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New Member -determined to beat the benzo's


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Hello,

 

After many failed attempts to becoming benzo free by going alone, I decided to join a help group, and this one comes highly recommended.

 

I have been on sleepers ( Mogadon or Temazepam ) for at least twenty years. Then I switched to Diazapam for the last ten. I never had any serious side effects when taking the first two, I didn't really think I was addicted until in the 1980s I tried to stop suddenly and threw a new bottle of pills in the bin. A few sleepless nights later I ended up in A & E have multiple fits and other terrible withdrawel symptoms. It was only then that I realised the horrific power of the drug. I was put back on the Sleepers and I continued as before. Throughout these years I never increased my dose and always felt okay during the day. I usually began to feel a little bit edgy in the evenings and now and then suffered a few panic attacks.

 

My high pressure job took me all over the country, living out of a suitcase, staying in Hotels and Travel Lodges. It could be very stressful and sleep was not something I could do without. When I retired I found the Ashton Manual on the internet as I searched for knowledge on how to deal with the benzo addiction.  I saw my GP and we changed over to Diazapam in order to taper off. I think my first amount of Diazapam was around 70mg, but it didn't take long to drastically reduce this to around 25-30mg.

 

I am now on 5mg and the effects are really kicking in, I am in a complete " cog fog" too.

Tiggy

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Hi Tiggy,

 

I'm glad you found BenzoBuddies.

 

I'm sorry to hear of your bad experiences with benzos. Sadly, you are not alone.

 

What sort of symptoms are you having?

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Hi Tiggy,

 

I'm glad you are determined to beat the benzo's. :thumbsup: I too, had know clue how to taper till I became benzo-wise.

 

Cog fog is a really common symptom, you wouldn't believe how often I have to use spell-check for the simplest words. I felt kind of relieved when I found out other people have had the same symptoms that I have, not that I'd wish this on anyone, but now I know they are symptoms from the benzos and not me. I hope your other symptoms aren't too bad.

 

What does your taper schedule look like? We can help you with that and provide support while you are withdrawing.

 

Welcome to BenzoBuddies. :)

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Hi,

Thank you, I'm just entering the difficult stage. Sleep problems, drenching sweats, shaking, burning sensation up my back, dizzy spells, noise in the ears and blurred vision. Also started to get severe pins and needles and numbness in arms and legs. Had several serious falls one could have been fatal.

 

Just starting to lose concentration and become very forgetful, also very careless seem to drop things very easily. I think my judgement is impaired.

 

Thanks again,

Tiggy

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Hi,

Thank you, I'm just entering the difficult stage. Sleep problems, drenching sweats, shaking, burning sensation up my back, dizzy spells, noise in the ears and blurred vision. Also started to get severe pins and needles and numbness in arms and legs. Had several serious falls one could have been fatal.

 

Just starting to lose concentration and become very forgetful, also very careless seem to drop things very easily. I think my judgement is impaired.

 

Thanks again,

Tiggy

 

Hi Tiggy,

 

I'm sorry you are having so many difficult symptoms. How long has it taken you to get from 25-30mg of Valium to 5mg? Maybe you have gone a little fast.

 

Have you been keeping your doctor informed about how you are doing? I don't want to see you falling down and getting hurt. I hope you are pacing yourself and resting, it sounds like you've had a lot to handle.

 

In your signature it says your doctor wanted you to leave? Did you mean quit taking your anti-depressant?

 

We are here for you if you have any questions.

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Hi Nicolette,

I purposely waited until I retired ( end of 2008 ) as there was no way I could have handled all the driving and responsibilities of my job in a serious state of withdrawal. When I  started the final taper, it was about 1mg a month, then dropping to 0.50mg a month, I did take it gently, but I had to, I was looking after a very sick man. There were periods when I was at a standstill, particularly when my husband was in agony with the aggressive cancer. Seeing him in such a terrible state seemed to make my problems shrink in importance and intensity.

I am very lucky to have a brilliant Doctor, she has backed me 100%, I gave her a copy of the Ashton Manual which she read through. Yes, she did say leave the ADs until I am clear of the benzo's, then taper off them last.

I missed out the 0.25mg last night, so I am now at 4mg and I know it is all going to get much harder. I am trying to cut out caffeine, and all sweet food and drink but I do feel a craving for these.

I can put up with some of the physical symptoms, as there is no job to deal with and my family are all grown up and gone their own way.

I do a lot of writing and have noticed the deterioration of my spelling and grammar, also my imagination seems to have gone on strike, must be cog-fog. It is getting much harder to get to sleep now, my usual remedy for this is writing or reading, but they are much more difficult to do since I entered this lower dose phase.

