Joanne’s Story

 

Ok, I've waited 3 weeks just to make sure it wasn't another short-lived window and that another huge wave was just around the corner to take me out again...

But I'm now 6 months and 3 weeks off valium.
I CT'd late last year, kindled a few times afterwards with various doses, whilst I scrambled around helplessly with no clue as to what was happening to me, took a final dose in mid-Jan when I discovered I was in PAWs.
And I can truly say that 6 months was indeed the huge corner in healing for me that I'd heard others talk about before.

I truly did not believe this would come around for me when deep in withdrawals like so many others.

Benzo brain talk is so loud and overwhelming it completely takes over and will deceive you into thinking all sorts of insanity.

And because it's so unrelenting, it tricks you into thinking that this is your life now and things will never get better, despite what others are telling you, that the brain DOES and WILL HEAL... Yours included.

These forums helped me so much.
Until I found them I felt like I was the only person in the world going through this.

I didn't even realise I'd been taking a drug from the benzodiazepine class all this time.
I thought it was a harmless sleeping tablet that so easily and innocently solved my insomnia problem.

I've learnt so much through this ordeal.
About big pharma, doctors, friends and family.
People who had no place in my life have now gone and been replaced with genuine, amazing new friends.
And about myself.
No doubt I'm wiser and stronger for it.

Keep going.
Listen to the people telling you it will pass, it will get better.

Drink lots and lots of water.

Eat well when you can.

Distract as much as you possibly can from the pain and misery. Find new passions, new hobbies be they as simple as coloring in (I did this for awhile).

But keep going, one day at a time and one day you'll have a hella story to tell ❤️

Francesca’s Story

 

I'm sharing my benzo story to encourage those in the group who are withdrawing from a benzo. 4 years and 2 months ago I swallowed my last benzo (5 mg of Valium and 10 mg of Ambien) which I used as a sleep aid (I did not use Ambien every night and I only used it when I traveled). I c/t off both drugs and it was the hardest thing that I ever did. NEVER c/t off a benzo. The last 27 years of my life has been devoted to exercise, eating healthy and working out 7 days a week.

I never had one problem while taking Valium and Ambien over the course of 6-7 years. Hell started 21 days after stopping both drugs while shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond.

I had close to 150 symptoms and three of the worse symptoms that I experienced were chemical anxiety, tachycardia and severe hair loss (lost over 40% of my hair and at 50 months off I have new hair growing in all over my head).

After I c/t I spoke with Dr. John Ratey a Harvard shrink who wrote the book "Spark". He knew all about the dangers of Benzo's and he promised me that I would heal in time. He suggested I increase my work out (I worked out for 2-3 hours 7 days a week, lifted weights and incorporated HIIT). The more I exercised the better I felt. I know that many people can not exercise; please do not become discouraged. In time as you continue to heal you will be able to resume exercise. I lived off healthy brain food without putting one piece of junk food in my mouth for one year, and I stayed off supplements. My diet consisted of zero carbs, high protein, vegetables and fruit, low sugar, healthy fat.

Benzo healing is NOT linear and the benzo devil likes to play with your mind and tell you that you are stuck and you will never get better. I am living proof if you stay off alcohol, stay off benzo's, get adequate sleep per night, eat healthy & exercise you will get better in time. One by one all of the crazy benzo symptoms that I had started to fade away, and sometime they came back however, they didn't last too long. I recommend that you keep a daily journal and record your symptoms and when you are thrown into a wave and your benzo brain is telling you that you will never get better please go back and re-read your journal. You will notice how much healing has really taken place.

Try to stay positive and accept benzo healing for what it is. Your brain knows exactly how to revert back to homeostasis. IMO the people who are positive and push themselves do heal faster. The brain is an incredible organ and it knows exactly what it has to do to revert back to homeostasis. Keep going because there is a life after benzo hell and if you stay the course you will beat benzos!

