Author Topic: Now 8 Months Benzo-free...may this be of benefit to someone <3  (Read 2981 times)

[Buddie]

Now 8 Months Benzo-free...may this be of benefit to someone <3
« on: January 28, 2023, 11:16:02 pm »
(Original Post at 6 months below)
**Edit: There was something I thought of recently that I wanted to share here, may it be of benefit <3. During the process of withdrawal, my husband said something to me that seemed misguided at the time ("he just doing get it" right?), but turned out to be very true in hindsight. I want to share it in case someone is struggling with should I carry on with my life during this time, or just crawl into a hole. After a beach trip with my niece and nephew during about week 3 of my taper, I was lamenting about how awful it was that things that had previously brought me so much joy (my niece and nephew, the beach, the ocean) couldn't even give me a moment's relief from the apathy and absolute torture I was in. And he said, "You'll still have the memories." At the time, my response was memories of what? Misery? Putting all of the energy in the world into ACTING like a normal person? I wanted to forget all of this, everything felt traumatizing, and like it would be permanently and painfully carved into the soft tissue of my brain with a razor sharp blade. But you know what, sitting here- on the other side, he was right. I have to actively remember how bad it was, and even then I know the memory doesn't hold a candle to what actually happened. You too will forget the pain. But I don't forget that day I spent at the beach with two people I love most in the world. I don't forget the laughs we had during that time, even if at the time it felt faked, I could feel there was something deep within me, below all the pain, genuinely laughing too. I actually in hindsight remember things from that time fondly. YOU WILL TOO. Take care of yourself, but resist the urge to hide away. Distract, right now you just need to pass the time. Of course nothing will truly distract you, but it WILL pass the time until your brain and nervous system can heal. No matter how awful you think your thoughts are, or how traumatic the PTSD, you will look back on this time through a different lense. You don't have to believe me, you just have to keep going  :)

Hello friends,

I've waited several months to post this success story, 6 since my jump date to be exact. But I've thought about it a lot, and now that I'm sitting down to write it, I don't know that I will be able to get out all I want to convey in one post.

For starters, I chose to taper. I was on 0.5mg of ativan once daily for about 3-4 months, but ativan had been in and out of my life for about 8 years. After a CT drop off accidentally one weekend when my NP decided let's try gabapentin instead, I quickly realized CT was not sustainable for me. My taper was fairly rapid, I dropped by 1/4 every two weeks. And can I tell you all, with some of the information I'll share below, the last two weeks of my taper were (dare I say) enjoyable? Now, if you're like I was, you may be clinging to these success stories to drag you through, and my last sentence may not be exactly what you want to read right now. And I get that. So let me share a little bit about how I get it. When I went through that CT weekend, my eyes were opened to what was actually happening to me. What had happened to me many times over, many times in my past as I was experiencing the negative side effects of benzos, thinking it was just "me," "My anxiety/depression is worsening" "It's just this bad" "Clearly I need medication" "I'm so broken" "What is wrong with me"etc. You know the thoughts. And I sat there in wide eyed shock, seeing the veil lifted, and the course in front of me seeming completely impassable. I said many times "if I wasn't sitting in this right now, I wouldn't believe it was possible (that these meds could do this, that it could be this hard to heal and get off them)." I was in the depths of despair, as I'm sure you may be or have been. Desperate to get out, but like squirming in quicksand. Anxiety, depression, OCD, intrusive thoughts, incessant panic, insomnia, pain, and many more god-awful symptoms I've since forgotten that I'm sure you could remind me of. But here's the thing with healing, YOU WILL forget how bad it was. I promise you. I thought so many times even if I get off these meds and move on, the thoughts I've thought while on them are too bad, there going to destroy the rest of my life. I cannot ever enjoy life again. You don't need to believe me for this healing to happen to you, you don't even need to believe in it how about that!? It will just happen, bc you will heal. Your brain CAN heal. You just need to put one painful foot in front of the other until you get there. So what did I do?

Well first I made my taper plan. Like I said mine was abrupt, I was on a low-dose, with insane inter-dose withdrawal, but nonetheless low, so I may not be your expert for tapering if you're on higher doses or multiple meds, but some of the info I share here will help you regardless. A quarter of a pill every two weeks in the beginning didn't even feel manageable, but like I said above I got it there to a very manageable place. Now at this point I was not sleeping at all, I was taking my daily dose in the AM. So...

