ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

This FDA Approved Drug Claims To Unlock 100% of Your Brain

Here’s how I got my hands on it…

Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

Ever seen that movie called Limitless starring Bradley Cooper where the guy takes a brain-enhancing pill and gets turned into a supergenius for the next 12 hours?

If you haven’t, you’re missing out big time!

Basically, for the last few months, my focus has been wandering all over the place and I feel like I’m never able to get anything important done.

I haven’t been writing as much as I ought to, I broke away from working towards my goals, and the general atmosphere is just low-spirited.

I know what I should be doing, but I’m just not doing it.

And it’s not like I try to make up excuses and justify why I’m procrastinating to make myself feel better — I already tried that and it doesn’t work.

I still feel guilty about it.

Nevertheless, it seems like even “guilt” is not enough of a motivation for me to do what I need to get done.

I need something better.

…Something that’ll provide me with more motivation and focus and cut through any mental barriers I have that’s keeping me from becoming productive.

So, I scraped the entire web, collecting and compiling every minute piece of useful information in the hopes that something good will come out of it.

I researched different motivational techniques, what kinds of mindsets I should adopt and methods to get rid of the limiting beliefs I have.

I tried listening to different kinds of music, meditating, eating more healthily, sleeping more, sleeping less, but none of it was as effective as I needed it to be.

Yes, some of these things may help with concentration, focus and increase motivation in the long run, but I needed something that works right now.

Then I remembered the movie Limitless.

And I get it, Hollywood is known to overexaggerate facts and make shit up to dramatise the plotline of a story as much as possible, but I still can’t help but wonder “Does there actually exist an NZT-48 Limitless Pill in real life?”

As it turns out, the answer is YES!!!

After a bit of digging around, I found that the pill in the movie was actually based on a real-life chemical compound that was only recently discovered back in the 1970s and FDA approved in 1998.

Its name: Modafinil.

Nowadays the drug in tablet form is sold under the name Provigil and it’s prescribed as a treatment for narcolepsy.

But as you can probably guess, narcolepsy is not the only thing it’s useful for.

Along with keeping you awake, this drug is also reported to increase your concentration, focus and motivation, especially when doing boring or menial tasks such as cleaning or cooking.

For creative work that demands more cognitive power like writing, studying, video editing, problem-solving, etc, this drug will allow you to zone out from any distractions, totally eliminate procrastination and blast through writer’s block with ease!

…Or at least that’s what my research told me.

Being a writer myself, this obviously sounds like the best thing since sliced bread! But in order to actually find out if the claims are true and what the effects really feels like, the only way was to try it out in person.

But before I did, I had to see if there was going to be any negative consequences for me if do take the drug.

In other words “What are the side effects involved?”

Now in the movie Limitless, the main protagonist Eddie Morra ended up having all sorts of problems after taking the NZT-48, from memory loss to hallucinations to vomiting and eventually experiencing heavy withdrawal symptoms, so if that was the case for modafinil as well, there was no way I’m taking the risk.

Fortunately, in documented clinical trials, modafinil has been stated to have little to no addictive properties with rare but possible side-effects including headache, trouble sleeping and nausea.

For me, this was acceptable, especially since there have been zero reported cases of death from overdosing on this drug. Whereas, a stimulant like caffeine which we consume on a daily basis has over 100 cases of death and is highly addictive.

If this is your first time hearing about new drug experiences, you probably think this whole thing sounds super sketchy right now but stick with me for a bit ok?

I promise I’m not some crazy addict and this will all clear up later on.

Remember how I said that this drug was “prescribed” as a treatment for narcolepsy?

Well since I am a totally healthy young individual with no diagnosed sleep problems (except for that tired feeling I get after staying up late at night), there isn’t really a way for me to get modafinil from the local pharmacy.

So, I decided to try out other means instead…

But before I get into that, you’re probably wondering “Is it even legal to get this drug and consume it without a prescription?”

Personally, because I live in the UK, the answer is YES.

But, if you live elsewhere like the US, then it probably depends on the laws in each individual state.

Now, I’m not suggesting that you should purchase and take this drug in the way that I did, but if you do, please check the laws in your own country beforehand.

Anyways, how did I go about obtaining this drug?

Well, since I couldn’t get it from my local pharmacy and it was illegal to sell this drug to anyone without a prescription in the UK, I chose the second-best option and looked for online retailers instead.

