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Where were you last year at this time?


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Hey All,

 

As we're in the Holiday Season, it's hard for me not to reflect a little about where I'm at right now, and where I was last year at this time.  Although I'm not near where I want to be, I'm a hell of a lot better than I was last December, and this gives me some additional hope, as well as gratitude.   

 

How are you all doing this year, vs. last year??

 

For me, last December I thought I was going to be disabled for the rest of my life.  I thought it was all over, and that I had completely ruined my life.. I was beating myself up constantly, and was at a loss for how much I'd wasted my life.  I basically had amnesia, and I sadly realized I had totally lost my confidence.  Back then, my brain felt like it was "liquid" and it was constantly sloshing around in my head.  It would also go totally numb at times, or "quadrants" of it would go numb.  In between those feelings, I'd have terrible headaches and brain "zaps".  Sometimes it felt as if a nail had been driven into my skull.  I had constant suicidal ideation, and was very scared of going broke, losing my apt., becoming homeless and then committing suicide.  My gf was after me to get a job, but there was no way I could think about that..  I was in the last half of my taper, had severe anxiety attacks a couple of times a day, and also found myself having crying fits, which would reduce me to my knees, begging God for help. 

 

In addition, last December I had unbelievable exhaustion, and things like vacuuming were very overwhelming for me.. My eyes were very blurry, and felt like they were bulging out of my skull.  I had great difficulty speaking and forming sentences.. And if I had just finished watching something on TV, 5 minutes later I couldn't begin to recall what I'd watched.. My heart would pound so hard it felt like it was going to erupt, and I'd wake up many times a night full of anxiety. 

 

(Right now, I'm 9 1/2 months out from 8 years on clonazepam (mostly)..  and I am almost 3 months off of risperdal, which is an anti-psychotic I was put on about 3 years ago while in "tolerance w/d" from clonazepam.)

 

So now, as I write this, I realize I'm doing SO much better than I typically think I'm doing these days..  I won't go into all the details, but basically, I can function again.  I am still pretty "cognitively impaired" and am working a much less stressful job than I'm used to, but the point is, I can make it to work.  I get along well with the people I work with, and I'm making enough to survive. 

 

My brain feels solid now, and I don't have the headaches I had for so long.  My eye sight has returned and my eyes aren't bulging out of their sockets anymore.. I've been exercising hard for almost 6 months now, and I'm in pretty good shape.  Of course there are lots of symptoms that I still get from time to time, but they are no where near as harsh as they were.  I have a few new symptoms that are bothersome, but I'm getting used to tolerating the physical pains..

 

Yes, I really wish I had my intellect back, but apparently that takes some time.. For now, I've learned how to fake it and keep things simple.  I think about "food, clothing, and shelter" and if I get anything else, it's a bonus.

 

I hope all of you have as good of a Holiday Season as possible this year, and if you want to share your stories of where you are this year vs. last year, the writing of it might help us realize that we are healing and give hope to others who are really struggling now.

 

"God bless us, each and every one of us!"

 

Eric

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Hi Eric !!  You are doing so great and I am so happy for you  ! I KNOW that you will have a wonderful holiday season..Lets see, last Christmas all of the ornaments were moving around on my tree..This year not one is moving  :)  Last year I was tingling and numb non stop..This year only when I eat something and it goes fairly quick.  Last year the D/P D/R was off the charts..This year it is so much better.  Anyway, you are wonderful and I am so very happy for you !  God bless !
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On Christmas Day last year my head was literally in the toilet. I had innocently decided to stop taking Ativan, and was at the time clueless as to why I was feeling so nauseated and dizzy.

 

I've been tapering for almost a year, not done but holding, and still feel like crap. May spend another Christmas alone if I don't feel up to attending the gigantic dinner party my extended family is planning.

 

I used to love Christmas so much...  :'(

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Last year I was hunkering down getting ready to begin my taper off xanax after 30 years. I was very frightened  about it and  worried a lot. Today I have been benzo free almost 7 months. I am happy to be free- no more a slave to xanax but damn I wish I felt better!!!  In a bad wave right now so hard to feel the Christmas spirit. But being xanax free is still way better than the alternative of still taking it every day and worrying about my next dose.
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I don't even remember last Christmas. It was that bad

I was crossed from klonipin to Valium having a hard time

 

I am 10 mo out and still having a lot of symptoms

Won't be much of ine again this year which makes me sad.

