Author Topic: Phoenix rising: long-term user, extreme insomniac, emerges from the ashes  (Read 5910 times)

[Buddie]

Maybe youíre reading this and wondering if youíre going to make it. Maybe youíre looking for hope that despite your history or the severity of your wd symptoms, that it can get better. I have good news and bad news. The good news is absolutely this gets better in timeÖmore time than is reasonable but it will happen. The bad news is that it can totally suck until then and your pre-existing issues will probably stay with you.

It's been 4 years and almost 3 months. Iím one of those long-term, high dose, polydrugged people. I took combinations and doses that would put most people into a coma but my body just shrugged it off. It wasnít until the drugs stopped working that the reality hit me that Iíd have to get off. It was a long, ugly, bumpy process with a ton of mistakes, cold turkeys and rapid tapers along the way. Finding BB helped save my life because I really didnít understand what was wrong-that I wasnít dying of some disease but that if I could dig deep and choose to carry on, I would get better, but the drugs had to go. That became my mission but it took several years to get off all of them since when I started I was taking more than ten different drugs every day plus my as needed drugs.

Iíve gone from a shaking, sweating woman who lost 30 lbs. in a few months (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), lost in a swirl of cognitive struggles that resembled dementia and a level of constant, severe, anxiety that, despite having PTSD, Iíd only ever experienced in a two-engine plane when one engine died. And absolutely black depression. Every day I wanted to die for around two years until it started lifting in fits and starts.

But nothing was like the insomnia. I had degrees of insomnia that Iíd never heard of and thought would kill you. For a couple of years, I only slept every other night (for a few hours and only on the nights I took amitriptyline). Then when I got off all drugs Iíd go days, as long as two weeks, with zero awareness of any sleep. Mostly I just read and never got sleepy. And cried.

But ever so gradually sleep returned. Light, short and broken with frequent zero nights but still, what an amazing gift! I decided that if I could just get to the point of sleeping two hours Iíd celebrate and not be bitter. It took months but two hours turned into four. Many months later I got up to 4 or 5 light sleep but it was manageable.

Now whatís left I attribute to CFS and IBS. With some exceptions, I sleep 6-7 hours per night and get up 4-5 times. Iíve had insomnia off and on since I was 12 so of course Iím still going to have it now. My IBS is better than it was when I took all of those drugs. The only clear wd symptom I have is paresthesias-a wet, tingly feeling on my face and occasional warm, not quite burning skin.

How did I survive? I kept reminding myself that I didnít have to make it through the next month, year, whatever, I only had to make it through this day, this hour. I tried to break everything up into tiny, manageable chunks. Even when, especially when, things were exceptionally bad, I practiced gratitude, striving, as if my life depended on it, to find things to be thankful for: that my husband was able to sleep (one of us was bad enough), that I had a roof over my head, that I was able to prepare and hold down a meal, that I wasnít in the zombie apocalypse, etc. Humor was a huge coping strategy. To the best of my ability I tried to focus on others. I reached this point where I understood it wasnít possible for me to feel better so maybe I could make otherís lives better instead.  I looked for small ways to brighten otherís days with a kind word or a card or just by letting them know I saw them, that I cared. We all hunger for that. My faith was a life preserver and God was a companion that I couldnít feel for a very long time until Iíd healed more. I had some friends I reached out to but I worked hard not to focus on myself and my needs. Itís easy to get on the ALL WITHDRAWAL ALL THE TIME channel. It makes us boring, selfish and we miss so much. Some of that is completely normal but I think we also have to fight it. If we want good friends we have to be good friends. If youíre vomiting and running to the bathroom, or your head is pounding from not sleeping, maybe you canít cook your friend dinner but you can text them and ask them about their day. Not only does it help them bur it provides you with distraction.

Iíve been reading a book, ďHow to be sickĒ that has strategies for coping with chronic illness. One of the tools is to cultivate joy in the joy of others. When I could drag my focus from my own sorry life and be happy for someone else who was able to sleep or who had the [...] to leave the house or who went on vacation, I saw how it helped me feel better. Cultivating this, and gratitude takes practice and you start with not having the *emotion* at all. Itís just practice. But bit by bit, if you work at it, youíll find yourself experiencing far more joy and gratitude than you thought imaginable.

Some days all I could do was hold on and try not to stay alive. Nothing got accomplished and no one else was helped but just making it through the day was pretty miraculous.

I donít know your story. I know itís probably pretty horrible and you doubt how much of this you can take. Maybe you often think of giving up. I understand. It feels devastating to go through this. Iím going to ask you to do the bravest, most badass thing possible and just fight through this one freaking hour and day at a time until one day you realize youíve made it far enough. Whoever you are out there, know that I believe in you. That out of the ashes of this devastation thereís a phoenix waiting to be born and thatís you.

MT
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]

...your pre-existing issues will probably stay with you.

So Iíll still have diabetes? Shit.
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]

WOW!!!!! Wonderful!!!!!  :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I'm so, so happy for you!!!!! I remember reading your posts about the insomnia, and then you disappeared but came back recently. You stuck with it. Incredible.

THANK YOU ever so much for posting your success story. I'm sure you will help many members who are suffering from insomnia. [...]'t imagine what it would be like to go through something so terrible, but I have my own symptoms which are bad, too.

I have Toni Bernhard's book How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness, and it calmed me down just knowing that others are experiencing chronic illness that doctors have little knowledge of. She offers very sound tips, and gratitude is so important. I'm incorporating that into my life, and it has definitely helped.

ENJOY THE [...] OF YOUR LIFE, and CONGRATULATIONS for a well-fought battle with the demon benzo!!!!! I'm so happy that you stayed with it. Remarkable. :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]

Thank you for sharing! Your point about focusing on others struck a chord with me ... so glad that you are recovered!
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]

Awesome, MT! 

I know you had a very rough go of it for a long, long time, and I always enjoyed your posts and admired and respected the (outwardly, lol) calm manner in which you appeared to be dealing with your lot.  Terrific success story, full of wisdom, maturity, a dash of old fashioned common sense, and a generous dollop of kick-butt badass! ;)

Very, very happy for you, thanks for taking the time, and I wish you only continued good health and happiness!
 :smitten:

« Last Edit: March 06, 2019, 06:37:33 am 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]

...your pre-existing issues will probably stay with you.

So Iíll still have diabetes? Shit.

Lmao
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]

...your pre-existing issues will probably stay with you.

So Iíll still have diabetes? Shit.

Hahahahaha Iíll still be bald
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]

Wonderful story, thanks so much for sharing your wisdom
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]

...your pre-existing issues will probably stay with you.

So Iíll still have diabetes? Shit.

Hahahahaha Iíll still be bald

And I still can't dance or play the [...]. I feel so cheated ;D
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]

[...] your story, inspiring and uplifting. Thank you so much to come back to let us know you made it! Im so happy for you!
Can I ask do you take any supplements?
May your life continue with good health and lots of happiness. :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.