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bbook Success! Benzo withdrawal

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bbook

My story:

 

I started taking anti depressants about 15 years ago for mild anxiety. I saw my doctor and he gave me a prescription after about 15 minutes without any exam. He said I had a guess what? Chemical imbalance. For the next 15 years I switched a few times and increased the dosed so in the end I was on 50mg of Paroxetine CR daily.

 

Through the years I had always had a feeling that something just wasn’t right with me, I was drinking way too much sometimes and I felt like I just didn’t think right, like a normal person.

 

After 8 years dry, I started drinking again following my divorce. I slowly drank more and more and continued to take my 50mgs of paxil every day. I didn’t realize it but I was slowly taking away my conscience. I also didn’t realize it until recently but the paxil was actually giving me the overwhelming urge to drink. It screws up your blood sugar which creates a craving for sweets.

 

Alcohol derived from sugar, so it satisfies this need in your body. But what happens is afterward your blood sugar crashes again which starts a cycle of craving. As a result of the paxil and alcohol I was lying to everyone including myself about my drinking but it didn’t seem wrong to me. Anti depressants and the like are very powerful drugs that not only affect us physically but they do horrendous things to our brains and our personalities.

 

I found myself praying frequently and asking God to help me. I knew I was drinking too much but I also felt something else was drastically wrong but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

 

God answered my prayer and I guess I wasn’t prepared for what it meant. He sent an angel into my life who when she learned about these drugs urged me to get off of them. We came up with a reduction strategy not wanting to go through the possible severe discontinuation syndrome, which is a nice name for a visit to hell in withdrawal.

 

I started cutting my dose and feeling some minor discomfort every so often but nothing unmanagable. It wasn’t until about 8 months into it that I got hit by a freight train of withdrawal. It turns out that these drugs are stored in our body’s tissue and our blodd levels drop much slower than expected from redu cing the dosage. So when my body caught up my nightmare started.

 

I know this is a benzo site, but I also know that many are in the same situation as I was so I want to talk about antidepressants as well because that is what led me into getting trapped by benzos. They sent me to hell on earth where I met benzodiazapines.

 

So at 8 months I was thrust into full blown a/d withdrawal what seemed like overnight. I was extremely anxious, disconnected, confused and scared. Looking back I don’t know how I got through each day. Well actually it was my angel who was there for me every second that is the reason I made it through this whole ordeal. She talked to me all day long and spent untold hours doing exhaustive research to try to help me in every way possible. Through nutrition, essential oils, anxiety management techniques and on and on.

 

My anxiety and dp/dr got worse every day and after about a month of trying certain supplements and hoping for relief, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore so I went to see my primary care doctor. He was all to willing to prescribe me something to help me with the anxiety. Xanax, .25mg, 3 times a day as needed.

 

I was instantly addicted and very soon right into tolerance so I visited the doctor a few more times. The end result was ending up an 3mg of Ativan a day.

 

It wasn’t long until that wasn’t enough to put a dent in my anxiety and other symptoms so I started adding more pills on the worst days. I also drank periodically to try to get any kind of relief. It got so bad that one day I actually ended up taking 8mg of Ativan along with drinking a lot of beer and wine. I don’t know how I lived through that day but my angel was there to watch over me and make sure nothing happened to me. I thank God for her every day. It takes a special kind of person to be a care taker for someone in a/d and benzo withdrawal. And she never left my side for the 2 years it took me to start the reduction of the a/d to this day as I sit hear and prespare to share my story.

 

The benzo’s were making me crazier and crazier the higher I went. I can’t really provide too much detail for this time in my life because I was in a benzo induced haze and I don’t remember too much. I know I did some really stupid things and couldn’t take care of myself. I was starting to get really paranoid and agoraphobic. I would stay alone in my apartment in the dark, afraid to go anywhere. I was still drinking from time to time and I was also having a lot of phsyical symptoms too. I was dizzy a lot and my vision was out of focus. I felt like I was a small version of myself and that I was inside my own head looking out through my eyes like windows. I was feeling like I didn’t belong in this world and was feeling like what I was going through was surely going to result in my life being over soon.

 

It got so bad and I got so scared I did the worst thing I could have done. I went to the hospital. I knew I needed to get off the benzo’s and I figured they could help me, WRONG!! I spent about a week in the first mental hospital while they took me off the remaining paxil and put me on cymbalta at the same time they were weaning me off of 3mgs of Ativan over the course of a week. By this time I was crazy, I was crying all the time and just thinking that my life was over. I got out of the hospital and immediately starting abusing the benzo’s again in a futile attempt to calm myself down. I was on an adrenaline rollercoaster along with all my other symptoms.