 

I pray next Christmas I will be into The holiday like I used to

 

 

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Hi Eric !!  You are doing so great and I am so happy for you  ! I KNOW that you will have a wonderful holiday season..Lets see, last Christmas all of the ornaments were moving around on my tree..This year not one is moving  :)  Last year I was tingling and numb non stop..This year only when I eat something and it goes fairly quick.  Last year the D/P D/R was off the charts..This year it is so much better.  Anyway, you are wonderful and I am so very happy for you !  God bless !

 

Hey WWTE!,

 

Like they say, "progress, not perfection!" : )

 

Good to hear from you, and I'm so glad we're not dealing with that category V "DP / DR", like we had so badly, for so long!  I hope we can make it a good Holiday Season?  I'm pretty sure I just caught a bad bug from a student at the elementary school where I work, so that might put a damper on things.. I'm also pretty broke, but one of the reasons I wrote this, is to get at some gratitude for how much better I am now vs. last year - and that's invaluable, and a real blessing.

 

Whatever's going on now, is definitely light years ahead of what was happening last Christmas - let's pray that 2017 will be much, much better!

 

Eric

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I was nearing the very end of my taper and feeling ok.  Not great, but not terrible.  If you would have asked me last week how I was doing now I would have been pretty happy with the progress I've made being at near 90% for a few months.  But just this week (and really starting last night) I've been in a wave that is pretty bad. I'm hoping for it to be short and to come out of it feeling better than I did before it.  Good luck to all.
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Great post!

 

Last year I was puking during the company Christmas party!

 

I was suffering from anxiety because I was more than 6 months off Klonopin and ending my taper off of Zoloft. I wasn't sure how I'd do, and the holidays really did a number on my nerves. I wound up having acid reflux attacks and had to leave my company X-mas party to puke in the bathroom. Happy Holidays!

 

This year I enjoyed our company party without any reflux attack, I've lost 30 pounds since coming off Zoloft, I've got my anxiety in check and feel so much better. There's still a lot of stress at the holidays but I'm so glad I've got the coping skills to get through everything without medications and without drinking.

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Last year at this time I was nearing the end of my taper, about 3 or 4 weeks away from jumping. when I got down to 4 mg of valium my sleep diminished. I had tinnitus and a list of many other symptoms. I was one that had waves and windows and those didn't kick in until I was about 4 or 5 months out. My sleep improved about 2 months ago and it's a lot better. Now I am approaching 11 months out and can say that I am a whole lot better than I used to be. Not 100% yet but slowly recovering. It's really a wild ride, I have noticed fluctuations with some of the symptoms, they come and go and are starting to fade away, it's just taking time, rather slow going. I can assure you that it does get better. As time goes by I am getting stronger and stronger and feeling better and better. This is what keeps me going because I know that I will eventually be 100% healed. Hang on everybody, it does get better.

 

                  :thumbsup:

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I was on my honeymoon in Fiji....now I am in my office with frozen hands :laugh:

 

I am much better but not betterer enough.  Right now I am in a three week wave of head stuff but it is still so much less than at this time last year.

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This time last year I was suffering severe paradoxical reactions to stupidly high doses of Diclazepam and worrying frantically about if I'd ordered enough of the crap to last me over the bank holidays. S/O says I should celebrate being Benzo free this year, but I feel so awful from WD I don't feel much like celebrating anything.
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I really had to look in my notes from last dezember because I just could not remember any more!

I don't know - is this displacement? I think what happened the 9 months after december 2015 was even harder  - somehow I felt into the deep surviving - mode, not thinking, just from one moment to the other...

 

Well here is what I wrote down on 12.12.2015 and I added (-->), whats the state now:

 

- pain everywhere --> gone (ok. lyme desease on top, but the wd pain is gone)

- less night mares but still having some --> completely gone after 10 years

- cannot fall asleep --> gone

- 5 Tinitus tones now, instead of 3 --> sadly, now more than 5

- depression is the WORST --> completely gone after 5 years

- Exhausted: Cannot do anything without heart bumping all the time, have to lay a lot in bed, cant walk the dog--> much better, not functional but alive now

- have to eat a lot of sugar, cannot stop it any more --> gone

- hate my diet!  --> still agree

- circulatory problems, dizzy all the time --> gone

- cannot read --> gone

- cannot talk --> gone

- anxiety all the time --> completely gone

- don't know how to finish the taper ever in my life. --> well baby, you made it

- I cannot feel myself --> gone. I am ME.

