Author Topic: I Got My Life Back – Thank God!  (Read 14818 times)

[Buddie]

I Got My Life Back – Thank God!
« on: November 02, 2017, 02:55:48 pm »
I started taking Benzos back in May of 2016 for some sleep issues.  Started with Xanax 1mg and then quickly went up to 2 mg in about 4 weeks.  When those stopped working they put me on Temazepam and Klonopin at the same time!  Took that for another 4 weeks and finished with a few days of Valium.  I kept building tolerance so my sleep got worse and worse over time.  At first, the Xanax could put me out for 8 hours, then it went to 7, 6, 5, 4, you get the picture.  So, I had to up the dose to 2mg and that quickly faded as well.  I was taking 3mg of Klonopin and 30mg of Temazepam at the same time.  Found out later that the effect of taking 2 Benzos at the same time is magnified by 30%!  Some doctors are not very smart and apparently I wasn’t either as I continued to take whatever they told me to.  They even wanted me to try haldol, no thanks, check out the side effects from that.  Even the Pharmacist said it could cause permanent uncontrolled jerks/movements in my arms, legs, neck, etc.

I quit Xanax cold turkey when I switched to the Klonopin and Temazepam.  I quit both of those cold turkey as well as my doctor told me that I wasn’t on them long enough to have withdrawal or seizures.  I took Valium for 2 nights about a week after I CT’ed the benzos.  In all, I was on Benzos for just under 3 months.  Then I found Benzo Buddies.  I joined in August 2016 under the name ThEwAy but had my account deleted so I wouldn't be tempted to come on this site after being on it for almost 8 months.  You can go back and look at some of my early posts.  I rejoined under my current name. [...].

My sleep went from what I thought was decent to 2 hours or less a [...].  As soon as I quit cold turkey, I started with the zero-hour nights.  They were horrific as many of you know.  I would often go for 3 and sometimes 4 nights in a row with zero sleep.  This lasted almost 8 months.  Along with the brutal insomnia I had a plethora of other symptoms including claustrophobia to the point where I couldn’t even go into a large store and I had to spend my nights on the sofa with the front door open.  I also had Panic attacks, intrusive thoughts, muscle twitches, major constipation, noise sensitivity, clenched jaw, ringing ears, panic attacks, horrible anxiety and depression, loss of appetite, weight loss, etc. 

I literally thought I was going to die.  I seriously considered quitting my job that I usually like and have been doing for 27 years.  It got so bad that my mother-in-law was talking to my brothers and other family members and was trying to get me committed to a psych ward. The doctors thought I was crazy so did my wife and kids.  They didn't think it was a withdrawal problem, they thought it was mental illness. I was in 4 different Emergency rooms over a one-month period and all they wanted to do was put me on more drugs.  I tried a bunch of other non-benzo drugs that really didn’t work.  Then I found Benzo Buddies and took the advice of some veteran Buddies that said my best bet was to get off of everything.  So, I quite taking the Remeron and Seroquel and whatever else they had me on and it was a lot of different things.  I usually only took them for a day or two and when they didn't work, I flushed them.  The best thing I ever did was stop taking everything and let my brain learn how to sleep on its own again.  Today, I don't even take "natural" supplements for sleep.  I don't think they are bad, but I just wanted to be completely free of everything.  For those considering CBT for sleep or Sleep Restriction or any other method, I don't think they work well for withdrawal insomnia.  They didn't for me.  The other thing to keep in mind is that you don't need 8 hours of sleep a [...].  That is a myth.  You can function normally on much less.  And you DON'T have fatal insomnia.  I think most people (myself included) think they have that at one point or another, but you don't.  It is ALL withdrawal.

I thought I would never get better and considered suicide, but was too chicken to ever follow through or even attempt it.  I think the thought of having a “way out” made it more tolerable.  I would call the 800 prevention lines from time-to-time just to talk to someone.  So, for those of you contemplating suicide my advice would be think about it but never act on anything.  Don’t keep anything around that you could use, such as a weapon, etc. 

