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Don't know what to do/who to trust


[Cu...]

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Hi,

 

I'm new here. Writing this post is hard for me. I've been on and off benzo's for close to 10 years. Only the last 5-6 years have I been taking ~3-4mg x3 a day of Lorazepam (Ativan) for 2-3 weeks at a time with the rest of the month off and going through mini withdrawals each time, thinking I was avoiding tolerance by taking breaks. Which I now realize is called 'kindling' and has only made things harder for me. I thought each time it was my anxiety coming back, but I think I've just forgotten that things weren't so bad when I first started taking a benzo. I've lost practically everything I worked for and have considered suicide so many times I've lost count. My life has been just a blur for years now. To complicate things further I was put on so many different psychiatric medications based on the symptoms I was presenting with and they all seemed to make things worse & I'd end up back on a benzo or prescribed a sleeping aid like Ambien which I took for 2-3 years & am so glad I'm off, my life went to actual hell with that combination.

 

Just two months ago I lost my hearing and have really bad tinnitus(ringing in ear) now. The Ear doc couldn't find anything wrong after multiple tests and said its called sudden sensornueral hearing loss & has to do with my nerves. I have finally realized my benzo use MAY be behind it. I was 2weeks into a withdrawal and going through an extremely stressful time when I lost my hearing. I have finally decided I'm off for good, I'm 7 days off but am really hurting and just don't see the light anymore. I can't hold a job, am a burden on my family and just want my life to be over, I'm only 33 so it's going to be a long wait especially when each day feels like torture. I'm trying to stay positive but hurt everyday and am dealing with PTSD like symptoms, dealt with a lot everytime I tried to stop and I think contributed to my current psychological state.

 

I'm afraid to talk to anyone about how I'm feeling and was even afraid to post on here, but I want off and am hurting.

 

I have an appointment with a Nurse Practitioner on Monday. Not sure whether to get back on Valium per the Ashton manual or stay off cold turkey. All I know is I'm now partially deaf, in serious pain, muscle cramps/tension, had a seizure two days ago, feel tense all the time can't sleep, have no friends, & generally have a hard time just being with myself. I'm afraid to talk with people. I was afraid and nervous to even post on here, but I don't know what else to do. This one of the first posts I've made online except for my introduction to post here. I'd be happy with even 10% of what my life was, but I can't live like this anymore. The ringing in my ear just adds to my insomnia and anxiety. I feel like I'm in a torture chamber of my body and I'm going to be hurting like this until I die. I don't drink or smoke, eat right & generally take care of my self despite this, but I'm losing all faith in life. I don't know what to do anymore or who to trust.

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I would seriously consider going back on. You will most likely stabilize, and have a much nicer taper. If you recently stopped them, you're still in for a whole world of hurt, as many symptoms don't present for months after you stop using. 7 days in you probably are just hitting the tip of the iceburg with the symptoms to come. believe me, things can get a lot worse. Not trying to scare you, it's just that Ive been through similar.

 

Could you update your signature with a bit of a timeline of when you started/stopped taking things?

 

Best of luck. Also, there are a LOT of great responses in my thread about kindling being thrown around way too much on here, the title is

 

"Can reinstatement restabilization really take this long? it's been 3 weeks"

 

you should find it a few down in the same withdrawal support section

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' I've lost practically everything I worked for and have considered suicide so many times I've lost count. My life has been just a blur for years now. To complicate things further I was put on so many different psychiatric medications based on the symptoms I was presenting with'

 

You just described my life in the last year. I don't know what to recommend man, but I feel what you're going through. The fuckers who did this to us should burn in hell.

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There is no guarantee you are in for a whole world of hurt in months to come.  If you think you will be more functional going back on and tapering then you should.  I was in hell after I did a rapid taper, but I didn't know what was happening to me.  I think if my idiot doctor told me that I was in withdrawal, and we made a plan on how to manage it, I would have stayed off because I would have understood why it was happening, and had some idea about how long it would last.  I was also off work at the time, so I could afford to stay home and be a wreck.  The truth is that I was driving my kid around to camps and "acting" as normal as possible while I was in a constant state of panic and fear with a never-ending migraine.  I was also chugging coffee!  Hindsight... 

 

Seizures are a concern, I didn't have any.  You are seeing a NP, and I hope he/she is compassionate and understands what is happening to you.  You are not alone here, keep writing, we will keep answering.

 

 

 

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[66...]

I rapid tapered and cold turkeyed off of Ativan and I don't regret it, not that I had a choice.

