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Hi everyone!

 

I'll start by saying, whenever I started to feel better or was in a really great wave, I didn't even think about checking benzo buddies. But, as soon as symptoms were vicious again, I came here for the obvious and necessary support. To make sure I wasn't alone in this and to find some solace, some answers. This pattern seems only natural, why would we want to seek out anxiety-inducing stories when that is the very thing we're trying to escape, particularly when you're feeling well. You want to get back, or even BEGIN, a life of normalcy and get on with your life.

 

I start by saying that because I think there are probably a lot of people who have healed and haven't left their story here in the "success stories" thread because they're too busy feeling great. And I don't discredit them. It makes sense. But anyway, I felt the tug to make sure I reported my healing as seeing these stories were such a vital source of encouragement when I felt completely upside down.

 

I'll keep this brief, but want to give a lens into how my body's dependence on lorazepam came about.

 

I've struggled with anxiety for years and it manifested itself very physically: feeling off balance, rapid heartbeat, tight throat, dizziness, fear I couldn't justify. It took me a good while to even realize it was anxiety, I was certain it was a serious medical illness like MS or a tumor. The idea of anxiety was so, so foreign to me. I'd tried many SSRIs and they kinda worked, but not really. They caused other side effects that were pretty unpleasant. After another couple years, I grew to realize caffeine had a HUGE affect on my anxiety. It basically was THE fuel to my anxiety, and I was so thankful to realize this. (Obviously caffeine isn't toxic to everyone with anxiety, but for me, it was the end-all) However, before realizing this, my doctor prescribed me lorazepam... dun dun.

 

He never warned me of the dangers of becoming addicted to it, just said that I should take it as needed. And as we all know -- wow, this seemed like a miracle drug! So relaxed and carefree at first.

 

Well, "as needed" worked for awhile. But last summer (2015), everything started to change. I had no idea what was going on, but feeling any kind of good was off the table. Perpetual bouts of severe anxiety, feeling TERRIBLY off balance, inability to focus, constant battle at just doing life in general. I am pretty fit person and like to run almost everyday and noticed my right foot started to feel completely numb. This sort of cued me in that things were really going wrong. My foot went numb everyday and was only sort of relieved when I would take my dose of lorazepam. This drug I honestly knew nothing about -- only that it was supposed to help out my anxiety. Well, I got really well acquainted with the internet really quickly and realized that I was in constant tolerance withdrawals. I rapidly discovered the severity of the state I was in.

 

I did a pretty sloppy, rapid taper off of lorazepam - beginning of December 2015 to February 11, 2016. I know you aren't supposed to taper directly off lorazepam, but I wanted off of this stuff as soon as possible. That period of withdrawing was hell on earth, only preparing me for an even more reckless hell on earth that began 2 days after I completed my withdrawal.

 

Trying to continue working as a creative director had been a daily nightmare, but trying to work in the first days of withdrawal was not an option. Life was a living hell and I knew I couldn't possibly work feeling the way I felt: inability to focus my vision on...anything, the floor tilting and turning beneath my feet, numb hands/feet/face, weakness, crushing fatigue (standing for more than 5 minutes? yeah right), off the charts anxiety, panic attacks at any given moment, hypersensitive to light, .. couldn't even maintain conversations well.

 

I was fortunate to be able to quit my job and heal at home for the past seven months. Back in May, I landed a dream job as a designer where I could work remotely, which was really the only option at that time. Being in an office environment was an impossible task.

 

The past seven months began as unapologetic living torture. You wake up and just get through it. But slowly, slowly some decent windows began to appear. That's hope, and that's what you need to believe. It gets better. Those windows are everything. And slowly, slowly those windows got bigger and brighter.

 

SOME TIPS and what has helped me: Do not try and muddle with supplements and vitamins, these seem to only cause symptoms to flare up for most. Eat clean! You are what you eat, so don't put highly processed foods in your system. Keep your out of whack nervous system stable and feed it the right nutrition. Exercise! If you can, get out there and try to exercise to the best of your physical ability. Your brain thrives off exercise. I really think this was huge for me.

 

As of a month ago, I have felt better than I have felt in YEARS. Truly, years. I won't say I'm 100% yet, because that's not true, but I can confidently say I feel really great, most days. And having gone through this, I think our appreciation runs so, so much deeper than those who haven't because, let's be real, I don't know if there is deeper kind of suffering.

