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I'm terrified.


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Maybe I shouldn't be on here or maybe I should read ONLY the success stories.  I don't know.  But I'm having withdrawal issues and I haven't even started my taper (tolerance, I guess).


I have a manic depression diagnosis and am not taking anything for it right now, having a very tough time finding tolerable med.  So much so that my psychiatrist decided I was too med sensitive and doesn't want to try anything else right now.  He just said, do your taper and take as long as you need.  So, for 6 years, what has helped me live a normal life has been klonopin!  I don't want to go back to the life I had before it.  My doc had said that my dose was so low, I could just take it indefinitely.  (Obviously, I had NO idea until recently that it would be a superhuman feat to get off a benzo!  My doc had told me the opposite!)


Anyway, I'm scared to death!  I feel awful NOW, before any tapering.  How much is due to the klonopin, and how much could be due to being in an episode since September?  Guess I need a new doc. 


I'm going to just admit it:  I don't feel up to this.  All these symptoms scare me.  And seizures??!  There's a girl here, Jenny08 (I think) who's making small cuts in her taper and she's had seizures.  My God, I'm sick w/o drugs and apparently, I'm sick with them.  I have been so sick since September, I have very little tolerance for any more pain.  :'(

I don't feel strong enough, motivated enough, convinced of any real benefit... 


SO WHAT?  Go through the benzo taper hell and then find out, after I'm 'healed' that all the awful panic, anxiety, agoraphobia and depression due to all those things is just there, waiting for me again and in order to function, I'll have to go back onto a benzo or similar. 


Really not sure if any of this is worth it.  Usually in bed, often suicidal.  Here still because of my deeply loved 10 year old son. 


Thanks for reading, I'm off to weep.

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Melodie, nobody can tell you exactly what's right for you, but in my experience most people find if they taper very slowly and take long enough holds between cuts, they don't suffer the kinds of symptoms you're reading about. 


Take a look at peoples sig lines and see if they've been on slow, regulated tapers with no history of CT attempt or too-fast tapers.


The thing is, Klonopin is notorious for causing depression.  All benzos can cause depression.  It's just tricky.  Psych meds never really fix anything without screwing up something else. 


I want to assure you that it's possible to taper without becoming a horror story. 


I'm tapering five meds at the same time, which is supposedly not even possible, and although I feel pretty crappy sometimes, other times I feel great.  I'm able to work full time and have a bit of a social life as well.  I spent 20 years on various meds and was never as functional as I am right now. 


I'm also no longer suicidal, which is a huge change for me.  I was suicidal most of the time for 20 years on psych meds. 


Now, you aren't me, we're all different.  But lots of people do great with slow tapers.  They don't post as much on the boards because they're doing okay and don't have much to complain about and aren't really asking for help.


You seem to have a smart, supportive doctor who will support you in a slow taper.  (I like your doctor already just from what you've said about him.)


It's worth a try.  Just take it slowly and carefully; small cuts, adequate holds between cuts, occasional longer holds to allow the healing to catch up.  I've seen many people do very well with this approach.

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After reading your post, it appears that you probably need the medication now, more than you need the additional worry and stress that a taper would involve.


No one here is qualifed to tell you whether to stop taking, or taper a doctor prescribed medication, nor should we.


We are here to support you; no matter what your decision is.


I sincerely wish you the best








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Thank you guys, for your support, it really helps to be in touch


PJ--I was thinking the same thing, too:  just stay on until I feel better.  But, it seems like the klonopin has turned on me somehow.  I'm having tolerance withdrawals.  But, if I add some extra klonopin, I feel very sick.  I really couldn't tell you which is worse, the w/d symptoms or the extra klonopin symptoms.  Isn't that a conundrum??


If the klonopin really did help me, I think I would put it off to a 'better' time, but like I said, I'm sick without it, sick with it.  I was thinking that, at least if I get off, my body has a chance to clear and be well.  On the drug, that's not going to happen. 


I have noticed it seems to really exacerbate the depression and hopelessness.  I know for sure that this has been the worst episode of my life.  Lost my job, my semester, my ability to do the stuff I like.  The rug just came right out from underneath me. 


I mentioned that maybe a need to see a new doc, at least for another perspective because I can't help but wonder if I'm in such a bad place because of the mood episode or the klonopin.  Or likely a combination of both.  And therefore, I can't help but wonder if finding a med to stabilize my mood, like an anticonvulsant perhaps, would help me overall. 


