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Off Two Years Now...


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I stopped xanax 3 mgs daily 2/2/10 after taking it for about 7 years, starting off at 1 mg daily and being prescribed a higher dose as time went by.  I did not understand what I was going through while I tapered off for 2 weeks and 10 days after stopping.  I did not attribute what I was going through to stopping xanax; I did not crave it while tapering or after stopping.  There was no connection in my mind to what I was going through to stopping xanax.

 

Since stopping xanax was the only thing that had changed in my life, I researched it on the Internet 10 days after stopping it.  After reading the first few hits, I was terrified.  I could not believe what I was reading, that it can take 6-18 months minimum to get over stopping this drug.

 

What I went through that first year off was the most surreal, traumatic, unnerving experience of my life.  I cannot put into words all the things I experienced.  During the first 6 months off, I stayed with the doctor who suggested I stop xanax even though he did not believe me when I told him what I was experiencing.  I stayed with him because he was my only “medical witness” and because I wanted him to see me get well and to finally believe what I was telling him (sadly that did not happen).  I stayed with him even though he continuously tried to prescribe medications he thought would help me, which I refused to take.  I had no prior history of psychiatric problems prior to taking or while taking xanax.  I did see other doctors during the first 6 months, but none believed me and one even wanted me to undergo a 3 day psychological and psychiatric evaluation which I declined.

 

I finally came to accept that I would have to get through this on my own.  The physical symptoms which lasted about 8 to 9 months were troubling enough, but the mental ones stayed with me full force for close to a year.  I remember sitting out in my garage staring out at the sky all day for at least the first 6 months, all day, every day.  Whenever someone came to the house, I would run in and hide.  If I was inside and the telephone rang, I could not answer.  For the first time in my life, I knew what it was like to be housebound.  I could not leave the house unless someone was with me.  I cried for hours on end almost every day of the first year; there was no reason for the tears, they just came and would not stop for hours at a time; I wish I was exaggerating.  During the second year, the mental symptoms started waning down, going back and forth and back and forth, although to a much, much lower degree, dissipating as the year went by.

 

In hindsight, when I compare what I went through after stopping xanax and how long it took to get over it compared to the small, very small, insignificant reason I started taking it in the first place, I think what  shame to have wasted so much time going through such a traumatic experience getting over stopping a drug, a drug which seemed so harmless and so nonchalantly and “safely” prescribed by a doctor; a doctor who either was ignorant or who simply did not want to acknowledge what was happening to me.

 

The message I would like to get across is that it can take time to heal after stopping this type of drug and all the effort has to be by you.  It was unbelievable to me at first that it could take so long; it takes faith in people who have already gone through it, you have to believe what they say.  There were many, many times my faith waivered during this process.  The words of encouragement and hope sent to me on forums such as this carried me through many a rough time during my first year off, which I thought would never end.  And most importantly, try not to compare your experience with those of others; everyone heals at their own rate.

 

I can’t close without saying a thank you to this forum, the members and administrators who encouraged me along my way and gave me hope; and to the administrators who managed a forum in such an impeccable manner – thank you!

Sincerely, Lidi

 

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Lidi ... I am so happy to hear from you, especially because you are posting in the success story section.  I've wondered how you are making out with the w/d.  I remember talking to you in chat during your first year and the horrors that you shared that were going on at the time.  You had a big impact on me at the time, with your honesty and openness.  It was such a comfort to talk to someone real like yourself.

 

To quote from your post:

"The message I would like to get across is that it can take time to heal after stopping this type of drug and all the effort has to be by you."

 

This is the truth as I see it as well.  We really have to dig deep within to find the strength to endure w/d. 

 

How are you doing now Lidi ... has everything cleared up or are there some remaining symptoms?  I agree that this forum is run impeccably.

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I remember you well! It's so good to hear from you! You were one of the many who encouraged me along the way and gave me hope, and with such a sense of humor! I am doing well, I am back into living again. I have no symptoms now, the tinnitus is even gone! What have you been up to and more importantly, how are you doing?? Please let me know!

 

Fondest Regards, Lidi

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Lido, we never connected.  Just to say, thank you for your Success Story, the hope you provide to others.  Blessings to you always in your "new life"!  Pattylu
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I remember you well! It's so good to hear from you! You were one of the many who encouraged me along the way and gave me hope, and with such a sense of humor! I am doing well, I am back into living again. I have no symptoms now, the tinnitus is even gone! What have you been up to and more importantly, how are you doing?? Please let me know!

 

Fondest Regards, Lidi

 

Thanks Lidi for letting us know how well you are doing now.  What a miracle that you have fully recovered.  Me?  Don't ask ... not ready for a success story but I look forward to the day.  :D

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Lidi -- thank you for your amazing story and the hope it brings for those of us continuing to struggle  Your perseverance in healing yourself show that you are so very strong and an inspiration.  I wish for you joy, happiness and continued health!