I live in the Midwest and flew out to Virginia to the Coleman Institute and paid a lot of money in desperation for his Flumazenil treatment.  Unfortunately, it did not work and I think only prolonged my recovery?  That was in September of 2016.  Right after that I started seeing a Counselor at a Christian Counseling center and then ended up seeing their Psychiatrist.  The counselor and the Psychiatrist were very familiar with Benzo withdrawal as both had worked in some large rehab clinics out east.  Coincidentally the Psychiatrist’s name was also Dr. Coleman.  He told me that I would recover in 1 – 4 months.  I thought he was crazy.  His definition of recovered was sleeping 4-6 hours 95% of the time and having my symptoms reduced 80% or more of where they were currently at.  I was skeptical, but they really helped me through this recovery process.  The only drawback was that it was an hour drive one way to Madison, WI.

By January of 2017 I started to get a little sleep maybe 2-3 hours at a time for 2 or 3 nights in a row.  Some of my symptoms started to fade.  It was very up and down for a long time.  I went on a cycle where I would get some sleep for one day and then none the next day.  Gradually it got better and better and I started getting sleep for 2, 3 then 4 days in a row.  But those Zero days were still there and those were the worst, I kept a sleep log and had 65 zero nights over 8 months.  Some good Benzo Buddies, Aloha and Siggy were there for me through PMs and just on general posts.  They kept telling me I would get better, and they were right.  And there were also many other BB too numerous to mention that gave me [...] and encouragement by responding to my posts.  Thank you everyone and the BB community!

At about 8 months out I started sleeping almost every [...] for at least 4-5 hours.  The sleep was broken but, it really helped me heal.  Within a few weeks all of my symptoms rapidly faded.  About 6 weeks after I started sleeping all of my symptoms were gone.  It was amazing.  No more anxiety or depression and the dreaded claustrophobia was gone too.  I really started to appreciate and enjoy life again.  Little things made me happy that I used to take for granted pre-benzo.  I was hoping it just wasn’t a window as I read about the windows and waves that most go through. 

It has now been over 7 months of being symptom free and having fairly good sleep every [...].  The last time I had a zero [...] was April 11, 2017.  My sleep is not perfect.  Still broken with lots of dreams, but I usually get 6-7 hours per [...].  I usually wake up 2 -4 times per [...], but can usually fall back to sleep fairly quickly.  Other nights it takes an hour or so.  The biggest difference is that I stopped caring if I slept or not.  That was super hard to do, but got easier and easier over time.  Now, I know I can fall back to sleep when I wake up at 1:00 or 3:00 am and 90% of the time I do fall back asleep. For the first 8 months after my cold turkey, I wouldn’t get tired. I would feel tired, but my brain felt wired.  Now, there are some days that I get so tired I fall asleep on the couch watching TV.  As you notice I am writing a lot about sleep.  That was my biggest issue that I struggled with besides the Anxiety, depression and claustrophobia.   

The other thing that helped me, besides not worrying if I slept or not, was to take a break from Benzo Buddies.  Please don’t get me wrong, this site has been a great resource for me and has lots of people that experience the same things.  Many of you  helped me by responding to my posts and reassuring me.  So if you need to be here, please stay and let others going through the same thing help you get through withdrawal.  My issue was that I made everyone else’s recovery timeline, my timeline.  For example, if someone did not start sleeping well until 2 years out, I would say things such as “it might take 2 years or longer for me to start sleeping again.”  That is just how I process things.  So, I took a break from Benzo Buddies and I had a friend lay hands on me and pray for me.  He has the gift of healing.  Some of you will say poppycock, but I believe it as I experienced it.  That was about 2 weeks before I starting sleeping pretty well out of the blue.  I give God the glory and the praise. 

Now at 15 months off, I am claiming success.  I have my life back.  I live the way I used to before this whole benzo ordeal started.  My family and I even went on a 7-day cruise in June and it was awesome!  I want to point out, that when I or anyone else claims success or writes a success story, it really isn’t what we do, but what we went through to get to where we are now.  If there were some magic diet or supplement to take, we would know about it by now. Time and God are the only healers I know. 

