Author Topic: 2+ Years Benzo Free - My tips and what I wish I had known  (Read 2640 times)

[Buddie]

2+ Years Benzo Free - My tips and what I wish I had known
« on: January 26, 2023, 06:24:32 pm »
Hello BenzoBuddies,

I wanted to share my story of how I got off benzo's and everything I wish I had known.

My Story:
We all make mistakes in life. At 34 years old I was a very happy and confident person. I was married with 2 kids. We loved to travel the world, host parties and be social. I owned my own business and was very comfortable with being center stage. One day I made the mistake of taking some marijuana edibles when I was at a Bachelorette party for my best friend. I ended up hallucinating and freaking out, I didn't know then but I had a panic attack. My friends refused to take me to the hospital. The next day I calmed down but still didn't feel right. I started to feel anxious more and more. After a couple months I was having daily anxiety and panic attacks. I went from being a very strong, confident person to not being able to leave my house or take care of my kids. I went to countless doctors who gave me countless drugs. None of them worked. I just wanted my life back. I cried everyday and tried to find help. I was suicidal and didn't want to live.

I tried 5 anti-depressants, countless supplements and pretty much anything you can think of for anxiety. Nothing helped except benzo's. And although they helped, it was not a total cure, it just made life more tolerable. So my doctor put me on a daily dose of Klonopin and didn't tell me anything about how hard it would be to get off or any of the bad side effects. :nono:

After a year of taking Klonopin I realized I could never recover from anxiety if I continued to take benzo's. I found a book that saved my life and highly recommend it to anyone struggling with anxiety. The book is called  "Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks Fast" by Bary McDonagh. Here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/Dare-Anxiety-Stop-Panic-Attacks-ebook/dp/B0158S7E1G/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=dare+response+book&qid=1674755718&sr=8-1
This book helped me to realize that I could recover from anxiety and gave me the step by step tools I needed to do so. The author also has a wonderful app called "Dare: Panic & Anxiety Relief" with daily audios and all the tools you need to recover. I can't recommend it more! This book, app and their coaching program literally saved my life!  :angel:

I started following the DARE program and was making progress with my anxiety, but for me I believed I couldn't recover while I was still on benzo's so I followed the Ashton Manual to slowly taper off.

My Withdrawal/Taper Schedule:
I started tapering off Klonopin. I went down in .25 mg per month then I switched to Valium as Dr.Ashton recommends. I then slowly tapered off Valium following her scheduled. Each time I went down a dose I had horrible withdrawal symptoms. I had headaches, weird body tingling sensations, and the worst very high anxiety levels. But I kept going. When I got down to 1mg of Valium I stopped taking it as per the Ashton Manual schedule (Schedule 2. Simple withdrawal from diazepam (Valium)
However when I stopped taking Valium my anxiety got so bad I couldn't function. I was back to level 1000 anxiety from morning till night. I was miserable and hating life and feeling suicidal again. I lasted a couple months but I had a family and 2 little kids to take care of and I couldn't live with that kind of anxiety level. So with a heavy heart I went back on the lowest dose that my doctor could prescribe which was 2mg. After few weeks back on the 2mg dose I started enjoying life again.

I ended up taking the 2mg dose of Valium once a day for another year. I was scared to try to get back off, the months I lasted without Valium were pure torture and I needed to regain my footing. I was still doing the DARE program and working on my anxiety. I still had anxiety but it was a tolerable amount and I was able to live my life.

After one year of taking the 2mg dose I decided to try again but this time I did a much slower taper. I went down to 1mg first for one month then to .5 for one month, then .25 and then I stopped taking it. I wasn't sure what would happen but after a month I was still feeling good, several months past and I realized I was finally benzo free!!! It took me at least 6 months before I told my husband and family, I was scared that the withdrawals or anxiety would come back and I wouldn't be able to handle it without the benzo's. When I marked my one year free of Benzo's it was amazing! It was Halloween time and I wore a Wonder Woman costume to celebrate. I was so proud of myself and everything I accomplished!  :thumbsup:

I am now able to do everything I did before I had anxiety. I'm mostly back to being me. I say mostly because after going through anxiety and benzo withdrawals my life will never be the same. I find that I appreciate life more now. I marvel at the beauty of nature, I savor every hug, kiss and smile from my kids. I do still occasionally get anxious, but usually only if I'm in a very stressful situation and the feeling doesn't last long. I wish I could get back the years I lost to anxiety and benzo's, but instead I try to be here now, look forward and appreciate what I do have.

