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Giving a little back


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Hey all...I haven't been on this board for a long time since jumping. Just wanted to share my recovery wrap up, since I lurked here for months while I was in withdrawal. I had posted this video about my titration method, https://youtu.be/qIcWZ5x6f6Y, but I stopped following up on that thread since posting it all those months ago. Now I feel guilty about leaving questions unanswered.

 

Long story short, I jumped about four months ago and am pretty close to being back to normal. I was only on a large dose of Ativan (3-6mg a day or so) for about a month, but it took six months of tapering and another two months after the jump before things started to normalize.  I just noticed my full bottle of Ativan in the medicine cabinet tonight, and I felt a nice sense of ease realizing I have no need or desire to take them anymore, especially after having my whole life revolve around them for all those months.

 

I won't go into all the details of my experience and recovery; all of my symptoms were fairly standard from what I know of. Maybe I'll just recap what I know helped me most.

 

First, I was out of work for quite awhile due to the symptoms, which gave me plenty of time to focus on recovery once I realized what was going on. If you are able to, I would highly suggest taking some vacation time or a sabbatical during the first few weeks or months until you find a manageable pace for your taper. Removing as much unnecessary stress from your life will help immensely.

 

Second, and possibly the most important thing I found: Do not try to rush at all. Tapering as slow as possible was the only way I got through it while still being somewhat coherent. It will take exactly the same amount of time whether you go cold turkey or not. It seems counter-intuitive, but your receptors won't recover any faster by removing the drug completely from your system than they would by maintaining a slight deficiency. Everyone has a different recovery time hardwired into their genetics. If it takes your receptors a year to "regrow", there is nothing you can or should do to speed the process. Taking just enough of the medicine to keep your system running is going to be the easiest way to help your body pass that recovery time.

 

And the third thing that comes to mind was how important it was to stay busy, particularly to avoid "self monitoring". At first, I would only sit in bed watching TV, playing on the internet, or reading up on recovery. I would be terrified of having panic attacks and I would find myself constantly checking my pulse and stressing about how fast it was all the time. I was constantly telling myself that I was okay, while feeling like I was going to die. The seemingly permanent sense of panic and fear from the disassociation I was feeling was the hardest thing for me to deal with.

 

One particular thread that I read during one of those days completely changed the path of my recovery. The OP was discussing how simply keeping herself busy was incredibly therapeutic. She was fond of gardening and kept herself busy tending her plants. I wasn't able to do anything physical at the time, so most of my hobbies were out, but it forced me to find new things to keep my mind occupied. I rediscovered video games (Minecraft and Stardew Valley are incredibly relaxing), household chores, finding little things to fix, puzzles, editing videos; any new hobbies that kept my hands busy and my mind focused.

 

Within a day, I found myself not obsessing about how I was feeling for the first time since the whole thing started. I kept this mindset during my entire recovery process. I simply would not let myself be idle for too long...the only time I was in bed was when I was actively napping or sleeping, and the only time I ever actively considered my recovery was when I had to take my doses for the day. Before long, I had jumped and didn't give it much thought. A month later, I was getting back to work and things have looked up ever since.

 

Now the worst is definitely behind me. I'm still a little fuzzy (benzo brain is a thing), and there are times I feel a low grade anxiety when I idle too much, but I'm about 85% back to normal. I expect it to take another six months to a year to feel completely myself again, but it's like night and day being off the meds.

 

And to anyone at the start of your withdrawal, just know that there are tons of people at the finish line waiting for you. We've all been where you are, we know that everything feels so wrong right now, and you ARE ABLE TO DO THIS. Take your time, keep yourself busy, get some sleep when you can, and things will slowly start to look up. You aren't able to feel it right now, but you are healing and growing every minute underneath all this strangeness, panic, and pain. Keep it up.