 

I didn't know my timeline for healing, but I was perpetually hopeful. If this forum didn't exist, I can't even fathom what I would have made of what I was going through - so thank you to those who launched this life-saving forum.

 

Cheers to the strongest, most resilient group of people. You're all heroes. If you're not healed yet, you will be! Promise.

 

All the best,

Sarah

 

 

 

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Hi Sarah...

 

Are you on any other meds currently??? You are mentioning SSRI-s.. that's why i am asking.

 

I wish you a happy life after benzo. May all of this be forgoten...

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Congratulations!

 

From the time you started your taper, until you were finished, aprox. how long would you say that was?

 

Thanks very much!

 

 

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santino - I am not on any medication whatsoever anymore. I dabbled with SSRIs at one point, but they didn't do the trick for me. I found that behavioral therapy was much more effective for myself. I have focused heavily on understanding my anxiety and retraining the way I think about it as a whole.

 

burnedout - so, so happy to give you that encouragement. i know just how valuable it can be. keep fighting the fight!

 

thanks to everyone else as well for the warm sentiments, they mean so much!

 

 

 

 

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Davis B - I started my taper in early December. It was probably like December 5th or so. I completed my taper on February 12th. Do know, my taper was done without proper guidance or proper education on how I should have gone about it. The fact I tapered directly from lorazepam did not play in my favor either.

 

So, as a whole, I began my taper December 5th and began to really feel healed in mid August.

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I'm SO happy you're feeling good  :thumbsup:

 

Could you please describe the right foot numbness you used to experience. Since jump my right foot (plus part of the ankle sometimes) and my right arm have been very heavy, as if someone is pulling them down, really hard to describe. When I walk I often feel my right foot numb or as if a heavy rock was put on it and while it's flexible it feels like I'm kinda 'dragging' it... It makes walking weird and unpleasant.

 

Thanks in advance! And I wish you all the best in your new benzo-free life!  :smitten:

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GirlGatsby -

 

Definitely had similar experiences. My right foot numbness actually carried out for the majority of the past seven months aka wasn't just present when it first made its appearance in late summer 2015. For some reason, it's been the one very consistent player in all of this. And over the past two months has finally begun to disappear.

 

It had mostly been a feeling of weakness and numbness, like I can't fully use it or it has fallen asleep. It would get even worse in times of high anxiety. I had that sensation of being pulled down to the right side of my body as well, though. During tolerance withdrawals, the whole right side of my body would go numb.

 

More or less, I chalk it up to this: that the nervous system greatly affects our nerve endings, balance/gait stabilization, and strength. What you are experiencing sounds like it ties right into all of this. Not fun... that's for sure, but it will ease up. No question. Time is the healer :thumbsup:

 

thank you for the well wishes!!!

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Sarah- thanks for the positive and inspiring post! To see how far you have come and how bad you felt before that  gives hope to many of us  who are still suffering. I think many who are healed forget to come back and let people know there is life after benzos. Thanks for reminding us all of that!
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Hi Sarah.

This story is so encouraging and it's given me some hope.  Those words "as needed" ring a bell as that's how I took my benzos. I was told with the amount I was taking it wouldn't even hit the sides and sparingly was fine.  I asked 3 doctors about them and they all said the same thing. 

I'm close to 6 months out and every day is still a struggle.  There are days I want to give up but what do I give up to????  The only way out is to live through this and pray for better days.

You must be so happy with where you are now.

There is hope and you've given it to me.

Thanks so much.

Stay well and happy.

Tallow

:smitten: :smitten: :smitten: :smitten: :smitten:

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Tallow,

 

That makes me so happy to know that it has ignited some hope for you. I know that exact feeling - wanting to give up. Being a good patient somehow amounted to unbearable suffering. Feels twisted, hey?

 

I was still battling at the 6 month mark, hitting waves like it was my job. No less, windows persisted, and none like when the tables really turned nearing the 7 month mark. I know that the timeline is unknown as we are all different, but keep on trucking. I'd love to hear about when you turn a corner.

 

Life gets BRIGHT again!!!!