I hope that info' answers your questions, Tiggy                                                                                                                         

 

i

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Hi Tiggy,

 

I misunderstood about your anti-depressants, I thought leave meant quit taking them. Yes, I've heard from a number of people that it is best to taper anti-depressants after your benzo taper. It does sound like you have a great doctor.

 

I'm sorry about your husband's aggressive cancer and how hard all this must be for you.

 

I found a world of different when I cut out caffeine. I like my coffee, so I drink decaf. I haven't tried to cut out sugar, I have heard that helps. As far as the Ashton Manual says about drink, is that it's okay to have an occasional drink here and there.

 

If I can't sleep I at least try to rest and I think my creative abilities have lowered greatly, but that just makes me more determined to finish my taper.

I know some members start to water titrate when they are having problems towards the end of their taper. Have you thought about that? I myself might do that when I get to .25mg of Xanax. Nic :)

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Hi Nic,

 

Thanks for your reply, I may well look into the liquid benzo's when I reach 1 or 2 mgs.

 

I am hoping to be clear and recovered from the dreaded drug by Autumn 2013 when the first of my Granddaughters gets married, it will be a real big family gathering and it would be wonderful to be a little more like my real self.

 

My character and personality have changed out of all recognition these last few years, it is like being a completely different person. My memories of these years are just a blur. I feel like a hermit as I am terrified of going out anywhere. Agoraphobia is one of my five worst symptoms, instead of being extrovert, I am introvert and I seem to have lost my sense of humour. I honestly can't remember the last time I had a really good laugh !!

 

I never want to go anywhere in case I bump into people who used to know me well, fear seems to be my dominant emotion and I hate it. I hate not being able to drive also. But I guess I need to be more positive and fight the good fight until I make it to the finishing line.

 

Thanks again,

Tiggy

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Your last post really struck a nerve with me.  My last few years have also been a haze.  And I used to be funny and extroverted.  Now I'm also agoraphobic.  I have not a single true friend, other than my fiance.  I'm not a "shut in", but some people consider me as such.  I only go to two places:  The grocery store (often times on at least 6 mgs of Ativan) and the drive through at Dunkin Donuts for coffee.  Pretty pathetic. 

 

At least you have a taper plan.  Everyone else on this board seems to have one as well.  I'm new to this forum, and I don't have a taper plan yet.  I guess I need to be more stabilized to even attempt that goal.  I would LOVE to have ME back, wherever she went.  I wish you luck. 

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Hi Banana,

Thanks for your reply. I can say with absolute certainty that at the moment I am not me :(, in fact my daughter said that I haven't been me for the last few years. Last week I had to go into hospital for some heart check-ups and tests. I could not sleep the night before and I was a complete nervous wreck all that day.

I worked out my own taper, it is not difficult, I just read up on it then began, obviously I could change it to suit my personal requirements if I was taking too much or too little. It then settles into a routine and the amount I am cutting now has became smaller and smaller according to the amount I had left. ( Now 4mg Valium )

 

I have many kinds of hobbies and interests but I am now incapable of doing most of them because I cannot think straight most of the time. I just try to occupy my spare hours with the simplest of activities that I can get my brain to concentrate on. Even when reading I now find I am reading the same page over and over which is very irritating, but I shall persevere.

 

Knowledge is one of the main things that has helped me, I have read extensively about addiction to benzodiazapines, every article or book I could get hold of. This site is fantastic for lots of extra information.

I seem to have lost friends too but I don't think it was for any particular reason. Most are still working and getting on with their busy lives and for the first time in my entire life, here I am with time to spare and wishing my life away.

 

I am nearing 70 now, all the family were against me putting myself through this withdrawal, they wanted me to carry on as I was. I had to explain all about "tolerance" so they could understand that staying put was a nightmare too. I also did some print offs to help family and friends understand the situation as it is so difficult for them to understand the many problems we all face. It helped everyone to see more clearly exactly how I was feeling just being on the drugs, and the difficulties of coming off .

Please keep in touch if it helps..

Yours' Tiggy

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I also tried to explain this to family and friends.  Most didn't understand.  And if they didn't want anything to do with me, because of mental illnesses and physical dependency, that's their choice.  Better to be in no company than bad company anyways!  A good friend or family member wouldn't desert someone while they needed help.  I've come to terms with this, and I'll never regret it.  I have 3 siblings and have no contact with them.  My father passed away when I was 27 (almost 4 years ago), and he was the only member of my family who I believe genuinely loved and accepted me.  My mother is judgmental, mean, and hides issues under the rug.  I have never received a compliment from that woman without the slight insult coming with it as well.

