Author Topic: 1 year clean and better everyday  (Read 1538 times)

[Buddie]

1 year clean and better everyday
« on: January 07, 2019, 02:59:20 am »
I started getting panic attacks in high school. By the time I was 19 I went to a pain management doctor who was known around town to prescribe benzos (I had been given a xanax here and there by family members and I thought that I needed to be on them too). He started me on ativan. I dont remember the dose. By the time I was 20 he had bumped me up to xanax. I was prescribed to take up to 0.5 mg a day. Before too long I was at 1 mg a day then moved onto Klonopin. By the time I was 24 I was taking 4-6 mg of klonopin a day. It's also important to know that I had a drinking problem. I had been drinking everyday since 19. By the time I was 24 I was drinking 8-14 beers a night.

I went to a doctor's appointment like normal one day only for my doctor to give me a urine test. He said it was to make sure the drugs were in my system. When it came back that I had alcohol in my system that was it. He had warned me not to be drinking with the medicine. He promptly "kicked me out" of his practice. He was no longer going to prescribe me the klonopin. He gave me a business card for a psychiatrist.

I was and always had drank to self medicate my anxiety. So please dont read this story thinking i was partying and having a good time with pills and booze. I was just trying to manage and go to work.

So the day I got kicked out of his practice I went doctor shopping. I spent $300 going to 3 different doctors in town telling them my story. I was trying to find a doctor willing to help me taper off. (At this point i knew a little about tapering and that it was neccessary) Within a few days I had essentially went on medical leave at my then job. That was an embarrassing conversation to have with my boss.

It is also worth noting that I had a rather large stock pile of klonopin. The pharmacy had made a mistake months prior and I had ~60 extra 2mg pills. A couple days later i went to a addiction specialist and got on a taper program. The first step was to cut down from my varying 4mg-6mg a day to 3mg a day. That actually wasnt that hard. From there i cut 0.25 mg off every 2 weeks. Or that was the plan. The addiction specialist was prescribing me klonopin as well. I went down 0.25 for a while. I took my time on some steps and had an easier time with other steps. It's important to keep in mind that the farther down my dose got the more I drank. Drinking earlier and earlier. By the time I got to 1.25 or so I was really in the hole. I got to 1.25 in a couple months and didnt get to .25 from there for another 8 months. The day before i jumped off i told my mom that it was going to be the following day and i was going to need her help. She took time off work so she could talk to me on the phone ( she lives in another state). The day I quit my mom told me just stay busy just stay busy. I started picking weeds. Like meth addict level of attention to detail. For 3 days straight I kept my face close to the ground and picked weeds and did yard work.

NOW LET ME BACKTRACK. I wanted you to get the whole taper side in before I started talking about symptoms and what I did to manage. My symptoms were not linear by any means and they came and went. I didnt really figure them out until almost the end so maybe some of you reading this will have an easier time managing.

Sleep. Have a bed time! Try to go to sleep at the same time every night. I started doing a sleep ritual. I would take a bath. Fill up my water bottle for my night stand. Start an oil defuser.  Put ear plugs in. And bam. That works much better than stressing out all day until your so tired your eyes burn then trying to get some sleep. I did start taking benadryl every night per my doctor. Also do not hesitate to take a nap! I used to avoid naps because I would always wake up to a panic attack. But EVERY HOUR IS PRECIOUS! If you're tired enough to fall asleep then do it! Deal with that panic later.

Diarrhea- I had diarrhea for 6 months straight. It's important to drink your water. I started making an effort to eat more fiber rich food and supplementing with fiber. It helps.

Trembling hands- when your body panics and releases hormones one of those hormones is insulin. Under prolonged panicking your blood sugar will drop or be low. I found its helpful to eat many small meals throughout the day. This will stable you out a bit.

Brain Zaps- you just have to let them happen. They dont mean your going crazy. I had brain zaps for a year straight and I haven't had them since. Just let them happen. They go away as quick as they came.

Those are the four physical symptoms i struggled with the most. And that's what I learned to take care of the symptoms. As far as my mental health, anxiety, and panic there are more important factors. Although eating healthy, staying hydrated, and getting sleep are important.

I had horrid depersonalization, derealization, and this feeling like my body was just going to continue on without my mind.

If you're drinking alcohol [...] tell you definitely it is making your symptoms much much worse. Alcohol acts on the same GABA chemicals in your brain as benzos. It will exacerbate ALL of your symptoms. Quit drinking as soon as possible. The plus side to quitting now is you're already taking benzos so you won't get many side effects from quitting as you would without them even if the benzos arent doing what you think they should.

