"My Experiences With Modafinil" was a popular post that kicked off discussion. Here's a friend's take, who is feeling optimistic about it but also slightly more cautious:
I've just noticed the pattern, abnormally high productivity is inevitably followed by a funk for me. Three reasonable explanations come to mind.
* Important to recognize, it could just be a relative shift bias, where the high productivity makes my return to normal feel worse than it is.
* Could be a resource scarcity brought on by burning hot, in which case good nutrition and supplements should be able to make a good dent in it.
* Could be "damage" or "disorganization" caused by burning hot. If this is a real thing, I wouldn't be surprised if our brains have built in mechanisms to kill or cool down the engines while we repair. Overriding this mode is probably safe most of the time if the mechanism is conservative enough, but using neuroactive drugs to try to override completely on a regular basis seems dangerous to me.
I'd much rather learn to overcome these problems through nutrition and sleep/meditation, and supplements aimed at improving the underlying health of my systems, than by going in and shorting out safety mechanisms that may be designed to help me.
As I said in my previous email, I think I'm going to relegate Modafinil to the "emergency override" position. Sometimes you redline your motorcycle, sometimes you let revenues drop into the red, and sometimes you override your natural systems to achieve a particular goal... but it's not something I'm going to get into the habit of.
In terms of the broader implications... I'm coming to realize I'm not built to work *all* the time. I'm coming off two weeks of vacation, and I have such a more relaxed, positive, unencumbered approach to my work this week. I'm burning less hot to achieve close to the same amount.
By working myself into a frenzy like I did over the past several months, I think I was spending as much energy fighting fatigue (emotional, physical) as I was being productive. This week, I feel good, relaxed, things aren't going perfectly but it's cool, I've got stuff under control, got time to write a good long email before I go to bed, the problems will still be there tomorrow.
I might be sacrificing a little bit of "edge" by not worrying about how I'm going to make up the 35 or so hours of work that I'm behind on. (Maybe.) But that work isn't going to make or break me, and I'm not wasting any of my scarse mental resources running circles that won't actually get me anywhere.
So that's what I'm thinking on the subject. Maintain the health of your underlying systems. Be aware that your body may need downtime, and don't fret about it when it happens. (Really, don't fret, just let it go.) Maintain awareness of priorities, but also remember that shit's always on fire and there's always something more you could do, but that you're always going to need rest and rejuvenation and re-inspiration, so when you're doing those things, do them fully and efficiently as well.
This got a little longer than I meant it to, hope it was helpful!
There is often discussions about whether Modafinil / Armodafinil have withdrawls. Do you know if your friend was taking it as a once off here and there? Or was your friend taking it for an extended period of time and then stopping?
Personally I've found the benefits really even out after taking it daily for 10+ days in a row.
I do feel a little bit jealous though! It's nice for people who can over-come their sleepiness/fatigue with exercise/nutrition. But then there are those of us with underlying neurological conditions that mean that more help is needed. This post is over a year old - do you know if your friend is still using it at all?
I had a prescription for modafinil for a awhile, but it gave me depression issues -
What's cyclothymia? It's a mild form of the docs used to call "manic-depression," but which they re-name periodically. Cyclothymics can actually function decently well, and as such often don't know they've got it. If you cycle through highs and lows, are particularly artistic, or that describes someone you love, then read this post in full and please comment with your own experience. I'm still learning, myself.
AN INTRODUCTION TO CYCLOTHYMIA
Knowing the term "Cyclothymia" would have been very helpful to me a few years ago. This essay is plain English and, if I've done a good job, might help people who associate with a cyclothymic relate better to them, and might help a cyclothymic manage themselves better and produce better.
I'm against the "medical-ization" of life. We need medical terms, but we need to be able to explain things in plain English without labeling. Labeling, by definition, drastically simplifies.
Cyclothymia is simple at its roots, simple enough for a plain discussion without medicalization. Here's how it works for me -
There are different ways to solve problems. I've noticed that there's a continuum that these solutions rest on. On the left side are solutions that attack the symptoms of the problem. They're the easiest to implement quickly. On the other side are the solutions that attack the root of the problem, but are the hardest to implement.
Take weight loss. Going from left to right along the continuum, you'll find liposuction, lap band, eating disorders, following fad diets, eating packaged "health" foods and shakes, eating somewhat healthy food, and eating really healthy food. Most people would be able to think of all of those solutions to their weight problems, and might pick one along the continuum somewhere.
But there's actually one more solution, so far to the right on the continuum that most people wouldn't even think of it. For weight loss, that solution is to PREFER healthy food. A change in preference. Think about it-- if you LIKE healthy food more than you like unhealthy food, you will never gain weight again. Impossible, even if you don't exercise. More importantly, if you prefer healthy food, there's no stress associated with weight loss. You're just eating foods that you like. What's easier than that?
Changing your preference for food isn't easy, though. It's not like getting a lap band. To change your preference for food you have to learn a lot. What makes food healthy? What are the exceptions? You have to understand the biological impact that bad food has on the various systems of your body. That's the leverage that holds the preference in place. When you learn about how sugar abuses your pancreas, it's a little less appealing in your mind. You learn about how factory farms raise their animals, and that sort of meat is less appealing. Changing preferences is hard work, and it takes time and effort and energy, but it produces lasting change.