Thanks again, much appreciation to you.  And I hope you are having a good day today




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Hi Melodie,

I remember being where you are. I had just discovered why I was in such a bad state (from withdrawing too quick) and being on my very last nerve, reinstated. I didn't do this without much thought but I literally couldn't function. As soon as I reinstated, my 25 symptoms (not an exaggeration) diminished about 80%. I stayed on my dose for about 2 months and then began a slow slow taper. My doctor was supportive because she had been watching me deteriorate. I have to say that as bad as the symptoms were, the fear would take me to places and darkness I just couldn't get out of (like you, fear of seizures, etc.). So the first thing I did was face the fear head on....I read as much as I could about benzos, I got on benzobuddies and learned so much - I read several books. After about 2 months, I was ready to start withdrawing again. I felt so much stronger. The key was - that I waited until I knew I could handle it.  Then your confidence will begin to build as you slowly slowly decrease and the fear begins to fade.  Good luck to you  Melodie.



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Hey there,


Just food for thought, but there are a number of people here who felt that they have been incorrectly diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to symptoms of withdrawal/tolerance withdrawal over the years.  I have no insight into your situation, but it might be something to consider.


Best wishes.



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Hi Melodie,


I'm sorry you're feeling like you're between a rock and a hard place. What a frustrating position, and a frightening one as well.


You've been given some excellent advice on this thread. (Well done BB members :smitten:)


It's hard not to read the horror stories. It's a natural inclination to look to see what the worst is that could happen. However, prhiannon gave you a great tip.

Take a look at peoples sig lines and see if they've been on slow, regulated tapers with no history of CT attempt or too-fast tapers.


The "horror" stories are often those members who have been through several unsuccessful tapers in the past and/or cold turkey. Make sure you look at their signature lines. Also, when you read about the success stories, look at their signature lines as well.


I'm tapering klonopin at the moment. When I started, I tapered way too fast and ended up feeling really lousy. Now that I've slowed my taper down (about 5% every two weeks), I've had very manageable symptoms. In fact, the cold I had over the winter made me feel worse than my slower taper.


My point is, if you taper very slowly, you may not have as bad a time as you think.


It doesn't sound like you've made a decision yet...and that's good. You should take as much time as you need to ask a lot of questions, educate yourself and speak to your doctor before deciding what the best course of action is. No matter what you decide, we're here for you to support you and answer your questions.


You'll get through this. There is hope. (No pun intended)




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Sweet G,


That certainly has come up for me in the past month!!  Well,


I was diagnosed before I'd ever taken a benzo.  My first episode came at age 12 (awful agitated depression and anxiety, cried all day, missed school for 2 weeks).  I had spells of terror at even younger ages.  I don't know what to make of it.  And no one knew what to make of it then, 20 and 20+ years ago. 


In 2006, I was diagnosed and thought it was BS.  Total BS.  So, frustrated, I gave traditional medicine the finger and went the natural, holistic way.  I tried everything, spent everything but still suffered with mood issues and anxiety.  I made huge life changes, blaming my painful moods on circumstance.  It didn't make a difference. 


Only recently (in September when I got real sick real fast) did I started trying to accept the diagnosis.  And then, only because I wanted to find something, anything to relieve it. 


So, hard to say how much the klonopin affects that.  I did discover that it is shown to worsen and lengthen mood episodes.  Isn't that grand?  I feel like I'm up against a hell of a thing, though, and am frightened most of the time.


Thanks so much for writing and getting in touch

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Thank you, Hope!


Yes, I am reading those taper plans closely!  I am on the fence about whether or not I want to try to find some mood stabilization before embarking on the taper.  Back to lithium perhaps first?  But thank you for affirming for me that it's ok to take my time with decisions.  When you feel so bad, well when I feel so bad anyway, my impulse is to HURRY up and make it better!  And it doesn't look like that's quite how this thing goes. 


I know that if I had done the taper during 'normal' time, as in, while NOT in an 'episode,' I don't think I'd have suffered NEAR as bad.  And I could kick myself:  in 2008 (2 years after beginning benzo) I just didn't take it at all for 3 weeks.  I was using it on an as-needed basis, but that was most often daily.  At .25 mg per night.  Well, so 3 weeks cruised by, I was cool, totally unaffected.  Then I woke up one night very dizzy and went right to my purse and started back up.  ARG!  Had I known then....  <---famous words around here, no?


Thanks again, Hope, so much




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I was "diagnosed" bipolar because of a manic reaction to antidepressants--I'm about as bipolar as I'm a fish, personally, me.  I'm just one of those people who was started on ADs for a bogus reason and then got sicker and sicker on psych meds.  That's how I ended up on the Lamictal I'm tapering (which has the toughest withdrawal of any of them, so far, by the way, so if you decide to take it, I'd sure suggest going with the smallest dose you can.)


But my point is, when I believed the "diagnosis" (at first) I did do a lot of reading about bipolar and meds. 


