Jump to content

New Member


[fi...]

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone. My nickname is Buddy. I am joining this forum in hopes of not only receiving some support for my current situation but also providing some through my own experience with benzo's and ssri's. I am currently 80 days off of 4 mg's of Klonopin daily and 60mg's of Cymbalta daily for 4 years. I will go in depth as to my journey through hell in the introduction forum. I am here for a little support through the withdrawal phase after stopping your last dose.  While I was tapering down I could attribute my symptoms to the fact I was withdrawing from the medication but now that im almost three months out from my last dose, its becoming harder and harder to attribute my sypmtoms to withdrawal even though I've read everywhere it can take several months and all my doctor visits and kris and blood work say im fine. So I thought maybe it was time to join a forum and speak with others about their experiences and withdrawal symptoms and get some comfort from others who are dealing with these issues. I look forward to reading and hearing and conversating with you all very soon.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi firefly265:

 

Welcome to Benzo Buddies!  Congrats on getting off your benzo.  Withdrawals can be tough, but they eventually resolve.  There's lots of information and support to be found here.  See you in the forum.

 

Draftsman

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi firefly265,

 

Congratulations on being benzo free! That's an incredible accomplishment especially to taper down from that much. Unfortunately some doctors don't recognize that benzo withdrawal can last for months, hence they think there are other problems. What kind of symptoms are you having now? We're here to help you, please ask any questions you might have.

 

Welcome to BenzoBuddies  :)

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for your replies and being accepted into the forum. I will be posting my story very shortly. I can be rather long winded sometimes but I think its important for everyone to know the details of my experience.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I first off want to thank all of you who post information on forums such as these. I know without a doubt that without it I would have never made the decision to get off of this drug and been successful about it. I am going to share my story from the start and will try to keep it short and sweet but think its important to not only understand what you are going through now but also how you came to be where you are today.

 

I am a career firefighter and have been for the last 13 years and was in the military before that for four years. I feel that when it comes to suffering, pain, and death that I have quite a bit of experience dealing with those issues due to the nature of my job. September 2007 I was a normal guy, I had never dealt personally with any type of anxiety or panic but had seen quite a bit due to my job. We were dispatched to a run of the mill type call that I had been on a 1000 times in the past but this one would end up changing my life. I will spare you the details of the call but I had a near death experience.

 

Starting almost immediately, I developed severe anxiety issues and it was mostly centered around that something was terrible wrong with me, and despite the best efforts of a doctor that I trust and numerous medications, could not get under control. Within a month of the call he labeled my anxiety as severe panic disorder. Over the course of the next 2 months I was in the hosptial 12 times, was leaving work, developed agoraphobia and literally wish that I had died on that call. Finally my doctor prescribed Klonopin to me .5 mg's in the morning and at night. I have to say at the time it was no less than a miracle drug. Literally, the first night I took Klonopin it knocked me out and when I woke up my symptoms were gone. I continued to take the drug as prescribed by my doctor and my life began to return to normal but it was short lived.

 

Several months later in in June of 2008 my anxiety began to creep back into my life for no apparent reason and not only that it seemed to have compounded itself and within a week my anxiety and panic attacks were back worse than before. Of course I freaked out went back to my doctor and he reassured me that this could happen and uped my dosage to 1.5 mg's a day .5 mg's in the morning lunch and night. Magically as before the symptoms dissappeared and again I moved on with my life.

 

A year later  in August of 2009 (pattern emerging with I could have seen it then) I was back with the same problems and again my doctor just uped the dose to 2.5 mg's a day 1mg morning .5 lunch and 1mg at night. Only difference was around this time I started to have side effects of the Klonopin that werent anxiety related but did not realize it at the time. I was feeling like a zombie, depression, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and trouble remembering simple things and he put me on 60 mg's of Cymbalta to combat some of these problems and help with the depression.  Now I dont have to tell you how important it is to be rested and at a 100% being a firefighter and I was no where near that. But again the majority of my anxiety and panic went away with the exception of the above symptoms.

 

A year later in June of 2010 I was back again and this time I started asking questions to my doctor. I asked him why my anxiety and panic would return every several months to a year, why i felt like a zombie all the time, insomnia, vivid nightmares, headaches, my memory was terrible and of course the usual answer was given that it was all tied to anxiety and depression. He said that we would just up the dose of the Klonopin again and now I was on 4 mg's a day 1mg morning and at noon and 2 mg's at night.