***BIG TIPS FOR WITHDRAWAL : What I wished I knew ***
1) I'm glad I found the Ashton Manual and her taper method for Klonopin worked well for me. However I disagree with her on getting of Valium after 1mg. I recommend going slower and cutting to .5 for a month and then .25.
2) GO SLOW. You may need to wait longer then the Ashton Manual says to go down to the next dose. I wish that I had gone slower and waited till I stabilized before I went down to the next dose. I was very set on following her schedule and each person is different. Some people are more sensitive. I recommend waiting till you feel stable and the withdrawal symptoms are tolerable before you go down in doses. I think if I had done that I wouldn't have had such horrible withdrawals the first time and wouldn't have had to spend an additional year on Valium.
3) If you are struggling with anxiety please read the DARE book, get the app, join their Facebook group, do the private coaching. I truly believe this method is the only way to recover naturally from anxiety.
4) If you are taking sleeping pills or anti-depressants don't stop taking them and benzo's at the same. Benzo's are the hardest drug on earth to get off, so I recommend getting of Benzo's first, then you can slowly get off the other drugs. I was still taking sleeping pills while I was on Benzo's and I know if I didn't have them and I had the horrible withdrawals and insomnia I wouldn't have ever made it! When I got off benzo's I waited another year to get off the sleeping pills and then slowly got off those. Now I am 100% drug free!!!
5) Don't waste your money on supplements. I wish there was a supplement that could help but there isn't. The only one's I found somewhat helpful are magnesium and vitamin D if you live in a cold climate.

You can recover from anxiety and you can get off benzo's! Hope my story helped someone. Happy to answer any questions. Best of luck with your recovery!

Kind Regards,
Veronica
« Last Edit: January 27, 2023, 02:33:23 pm by [Buddie] »
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: 2+ Years Benzo Free - My tips and what I wish I had known
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2023, 07:41:45 pm »
Congratulations! What a heart-warming story.  :smitten:
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: 2+ Years Benzo Free - My tips and what I wish I had known
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2023, 02:32:13 pm »
Thank you!
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: 2+ Years Benzo Free - My tips and what I wish I had known
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2023, 03:03:15 pm »
Thank you for writing your story and for letting others know what worked and what didnít.  :thumbsup:

Success stories were all I could handle some days, we latch on to anything to give us hope and your story will.  :smitten:
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: 2+ Years Benzo Free - My tips and what I wish I had known
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2023, 02:07:02 pm »
Thank you! I also got through a lot of hard days through this community and others sharing their tips and success stories. I'm so glad this forum exists!
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: 2+ Years Benzo Free - My tips and what I wish I had known
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2023, 04:55:13 pm »

      Thank you for your story. I've been on Xanax for 7 years. I'm ready to deal with this. Congratulations on your success. Very inspirational. :thumbsup:
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: 2+ Years Benzo Free - My tips and what I wish I had known
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2023, 03:59:23 pm »
When you say stabilize does that mean wait for the symptoms to go away? Iím guessing they never fully go away until completely off of the benzo. My anxiety is so high and I have depression. I canít handle it.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: 2+ Years Benzo Free - My tips and what I wish I had known
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2023, 11:57:43 pm »
Congratulations! What a heart-warming story.  :smitten:
What kind of sleeping pills were you in may I ask?
Thank you.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: 2+ Years Benzo Free - My tips and what I wish I had known
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2023, 01:01:23 am »
Congratulations! What a heart-warming story.  :smitten:
What kind of sleeping pills were you in may I ask?
Thank you.

I don't know if you meant to ask me, but I wasn't on any type of sleeping pills.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.