Author Topic: Protracted Success story - 95% Healed after 26 Months - Got My Life Back  (Read 1336 times)

[Buddie]

Written May 15, 2022
Took Ativan for 4 months. Between .5mg and 1mg per day. Took 26 months after fully stopping Ativan to get better.

Here is my success story.

I am feeling 95% better after 26 months off Ativan. SUPER hard process. But made it through this incredibly crappy experience.

I went through throat cancer treatment about 7 years ago (chemotherapy and radiation). And going through cancer treatment was a cakewalk compared to going through benzo after effects.  So everyone on benzobuddies.org, I completely understand what you are going through. This is the hardest thing you will ever do in your entire lives.

Trust me, you WILL get over this crap

But trust me, you WILL get over this crap. You will never think you will. But you will, it just takes a long time and perseverance and dealing with a bunch of serious crap along this awful journey.

You will also think you have every possible medical condition that might be causing this situation (outside of taking benzos). But for the great majority of people, it is exactly what you read in benzo buddies (it is almost 99% of the time caused by long term effects of taking and stopping benzos).

I personally saw every specialist you could think of. I had CAT scans of my brain. MRI of my entire body. I saw psychologists that said I needed to get on antidepressants and also said I needed to get back on Ativan!!  BTW, I took zero medications after Ativan.

Took every type of vitamin and tincture or herb you could think of. Went to see many alternative medicine experts I could think of, but unfortunately they did not seem to help. But remember, I was pretty messed up, so was not able to continue alternative treatments for the time period as they requested.

I probably spent over $20,000 on all these treatments over the past 2 year, but got zero help.  It was just regular old crappy benzos, messing with my brain and body.

So just like I said at the beginning, you WILL get better, it just takes a long time (much longer than you think). I thought, heck, stop benzos. I will be better in a few weeks. I am a healthy 55 year old guy. I take super good care of myself. Swim, yoga, surfing, skiing, organic foods, etc. But NO, I was totally messed up. My wife and kids thought I was a completely different person.

Went from a happy-go-lucky dude. To be a very anxious and slightly depressive person almost overnight. BTW. I have never been anxious or depressed at any time in my life (only after taking Ativan).

Why did this guy start taking Ativan in the first place?

So you are probably asking, why did this guy start taking Ativan in the first place? I was having business problems (I run a large tech corporation) and was starting to have sleeping (insomnia) problems (waking up at 4am each morning). So my regular doctor gave me Ativan and said it would help me sleep.

She was right, Ativan (only .5mg once per day) totally helped me sleep and relax me...for about 3 months. After 3 months I needed to take more Ativan to help me sleep. So my doctor raised the amount to 1mg per day. And then after 3+ months I started to feel anxious and my sleep started getting worse (??).
So what did I do? I stopped taking Ativan (cold turkey), not knowing you were NOT supposed to do that. No one told me. Not the doctor, not the pharmacist, no one.  So within 24 hours of stopping cold turkey, I ended up in the ER. The docs were flipping out. I was crashing, my body was shuddering, hallucinating, severe anxiety. Felt like I was going to die. Brain scans, heart monitor, they were going to fly me by helicopter to a trauma center for brain damaged patients.

But one ER nurse was smart. She asked my wife. Does your husband take any benzos? My wife said yes, and my husband stopped taking yesterday. So the nurse gave me 1mg of Ativan and I felt 100% better. Was discharged from the ER in about 1 hour. The ER docs were blown away and did not know that a small little 1mg pill could mess with someone so badly.

So after that point, I knew I had a problem. I needed to get off this Ativan crap and never take it again.  So I then started doing my online research, as I figured out the doctors were clueless to help me.  I found BenzoBuddies and started reading posts and realized I was not the only one having this issue.  I am not a post type of writing guy (just a reading type of guy). So I read and read on BenzoBuddies and figured out the best way of slowing getting off Ativan (took me 4 months of slowing cutting/decreasing doses and finally got off it).

Long term issues after stopping Ativan

I thought to myself. I am healthy, exercise, etc. I should not have any long term issues after stopping after 4 months. But was I wrong. It actually got worse after 4 months of stopping Ativan. I will not go into all the symptoms, but overall I was very anxious 24/7. Fully hyperactive, agitated, could not calm down. Felt i could run a marathon each day. I was so "wired" that I was only getting maybe 2-3 hours of sleep. Many nights I got zero sleep.

To help work off the symptoms, I would swim for 1.5 hours per day in the pool. (btw - swimming everyday I think saved my life - as I was able to work off all that excess energy and able to slightly calm down for part of the day). Then in the afternoon, I would take my dog for a 1.5 hour walk. So three hours of exercise each and every day for 2 years.

I am going to be honest with everyone here. I thought after 6 months of stopping Ativan, I would be getting slightly better. But I was getting worse. More anxiety (now some depression because things were not getting better). But I stuck with it. 1 year went by and not any better, still the same. 1.5 years went by. Still the same. No difference.