Karen’s Story

 

Karen K. Success Story
It all started in the Fall of 2010. I was feeling depressed and my Psychiatrist gave me Wellbutrin. I had been on anti- depressants many years earlier and got off of them pretty easily.
After 3 weeks on Wellbutrin I started to feel manic and the Psychiatrist prescribed me Xanax, without saying how addicting and dangerous they were. I quit Wellbutrin, and got addicted to Xanax in a short time,( 2-3 weeks)my life turned into a nightmare, insomnia, crying all the time. I thought that going to aPsychiatrist Hospital would help. Worst mistake! They did switch me to Clonazepam( a slower acting Benzo). All they do there is want to give you more drugs!
So I came home, got stable and worked with an Alternative doctor and started to taper off this horrible drug. I really did not know what I was doing , neither did the doctor. I had learned about this from some online sites, but the knowledge and information was just not there as it is now.
I got involved on a online group, Point of Return,
Which offered a support group online and way expensive useless supplements. ( I do not like people who take advantage of people in desperate situations, which happened to me a lot.I started to taper again, worked with Dr. Raymond Armstrong, working with a Compounding Pharamcy, using pills going down 2.5% every week.( I think)I can't remember all the details. The symptoms I felt were severe insomnia, anxiety, fears( not wanting to go anywhere) stiff sore neck,. I had a few brief days when I felt normal, but other than that I slipped into a very very dark place, thought about taking my life. Before this, I had been teaching after school art, taking art classes myself, selling my art online. I had to quit my job.The cognitive impairement got so bad I could not even write a grocery list, much less plan a painting. My husband hired a wonderful women from my church, who came 2 mornings to help me. She was like my mother( who has passed on) and I cried for my mother every day) It is horrible to be on a drug that you know is so bad for you, but you know you just can't stop it, you need to come off very slowly. I did what I thought was a slow taper, 10 months, was off 2 weeks and had this unbearable anxiety, wanted relief so bad, no one knew how to help me, ended up in the Psychiatric Hospital again. This was the lowest point for me, I broke a glass and tried to cut my wrists( I could not really harm myself) and I tried to jump out of a moving car) I was not me!
Finally called Dr. Armstrong and begged him to put me back on a small dose.( .5mg) I got stabilized and about 4-5 months later found a local Psychiatrist and a Compounding Pharamcy and started a liquid taper, for 6 months. On Feburary 8, 2013, was my last day on Clonezepam! There was some brief times that I felt normal, but I knew I was not normal yet. Honestly I have DID( dissociative disorder) where I know what I experienced was so traumatic that my brain does not to remember) It started to get better at 18 months( started sleeping better) I talked to Don Killian and he told me " without a doubt you will heal" and he had healed. I held on to those words, and all other success stories. What helped me was knowing that this is not permanent and you heal from it. You got to have HOPE. This goes on so long! You want to have you back, your life back, feel normal again. It does happen! About 2 years off I started to want to do art again, want to be with people, go places,I volunteered at a local Food Bank, started to feel like myself again. My artistic abilities came back, the neuro transmitters functioning again. At 28 months I could say I was healed. I went to visit my sister, which I could not do before. No lingering symptoms, my cognitive ability fine, memory great. I am 65 years old now. I love my life, my motto is " You have been through enough . It's time to Play and Enjoy Life" your body/brain knows how to heal. Give it gentle care, no other harsh pharmaceutical drugs, supplements. TIME Does Heal💖💖💖💖

Rob’s Story

 

So i just wanted to post this to give some hope to the people who are going through the hell that is acute or protracted withdrawals. I am 6 months and 1 weeks removed from my last dose of klonopin. I took doses as high as 7mg per day for almost 20 years and mixed with alcohol and marijuana abuse, and weened down my dose over a year and a hlaf to the point that i discontinued and i just wanted to say the last week or so has been really good for me. I have been generally pretty happy and almost asymptomatic, particularly in comparison to some of what i have experienced in the last 6 months. I experienced something similar in the 5th month and then the symptoms came back and i expect that they will several times before all is said and done some time from now but things generally tend to be trending in the right direction. The good periods are longer and better and the bad period seem to be shorter and less severe. In the last couple weeks a lot of my memory, and mental acuity, processing power and speed etc has come back. Theres not even any ambiguity to that. It is real. I feel generally pretty happy as of right now anyway and you may need to know this because just a little bit ago, "when i was in it", i couldnt see out of it and i believed the misery would never end and i could barely bare another second. Again im sure i will have my difficulties but it does get better and as of now it is MUCH better!

A Message of Hope for those Tapering (anonymous)

A message of hope for you all from a fellow Benzo sufferer close to the end of her slow taper.....

The one thing I want to convey to you is HOPE. This is coming from someone who thought she'd never see the light of day again.... who hung on to the tiniest thread of sanity that I could for day after day after day. My faith is what kept me going and the words of hope from others who had been through benzo hell and had healed. We ALL heal eventually.

