Iím finally benzo free after years moving in this one direction. I started tapering off of Xanax in 1997.
For years I have been diagnosed with panic disorder and agoraphobia. I didnít even start to truly connect the dots until I was nearly done with my taper. The Xanax really did cause the agoraphobia and panic attacks.
I had muscle pain and joint pain and weakness. I had weight gain and intolerance to exercise. All the time I thought I was ill but now I know that it was inter-dose withdrawal or protracted withdrawal from the couple failed attempts I made to get off the drug.
At a high dose I had very odd behavior and that definitely played into my going up so high in the dose and to me staying on the benzos. I wonít even go into how damaged my family got.
I reduced from 10 mg Xanax to zero in four months. It was unbelievable how sick I got. I reinstated back to 1 mg and slowly moved up to 3 mg and I somewhat stabilized. After about 18 months I felt much better so I continued my taper from 3 mg to .25mg Xanax.
Something went south in my life so I had to go back to work or lose my house. I worked full time while I remained at .25 of Xanax for several months. I lost a lot of weight because I refused to eat. I was incredibly sick.
When I first started this journey, I had really no clue what a computer was. Even without outer influences, I still was able to realize that the Xanax was my problem and that I didnít need to take it anymore and that it was making me so sick.
I journaled daily all that I was going through. I was very detailed and insisted that antibiotics at one time and a cortisol cream at another time gave me mega setbacks. No one believed me but I knew it was true.
It would be another couple years before I had contact with anyone else going through withdrawals. Once I got a computer and went online, all that I have gone through was validated as I met several more people who were going through the same thing.
Eventually, after much illness at .25 mg, I went back up to 1.25 mg Xanax and when I stabilized, I went to school to become a massage therapist so I can finally work out of my home and get off the benzos. I also studies relaxation, positive thinking and meditation and practice this each day. This would turn out to be saving grace for me once I hit acute withdrawals.
Everything went smooth until the economy collapsed at the end of my taper. So off to work I went again. This time it was easier because I was working in a calm environment, doing massage and not working at a busy retail store. Also Iím sure that switching to a long acting benzo made a world of difference for me. For me, not much compared to trying to dry cut off Xanax.
Everything was manageable until 10 days after my last dose. I donít know why, but I thought the worse would be over once I was off the benzos. At this time, I needed to take 4 months off of work. I was home alone and running my home and our small apartment complex while my husband was living and working far away.
The first 3 weeks was the most horrid and hair raising experience I ever had. Somehow, the house didnít burn down, none of our many animals or fish in aquariums died and neither did I. That was a miracle. My doctor called my husband and told him that I was sick and should not be alone. It took 3 weeks for my husband to get home. Then he had to leave again and it took him another several weeks to get medical leave from work (FMLA).
If I made it through that? I can get though anything. The whole experience of the withdrawals, although it was so hard while going through it, has changed me for the better forever. One a the few awesome positive changes in me is that now I donít worry about whether or not I can handle an emergency. I can. Problems came up with tenants and my pets, I handled everything.
Most of my friends, and I thought I had many, they disappeared. That was a very difficult thing to cope with. Very few, two people actually checked up on me and they are forever my heroes.
I had every symptom on every list I ever found. I can go into details of the nightmares I went through but if you are reading this, you already know.
One year off of benzos and I was doing much better. Actually driving on the freeway again and flew to San Diego to visit friends. I went camping to celebrate one year off of benzos then decided was time to get off the beta-blocker.
That was in many ways harder than the withdrawals I felt from benzos. I didnít expect that and it was depression being so sick like back to square one again. Now it is almost one year after my taper off Inderal (beta-blocker) and I am finally getting back out of the woods.
Very little remains of all those symptoms. I was starting to doubt I would ever get better. It took me so long. I am not 2 years off benzos yet and I feel I have maybe another year to heal but I feel so much better now.
The healing I recognize most is that I am not living so deeply within the
misery and constantly trying to survive. These days I often wonder ďwhat just
Iím not disabled anymore.
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Last updated 22 July 2015