I am thinking, what the f..k! I am going to have this crap for the rest of my life. Other people on BenzoBuddies said they were better after 1 year. I must be the outlier and going to have this crap for the rest of my life.  Then BOOM, by month 21 I started to get EVEN worse. No freaking kidding. Instead of getting better I was reversing and getting even worse. Even swimming and walking everyday was not helping. I was getting zero sleep for 2-3 days per week.

Starting getting worse at the very end

Then you are not going to believe it. By month 22, one day I woke up and started to feel slightly better. I thought, holy crap, so this is what it feels to be "normal again". Then boom, the next day, back to feeling crappy again. The two days later, I felt somewhat normal again. This went on and off for the next 30 days. Then at around 23 months (almost 2 years). I was having more normal days, then bad days. I was actually sleeping somewhat.

Then by month 24, I was about 80% feeling better every day. Still needed to work out about 1 hour of swimming, but no anxiety and no depression. And a slight ringing in my ears. But overall MUCH better from before.

At about 26 months (which I am now writing this post) I am about 95% better now. Sleeping 8 hours per night (only waking up one time for bathroom) and then right back to sleep. Zero anxiety. Zero depression. Only a slight ringing in the years. Able to be a normal functioning human again. Feels exactly the same as I did BEFORE taking Ativan.

Conclusion

So summing up, you WILL get better. I am a perfect example of this. The absolutely hardest thing I have ever done (even harder than going through chemotherapy and radiation for cancer). But I survived and have many years now to enjoy life and enjoy my wonderful wife and kids.

My wife was wonderful through the entire long process. She stuck by me, as she knew someday her husband would be his normal, goofy, happy-go-lucky guy again. I have been blessed to have such a great family that stuck by me the entire time. That really helped out.

I will never take any benzos (and in fact no pharmaceutical unless I research myself - no depending on doctors anymore ). You can do the same and you will also be writing a similar success post after you have survived benzos.

Here are some quotes that really helped me out:
"Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it seems"
"Crap happens in live, just need to deal with it"
"Bad times will pass, just takes some time"


Here is a website I created to help educate people about the dangers of benzos (benzodiazepines): https://www.AvoidBenzos.org

I am dropping the mike now. Take care of yourselves and you will get better.

***************
ANSWERING QUESTIONS FROM COMMUNITY
I am going to add to my Success posting on questions that I have been asked.

5/16/2022

So glad my Success posting is helping everyone. btw. It took me a couple of months to write this; as I almost got PTSD just writing down about the hell hole I dug myself out of.

To answer your question:
"After all this, do you feel like you tapered too quickly? Was your taper wrought with symptoms, or was it fairly manageable?"

The taper was tough. And I did not want to prolong the process, so I thought 4 months to taper was ok for myself. But best to read more on Benzo Buddies. Just do what your body tells you. My body said to "get the hell off this crap".

To be honest, in my case (and remember everyone is different coming off benzos) the taper was the "easier" of the entire process. The 2 long years of feeling incredibly crappy (I wish I could use a much stronger cuss word instead of crappy) was actually the hardest. Just worn me down. And worn down my wife and kids. Everyone was worn down going through this long process.

This benzo crap affects everyone. Yourself, family, friends, co-workers, etc.

When I was sent to the ER, as noted in my posting, my kids and wife thought I was going to die. And I thought I was actually going to die. So it just shows you how powerful this drug is.

When I told my regular doctor and psychiatrist about the issues I was having, they literally said it was all in my head: "Benzos do not do this type of stuff". They also said I should get counseling and take antidepressants. So absolutely wrong they were. btw. I do not use those doctors anymore. And I am super careful about anything doctors tell me anymore.

Everyone, feel free to ask questions that you think would be helpful to the entire Benzo Buddies community. I am super busy running my company, but always have time to give back to this Benzo community. And try to help more people get through this benzo nightmare.

I thought this condition would last forever and I my brain was just permanently messed up from taking benzos. How wrong I was. Do not give up. I cannot stress this. You will get over it!!

***************

« Last Edit: May 19, 2022, 03:45:01 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]

Tnx for your story [...]. Gives people hope!
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. 
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]

Thanks for sharing mate, congrats on your efforts, 
« Last Edit: May 16, 2022, 01:24:21 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]

thank you  for this v well written testimony
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]

Congratulations for your healing and thanks for sharing this . I am 23 months out someday I felt like I was getting close to the finish line but someday I feel like I will stuck in this hell forever your story really giving me hope! Thank you! :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]

Thanks for sharing. Good encouragement for all of us to persevere! :)
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]

Oh how I needed to read this today! Thank you so much and huge congratulations to you for getting through it. I'm sorry for your suffering but so glad that's in the past.  Thanks for spreading the hope. 
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]

Congratulations and live your Benzo free life to the fullest... :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]

Congratulations on healing, [...]! After all this, do you feel like you tapered too quickly? Was your taper wrought with symptoms, or was it fairly manageable?
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.