I was beginning to think I had seen the worst of it.
It's almost 2am. I have spent months researching Benzodiazepine Withdrawal, and I know just about everything there is to know about it. So why am I completely dumbfounded tonight at how horrible I feel? I am now 4 months off of Benzos and over the past 4 months I have seen some great improvement in many areas. Although many side effects have lingered and the healing process has been anything but linear, I have found it to be - for the most part - manageable.
This past weekend I felt things really began to change. I started feeling more confused. I would sit in a room but not understand fully where I was sitting. Almost an out of body experience. This feeling has been creeping up on me this past week or two, but this weekend it really came out for a full visit. Then there were the stomach pains. I have had stomach issues this entire year, but this weekend that changed as well. It became more intense. Little twinges and pinches linger in my lower intestines all day long. And then there's the rib pain. It's as though something is jabbing my ribs - something sharp. Definitely a nerve pain. Strong enough to take my breath away for a brief moment. My lower back feels as though I've stood for hours and hours on end. It feel weak and tender. This past 48 hours things progressed even more. My organs feel bruised. It's the only way I know how to describe it. It's as though I'm aware of my lungs, my intestines, my uterus and ovaries, my stomach - all of it - because it feels tired, worn out and bruised. Everything between my rib cage and pelvis is tender. And there's the mild headaches...nothing to crack open a bottle of Tylenol for, but a mild tense feeling that surrounds my right eye. Last night, came the fear. The fear I had while tapering. This deeply embedded fear that makes you look at everything through warped and obscured glasses. I begin fearing I may be dying and that I should go to the ER to have every test under the sun performed. I fear that I won't be able to function tomorrow, or the next. I fear I'll have to cancel all plans this month - make that until the New Year, because there is no way I'll be able to function. I fear that my friends will finally have enough - so much so that I hesitate at telling them just how bad it is (they'll soon learn if they read my blog). Will I sound like a broken record? Because that's not my intention...I SO look forward to the day that I only talk about this to help someone else - not myself.
And now tonight. Tonight was something else. These past 2 days, my stomach seems to have a difficult time digesting any food I eat. Lots of painful digestion - I had this last week as well. I had the sudden urge to go to the washroom tonight around 9:30pm. I ended up with very painful diarrhea. As I sat there, my legs began to shake. Up and down, up and down, so hard I couldn't write in my journal or read anything. I quietly sobbed on the toilet with this great fear brewing inside of me that "something was wrong". In my mind I would end up living on the toilet all night long. And when I'm in that much of a panic, the last thing I want is to be "tied down" to one place. So while sitting there, all I wanted to do was jump off and run around the house screaming. It's a horrible feeling really. It's almost as if you're being held against your will. This led me to tonight's panic attack - a full out attack that slightly resembled the ones I had months ago during my taper. It began around 9:45pm, and well...I guess I'm still coming down from it. Tonight's was really intense. I couldn't stay still and I twitched as I had electrical shock feelings in my back and arms. Every time my body would begin to settle, I was jolted right out of it and thrown back into the panic. Instead of a nice quite movie night with my husband, he ended up doing something he's never done before...he made his own movie. He grabbed the camera and taped me in an attack. He said that people need to see what these pills can do. What I will do with the video, I have no clue. It's not something I really want to see myself. I only know how I feel while I'm in the attack and I don't know if that's something I actually want to witness.
I can't believe I'm getting slammed this hard. My husband keeps saying
to me, "You've spent all this time educating the people you love how the
healing process can be, but then you seem to forget it all when you're
feeling like this"! It's true. When I'm feeling anxious or sick from
this, I tend to look at the worst case scenario. I think that's human
nature for many of us. I tend to doubt this is all withdrawal related
and that I really am just sick with some mystery illness. If you could
see the size of a Clonazepam - it's about the size of a birth control
pill. That one pill taken twice daily has done this to a person...and
has or is doing it to so many others. You can see how at times this
does seem unbelievable...or as I say, "mind boggling".
It's now 2:01am. I'm sitting on the bathroom floor on the bathmat with a small electrical heater blowing on me and my husband's winter hat on my head. I am chilled from the panic attack and it has worn me out. I hope that soon I will be able to curl up on the couch and fall asleep. I hesitate at going back to bed because I already had to leave it once with this attack tonight. When an attack is that bad, I feel scared to go back to the place where it happened last. Almost as though it's bad luck. Most of the time I can push through that irrational fear, but tonight I think I will give myself a break and just give in to the couch.
I know there will be many positive posts to come on this blog, but this blog is meant to depict the ups and BIG downs of coming off of Psychotropics - specifically Benzodiazepines, and in my case, Clonazepam and Diazepam. Had I known this would happen to me, I would have NEVER taken even one of these pills. I kick myself for not doing my research earlier. My husband and I research everything...so why didn't we with this? The only answer I can think of, is that my GP told me that although this medication COULD be addictive, she knew I'd be fine on it long term because I didn't have an addictive personality. So I trusted her with that and felt "safe" taking it under her care. Well, she was correct about one thing...I didn't have an addictive personality...but what she didn't tell me, is that it didn't matter, because I would become involuntarily addicted to a medication that instead of helping me work through anxiety, only brought me into a deeper whole than I ever thought imaginable. And I'm still waiting to get out.