1.) SLEEP. First of all, have you also sat in amazement and complete misery over how long you can keep going with literally zero sleep? I said to myself so many times throughout this process "How is this even an option for existence?" I would say the largest jumping point for me was when I was able to get myself at least a little bit of sleep. It was also my largest hurdle in the process. So, for me, I needed to get my dose later in the day. The first day of this was hell, I literally was just trying to push back the time I was taking the med by ONE HOUR and it felt insurmountable. I had scheduled a class on composting for my husband and I to go to (I was desperately trying to display some normalcy to him at this point as the hell this process can take on your personal life is so wild- but you already know that) at the time I would normally take the ativan. Once I was in the car and at the class there was nothing I could do, the med would have to wait. It was awful, I don't remember a damn thing they said in that class, I was nauseous, dizzy, limbs felt like jello, complete brain fog, and sure everyone around me must have known what an insane person I was. But I made it that hour, and the next day two. (People talk about distraction, it's like the opposite of the Buddha mentality that normally will help you with suffering, but I don't think Buddha knew about benzo withdrawal, it's not normal sufferring- and you will probably never fully distract yourself, but if you can force something in that will pass the time it will help you as you move towards healing.) And soon I was taking the medicine in the afternoon and getting even a tiny amount of sleep which literally changed my world at that point. Other sleep things I did, that worked for me (be conscience in everything you choose for you, this was just what helped me):
Valerian: taken everyday an hour before bed.
5mg Melatonin: taken at bed time
**There are people who will not want to go this root bc they believe they are replacing one thing with another. I DO NOT subscribe to this belief system at all. I no longer take the valerian and only occasionally take melatonin. Melatonin is naturally produced by your body at bedtime once you heal. But it needs help right now. These are naturally occuring, not Big Pharma manufactured toxic laced crap (at least try and make sure your buying the cleanest supplements you can- check out Vimergy brand). They are supporting your brain's healing, melatonin helps neurotransmitters repair themselves.
Warm tea (non-caffeinated): at bedtime, I kept by my bed, and would sip on it when I woke up at night.
A spoonful of raw honey before bed: this will provide your liver glucose for processing this crap out, the liver likes to jolt up at 3am along with that shock of cortisol surge you're probably feeling, to get shit done. But the rest of you should be able to sleep through this process, honey will help.
Speaking of the cortisol shock: those early AM wake ups, let's talk about those. If you have or can imagine a small child waking up crying at 3am, would you walk into their room and scream "you again!! why!! why are you doing this!!" Probably not, and it wouldn't get you anywhere even if you did. So why internally scream this to yourself. I always thought about if for me as "put the baby back to bed." And I get it, sometimes on benzos and in withdrawal, we cannot control the thoughts that come out of minds. But practice responding to them. It won't work at all at first, but you'll get there. Soothe yourself, be kind. This is so fucking hard what you're going through right now.
A weighted blanket.
Wear socks to bed: if your feet end up cold your blood pressure will change to warm them, and this can wake you up.
A warm bath or shower before bed.
Some other supplements I brought into my life in general that also supported sleep: california poppy, magnesium, turmeric, GABA, ashwaganda.

Okay now with an hour to three of sleep under my belt, for the first time in this WHOLE experience, I thought MAYBE I might be able to actually do this (get off the meds). Remember positive thinking? I didn't either. But it will come back. Someday you will have sporadic hopeful thoughts again. And again you don't have to believe me for it to happen, it WILL happen when your brain heals. I'm holding the knowing for you until you get there.

OKay, the #2 thing I did that jolted my healing- go out right now and buy or borrow from the library any Medical Medium book by Anthony William you can find. If you don't have any money left bc of this hell-hole experience or can't leave the house, you're on a device reading this right now, go to his website, follow him on instagram/telegram/twitter, whatever, just see what he has to say about neurologic healing and start bringing things in. Where to start?
B12- support your neurotransmitters, again check out Vimergy. This will help.
Get a clean source of glucose and/or mineral salts in you every 90minutes to two hours. Your brain really, really needs this support right now. Think fresh fruits and veggies. But for me to make it manageable I ordered a few bottles of Wyman's Wildblueberry juice and kept an open one in my fridge. Everytime I passed the fridge I just took a swig of the juice to get my regular glucose in.
Do your best to weed out eggs, dairy, gluten, caffeine (your most likely wired as shit 24/7 anyway and any small amount of stress makes you feel like you stuck your finger in an electric socket, am I right? so your good, no need for anymore jolt to the adrenals), and alcohol. Work away at it in that order if possible.
I am, and have been since I began my taper, religious about his suggestion of daily morning lemon water, followed by celery juice 30 min later, and then 30 minutes after that his heavy metal detox smoothie.
There is so much more info in his books but these are my highlights for getting started.

I sit here writing this 6 months later and life has NOT been a cake walk. But my apathy is gone and I get to experience ALL of it. And I'm here for it. YOU WILL BE TOO. I am so so so sorry for the hell on Earth that seems impossible to explain you are going through. I know you don't believe it can go away, but you're here holding on, so please just don't stop holding on. That's all you have to do is hold on, like I said you don't even have to believe this. This isn't New Age mind shit which only helps when you have a healthy mind. This is actual real damage to the brain and neurological system, and it CAN heal. You are not crazy, you were put through this without your consent. You would never have chosen this path if you knew what it meant, but your here now, and you are going to be better on the other side for it. My first menstrual cycle after my jump date was the only big wave I've experienced over the past 6 months. But like I said life hasn't been easy, I got pregnant after that, which was beautiful and amazing and I loved every exhausting second of it- and it really cemented me into my new healthy eating life choices. But then I miscarried at 10 weeks. This was going to be my first child and it all felt so magical, and then it was gone. And I cried, real tears of mourning ya'll. And as hard and as awful as it was, I felt all of it, and I'm not worried about coping with the process. Which makes me want to mention as apathetic as you feel, and as hard on yourself as your being, and as hopeless as your feeling that apathy is your new existence, there IS a you beneath that all. It's the one that brought you on here, you DO care, bc you're reading this. You're holding on.

