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A HELL of a recovery story: HEALED at 2.5 years


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Hey guys! I have waited to write this because I wanted to make sure that I was fully healed. As you know sometimes you can feel better for days, weeks or months and then have a wave again and feel like you are back at Ground Zero. But I can honestly say it has been a long while and I feel amazing.


My story starts (like many)  with a prescription for flight anxiety 10 years ago.! I had my first panic attack after traveling and had to be hospitalized thinking I was having abegart attack. All the classic symptoms (racing heart, faint felling, numb hands etc). I was given Ativan and immediately felt calm. I kept having panic attacks because I didn’t go to therapy and work on the actual cause I simply wanted to mask it with Ativan or alcohol. It was an easy fix. I didn’t want to do the hard work. My doctors never told me you can’t take benzos long term, nor did they warn me of the EXTREME cost of using them at all. Or, of course, like you, I would NEVER have touched them.


I went about my life, always having my friends, the bottle of pills in my purse. I started using them for daily activity and ANY time I was uncomfortable even slightly. My doc prescribed up to six milligrams a day (a LOT for a small framed girl.) little did I know, my amazing life would soon be halted in its tracks from my new found savior pills.


About 5 years into my Ativan prescription (which I never abused and most times would t even take my allotted 6 mg amount. I would take about 2-4 mg)I started having strange health symptoms. Feeling faint, dizzy spells, migraines, paranoid delusions etc. I fainted in public and was hospitalized. They tried to figure out what was happening to me, and even considered it might be MS. But no doctors ever suspected it was the pills!


I became extremely ill. My once full vibrant life was whittled down to nothing. I used to be super social, connect instantly with people, travel and stay up late. I’m a professional singer and even my voice became scratchy and weak. I could hardly breathe most days. More doctors and more test left me stumped. I became depressed and isolated from people and fun activities. I became extremely paranoid and had both DP abd DR. I was so weak I could hardly stand and my migraines would cause me to fall and bash into things. I couldn’t walk a straight line. I had to have friends and family care for me as I was now afraid of grocery stores, people, and life. I became basically a shut in. Which if you know me, is INSANE to think about! I was terrified to live like this. I had suicidal ideation and was plagued by dark thoughts and fear of the unknown. I felt COMPLETELY and utterly hopeless and alone. I would die this way; I was sure of it. I couldn’t even regulate heat anymore. Any temperatures higher than 75 would put me out for the whole day.


One day I had a health scare in a random part of town and was rushed to the ER. I had a seizure. The doc at the ER immediately asked about my prescription. He ran some tests and asked a ton of questions. No questions asked he told me I was in “benzo withdrawal”. Benzo withdrawal?! What’s that?! I was stumped. He explained to me that because my doctors had been so careless about the prescription and because I took them for so many years and irregularly, my body was in tolerance withdrawal. He proved it by giving me a dose of another benzo and I was IMMEDIATELY better. I felt somewhat normal. Ish. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I immediately called a friend of mine who works in recovery and said, dumbfoundedly, “I think I’m addicted to my benzos?! And I need help!”


3 days later MusicCares, a company that helps addicted musicians, contacted me and we talked about safe treatment. I couldn’t believe I had to be admitted somewhere to be monitored coming off my medication that MY DOCTOR had given me?!? I wasn’t a junky?! I was just a girl with anxiety who took her meds!!! I was floored but desperate and dying (literally).  The gap Between waiting to be admitted to treatment was a few days and I refused to take any pills so I went into full blown withdrawal. My boyfriend had left me because my health issues were too hard for him to handle and I wanted to die. I laid on my living room floor in full blown horrific hallucinations, tremors and sweating. My roommate laid with me holding my hand as I sobbed and shook.


