Modafinil for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

I do not suffer depression any more. Depression is a combination of:

Invalid attribution. So, identifying various natural and expected phenomena, such as fatigue, sadness, hunger etc. as “depression”. This actually forms a subset of the following:

Unskilful thought and emotional processes. So this includes the whole range of unskilful (often unconscious) acts, such as taking a feeling of sadness and projecting it forward into your entire future via unrealistic thoughts (“It’s hopeless!” script). Or taking tiredness, assuming it’s depression, then cycling through your “Depression” script (which can contain elements of the latter). Also, positive feedback loops concerning any of the processes mentioned so far.

This category of “unskilful” also includes not being able to find equanimity with emotions such as sadness. You “should” be able to experience sadness without it becoming a “terminal” script. So if you hear a tear-jerking song in a sensitive moment on your own, you should be able to shed a tear without that invoking attached thoughts of inferiority, “gayness” or whatever. Additionally, you should be able to “dig out” really old emotions during meditation and have them bubble up and express (and release) and have the mindfulness to sit on that process and let it unfold without going down any attached thoughts or terminal scripts.

I use the word “should” very lightly, however. It took me around 6 years of mindfulness meditation to even begin to get a handle on all this stuff. I will be writing some basic guides for depression and meditation soon to hopefully help you cut that time right down.

All of the above ideas are discussed in much more detail here: How I Beat Depression — Forever

All of this said, I am still slave to my cycling, seasonal Neanderthal genes.

That means, when this time of year rolls around — the days are getting shorter, and the temperature colder — I tend to lose energy and motivation, and want to do very little except eat and sleep.

I used to experience this as full-blown depression, but, having untangled that web of invalid attribution and perceptual knots described above, I now just experience this time of year exactly as I just said: tiredness; hibernation mode. Rest, peace, sleep. 🙂

Modafinil for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

I reasoned that, since this time of year is just a sleep cycle, the narcolepsy pill modafinil might have some use here. I had some lying around, so broke off and took 100mg (half a standard 200mg pill) this morning.

All I can say is, WOW.

This stuff might just be the miracle drug for SAD. In less than 2 hours after taking it, I was completely alive. Too alive, in fact (it has some strong dopaminergic effects, e.g. jaw-clenching). I would say even 50mg is enough for my purposes (meaning a pack of 30 could literally last all season!). Drinking a coffee just re-potentiates this drug x10 — so you can effectively just “top it up” with coffee all day, should you feel it start to wane.

I had some success with modafinil for general depression back when I used to experience “manic–depressive” cycling. My view now on the matter is this: If you have mastered the perceptual side of “depression”, as described in the introduction to this post, then you are left with just the tiredness/lack of energy/loss of motivation aspect which is a natural part of your genetic make-up. If this is the case — and that’s a very big “if” — then modafinil could be ideal for lifting that energy level.

Modafinil and OCD

Modafinil is used as a nootropic by non-narcoleptics, as it increases focus. I believe using modafinil, if you have OCD, would most likely make your OCD even more out of control. I mention this mainly because OCD, in my opinion, is another Neanderthal condition, and we will see it frequently co-occur with bipolar, SAD etc.

OCD, in my opinion, is an issue whereby the left brain (the “zoom in/focus on/analyse something” brain) gets “stuck” on unhelpful objects, giving rise to cycling, obsessive thoughts about that object (and an “object” in this sense could be a person, emotion, situation, actual physical object in the case of compulsive tidying — anything the mind can turn into a “concept”).

My advice to OCD sufferers is to get a passion to which they can put that obsession to good use. No great project was ever achieved without some element of obsession. For example, watching me spend 12 hours non-stop composing an orchestral piece might look “OCD” but, since it produces something inherently satisfying for myself (and potentially others), and is part of my own self-determined mission, it could be considered a good use of my time. Cleaning the fridge 37 times or obsessing about some boy or girl for 6 hours is probably not a good use of your time. But this is a topic for another post.

Modafinil, in my estimation, creates OCD tendencies in non-OCD people. Since they’re using modafinil to help themselves complete specific tasks, this can work wonderfully — hence its success as a “nootropic”. However, those with OCD tendencies already would likely find their OCD processes turbocharged out of all control. For example, I am already obsessive about shoulder stretches, since I am so so close to finally stretching out all that crumpled fascia from 20 years of computer abuse. I already get “lost” in that task without modafinil. With modafinil, however, I can get lost in that and not even realize I’m lost in it. Time can simply “disappear” in that respect — and this is something commonly observed amongst many modafinil users, with some reporting “accidentally” spending 6 hours staying up playing chess online. It literally happens.

OCD (and modafinil, since it’s an OCD simulator) is like carrying the world’s most powerful handgun. When it goes off, you’d better be pointing it at the right target.

