Author Topic: GABAergic Polydrug User Success Story  (Read 1981 times)

[Buddie]

GABAergic Polydrug User Success Story
« on: March 08, 2022, 05:12:33 pm »
I knew better when I first started taking benzos. I was aware of BZD withdrawal syndrome before I ever took my first Xanax. Others might fall into this trap, but not me. So, I got all methodological. I used a spreadsheet to keep track of my use. I switched from Xanax to Valium because I figured it was safer. I had strict rules that I followed - and gradually amended as my dependence grew.

First, just 10mg of Valium was enough to be constantly ON on social functions. Later, to get the desired effect, I started mixing it with alcohol and Phenibut. Ultimately, I took up to 200mg of Valium (on hangover days) and a minimum of 40mg on regular days, just to stay functional.
I started to develop stomach issues I'd never had before. The doctor called them IBS. I couldn't even have an ordinary meeting at work without these stomach problems, or shits - to put them bluntly. I had the shakes, and I was blushing, even in everyday social situations – another reason to up the dose of benzos, even though I never had these symptoms before I started using them.

In my mind, I was still in control, keeping track, following rules. It did not matter how much I kept moving the goalposts and how my how performance deteriorated.
So, when the shakes, the blushing, the IBS, the anxiety just kept getting worse, I upped the dosage of everything. My everyday GABA routine was a mix of 3g of Phenibut, 600mg of Pregabalin, 40mg of Valium, at least ten units of alcohol. This was combined with two SSRIs: 15mg of Mirtazapine and 40mg of Paroxetine. If I drank more than ten units of alcohol, which happened all the time, I had to take 100-200mg of Valium the next day to function. Getting the stuff was easy since I was travelling all the time. I had a stack of old prescriptions from all over Europe with me, which I summoned to convince a never-ending stream of new doctors that I had run out whilst following standard dosage guidelines.

One time, while in Istanbul, my usual tricks didn't work. Two doctors I met both refused to write me more Valium. So, I gave up. After all, I had been cautious, and I could easily go for one week without any benzos. I ran out of Mirtazapine simultaneously, and I figured I didn't need that stuff either. Hell, I just quit everything now, cold turkey!
And I did. After a few days, the withdrawals started. I didn't sleep for one second for a week. All these symptoms appeared, which I later knew were due to benzo withdrawal, but then I thought they were caused by insomnia, which in turn was caused by a shortage of Mirtazapine.
So, in denial and suffering terrible waves, I didn’t leave my hotel room for seven days in Istanbul. Finally, the day came for me to leave for another country. I still didn’t understand what was going on, even though it took me six hours to back my one backpack (due to benzo brain). I was having severe depersonalization, derealization and akathisia. I felt like I was going to soil myself all the time, and I had a constant panic attack like symptoms when making eye contact with anyone. I somehow made it to the airport and texted to my friend. “I have never been this high in my life before, and I’m completely sober.” He thought, like me, that it was just caused by insomnia. I was not being honest with him on what I was taking.

So, there I was, sitting in the terminal, feeling rainlike sensation crawling on my skin, hearing constant 8-bit music as a background track, having constant intrusive and paranoid thoughts, getting brain zaps, feeling like I am constantly about to soil myself. Even though I knew from the start that this condition existed, I was still totally oblivious of what was going on. Finally, when my plane landed, I went running to a pharmacy with my hands and teeth shaking and begged for some Valium. There was no dignity left in me, no clever schemes to fool the doctors. Just shaking, crying man begging for more drugs waving some old prescription from another country. I finally got some, and the symptoms slowly went away in the next few days.
But I still didn’t think I had a problem. Instead, I figured it was all caused by cold turkey stopping all those other drugs. It never dawned on me at the time that it was most if not all due to benzos.

I was on sabbatical that started as a choice but had turned into involuntary by this time. I was living alone in hotels and Airbnbs around Europe. I kept following my daily routine of overdosing four different GABAergic drugs: Valium, Pregabalin, Phenibut and Alcohol, and on top of that, I was smoking heavily.
Then one weekend, I lost control entirely. I didn't kill or assault anyone. But I knew that I was on a trajectory that would end with me destroying my life.

So the last October, I quit everything cold turkey: all the GABAergic drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, everything. I locked myself in a small Airbnb, alone in a foreign country that was on lockdown due to covid restrictions. I figured it would get better if I just survived for one week. I did not want to tell anyone about my problem, especially not my family. I was going to deal with this myself. 

