Author Topic: How Did I Get Here?  (Read 218 times)

[Buddie]

How Did I Get Here?
« on: May 13, 2022, 08:51:45 pm »
Hi everyone.

Im so surprised by how Iíve found myself in this situation. In June of 2020, I got a chemical in my eye and was in white hot, searing pain. While being seen by a doctor who prescribed me steroids and antibiotics for my eye, he also prescribed me about 20 pills of Lorazepam. I went home and took a tiny fraction of a pill and knocked out. Maybe another tiny piece the following day, and I donít think I touched them again for awhile.

At some point over the winter of 2020/2021, I started having some trouble sleeping and I canít remember whether it was unprompted or whether it was prompted by taking some more lorazepam in response to a traumatic event in November of 2020. Either way, when a friend offered to sell me a couple bottles of Xanax, I bought a couple bottles for emergencies, thinking theyíd last me a lifetime. He warned me about the high risk of addiction but Iíve never had any issues with addiction and have had a very, very strong self discipline with substances.

Over the course of 2021, my sleep got worse and I would use small amounts of Xanax to deal with it, maybe .5 mg once every week or so and then increased frequency and dosage as my sleep got worse. I think my peak was from December 2021 through end of March 2022, taking about an average of 1.5 mg about 4-5 nights a week for sleep. Ironically it was never for anxiety as I had finally healed my lifelong chronic anxiety using hypnotherapy in 2019 (huge advocate). But as I noticed anxiety coming back, I knew it was the Xanax and I stopped cold turkey at the end of March 2022. I didnít know about tapering until about a month later.

I thankfully have avoided most of the symptoms except absolutely crippling insomnia. Also my usually great memory is suddenly very spotty which is frightening since Iíve been paranoid about some day getting the Alzheimerís that destroyed my grandmother.

But this insomnia is completely upending my life. Iím operating at a fraction of the functionality I normally would be, which would be unfortunate no matter what, but I work for myself as an artist, by myself, living by and supporting myself in the most expensive city in the country, without any family close by. I also quit right as I transitioned from accepting paid commissions to creating a new business model that requires me to be on top of my game more than ever before, hustling like never before. Instead, Iím crippled. Iíve been working toward this shift for so long, and now that itís here, Iím devastated that I canít act on it. Itís hard to not blame myself for not knowing better.

Prior to putting 2 and 2 together, I had a physical with my first primary care physician in a couple years. I didnít realize at the time why this was happening and asked for something to help with sleep, and also asked for benzos. She prescribed me Trazodone for sleep and Gabapentin instead of benzos. I switch back and forth between the two these days since otherwise Iíd be getting no perceived sleep or about 30 min before waking up. Some days I get acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and/or a vitamin injection aimed toward sleep which can sometimes help me sleep a bit more, or without the prescriptions and instead with heavy doses of natural supplements, but itís usually a one off and not consistent. Ironically, I started taking Xanax for sleep because natural supplements like CBD, melatonin, 5htp, magnesium, chamomile worked TOO well and would leave me groggy the next day while Xanax would not. Now, of course, taking 10x the dosage of these natural suppplements and all of them together still doesnít work.

I donít drink coffee. I eat very a clean, organic, diet. I also do intermittent fasting with occasional fasts of about 3-4 days just drinking bone broth. I also start most mornings with breath work and a few minutes of meditation. Iíve been trying to stay positive. I havenít been exercising as much recently because of lack of energy from lack of sleep.

Iím trying to research as much as I can and have already learned a great deal from Reddit and YouTube. I havenít updated my doctor on what I now know to be true about the cause of my insomnia. Iím trying to cut out anything that would further damage my GABAA receptors (itís hard to sift through conflicting information and may have already been taking things that further down regulate).

I just wish I could move through this process so much faster than I have been. I can toss and turn for a couple hours while staying positive before the utter despair eventually settles in. Maybe if I didnít have to support myself I could relax into this process more. Or if I wasnít at such a major crossroads. I fear that the next year of my life will be a wash and I will have lost everything Iíve worked so hard for, and miss out on some huge opportunities. I already am.

Thanks in advance for any advice and support. Iím already really grateful for finding this forum.

Best.
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: How Did I Get Here?
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2022, 08:58:50 pm »
Hello [...], welcome to BenzoBuddies,

These drugs are sneaky, you don't need to have addictive tendencies for your body to become dependent on the drug so people like you without a history think they'll be okay.  Most everyone here took the drug as prescribed by their doctor either long term or short and all share the same outcome, this drug class doesn't distinguish. 

Its good you're benzo free, I didn't know to taper either when I stopped the drug but I recovered and learned how to sleep on my own again so I'm hopeful you will too.  It sounds like you live a healthy lifestyle so that's good and if you can find a way to keep the stress low you'll be doing yourself a favor but I can see your career plans are weighing on your mind.  One thing about benzo's is they make us think worst case scenario's all the time, fear is a huge withdrawal symptom and I can see its working overtime on you.

The best thing you can do is to distract and accept and things will hopefully go smoother for you because the more we worry, the worse we feel.

I'll give you some links to help you navigate the forum but please make yourself at home and let us know how we can help.

[...]

The Ashton Manual
   
Post-withdrawal Recovery Support

Cold Turkey, Detox & Rapid Withdrawal 
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: How Did I Get Here?
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2022, 09:30:13 pm »
Thanks [...]. I really appreciate it.

