Jump to content

18 Months and Healed


[ve...]

Recommended Posts

It's been almost 3 years now (June 2008) since I first took a small amount of valium (5mg) to help with the anticipated jet lag and motion sickness of an International trip that included several flights and my first cruise.  I have also had low level anxiety for some years and thought it might help with some stressful aspects of traveling with extended family and with my elderly father who has had cancer for the last five years.  He has been very fortunate to have several remissions.  That being said, the process has been stressful on our family, to say the least.

 

Anyhow, 18 months ago (this Wednesday :yippee:) I finished the last dose of a 10 month slow taper in November 2009.  At that time, my father was sick in the hospital after four weeks of pneumonia and a staph infection from cancer.  Due to much stress surrounding the illness of my father, I ended up with Shingles virus, six weeks after my valium taper ended.

 

The last 18 months has been up and down, but the trajectory has moved steadily forward :thumbsup:.   The name "vertigo" comes from the reaction I had to a c/t after that 3 week summer trip back in 2008 where I was taking  5mg every night until I returned home, never warned by my doctor to taper off slowly :idiot:.  I ended up in the ER about 3 weeks later with vertigo, insomnia, palpitations and high anxiety.  After consulting with my ENT and a neurologist, I decided to reinstate to 5mg of valium.  Within a few days, the vertigo reversed :yippee:.  Although I was still feeling anxious, the reinstatement helped me to sleep again as well as to diminish the anxiety at a time that my father was having frequent chemotherapies and some conflict with siblings about the care decisions for our parent.  After a few months of reinstatement, I became tolerant to the 5mg and up-dosed to 6 and 7mg :brickwall:. I had a sinus infection that Fall 2008 and took a one week course of levaquin (a quinolone antibiotic).   Although I do not know of specific problems from that one week of levaquin, I did get Shingles about a year later at the end of 2009.  I sometimes wonder if it predisposed my CNS.

 

I began my taper in January 2009 and finished in November 2009.  I just wanted to post something here to affirm that I believe at 18 months off valium, I'm "close enough" to 100% of where I was 3 years ago, before that first valium and in many ways I feel much better off ;).  First, over 12 symptoms have gone away from mild tinnitus to vertigo, cog fog, feeling faint, dizzy, jelly legs,  occasional palpitations, elevated BP, mini panic, feeling bloated, acid reflux, weight gain, insomnia, fatigue, intermittent blues, and "excessive anxiety" (a word on that in a moment).  The acid reflux is still intermittent, depending on whether I am taking prilosec or zantac.  However, I had reflux for several years before I took valium. I tried to taper off the prilosec in February 2011, but after a sinus infection and allergy problems, I had to go back on prilosec ::).  I hope to try to go off it again, perhaps this Fall.  Those of you still tapering, be aware that there is a drug interaction between valium and the  PPI meds such as prilosec or nexium and one should be careful about "just stopping" them suddenly, especially during taper.  Ideally they ought to be tapered slowly and preferably at least a few months post taper and under doctor advice.

 

Last August at around 9 months off, I started an exercise program and diet where I lost over 25lbs by end of 2010 :yippee: but it may have been slightly over zealous :-\.  I started noticing increases in adrenalin and anxiety as well as a brief return of vertigo  :D:( in January, 2011.  I'm still down about 20lbs and at 175lbs for 5-11 height, am in reasonably good condition compared to six months ago :thumbsup:.  I started to get discouraged in the early months of this year, when anxiety sky rocketed along with some winter seasonal blues.  However, the anxiety has since settled down. I also experimented with green smoothies, which I may have overdone a bit towards the end of last year.  I started a thread on them in "alternative therapies". I still think they have helped my energy levels, but they may have a lot of B and other vitamins that may have impacted things a bit.  I still have some anxiety AND that is ok!  Remember, I had anxiety, certainly this much if not more BEFORE that first benzo! Fortunately, the insomnia is gone.  I have come to find that it is not reasonable to measure the success of my journey off valium, based on getting to zero anxiety.  Also, I never had panic attacks before or during taper but did have 2 mini panics at 3 and 5 months off. I believe it was rebound anxiety which occurred as my body was adjusting to not having numbing benzos to artificially calm my nervous system.  

