Author Topic: 4+ yrs benzo-free after 6+ years on all of 'em  (Read 4473 times)

[Buddie]

4+ yrs benzo-free after 6+ years on all of 'em
« on: January 30, 2019, 03:59:07 am »
Hello, survivors! Congratulations on being here and still breathing. You got this.

I don't have the time I'd like to craft a good long post, but I am in the middle of one of those incandescent miracle moments where I feel so happy with my life, so grateful for all of the gifts I have, and so [...] for the future. Where I feel like everything has worked out and all the struggles that I had were worth it to bring me here. So of course I had to tell you all, because you need to know that on the other side of this, it can be better than you imagine. Seriously. I didn't think so either.

I had a lot of really horrible, unbearable symptoms. I often describe my recovery to people as a panic attack that lasted years. I really did spend day after day locked in existential dread and terror, looping over and over on thoughts of death, unable to sleep or get a moment's peace. My most precious relationships crumbled and I felt trapped in hell. And I had weirder, more mundane symptoms, like rashes and eczema. Lots of depersonalization and derealization, of course. Other things that [...]'t even remember now because they are so far behind me.

I was afraid I would never get my memories back, or my personality, or normal brain functioning. But it did come back. It's all come back. I'm me again, and I'm even more me than I was before, better and stronger, because I know that [...] survive hell and still come out and experience joy.

This forum really helped me—sharing coping strategies, reading other people's [...] stories, even just distracting me for a time. megan918 had a saying in her profile, "Time is the healer," that I just kept repeating to myself. I just have to get through the next breath, I thought, and then the next one. I just had to pretend that I was doing normal things like going to work or going to school, even though on the inside I was drowning in the abyss of terrible panic.

Slowly, second by second, day by day, I crawled my way back to life. I started noticing things becoming easier. I started experiencing stretches of time where I didn't think about my symptoms. I had setbacks—I was all set to post my success story in fall 2016, and then I was devastated that just as I seemed to be coming out of the darkness my country was going to drag me back into it. One of my favorite people died very suddenly, very young. But I could cope with all of that the same way I coped with benzos ... even though so many times, I felt like I wasn't coping! But really, I was. Just taking the next breath is coping. Just staying alive is heroism. It's all you need to do, and your brain will come back.

Today I am enjoying life every day. I just got my dream job. I have so many friends. I'm more serious about my yoga practice than I ever was before, and yes, I found it nearly impossible to exercise during recovery! Now, it's just another thing that brings me joy. I used to smoke a lot of weed to cope with life, because so many things made me depressed and anxious. Now, sometimes I smoke and it's nice, but I forget about it for weeks at a time because there are so many other exciting things going on, and I don't feel like I need anything to make myself totally happy.

I should add that changing antidepressants helped me in this process. When I started recovery, I was on Effexor, which wasn't the right drug for me and had its own severe withdrawal symptoms. I decided to go on imipramine, the oldest antidepressant I knew of, which my grandfather took his whole life. Imipramine just works for me. I was doing so well on it that I decided to go off of it last year, and I did for several months, but ended up going back on when a major stressor came up in my life. I plan to try to go off it again in maybe a year or two, but I don't think it's inhibiting me much other than giving me some dry mouth, and it is so much safer than benzos. So I don't think you should feel ashamed or worried necessarily about staying or going on an antidepressant that helps you as you try to heal from these other garbage drugs. I found a really good doctor who listens to me and follows my lead on my treatment, while giving me information I trust. I found this doctor's name on a benzo-wise forum, from a survivor like you! I wish that good luck to everyone in finding doctors, because it's so important ... but you can do this even if you're not so lucky. I know it. You just have to pass the time, which feels like the one thing you absolutely cannot bear to do, but it's okay. You don't have to do it all at once. Right now, you just have to breathe for the next second.

Welp, I guess this got long anyway, and it is completely disorganized! But I just wanted to post because I used to read those success stories where people said stuff like "I'm better than I ever was!" and I felt SO MUCH LONGING and so much fear that that would never be me. But guess what, it is me. The time passed. This September, I will be 5 years benzo-free. And I never thought I would get to this point until well after that ... but [...] say now, at 4 years and a few months, that I am exactly where I want to be in my life. I am happy. You will be 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: 4+ yrs benzo-free after 6+ years on all of 'em
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2019, 04:25:53 am »
Congratulations on getting better! I [...] to write a success story myself one day that inspires people on this forum. Yours definitely inspired me. 

