Author Topic: 20 months of Zero-K after a 10.5-mo taper. HEALED.  (Read 1087 times)

[Buddie]

20 months of Zero-K after a 10.5-mo taper. HEALED.
« on: May 02, 2022, 01:07:33 am »
In 2004, a script doctor began prescribing me Adderall. 30 mg per day. It pepped me up in the mornings, but made me really want to drink booze and smoke cigarettes.

In 2009, she added 10 mg of Zolpidem. It helped with sleep, but I began taking 2-3 an evening, refusing to sleep, and just watching TV while ďenjoyingĒ its hypnotic affect.

In 2013, she added 2 mg of Klonopin per day, since I told her that I needed an antidepressant, but something that didnít take a month to start working, or a month to get out of my system when I wanted to quit it, like Zoloft. She told me about the short half-life of Klonopin and told me it would be simple to quit anytime I felt like.

I loved Klonopin. Within 6 months, I was up to 3 mg per day.

On Mondays, I would wake up, take 1/2 of my Adderall, tamp down some of the resulting anxiety with 1-2 mg of Klonopin, be productive, and push myself to the end of the work day when I could binge-drink vodka. Iíd drink a ridiculous amount until 2:00 am, and feel like garbage the next day. Upon waking, Iíd take 2 mg of Klonopin to fight the hangover, and Iíd be good to get through another day. That night, I would take 2-3 Zolpidem to chill out with, and another mg of Klonopin, and end up passing out. The next day, Iíd wake up and go back to the Adderall, which caused me to end the evening binge-drinking again. This cycle continued for 6.5 years.

I nearly lost everything. I did the bare minimum to get by at my job. My girlfriend of 11 years got fed up and left. Iíd spend 16+ hours a day in bed, on my iPad. I gained 100 lbs. I stopped speaking to my mother for 1.5 years. I ended up living in filth.

I started taking CBD oil when it became legal in my state (Georgia). I liked it so much that I stopped taking so much Klonopin. Instead of having 2 or 3 pills left over at the end of the month, Iíd have 20. Within a few weeks, I cut down to using Klonopin only 2 or 3 days each week, while still abusing the Zolpidem and alcohol. My sleep started suffering and my dreams were strange but I figured it was some passing phase. In October 2019, I woke up one morning, and thought I was in hell. I knew I NEEDED a Klonopin, but I didnít know how to find one. I walked around my home in a stupor for two hours before I found a bottle right next to my bed. I downed about 4 mg, and the symptoms faded until I felt almost normal again by nightfall.

I started reading up on Klonopin and withdrawal and tapering. I found this site, and I read Dr. Ashtonís manual. I knew I had to get off of this drug ASAP, but safely. I stabilized myself at 2.5 mg per day for the next week or two, then began my taper.

On 10/9/2019, I started my taper, cutting to 2 mg/day. That day, I also quit smoking cigarettes, quit Zolpidem C/T, and quit caffeine. Tapering the Klonopin was rough, but nothing I couldnít handle. Iím very motivated and goal-oriented, and I planned to cut .25 mg every 2 weeks until I was off of Klonopin. It didnít quite work that way.

I got down to 1 mg/day by 12/5/2019, and actually reconnected with my mother. This is when the too-rapid taper caught up with me, and the bottom fell out. I went through absolute hell during my taper. If it werenít for COVID, there is no way I could have kept my job. I lay in bed as much as I possibly could from December 2019 through December 2021.

I had intense anxiety, audio hallucinations (gunshots any time I began to drift off to sleep), unbelievable insomnia (not the kind where youíre just not sleepy, but the kind where youíre sleepier than youíve ever been, but every time you begin to doze off, jolts go through your body keeping you from sleeping). Iíd go weeks with almost no sleep. When I did sleep, I had nightmares that I was being suffocated. I had terrible trouble breathing. I felt like I was drowning when I lay down flat. I had to sleep on a ramp Iíd make out of pillows on my bed to keep my head up to get rid of the drowning sensation. While I tapered, I would have one week where I didnít make much sense when I spoke to or texted anyone, and Iíd black out the entire week and remember nothing. I was terrified, depressed and had never felt so alone.

I thank god for so many people on this site who helped me at my lowest points. If it werenít for @[...], I donít know if I would have made it. His advice about slowing down my taper was invaluable.

The two worst times of my taper were in February and July 2020. I got severe ear infections in both ears during both of those months. Both ears were swollen shut, and filled with liquid. I couldnít hear, and there was a sense of fullness I couldnít get rid of, like when your ears clog up on an airplane. I felt like I was losing my mind. To combat the infections, I had to go on antibiotics, which threw me into acute withdrawal. This ushered in the shallow breathing and insomnia. At one point, I passed out and hit the floor as I dozed off while standing up in my bedroom, propped up against the wall.

[...]ís taper advice saved me. I started pulverizing and weighing my pills, and cutting .003 mg every 2 days. This smoothed everything out for me, and allowed me to step off at .0147 mg on 8/19/2020. I was scared about acute withdrawal after quitting, but it never happened. In fact, after about 36 hours, I felt all of my systems ďgo back onlineĒ and I felt like I was 18 again. My lungs immediately cleared up; I felt happy; I drove across town to a bookstore and drank coffee and felt fine in public. About 2 days later, I didnít feel as great. But those 2 days showed me that I was, in fact, capable of healing.

