Well I have posted a new thread as Reach suggested. This is taking a lot of courage just typing this at the moment. I have been taking way too much valium and Xanax for quite some time and now am ready and want to come off them.
Started on valium for a medical condition in my spine (to stop muscle cramping) and xanax for panic attacks. I had severe panic attacks when my brother was killed in a car accident (we were very close) and I was taken to the morgue/coroners court to identify his body. He was lying on a slab of cold steel and they brought him out and put a steel barracade between us and expected me to say yes/no. I jumped the barracade and threw myself on top of him (as yes it was him) and kissed his beautiful face and hair (am now crying as I type this). He was soooo cold and so badly injured. He had come out of the car and it had landed on top of him. He wasn't wearing a seat belt. He was only 19 yrs old and my grief from that has been immensely hard to come to terms with. This beautiful young life cut short in it's prime. I now have come to accept his passing with many years of counselling and my catholic faith in Jesus and Heaven (where I know he is). I still grieve the life that he would have had. As I get older and go through marriage, children etc, I think about what he has missed out on. I have been told this is normal and these thoughts will always be with me.
So, about two years ago, I started to have the major panic attacks again and my dr prescribed Xanax again. I never really realised how many I was taking until recently. I can't sleep without them, can hardly get in a car without one, have trouble leaving the house without taking one, all just in case I have a dreaded panic attack. Some drs say you should face a panic attack head on but that is a lot easier said than done.
Also the valium just seemed to calm my nerves and now I have also realised I have been taking too many (up to 5 per day).
Today I have started the weaning down process. I tried to quit cold turkey once and had a seizure so that is not a good idea. I have only had 2 valium today and 3 x Xanax (normally would have had about 5-7). Am feeling very anxious but am absolutely determined to get off these evil drugs as they have made me a slave to them. As for the morphine pain pills - I managed to wean myself off those as well. I have not taken one for 5 days and am proud of myself.
Please can anyone give me some advice and maybe just a bit of encouragement on this board. I have read a lot of the posts and reach, loop and chrissy you guys seem incredible. Thankyou in advance, Tessa
That was a huge step for you to start this thread. Good for you!!
I want to tell you how proud I am of you for making the decision to get off all the pills.
So many people on this board have a similar story to yours.
They are examples of hope that you to can come to a better place in your life with out the use of drugs or alcohol.
The greiving process has I think 7 stages and they do not have any real order and you can jump from stage to stage. There is no set length of time for any one person who is greiving. It may be short or long or an on going work in progress.
Did you decide to get your doctor invilved in the detox part of your recovery plan?
I only ask becasue it concerns me that at one time you did have a seizure.
Sometimes it is so very hard to get honest with the people in our lives about what is going on.....I think because in some way we feel as though we have let them and ourselves down. ANd yes.. it is, to an extent a very humiliating thing to go to another human being and admit that we are in a state of hoplessness and helplessness.
Tessa all that hoplessness and helplessness and the insanity that the drugs have and may still cause can be restored for you!!!
You mentioned that you are of the Catholic faith so I know you believe in God, right?
Well now is the time to really tap into that source and ask for his care and guidence through this journey.
Kicking these drugs is not easy phsyically and then when they are out of our system we still have to learn how to handle our emoitions and attiudes.
But the price of continuing to use is one that is to great to pay...for me anyway...
There is hope for you Tessa and so many of us are going to be here to reach out to you when you need us.
I might suggest that when your up to it you seek out some 12 step groups and maybe some more counceling if your not going already
If you are going to a councelor...you will want to get honest with him/her if you have not already...
I am sending you an angel and Hug... Chrissy
Hi guys, tessa here. Thankyou Chrissy for giving me lots of inspiration and healing words. I am at day 2 and am feeling so, so. No physical symptoms yet, just not getting much sleep and feeling quite anxious.
You know, I have wanted to wean off these hideous pills for a long time. I used to say to myself "Oh, this is not a good week because of School holidays" or "not this week, I have too much stress" etc. Making excuses to myself all the time. WELL, I have come to the realisation that life is stressful, hectic and a lot of people are in a lot worse situation than me. I am going to do this, no matter what, I am soooooo sooooo determined. This week I have my daughter in a state championship for dancing and yes it is going to be stressful, but I am going to do it! Next week there will be something and the week after that etc. etc.
I am a stay at home mum, so I don't have work to get my mind off things - really wish I had a job. At the moment with my spinal injury I physically can't work, but as soon as this is healed (6 months - have had 4 surgeries in 12 months, and spinal fusion with a bone graft) I am going to be out there working. I want my life to have a purpose, not just thinking all the time "when will I have my next pill?" How pathetic have I become. I really am loathing myself at the moment for having gotten to this stage.
No, I haven't confided in anyone. I don't know, this board is a huge step for me. But, I do have a friend who I could confide in and she is fantastic. She went through similar years ago - got herself clean from heroin. Had 2 beautiful daughters and recovered from anorexia. She is my inspiration, but she still is quite manic and over the top a lot of the time. Where I am calm (due to all the pills I suppose).
