If, after reading this, you have any insights whatsoever - advice, suggestions, support, etc., ... - please, please let me know. I'm desperately seeking any answers I can find and can use all the support I can get. I'm scared and often wonder if I've reached a plateau where I'm at a point that it's as good as it's going to get for me. I just don't know how to handle it anymore.
I posted this on another support forum for people who are withdrawing from various SSRIs. I thought I'd post it here also, since benzodiazepine withdrawal shares so many of the same characteristics of SSRI withdrawal, especially since I'm so sick and in need of any help I can get too. It's been 30 months now since I took 5mg [...] day for 7 weeks of an SSRI called Lexapro, which I had a very severe adverse reaction to and has led me to having a very long and hard protracted withdrawal. As a result, unfortunately, I've been unable to even think about starting to taper from the 35mg [...] day of Valium I take, which I was put on back in August of 2006 from having a very severe adverse reaction to taking just one 500mg pill of a fluoroquinolone antibiotic called Levaquin for pneumonia resulting in me developing toxic psychosis for 6 months. I'm not having any issues taking it, so I know it's not the problem. If anything, it's actually helping me right now, even though my goal is to eventually withdrawal from it as well.
I hope this finds each and every one of you on a smooth journey to better health. Due to major changes in my living and financial circumstances, I haven't been able to come back here, until now. I've certainly missed you all.
I continue to struggle every day (some much harder than others), especially a total of 7-10 days out of the month (before, during, and after) my menstrual cycle (sure wish I could find something to help this, if you know of something, please let me know!), with many withdrawal symptoms, which keep me home and bed bound most of the time. Still being unable to return to work and college, plus being single and living all alone, which is such a lonely existence and makes for very long days, I'm forced to depend on my one and only true friend to help me out a lot (thank God for her, especially since my family is totally unsupportive (not sure if they just don't know how to deal with me being so sick, just don't want to, or both - probably both), as well as home healthcare (medical and some custodial), just to manage to keep on living. Somehow, I manage to dig deep down and press forward everyday though, even though I oftentimes wonder if the point I'm at in my recovery is simply as good as it's ever going to get.
To make matters worse, I had to have major oral surgery the latter part of October, to prepare me to get dentures, as my teeth have deterioriated so bad (started happening before my withdrawal and has gotten much worse since, though not due to poor oral hygiene). I had all of my upper teeth extracted (14 of them) and while I made it through the surgery without complications, the after effects have made my withdrawal even worse. My withdrawal symptoms (ones that had lessened or left) have returned (many have heightened), along with me developing some new ones. Unfortunately, I still have to get my lower teeth extracted, plus have a lot of extra bone growth removed (the worst part of all of it, which can't be avoided in order for my dentures to even fit), and I'm definitely in no condition to have anymore surgery right now (have no idea when, if ever, I will be either).
I accept the fact I wasn't the best picture of health before my withdrawal, as I have a history of having lyme (misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome before testing and treatment, but no active antibodies at the moment), plus hypoadrenalism and hypothyroidism (endocrine system disorders both under control with medication at the present time). Nobody can really say for sure though whether or not those things are contributing factors to my having a protracted withdrawal, especially since there are so many others here (and who knows elsewhere) who are suffering from it too and don't have any of those things, although I know I cant just dismiss them.
I realize what I'm dealing with is a very hypersensitized central nervous system and it's still hard at work trying to heal from being so traumatized. What concerns me (even scares me sometimes) is how bad my withdrawal still is this far along into my recovery (it's so hard to just keep fighting everyday) and whether or not I'll fully recover how much longer it's going to take (if some or never, what my future holds). Right now, with the condition I'm in, I'm a mere shell of the person I used to be, which has affected so many aspects of my life, and has led to such a lonely, hard existence. I've followed many of the good suggestions on here on how to get through withdrawal, else I don't think I'd have made it as far as I have today, which I'm very grateful for, yet having to surrender to it each and every day, not knowing what's going to happen from one day to the next, has really shaken my faith.