Modafinil — A “Second Generation” Drug

I consider modafinil to be one of the only “genuine” drugs around — for anything. I will briefly illustrate the way I’m thinking about this, as it’s something I’m only recently thinking about.

Serotonin pills are, for any condition they are prescribed, essentially: shit.

I know I talked about potential loopholes for making them work here, but the reality is I got off venlafaxine pretty damn quick after writing that post. I also believe the phenibut itself (a real contender for the ranking of “second generation drug”!) would have sufficed.

Also, consider how shit Parkinson’s treatments are. The logic goes like this: “Well, Parkinson’s kills dopamine neurons, so circulating dopamine is less effective. So we need drugs that raise dopamine.” (As a side note, I believe we should instead be looking at a) finding and reversing the epigenetic (it is almost certainly epigenetic!) trigger for this cell death and b) reversing the cell death by regrowing those neurons via neuron growth chemicals such as BDNF. But I really don’t know enough about it to go into any more depth at this stage.)

The same logic goes for serotonin pills for depression: “Well, depressed people have less serotonin, so we need drugs that raise serotonin.” But I believe less serotonin is just a periphery marker of the neurological processes (and their outcomes) involved in depression, rather than being anywhere near the core of what’s going on. Dopamine is, in my opinion, a lot more important, and I will talk about why I think that is (and what to do about it) in my “Basic Depression” guide, due in a few weeks.

Both serotonin pills and Parkinson’s drugs are both examples of “smoke not fire” drugs: wafting the smoke out of the window of a burning building so you can breathe, while ignoring the fire. In this new classification system I am devising (read: making up as I go along, right now), both these kinds of drugs are therefore “first generation drugs.” Smoke-not-fire drugs.

Modafinil however seems, to me, to be something different. It really gets into the nuts and bolts of fatigue, and obliterates it, without creating much tolerance or problematic side effects, or even withdrawal (I once took 200mg a day for about 2 months and came off with no difficulty whatsoever). Try saying the same about serotonin pills!! Or traditional psychostimulants, e.g. amphetamine. Antidepressants and psychostimulants all work on the monoamine family of neurochemicals (serotonin/dopamine/norepinephrine). This family, when manipulated with drugs, has a colourful history of severe side effects, tolerance and withdrawal. Every stimulant and antidepressant created over the last 50 years has basically been a copy of a copy. “Second generation” drugs need to get off the monoamine family because targeting it directly doesn’t work. Dopamine is important, and modafinil appears to modulate dopamine indirectly. I think that’s the way it should be when it comes to the monoamines: indirect modulation.

Nobody really knows how modafinil works. It works on a whole bunch of receptors, and I reckon they’ll literally have to discover new receptors to really pin it down. This is how it will be for “second generation” drugs: they’ll be discovered by accident, and nobody will really how they work for a long time afterward. Then, once that’s figured out, we’ll end up with copies of copies, as is already happening with “armodafinil”.

Modafinil, in my opinion, is also one of the only genuine and useful “nootropics” available on the market. I’ve tried around 20 nootropics, and modafinil and phenibut are the only ones that did anything for me in terms of being able to apply myself more intelligently to tasks.

Phenibut is perhaps a “generation 1.5 drug”. I do not believe the hype about withdrawal: I once took 1.5g per day for a couple of months and also came off that with no problem. I believe it has nootropic effects we do not yet fully understand — these involve the visual system and memory, but I cannot say any more than that at this stage. Its anxiety-busting effects in the short term are second to none. However, tolerance does indeed develop in this regard, and fairly quickly too. Still, going after GABA-B seems to have “next generation” (fire) effects that monoamine (smoke) drugs like antidepressants do not.

Modafinil and phenibut, when I took them together, gave one of the most profound “glows” I have ever experienced in all my crazy drug experiments. I literally felt smarter, and that was the exact moment I created this new website and started turning my life around. Obviously I make no guarantees about that happening for anyone else. Additionally, that “glow” did wane after about two months, so I moved onto something else, as I often do. Still, there is something special there. 🙂

I would like to say we will be seeing more of these drugs appear soon, but I have my doubts: Western civilization has already basically collapsed, and Big Pharma has little interest in making you well. If we do see new drugs, we will see them coming out of the East, e.g. Russia and China. I have a good feeling about Russia in particular, for kicking the West’s ass with phenibut for anxiety and as a sleep aid, and for noopept just because it’s an interesting drug to me for a few reasons I won’t go into now. Importantly, they got these drugs out and approved for use by their people quickly, instead of wrapping them up in red tape for shadowy financial agendas like the FDA and its counterpart agencies in other Western countries like to do. Both these drugs, and most drugs which actually “do” anything, are still unapproved as medicines in the West — so they’re either “supplements”, “off-label”, illegal, or whatever. I’ve seen my stepfather’s Parkinson’s treatment completely hindered by the UK’s inability to get the racetams, other novel dementia drugs and even melatonin (until this year!) approved in time. Truly maddening.