 

After a week I realized what I was doing and went back to the hospital. A different one this time and they tried to wean me off 4mg in 4 days……4, 3, 2, 1 and done. I ended up getting out of the hospital before being completely off but I was an absolute basket case.

 

Going to the hospital once was a mistake. Going back was catastrophic. I am very lucky that I wasn’t diagnosed with bipolar or something else. The hospital was determined to get me to talk so they could diagnose me and prescribe more meds. Everytime I had to see the doctor in the hospital they would try to lead me into saying something that would confirm with them that I was mentally ill. I AM NOT mentally ill, there is actually no such thing as mentally ill. The whole of psychiatry is based on lies.

 

These drugs do things to your brain to make you act abnormally. Take away the drugs and take care of yourself and your mental state will heal along with your body.

 

My angel stepped in and helped me reestablish so that I could wean slowly. Right out of the hospital I had to go stay with my angel. I was psychotic and I hadn’t slept for 2 weeks. I was stupid enough to try ambien so that I could sleep. I took 9, 25mg pills over the next three days and didn’t sleep at all. Imaging taking 225mg of a sleeping pill and not being able to sleep!! There must be something seriously wrong with that, it just shows you that once these drugs screw up your brain chemistry there is only one way to heal and that is by weaning off, going through wit drawal and trying to use anything natural to help strengthen your body.

 

At this point I was in the deepest part of my withdrawal. I was reduced to the mental and emotional capacity of a child. I was helpless to take care of myself and I was a physical and mental basket case. I was shaking from head to toe constantly. I was pacing around, smoking cigarettes and I was in a state of absolute continual panic.

 

The benzo’s had taken away my ability to feel any happiness or normality. All I could feel was overwhelming fear and sadness. I cried continually over everything. I felt like my life was over, I could not ever have imagined feeling so bad. I know why they call benzo withdrawal hell. It put me in a state of torment, which I would have as a constant companion for the next year.

 

My fear of everything was so intense I believe my brain shut down to some degree to protect itself but even that did not relieve the fear and sadness. I could stand the slightest noise or any kind of activity. I could watch tv or listen to music. I could barely put 2 words together.

 

I know most of this because my angel filled me in. I don’t really remember much at all from this time period.

 

I was on watch 24 hours a day to make sure I didn’t have a seizure or just plain go beserk. At one point I scratched my face until it was bleeding and I don’t know why. These drugs hijack your brain and body and they don’t let go.

 

I have experience drug and alcohol dependency and withdrawal and they were like a walk in the park compared to what I was to experience with both a/d’s and benzos.

With benzos being by far the worst experience I have ever had. I also had a constant fear that I was going to die. I was certain that I had some horrible illness. I was constantly thinking I was going to have a heart attack or find our I had some incurable disease. I was actually so filled with panic I was afraid to go to sleep. I could picture dying in my mind and it seamed so real to me at the time. I was like feeling death over and over. I could picture life going on after I was dead, the thought were torturous.

 

So in this state we reestablished me on 3mg’s of Ativan a day. We started weaning a ¼ of a pill every 7-10 days. This was a pretty fast weaning schedule and I would definitely recommend to anyone going much slower, but we were determined to get me off of benzos as quickly as we could safely. And after have been forced to go cold turkey twice by the hospitals, I don’t know that it would have made a difference to me to go any slower. I was so screwed up and the damage had already been done.

 

It took about 4 months to wean off the benzos and I had been thinking that I would not feel as bad as when I started withdrawal but I was wrong. About a week or so after taking my last dose I starting feeling so much worse. I didn’t think it was possible but it was. My body had finally gotten rid of the drug and all hell was breaking loose. I would spend the next month in the dark locked in my apartment. I would just lay there for days, only getting up to go to the bathroom. I had my shades drawn and I was wrapped in a blanket on my couch. Like a child the blanket gave me some tiny feeling of security. Every noise I heard made me jump and I would be paranoid that someone was going to come and take me away.

 

Everytime I heard an ambulance go by I was certain they were coming for me.

 

My angel took care of me every second. Feeding me and watching out for me, comforting my fear and gently reassuring me every day that I was not going to be like this forever, this was withdrawal and it would end.

 

Despite her encouragement I could not comprehend the concept. I was obsessed with my symptoms and I was absolutely certain that this was the real me. A paranoid basket case. I did not see how it could be possible to ever return to feeling like a human being again while feeling the way I felt. I felt really alone because I was so disconnected from myself, my emotions and the rest of the world. I cried every day for months and I don’t mean a few tears. I was sobbing uncontrollably at the slightest provocation. I tried to distract myself with tv, but I found that the slightest emotion shown would send me into a panic or I would breakdown into the deepest despair I have ever felt. At one point I found that I could watch an animated movie and I watched it over and over again. I don’t exaggerate when I say that I watched it 1000 times.