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Didn't add it to my sig, but I ended up switching to 1mg Valium once I hit .10mg Ativan a few times a day. The interdose anxiety was really hard to shake, but at that dose the Valium kicked in and I was able to taper further with the Valium and only needing to dose once a day. I jumped at .5mg Valium. Ended up cutting a little slower than 10% toward the end and just jumped when I realized the Valium dose was probably placebo at that point. It's been awhile, so it's all a little hazy.
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1st day of feeling "Normal"Been tapering  for 2 1/2 years of Klonopin and on Valium now for probably 2 years.But today only took 5mg's and was able to drive myself to the store.Just feeling good about it  because a month ago I was eating them like candy .My Md. said not to worry so much. With the days shorter  and the time  change,he's not surprised....Also the election and the Cubs winning  just had  me in an hole.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring  but just  thankful for today.Never give up.

 

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1st day of feeling "Normal"Been tapering  for 2 1/2 years of Klonopin and on Valium now for probably 2 years.But today only took 5mg's and was able to drive myself to the store.Just feeling good about it  because a month ago I was eating them like candy .My Md. said not to worry so much. With the days shorter  and the time  change,he's not surprised....Also the election and the Cubs winning  just had  me in an hole.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring  but just  thankful for today.Never give up.

 

 

That's great to hear. These past few months have been a really stressful time in so many ways. Keepeing out in the world helped keep the worst of the depression away for me. Being in the sun, taking a walk to the park, anything to keep from staying indoors for too long. I'm inspired to hear how people that were taking these doses for years are able to keep their taper going strong. I'm glad to hear you had a good window. :)

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Thank you for the positive post.  We all feel doomed.  I get caught up feeling worse and more anxiety and panic after reading so many horrid stories.  Granted mine is one of them, but reading that someone made it through the rain in a shorter and with a positive approach just gave me a new outlook.  I thank you for that. 

 

I keep searching here and on the internet for positive stories. Stories of success. Stories of those like me that were caught up in this mess for four years and took the jump 3 weeks ago, that possibly there are many that only experience this mess for a short time and were able to function to an extent and able to work again sooner that later.  There are not any out there.  I suppose those that did not have a problem or only had a mild issue had no need to post or tell their story.

 

Maybe it's just mentally better for me to read hopeful stories like this rather than the long recovery ones that tend to create and cause many WD Symptoms to surface while I am reading them.  It is almost like my body starts experiencing what I am reading.  Which makes perfect sense, after all, benzos are mind altering, basically giving us a brain injury to recover from.  We have been psychologically altered, and now have to allow our bodies to repair.   

 

Thank you for positivity and hope.

1966dr

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for the positive post.  We all feel doomed.  I get caught up feeling worse and more anxiety and panic after reading so many horrid stories.  Granted mine is one of them, but reading that someone made it through the rain in a shorter and with a positive approach just gave me a new outlook.  I thank you for that. 

 

I keep searching here and on the internet for positive stories. Stories of success. Stories of those like me that were caught up in this mess for four years and took the jump 3 weeks ago, that possibly there are many that only experience this mess for a short time and were able to function to an extent and able to work again sooner that later.  There are not any out there.  I suppose those that did not have a problem or only had a mild issue had no need to post or tell their story.

 

Maybe it's just mentally better for me to read hopeful stories like this rather than the long recovery ones that tend to create and cause many WD Symptoms to surface while I am reading them.  It is almost like my body starts experiencing what I am reading.  Which makes perfect sense, after all, benzos are mind altering, basically giving us a brain injury to recover from.  We have been psychologically altered, and now have to allow our bodies to repair.   

 

Thank you for positivity and hope.

1966dr

 

No worries man. :)

 

I thought about your point from time to time while I was tapering. How many of us just got the short end of the stick? It seems like there are at least 100 people that come off these drugs with no issues for every one of us. And probably a ton like me that didn't have one of the more severe, long term struggles. I can just imagine how many success stories there are that never make it to this community.

 

And you bring up another good one: how much time should people in recovery be spending reading experience stories? How much does it help vs potentially triggering sympathetic WDs? Is a "recovery bubble" a thing? This is complicated stuff.

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