- no self-confidence --> 70% self-confidence

- unable to count/calculate --> gone

- unable to stand up towards mean people --> gone

- panic attacks --> gone

 

Thanks for that topic. Thats a big Wham!! for me... without that post I would not know the details about how far I have come..

 

 

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A year ago I was in terrible condition, and now I am worse.

I expected to improve some so I could find proper evaluation and any treatment,

but my general function is so bad that I can only try to cope with the very basics.

 

It might be from the daily assault by glutamates; stress hormones;

wear and tear; lack of activity; effects on psych; whatever.

Or general brain damage; temporary or not.

At least one study said things can get worse, but I did not see why it could get worse.

 

I am no longer interested in the "you will get better" message.

If it takes 2 more years, that will be too late.

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[fa...]

This is a very good question.

 

So last Christmas I was not well (had benzo caused brainfog on top of my original anxiety and dp/dr), but compared to where I am know, I was 100%. I barely remember it though, since I was so numb and out of it. I took Xanax and Phenazepam from September to December of 2015 intermittently and on Christmas I decided to quit them for good. If I only had I known where it would lead me...

 

Now I'm in a worse situation, can barely do anything, and if I survive this, I'll probably won't remember Christmas '16 anyway.

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A year ago I was in terrible condition, and now I am worse.

I expected to improve some so I could find proper evaluation and any treatment,

but my general function is so bad that I can only try to cope with the very basics.

 

It might be from the daily assault by glutamates; stress hormones;

wear and tear; lack of activity; effects on psych; whatever.

Or general brain damage; temporary or not.

At least one study said things can get worse, but I did not see why it could get worse.

 

I am no longer interested in the "you will get better" message.

If it takes 2 more years, that will be too late.

 

sorry that you are suffering still.. I read your signature - did you take the meds for 20 years and then taper all of them in 6 weeks, together I mean? I am not saying "you will heal - give it time", I think every shit in life leaves its markers on us, but I wish you and us that we get relief for a very long time..some day..

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...did you take the meds for 20 years and then taper all of them in 6 weeks, together I mean?

I tapered off each drug sequentially, and I had no reserves for rescue doses.

My pdoc had closed his practice without any warning about stopping the drugs.

 

Around May 2013 I read reports that benzos were strongly tied to alzheimer disease.

Then I rechecked my other "meds" and decided to see if I could do without all of them.

I had already reduced doses of all drugs since I did not yet have a new doctor.

 

In maybe 5 weeks I tapered off Ritalin, with no apparent problem.

Then in 6 weeks I tapered off Klonopin, with little concern at that point.

Then in maybe 5 weeks I tapered off Luvox, and into major crisis.

 

While I tried to find a pdoc I finished Remeron, compounding the crisis.

Sleep was a fractured 3 hrs for weeks; could not function or find a pdoc.

Until Jan 2014 I was a basket case. Tried sleep products, later GP gave trazodone.

 

After some recovery I remained in severe dysfunction and distress for 2 years.

Then slowly things have degraded, and three doctors had no clue about the condition.

Now I have to take whatever medical "help" I can get, even if it's more drugs.

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...did you take the meds for 20 years and then taper all of them in 6 weeks, together I mean?

I tapered off each drug sequentially, and I had no reserves for rescue doses.

My pdoc had closed his practice without any warning about stopping the drugs.

 

Around May 2013 I read reports that benzos were strongly tied to alzheimer disease.

Then I rechecked my other "meds" and decided to see if I could do without all of them.

I had already reduced doses of all drugs since I did not yet have a new doctor.

 

In maybe 5 weeks I tapered off Ritalin, with no apparent problem.

Then in 6 weeks I tapered off Klonopin, with little concern at that point.

Then in maybe 5 weeks I tapered off Luvox, and into major crisis.

 

While I tried to find a pdoc I finished Remeron, compounding the crisis.

Sleep was a fractured 3 hrs for weeks; could not function or find a pdoc.

Until Jan 2014 I was a basket case. Tried sleep products, later GP gave trazodone.

 

After some recovery I remained in severe dysfunction and distress for 2 years.

Then slowly things have degraded, and three doctors had no clue about the condition.

Now I have to take whatever medical "help" I can get, even if it's more drugs.