Next and just as important as quitting drinking is STAYING ACTIVE! I cant stress this part enough. If you're going through a taper you are most likely not working this means you probably have a lot of free time on your hands. While reading these stories can be good sometimes, obsessing over research will only make you worse. Sitting inside all day playing on your phone or watching tv will make you worse. You must burn off some of this energy and more importantly you need prolonged activity to strengthen the connection between your mind and your body. This will help with anxiety, panic, derealization, and depersonalization. I started doing everything. I really liked riding my bike though. I would race myself everyday on how fast I could complete 10 miles. I got down to 45 minutes! I felt like that was an achievement. Not only does this help you reduce symptoms but it will also improve your sleep! Also when you're in the zone pedaling or running or whatever you're doing you briefly forget how wrecked your life is and you can feel some normalcy. Another added bonus is getting in shape! My wife and my relationship was definitely under a huge strain needing constant attention and not working. But me getting ripped helped. Even if it was only a little I was taking all that I could get.

So if you take only two things from reading this whole thing please quit drinking ANY alcohol and do not sit inside all day. Get out and break a sweat with some engaging exercise everyday. It will make all of the difference.

I have been off of benzos and alcohol for about a year now. I passed the substitute teacher test at the beginning of the year and have been working in different schools throughout the year. I'm on my way to a full career switch. I'm studying to become a teacher now! Every once in a while I pay respect to what I went through but I try not to give it too much attention. I am a much better person today, a better spouse, a better family member, and a better friend. Getting sober and off of prescription medication was the greatest thing I ever did for myself.

If you have any questions for me feel free to message me. Thank you for everyone that read this. I hope I helped at least one person.
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: 1 year clean and better everyday
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2019, 04:08:14 am »
Congratulations Trav, coming off both booze and Benzos is a monumentous achievement. You should be proud of yourself and I wish you the best in life.

Nathan
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: 1 year clean and better everyday
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2019, 08:20:51 am »
<<Trembling hands- when your body panics and releases hormones one of those hormones is insulin. Under prolonged panicking your blood sugar will drop or be low. I found its helpful to eat many small meals throughout the day. This will stable you out a bit.>>

First of all, MAZEL TOV on making it through and back to being EVEN BETTER THAN BEFORE, Trav! And, THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking the time to come back and tell your story and give hope to all of us still in the battle!

I am a Type II, insulin-dependent diabetic (who, by the way, has lost 25 pounds since cold-turkeying in July -- aka, weight loss THE HARD F*CKING WAY...HA!) and I found your comment about the insulin and blood sugar FASCINATING and perhaps TIMELY for myself...as I have been having recurring episodes of low blood sugar on and off all throughout my own withdrawal/recovery...and could NOT, for the life of me, figure out what the hell was going on. In fact, it got to the point where, since September, I have actually stopped using any insulin at all because I was having lows even WITHOUT it. To hear that it may, in fact, be WD related could explain SO MUCH that has been baffling me for months. Where did you hear about this phenomenon? Or did you just experience it for yourself? Thinking about it -- what with all the ruthless, endless CNS and JITTER and CONSTANT PHYSICAL DISTRESS STUFF...well, it just makes so much sense.

At any rate...thank you again for passing along your wisdom and your encouragement and your advice and, most of all, YOUR HOPE. It is MUCH NEEDED and MUCH APPRECIATED.

With affection --
Neely
« Last Edit: January 07, 2019, 09:47:37 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: 1 year clean and better everyday
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2019, 10:51:55 am »
Congratulations [...] on your amazing achievement! Thank you so much for coming back and sharing your story, it gives me great hope for my own healing. 
You deserve so much and I wish you every good thing, now and always!!  :smitten: Congrats again!
-[...] 🌷
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: 1 year clean and better everyday
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2019, 01:09:01 pm »
I read your story with great interest because it was so much like mine. I to start klonopin after having a panic attack and anxiety issues. 1mg for over 20 years. Sometimes I'd take a little more. Dr. also tried paxil and depakote during that period. I knew nothing about the medication or side effects or reaching tolerance. Anxiety was always a issue for me. 6 years ago I to started using beer to help with anxiety in the evenings. It seem to work at first but starting using it earlier and more and more often. I got into some trouble with the law lost driving privileges had to quit my job. I decide to get completely sober. I stopped drinking and tapered off all medication over a 8 month period. I'm working on 4 months med free and over a year alcohol free. Live is starting to get good again. I have a few lingering symptoms but certainly doable. Yes clean living staying busy and active being positive was key for me also. Thanks again for your encouraging story. Glad life is good for you and it's getting good for me also. Sober clean living is the way to go. Good luck to everyone on the 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: 1 year clean and better everyday
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2019, 07:13:06 am »

Congratulations [...] on your 1 year success.  Thanks for coming back and writing this.  Also, congratulations on your career change and your substitute teaching position.  I taught for 25 years and loved it.  This experience will make you a much more compassionate teacher in the classroom.  I wish you well and your Nu 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: 1 year clean and better everyday
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2019, 03:59:56 pm »
[...],
Thanks for sharing your experience with alcohol and Benzos and congrats for coming out on the other side.  It's interesting how you described the doctor as "known around town to prescribe benzos". 
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: 1 year clean and better everyday
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2019, 07:06:24 pm »
Thanks for sharing this  :) I too struggled with alcohol and Klonopin and am about a year out. I still have waves, but I am mostly healed and looking forward to posting a success story soon.  :thumbsup:

na-  :angel:
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.