 

I don’t know how I still have a job today. I was constantly calling in sick and taking off days at a time.

 

My angel is the only reason I am still employed. I couldn’t drive an she drove me back and forth to work and kept me going day after day despite my desire to just give up and loose my job. I am so thankful for what she did I would not be alive today if it wasn’t for her.

 

During this time my angel was doing exhaustive research trying to find anything that might help me in the slightest way. Supplements, healing foods, essential oils and on and on. I didn’t realize it at the time but the foods and the oils saved me from a much worse experience and they were helping repair the damage that I did to my mind and body.

 

I know it was extremely difficult for her because I was very uncooperative and I wasn’t doing what she told me to do with any consistency. When I finally starting following her instruction at the end I realized that I should have been listening since the beginning. Nutrition and natural remedies are the key to any real health.

 

For the next 7 months I barely existed. I was going to work and then going home and then laying in the dark in a state of constant terror. I had a number of physical symptoms but the mental symptoms were the most unbearable. I said every day that I wished I could trade the mental for the physical. I realize I was actually fortunate after hearing of the physical suffering that so many were enduring. My mental state was totally obsessive and focused on my own suffering so I was unable to experience the empathy that I now have for others. My physical symptoms included blurred vision, dizziness, various pains, heart palpitations, night sweats and I had a rash on my face for the entire duration of withdrawal. I still have it but it is fading now.

 

During withdrawal I saw a doctor on numerous occasions trying to explain my withdrawal and the symptoms I was having and the doctors all said they would like me to see a psychiatrist. Basically dismissing what I was telling them. Unwilling or unable to accept the idea that the drugs they prescribe were tearing me apart. They would talk to me with that all knowing condescending town offering their forced compassion all the while insisting that it couldn’t be withdrawal and implying that I had a mental disorder. One doctor told me to consider increasing the paxil. I can’t believe the willing ignorance of the medical profession in the face of such overwhelming evidence of this epidemic.

 

I saw a psychiatrist as infrequently as possible. It was a necessity to avoid having to cold turkey off the last of 20mg’s of paroxetine. I would muster all my inner strength to tell them I was doing fine, knowing full well telling them about the withdrawal would result in a life changing diagnosis.

 

It was until last December I was giving the name of a doctor that was practicing functional medicine. A combination of treatment by short term medicine along with long term nutritional approach to health and well being. I am so thankful because it turned out to be the turning point for me. I started out being given tests for vitamin levels and food allergies along with a complete blood panel. At first I was put on a few supplements. They didn’t have any impact and I felt worse every day. Hopelessness was growing and I was constantly wondering how much longer I could keep going.

 

I ended making another appointment with this doctor in a desperate attempt to find the slightest bit of relief. After talking to the doctor she said she would be willing to prescribe a small dose of abillify to see if the could provide enough relief to enable me to function. What we didn’t know at the time was there was a neurologist in California that was having success treating patients with minute amounts of these types of drugs for short periods of time and seeing results.

 

I took the abilify for 2 weeks and over the course of that time I was becoming more and more aggressive each day. It continued until I got so paranoid and aggressive that I turned on the one person who had devoted herself to caring for me and never leaving my side. I was delusional and this new drug had made me think that she was trying to control me and keep me captive in my apartment. The place that I had confined myself for the last 2 years. I have to take every opportunity I have to express my sorrow for having treated her so badly, because she saved my life and I will never forget what she has done for me. Even though my actions were induced by psychotropic drugs hijacking my thinking I still have no solace in that having turned on her like a rabid dog. That is what these drugs do to people it is disgusting.

 

Because I felt so bad it finally made me see through the psychotic fog and I decided to stop taking the medicine. After 3 days to my absolute surprise I noticed that I actually felt a little better and over the course of the next few days I felt better and better. I actually experienced happiness which was an emotion I forgot how it felt to have.

 

Since then I have continued to fell better and better with the passing time. I changed my diet and stuck to doing what my angel was telling me to do and as a result I am no longer in withdrawal and I am getting ready to start weaning the last of the paroxetine, extremely slowly!!

 

We believe that the small dose of anti psychotic drug stimulated the receptors which had basically been shut down from the a/d’s and benzo’s. As a result I have lost all of my mental symptoms and I only have minimal physical symptoms. My cns is still very sensitive and I am only sleeping 3-4 hours a nite but I am eager to face each day with happiness and an undying gratitude for my life and my angel.

 

I believe that I was divinely guided through every step of this journey and I can see now the reason for everything that happenend. I thank God each day and look forward to the future hoping that I can pay forward the gifts I received

Edited by Altostrata
added paragraph breaks for readibility

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Jemima

Wow, what an amazing story. Thank you for posting. May you continue to get better! Please stop back and visit from time to time and let us know how you're doing.