As it turns out, even though selling it in my country is illegal, importing it from other countries isn’t (nor is possessing it without a prescription)!

Basically, modafinil (as of right now) is only classed as a prescription drug and it belongs to the same category as other prescription drugs like antibiotics, so EVEN buying it from someone in the UK is totally legal as a customer, just as long as you aren’t selling it.

The seller might get into trouble (still very unlikely), but YOU won’t if it’s only for personal use.

Again, I don’t wanna get cancelled or anything so I don’t suggest you do it unless you actually have narcolepsy.

I’m just sharing my own experiences.

You’re the one who’s responsible for how you use this information.

Ok, back to the story.

So after spending more than a month browsing through hundreds of Reddit posts, looking through dozens of health articles and scientific journals, watching countless hours of YouTube videos from both experimenters and doctors alike, I finally managed to find a decent modafinil merchant online that had a lot of good reviews from previous users on Trustpilot and Reddit.

In this case, the modafinil I ordered was a generic kind made by the Indian pharmaceutical company Centurion Remedies and was sold under the name “Modavinil” with a “v”, even though what I was really after was another brand called “Modalert” that’s made by a different Indian pharmaceutical company named SUN Pharma.

Both of these generic modafinil tablets are chemically the same as Provigil (which is the name it is sold under in UK and US pharmacies), but the only difference is that the ones from India are way cheaper and more obtainable.

I wanted to go for Modalert because that’s the most popular and consistent in its potency out of all the modafinil brands I looked at, but since SUN Pharma no longer exports modafinil to other countries and this particular merchant I found only had Modavinil on hand, I’ll have to find another retailer that CAN source it in the future.

In the meantime though, I gave Modavinil a try and got a free sample pack, paying for only shipping using Bitcoin.

( — FYI, the transaction fees were expensive as fuck when paying with Bitcoin!)

After about a week, the tablets finally arrived sealed in a foil blister pack labelled with the expiry date and some information on where it was made and what it contained.

But since it was in the afternoon, I had to wait until the next day to take one because I didn’t want the drug to keep me awake all night.

It’s all due to the fact that modafinil’s half-life is between 10 to 12 hours which means that if I took 200mg of modafinil at 8 am in the morning, there will still be 100mg of it left in my body by 8 pm in the evening!

This is the reason why I’d only ever want to take modafinil early in the morning unless I absolutely need to stay up late at night.

Remember, the drug is supposed to be used to treat narcolepsy after all.

Anyways, the next morning, I woke up at 9 am, stumbled downstairs still half asleep and gulped down the 200mg tablet with a glass of water.

15 minutes later, it hit me like a punch in the face.

At first, I thought it was just a placebo since no drug has ever kicked in that quick before for me, not even alcohol!

The colours in my room slowly became more vibrant (a bit like in the movie when they turned up the saturation for all the colours), my focus shifted onto the computer screen in front of me and my peripheral vision zoned itself out.

It wasn’t as if I was “blind” to EVERYTHING except for what was in front of me, it just felt like I just couldn’t be bothered to pay that much attention to it.

My mind cleared up and I immediately knew what I had to do. It was like a to-do list materialised out of nowhere and imprinted itself in my mind.

Hammering away at my keyboard, I began drafting up a new article.

Paragraphs now came down on me like a waterfall and I couldn’t even type fast enough to keep up whereas prior to taking modafinil, I’d often get stuck in the middle of a sentence, struggling to think up the next word or phrase to put down.

At around 30 minutes in, I feel a slight pressure up in my head.

The experience was similar to how I felt the first few times I drank alcohol so I knew for certain that the drug was working and it wasn’t just a placebo.

One hour later and the pressure is still there.

I’m not sure if this is what some Modafinil users refer to as a slight headache but for me, it’s hardly noticeable until I pay attention to it.

Regardless, I felt like a fucking genius and all those questions I used to ask myself before like “Is my work good enough?” or “Will people like what I have to say?” — GONE!

After 2 hours, the pressure finally feels like it has alleviated but on the other hand, it could be that I’ve simply acclimated to it. Either way though, it’s no longer a distraction for me anymore.

Also, ever heard of the saying that “If you break away from writing, it will take you 20 minutes to get back into the flow”?

Seems like modafinil said fuck-off to that theory too.

