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giving up? (WARNING: do not read for inspiration)


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Not to discourage anyone else, but I'm not sure I can continue my Klonopin taper.  Not unless I discover some non-benzo that acts like a benzo......that is, a rescue anti-anxiety agent.  Right now I'm considering little bits of the antihistamine Atarax, which supposedly can be used off-label for anxiety.  Or maybe trying CBD oil, everybody's favorite cure-all these days.  But I feel I can't take the daily mental and physical anguish any more.


Ironically I take more Klonopin in tapering than I ever did in my life!  I'm not sure Klonopin ever even did anything for me, since I never took it at a prescribed dose.  I took a tiny quarter rarely for years, only regularly a few months this summer.  Taken regularly my panic attacks only got worse, albeit at less than one 0.5 mg pill a day, still way beneath the prescribed dose.  So maybe it would have helped if taken at a prescribed dose?  OR maybe I was already habituated, or maybe paradoxical.  In which case there's no going back in any case.


But please understand why I'm considering giving up..........I have NO ONE here to support me, neither doctors, friends or family.  My long-suffering BF is one step out the door, he is so sick of me being sick.  More and more he finds excuses to be away from me.  I can't blame him, but it really hurts.  I have friends, but they're not going to baby-sit me.  I have a loving, dedicated sister who calls me every day, but she lives in another state.  I'm alone, agoraphobic again (that really hurts), barely functional and scared.  Every day feels like walking a tightrope with no safety net. 


I might benefit from CBT, but no amount of phone calls has turned up a regular therapist.  Psychiatrists I've talked to don't understand benzo withdrawals, prescribe inappropriate meds, call maybe once a month.  My primary physician asked me why I was determined to quit Klonopin.  He said it was made for people like me, people with panic disorder, and some people really do need to stay on it longterm.  I thought he was wrong, but then, if I did successfully taper, what WOULD I rely on as a rescue med for panic disorder/agoraphobia?  Whether I used it or not, even if I just carried it around with me or took a tiny quarter occasionally, like I used to........Klonopin was my failsafe.  What would replace it?


I look at the agony of the weeks, months, years it could take to taper off Klonopin ahead, and consider my lack of support and the time I probably have left in this world.  Having "moderate emphysema" could mean I just have 3-6 years left.  I'd like to make the best of them.  As is, I'm thinking if I continue this taper I will end up in a hospital where they'll mistake my agoraphobic freak-out for psychosis, pump me full of more and worse drugs, stick me in a longterm mental facility, where I'll get covid and die by the end of the year!


Every day I think of how much I dearly love my BF, my home, my cat, my sister, my friends, what had been my life, and all of nature......and it brings tears to my eyes!  How do I say good-bye?  I've already lost my hard-won freedom from agoraphobia, and I'm back where I started 30 years ago.......with a 3-5 mile radius.  In the last few years I had become an avid hiker, kayaker and outdoorsperson, going to the places I only dreamed of for 3 decades!  That's me in the photo.  To suddenly lose all the freedom I worked so hard for for so long is like a nightmare.  Especially in autumn......my favorite season.  I think of the places I miss so much and cry every day. 


I know its not to be encouraged, but are there circumstances that justify giving up a taper?  If so, should I updose the Klonopin as an experiment to see if it helps?  If it makes me worse, then at least I'd know I was "tolerant" or paradoxical and cannot go back in any case.  Surrendering to Klonopin would not be easy for me either.  I hate and despise drugs, and was on ZERO medications for decades before this disaster.  Now it is just triage for a sinking ship.


I'm sorry I sound apostate, and please forgive the self-pity.  Honest, frank evaluations welcome. 



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Frank evaluation incoming!  ;)


So, the treatment can't be worse than the cure. You have to weigh this out logically which you are doing in this post. I have a similar story in that I was told that I'd be on it for life. I had never taken any meds in my life. All of a sudden I was diagnosed with a potentially deadly disease and I had a mental breakdown. Suddenly I was on 4 mgs a day of xanax as prescribed and chemo drugs for 6 years.


I had a near miraculous remission of my autoimmune disease but the xanax was like a chain around my neck. I somehow got myself down to two and a half mgs and stayed there for years. I was constantly re-evaluating my situation but it was never a good time and I never felt stable enough to get off of it.


Here's where it gets interesting and what made the decision for me. I started getting daily panic attacks when I moved to a third world country and life was very different. I didn't handle stress well and on top of that, the generic xanax there didn't work as well. I was a mess and decided to move home after a year. The panic and anxiety continued and the doc wanted me to go up.


I increased my dose to 3 mgs and guess what? It didn't work. After years and years of the drug working, it just didn't work anymore. I went back down to two and a half and started plotting my escape. I waited another couple of years before I actually started. I thought 2020 would be a quiet and uneventful year to taper (:laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:) since I had travelled a lot and moved 4 times the previous few years. 

So, by the time covid and all of that happened I was already well into my taper.