I couldn’t sleep, eat, take out the trash, or even stay still. I was rotating from the couch to the hot shower, to the bed, to my computer, to the sofa again. I had intrusive thoughts, self-shaming, paranoia, fatigue, and my entire body was shaking uncontrollably. But the worst was the feeling of unrelenting desperation that this is not going to get any better, and it is only a matter of time until I go crazy; this will never end. This desperation felt like it tried to reach new pinnacles in my mind until I started moving again or found another distraction to block it off just for a second.
I kept living this state of helplessness one minute at a time for one week until I realized that every man has a breaking point, and I’m about to reach mine. By this time, I had found Benzobuddies, and I was weighing my options in this http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=262170.msg3309699#msg3309699 post.

My initial plan was to go to another country to a detox clinic, so I would not have to bother my family with all this. Another option was to go back home. Utterly miserable, wrote this post here then:

Quote
Another option is that I take shorter (1 hour) flight and then 2h train to my moms place. But I would not like her and rest of my family to see me in this shape, without being able to help, perhaps for a very long time. Still, when those terrors hit I always seem to go to that primitive place where I start missing my mom and I only want to go there. But she cant help with this, and she is very emotional, so it would be terrifying for her to see her son in this shape.

In this childlike state I was in, I realized that I would relapse sooner or later if I went to that detox clinic. It was just too easy for me to get more Valium in that country. By this time, I had also convinced myself that going cold turkey was the only option for me. I know myself well enough that it is just a matter of time until I reinstate the abuse if I have any supply of Valium at my disposal. Moreover, I felt like I had already suffered deep enough just to keep going, and I wanted to get this over with as quickly as possible. But I also realized I could not do this alone.

So, after a week of almost unbearable suffering, I took the most brutal trip I have ever done in my life: which was just a one-hour plane ride to my home country and then some more on a train. I’m glad it was Covid time, and I had a mask covering my face since my teeth were shaking uncontrollably, like a scared child. I was so shaky I jumped when someone’s phone made a sound. I could not look people in the eyes. My hands were shaking so violently that I couldn’t drink water, let alone eat. Everything around me was like a surreal nightmare. All the noises around sounded like an old Gameboy made them. If I ever made eye contact with someone, they got visibly scared, probably because my dilated pupils emitted some sheer terror I was feeling inside. I don't know how they allowed me to even board the flight, since I was totally out of it.

Ultimately, I made it to my mom. She was very supportive like moms tend to be when the situation is dire. It must have been a terrifying sight for her since my entire body was shaking, my pupils were dilated, and I couldn’t sit still, eat, sleep or even brush my teeth.

When I thought things were bad, I suddenly got the most horrifying symptom yet. People here call it “brain zap”, but for me, it was more like being unexpectedly shot in the face. I could not keep my eyes closed at night to sleep because I was so terrified of the following “shot.” It was a full-body seizure combined with a loud explosion and a feeling of whipping in my face. What made this sensation the worse was that it was unpredictable, like waiting for your subsequent execution.
So, there I was, laying on a bed, waiting for the “shot”, and hearing rats crawling around my bed, which is how my brain interpreted the brown noise I was playing from Youtube.
With time, I found ways to deal with this “shot.” I learned that it happened less often if I was lying on my side. But above all, I learned to accept that part of my life now is getting summarily shot in the head without pre-warning. Difficult things are surprisingly easy to endure once we accept them. 

The first week at my mom’s, so at this point days 7 to 14 were the worst. I was too afraid to go out, too scared to see anyone, even my family members. But ultimately, I started pushing myself with the help of my mom. She started taking me out for a short walk when it was dark. I was so exhausted that I couldn’t even walk any longer. But at the same time, it felt almost magical to be outside. The world felt different, and not always in a scary way. There were moments of childlike awe. These moments were short and quickly replaced the utter desperation again, but those small moments, or windows, started to appear for me already on week 2.

The symptoms were still borderline unbearable in the coming weeks, but I also kept challenging myself more and more. I met my other family members and even went out for a walk alone. One of the biggest challenges was when I went to a shop alone. I felt like deer in the headlights, scared to death of the cashier, but I still made it alive. I figured that I could not go wrong eating as healthy as I could and exercising as much as possible. Reading Success Stories here helped a lot and is the primary motivation for writing my own, even though I didn’t consider my story “extreme enough” at first.

After only one month or so, I no longer had severe symptoms. I was anxious, jumpy and scared, but no longer in what I consider the acute stage. The process was more like I had to re-learn every essential life skill again from this point on. I started from going outside, going to a shop, making eye contact with the cashier, talking to the cashier, not freaking out in unpredictable situations, maintaining eye contact—these kinds of things. But just a little over one month after my symptoms started, I was already in the shape that I could travel to another country to run an urgent errand. I was still too socially anxious to meet any of my former friends there, but I knew I was on the road to getting functional again.