3 hours into grinding through my article, I took a short break for 10 minutes, and in a matter of seconds after coming back, I was able to continue EXACTLY where I left off!

No need to re-read everything I’d already written to remind myself where I got to, I have it all remembered!

Now, up until this point, everything seemed fine and dandy (no pains, no dizziness, the slight pressure in my head was gone) all except for this one issue:

My appetite was dead.

Lunchtime came but I still felt full, even though I missed breakfast (I’ve done that for years so that’s not modafinil’s fault) and took the tablet on an empty stomach.

It was a bit annoying that I wasn’t able to eat and my stomach did feel a bit uneasy but it wasn’t like I wanted to puke or anything.

“Feeling nauseated” was one of the side effects but I wouldn’t really describe it like that. It’s more like a tingly sensation if I’m being honest. Besides, it may just be because it was my first time taking modafinil but regardless, the laser-sharp focus the drug gave me easily overshadowed the awkward sensation.

For the rest of the afternoon, time just seemed to fly by without me even paying attention to the clock. Abstract ideas and concepts flew in from everywhere. My past experiences and memories morphed into eloquent strings of characters and words before queueing up neatly in my head, patiently waiting for my slow fingers to type them out.

For the past few months, I’ve yearned for this level of efficiency and productivity in my workflow, and now modafinil finally gave me the boost I needed!

Don’t get me wrong, even though I’m making out like modafinil is this miracle drug that blessed me with creative superpowers, that’s not really what happened.

All it did for me was it sort of connected all the different parts of my brain together by bridging the gaps between random thoughts and allowing them to flow into one single stream of useful consciousness.

I already had the information and creativity all this time, all I needed was the access — that’s what the drug provided.

I wasn’t high, wasn’t jittery, just clear.

By 7 pm in the evening, most of the intense focus from earlier had faded. My thoughts weren’t as sharp and my words came out at only a moderate speed.

No longer was I just writing, I had to think before I type.

But even though I was slightly more prone to distractions, there was still an impulse to keep working.

Good thing is, my appetite came back!

Using hunger as an excuse, I tore away from my desk and went downstairs to craft myself a well-deserved meal.

Honestly, this was probably the first proper break I had in the whole day after writing non-stop for 10 hours straight!

Looking back, I’m truly stunned that I was able to go a full working day WITHOUT opening a single social media app, watching any YouTube videos, or reading even one news article.

…All because I swallowed a small white disk less than a centimetre wide in the morning.

So, what did it feel like at the end of the day, after the effects have worn off?

One single word — exhausted!

I mean, I’d be terrified if I wasn’t at least a little bit tired after this entire experience!

After all, I am still a human being.

However, despite the tiredness I felt, it’s not really a “crash” like you’d get from other drugs such as Adderall or even caffeine in some cases. No. I’d say it’s more similar to that feeling you get after doing manual labour for multiple hours, just without the muscle aches.

I just wanted was to pass out on my bed and sleep.

Does that turn me off from ever taking modafinil again?

HECK NO!

Why WOUDLN’T I want to become the most productive person in the world for a price that’s less than 2 Starbucks a day, and a night of good sleep?

I’d be able to complete a full week’s worth of work in just 3 or 4 days!

Granted, I obviously wouldn’t want to take modafinil every single day as that’ll make my body build up a tolerance and deem the drug ineffective, therefore increasing my risk of dependence and overdose.

Maybe once every 3 days or when I absolutely need to cram in a bunch of information just before an urgent deadline would probably be enough.

Anyways, with all this talk about writing an article, you’re probably wondering how the final piece turned out…

Well, you’ve been reading it this entire time!

Yep, I wrote this entire thing while I was on modafinil (or at least, most of it).

With the amount of effort I put into it, I really do hope you found this article a little interesting at least. If you liked it, drop me a follow and I’d love to hear about what your thoughts are down below in the comments!

Besides that, if you want to be the first to get notified whenever I post a new article and potentially receive other free stuff that I may give out in the future, join my newsletter here!

Also, if you haven’t subscribed to Medium yet and would like to help support what I do, you can use this link to sign up for it, and a small cut of the monthly subscription will go towards helping me write more posts like this!

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Jackson Zheng

Jackson Zheng

Here’s where I spew my thoughts, ideas and discoveries! Follow me for the value, stay for the journey! Reach out to me at: jackson.zheng.business@gmail.com