 

October 2010 I was visiting my in laws at their farm and they have an exercise room in their barn. I was watching tv with my kids and I heard my mother n law screaming running up to the house. I ran down and my father n law was having a massive heart attack. In a small town like that the response is slow and the care not much better and despite 15 years of training I could not save him. Not even the Klonopin could touch my panic and anxiety and depression after that. When your anxiety and panic is centered around the fact that you think you have something seriously wrong with you and you watch a loved one die in front of you, there arent words to describe that type of anxiety and panic and depression and guilt. It was so bad over the next few months I requested a leave of absence from work and I locked myself in my house and literally do not know how I survived it.

 

In January of this year I had a friend visit me out of the blue and it was so appearent by my actions and the physical transformation of losing weight and my appearance that she became immediately concerned. I broke down and told her what was going on and what came next changed my life. She went into a 3 hour long conversation about her best friends  x husband who had been through a similiar experience of unknowingly being a false victim to klonopin and became an addict and killed 2 children in a car accident. During that conversation it became apparent to me that not once had I ever questioned, researched, looked up, read about any of the drugs or the Klonopin or Cymbalta that I was taking or had ever taken. I trusted my doctor to the point of putting any medication into my body that he prescribed without knowing what it was or how it worked or the implications of that drug. Her account of her best friend and her x husband sounded so much like me down to the last detail that I became interested in finally researching Klonpin, Cymbalta, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and so on.

 

I bet I did not tear myself away from the screen for a week. I read account after account after account of exactly whay I was going through and with each work I became more and more pissed off with my doctor for numerous reasons that are no doubt obvious to everyone here but also became extremely upset with myself for putting that much faith in a doctor without ever researching any of it for myself and how could I let it go on for so long without seeing the pattern.

 

I was so mad and disgusted with myself. I researched and found Dr. Ashtons manual and read forums and other information and I could not wrap my head around the tapering schedule of 6 months or more. I felt like at the time that I would rather taper fast and get this drug out of my system and suffer through the withdrawal and thought honestly to myself that it can be no worse that what I was suffering at the time. Now I absolutely do not recommend to anyone reading this to do it the way that I have done it because I was wrong, yes you can suffer worse and I did.

 

February 1, I dropped 1mg at night and I made it one day before the withdrawal kicked in. I litteraly locked myself in my house and didnt leave for 4 days. If there is a hell I sure would have loved to have been there. Anxiety, panic attacks, vertigo, headaches, tingling, numbness, nasuea, vivid vivid vivid nightmares, derealization, ringing ears, mouth sores, tongue hurt painfully hurt, teeth hurt, seeing things, balance issues, terrible metallic taste in mouth, and the list goes on and on. As bad as the withdrawal symptoms were I refused to go back, I refused to be a slave to this drug any longer I was either going to beat it or it kill me.

 

Two weeks later I dropped another 1mg at lunch. Again I made it one day before the major withdrawal symptoms kicked in and this go around they were compounded and worse than before and lasted longer. There were only two comforts in the world that I clinged to during this time and one was the fact that I had made it through the first round and that I was still breathing but more importantly I constantly was reading the forums such as these and listening to the accounts of peoples withdrawals and battle with this drug. It gave me hope and reassurance that I wasnt alone and that what I was feeling was somewhat normal.

 

Two weeks later I dropped another 1mg same story, same sypmtoms, same living hell but I had a ray of hope knowing that I was still around and had made it this far and was halfway through being done.

 

Two weeks later I dropped the last 1mg and at the same time I stopped the Cymbalta. In my own mind I had read about the withdrawal symptoms of Cymbalta and I decided to stop it and let its symptoms get caught up with what I was already going through. I thought maybe that I wouldnt even notice it but I was wrong to a degree. There were some noticeable symptoms that I had not expereinced with Klonopin but the biggest symptom that was terrible was what I refer to as brain zaps. I felt as if I was sticking my finger in a light socket every few minutes.

 

Slowly but surely after a few weeks that major hard core symptoms seem to ease off a bit. I began to see a little light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. It has now been 87 days since I last took any drug including Advil. I read and read in these forums how everyone struggles and I look back in pure amazement that I was able to taper so quickly on my own and not regress. I can only attribute that to the fact that I literally wanted to be off the drugs and if it killed me then so be it I wouldnt feel that way anymore. Again I wouldnt recommend to anyone to do it this way for a couple reasons one being that you can taper slowly and not have the experience that I had and two when tapering that quickly the protracted symptoms can last for quite sometime and be fairly strong themselves.

