My story began 3 years ago when I started having severe pain and
ache in my right jaw. I went to the dentist and was told I had TMJ and
was given a prescription for Advil (Ibuprofen) at 800 mg. twice a day.
Much too much
as it turned out. This was my first big mistake as I will share with you later on. I started to get insomnia almost immediately and the beginnings of anxiety. I took Advil for 2 months. My ears began to ring. This all led me to go to a regular physician…a
new doctor for me as mine had retired.
I was 67 years old at this time and this doctor felt I was having some
“old age” issues and she prescribed an antidepressant to be taken “for only 6 to 8 weeks” and that should “do
the trick” as she said. After only two weeks on this pill I became violently ill with worse insomnia and threw up everything I tried to eat. I began to cry all the time. My ear ringing became worse. Forward to the next trip to the doctor when I was told
that this was “normal” and I had to give it 8 weeks to “settle in”. If I was told to take it for 8 weeks but it took 8 weeks for it to kick in, how did this make sense? She had no answer. But, I could not bare to take this pill for
more than one week more and stopped. Things got worse. Little did I know but I had become addicted to this antidepressant that quick.
The next trip to the doctor and now she said I needed to be on a tranquilizer, Xanax, for a “couple of months”.
I asked about addiction and she said no problem, it would not addict me in that short a time. She would wean me off for 2 weeks and I would be fine. I believed her.
Things became so much worse from this point on and after 1 month I told her I wanted
off the tranquilizer. But unfortunately, I was already addicted to this Xanax just as I was from the antidepressant. She then “suggested” she could no longer help me and that I needed to go to a psychiatrist. I was so desperate by this time with
so many inexplicable physical and mental symptoms that I agreed.
This pyschiatrist immediately took me off the Xanax and put me on Klonopin and Zoltoff . He promised he would wean me off these in two weeks and I would no longer be an “accidental
addict” as he called me. Fast forward one month and I was completely addicted to both these medications, increasing my dosage almost every day and thought I was loosing my mind. No sleep at all. Horrible shaking and fears, anxiety attacks, and many other
symptoms. Still could not eat. I lost 20 lbs and was still loosing.
I agreed to be checked into a local hospital for help with my weaning off the drugs by this psychiatrist who had promised he would do for me but could not. I was told that this was
the best hospital in our area for my problem and they would help me. I believed him. I was put into a locked down ward of addicts and prison patients. I only stayed one week as they did not do one thing for me and I NEVER saw the head psychiatrist …
he only sent me different pills each day to “try out”. I was absolutely not helped but made worse. Thank God the room I was given was never opened up to a roommate so I did have some privacy but the ward was full of frightening people and the food
inedible. I never slept a wink, never left the room. I was given a one month weaning schedule when I checked out which I tried to follow but It was so impossible as my symptoms got worse and worse as I cut back even the tiniest bit.
During this time
I accidentally discovered Benzo Buddies on the web and so much was explained to me about what I was going through from this wonderful website of terrific people. I became email friends with a lovely lady from England who was a great source of support as we
both suffered through our horrendous road to recovery. She will always be my special forever friend. There were two others on BB who also helped me but just reading success stories helped so much. I tried to stay away from bad stories or comparisons or suggestions
for supplements but it was hard. I also found the Bloom in Wellness site which was so uplifting and supportive.
Not one doctor offered an ounce of help for me. All their promises were empty as all they wanted to do was give me more pills. When I came
out of the hospital that same psychiatrist wanted to put me on another tranquilizer and two more antidepressants! I told him he was nuts and that I was not taking one more pill. I never saw him again and neither he nor my so called doctor ever contacted me
to see how I was doing.
I sincerely felt I would never recover. Never be normal. It was a roller coaster of waves and windows of symptoms and healing. I cried buckets. I won’t go into symptoms as we all pretty much suffer the same ones. My poor
husband of 40 years, though a great support, was beside himself with worry. I lost many so called friends. Even my own Mom could not understand what was happening. How could she as I couldn’t either!
I finally decided to cold turkey and stopped
taking every pill. This was probably not the wisest thing per Dr. Ashton’s paper but I just was so very ill that I wanted them gone from my life. I was, however, never suicidal.
This was when my recovery truly started and it was the hardest thing
I have ever faced in my life. I was only on the pills for 5 months but it has taken two years to feel normal again and now another year to be 100%. During this time I did discover a DNA Genetic Blood Test that was recommended and I had it done. Low and behold,
it showed that my Liver does not metabolize drugs and 8 out of 9 liver enzymes were not working at 100% or even at 50% and this was the reason I became addicted so quickly and took so long to recover. My body could not get rid of these drugs. I believe that
they get into every cell, even in your bones. But in my case, with my dysfunctioning liver, it was worse. And the lab that did this blood test said that over 60% of these tests they run show that many many people have the same issues with their livers and
with prescribed drugs or over the counter medications. This was probably the only good news that came out of this time in my life. I now had a reason for my symptoms and it all started with Advil which is one of the drugs I should never take. My list is long
of drugs I should never take and I keep it with me as well as in the records at my new doctor and hospital. Emergency rooms are famous for putting tranquilizers into drips when people come in so I am very cautious about that as well. I can’t even drink
caffeine or eat MSG in my foods. I have to be cautious of supplements. I question everything a doctor says or prescribes. I wear a medical bracelet about my liver.
Our bodies are truly miraculous and they will heal us. It just takes time and that might
be different for each of us. I took it year by year, day by day, some times, hour by hour. I kept as positive as I could and it was so life saving to have my friend from England who helped me to do that as I hope I helped her. I could moan to her at any hour
and she was there, as I tried to be as well for her. My husband was so wonderful but I did not want to burden him with all my fears and symptoms 24 hours a day.
I have completely changed my diet and am very careful what medications I take, if any. I
changed doctors, of course, and found one that is very open to NOT taking pills for everything, though, he is still a doctor after all and believes in pharmaceutical answers to our illnesses.
Please, dear friends, believe you will get well because you
will. Time is not your enemy but your friend and the time it takes to heal depends on so many things that you have no control over. Let go of time expectations! It will take however long your body needs to heal. Keep positive. Stay strong. “Every day,
in every way, you are getting better and better”. Believe that! I told myself every morning, “I am happy, healthy, healed and strong.” I had little notes all over my bedroom for encouragement. I listened to tapes of positive things. I Listened
to soothing music when I was finally able to do that again. I read love stories and silly children’s books when I could finally read again. I took baby steps in getting back into the world of noise and people. I watched only feel-good movies, no late
night news. I protected and still protect myself as much as possible from medications and doctors. I keep busy and active and eat well.
Life will still present you challenges and you must face them, so be prepared... life goes on. Be a survivor!!!!!
Share your story and help others who are facing withdrawal and addiction to prescribed medications. We need each other.
Blessings and I wish you well,
Karen Marie Jahns
From the beautiful State of Montana, United States