At my worst, I thought about taking the Family Medical Leave Act and taking a bunch of time off, but I used sick days instead.  I think I ended up taking 20 days spread out over several months.  As I already mentioned, I thought I was going to have to quit my job but,  I also learned that I could function pretty well on little or no sleep.  I kept my job and my family…I needed too, I had bills to pay and my family needed me.  Not that I handled it the best...I didn't...to this day my wife still says I was out of control, but she still doesn't understand how much benzos make you temporarily mentally ill! I did what I could do to get through the mental torture and there wasn't much to hold onto. 

The other thing that I did that I think helped me recover was eating a clean diet.  I followed Dr. Gundry’s The Plant Paradox diet.  The book, The Plant Paradox:  The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods that Cause Disease is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.  I also walked 2 – 4 miles every day even if I got little or no sleep.  It was hard, but it helped in the long run.
 
For those still struggling, it will get better.  I don’t know when, but it will.  It just takes time and more time.  The benzos lie to us all and make us believe we will have symptoms forever.  Not true.  A big fat lie.  You will recover, you will get your life back.  I did.  I would say I'm 100% healed from the physical and mental symptoms and 90% healed in the sleep department.  Enough to live a great life and enjoy it...and believe me I do.  I wake up everyday and thank God for the day and the chance to live it "normally."  Even going to work is "fun."  There isn't much I don't enjoy or appreciate now.  It's like I was given a 2nd chance at life.  I [...] this helps some of you have some [...]?  I pray for the day when you get your 2nd chance too.  If I had to do it all over again, I still think I would go cold turkey.  Yeah, the symptoms were brutal, but for me, I think I recovered faster by getting the poison out of my body as fast as possible.  God’s speed to everyone still going through withdrawal. :thumbsup:

ThEwAy & [...]

« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 12:48:55 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: I Got My Life Back – Thank God!
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2017, 08:17:21 pm »
This does give me [...], thank you!   So glad you made it through and are enjoying life.  I know what you mean about appreciating life more than ever, and I'm not even at the finish line yet.  Enjoy your freedom  :smitten:. All the best, [...]
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: I Got My Life Back – Thank God!
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2017, 10:11:56 pm »
Thank you for posting your success story.  You have given me [...], thank you!    :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: I Got My Life Back – Thank God!
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2017, 10:38:13 pm »
Congrats!

It is sad to see how docs dont know what is benzo WD.
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: I Got My Life Back – Thank God!
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2017, 11:43:44 pm »
Congrats on your success.  You mentioned that you had "ringing ears."  Tinnitus has been my worst symptom, and I'm approaching 20 months off Clonazepam.  I hear a constant hissing noise in my head that fluctuates in loudness.  Some days are worse than others.  Can you tell me about your tinnitus and how it disappeared?  I still fear that mine will never go away.  :'(
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: I Got My Life Back – Thank God!
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2017, 01:30:54 am »
Congrats on your success.  You mentioned that you had "ringing ears."  Tinnitus has been my worst symptom, and I'm approaching 20 months off Clonazepam.  I hear a constant hissing noise in my head that fluctuates in loudness.  Some days are worse than others.  Can you tell me about your tinnitus and how it disappeared?  I still fear that mine will never go away.  :'(

It was more of a constant ringing than a hiss.  It just gradually went away when I started to sleep better.  I still get a touch here and there but it only lasts a few minutes at a time. Before it was persistent and all day.  I would say it is 99% gone.  I [...] yours goes away soon.  It might just take longer.  Not sure why some people recover quicker than others.  Maybe because of the differences in how drugs affect us too?
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: I Got My Life Back – Thank God!
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2017, 02:51:23 am »
Love this. Congrats and thanks for sharing!
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: I Got My Life Back – Thank God!
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2017, 04:00:13 am »
Well done and congrats!

These doctors ... really dissapointing :(

Enjoy your life  :)
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: I Got My Life Back – Thank God!
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2017, 05:38:54 am »
Congratulations! I am so happy 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: I Got My Life Back – Thank God!
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2017, 01:09:32 pm »
Thank you for sharing.  Wishing you lots of love, joy and peace.  Congratulations!   :-*
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.