 

Family conflicts are unfortunately ongoing and are not expected to improve that much either.  If I waited around for my sibling and I to get along to write a "success story" here, it would be a very long wait indeed :).   Life still happens off benzos (to put it politely) ;).  I occasionally still get mild nerve tingling from where I had Shingles last year but it's only a little bit annoying.  In fact, it kind of tells me to step back, that I might be getting a little stressed out and need to breathe.  I still think about how I might react the next time one of our parents is ill and when one eventually does pass away, how I will cope with the loss.  Yet, I can say that while I'm not in a  "perfect" state of health, I'm better in most regards than 3 years ago and significantly better than 18 months ago when my taper ended :).   I sleep about 6 hours a night and rarely wake up in between, whereas I used to get up frequently in the night and not be able to fall back asleep.  While I still have mild to moderate anxiety at times and a few ongoing mild GI issues,  I have read several good books which have helped me to cope with anxiety and "negative" thinking patterns.  I've also incorporated mindfulness and some meditation to my spiritual life.

 

If I had one thing to share with anyone who is still struggling in that first year off valium or another benzo, it is that healing can occur after six months AND yes, after a year :).  As I mentioned, I had some mini panics at 3 and 5 months off and  a kind of relapse of some symptoms at 9 months off.  However, I managed to turn things around in months 9-12 with exercise and diet.  I am a firm believer that one ought not give up hope that healing can occur in the 2nd year   I am still hopeful that I might progress even further from here, but I would have to say it would be gravy.  Also, healing was not linear.  Throughout the last year,  it was often two steps forward and one step back.  Just to be clear, I'm not saying that I'm "totally healed" or that I don't have some kinks that I'd like to work out a little more.  I was not "perfect" before benzos. I know, it's hard to believe,eh?  That being said, if I'm honest, I  certainly had more kinks 3 years ago ;D.  I've learned the hard way that no pill is going to resolve stress or anxiety from coming up in life.  Also, I'd like to say that if I offended anyone along the way, particularly during withdrawal when I was extremely anxious and sleepless, I apologize and ask your forgiveness.

 

God Bless,

;D

Vertigo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 95
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • [ve...]

    23

  • [pa...]

    7

  • [ga...]

    4

  • [mt...]

    3

Hi Vertigo

 

I loved your success story.  It gives us all hope here.  I really liked what you said about the goal not being 100% anxiety free.  Who has no anxiety?  You learned how to deal with anxiety while going through all the tough things life gives us to handle. 

 

I wish you nothing but the best success.

 

Oleander

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow I just sent you a pm and now I see this.

 

I haven't read it all yet but I want to congratulate you!!! :thumbsup:

 

 

Wishing you the best!    Ilana.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Verti,

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your success story  :thumbsup:  I am so happy to see how far you have come, and your story is an inspiration to so many here at BB.

 

I really loved what you had to say about anxiety and also never giving up hope.  That is my new motto around here, as when one is in the depths of benzo hell it can be so easy to give up all  hope.  But after healing so much myself in the last ten months, even my G.I issues, which I feared would never improve, it has taught me a firm lesson to never give up hope, no matter how much time has past.  Healing really does happen, and your story is proof of that.

 

:smitten:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow Vertigo!!!  :yippee:...you must be so proud of yourself for hanging in there and fighting this long and hard fight!!! You are such a inspiration and I pray that you have continued healing!!! I am rt behind you in my success story and feel so blessed to have met you...Enjoy your new benzo free life...Hugs to you   :thumbsup: Jenny
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi V!

I got your PM and hear I am!

Thank you so much for sharing with us your life, ideas, advise and wise councel! You are an amazing human being, V and I appreciate what you do here on the forum!

You are correct to point out that healing continues along the way and nothing will ever be "perfect". You have gone through ups and downs in recovery (as I have) and life has continued to have it's challenges for you (as they have for me) and you keep on charging forward. You are a compassionate soul, my friend, and I thank you so much for keeping up with me especially during those times when I wasn't posting as often. As you know, I too had a relapse at about 9 or 10 months out. I still have difficulty understanding why this occured, but the point is we both moved through our own individual relapses and we are better off now! I will soon be 15 months post taper from valium and so I know completely how things can proceed...

Above all, congradulations! :yippee:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congratulations Vertigo - so glad you posted your story to keep the rest of us going forward.  You have been very helpful to me, talking with me, enlightening me and always with positive reassurance.  You are a great asset here on this forum and I celebrate your withdrawal and your success.  Keep on healing - so happy for you!