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bbook

The supplements that helped me were

Adren Align

Vitamin D - 5000 IU daily

B12

And I cannot stress enough the benefits of essential oils. My angel would rub them into my feet and put them in a diffuser which I now run constantly I can provide specific oils that helped me if your interested.

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bbook

I wasnt given the name of the dr in California. I will check out the link and see if it fits the bill, thanks!!!!

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bbook

Wow, what an amazing story. Thank you for posting. May you continue to get better! Please stop back and visit from time to time and let us know how you're doing.

 

Yes it is amazing I still can't believe it myself. I will be a regular participant in this forum. I think it's great and I want to do everything I can to help others and stay connected, thanks

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Iggy131313

wow, what an amazing story, thanks so much for sharing it, I look forward to reading your future posts.

 

Im very interested in what you think about how abilify helped you and you say a neurologist in CA is treating people in w/d with this? You dont mean Dr Shipko do you?

 

please tell us more about this drug and the research you have done into it.

 

Thanks again for sharing, I cant quite believe you managed to go to work through all of this, I am unable to work due to my w/d, I wish I could.

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bbook

I didn't do any research on abilify before taking it. I was desparate at the time and my doctor suggested we try a small amount just to see if it would relieve any of my mental withdrawal symptoms. So she gave me 2mg a day. I took it for 2 weeks and started to feel worse each day. I got paranoid and agressive. So I stopped taking it and over the next few days I started noticing my withdrawal symptoms were gone and I actually felt happy which I hadn't felt in 2 years. My theory is that the small amount of the drug stimulated the neurotransmitters that were shut down by the drugs. I am over a month off of the ability and feeling really good. As I mentioned it's just my theory. I heard about te Dr in California second hand and the person who told me about it didn't remember the name. We are trying to find them, I will post it if I find it.

thx

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Iggy131313

Im pretty sure that the Dr you have heard about is Dr Stuart Shipko, he hasnt tried this medication and in fact has heard about the use of it to assist recovery from w/d syndrome from Alto who runs this site!

 

She is the only other person that I have heard of using this treatment, I think more research needs to be done into this indeed can help us.

 

It may be worth emailing your experiences with this drug to both Stuart Shipko and David Healy, both of these fine Drs are looking at ways to help those us of in severe protracted w/d.

 

Do you plan to hold where you are for 6 months now? Im most CERTAINLY no expert but thats what I would do in your position, to make sure you are fully atable and give yourself a rest before trying to taper the paxil, also to monitor yourself from the CT off the ablify, that way you wont get confused if you get any little symptoms to whether they are from the ceasing of the abilify or from your paxil taper.

 

Its amazing to me to read your story as I so identify with obsesing over the feelings and horrific sesations and the complete inabililty to feel any kind of positive emtion...it must feel so wonderful to feel happiness again, I often wonder if I will ever have that feeling again.

 

Take care of yourself and thanks again for sharing your story, it will help so many people, me included, and who knows, perhaps if you get in touch with the Drs I mentioned it may one day ead to a cure for this most horrific of conditions.

 

I wish you every bit of happiness and health in the world, for sure you deserve it. and so does your angel.

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bbook

For anyone interested I have a group on facebook. It's named benzobook. We just started it and are trying to fill it with as much helpful information as we can find. We want to have as many people as possible talking about their struggles and sucesses regarding both benzo and antidepressant withdrawal. Please join us, thanks

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beans

Thanks for sharing your story, so glad you made it through.

Would you give more information about the essential oils you used. It makes sense that this subtle connection to the natural world could be helpful.

 

thanks,

b

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bbook

Thanks beans, there are a couple that are only available through young living oils, they are Joy and Trauma. Others that are good are Lavender, Lemongrass, Bergamot and chamomile. You can use a diffuser which vaporizes them into the air and you breath them in or you can cut them with olive oil and rub them on your feet, head and neck. They definitely will help because they work on a cellular level. If you need more info just let me know.

 

Hope in healing

BBook

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beans

thanks bbook,

 

sounds relaxing just thinking about it

 

I'll surely give them a try

 

best to you in your journey,

 

beans

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lexicon

Congratulations on your recovery bbook ..:)

And may God bless the angel and you ..:)

Can you please tell again the name of the supplements? I cannot find Adren Align..!!

I will be thankful ..

Wishing you continued wellness ..Lexicon

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Hopefull

Your story has given me so much hope. It seems that you went to hell and back! Congratulations and God bless your angel who got you through the nightmare! I have a will to fight my self!

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Cryptopsy

This is very inspiring, thank you for sharing and I hope it gives people the courage to get off these drugs.

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ChessieCat

Hi there,

 

The staff at SA are wondering how you are.  We'd love to hear how you are doing now.   Would you mind dropping by and giving an update?

 

Thanks.

CC

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