Author Topic: Finally!  (Read 2572 times)

[Buddie]

Finally!
« on: December 25, 2018, 05:21:40 pm »
First, humbly, I offer this final chapter of my benzo story for the benefit of your healing. I have a very analytical mind and everything that follows is an analysis of me, by me. It’s an over-simplification of a very painful, yet, transforming period of my life I’d like to share. This is not a diagnosis of your pain…only mine. I am not a doctor of anything but me. And in no way, do I intend to minimize the pain or difficulty of your withdrawal.  If any words here offend you in any way, please stop reading and find something to relieve your pain. I share this only to give relief to your suffering, peace to your mind, and hope to your soul. Any references to God can be replaced by your belief system…if you so choose.
Prologue –
In the beginning (April 2006 until August 2010), unknowingly, I was strapped to a chemical band-aid to relieve life catastrophes…sound familiar? I was divorcing, my father was dying, and my son’s life had gone off the rails. What?!  Stop please! What’s going on…help me understand, please?! My GP prescribed Zoloft and Clonazepam, as if they would erase the terror I felt. Mind you, I never wanted them to begin with, but, without a support system…what else is there? I accepted because I couldn’t think. I couldn’t fix. I literally couldn’t live. All I could do was cry…and breathe. Everything else I did in a haze of habit…thank God. This time is almost lost to me. It’s filled with such loss, grief, and emptiness, my mind refuses to mark its passage with memories. Maybe that’s a good thing…I don’t know. I do know, the only thing that happened during this time was I built a house. It was the only thing positive in my life. The only distraction that made me feel good and gave me a sense of the future. I needed that…hope. I continued this way until I didn’t think I needed the drugs anymore. Unknowingly, I tapered too quickly from the anti-depressant and sleep drug…and so the chemical carousel begins. I developed insomnia, so excruciating I begged for relief. But a ‘tried-and true’ sleep drug I demanded. Agreeable, he prescribed Restoril…another benzo, little did I know. With the current withdrawal from Klonopin, I was in serious hurting status and the last thing I needed was to be put on another benzo. Of course, hind-sight is 20-20. My body and brain healed from the Klonopin withdrawal over the next year or so but soon, another tolerance/withdrawal was chomping at my fragile CNS. This started another round of anti-depressant…Lexapro. After a year of this, I was ready to be rid of all of it as I had become someone I didn’t recognize. I was obsessed with my withdrawal. All my thoughts and actions were highjacked by a screaming central nervous system needing to heal. Looking back, I can vividly see a withdrawal period (consisting of a pre-taper, taper, and post-taper) and a recovery period. And all along the way, by reading this website and listening to my broken inside, I learned what things to eat or do to keep my physical body as calm as possible. But, the most beneficial insight I now have from this whole nightmare is learning how my emotional reactions affected my body in bad, and good, ways. I was able to link facets of my personality…like being ’too sensitive’ according to my family…to the severity of my withdrawal and length of recovery. Discovering how I was adding to my own pain was shocking, but pivotal in learning to face it without denial or fight. I used all those physical sensations as a map to their source and created peace for my body…and mind. Please take a walk with me…
Withdrawal –
Pre-taper (started August 2010 until August 2011): This phase started when I began experiencing a severe bout of exhaustion, unlike anything I had ever felt before. I knew something was seriously wrong and woke up to it. On top of that, my insomnia was getting worse. Refusing to up my dose of Restoril as the doc recommended, I internalized my focus and began to identify symptoms other than insomnia: horrific depression, feelings of apathy, uncharacteristic emotional highs and lows, memory problems, fleeting feelings of ‘normal’, unexplained state of fear, anxiety, sexual promiscuity, indecisiveness…it was as if I was becoming someone else. I was 48 years old, past menopause, and this was not me! I scoured the internet looking for an answer, but nothing seemed to fit. It took almost a full year…and the addition of Trazodone to get more than 2 hours sleep…to find this website, but I was convinced immediately. After a month of reading and posting, I mustered the strength to face the long road of excruciating pain I knew was ahead of me during taper. I was single and supporting myself with no family around and only a few friends with no frame of reference to understand. My sole support was this website and all its beautiful souls.  It was harder than any other decision I’ve made in my entire life, but I knew I had to do it to feel myself again. If you have made it this far in your journey, please pat yourself on the back. You should be proud of this gigantic step as it takes no less than Herculean effort and strength to knowingly walk down a path of guaranteed pain and anguish feeling defenseless as a plucked bird! 😊