Hoping2BFree

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're the best Vertigo and thanks for letting me know you are making it on the other side. Close enough to 100%. That's something, I'll bet the lingerers will fade over the next few months. You really have had a lot on your plate with tapering and family matters and you've made it through a hectic time in benzowithdrawal and attending family matters. You're a man of many hats! Thankyou for sharing your story and I do wish you all the very best and a beautiful future! xoxoxoxoox
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi V

Thank you for being there for me on so many dark lonely nights over the past 2 years.  I am thrilled you continue to heal, learn and grow as a person.  May the warmth and care you have shown to so many here continue to inspire all of us to be a beacon of love and light to all of those that cross our paths.

 

I am a better person for all I have learned from your journey!

 

Your friend

Mimi

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congratulations V,

        You deserve this for all of the pain and suffering that you've had to endure over the past three years. Enjoy every minute of your life going forward, you've certainly earned it!  :thumbsup:

 

Jeff M.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Vertigo!

 

Wow!  How great that you can post a success story!  There are lots of us doing this for you right now: :yippee: 

 

What a journey you have to look back on!  Thank you for befriending so many of us who have been walking here with you over these months.

 

I know that you have learned so many things while going through this process that will be invaluable to your months and years ahead.

 

Congratulations! 

 

~Leena :smitten:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CONGRATULATIONS!!!  :yippee:

I am so happy for you.  You are an inspiration to so many buddies here, myself included.    Thank you for all your guidance and for just being there when I needed reassurance.  Your story gives me hope, as I approach 6 months free and am still working out the kinks. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Verti,

 

I remember you posting great advice to me about getting through this ordeal when I first got here and saw you continue to share your caring thoughts, experiences and wisdom with so many others throughout my time here.  I hope a lot of members read what you have written about not seeking "total healing".  It's very easy to get caught up in an idealized vision of what our lives should be like.  I'm so glad that you've found success - it was well earned!  Good luck as you go forward and God bless!

 

Congratulations!!!  :thumbsup:

 

RV

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Vertigo,

 

Thank you for writing your success story, and thank you for the wonderful support you've given your Buddies, you deserve every happiness.

 

Pam

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vertigo, thanks for posting your story and thanks for your input on this forum, I'm so happy you've beat this thing!  :yippee:

 

Way to go!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was so happy to read this. You sure have gone through some heavy obstacles and always pushed your way through it.

 

Although, you were having a hard time symptom wise, you always seemed to put things into perspective and accept it for what it was. That's not an easy thing to do, as you know.

 

You have always given great support to everyone, along with some great information on self help books.

 

I wish you, your family and Hero ;D the very best.

 

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Verti

Im so happy to read that you are well and truly over this benzo nightmare, like everyone else says, thank you for being on the forum and giving us all your support even when you have had problems of your own.

Luv Pauline  :smitten: :smitten: :smitten:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a success story I've been looking forward to!  Awesome, Verti! http://i1132.photobucket.com/albums/m575/maxmoo/Funny%20Pics/Decor%20Smileys/woohoo.gif

 

You've given so much support to so many of our members and your success story is the icing on the cake! :mybuddy:

 

http://i1132.photobucket.com/albums/m575/maxmoo/Funny%20Pics/Greeting%20Cards/Happy%20Birthday%20and%20Good%20Job/welldone.gif

 

That's me and you, by the way. :laugh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CONGRATULATIONS Verti, wonderful story and so happy for you. THanks again for all the kindness and support you've offered me over the last year. All the very best.

xxm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vert, wonderful post and thanks for sharing.  I have followed some of your posts and it seems we have shared some of the same journey.  I am still waiting for my healing and taking some solace from your recovery after your setback.  Like you and so many I am an accidental addict, no idea what the consequences were of taking this horrible med.  Thanks again for taking the time to share with us and providing that glimer of hope we are all hoping for.

 

Sharil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congratulations Verti,

 

From the day I first signed on to BB I've learned so much from the advice and support that you have given the buddies on this forum. I even patterned my own taper schedule after the one you followed because of your success story. And I have to say it's working for me. You're a wise and gracious human being Vertigo and I wish you the very best as you get on with living the rest of your life.

 

Leslie  :smitten:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congratulations Verti. I have followed your journey over the past 18 months, and always admired your no nonsense approach to this horrible syndrome. I would like to thank you especially for starting the "Post benzo freedom" thread, which remains a huge support for me, and to so many others here. Best of luck buddie.

Kev

Link to comment
Share on other sites


×
×
  • Create New...