I am nearly at the end of my taper which began a little over 2 years ago. When I found out the devastating truth about benzos, I made up my mind that I was getting off them regardless of how hard it was or how long it took. This past November I began to notice such a positive difference. My symptoms were gradually getting better. Talk about gratitude! It was if I'd been given a new lease on life. Everything looked better to me and life was much sweeter. Sometimes I think we have to go through hell to realize the beauty in ordinary days. At least that is the way that I look at it now. I will not get into specifics, but just that my doc put me on diazepam to help me sleep and calm me down during a life stressor. I was hooked on that mess in 10 days... we are ALL different, so these meds affect us all differently, which some think is due to genetics. I caution folks now in this dilemma benzo trap not to compare themselves or their symptoms to others. You just cannot. I refused to read the scary negative stories when I was in the worst of it. It is amazing how the mind plays tricks on you when you are in the depths of this benzo maze. I just want people to focus on getting better and well, no matter HOW LONG it takes. You have to hang on, you have to be strong and know that eventually things will ease up. I was convinced that I was dying, but had a tiny glimmer of hope that things would eventually get better.

I am tapering very very slowly so that I can still function. You have to find a pace that suits you no matter what the doctor or books or the internet tells you. If your doc does not let you go at your own pace and hold your dose when you need to, find another one who does! Be focused, stay the course, never go back up, and don't try to medicate the symptoms away (only makes it worse IMO).... I stayed away from sugar, caffeine, gluten, additives, preservatives, anything stimulating, and I even changed out all my bath and body products to all natural w/ no chemicals... the purer your diet and what you put on your skin, the better.... and do NOT watch or listen to the negative news! Stay clear of anything that is stressful. The only supplements that I could take were magnesium, Ester-C, and a very small amount of natural vitamin D3 from fish liver oil. (D3 can be stimulating for some, as it is a steroid, and I noticed as I got to feeling better, I could take more of it)... I also have a spoonful of coconut oil every day. I eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and very lean cuts of meat and gluten free whole grains. But remember, we are ALL different.... what helps one person may not another and vice versa.

I just want to give you some hope that it DOES get better in time. Time is our best friend throughout this. You will heal, but you have to stay the course and never give up. Hope this helps in some small way someone today.

My Long and Winding Road to Recovery by Karen

 

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

 

Healed from Bromazepam

My name is Corne Bonnette...I am 100% healed after a horrific wd...I want to share my story of hope with you guys....I know exactly how you feel and the fear, pain and anger you are feeling right now. Last year March I was in a very very bad place...I did not have my pills and after the third day I had a seizure and became very very ill...after the seizure I took the pills again but then the real trouble started I was bedbound and could not work....I have lost everything because I was to ill to work...I had all the wd symptoms in the A-Z list...I was so scared, lost and confused and was left for dead cause no one understood BWS neither did I...I knew it was the pills but if I don't take it I would have died...my family rejected me they thought I was a addict...I knew I was in this alone and had to find a way to survive...I was in so much physical emotional and mental pain I can not begin to explain to you the hell ride I have been through....I did research on fb and I found the groups...A very kind lady in this group Doreen opened her hart to me and I knew nothing about tapering or the Ashton Manual and she shared it with me and then I began to understand what is happening to me and my body...I reached out to David and he gave me a tapering plan..I was on Brozepam 6mg but when they did not have my pills I would take any kind of benzo that the pharmacy have little did I know that benzos are different from each other...but with the little knowledge I had from the Ashton manual I knew better know...so I pushed myself out of bed and I decided that I want my life back..
.I cried I screamed I thought of death plenty times..
But I pushed and pushed through...It was the most hardest cruelest thing a human can indure to be a prisoner in his own mind and fight your own mind....I talked to myself cried I prayed...I found a church and that was my turning point....I started to feel joy again purpose again and it felt like I was able to do anything through God...I know some are not religious but in this time I found God...I did emotional restoration and it helped tremendously..I am 8 months out and working a full time job again rebuilding my life again...
But this time I know its grace and appreciation...I also do better planing now and I think twice before doing stuff. You will see and feel that you are so strong after wd....I am not the same as I was I am a new better version of me....I want you to know that we do heal and that one day you are going to wake up and realise that this was a bad dream and you are no longer feeling or thinking about wd 24/7 you will be living life again...You may not think this is possible but I assure you that you can do this...I wanted to leave the group cause I did not want to see the suffering anymore but I am strong enough to handle it now...I can remember I were there where you are today...the best feeling is when the brainfog lifts and you have a clear mind again...You keep going, you keep fighting...the brain will level itself out...and dont compare we are all different. Xxx love you all and a special thanks to admin and Doreen forever in my hart.