Yes, my faith will help me. I don't talk about that much either. Being catholic I really pray to Our Mother Mary most of the time. My parish Church are beautiful people but I have never told any of them about my problems. Mass for me is very healing and I find it a place of peace. The priest we had about 2 years ago was a fabulous man, but of course he was moved to another parish (actually went to Rome, he was that wonderful) and now I don't feel like I connect with the current priest. You are right - I do feel like a let down and failure to those around me.
Especially my husband and children. They have been wonderful throughout my illness (back) and I don't want to have to burden them with anymore, If I don't have to. My hubby is working full time and studying full time (by correspondence) and doing all the housework and cooking and running around after the kids. I managed to drive them to school this morning - they are 8 & 6 and absolute darlings. My daughter (8) has nursed me through all of these spinal injuries and just been fantastic. I hope she is ok, as she has had a lot of responsibility put on her for a child and I worry that she is too independent. She makes her bed and her brothers every morning, sweeps the floors, mops the kitchen and bathroom floors, vacuums the house when she is asked, helps cook the dinner and gets me drinks, food etc. when I am having trouble walking. What an angel. She can make breakfast and dress her brother (6), dress herself and help me get dressed (ie. I can't bend down to my feet and need help with socks, shoes, putting on trackpants etc). She gets me food (makes me sandwiches, toast etc) and even wants to do coffee etc. I have said no to anything to do with electricity but she is very determined. How far do you let them go when they want to be so independent. She will run herself a bath, wash and condition her own hair and then want to blow dry it after. I don't let her use the blow dryer as it is connected to electricity - so I do that part but apart from that, she wants to be able to be totally independent. God bless her beautiful soul .
Well enough rambling, this post will be huge, I am hanging in there and anyone out there who wants to share their story with me and give me inspiration will be absolutely appreciated immensely. I would love to here from people who have been in same situation - actually anyone at all really. This weaning and pill thing is a very lonely place and any outside human contact is fantastic.
THanks again chrissy - hope to hear from you soon. Please Reach, you said that you went through the similar thing, could you help me and respond if you have the time, that would be wonderful, thanks. Will update very soon and let you all know how I am going. ta tessa
Wow your kids are awesome!!! I understand how you could get concerned about the independence thing.
Try and remember that this stiff is not forever!!!
The one thing that is constant in our lives is change and your going to be changing and growing everyday that you are on the recovery journey.
Hang in there and I know that others will post...
In the meantime you can go back and read some of mine and Reache's and others on this board woh have posted.
I also saw that you are posting and replying to others and that is great as well...
I can also be found in other threads on this health board as you have probably already noticed......
So keep reacking out to others for help and reaching out to others to give your support and to relate....Chrissy
I took a snooze this afternoon and slept quite a bit. This is a good thing because after coming off the Xanax, my sleep is still not regular and falling asleep naturally is something our brains have to reprogram after being on benzos like Xanax and valium for long periods of time.
Yes, Tessa, I did a slow taper off of Xanax. The only thing I would do different now if I had to ever, ever do it again, would be to take a lot longer even than I did. I had tapered first from oxycodone (see how much we have in common?!), and then from the Xanax. I think that after eight months of tapering daily, I was so sick of it that I got too antsy and pushed myself too fast with the Xanax taper. A taper from benzos absolutley should be long and slow, agonizingly slow at slow. The slowness in part to prevent seizures of course , as you now know. Equally important, so slow to ensure a greater chance of success to stay off of them. Benzos affect every single nerve in our bodies and brains. Coming off them extremely slowly allows our brains to heal as we plod along. It keeps the restless legs at bay because we are going so slowly that the brain starts producing what it needs to to correct this. It is not symptom free by any means, don't want to mislead you, but the longer we can taper and the slower we go, the easier it is on our already messed-up body and brain.
I don't suggest trying to come off both benzos at once! I am 50-50 about which to come off first. The valium is longer acting, Xanax is only really effective for 4 hours although for some it can last six hours. The Ashton Manual, which is easily found online, says to use valium to come off of Xanax. Dr Ashton, who is a world authority on coming off benzos. particularly Xanax, wrote the manual in England. Truthfully, I would seek a doctor's professional advice on which to come off of first. Even more truthfully, I wouldn't even think of doing a taper from a benzo without a doctor as a backup resource person and encourager.
As you come off whichever one first, the other is going to be the backup that is going to ease it for you. When I started off them officially, I had gotten down to three .5 Xanax a day. I cut the middle dose in half the first cut I made. Stayed there for a week or ten days. During that time, I started slowly moving the morning dose farther and farther away by 15 minute intervals as I went along. As the anxiety hit me, I would put into practice what I had learned from the oxycodone taper.... get physically busy... walk around the house, step outside and walk around the yard, sing outloud LOUDLY, anything to distract myself and push that 15 minutes to the max I could. Once that start time changed, I worked really, really hard not to change it back. 9 times out of ten I could do it. When I couldn't, I couldn't and just renewed the effort the next day. Allow a slip to occur two days running and there will be a price to pay in that it is just too darn easy to make the slip last 3 days, four days, and then the efforts are for naught. A taper from a benzo does have to be more flexible and forgiving than a taper from opiates, but it still must be strict and absolutley disciplined every single day no matter what. My husband ALWAYS held my meds no matter how strong anyone thought I was during all of the tapering. Resolution ,elts when depression and anxiety hits and it was an absolute necessity for Hubby to be an intgral part of a solid plan to get off the narcotics. Don't fool yourself into believeing you can do this solo, Tessa... you can't.