So, honestly, I might have stayed on xanax for life and probably would have if it had not stopped working for me. I wasn't a junkie, I never took more than prescribed. It helped with crippling ocd, panic and anxiety. I am phobic of medication so the doctors could never get me to take anything else anyway. BUT, once it stopped working I realized that I had no choice but to extricate myself.


So, you could go up and see what happens but just know that eventually for most people the drugs stop working and you'll have to face this problem whether it is now or later. If it works for you and improves your quality of life, that's something to think about. I hope you figure out what works best for you.


One last thing, I always hated being chained to this drug and never being able to run out of it or if it got lost or stolen I'd have to frantically call the doctor. I have had horrible experiences with doctors who hate benzos who tried to pull me off of them because they didn't like them. I got very sick once when my doctor closed up shop and left no references. No doctor wanted to give me the amount I was used to taking and I ended up at a clinic who did a rapid taper that was a huge failure.


So, the reason I am mentioning this is that if you can do it on your terms and can get the drugs you need, that is always the best way to taper. As the drugs get more and more hated by the medical community, it is getting harder to get. Even for me at this point my doctor won't give me more than one refill at a time and I am chained to my monthly appointment with him until I'm off. So, that is also a big motivating factor for wanting off these drugs.


I hope you find the right answer for you!  :)

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You asked "what would replace Klonopin"? Ashton and many here feel that Valium is the best benzo to taper from especially at low doses. It sounds like you're at a place where you've got nothing to lose so maybe you might want to consider a cross over. Valium is also more sedating so it might help with the anxiety. Good luck
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THANK YOU for the advice and support!  I'm sorry I haven't responded sooner.  I caught a small precious window for a couple of days and just went with it.  Silly as it may sound, it was because I got an inspirational old 70's anthem stuck in my head  ("Carpet of the Sun" by Renaissance)  I've always been a big music lover, but like TV, movies, books, caffeine, etc for the most part I can't tolerate music these days.  But this song is so positive and beautiful, having it stuck in my head, singing it around the house........even helped my sleep!  For awhile, anyway......now I'm back to crushing anxiety and insomnia. 


JWL and SRR......I totally understand medication phobia and horror at the thought of being chained to a drug!  That's exactly how I am.  I don't know if I'm Klonopin "tolerant" or "paradoxical" or never took a high enough dose to start with to ever tell. 


Currently I'm at 0.3126 mg a day, split into 4 doses of 0.0625 mg and 2 doses of 0.0312 mg.  The daily total is halfway between a half and three-quarters of a 0.5 mg Klonopin pill.  I'm loathe to updose, but don't feel I can hold in this hell.  Not unless I find a "magic bullet" that can ease this daily WD tension/anxiety/panic attacks and help sleep. 


I THOUGHT the "magic bullet" might be Atarax (hydroxymine hcl), but 1/2 of a 25 mg tab knocks me out for about 20 hours (and not in a pleasant cozy way but walking dead.)  SO I tried just a tiny little crumb at a time.  I thought it showed promise, but last night at 3 am even a tiny crumb gave me heart palpitations, shortness of breath, a feeling like there was an elephant sitting on my chest.  It was just for the first hour, but it was frightening, and given emphysema, I probably should not take Atarax anymore. 


I could move on to try the CBD Oil I bought a couple days ago.  CBD Oil has been praised in COPD Foundation AND benzo withdrawal forums!  Could be the magic bullet, right?  But my first panic attack in life was while being stoned and I'm wary that even THC-free CBD oil might contain up to 3% THC.  I'm kinda scared to try something that COULD make me worse. 


Same thing with Valium.  My sister came up with a schedule for a Klonopin-to-Valium cross-over.  But what it if made me worse?  I'm alone all day and feel like I'm barely hanging in there as it is. 


Actually I have a whole bag of tricks under my bathroom counter.......meds I've tentatively tried and rejected, or never tried at all:  Zyprexa, Gabapentin, Trazodone, Melatonin, Benadryl, Buspirone, Lamactil.  Six months ago I never heard of most of them.  I don't know if you can try one one night and if it doesn't help, try another the next.  Or you should grant days inbetween due to half lives.  How would I know.  I'm an artist, not a psychopharmacologist.  I'm not comfortable experimenting with myself.  And I haven't lost the will to live!




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I don't want to sound like a downer but in my experience there are no magic bullets. There may be things that may help you sleep but I don't know of anything that will help with withdrawal. I have had luck with supplements but in your fragile condition they may throw you into a bigger wave
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I can't explain why, as I am either sensitive or allergic to most drugs but 100 mgs of gabapentin, the lowest dose I can get helps me with this taper. My doc thinks it's a placebo effect as it's a small dose but I'm pretty sure it's actually working. I'm also pretty sure I'll feel it when it's time to stop it and may trouble getting off of it. But, if it helps me get through this taper, I'm willing to take it.
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