 

There's that old Marilyn Monroe quote that goes: "If you can't accept me at my worst, you don't deserve to have me at my best". 

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Hi Tiggy,

 

Welcome aboard!

 

I just joined last week (i think - the days kind of blur together) and BB has become a regular haven/support for me. Met some really supportive and understanding buddies.

 

Both you and Banana talk about losing yourselves. I feel the same way at times - that over the last few months I've lost pieces of myself. But every once in a while in the past week or two I get glimpses of parts of me that I remember and like. They come totally unexpected, unplanned for, and they don't stay long. But they're there. I don't see them or have much faith in them when the anxiety and depression come stomping through, but they're there. You'll find yourselves.

 

Wishing you the best in your taper,

Stiv

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Hi Banana,

 

I can only feel for you with your family situation, there are always some who either don't want to know or fail to understand. I am much older than you as you will have gathered by now and maybe that has made the benzo withdrawal a little easier for me. ( I'm not too worried about what others think ) But I do remember having several attempts to get myself off these drugs in both my 30s and 40s. They failed, because as soon as I got low enough for it to affect my driving and business activities, I could not continue and had to reinstate.

 

There was very little information then, no books, no internet etc. Here in the UK in was a TV programme that first brought this addiction into the public domain. ( That's Life, presented by Esther Ranson ) The TV programme was absolutely deluged with letters about the dreadful side effects and withdrawal symptoms of benzodiazapines. People were begging for help with these drugs. The BBC then made a book based on all the information it received from the public and also on a questionnaires sent to anyone who requested one. This was the first information I had. Closely followed by B. Gordon's, "I'm dancing as fast as I can". ( About Valium addiction. )

 

My daughter who works in the medical profession, has been immensely supportive, but my husband just doesn't want to know. Having just nursed him through terrible cancer ( Three large tumours ), I could easily get upset about this, but I don't. I really think he just can't get his head round it. Perhaps one of our difficulties is the length of time it takes for us to taper off and then heal fully, they can't see our illness and to them it seems to go on for ever. ( For us also of course)

I have often felt as though what I have said, what would appear to others, as rather pathetic excuses to avoid situations I knew I couldn't handle, but only I know what I am feeling inside. This can be a very lonely journey. I have sometimes wished I could go away somewhere on my own and just battle my way through this whole procedure, but I can't. I now keep a low profile, rarely mention my benzo' withdrawal unless people ask. It is hard to keep saying the same old things month after month, year after year.

I know I have yet to face the worst, how on earth do you explain that ? They already think I have spent enough time while tapering. ( Years )

 

Keep your chin up, you will make it in the end and I do hope you can re-establish new friendships and perhaps some of the family will change for the better. One can only hope, at least with this support group you know you are not alone.

 

Yours' Tiggy

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Hi Stiv,

This must sound terrible, but the only way I can get any insight into my real/old self, is by looking at photographs that were taken before all this became such a serious issue. It is like looking at a stranger.

 

There are shots of me from all over Europe, having a great time when in my late 50s, learning to water ski or doing other such exciting things. Also quite a number taken when I was producing some stage shows. Now I am hardly able to go past the front gate or answer the phone. ( The latter has only just kicked in )

 

I go through my writing and I'm shocked at how good it seems compared to my pathetic attempts at the moment. No matter how hard I try, the inspiration just won't come back and I can't force it to. I find all this very depressing and upsetting. My creativity is who I am and who I have been since childhood. Does it sound overly pompous to say ' I miss myself ', I miss the person I used to be, I miss the fun and the adventures and discovering new talents, I miss helping people and being a shoulder for someone else to cry on.

I don't seem to have the same emotions now, it is as if my heart and mind are becoming numb, dreadful feeling.

 

I just hope we all emerge from this onslaught on our thinking and feeling, to be better people than we were when we started this "battle". I very much hope to find my real self once again and carry on from where I left off.

 

Fingers crossed we all succeed.

Yours' Tiggy

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Welcome Tiggy and good luck to you,

 

There is a lot of good information here.

 

It took me a while to navigate around, I've been here two weeks, so in case you are like me:  I find the "Forum Boards" link, directly above this box, to be a good home base for any kind of searching.  You can either click there and jump directly into any of the forums, or type a word or words into the search box and it searches all forums at once. 

 

Hope that helps.

Good luck on your journey back to you,

hbm

 

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