“Did you have this too, at this stage?” Everyone I coach asks me if I had the same symptoms they did. It’s getting harder and harder to remember the timeline, to be honest. It seems almost dreamlike–like it never really happened. (my bank statements assure me that it most certainly did!)
I didn’t keep a journal (still glad I didn’t! Too painful.) I promised a few of you that I would post my timeline. Here goes, to the best of my (still whacky) memory:
2010: I was deep into tolerance. I had been on 2 mgs for 9 years, then 1 mg at night for nine years. (My poor brain!) I drank every night, two glasses, three… (more?) to stave off the withdrawal symptoms. (I would have drunk even had I not been in tolerance, but the benzo crap sure made it worse.)
Spending many, many days in bed, unmotivated, tired, hands burning/tingling when I woke up, strange headaches, hearing problems, visual disturbances, bladder and stomach problems, achy muscles, IBS, dizzy, not able to control my emotions very well, depressed and a general “why give a fuck?” attitude. DEFINITELY not my normal, happy, exuberant, indefatigable, curious, massively creative self. (All of these symptoms were related to my benzo use. ZERO were related to any “pre-existing anxiety.”)
October 13, 2010. I put the plug in the jug. Got my ass into a seat at AA. Decided to start tapering off the benzo. Was told to cut 1/4 of the pill a week and ditch it in a month. (Oh, how uneducated doctors are about these drugs!) I began dry cutting. Within a few days, my whole world turned upside down. Intense anxiety, shaking, DP, off the charts DR, weak, head pressure that was excruciating, feeling as if I was having a stroke, tingles, burning skin, formication… the list goes on and on. I cut .5 mgs in a month. DON’T DO THIS!
I stopped cutting to try to stabilize over Christmas. My parents came to visit. They stayed at my sister’s house. I was having trouble walking any distance at all. Weak, but more than that. My head was so woozy and swimmy, I didn’t know where my legs were in time and space below me. I remember thinking, “This isn’t so bad. I can handle this!” (HAHAHAHA!)
After Christmas I began water titration. I was able to get down to .6 mgs in April I believe. But it was a long hard battle. From January till June, I became mostly bedridden. I bought a walker and used it. (I blogged about it.) The terror, anxiety and pitch black depression were just starting to peek into my life. Glimmers. (Little did I know what was ahead….) I slept from 6 am till 9 or 10 am, for months. Lost weight, felt like death.
As I drifted further and further away from life, a doctor who told me she was benzo-wise, insisted I go back up in dose to get stable. Gladly! I updosed gradually until I hit .9 mgs. I was in better shape, but not anywhere near what I was before I started cutting. That was April. After a few weeks of sorta-stable-but-crappy-but-not-as-sick-but-damn-I’m-still-on-this-shit I started the painful process of tapering. Again. Sigh. I got down to .3 and….
Stay tuned… more to come soon.
Sending my love to all.