XOX

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Lidi that is great to hear!  I am still struggling trying to get off a low dose of Ativan. It's been hell. Did you suffer from insomnia, akathesia or nausea?  I am so happy for you that you are sx free.
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Congratulations, Lidi!!!

 

I am so happy for you and I thank you VERY much for sharing your story with us.  It seems that first year off is the hardest for many.  I'm glad you began seeing some positive changes your second year...and now healed!

 

All the best to you in your healthy future,

Schatje

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I found Benzo Buddies last week after years of having doctors disbelieve me, and having no idea anyone else had the same problem.  I cannot tell you how grateful I was to discover Benzo Buddies!!!  I have cut from 2.0 clonazepam to .75 by myself but can get no further.  Cutting by another .25 is just too steep.  I have decided on the triation method and have ordered my supplies and a schedule from Benzo Buddies.  I start when everything arrives...probably within 10 days.  I have read your success story today and all the replies. You are such an inspiration.  I just hope I can keep my sense of perspective as well as you have.  And that one day I can write a success story as moving as yours.  CONGRATULATION!!!  I hope I will be as brave as you.

 

Doglover

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Hi Lidi,

 

Thank you so very much for coming back and taking your time to write the words of your healing. I so often go looking for success stories as they give me that pep to go on.  I need them for the hope that they convey to me.

 

I am 6 months off a c/t.  I am having windows and feel that is a really good sign. I don't have many physical symptoms at this point and hope that continues. I do experience more emotional symptoms than physical when I do have a bad day.

 

I am answering the phone again, where before my c/t I hadn't answered it for over a year.  I am leaving my house and going out into the yard, also something I had stopped doing prior to c/t.  So much I had never attributed to the benzos but now can see what they were doing to my life.  I am so glad that I have put a stop to them, and will recover from what they were doing to me.

 

Again thank you for telling your story.  We need to hear the success stories of getting off and healing from these medications.  Your story will make a difference in someones life as they reach out seeking a success story to get through their dark day or night.

 

I'm so glad you have healed and are living a full life again,

 

Stillbelieving  :angel:

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Lidi,

Thanks for the success story I really needed to read this today. I'm almost 18 months off and still feeling horrible.  I hope life brings you nothing but joy from here on out.

Hugs

Kristin

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What an inspiration to many who are still suffering and struggling after many months off.  There is hope for healing in the second year and you are proof of it.  What a shame that so many doctors are still in the dark about how these meds can impact the brain and the very real and long lasting withdrawal and recovery period that it can take to get well again. I'm right there with you Lidi, 27 months off. It took me 18 months before I could post my story here.  Thanks for coming back to update everyone. 

 

Vertigo

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Lidi,

 

Thank you so much for sharing your story, what a journey it must have been for you. So very happy you have your life back and NO SYMPTOMS, this is just fantastic.

 

You have given me a lot of hope, many here find it hard to cling on to the fact they will heal like you healed, your story and message of total healing can only bring hope to those still suffering, your words will carry many far through the hard times i am sure, including my own and for your words and reassurance i am extremely grateful.

 

Have a wonderful life now you have it back, i am really lifted this afternoon thanks to you.

 

Oscar.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I want to thank everyone for their kind words. I want anyone who might have questions about my journey to feel free to ask. All the help I got through forums such as this was priceless and I want to be able to help others as I was helped. I wish everyone speedy healing.

 

Lidi

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Wow thanks so much for the story, I relate to this so much, I was on same mg for exact years also with a short taper. I am at 11 months now things are way better than months 1-6 my 6th month really being my turning  point, Im still going through things but not so severely, ill have days even a week sometimes where i feel normal. I cant wait til i am completely healed. I remember counting the months and days and lately i have not been keeping track of how long its been, I had to calculate how far along i am to write this. I no longer keep track i just keep fighting through each day, thanks again and stay strong everyone it does get better.   
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
[c9...]

Congrats Lidi.  I am honoured to have been your friend whilst you were in the depths of your protracted w/d.  I am still there at nearly 24 months out.  I truly valued all your words & would often write them out & keep them in my ciggie packet, pull them out & cling to your words of insight.  I'm still suffering now what you said you did in your first year off  :'(.  It TRULY is the loneliest & scariest road ever for sure, all combined into one.  I miss chatting & emailing with ya but am glad for you that you finally have your full self & life back, symptom free!!!  I wish you all the very best matie.

 

Sincerely & With Love, Ruth

(From New Zealand) xoxoxo

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  • 2 years later...
  • 5 years later...

Thank you so much.  For your encouragement and wisdom and strength.  I too am sticking by my doctor who seems to  be fed up with me.  Who is now offering me antidepressant drugs. (No. Way.)  I do also want him to witness benzodiazepine withdrawal.  I am pretty sure he is fed up with me, and probably can't believe what I am telling him.  But maybe if he hears it enough from other patients, he will connect the dots. 

 

I really related to what you said about being in this by yourself and for yourself.. It truly is a ride that most people could never ever relate to.

I am so grateful to this site, the administrators....all of you  :smitten:,  I will succeed because you did. 

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