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COnfused. Please help:)


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ok..I really need some advice here---- please!

 

(Im going to report my story here since Ive started a few unrelated threads. I thought it woudl be easier to put it all in this post now).

 

Here is my history..

I began taking 1 mg of Ativan on 12/30/05. I stayed at 1 mg almost every day for a few months..then decided to try tapering, since I read some online stories about the dangers.

 

I went down to .5 for awhile (a month or so I believe) I cant recall because my brain is in a fog lately. ;)) ---then went back to the doc. We decided I was 'too panicked' and since I felt so much better on the drug that I should go back on it. So I went back UP to my 1 mg dosage again.

 

I stayed at 1 mg again for awhile..I think it was a few months or so.

AGAIN I felt my panic return so I went back to 1 mg. I stayed on 1 mg again for about 6 months.

 

My bf and doctor both feel I do SO MUCH BETTER on Ativan that I should 'stay ON IT!". They both  dont believe that the research has proven that this drug is harmful! My bf even went to this site saying that Dr. Ashton is 'biased' and called her a quack. GRR#&($&!@#!--that she has an 'agenda' etc. I asked him to do his own research and he feels for many it is a bad 'addictive' drug but for others (like ME he says) It can be a lifesaver.

 

THis is my dilemma now.....

(Inspite of the doc and my bf I really do feel in my gut I should go OFF this drug).

 

I've been trying a very slow taper this time. I went to .5 again for about a month--then went down to .25 mgs on the 15th of this month. SOme of you feel that is too FAST of a taper. Ive had some very good days but also some very bad panicky, anxious days too. Its a bit like a yo yo/rollercoaster with my emotions and also my physical symptoms like shaky hands, nervousness, inability to focus, heart palputations etc. Some days these symptoms are very mild. Other days they seem debilitating.

 

I own an art gallery/studio and there are quite a few other artists around me in their own shops. Many days im so nervous and paraniod that I dont talk to them. Some days Im fine, even bubbly and outgoing! Ive had this behavior since I was a teenager though so Im very used to it. Ive never been officially 'diagnosed' with any mental disorder but I pretty much KNOW that I have anxiety, panic or generalized anxiety disorder. Funny but the one psychiatrist that I went to recently said he "THOUGHT" I might have biploar or ADD. He wasnt' sure'. Just gave me more Ativan. ahhhhhhhwelll..

 

I TRULY want to try getting off of Ativan, after all I've read online about the dangers of long term use etc. BUT... I also am the sole breadwinner in my family and my mental health is IMPERATIVE so that I can work around people at my art gallery and not FREAK OUT! Ive been known to get so rude and abusive that customers get scared and RUN OUT!  :laugh: (NOt funny I know. I m just explaining some of my actions).

 

When I was on the 1 mg of Ativan I was a very productive person.. ..and MUCH kinder.

My mood was for the most part 'stable'--- although I still had bad days but  I was able to handle them WAY BETTER. My bf said he never saw me act this 'normal' and 'happy 'since he's known me. He said I was even a joy to be around. hmmm  :sick::crazy:(Ive been with him almost 10 years now).

 

My doctor also agreed that 1 mg was NOT that high of a dose(nothing to be concerned at all about!)-- so I should just stay ON IT if its working. (Ive told all of this to you before but Im just recapping here).

 

Last week on Saturday I went to my gallery and was very pleasant and normal acting , made quite a few sales and felt extremely centered and calm. (Ive also been doing some inner mental work, spiritual affirmations etc. which help me greatly).

 

Then on Sunday, the very next day  I absolutelY FREAKED and had such a bad panic attack that I had to close early! I couldnt bear to be around humans. I was also shaking a bit, heart was racing and I was very very nervous and apranoid. DARN! It was like I was dr. jekyll and mr. hyde. One day UP, next day the Excorcist woman!

 

 

Anyway, Im staying on this .25 dosage now becasue Im honestly not sure which way to go at this point.

 

Its like Im on the 'fence'. I could go BACK to the drug (1 mg a day) and just not worry about the side affects ,especially because I have an important 3 day art festival coming up on March 19 where I will be around a lot of people for 3 straight days!---OR I can keep on this withdrawal method and HOPE I feel more stable soon. Today Im again having a bad day. I woke up with a buzzing feeling in my head, nervousness, agitation etc. (It is also my time of month and I have pre menopause so it could be related to those things too!).

 

My bf and I just sat down and had a 'serious talk' about this. He feels that it is VITAL that I am not a bit*ch at work and that I MUST maintain my level of 'normalcy' so that we can survive financially. My art has been the main financial support of him and I and our 3 cats for 3 years now. He does most likely have a full time job coming up soon so it will probably take the pressure off of me financially. SOme of my panic was due to feeling like I HAD to make art sales so we could survive, pay bills, pay for our cats food etc. :)

 

Thankfully Ive made enough on my art sales to survive and actually flourish (even in these 'bad economic' times'). I dofeel very grateful that Im able to make a living at my art and some days Im actually in 'awe' of how amazing my lfie has been (in SPITE of my emotional wackiness!)

 

Im reading two great books actually that have helped enormously lately. One is 'Happy for no Reason' by Marci Shamoff and 'Embracing Uncertainty'by Susan Jeffers. BOth highly recommended by the way. What I learned ih those books seemed to sink in and helped my mental moods more than anything latelY!