Taper (August 29, 2011 until December 13, 2011): Just as the last one ended, this phase started with a compound of feelings: fear, relief, determination, aloneness, and sorrow. I literally remember feeling all of them at the same time. I had built a house in ’07 and temporary disability was not even a thought. Luckily, my supervisor agreed to a temporary move to a desk job with a note from my GP. I had prepared myself as much as possible for the onslaught of the Benzo Beast but was also continually carrying the depressing weight of two back-to-back tapers. As recorded in my blog, the early days were surprisingly, and thankfully, tolerable. Waking to the physical symptoms of anxiety and fear, was in no way easy, but it was doable. In early November 2011, another attack of exhaustion hit and so did the emotional horror. It seemed a very real darkness descended, and I stopped blogging. Luckily, I had a respite every evening…all my symptoms slowly abated after lunch through the [...]. However, every morning the cycle started again with feelings so bad I’d forget about the nice [...] ahead of me. It was truly scary because I had no control over it. As a young girl I learned to soothe my fears with logical thinking, but logic didn’t help here…nothing helped. The physical symptoms were so much easier to deal with than these emotional and mental symptoms…they were absolute torture for me. I needed another preserver for my mind to hang onto...I chose the path of peace I took as a child…God. I swear I could hear God whisper, that’s how silent the outside world became while my internal emotional volume was at hysterical levels. And the worst thing was, I couldn’t share this with anyone. My fears were so great, I felt I was going mad. And I still had another taper…how could I make it?
Post-Taper (Mid-December 2011 until April 2013): This period is a blur of emotion…and discovery. I remember waking up every day with my brain stuck on the catastrophe channel, yet learning at [...] while my thinking was rational, these tragic emotions were my insecurities stuck on high. For instance, I woke every day with the smallest problem taking up residence on a merry-go-round inside my brain. My emotional brain would scream ‘the world is ending’ and later that [...], during the respite, my logical brain was saying ‘wow, that was silly!’ My brain was at a tug-of-war...insecurity and reality…constantly. My insecurities would win with the rise of the sun and logic would win with its set. This was so exhausting, I remember wishing…too often…I wouldn’t wake up the next day, just for a break. To be stuck in this continuous loop every day with no end in sight was certainly madness. I’d never felt this way in my life before, but I knew deep down, where God resides, it was the only way out. Just breathe and keep putting one foot in front of the other. So, I stayed the course and discovered that my instincts…and everyone on this website…were right, it slowly got better and better. I was not one of those that had windows of normalcy. It took almost 1 ½ years for me to feel strong enough to start the taper off Trazodone…and it was in fits and starts. Was my post-taper period complicated by the Trazodone and years of kindling? I think so. But, by being so internally focused, I learned to identify my insecurities and all but eliminate their effect on my life…a gift I’m certain I wouldn’t have learned without this experience.
Recovery --
(April 2013 until now, December 2018): This period includes my taper from Trazodone and the continued recovery of my central nervous system. I was so mentally tired from the emotional roller coaster of the previous 8 years…my taper from Trazodone took a solid year. My internal strength came back murderously slow but that was the biggest indicator of recovery during this time. The physical symptoms were long gone, the mental symptoms dropped off almost unknowingly, and the emotional symptoms were the most stubborn. I learned about all my insecurities during this time…and, ways to lessen their impact. Learning my personal limitations, was the single-most beneficial lesson of this horrid adventure. I say that because I wouldn’t have knowingly gone down this path…obviously, no one would. But, learning about who I am and how to mitigate the pain of my limitations as a failing person was truly priceless.
Epilogue –
It’s been a long toll and I’m tired. All my difficulty during this period is fractured sleep and the fallout that brings. I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if I were a person that didn’t rely on sleep so much, but, I am. For people like me, insomnia-prone, I believe we put a high importance on sleep…the others, I think, don’t even notice these changes. This is the ONLY leftover problem I struggle with and I don’t even know if it came from the benzo’s or it’s just the older version of me. But the most important thing is, I’m finally ‘me’ again. And I’ll never give her up again! 😊
To all the quiet sufferers out there…I hope my final chapter has given you just a sliver of hope.
To the beautiful souls on this website that share their stories and kind words…you truly are angels.
And to Colin and all his staff…past, present, and future…there is a special place in heaven for you!
And to all recovering addicts: please don’t give up, I believe there’s something waiting for you at the end…God’s gift to me was peace with myself, again.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!
Love, Chari (aka Alice in Wonderland, aiw)
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: Finally!
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2018, 08:14:53 pm »
Congrats!  Thank you for sharing your story and I'm sorry you suffered for so long.  It looks as if it took you a little over 5 years to get back to normal life?  You're story gives me inspiration and I will read it along with others a few times a week to help me stay positive.  Merry Christmas!
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: Finally!
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2018, 09:34:19 pm »
Your story is painful for me to read, because it echoes my own journey. But you wrote this very well and it will help others as they struggle through. The horrors of benzos and ADs just goes on. I will never take those drugs again, unless I am diagnosed with a terminal disease. And then I WOULD take benzos again but NOT ADs. They do more damage than good and don't help your mood a bit.