So, let me make this clear: I totally respect that your suffering is real and intense and you had bipolar symptoms before you ever took a psych med (I'm guessing, from what you said, you hadn't taken anything before your first episode).  I totally do not presume to tell you that you're me.  I'm pretty sure you're you.


I just want to say that in all my reading about bipolar I don't recall a discussion of benzos for it.  Is that common?  It sure seems like it would exacerbate the depressive episodes.  I mean, "depression" is one of the most common side effects of benzo use.


Anyway, whatever you decide to do, you have my support.  My heart goes out to you more than you know.  I've suffered some horrific depressions (in my case, always due to med use or med withdrawals) and I know how awful it can be. 


I know what it's like to feel like the best thing you have to look forward to is the fact that one day it will all be over, and to hope that day comes sooner rather than later.  I know what it's like to tell yourself not just "one day at a time" but sometimes even just "one hour at a time" because you have to be there for your children.  It's a terrible way to have to live.  You have my prayers and my best wishes that you can find something that will pull you out, soon, whether that's meds, or getting off meds, or something else.


For me, it's been the taper off meds that has made the suicidality go away, gradually, and my friend Gianna (who has a blog called Beyond Meds) says she's seen the same thing happen over and over and it happened to her too. 


But she, like me, was on multiple meds over a long period of time, and should never have been put on them in the first place.  Just--psych meds making people want to die is a pretty common thing, much more so than the drug companies want anyone to know (they bury it pretty well in their statistical manipulations).  So this might not be who you are.


I hope one way or another you'll find relief. 


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Thank you so very much for your post, so thoughtful.  It really touches me when someone like you, a perfect stranger, reaches out like that.  Warm fuzzies, for sure. 


Let's see...  Yes, lookit that and wouldn't you know it--benzos exacerbate episodes.  They are made worse and lengthier when a benzo is a part of your regular med regime.  I only recently found this out.  Like I said, I started having episodes very young, right as puberty approached.  I dealt with it as it came, in my teenage years and early 20s, as just a part of my personality: intelligent, creative, and naturally moody, right?  Um...


It started becoming too much too bear in '03, '04, and '05 but I white-knuckled my way through.  In 2006, however, I was dangerously ill.  I had been suicidal before that point, in a very emotional way, if that makes sense.  But the episode in 2006 brought a new element with it: delusional terror.  I thought that there was a demon right near me all the time.  I shook, sweated, cried nonstop, NEVER slept.  I was on the brink of something I'd never encountered and I really thought this time I was going to die.  I endured this for about 2 solid months before I accepted a Xanax script from my primary care doc.  (By the way, I think it's WRONG all the way around for anyone other than a psychiatrist to be allowed to prescribe benzos.)  I took my first dose and, after I woke up from the nap that forced itself on me, I felt like myself for the first time in way too long. 


NOW--the benzo didn't fix the mood issues, depression, whatnot.  But it sedated me and God knows I needed it.  What I didn't need was a dependence.  I switched to Klonopin after a couple months because I developed tolerance quick.  I didn't to klonopin--my dose was the same for years.  And my doc kept telling me it was ok, that I could just keep taking it indefinitely if I wanted or I could quit any old time, since it was such a 'tiny' dose. 


As much as I tried to dodge any kind of psych diagnosis, I've recently come to accept that if there's something, fine but let's treat it.  I have lost SO much due to illness, I can't even list it all.  I hardly want to recall it all. 


I can't help but feel that some mood stabilization would make all the difference in succeeding in my taper.  I hope that I am able to get it. 


And I agree wholeheartedly with you about drugs just making you sick and friggin sicker.  I'm of the belief that the less doctors and meds are a part of your life, the healthier and happier you will be.  But, again, I will also accept a correct diagnosis if it will mean productive treatment plan.  My mother is bipolar, my father has anxiety/depression/other issues and up the family tree there is an unfortunate amount of mental illness, including several suicides.  I've bucked hard again the idea of being a psych patient.  Now, I just want to be a well patient.


You said your depression came from meds or their withdrawals... what led you to take them in the first place.  I'd really like to hear more about your story, if you'd like to share


I send you lots of well-wishes and love  :smitten:


Thank you again,


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I have nothing but the utmost sympathy for your situation - I've struggled with monopolar depression for my entire life, and am very grateful to have found medication that has worked really well for me for the last several years. Something that worked really well for the ups and downs for me has been lamictal/lamotragine - it's an anticonvulsant but also a mood stabilizer. It might be worth bringing up with your doctor to see whether it or a similar drug could conceivably help you, although please remember, obviously, I'm not a doctor and would never tell you which drugs to take! Please keep posting here when you are having a hard time, we will do what we can to help you get some perspective - and I have so much admiration for your strength in keeping going for your son. He's lucky to have a mom who loves him so much, never forget that.
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