 

In your situation, you might want to only go back on benzos if you know you can stabilize and then taper slowly.

 

If you can stick it out through acute now it could save you months of struggling later on.

 

I don't recommend cold turkeys, but once you've done it anyway, you might as well try to soldier through all the way if you can. Plenty of us have had to do it, and ended up OK.

 

By that I mean my 5-month-off baseline now is comparable to baselines of Buddies who tapered slowly - my remaining symptoms are similar and no worse, for the most part.

 

Listen to your body. If you can push through, great. If not, then perhaps try to reinstate, stabilize, and then taper very slowly.

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Thanks for the replies Buddies, it makes a world of difference to feel heard by people who actually understand.

 

Right now my goal is just to make it until my appointment on Monday & reassess the game plan then. The scary part is that even on Lorazepam I don't function well anymore it just prevents me from feeling like a complete ball of tension/depression and cut off from the world, and always 'acting' like I'm normal, like sunday said, while being in a internal world of agony. Not to mention, being able to get some form of rest, but what use is the drug if I can't remember anything anymore. It makes me sad just saying that, there's so much time I just don't remember. Sorry if I'm not making sense, I'm really trying.

 

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I completely understand what you're saying! If you can cope, for sure, stay off. But always be aware of the option of reinstating to taper with Valium, as that doesn't mean failure.

 

Try to keep diet / sleep / exercise in check before other things, as these (sleep) are most important to keep many symptoms from being much worse.

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I'd consider going back on since you've only been off a week and had seizures just two days ago. Going back onto Valium instead of Ativan will allow for a smoother taper after you stabilize.

 

I'm sorry for the hearing loss and tinnitus. That happened to me in 2011 and the tinnitus and the resulting anxiety and insomina were the reason I got on benzos. Honestly, for me, it was a lifesaver at the time, my tinnitus was so severe and I could not function. The benzos helped the tinitus indirectly since t goes up with anxiety, so if you can lower the anxiety level and sleep, the volume of the t will decrease somewhat. Of course, tapering will be tricky, tinnitus can  be aggravated by withdrawal so you need to go very slow to keep things manageable. Mine varies from day to day but I'm not completely off yet.

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Just knowing that what I'm going through is part of the withdrawal process feels like a huge burden lifted in that I can keep telling myself this is all part of the withdrawal and it will pass & I'm on the right track.

 

Yea, the tinnitus definitely gets worse the more anxiety I experience and since I've stopped lorazepam it's gotten worse. It was really hard when the Ear Doc told me that there's nothing they can do though, really feeling the grief on this one, kinda hard to be in denial about when it's constantly there.

 

Has your tinnitus gotten better with time Grapejuice?

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Are you sure there is hearing loss? Ear docs think tinnitus means hearing loss. It is a wd sx and Im told it will go away

Mine has been wicked lately, almost want to stay in bed with my white noise machine.

Just have to keep distracting...

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Yep, hearing loss happened all of a sudden. I thought it was ear wax the first day and then a 'nail-on-chalkboard' high pitched ring came in and I went right into an ENT. 75% of my hearing was gone & ear canal wasn't blocked & eardrum and everything on examination was normal. He put me on high dose prednisone and ordered a bunch of blood work, an MRI & Cat scan. No findings on any of them. A week later he rechecked my hearing and it showed no improvement & ringing was worse. He diagnosed it as sudden sensinueral hearing loss & referred me out to a super specialist. Saw the super specialist ENT and he reviewed everything, checked again and sadly told me there was nothing more to be done. Even a hearing aid wouldn't help with the hearing loss, and after the first 1-2 months if no improvement then in all the cases he'd seen and reviewed on peer research articles that the hearing loss & tinnitus were permanent, though I would learn to be able to handle the tinnitus better. This was a little over two months ago. At the time I was trying yet again to get off Lorazepam and had actually gone the longest I ever had in a long time & was just forcing myself through and it feel like I overloaded myself. Strangely the doc said that benzos were usually recommended to help with the hearing loss, though he only recommended taking them for 1-2 weeks to help with sleep and then to use only sparingly. I ended up getting back on & was more depressed than usual with the news so I let myself onto a higher dose until i read about tinnitus in benzo withdrawal and am now determined now to get off in hopes my hearing will come back and tinnitus eventually resolve, but I just don't know.
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Yea, the audiologist I saw said the same. Just keep distracting. But it's hard when I'm reading or doing other work, mine seems to cut through the white noise. But it doesn't seem as disturbing as it was initially, even though it seems to be at the same frequency and volume. I guess that's a good sign that my brain is adapting to it and gradually tuning it out, though it is pretty ridiculous. Doc said to be happy it's not a tumor or something life threatening. Trying to keep that in mind even though in the state of mind I'm in it offers little solace, sometimes actually wishing it was something terminal so I could be outta here already. Lol, I'm such a mess I'm actually laughing that I would say something like that. Jeez, I'm a wreck.
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FYI, I was reading about notched white noise for tinnitus. Look it up on google, you need to figure out your tinnitus frequency, which is the hardest part to do. And then look up your frequency on YouTube or some sites tell you how to download/make your own and listen to it and it helps your brain adapt and over time decreases your brains perception of the tinnitus. I'm still figuring out my frequency, but the rational behind it seems legit.

