Smart Drugs: My experiences

Smart Drugs: My experiences

Assorted Pills

When I was 12 my parents and I went to the county fair. As fairs tend to be, it wasn’t very much fun and I ended up following my parents through tent after tent of vendors hawking their wares and giving free demonstrations. The hours of aimless walking was taking its toll on my legs and so when my parents got trapped by an outdoor spa salesman I beelined for a chair I saw in the next tent over. I lazily looked around the tent and found myself staring at a Learn C++ book with a Lion on it.

Fast-forward six months and I was working on my first intelligent algorithm – navigating a maze by simulating a colony of ants in search of food. Fast-forward six more months and I was working on modeling the brain (Unsuccessfully, I might add. I mean it was a BIT ambitious for someone not yet in puberty). My love affair with the brain was taking shape and would eventually lead me to Modafinil, a supposed “Smart Drug”.

Day 1 – Enlightment! (and some terror)

When my first supply of Modafinil arrived in the mail from a Canadian pharmacy accepting internet orders, I immediately had second thoughts. I was 25 at the time and taken my fair share of body and mind destroyers – but all of those had a long history and I knew exactly what kind of awful I was doing to myself. Flashbacks from college of my single (and awful) experience with Adderall played through my mind – I decided to start small. I broke the 200mg tablet into fourths, swallowed a sliver, and headed off to a coffee shop to do some reading.

Arriving at the coffee shop, I ordered my usual – a large nonfat latte – and sat down at a table on the second floor overlooking the streets below. Unknowingly, I had already made my first mistake. I had brought with me a few books I had been wanting to read for a few months (inspired by Johann’s article, mentioned below). Two of them were textbooks covering business law and equity financing and the other was “Life of Pi”, a fantastic fiction book I planned to intersperse between the “heavy” reading to give my mind a break. With a deep breath I took the second chunk of Modafinil, flipped open the cover of the first business law book and began reading.

Two hours later I hit the back cover and took the first sip of my now-cold latte. I had just read an entire textbook in the time it normally takes me to get “into the zone”. This was going to be awesome. I wasn’t tired, my brain wasn’t fatigued, and I remembered absolutely everything. Everything. I felt like a had a photographic memory and began testing myself by copying from memory specific formulas I read in the book. A++ – I am machine. Feeling flush with my new superpower I took a big gulp of my latte and dove into the equity financing book.

All at once I was very aware of my heart’s beating – or occasional lack thereof. I sat still – listening to my heart calmly fail to do its one job. A sudden spike of adrenaline surged through my body – threatening to overpower the sense of calm I was trying to impose on myself. I closed my eyes and immediately opened them to stare at the coffee.

Damnit. I was simply over-stimulated.

I began to calm down immediately – anxiety is a common symptom of Modafinil. I made a mental note to never mix caffeine with Modafinil and deftly eased back into my book. I finished it in under three hours and headed home to take the other half of the smart drug.

Day 2 till Now

The first day was the only negative experience I’ve ever had with Modafinil. I’ve taken it off and on for several years now and, while the effects are not as strong as they were the first month I was using it, it is simply amazing. I glide effortlessly in and out of projects all day long. My mind feels more organized – life is simply easier.

To me, the most interesting thing about drugs and new experiences in general is the new perspectives on life you can gain from them. Modafinil has not been as much of an eye-opener as some of my other experiences – but it has exposed me to my latent abilities that lie dormant and untapped. Modafinil shows you what you’re capable of.

It also helps you read wicked fast.

Johann Hari’s article My Experiment with Smart Drugs is definitely worth a read if this piqued your interest.

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