Iíd happily accept any advice on:
- how to upregulate my gabaa receptors faster
- supplements that are safe / unsafe, that would help this process
- whether or not using Gabapentin and Trazodone is wise or is going to prolong this process
- really anything else to help with this crippling insomnia (and I guess foggy memory as well but insomnia is by far the worst)

Thanks so much.
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: How Did I Get Here?
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2022, 09:32:56 pm »
Also, anything I could specifically ask my doctor for in order to help this process along? Anything else Iím missing?
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: How Did I Get Here?
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2022, 10:53:55 pm »
Please look into resetting your circadian rhythm. In the morning, get sunlight. You need to have your eyes open to early morning light. the light frequencies hit a part of your brain that tells it to be awake now and to begin the countdown to sleep. In the late afternoon, start low lighting the house. As it draws closer to bedtime, less light even still. DO NOT be on phone or computer before bed. Cut off around 2 hours before or earlier if possible.

When I brought this up before, people on here (not the moderators) said it made no difference as benzo WD is chemical insomnia. I put this into practice and it worked for me. I jumped of benzos 5 days ago I slept pretty well last night. I had days of insomnia at the beginning of taper.

google resetting your circadian rhythm

Good Luck [...]
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: How Did I Get Here?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2022, 01:23:06 am »
Thanks [...]. I really appreciate it.

Iíd happily accept any advice on:
- how to upregulate my gabaa receptors faster
- supplements that are safe / unsafe, that would help this process
- whether or not using Gabapentin and Trazodone is wise or is going to prolong this process
- really anything else to help with this crippling insomnia (and I guess foggy memory as well but insomnia is by far the worst)

Thanks so much.

- I don't know if there is a way to force your body to do anything, time seems to be the best remedy for recovery.
- Supplements help some members, but the same ones will hurt another, you'll have to experiment on yourself to know what works for you but please, only try one at a time because your central nervous system is very sensitive right now. Alternative Therapies & Supplements
- I've heard gabapentin can be useful for some but it can be tough to get off of, it must be tapered.  I haven't heard too many bad things about Trazodone.
- There are tips for insomnia on this link. http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=235100.0
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: How Did I Get Here?
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2022, 05:53:45 pm »
Please look into resetting your circadian rhythm. In the morning, get sunlight. You need to have your eyes open to early morning light. the light frequencies hit a part of your brain that tells it to be awake now and to begin the countdown to sleep. In the late afternoon, start low lighting the house. As it draws closer to bedtime, less light even still. DO NOT be on phone or computer before bed. Cut off around 2 hours before or earlier if possible.

When I brought this up before, people on here (not the moderators) said it made no difference as benzo WD is chemical insomnia. I put this into practice and it worked for me. I jumped of benzos 5 days ago I slept pretty well last night. I had days of insomnia at the beginning of taper.

google resetting your circadian rhythm

Good Luck [...]

Thanks so much [...]! This is a super helpful reminder. I agree that while weíre dealing with a chemical insomnia, sleep hygiene can have a minimal or a huge difference on our sleep. What Iím now realizing in the past couple days from what people are mentioning on this forum and from my own experience is just how SENSITIVE we are right now. Like, I checked something on my phone SO briefly right before sleep and it seemed to throw my sleep for the night, even with blue light blockers. No one I know in my life has that type of sensitivity to light at night.

Alternatively, the night before I remembered your advice and was able to go for a walk in the sunshine first thing in the morning and was able to distract myself at night with a friend who was visiting. I live alone and am finding that my mental health during this time is much better when Iím with other people. Even if theyíre not clued in to what Iím going through right now, they provide a distraction which Iím also learning is important. Otherwise, I over analyze and fixate. So Iím trying to spend as much time with friends as possible.

Thank you so much for the reminder, [...], itís hard to get out for a morning walk after a rough night. And hard to be SO vigilant about light at night but now that Iím seeing how sensitive I am, Iím going to be much more aware of this.
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: How Did I Get Here?
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2022, 06:00:33 pm »
Thanks [...]. I really appreciate it.

Iíd happily accept any advice on:
- how to upregulate my gabaa receptors faster
- supplements that are safe / unsafe, that would help this process
- whether or not using Gabapentin and Trazodone is wise or is going to prolong this process
- really anything else to help with this crippling insomnia (and I guess foggy memory as well but insomnia is by far the worst)

Thanks so much.

- I don't know if there is a way to force your body to do anything, time seems to be the best remedy for recovery.
- Supplements help some members, but the same ones will hurt another, you'll have to experiment on yourself to know what works for you but please, only try one at a time because your central nervous system is very sensitive right now. Alternative Therapies & Supplements
- I've heard gabapentin can be useful for some but it can be tough to get off of, it must be tapered.  I haven't heard too many bad things about Trazodone.
- There are tips for insomnia on this link. http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=235100.0

Thanks so much, [...]. This is very helpful as I continue sleuthing and experimenting. It does definitely seem as though what works for some, doesnít work for others.

One of my best friends works in neuroscience. Heís been hearing me talk about my symptoms for a while but I just recently shared WHY and whatís really going on and now heís doing a bunch of research to help me out. Hopefully Iíll learn some things that would be helpful to share with others. Really grateful for this forum.
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: How Did I Get Here?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2022, 09:36:07 pm »
It would be great to hear what your friend has to say, we welcome anyone on the outside who's willing to listen instead of dismiss us.
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.