 

It basically plays all the other frequencies except your tinnitus frequency and therefore doesn't add to it and helps your brain decrease the false priority and awareness it gives to your tinnitus. I figure its worth a shot.

 

Going to read Success Stories now, I really need those.

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CuuBee, it was a big step to join the Benzo Buddies board and I'm so glad you did. I'm sorry for what you're going through and hope you're able to find some feedback and advice on here. When I was going through withdrawal I was on here all the time because I didn't really talk about it with anyone else. This is a great step in recovery.
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Just knowing that what I'm going through is part of the withdrawal process feels like a huge burden lifted in that I can keep telling myself this is all part of the withdrawal and it will pass & I'm on the right track.

 

Yea, the tinnitus definitely gets worse the more anxiety I experience and since I've stopped lorazepam it's gotten worse. It was really hard when the Ear Doc told me that there's nothing they can do though, really feeling the grief on this one, kinda hard to be in denial about when it's constantly there.

 

Has your tinnitus gotten better with time Grapejuice?

It's definitely not as bad as it was back in 2011, and my noise sensitivity is pretty much back to normal. I hope the tinnitus will even out and decrease some more once I'm done tapering and my body has a chance to recover.

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[71...]

Valium might stabilize you after which you could do a slow taper.

I successfully crossed from Ativan to Valium about a year ago and successfully tapered the Valium over the course of a year.

I don't think I could have withstood a cold turkey. I think you'll heal eventually either way, but you'll suffer less if you can do a slow Valium taper.

 

The problem you'll have is finding a doctor who will prescribe enough Valium for long enough to do a slow taper. It sounds like you were taking a lot of Ativan so you'll need to start from a large dose of Valium. Most doctors are not very benzo aware and not very supportive of Ashton method, unfortunately.

 

I do wish you all the best.

 

CP

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Thanks for the good wishes. Nice to know I'm not alone in this, because it really feels like it.

 

I'm cold turkey on 10 days now, might get on low dose of valium because this is brutal. I have an appointment on Monday, so by then it will be 14 days off. If I start feeling better by then I'm staying off or maybe getting on a low dose of valium, like 4-6mg, I was thinking just to help a little. Today was horrible, everything hurts, electric shock like feelings throughout my body everytime I walk or move and just feel like hell. Don't know how I'm going to sleep tonight, feeling a bit wired/tired. Maybe I'll take some unisom or something.

 

 

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I had my appointment today. Nurse practitioner gave me a prescription of Valium just in case. However I'm hesitant to reinstate. I feel like garbage but I'm already 14 days cold turkey. Nurse thought supplements might help. I already ordered one specifically for psych med withdrawals. I will post further in the supplements section for help on what would be good. I'd rather try a supplement at this point than start back on another benzo, although it is comforting knowing I have the valium in case things get really bad. I know some supplements can activate similar gaba receptors so I want to be careful. Any suggestions would be helpful, I just want to get back to who I was, if that's even possible. I keep reading success stories, but it's hard to believe feeling like this.
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Don't reinstate if you can help it.  I thought my doctor was an ass for suggesting L-Theanine, but I ultimately decided to try it. I ordered this:  Suntheanine® L-Theanine 200mg (Double-Strength) in Cold-Pressed Organic Coconut Oil; Non-GMO & Gluten Free - 60 Liquid Softgel, Made in USA by Sports Research

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TXY32FY/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

I've been using it since November 21st.  I really believe it helps.  I am not a big placebo-effect responder, and I am very sensitive to things.  I take one first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.  I was taking more than one a day when I first got them because I was super-duper anxious.  After a week or so, I was able to take fewer overall.  I don't think they have a cumulative effect, but maybe feeling less anxious day to day just makes us less anxious?

 

I wish you all the best.  You aren't alone here.

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