I Went into rehab January 2017. I have a HUGE problem with cold turkey as a treatment. It kills people and causes them to relapse. Cold turkey is dangerous and should NEVER be attempted with benzo users as it can cause heart failure, seizure, and worse, PROTRACTED WITHDRAWL.  Nonetheless, my detox did a cold turkey 10 day program with me . I was placed on phenobarbital, and then released. Of course,  my body went into full withdrawal at around two weeks off benzos as it does. And I was hospitalized again even though I was technically clean. I kept having seizures so I was hospitalized where I flat lined twice. I DIED twice. And was brought back. My poor body was so fragile. I was 10 lbs underweight, grey and looked like a ghost. Nothing like myself. When I was released again I went into Intensive outpatient treatment and was reinstated on a benzo called Klonopin, in order to SAFELY taper slowly. Nonetheless I was stupid and wanted to be FREE quickly so I tapered in two months. Holy hell, AWFUL decision. I was placed on remeron for depression, trileptol for seizures, gabapentin for the extreme nerve pain I had and something else for mood stabilization. after the Klonopin taper I then had to taper everting else.  My first year was literally just a fight to survive.  I experienced extreme paranoia, depression, vertigo, neuropathy, tinnitus, hypersensitivity, night sweats, diarrhea for an entire year, the works. You name the withdrawal symptom, I had it. I was sooooo depressed. Clinically depressed. I finally understood what it meant to not want to go on. Not because I hated my life or myself or anything like that, but because I didn’t want to go living with so much physical and mental pain. I had SEVERE protracted withdrawal, meaning I would have a few good fats and then fall back into what felt like full blown withdrawal. I was paranoid, scared, hurting and had strange sensations like I could t walk a straight line. My head would feel li was on fire. Randomly, arms or legs would go numb. Some days I couldn’t leave my bed.


As the months stacked up I had more and more good days. I worked the 12 steps even though I didn’t technically feel like a traditional addict since I just followed doctor’s instructions, and it was life changing. I got into therapy and worked my ass off at that every single week. I slowly started to come back to life. I ate super healthy and a lot of healthy fats like avocados and omegas. Fish etc. I started working with other benzo addicts because only somebody who has been through what we’ve been through can truly understand and help another person. It was to my experience that doctors and even rehab and detox had no idea what they were dealing with. Literally none. And they wondered why people kept relapsing and or dying. I think people are starting to wake up to the dangers of this deadly drug but it is much too slow waiting for a safe way to detox.


My detox lasted over 2 years. It was hell. I won’t sugar coat it.  But, because my dad died of this exact issue I refused to give up. Because I came across so many people in treatment who couldn’t stay off of this awful drug I refused to give up. A lot of days it was literally just me being stubborn that kept me holding on. I refused to be a statistic. I refused to reinstate. I would have rather died then reinstated and I don’t say that lightly.  There were days that all I could do was cry on the floor and wait for the symptoms to pass. There were days six month ad a year in where I threw up and had my head go numb.  i’m not here to sugarcoat it for you and tell you it will be easy and that you will be OK because I find if I did that and you wondered why you were having symptoms months in you might feel crazy. The fact is everybody’s detox is completely different! My experience very well may not be your experience, or that very well may be! I do find similarities in all of our stories so I think there is a general timeline for people based on how much and how long you were on it. But I also found the more I read the more fear I had that maybe it would last forever. Two years is a long time to withdraw from anything. I’m not saying I didn’t have good days good weeks we’re good months because I absolutely did but then inevitably I would have another wave and I would feel like I was back at Ground Zero. That’s enough to break anybody. But it did the opposite for me. I used it as momentum to better my life, make healthier choices, and become a better person all around I  i’m not saying I didn’t have good days good weeks or good months because I absolutely did but then inevitably I would have another wave and I would feel like I was back at Ground Zero. That’s enough to break anybody. But it did the opposite for me. I used it as momentum to better my life, make healthier choices, and become a better person all around. have literally experienced hell on earth and it led to the most beautiful life for me. I fell AMAZING today.