 

THe days that Im highly functioning I can handle a lot of stress and I feel almost 'normal'. Most of my life since age 14 Ive suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. I used to be in the entertainment business and I sung for a living in front of large audiences. I was on NO DRUG and many performances I did fine. Other times I panicked and freaked and would run off stage. I was definitely unstable and my inability to understand myself and my behavior led me to a lot of depressions and anxieties over the years. I am now 46.

 

With this drug it seems I am able to live a normal life, with normal emotions. My mom, dad , bf and doctor ALL seem to think I should STAY ON the drug so Im a bit like the lone wolf here. Thats why i came to you guys.

 

Id really appreciate any feedback from all of you. Thanks so much!!

 

MIchelle

 

 

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Hi Michelle,

 

You've stated two options: reinstate at your usual dose; continue tapering off. There is a third option: stabilise at your present dose until you feel better! Tapering off benzos is very variable. I plan is great is an incentive, but you need to be flexible too. If you have been suffering with your withdrawal, simply slow down or stabilise. Since you are feeling so stressed, I would recommend that you take a break from further cuts. When you have adjusted to your present dose, then start up your taper again. Make new cuts only when you feel reasonably recovered from the previous cut. ;)

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ohhhh one more related thing?

 

Ok If I stay at this current level (.25 mgs) and start feeling GOOD ..how long before I start going down further??

 

Also..what if I DO want to go back and take 1 mg again in the future (for instance for the 3 days of the art show)?? What happens if you go back and forth?

 

 

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there is always the possibility of getting hooked again.

 

a cut is usually held for 10 or 14 days - if you can handle another try.

 

have you tried calms forte when stressed - should have the same effect once you are healed.

 

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Thanks for your constant replies silver. I do appreciate it. No I havent tried Calms Forte. WHere do you recommend I get it at the best price? Should I start taking it NOW while weaning off the Ativan? I think I saw some at Walmart but there's probably a place online.

 

I dont want to have to go to another drug while weaning off this one, thats for sure! I know many do that but I defintiely dont want to!

 

I'll be happy to try the CalmsForte..thanks for recommending it.

 

:)

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the trick with any supplement is this - don't take it so much that it stops working.

 

only take a sleep or settling supplement when needed - if you are taking it more then 3 days in a row that there may be a dependency problem - nothing serious other then it will stop working - then what?

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Ok If I stay at this current level (.25 mgs) and start feeling GOOD ..how long before I start going down further??

 

Hi,

 

You might not feel 'good' until you have finished your taper. Tapering more quickly than you can manage will only make you feel worse though. You are likely to feel better by taking a break from your taper, and once you feel better, then reinstate your taper. We can help you make smaller cuts to your dose so that the cuts are less of a shock to your system. How long you wait is up to you. You will probably feel improved within a few weeks though. You shouldn't draw it out unnecessarily long - you are not likely to feel 100%.

 

Also..what if I DO want to go back and take 1 mg again in the future (for instance for the 3 days of the art show)?? What happens if you go back and forth?

 

The reality is that 0.25mg is not a therapeutic dose of Ativan. This dose only serves to continue your dependence on Benzos. Each and every obstacle you now tackle is overcome by yourself, not because of Ativan, but in spite of it! The more you tackle everyday stresses and strains, the better you will cope with them. It is just like everything else in life: the more practiced, the better your abilities. There are two major problems with taking a few extra dose for a few days: your are highly likely to increase your dependence (and set back your recovery); and you will rob yourself of the opportunity to learn from the experience. I try to avoid being black-and-white about benzo withdrawal, but I think increasing your dose for a few days is very bad idea. Much better to stabilise your dose for a period before the stressfull event so that you are not tackling a drop in dose at the same time.

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I hear what youre saying silver. Thanks.

 

I found some Calms Forte online here  for 3.59 for 100 tablets:)

http://www.swansonvitamins.com

 

So silver, youre saying to only take these 'once in awhile' then? Not every night? Hmm..OK.

 

Im SO used to taking something EVERY DAY that it will be a new experience to try a 'once in awhile thing' with these. I also looked into valerian root. Anyone hear of it? It seems very similiar to the Calms FOrte though. Not sure I need both.HMMM>???

 

Im also doing  self help, spiritual inner work , (Affirmations, positive self talk), reading helpful books , drinking tea, eating healthy, taking walks etc.----which I believe wholeheartedly is a major key to my wellness.

 

Oh by the way I realize that the past few days my 'bad mood' might not have had ANYTHING to do with the ativan at all!! It was just  horrendous menstrual symptoms! THe symptoms I had for the past few days  were:

 

blurry vision, buzzing head, irritability, shakiness, fatigue, panic, heavy head, difficulty focussing,spaciness...

 

These symptoms could be very SIMILIAR to the w/d symptoms...right?? (Today my period came so Im anticipating a lot of those symptoms will decline).

 

THanks Colin for your reply. What I heard you say was that if I just stay here at my current dose from now until March 19 (when my artshow will be) that my body most likely be 'used' to this level?---as opposed to UPPING my dosage for that show.

 

Im so tempted to go UP on my dose (even to .5) for the 3 day artfair, because its very important that Im calm...... BUT....I know thats quite a ways in the future so I wont look too far ahead.

 

Ill take this a day at a time here! :D

 

Ahhhh ok back to making art.

:)

 

Thanks guys.

 

 

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