 

oh thats hard. I was given 1001 meds only short time, "to test" - and every test really made me sicker and sicker. After all the testing I was severely addicted to benzos and other stuff. Different stops and tapers - now I know that my wd symptoms from the first taper must have overaped each other.. Now its difficult to know where all my problems are coming from. All I know is that I will never touch chemical stuff again in my life.. This all started in 2008, nearly 10 years of shit and still I cannot work again, no idea..

Hope you get something, no matter what, that will help you in the future..

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Thanks for all of your responses..

 

One thing I forgot to mention, is that last year at this time, I hadn't discovered Benzo Buddies, and was seriously "alone" in my taper and w/d.. Thank goodness for BB!!!

 

This year, (although I did it all today!), I have been able to "show up" for Christmas, at least in my home, and I bought thoughtful presents, wrapped them, and bought a bunch of food to cook over the weekend.. Last year, it took all of the courage that I could muster just to go to the mall on 12/23, and buy a few lame, unthoughtful presents for my gf..

 

Maybe next year I'll send out Christmas cards, save money to travel during the holidays, and have presents for everyone?  :angel:

 

Merry Christmas to you all!!!

 

Eric

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Thanks for all of your responses..

 

One thing I forgot to mention, is that last year at this time, I hadn't discovered Benzo Buddies, and was seriously "alone" in my taper and w/d.. Thank goodness for BB!!!

 

This year, (although I did it all today!), I have been able to "show up" for Christmas, at least in my home, and I bought thoughtful presents, wrapped them, and bought a bunch of food to cook over the weekend.. Last year, it took all of the courage that I could muster just to go to the mall on 12/23, and buy a few lame, unthoughtful presents for my gf..

 

Maybe next year I'll send out Christmas cards, save money to travel during the holidays, and have presents for everyone?  :angel:

Merry Christmas to you all!!!

 

Eric

 

sure you will!!!! :smitten:

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Great question, one I think about often (comparing myself to the same time as last year).  I'm one year off and can now finally see differences.  So glad you're doing better eric12769!

 

I'm better as well, I can look back at pictures and know exactly what I was feeling and doing during that exact time.  It's a good reminder of course, but at the same time I feel so sad at what has gone on.

 

Last December was a nightmare.  I couldn't do much except the bare bone basics.  I didn't put up a tree, decorate, send out cards or do any shopping.  DH and I went to the mall and bought each other a gift (i.e. He bought both and I tried to feign interest, could barely walk and tried to pick something out), came home and I laid on the couch the rest of the holiday weekend. No cooking, nothing. 

 

I felt nothing mentally, couldn't watch tv, couldn't read, couldn't even look anyone in the eye.  Had terrible anxiety, depression was starting to come, and had ZERO interest in anything.  I still had terrible sinus issues, couldn't breathe in my chest (one of my worst symptoms, total asthma like symptom), and joint paint had started.  Terrible pain in my head, collarbones, neck and back. 

 

A year later and those things are are much better.  I still have lingering symptoms but have come a long way.  I have pain, but it's lessened to where I can do things.  I don't have much depression or anxiety.  The anxiety comes and goes but it's short lived.  I can watch tv and read.  Still have sinus issues but they're less.  Still have a little agoraphobia but can manage that. 

 

I think the worst thing is that even though I can put this into perspective most of the time (I've worked hard to do that), I feel so much sadness and loss.  I don't feel like I'm the same person (and maybe that's a good thing sometimes), but I wonder what the hell I've gone through for a year and a half (since my so called taper began).  I don't trust life, or feel confident or comfortable about this world.  I don't blame my doc, not even going to go there.  It's not his fault, I knew I wanted to be on these pills.  I knew there would be a withdrawal, just never knew the extent.  AT ALL. 

 

I guess I was doing a bit better during the last year because I always had a goal to work towards....getting better.  Now that I see I'm getting better, I wonder if I'll ever feel confident and sure of myself and this world.  I'm sure I'd think the same unsettling thoughts if I had a chronic terminal disease. But I don't, and I should consider myself very, very lucky that we can heal from this.

 

But still....I feel scared of something.  I also feel SO fortunate to have the worst hopefully behind me.  You never know, and I anticipate another year of full healing with these last symptoms, but I do hope the worst is gone. 

 

I'm rambling, but these are just my thoughts as I start on the other side of a full year of healing.  A great question though, and I am right there with you on next Christmas!  :smitten:

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