Like I said I've thought about this post for months, wanting to make sure I was "qualified" to write a success story. Anyway, any small success is good enough around here. I'm glad your holding on, please, please don't stop.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2023, 08:35:15 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: You can do this.
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2023, 03:41:48 am »
Thank you for your words of hope. This is the hardest situation I have dealt with in my 55 years of life. I can only take 5 percent cuts every thirty days. I know itís not a race so I have to keep telling myself this to shall pass. My hope is all of us going through this experience will heal and find peace.
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: You can do this.
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2023, 02:08:33 pm »
Dear [...],

I'm so sorry that you had a miscarriage. Please accept my ci dolences for the loss of your baby.

Thank your for your success story. I appreciate you mentioning the supplements you took for sleep. I too take supplements for sleep including some you mentioned. They have helped me get some hours of sleep while I recover from a severe benzo setback and Mirtazapine/Remeron withdrawal. If I hadn't been so scared of taking supplements, I may not have taken Mirtazapine in the first place. 

I wish you continued healing and thank join for your positivity about getting off benzos.

[...]
« Last Edit: January 30, 2023, 03:04:31 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: You can do this.
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2023, 10:06:54 pm »
Thank you for your words of hope. This is the hardest situation I have dealt with in my 55 years of life. I can only take 5 percent cuts every thirty days. I know itís not a race so I have to keep telling myself this to shall pass. My hope is all of us going through this experience will heal and find peace.

It's a hell like no other, that is for sure. So lots of compassion for yourself! It's not a race, and you will get there, and this too shall pass. And while all these things offer little milliseconds of hope, I know they're hard to really keep hold of during these difficult times. Keep going, no matter how slowly, no matter if there are set-backs or stalls, just keep going  :). Thinking of you and sending you strength.
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: You can do this.
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2023, 10:10:26 pm »
Dear [...],

I'm so sorry that you had a miscarriage. Please accept my ci dolences for the loss of your baby.

Thank your for your success story. I appreciate you mentioning the supplements you took for sleep. I too take supplements for sleep including some you mentioned. They have helped me get some hours of sleep while I recover from a severe benzo setback and Mirtazapine/Remeron withdrawal. If I hadn't been so scared of taking supplements, I may not have taken Mirtazapine in the first place. 

I wish you continued healing and thank join for your positivity about getting off benzos.

[...]

Thank you for your thoughtfulness. I wanted to share that painful truth to show people that they will be able to feel again and to go through trying times without feeling insane (benzos always made me feel even more insane during stressful times). And not once during such a painful time did I even think about ativan, hopefully I've broken the curse that was with me for 8 years of believing I needed it, bc my anxiety was just "too much."

Good for you for supporting your healing with supplements! Your body, especially your mind, needs all the natural healing support it can get right now. It will heal. Your body is always fighting for you and working you towards healing.

Thank you for your well wishes, same to 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: 6 months ativan free, here's how I'm doing- you can do it!
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2023, 03:17:12 pm »
Thank you. I'm holding onto your story today to keep me going.

[...]
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: 6 months ativan free, here's how I'm doing- you can do it!
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2023, 09:33:22 pm »
Thank you. I'm holding onto your story today to keep me going.

[...]

<3 I held onto these stories many days. Warms my heart mine it helping you. Soon youíll write your own. It is possible. Your amazing mind knows how to heal.
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: 6 months ativan free, here's how I'm doing- you can do it!
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2023, 09:21:43 pm »
Beautifully written! I think it's important to hear what works for other people - it might help, you never know! Believing you WILL GET THERE is probably the most powerful supplement we can put into our bodies.
Keep going on that wellness journey!
So sorry about your loss.
Again, that you for an uplifting healing post!
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: 6 months ativan free, here's how I'm doing- you can do it!
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2023, 02:16:36 pm »
This was so beautiful and inspiring -- I cried! Thank you for telling your story!!!
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: 6 months ativan free, here's how I'm doing- you can do it!
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2023, 10:19:24 pm »
Beautifully written! I think it's important to hear what works for other people - it might help, you never know! Believing you WILL GET THERE is probably the most powerful supplement we can put into our bodies.
Keep going on that wellness journey!
So sorry about your loss.
Again, that you for an uplifting healing post!


Thank you 🙏🏼. And thank you for encouraging words also!
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.