My memory doesn't serve me well thesedays, but here's what I can think of at the moment that I still suffer from in no particular order (ranges from severe to mild with no defined pattern, except definitely much worse for 7-10 days monthly before, during, and after my menstrual cycle):
I put *'s by the ones that are the worst.
*- desire to do anything, even something fun (talking to someone on the phone or in person, going somewhere, completing a simple task, taking care of responsibilities, organizing things - sometimes these things can be forced with a lot of effort, sometimes not)
*- fatigue alternating with insomnia (sleeping or being awake for stretches of days at a time, tired but wired feeling or vice versa- when so fatigued can't force alertness, when so awake can't force sleep)
*- muscle weakness (when just laying still, made even worse when trying to use them)
*- anxiety (hard to relax, surges all over body, causes multiple awakenings with difficulty getting and staying asleep, jolted awake with it with slightest sound)
*- sweating (chest, especially hands and feet upon awakening, bodywide)
*- coping with stressors (small issues become unbearable often causing avoidance)
- sensitive to light, sound, movement (eveything in surroundings is amplified)
- swelling (face, especially ankles, feet, legs, bodywide)
*- burning, numbness, tingling (especially arms, legs, spine, back, bodywide)
- too cold or hot (never at comfortable temperature, sweat, cold chills especially when awakening)
**- inability to tolerate medications, herbs, vitamins, minerals, supplements, some foods (even small doses of ones taken before cause adverse reactions and/or make symptoms much worse)
- nausea (acidic and spicy drinks and foods amplify)
- bloating (stomach and abdomen, food sits too long in stomach causing nausea and/or pressure sometimes )
- diarrhea alternating with constipation (mucousy, impaction)
- stomach cramps (lower abdomen, eating aggravates, sometimes have bowel movement with relief, sometimes not)
- migraine headaches (force to lay still without noise and light, nauseating, exploding sensation)
- blurry and distorted vision (alternating nearsightedness and farsightedness glasses or contacts won't correct, offset multiple images, both eyes can't connect, seeing with one eye makes somewhat better)
*- concentration (hard to remember past and present things, must write things down to remember, short term memory lapses, difficult to follow something reading, hard to watch television or movie, doing things on computer challenging)
- loss of humor (seldom laugh and find something funny even when it is, emotionally flat and dull)
- muscle cramps, spasms, tightness (especially back and neck, bodywide)
*- pain (achey, head, especially back and neck, bodywide)
*- unconnected to reality (dazed, foggy, drugged sensation, hard to feel real emotions and things going on around, difficulty relating to and with people and circumstances)
*- neglect needs of self and others (hard or won't care for self or others, can't even care for own dog)
*- unusually depressed (feel unloved, unneeded, unwated, not myself, a stranger in my own body, not sure who I am anymore, negative thoughts, suicidal ideations)
- crying (sometimes for no reason, sometimes for, bouts, fits, bad things happening or going on trigger)
- anger and/or rage (not sure why, negative news or happenings sometimes trigger)
- head pressure (fullness needing drainage)
*- lack of desire to drink or eat (have to force, sometimes can't)
- rapid heartrate (beats hard and fast doing nothing, worse with exertion)
- chest pain and pressure (dull ache, sharp pains, squeezing sensation)
- low blood pressure (systolic and dyastolic numbers as much as 20 below sometimes)
- lightheadedness (wooshes in head, dizziness, almost pass out, worse going from lying down to sitting up to standing up to walking around)
*- catch infections easy (get very bad, hard to get rid of, last weeks, sometimes months)
- lump in throat (squeezing and something stuck sensation)
- tightness in chest (squeezing and something heavy sitting on sensation)
- breathing slow or rapid (shortness of breath, can't get deep breath, lack of getting enough oxygen sensation)
- stomach tight (heavy, knot, lump, and twisted sensation)
- joints pop and crack (especially neck and back, bodywide)
*- derive no pleasure or enjoyment from life (nothing pleases or amuses normally, no excitement or joy for self or others)