Author Topic: Better than Ever at Two, now THREE Years off Xanax  (Read 43901 times)

[Buddie]

Better than Ever at Two, now THREE Years off Xanax
« on: March 27, 2014, 07:10:46 pm »
I'm now two years off Xanax and doing better than I have for many years!  Though Xanax did wonders for my panic and anxiety, I didn't realize until recently how much it had taken away from my life.  Once a successful painter, I lost all desire to paint while on xanax.  My senses were muted to the point that I missed much of the beauty in life.  I was apathetic and inactive.  I gained a lot of weight.  I had memory and cognitive problems which worried me a great deal, and I began to think that these might be permanent.

Once I was finally off Xanax, it took over a year for most of my symptoms to subside.  Only one was left, but it was the most frightening of all as far as I was concerned - cognitive problems and brain fog.  I was 63, and deeply afraid that this would never leave me.  But, as I passed the 18 month off point a miracle began to unfold.  The mind-fog started to lift.  Things became clearer and brighter.  My creative urges slowly reawakened.  I'm experiencing a personal renaissance of sorts.  At 24 months off this miracle is continuing, and I'm starting to paint again!

Getting off, and staying off Xanax has been the hardest thing I've ever done, but it has been worth it.  I continued to heal well past the one year mark, and even past the two year mark.  If I can do this, you can too!



This is my "One Year Off Xanax" success story, from March 2013:

In the late 1990's I started to experience palpitations and tachycardia, which in turn generated panic attacks
that got worse and worse as time went on.  I soon developed an intense fear of the panic attacks
themselves, anticipatory fear, which is common in "panic disorder."  When I was prescribed xanax for the
first time in 1999, I thought it was a gift from heaven.  It worked beautifully, no more palpitations and no
more panic attacks.  I took it for many years before I developed tolerance, which I first noticed when i began
to run out of pills before the end of each month.

To make a long story short, I eventually realized that xanax was a double-edged sword which was sapping
my mind and my creativity.  I'd been a successful painter (animals, birds, plants), even making a living from
my art.  But while on xanax I lost all desire to paint, or do much of anything.  I made two unsuccessful
attempts to get off xanax in 2005 and 2009, reinstating at a higher dose each time.  Then finally, in early
2012, I rapidly tapered, crossed over to valium, and off on March 18, 2012.  My prescription had been cut
off, so I couldn't do a longer taper.  But the taper went smoothly, and I only had symptoms once I was off.
They were overwhelming:


Withdrawal Symptoms at 0-5 months off:


Anxiety:         Extreme anxiety in the mornings, waking at 4 [...], hypervigilance, out-of-the-blue panic

Senses:         Altered, distorted and extremely acute hearing, smell, taste, hyperosmia

Eyes:             Red, painful, dry,  Visual distortions, minor hallucinations, floaters, etc.
 
Head Sys:      Congestion, pain, cog fog, head zaps, earaches, headaches, sinus problems

Body:            Extreme flushing, sweating, chills, pains, temp. hair loss, vertigo, insomnia, vivid dreams

Muscles:        Stiffness, pain, twitching, facial tics, hand tremors, restless leg syndrome

Nerves:          Raw, exposed, "open wound" feeling all over--absolutely excruciating!

Mental:           Depression, obsessive, intrusive thoughts, morbid thoughts, racing mind, agoraphobia,
                      DP/DR, and  extreme hypochondria with countless imagined health issues!

Starting in month 5, my symptoms began to lessen, and slowly but steadily got better.  I had windows and waves.
A non-linear rollercoaster ride, but in general I still felt worst in the morning and much better by evening each day.

When I started having severe mental symptoms I desperately looked for a way to regain "control."  I found it in
self-distraction, which I applied obsessively at first.  It became an ingrained habit, and I began to look forward
to my favorite distractions.  I began to relax a little, and during months 6-12  the healing really accelerated.