End Note

This was supposed to be a quick post about modafinil for SAD. Due to being on modafinil while writing it, it ended up taking over 2 hours and wound down tangential paths like a runaway stream!

Be careful where you point that handgun. 😉

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15 Responses

  1. Dimitri says:

    Would be awesome if you could elaborate on the usage of noopept in a future post. Currently looking into arranging a stack.

    • Illuminatus says:

      It was interesting to me for a variety of reasons, including:

      – x1000 more potent than piracetam
      – Released as a nootropic (no fucking around making it a “supplement” as in in the West)
      – NGF/BDNF increase, and all the other wacky neuroprotective and anti-dementia effects

      Personally, like the racetams, this drug actually clouded my thinking. I also found it sedating. As reported in my Cyclothymia post, I actually used to use it to break mania. The beneficial effects of nootropics typically reported, e.g. brighter colours, flowing ideas etc., is what my mania/dopaminergic state is like anyway.

      Give it a try anyway and see what happens. And yes, I used choline with it (the ones I got had choline added).

  2. John says:

    I loved reading your article and you have basically convinced me that Modafinil is the new way I must venture in terms of my medication. I have been taking adderrall, well since it was introduced basically back in the late 90’s. It has gotten to the point that I need more and more of it to have any energy or focus, and with it being a controlled substance at level II, it is almost impossible to get a prescription for it and also get if filled. Too much of my time is dedicated to securing doctors an pharmacists to acquire the medication I need now to even function. If I do not have my meds, I basically can not move for a week and just sleep (luckily I have been in a position where this has been possible, but if I were working this would not be an option). The way you described your experience on Modafinil is exactly the way I would describe my experience on adderall. I would like to respectfully disagree with you on your opinion regarding OCD. I am a bit OCD myself, but when I take my ADD medication I do not focus on the things that I normally obsess over because my brain has opened up and there are so many other things I want to do, say, and write about. I think the same would hold true with a person on Modafinil. They would forget about what they were obsessing about because all of a sudden they can now focus on so many other things. That is just my opinion, and my result. I am going to have to get my medication through other avenues besides the doctor/pharmacy route because it has become so much of a job, literally I spent an entire day trying to get a prescription filled. It is so frustrating. They immediately look at the script and thing “Well, here is a drug addict, let’s do everything we can to keep him from getting high today!”

  3. P says:

    Hey. Great article.
    In 2015 I did modafinil. I really liked the results, but I had to deal with some massive panic attacks for a month after that.
    I wonder is there a way to reap all of the benefits, while avoiding the negative part?

  4. Rishi says:


    Do you think a modafinil/phenibut + caffeine/l-theanine stack would be useful if one is going through the 2 month ‘probationary’ mindfullness basics period ?

    Also, whats your opinion on adaptogens? brahmi, schizandra, ginseng, rhodiola rosea, ashwaghanda etc. ?

    (p.s. anyone got suggestions for vendors considering the 2016 Acts in the UK?)


    (anyone got any suggestions considering the 2016 Acts in the UK?)

    • Illuminatus says:

      You should not be on any drugs during the mindfulness training.

      And if you decide to take drugs after that, e.g. while aiming for first jhana, then be warned that you are in danger of becoming a drug addict who thinks he can meditate but is actually just high.

      As for the adaptogens, I don’t think much of them beyond their placebo effect, but that in itself can be useful if you are okay using a placebo as a “boost” for your meditation efforts. Not much harm there.

      • Kautilya says:

        Just wanted to get some advice on a few others:

        L- theanine

        – SJW –

        – Reishi

        – Magnolia

        – L-tryptophan

        – Bacopa (do you count this as only placebo as well?)

        • Illuminatus says:

          Can you stick to using the name Rishi please? That way I don’t have to reapprove your posts when they arrive in the moderation queue.

          The only one I use out of the above is St. John’s Wort. Take at x3 dose of whatever it says on the label. It improves kundalini flow, especially at the crown chakra. Tolerance grows and effects wear off after 1-2 weeks of daily use so you have to switch to an alternative stack e.g. l-theanine/caffeine for 1-2 weeks so tolerance can fade.

          • Kautilya says:

            Sure – I just noticed everyone else was using nicknames here (or shall I permanently keep it Kautilya now since I’ve just joined??)

            So are all the above ok. during the Mindfullness phase?

            You use SJW, L-Theanine and Caffeine in cycles

            Just because I’ve heard Reishi and Bacopa have a long history with meditation

  5. Edenist Whackjob says:

    Illuminatus, a personal request:

    Could you please devote some psychic energy to intending that the elite pedophiles be brought to justice? I’m talking about PizzaGata, and others like that.