 

Im in my 87th day and my symptoms now are numbness in hands and feet, joint pain, muscle aches, trouble remembering things, neck and back pain, trouble sleeping and vivid nightmares. It was odd that from around day 20 to 45 I felt great and then these symptoms started to appear and they are now full force. The hard thing about these symptoms is that when I was physically tapering from the Klonopin I could look at the Klonopin and blame it on that. Its hard to attribute these symptoms to being Klonopin withdrawal when its been almost 3 months since my last dose which I guess is where my current anxiety issues are coming from. Trying not convince yourself that you have some terrible disease or your dying is hard to do. But again I find comfort in reading all of these forums and stories by you guys who have lived it and made it through to the end and I can read that it took 6 months 12 months 24 months for the sypmtoms to go away but they eventually do.

 

In the end I do want to address one important thing that I did learn. I finally went to a psychologist a couple of weeks ago to talk about my experience of near death because from my reading you have to tackle the real issues of anxiety because they will still be there once you come off of the drug and withdrawal and then what do you do to combat the anxiety and panic? So in speaking with my psychologist he believes where my true issue with the anxiety disorder lies in the fact that I told myself I was dead. In my career I have had some close calls with death but out of all of those times I came close thats all I told myself. Whew that was a close call, or man I got lucky in that situation. That night I almost died, I held my breath and I told myself that I was dead. The trauma occured in my brain. My brain associated death with me holding my breath and that scared feeling. When I think back to all of my panic attacks and anxiety issues everyone I can vividly remember occured when I caught myself holding my breath or thinking about my breathing and that was my trigger. It has helped me tremoundsly since I have learned that information.

 

Sorry if this has been long and drawn out and thumbs up to you if you read the whole thing. Its my hope that my experience and my story will help someone in the way that your experiences and stories helped me through my process. I would love to chat with anyone on the site at anytime especially anyone who is going through any withdrawal syptoms after being off the drug for a few months. Thanks again!! Buddy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi firefly265,

 

I wanted to tell you that I had to move your story to your original Intro thread since members are only allowed one Intro topic. It's better this way to keep a good track of your story.

 

Well, first of all I want to thank you for your service in the Fire Dept and military.  :thumbsup:

 

You really walked the coals in your withdrawal, I'm so sorry you had to experience the horror of benzo withdrawal. It's one of the hardest things I think a person can endure. It's definitely not for the weak, I consider benzo survivors as fellow warriors, an experience relatively few truly understand.  

 

I hope your suffering is short lived, God knows these withdrawals last long enough. Thank you for sharing your story, I know when this is all over your life will return much richer than before.      

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oooppss sorry. Thanks for moving it over and your thanks for the compliments. I have no idea how I kept my job at the fd through all of this but I know im on the downhill stretch. Thanks again

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Firefly. Your story moved me to tears. You are such a brave man, in your jobs, your life and in your approach to freeing yourself from the hell of benzos. You make me feel ashamed to be depressed and despondent over my own recovery and the only symptom still bothering me is anxiety.  I am not as brave as you I'm afraid.

 

Thanks for your motivational story and I really wish you all the best in your recovery.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Angel. Thank you so much for your kind words but I would not take away from your own experience with benzo's because it is all very much situational. There is no time frame to this drug whether your suffering from only a month of using or 20 years each situation demands respect for taking that step of becoming free of benzo's and I applaud all on this site for taking that step and putting their stories and experiences out there for everyone to recieve support from and learn from. Your story is extremely important for anyone who is thinking about or just started out on benzo's. For some of us who have been on them for so long or at least me I tend to forget because of what I am dealing with that in the beginning they were a life saver but in reality they are a terrible way to handle your issues long term and do way more harm than good.

 

Anxiety is a tough issue. Being a firefighter/emt for 13 years its sad to say but in alot of ways you become numb to peoples feelings and issues and problems out in the field. We deal with so much aggony, pain, suffering, loss, and death on a day to day basis as an emergency responder you tend to become numb to those issues for other people because you have a job to do and you have to learn to cope with all of that to do your job efficently. I never understood anxiety and panic and the symptoms before my own experience with it and I dismissed alot anxiety and panic to someone just being crazy. It really is one of those things that if you have never experienced it you will never fully understand or appreciate the magnitude of what it can do to your health and your life. I applaud you for your bravery to stop taking benzo's after just using them for a month. I would have never been as brave to stop them after one month because of how they made me feel and how they helped me so much to start with. Took me almost 4 years to realize that I needed to come off of them so to me in all reality you are much braver than I to do what you have done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...