Author Topic: Life is Normal Once Again!  (Read 4995 times)

[Buddie]

Life is Normal Once Again!
« on: April 07, 2013, 06:37:01 pm »
I promised myself that I if survived my Klonopin withdrawal, that someday I would tell my story, so that other people can avoid going through the hell that I had gone through.  Well, this day has finally come.  In July of 2008 I took my last dose of Klonopin after taking it daily for two years.. 

For the past seven years I have been battling a cruel and unforgiving illness named chronic fatigue syndrome.  This illness can be a double edge sword.  It takes you to the bottom pit of despair and yet shows you how beautiful and precious life really is.  However, nothing could have had me prepared for what I went through with benzodiazepine withdrawal.

I had already been sick for a year before I went to see a local neurologist.  One of my most unrelenting symptoms was constant ear pressure on both sides along with tinnitus and hyperacusis.  The neurologist was quick to give me a prescription for a benzodiazepine drug called Klonopin.  I was always wary of taking medication and asked the doctor about any type of side effects.  He assured me that I had nothing to be concerned about, that out of all his patients that were prescribed Klonopin no one ever had any problems, especially if it was at such a low dose like mine!!  That night I scoured the internet trying to find as much information as I could about Klonopin and CFS.  I ran across an article published by a renowned CFS physician by the name of Dr. Paul Cheney about the benefits of Klonopin in calming down an upregulated nervous system in people with CFS.  I was convinced!  Next day I went to my local CVS and filled the prescription.   

I was finally going to get rid of at least the ear pressure, or so I thought.  I started taking 1mg of Klonopin daily at bedtime.  Right away, my insomnia improved, now I was able to get a good ten hours of sleep compared to the five I had before the Klonopin.  I noticed my anxiety level had decreased as well.  Ever since I became ill, I was in a constant 24/7 panic attack.   I suppose that as a result of this illness, my HPA axis went completely haywire and cortisol was constantly surging unregulated.  However, the ear symptoms stayed the same, no change at all.

After about a year of taking 1mg of Klonopin at bed time religiously, I felt my condition getting worse.  Anxiety levels increased back to pre klonopin levels, insomnia came back three fold and all of my other symptoms were getting exacerbated.  This was terrifying! I had no clue what was causing this.  A thought crossed my mind that it might be the Klonopin but I quickly dismissed it.  How could it be the Klonopin? The doc said that this drug does not have side effects, isn’t habit forming or addictive.  I kept feeling worse for another three months until I called the neurologist to voice my concern.  He did not waste any time to reassure me.  He said….”Alex, what you are experiencing is your CFS illness. This has nothing to do with the Klonopin, if you would like, just cut your dosage in half, wait for 2 weeks and completely stop taking it.”

Well, by that point I was convinced that it was the Klonopin that was responsible for the decline in health that I was experiencing, so I took the neurologist’s advice and cut the dosage in half.   Huge Mistake! Two days later I was in very bad shape.  I could barely get out of bed, vomiting, diarrhea, inner tremors, hallucinations, fear, dread, OCD thinking and about a dozen other very disturbing symptoms.  I started searching the internet on anything I can find about benzo withdrawal.

My search led me to a website called BenzoIsland.  It looks like this site does not exist anymore but I am sure that there are many like it.  Well, this site to me was a miracle.  I pretty sure that if I did not find this site and learn the PROPER was to taper of benzo’s I would be long gone by now.

At this point of I am going to sum everything up.  Initially I was thinking about writing a long version of my story but that’s not what you need to hear!  You need to hear the meat and potatoes [...]

So, I learned about the “Ashton Manual”.  Right away I switched to Valium as it has a longer half life and withdrawal is more tolerable on it.  I went through sheer hell for about 7 month.  That is how long it took me to taper down.  There were many times that I did not think that I was going to make it.  Thank God I did not own a gun because I probably would of used it on myself.  However, as many people have told me during my darkest days of despair, I would like to tell you the same, “Keep going, don’t stop!! There is a light at the end of this dark tunnel!”   

Now, below are some final points I would like to leave you with:

1.   Keep going, you will come out of this on the other side smiling, happy and health!
2.   Follow a SLOOOWW taper plan based on the Ashton Manual.  Do not go cold turkey under any circumstance.
3.   DO NOT increase your dosage after going down.  This will needlessly extend the time of withdrawal and might make you feel worse!
4.   Find a competent doctor who is open to learning about the Ashton method and helping you through out the process.
5.   Make sure to receive support from administrators and other member of this site! This is very important.  You are not alone; people are going through exactly what you are at this very moment. Stand together and support each other.
6.   There is such a thing as protracted withdrawal but I HIGHLY doubt that it goes beyond 2 years. You might have an underlying problem that has nothing to do with benzo withdrawal.  Do not blame everthing on bezo withdrawal, research all other possibilities.  As in my situation, a severe case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.


So remember, Do not give up on yourself!  You will taper of the benzos and in time your brain chemisty will go back to normal, you will heal.  You will feel NORMAL once again and go on with your life
« Last Edit: April 07, 2013, 07:28:36 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: Life is Normal Once Again!
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2013, 07:19:17 pm »
Alex, congratulations! Thank you for your success story and advice:

“Keep going, don’t stop!! There is a light at the end of this dark tunnel!”   

You gave a good summary, and although you did not discuss the details, I realize the triumph you must be feeling!

Good luck in all that you do!

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: Life is Normal Once Again!
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2013, 07:30:35 pm »
Thanks [...], I was going to write all the detail but that would have taken up about 20 pages  :D
Didn't want to overburden you guys and just give you the most important details  :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: Life is Normal Once Again!
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2013, 07:49:17 pm »
Alex,

Congratulations!!  :thumbsup:
I really needed to hear a story like yours today.
How long after cessation of the benzos before you could consider yourself 100%?
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: Life is Normal Once Again!
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2013, 09:44:44 pm »
Thank you for posting your story.  It helps tremendously to hear that life is back to normal for you.  I'm 13 months off and pretty good but still tired, not quite back to normal.  To be told that it all does get better is so much help.  Thank you 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: Life is Normal Once Again!
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2013, 01:29:08 am »
Thanks guys!  It took about a year and half after stopping to feel normal again.   I also did lots of detox therapies as well as optimizing my adrenal glands. :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: Life is Normal Once Again!
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2013, 01:33:53 am »
alex,

Thank you for sharing your story. For those of us that are not yet done with a taper, it seems so long to go. We all need 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]

Re: Life is Normal Once Again!
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2013, 03:18:46 am »
Just remember, once you taper off, your brain/body has no other choice than to heal. It will happen. :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: Life is Normal Once Again!
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2013, 09:03:24 pm »
Also, what helped me most is being pre-occupied with something at all times.  This way you train your mind not to concentrate on the symptoms.
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: Life is Normal Once Again!
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2013, 12:56:24 am »
Alex, thank you for posting your story. And although you gave the meat and potatoes, I know there would have been a lot of suffering in all those twenty pages you didn't share.

I needed to hear this today. I wish you all the best.
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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.