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Congrats to you Sarah, so happy to hear you are doing so well. I pray that soon it will be me. I am 6 months off of Ativan and one month off of sertraline. Tapered off both. Unfortunately it is the second time around with quitting due to bad doctoring. I have been suffering for two years now and have come to the conclusion that I will never be well again. My daughter wants me to go back on this poison as she thinks withdrawal should be only six weeks as the doctor said. My doctor agrees of course. I am so scared that it will be forced on me. This is pure hell and I have lost my livelihood my house my friends and my family. I couldn't be more alone. I live with my brother as I have no money left to survive in my own and he makes me feel guilty everyday.  I don't know how much longer I can suffer through this. I am 62 years old and I really need to get back to work so I can live again. I was such a strong independent woman before this happened.  Now I am nothing. I have nothing left and i could really use a friend to stand by me right now. My daughter came to visit and asked me if this is how I want to be for the rest of my life. Then told me to go back on the meds that only made me feel numb and shaky.  Please give me some hope.  She also tells me to stay off of here as all of you are liars as I am. That this site is all made up. I sorry. I do not feel the same as her. Without this site I'm sure I would be over medicated again and back in zombie land.
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Hi there Inahandbasket,

 

I'm so so sorry that you have to deal with so much lack of understanding and trust of your situation, and how serious and debilitating it can be. Since you don't have it from your brother or daughter, please continue to find it here.

 

I really do hope (with every bit of me) that you don't go back on ativan. I've heard that trying to go back on it can only cause things to get even worse.

 

You're only 6 months off, that's not a long time in benzos terms. Keep moving forward and being focused on just staying off of ativan right now. You WILL feel better, and hopefully very soon. I still was struggling at 6 months, and don't expect to be 100% for awhile yet.

 

What are your most persistent symptoms at this point?

 

Thanks everyone for your support! :)

 

 

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Thank you for your words of encouragement. It means a lot to me right now :smitten:  my worst symptoms right now are burning scalp, internal shaking in my arms and legs and non stop crying everyday. Sometimes I don't even know why I am crying  :-[ I guess I feel sorry for myself and feel like this is never going to end.  Lots of sad thoughts from the past that I know I can't change but wish I could. Silly I know, but they won't stop haunting me. I do get headaches now and then, but nothing big. I would take the headaches over the o sessile crying any day.
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Hey, look at the positives, that's a very short list of bad symptoms. However bad they may be, that isn't too many in the benzo world. Just keep looking for them to slowly, but surely lessen right now.

 

Try meditation, too. It's SO important to be fed positive thoughts, particularly when you are constantly crying. Why wouldn't you cry when everyone around you doesn't believe you and are feeding you negative energy? Your crying seems pretty justified suddenly. Set smaller achievements. Log where you're at today and see where you're at in another three months. The time seems daunting, but is nothing if you can be fully healed by sticking it out!

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Hi Sarah,

What a encouraging story you have. It's give me a hope. So nice to see people made it to the other side. I hope one day I will write my success story too.

Right now I'm only 4 months off clonazepam.5 mg. I was taking it 2x2 and half months last year and this year. What a mess I put myself into it. I believed doctors and never questioned my med until I was in big trouble.

Right now I'm suffering with head pressure burning head and scalp zaping all over in my head. Very high anxiety. Went back on remeron 4 mg 2 months ago because I was not functioning. At list I'm sleeping and eating. Waiting for window. So tired to be sick and crying with this pain every day.

God bless you and enjoy you life.

Thanks again your succsess story.

:smitten:

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The negativity coming from my daughter is the worst. I try so hard to make her understand but she just doesn't want to hear it. I don't know why it is so important for me to have her believe me. It has only been her and I since she was 4 years old and we use to be so very close. Since all this has happened in the last few years she has pulled away from me. I ask her to read things about this but she just gets mad and tells me to stop googling.  i used to let things like this just roll off my back but right now it seems a lot of things that wouldn't ordinarily bother me are huge to me. i used to be able to deal with things so easily and now when I get a text from my daughter I tense up. I love her so much and am trying so hard to get well but I am really struggling without some understanding  I guess all I really need at this point are some understanding and kind words from her.
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I'm so sorry I'm laying this all on you. You have been through hell and have come out of it. I'm sure you don't need this. Guess I just really need someone to talk to that even understands a bit how my thoughts are all over the place right now and I am really struggling with believing I will ever be normal again.  :-\
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