I went through a 5 year WD from those drugs. Even now I have some minor lingering stuff I attribute to WD. But I can live with this stuff. I am now so much healthier than I have been in about 20 years, and ALL of that is due to getting off psych drugs.


Thank you for sharing your story, your journey.
[...]
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: Finally!
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2018, 09:50:47 pm »
Well done, my TT - ma Chari !

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: Finally!
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2018, 01:13:18 am »
Thank you for sharing your story! Congratulations on your success in overcoming and your new 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: Finally!
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2018, 02:26:36 am »
Wow what a story!!  Thanks for sharing it. We are the same age actually and I have been off from CT of xanex coming in 10 months.. TONIGHT I was going to bite the bullet  and try a trazadone just so I can get a good [...] sleep. Just 1 for tonight, my brother has them.. I been scared to try one but tonight I was caving in... until I read your story. Now i Am back to being too scared to try one. 

I just want to sleep a full [...] and give my body the rest  it so desperately needs..

Think I am making the right decision. ?
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: Finally!
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2018, 07:45:54 am »
Hi Chari,

That was a great story and you're a great writer. I trust your insomnia will resolve itself, but if it doesn't, there are a couple good books I can recommend: Say Goodnight to Insomnia by Dr. Gregg D. Jacobs or End The Insomnia Struggle by Alisha Brosse and Colleen Ehrnstrom (PhDs). They both take a CBT for insomnia approach and it works better than any darn pill ever would :)

Hope you enjoy the house you built  ;)

Thanks!
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: Finally!
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2018, 03:05:31 pm »
Thank you all for your comments!

I'll respond to everyone later after work  ::)

C
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: Finally!
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2018, 07:33:06 pm »
Thank you so much for sharing your story! Congratulations on making it to the other side! Enjoy it all.  :)
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: Finally!
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2018, 10:59:48 pm »
Congrats!  Thank you for sharing your story and I'm sorry you suffered for so long.  It looks as if it took you a little over 5 years to get back to normal life?  You're story gives me inspiration and I will read it along with others a few times a week to help me stay positive.  Merry Christmas!

Hi Keith,

Thanks so much for hanging in there, it's a long read.
I'm very happy you plan to read it whenever you need as that was my intention. The success stories were my lifeline because I'm a silent sufferer...couldn't speak about it, let alone write about it until now. May the rest of your benzo road be very, very short!
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.