Besides distraction, I've done meditation and other spiritual practices.  All of these took my mind off my symptoms
for awhile.  In the afternoons when I started feeling better I'd relax, read, nap, or watch tv.  Nothing strenuous.
I eat what I want and drink half/caff coffee (helps the cog-fog). 


Remaining symptoms at one year off:

Head symptoms, though slowly improving, are still with me.  The zaps have stopped, but congestion, foggyness,
and at times, pain, remain, especially early in the day.

Physical symptoms:  almost all gone, with the exception of occasional restless legs, and rarely, mild vertigo.

Mental symptoms:  mostly gone, but  I still have occasional racing thoughts when in a "wave,"  My anxiety level
is now much lower than it was before benzos.  This is remarkable since I was prescribed xanax for anxiety!

When I took my last benzo a year ago I didn't really have any faith that I could do this.  I'd tried it twice before and
failed. But with the help of BenzoBuddies, I finally managed it.  At three months off I got rid of my stash of xanax,
and I never took a "rescue dose."  The hardest thing for me was learning how to live and cope with my
anxiety without xanax.  I never thought I was a particularly [...] person, but now I know I [...].  I've proved it!

If I can do this, you can too!

 :smitten: :smitten: :smitten:

« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 01:41:34 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: BETTER THAN EVER at Two Years off Xanax
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2014, 08:07:28 pm »
Hi [...],

Wow, this is so encouraging. I [...] one year free from 5mg of Klonopin and I [...] having the same troubles you described. I [...] having brain fog, confusion and other symptoms. It feels like it will never end.

It is so great to hear you are getting your motivation and creativity back.. Thanks for posting this!

Love you,
[...] :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: BETTER THAN EVER at Two Years off Xanax
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2014, 08:09:18 pm »
 :smitten: :smitten: :smitten:[...] :smitten: :smitten:

Thanks for this update, I'm thrilled you are starting to paint again.  A renaissance indeed!  :)

[...]  :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: BETTER THAN EVER at Two Years off Xanax
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2014, 08:17:01 pm »
What an uplifting post, [...]!  I have goosebumps from head to toe.
For those of you reading for [...], I'm a week behind [...] with a very similar outcome.

[...]  :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: BETTER THAN EVER at Two Years off Xanax
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2014, 08:28:54 pm »
Thank you for the update! It's nice to know the cog fog eventuslly lifts. It is sure a persistent symptom. Glad you are back to painting and being creative  :)
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: BETTER THAN EVER at Two Years off Xanax
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2014, 08:39:48 pm »
Hi [...],

I [...] reading this for [...] and inspiration! Thank you for your input as well.   :)

I [...] so looking forward to feeling that well. Not there yet. Just doing this one day at a time.

Love you,
[...] :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: BETTER THAN EVER at Two Years off Xanax
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2014, 08:50:42 pm »
Hi [...],

Thanks for posting this exciting update. How incredible is that - you're back painting!!! But having the brain fog clear is incredible too. I [...] so thrilled for you and excited about your future. Your posts are inspirational and moving and your importance here on this forum is infinite. Please keep posting:). I love hearing about your artwork and how all your enthusiasm for life and art has returned.

I [...] an artist too and [...] to follow in your recovery footsteps as I have many of the same horrible symptoms you had.  The feeling of nerve endings being raw is something that is so tough for me right now.   Well actually the symptoms seem to cycle and not one is easy to deal with.

Keep it up.  Sounds like life is ever expanding in its wonder for 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: BETTER THAN EVER at Two Years off Xanax
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2014, 02:55:13 pm »
Wonderful News [...],
i wish you many [...] Years to come , great. :thumbsup: :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: BETTER THAN EVER at Two Years off Xanax
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2014, 02:59:44 pm »
Thank you, everyone!  I'm glad my story can help inspire others.  Getting off benzos isn't easy, but it is worth it!

 :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: BETTER THAN EVER at Two Years off Xanax
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2014, 04:53:32 pm »
So [...] for you [...]. You are an inspiration to all of us.  :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.