    I’m doing the same currently, using prayer.

    • Illuminatus says:

      I felt like I spent a lot of myself on the Trump win. There was a huge climax (happy nonstop for over a week) followed by a huge anticlimax. At that point I lost my taste for politics and other crap like this and decided my next magick splurge would be about moving my own life forward. I no longer want to get caught up with distractions based on humans at their current deplorable level of evolution, but rather throw energy at helping everyone advance to the next level.

      • Edenist Whackjob says:

        Right. I can respect that. For some reason lately, I just keep thinking that the pedos must be brought to justice.

      • Gargantuan says:

        Why a huge anti-climax? Trump is changing the zeitgeist, he will affect the whole West. Italy will soon leave the EU. Perhaps France too. We are moving away from globalism towards nationalism. Sure, it is primitive and tribal, but it is actually in alignment with human nature, and clearly superior to the absurd fantasies of Utopian “we’re all one world maaaaaan” dreamers who choose to believe in the deranged and utterly psychotic religion of Diversity Equality Tolerance.

        It’ll be much easier to move to the next stage of consciousness if we have countries full of white people instead of being a white minority to a black/muslim majority, which will be utterly hellish. Consider the anti white rhetoric the campus left are spewing out.. what is it going to be like living under a non-white majority who have been brought up in that education system? They’ll be gunning for revenge. The chance of us not being brutalized and oppressed under a non-white majority is essentially nil. See: South Africa.

        At least tribalism is actually aligned with the real world, the truth that human beings are actually tribal animals and have evolved in-group preferences (even signalling leftists choose to live in all white high-trust communities if they have the chance, they only *claim* that they like diversity). This idea that we’re just going to transcend race all of a sudden and come together as one big global humanity is nonsense. Perhaps I could respect the left if they had truly thought this through and had some sense of the IMMENSE undertaking that would be, to truly evolve beyond tribalism. And white people wouldn’t even be their biggest problem…. good luck getting Arabs, Africans, Russians, Chinese to all evolve beyond their tribal nationalism. If they at least showed some sort of sense of the incredibly difficult task that confronts them if they truly intend to go “beyond tribalism”, then it would show that they were living in the real world. But the ease with which they come to their easy, cheap solutions, the fact that they feel they can just all come together at concerts and sing about Diversity and Tolerance and profess all this happy talk.. and they think this is a real solution to human tribalism and evolved in-group preference and xenophobia, shows their complete lack of consideration of the real world, and their lack of respect for reality. They’re living in a fantasy world, and sooner or later, those who are lost in the clouds get smashed down by reality. It is a very good thing that these people are being removed from power, and that the ideological landscape is shifting. They are taking us on a path to hell.

        It’s a great thing that Trump won, and it’s a great thing that nationalism is on the rise. We just about still have a chance to escape this Globalism “we’re all the same” nonsense without too much bloodshed.

        • Illuminatus says:

          “Why a huge anti-climax?”

          On an emotional level, elation is always followed by deflation. It’s part of the human condition. You could attribute it to the brain not being able to sustain such high levels of dopamine indefinitely, and a rebalancing phase necessarily occurring immediately afterwards.

          On a magickal level, I spent a lot of what you might call “mana” on a Trump victory. Whether you believe in magick or not, the magickal ritual itself is highly dopaminergic (jhana, Arising & Passing Away) and basically always gives way to a Dissolution (these are Theravadan terms to do with Buddhist stages of insight).

          “Perhaps I could respect the left if they had truly thought this through and had some sense of the IMMENSE undertaking that would be, to truly evolve beyond tribalism.”

          The bottom line is that they believe it can be done culturally, i.e. through modification of behaviour and thought processes (“Right Think”) = suppression of underlying tribal impulses. Certainly a lot can be done this way in terms of end result. But it will not rewrite the underlying tribal program, and it does not take a lot to retrigger that program in certain situations. Meanwhile everyone not exposed to that reprogramming from birth (e.g. Muslim immigrants) will continue tribalism to the bewilderment of high-indoctrination whites (who will go into denial about it, since that is the standard human response to conflicting information).

          Conservatives’ viewpoint on the other hand (and I suspect this is yours, too) is that man cannot transcend himself and is forever on the cusp between good and evil — so the lessons of the past must be adhered to strongly, and this usually means religion.

          I am taking a very different approach to both sides. I believe humans don’t transcend themselves via education and reconditioning (which is just shuffling around concepts within the existing system). Rather, transcension is achieved via mindtech, a.k.a. neurological rewriting. It might be quick. It depends how it would work. I haven’t even begun fleshing out how such a thing would look, yet. It would almost certainly utilize nondual means, and be nonphysical in nature. So, I am thinking about siddhis and the like for its deployment, currently.

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