Today, I am the healthiest I have been in years. My skin is glowing, my body looks amazing, I have more energy that I know what to do with, and I have such deep connections with people and nature around me because I have experienced something so profound. I jumped back into my career and I’ve traveled so many amazing paces. I have learned ways to manage anxiety without pills BUT let me tell you, I really don’t have any. Hardly ever!  If you would’ve told me there would be a day where I wouldn’t have anxiety anymore I would’ve called you insane. I couldn’t picture my life without panic attacks or anxiety. I have had one panic attack in the past year. One. I used to have one a day.  I also started microdosing mushrooms at 1.5 years med free, to help speed up my recovery and repair all the nerve damage. I would not recommend this in the first year. This was recommended to me by brain surgeon friend of mine, and I read a lot about it before trying it (I was very very nervous about it) But I wanted to give my brain a year off of everything to do it’s own thing before I started doing anything else. I can honestly say microdosing mushrooms has been life-changing for me. You can read about it and how it repairs and creates new neurons , Which for me with my benzo brain damage was desparately needed. Everyone is different, so your journey is your own. I’ve also read of people having success with CBD, but I always found it put me into a wave. Unfortunately. So I don’t choose to use it. All this combined with an extremely clean and healthy diet, tons of exercise and at least 20 minutes a day of sunlight, therapy, a great support network etc;  I do not drink coffee or alcohol. I drink green tea.


Why was this my journey? I may never know. But I can say that being able to walk someone else through this nightmare has paid me back ten fold. I have spoken many times about this and having people come up to me and ask for my number or text me when they are hallucinating in their bed; that’s a feeling unlike any other.  Hopefully someday none of us will have to go through this ever again! But until that day I’m glad I survived it so that I can be there for YOU.  If you are here reading success stories and you feel like you will never heal or that you can’t do it or that it’s too hard or that it’s not worth going on, just know that I have a literally been in your shoes. If I can do it you can and you will feel like a complete bad ass on the other side.


You CAN do it. I promise.

I would be honored to hear from or be there for you. Please comment below or inbox me where you’re at or your thoughts


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Thank you for taking the time to tell your story. I can relate to much of what you have written here and I appreciate it so much. Congratulations for winning the battle and offering all of us hope!
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Dear Musicbuddy:


What a great share and congratulations on the hard work that lead to your full recovery.


I am really interested in the neurologists' work with you using "micro dose thing mushrooms".  You used this phrase a couple of times in

your story.  Would you care to expand your story and possibly share links.  I have read some about the use of psychedelics to reset brain patterns and know I have more healing from long term benzo use before I would ever seek this kind of help.  I have also had severe

acute reactions from taking antibiotics and benzos together so I feel like this may be something that may help me down the road.


I appreciate any information you want to share.


Have a wonderful life :smitten:



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Thanks so much for sharing your incredible story. Fellow singer here - my voice feels so bizarre lately!


I think I had a setback at 7 months (8.5 now.) Blew out my system moving apartments in NYC. Could you maybe share a tale of “I’m kind of getting better!... *]%%!!!”? I think hearing those kind of specifics from someone healed would mean the world to a lot of us, as (as you wrote re ground zero) it can feels like all is lost and we can’t bear to lose ground in this sadistic war.


Thank you.

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Hello! I love your story. Congratulations for recovering completely!

I think my problem was also abstinence from tolerance. since I did not abuse the pills and rather I took them and left them continuously because I did not want to take them.

I would like to know what you mean by microdosing mushrooms, I have 20 months off and although my symptoms have varied, I do not recover. :smitten:

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Well done!


Can I ask if you had any s very muscle contracture and rigidity?


Also did you become super sensitive to all meds and a lot of foods etc?

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I am SO happy that you had the strength and will to overcome this. I can tell I am getting closer to full healing at about a year out and I am beginning to see how much more beautiful life is on the other side of this.


Congratulations, I know your new life will have been worth all of the suffering. Keep supplying hope to others  :smitten:




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Congratulations! Your story gives me hope! I pray that I heal soo, I do not know how much more I can take and my doctor has no clue. Idk know what to do and feel like I am heading to early PAWS. I'm praying for the good lord to heal me and send me a miracle!

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