Every day of zero Klonopin has felt better than every day of my taper, but it has been trying at times. I caught COVID in August 2021 (thank God I was vaccinated). Three people I work with caught the same strain. One was hospitalized, and another one passed away. My breathing was terrible through the end of last year, and the sleep issues returned, but I made it through.

In August, I switched to a gluten-free diet, and my itching and sleep issues improved dramatically. In January, I began limiting my carb intake to 20-30 mg per day, and I felt immensely better. Iíve lost a little weight, but nowhere near as much as I should have, having been on such a drastic diet for four+ months now. My extended Benzo belly is the last symptom that hasnít gone away yet, although I am seeing some progress.

Something magical happened at 18 months off. My anxiety went away. My brain came back. I was able to speak eloquently again, without having to stop to search for words. My short-term memory improved dramatically. My depression lifted.

I just got back from a week-long vacation to Montana. I took my 74 year-old father with me, and we drove through Yellowstone National Park, from Montana to Idaho to Wyoming. Six months ago, I lamented the fact that I never saw myself getting on an airplane again. One of the great joys of my life has been traveling. I live to go places Iíve never been. From 10/2019 through 2/2022, I knew that that part of my life was over, due to the sudden onset of claustrophobia, and resulting fear of flying. The four flights I took last week (2 there, 2 back) were absolutely worry-free. My irrational fear disappeared as quickly as it came on.

I rented a 4WD to get around Yellowstone and Grand Teton, and the bill they emailed me when I turned it back in says I drove 890 miles. These were tough miles, up and down mountains, overlooking cliffs, and one day (Thursday) through a blizzard. No way I could have done that 6 months ago.

One thing I want to mention is that PTSD from the trauma we experience going through taper and withdrawal is REAL. I got very used to lying in my bed, and having people do things for me, not out of laziness, but because of fear and depression. Getting up and doing things is the best thing you can do. There are days when that will be impossible, and that is OK. But on a day when youíve got even a little bit of energy, get up, and push yourself to do something, even if itís just going to the mailbox.

Iím trying to keep my momentum going from my vacation. In Montana, it was second-nature to wake up early, get breakfast, hop in the car, and set off on the dayís adventure I had planned out the night before. I need to hit my humdrum, everyday life with the same energy now that Iím back at home. I lost 6.5 years to being on this crap, and 2.5 years to getting off of it. Enough is enough.

KEEP FIGHTING. WE DO HEAL.

Waves are temporary and windows are inevitable.

Much Love to all who are doing what they can to fight this beast. You are all my heros.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2022, 01:40:50 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: 20 months of Zero-K after a 10.5-mo taper. HEALED.
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2022, 01:50:25 am »
I'm so happy to read your success story, you fought so hard and you came out whole, thank you for coming back and writing it, this will give hope to others.  :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: 20 months of Zero-K after a 10.5-mo taper. HEALED.
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2022, 01:52:27 am »
Wonderful success story! Thank you for writing it.  It definitely gives me hope as I prepare to step off this week.
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: 20 months of Zero-K after a 10.5-mo taper. HEALED.
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2022, 02:07:28 am »
Congratulations for your healing ! I am so happy for you! Thank  you for sharing this to us!I really need to hear this today I am  22 months out and still suffering almost everyday , insomnia is killing me I feel so hopeless  but your story really encouraging me . Thank you I wish you continue healing and enjoy the second chance of your 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: 20 months of Zero-K after a 10.5-mo taper. HEALED.
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2022, 01:23:01 pm »
Great successtory, you really went through a lot but made it! "Glad" to hear another person had the sound hallucianations when drifting off, its called "exploding head syndrone" (for real), heather ashton mentions it too. I have only found 3 people so far on here that had it. Had it the first 3 months then 2,5 month break now its back with other hypnic stuff again sigh. Also great to read your insomnia got better.

Wishing you a great benzo free 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: 20 months of Zero-K after a 10.5-mo taper. HEALED.
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2022, 02:03:54 pm »
thank you for the kind words
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: 20 months of Zero-K after a 10.5-mo taper. HEALED.
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2022, 02:58:49 pm »
You went through so much, from being on a lot of medications as well as alcohol. Your fierce determination to let go of all these is amazing, you deserve this life of wellness. Thanks for posting this message of hope.

[...]  :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: 20 months of Zero-K after a 10.5-mo taper. HEALED.
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2022, 03:15:32 pm »
great ending to a tough fight
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: 20 months of Zero-K after a 10.5-mo taper. HEALED.
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2022, 07:32:05 pm »
What am incredible journey you have had! Congratulations on your success and thanks for sharing your story.

One of these days I'm going to have to address my diet... But not today lol.
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: 20 months of Zero-K after a 10.5-mo taper. HEALED.
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2022, 01:49:52 pm »
I love your story!  You are honest and gutsy and generous to share with all of us.  I took a lot of Benzos, Z drugs, migraine meds and later drank a lot of wine to compensate for tolerance withdrawal so knowing you got better helps me to know I can too.  Thank you!! Keep on living and enjoying!
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.