This re-learning process has taken me last 3-4 months, but I in that time have gone from walking less than 2km at night to running a half marathon, and from fearing my own family to landing a great job after a multi-stage interview.

So yeah, it has been some 130 days since my symptoms started, and next week I am moving to a new country for the best job I have ever had. I feel more confident than ever, healthier than ever, and more optimistic than ever. My IBS, which I never had before I started taking benzos, has disappeared entirely.
I still have challenges in life I need to deal with. Benzo withdrawal was the hardest challenge in my life, but life remains unending series of challenges even after that. I say this because I feel like earlier, I tended to attribute everything wrong in my life to benzo withdrawal – or wrong medication. After going through that hell, I feel like I am finally ready to face those challenges that I have been running away from all my life.

In hindsight, it turns out the benzo withdrawal was precisely what the doctor ordered. Going through this hell was the cure that pushed me to a new level, from that terrible existence that used to be my life. So, what I want to say to those who are suffering now. Not only you will get through this, but you will come out of it better than you have ever been. That suffering will subside, and something else will take its place. And it will be all worth it.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2022, 03:07:23 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: GABAergic Polydrug User Success Story
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2022, 06:32:59 pm »
Thanks for writing your success story and your insights.
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: GABAergic Polydrug User Success Story
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2022, 07:02:46 pm »
Wow...great story...

I'm glad you were able to recover and heal so quickly (compared to most)!  :thumbsup:
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: GABAergic Polydrug User Success Story
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2022, 08:39:10 pm »
“I have never been this high in my life before, and I’m completely sober.”  Me everyday ,thank you for sharing your writing, your thoughts, your heart, 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: GABAergic Polydrug User Success Story
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2022, 03:19:32 pm »
Good Lord!!!! What a story. I am saving this one to remind me as I always say that we DO heal. That we feel like we are dying and will never be the same but the body will get busy healing when these drugs are out of our system.

When I was reading your story, I was taken back to my worst time in July and August and shuddered. The sounds, terror, feeling of being in another horrible parallel universe. Just the horror of it all.

Thank you for reminding all of us it does absolutely get better. :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]

Re: GABAergic Polydrug User Success Story
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2022, 02:53:45 pm »
Thank you for your story well needed. I'm at a point where I'm very anxious, fearful everything and it seems like it will never end, so thank you.
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: GABAergic Polydrug User Success Story
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2022, 02:47:47 pm »
Thank you so much for sharing your story in such an honest and raw fashion.  It gives me hope.  I'm amazed at your fast healing and very happy for you!  Enjoy your life and thanks again for sharing.
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: GABAergic Polydrug User Success Story
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2022, 06:27:11 pm »
What an incredible story and a miraculous recovery for you. I can really relate to many of the experiences that you had. I remember getting "shot" at night before going to bed, the incessant background music that doesn't exist, the terror of simple things. I continue to see the world in "childlike awe". It truly is amazing how different things can be after the drugs.

Quitting benzos is hell on earth. Quitting multiple GABAergic drugs at once is a completely new level. I do not understand how you managed to travel or live alone in a foreign country during all of this.  It is unfathomable and you should be really proud of yourself. You are a very strong 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: GABAergic Polydrug User Success Story
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2022, 05:33:40 am »
Thanks everyone for your kind words :)

Quitting benzos is hell on earth. Quitting multiple GABAergic drugs at once is a completely new level.

I think that those other GABAergics didn't play a significant role here. I had taken long breaks from them earlier and never had any noticeable symptoms. It was only when I stopped benzos that these symptoms appeared.

I also admit that I lied about my use when I came to this forum for the first time. I never wanted to mention that I was abusing other stuff because I felt like most people here were using only benzos as per doctor's orders. But I know there are others like me out there. After all, it was a beautiful lie because everything that I was abusing was legal. And by a beautiful lie, I mean that it helped keep the abuse going because everything was legal and therefore "safe". Hell, at least I wasn't doing drugs! But I can also admit that I have tried illegal drugs in my past, and no drug is even remotely comparable to benzo wds. It is like full-blown psychosis combined with a constantly changing set of mental disorders.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2022, 05:46:00 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: GABAergic Polydrug User Success Story
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2022, 09:33:21 pm »
Great story. I'm curious how you're doing now? Have all the symptoms gone?

Congratulations on your recovery - I think going and staying with your Mum to heal was a prudent decision.

I think minimizing stress in the early part of withdrawal is essential to a speedy recovery.
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.