Author Topic: Almost ten years  (Read 1220 times)

[Buddie]

Almost ten years
« on: February 25, 2022, 02:49:24 pm »
Hello, everyone -

Trying to offer a few words of encouragement here.  In a few months I will have been totally off benzos for ten years.  Except for a couple of herbal supplements, I take no medication at all now, at least 95% of the time (once in a great while melatonin, although I try to avoid even that).  I mostly sleep pretty well, but I remember too well the long and frightening nights of no sleep, or of maybe 30 minutes’ “fake sleep,” from which I would emerge more exhausted than before, not to mention freaked-out. 

The one permanent legacy clonazepam left me with is admittedly a challenging one: relentless tinnitus.  I have learned simply to live with it, and it feels like a small price to pay, compared with the horrors of actually being on the drug.

I am aware that I have been lucky, that I had what amounted to a brush with benzos, rather than a full-on collision.  I’m also fortunate that I didn’t go through my ordeal during a pandemic, and my heart goes out to all of you who have had that additional layer to cope with.

I just want to wish all of you strength and courage, and send my hope that you will come safely out the other end of whatever thicket you are working your way through. 

Warmly,

[...]
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: Almost ten years
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2022, 08:02:11 pm »
It's discouraging to read that you still have tinnitus after 10 years off.   I have been off Clonazepam for almost 6 years, and my tinnitus is relentless also.   Tinnitus appears to be a permanent condition for many people, so it would be difficult for me to ever consider myself healed.  This is very depressing.   
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: Almost ten years
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2022, 12:06:14 am »
First of all, congratulations on being off benzos for six years—well, done!

While I can understand feeling defeated by the tinnitus, the bottom line for me is that I sleep normally now.  There’s an argument I make to myself about the tinnitus that allows me to consider myself fully healed, namely that there are bazillions of people out there with chronic tinnitus who’ve never touched a benzodiazepine, or taken much in the way of any other medication, either; I know at least one such person.  His tinnitus drives him nuts sometimes, but he lives with it.  He’s never been intensively medicated in any way shape or form.  So it can happen to anyone—it’s not a punishment delivered up exclusively to those of us to ran afoul of benzodiazepines.  Thinking of it this way allows me just to get on with things, although I realize such reasoning might not work for everyone.

Hang in there—I’m sorry not to be able to be more helpful!

[...]
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: Almost ten years
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2022, 12:10:43 am »
What a great attitude [...] and thank you for letting us know how you're doing.  I found out today that the husband of one of our members has tinnitus too and he's never touched a benzo either so you're right, this condition can happen to anyone.  I'm sorry you're living with it but the key is you are.

How long would you say it took you to get to this point, I was wondering if I could link your story in the Protracted board, they need hope.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2022, 02:13:21 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]

Re: Almost ten years
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2022, 02:07:56 am »
Thanks for coming back to write:)
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: Almost ten years off
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2022, 03:33:08 pm »
Hi, folks—and hi, [...], and sorry I didn’t respond sooner to your question!  A little while ago I wrote a long reply,  not realizing that my session had expired while I was writing, so I lost the whole thing when I tried to post it.  Maybe that’s a sign that the shorter answer is better, so here it is.

From when I “jumped” (in late August, I think, of 2012), it took about a year for me to gain back most of the fifteen pounds clonazepam had caused me to lose needlessly and for no obvious reason, and to return to what felt like full normalcy; but it took only a few weeks, or maybe a month, to reach the point of “bearable,” when I was sleeping two or three hours a night—at that point, even two or three hours felt luxurious!—and was more stable emotionally.  Now I usually sleep between seven and nine hours a night, which still strikes me as nothing short of miraculous, since I remember only too well the hell of no-sleep or fake sleep. 

The thing that, hands-down, helped me the most in getting unhooked from clonazepam (besides the devoted support of my husband, sister, and my then ninety-year-old father, who lovingly called me every single night to see how I was) was mindfulness meditation.  I can’t emphasize this enough.  The medical-industrial complex had totally betrayed me, leaving me in a state of the most furious rage I have ever felt.   Mindfulness meditation was entirely gentle, non-invasive, non-addictive, and effective. 

The things that best helped me learn to sleep again were what I called “the three M’s”: milk (warmed), melatonin (3mg at most, and not every night), and a sleep mask.

There were minor setbacks, like when I had a glass of champagne New Year’s Eve, which I paid for in aching joints and a wobbly emotional state for a couple of days afterward.  For the most part, for a full year, I avoided “substances,” everything from caffeine and alcohol to most supplements (excluding calcium with vitamin-D and, as mentioned, melatonin).  Then I was gradually able to reintroduce things I liked or felt I needed.   

There it is, the short answer, which I should also qualify with the observation that others on these boards are up against challenges tougher than what I faced, with regard either to chronic pain or to dependence on these medications, or both.  So I submit this with humble acknowledgment of how easy I had it, in comparison to some.

Please do feel free to use this in any way you see fit.  And, as ever, my hopes for comfort and recovery to everyone still struggling.  Wishing you all courage!

[...]
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.