on ecstasy, because I didnít even really feel the 5-HTP until I was taking it regularly for two weeks. I looked online somewhere and thatís about how long itís supposed to take to feel the full effects. I started feeling them pretty good after about ten days, but the sleep benefits came on almost immediately. I read somewhere that they have melatonin in them, which helps regulate the sleep cycle, and I believe it. Iím able to go to bed between 10 and 12pm every night, which is early for me. In spite the fact that Iím stimulating myself late at night on the computer, I eventually start yawning, pass out, and sleep like a rock. And when I wake up I feel reborn ó like every single morning Iím leaving mommaís vagina.
Before taking 5-HTP I used to just lie in bed and contemplate hanging myself when I woke up in the morning. I would dread getting out of bed, and usually wouldnít even get out of bed. Instead, I would just keep sleeping until my body was incapable of sleeping anymore. After that I would smoke pot. In other words, I was escaping from reality as much as I could. My thoughts obsessed over suicide, my ex-girlfriend (who dumped me about seventy days ago), cigarettes, or smoking weed. I only lived for being high or having sex. Nothing else seemed worth living for. I did not live for socializing with my guy friends, because I didnít get much pleasure out of talking to other sausages for four hours. It just didnít seem gratifying to me. All the conversations and jokes we had were inevitably the same, so I saw no point in hanging out with friends because our hangout sessions were so predictable and boring.
After about eleven days of taking 5-HTP there was a difference in my life. I woke up and wanted to do shit. It didnít seem like a big deal cleaning my room. The biggest thing I noticed is I didnít contemplate killing myself anymore. I had a reason to live, and it was more than just smoking pot or having sex with women. I enjoyed going in my backyard and sitting outside with my dog and enjoying the beauty of nature, and I wanted nothing more than that. I no longer obsessed over the next time I am going to get high. I believe this is because 5-HTP gave me more serotonin. I simply didnít have the desire to constantly engage myself in adrenaline-pumping pleasures all day long. I didnít even have to consciously make a decision to cut-down on smoking weed and cigarettes; I just did it. Donít get me wrong, I still get high once a day, or every other day, but itís more of a balance. I donít feel guilty about doing it because I donít abuse it, and I get even higher, because I am doing it less and there is not as much of a tolerance.
5-HTP changed my thoughts, but did not change who I am. I am no longer Dylan who impulsively lives for the next high. Iím Dylan who feels comfortable in my own skin, enjoys socializing with the sausages, and can actually wait to have sex. 5-HTP shaved off a considerable amount of my sex-drive, which makes me wonder if having sexual cravings is a symptom of low serotonin. It probably is. Sex is still important to be, but itís not what I live for, and thatís the difference.
5-HTP probably did not save me from suicide, but it made my life much more desirable. After reading so much about SSRIís and other antidepressants, those drugs were not very appetizing for me. I like 5-HTP because instead of blocking reuptake of serotonin, it aids the brain in producing more serotonin. Lately I have been taking 100mgís before I go to bed every night, instead of 50mgís before sleeping and after sleeping, and that seems to be working better for me. I still have only been taking them for about seventeen days and feel like a completely different person. I might try tapering off them in a month and see what happens from there, but in the meantime, I am going to continue taking them. For the first time in my life I feel content enough to not want to kill myself. In other words, I can sit down for five minutes without a single suicidal thought in my mindówhat a concept. 5-HTP changed my life.
After struggle with addiction and not feeling good in my own skin, I gave 5-HTP a shot. It worked for me.
Thanks for your time, Dylan
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