One thing that interests me about your story is the fact that you are/were on an antidepressant while getting better. I am currently ten months off Klonopin, which I quit c/t. It was a low dose, but you come to find out that no dose is low with benzos. I have suffered from severe depression and intrusive thoughts throughout this process, like dark thoughts that my mind goes to whenever I think of anything stressful. My mind never goes off them except a little bit at night. Being 10 months off, do you think the depression will let up without more medication? The the AD stop your depression? It seems to be my worst symptom that has been hanging around since June.
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: 4+ yrs benzo-free after 6+ years on all of 'em
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2019, 05:13:38 am »
Thanks for the awesome success story rapunzel. I wish you the best in your new life and am happy for your happiness!

Boomboxboy, I personally do not think there is anything wrong with using other meds such as antidepressants as tools to get off Benzos. I recently started a low dose of oxcarbazepine to help with the nerve pain and muscle spasms. Is helping my sleep also. I have a family with another baby on the way, being disabled is just not an option. Healing goes on underneath them, and likely faster when you’re not so stressed out about the disabling symptoms. And nothing will be near as bad coming off as Benzos later when the time is right. Others on this forum may disagree,  but everyone is different.
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: 4+ yrs benzo-free after 6+ years on all of 'em
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2019, 10:21:16 am »
This has really helped alleviate my fears of never feeling normal or happy again, so pleased for you, thanks for coming back to leave [...] for those of us still battling, lovely success 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: 4+ yrs benzo-free after 6+ years on all of 'em
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2019, 01:38:12 pm »
Thank you so much for posting.  I so needed to read this today.
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: 4+ yrs benzo-free after 6+ years on all of 'em
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2019, 01:12:06 am »
Thank you so much for taking time to post your story. So happy to know you are feeling better, happy and enjoying your life now.

May you continue to have joy, peace and wellness with your new found life.

Blessings!
[...]
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: 4+ yrs benzo-free after 6+ years on all of 'em
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2019, 04:06:33 am »
Beautiful, just beatifulto read your success story, [...].  Huge congratulations to you!  Your story is a blessing to us all.  So very grateful to you for coming back to share with us and for giving us the opportunity to celebrate your with you.  It’s truly wonderful you are feeling so good, enjoying life and are a more empowered version of yourself.  This gives me so much [...].  It’s so difficult to see it’s even possible, but reading about your experience helps so much.

Big hugs and best wishes,

[...] ❤️

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: 4+ yrs benzo-free after 6+ years on all of 'em
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2019, 09:23:11 am »

Congratulations on your long recovery.  In spite of the malpractice of doctors having made you so sick for so many years,  you are so excited to sing the praises of getting new doctors.   So that really is optimism.   They offer procedures or pills and that is all.   Enjoy your new found health buddy!
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: 4+ yrs benzo-free after 6+ years on all of 'em
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2019, 02:45:48 am »
Boomboxboy, [...], [...], [...], [...], Unicorn, [...]: Thank each of you SO MUCH for reading my story and leaving your comments! I teared up reading them (another thing [...] do now post-benzos: have feelings!!). You are so kind and you so deserve better health—I am thinking of you all and wishing you the best luck. :smitten: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for taking care of yourselves and for struggling through this hell. I admire you. I really believe time is the healer, and will keep healing you.

About antidepressants, it's hard to say as every person is so different. I've been on them since I was 14, so sometimes I worry that I'll have to be on them forever. But being on imipramine makes me worry less, because it's such an old drug, the side effects and withdrawal symptoms are SOO much less pronounced, and so much more is known about it. I do think it helped me get through recovery, particularly with intrusive thoughts / other OCD behaviors being my worst symptoms. But I also think that even if I hadn't gone on it, I would still have healed from benzos. And I had a really lucky situation of being able to find a new benzo-wise doctor who I was able to trust ... at least way more than I trusted my old doctors. :P I think Dr. Heather Ashton was right to say that we should be in charge of the process, we should trust our instincts and do what feels right for us. And I think it is amazing how much healing the body can do, even years out.

So I have [...], no matter what you decide to do! And so much love and respect. No one should ever have to suffer like this. I [...] it is over for you soon, and that you can live the rest of your life knowing that you've survived the worst & you can handle anything. :)
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: 4+ yrs benzo-free after 6+ years on all of 'em
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2020, 07:44:25 am »
Hi friends! I'm hardly ever around anymore but I'm always thinking of all of you on this forum, struggling so bravely in a way not enough people appreciate. I just wanted to let you know that now at 6+ (!!) years out, things are great and just keep getting better and better. I remember being so scared because so many of the success stories were like "1 year out" or "2 years out" and at 2 years I still didn't feel like myself. But now I totally am. You can do it, it can happen, there is every reason to [...]! Lots of love. Thank you for taking care of yourselves.
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.