Also, because my family doctor was my presciber during the tapers, he held accountability on me. I called ALL my other doctors' offices and told them to make the doctors aware I was withdrawing from opiates and benzos. Cut off any and all sources when I was strong in the beginning of my reslove to stop the madness my life had become. ( My ongoing opiate and benzo use were the result of treatment after cancer surgeries). I also cancelled all rfill scripts at the pharmacy that remained from my oncologist and worke solely with my prescribing family doctor for meds. Counseling was from my family doctor and a licensed clinical social worker. I stopped seeing the psychiatrist as a psychiatrist basically is a prescribing therapist and he just wanted to work primarily with changing my meds which I had no intention of doing.
This is enough for you to absorb for one night (day in Auusie Land?). Summing up... go sloooow, connect with a doctor, and post often and read here a lot.
Thankyou Reach. Yes, I do think coming off the Xanax will be a better start. I was thinking of tapering off both at the same time but that won't work. I am taking 3 x 1mg of xanax per day at the moment. Did taper down once before and did it within 2 months. I am extremely determined person but am also on an anti-depressant (paroxetine/aropax). This is one that is specifically for panic disorder (which I have from my bro dying) and/or ocd. It seems to work very well for me and keeps the panic attacks at bay as well. I take 1 x 20mg tablet morning and night. Eventually want to come off these as well, but one at a time.
The eventual plan for me is to be pill free and able and ready to have another baby. I have a very strong maternal instinct to have more babies and this (and my 2 I have already) is a very strong thing to hold onto when I think about popping one of these a##hole pills. I hate them all now, which I think is a good place for me to be - because I used to love them. See, a different attitude in your mind can make all the difference. I feel so good off the morphine pills that I don't have any in the house, no prescriptions and will never get another one from my family doctor.
Today is day 2 for coming off the xanax. I have just taken the morning dose 1mg at 11.30am. I managed to stop myself from taking it until then by keeping myself busy with getting my kids ready for school and surfing the internet (other things, unrelated), and going for a walk around the street. Yes, I do need them to sleep. It is vicious. I can lie there in bed for hours not being able to go to sleep and then pop 1 and be asleep in 10 minutes. Too easy an option I'm afraid. Tonight I will try to take my 1mg tablet at about 8.30pm and 5mg of valium at the same time. I will get into bed and hopefully sleep until 5-6am. What do you think? I know you said to taper really slowly but I am soooo impatient to get off these things it's not easy to do it slower. I think tomorrow I will cut the tablet in half so they are .5mg and still take the total of 2mg but at 4 x intervals throughout the day/up until bed. I will do this for at least a week and then try to cut out one of the .5mg doses. Do you think this will work? I am very, very determined and can handle some side effects ok. I will continue to take the valium until the xanax is cut out. Then I will work on the valium and then the anti-depressant.
slowly, slowly, one at a time. I just know that having the support on here is what I have needed to give me the go ahead and actually do it. I have wanted to for a long, long time but used excuses every time.
Anyway, thankyou for the advice on a plan of action. Lets see how I go. If it is too fast then I will just have to be patient and slow it down like you said.
This may be a long 12 months road ahead, but nothing compared to the years and years (6yrs on morphine pills/10-12 yrs on benzos) that have been on them. Managed to go cold turkey when I found out I was expecting my daughter (our little accidental miracle). Had to have 1 x .5mg pill twice a week for 2 weeks but then just stopped. It was hard but I just kept thinking of that precious baby and it worked. BUT, after she was born I fell into the trap again and then thought I would just go ahead and stop cold turkey, on my own at home without telling anyone. Woh - what a mistake, had a seizure like thingy after a couple of days and had to go straight back on them. Not pleasant.
Anyway, better go. Thankyou for your advice. Anyone else who has been through the same, please help me with your story and advice. Open to any suggestions. Thanks heaps, tessa.
Sounds like a reasonable start to your plan there.
I am also on an antide0pressant and at some point I will taper off. It is much too soon as I am still not anywhere near over the Xanax finish and wil not stress my body to a ridiculous point. I think in 6 months to a year, I will be totally over the taper after effects and at that point will start the taper off the antidepressant. THAT taper will be lonest and slowest because there will be no kind of back up at all. Smiles.
Hey, Tessa... I saw in another thread that you were considering using Vaeraian Root. Professional knowledge needs to be found about this as I know ST John's Wort should never be taken when we are on an antidepressant. Not sure about Valerian Root. Many herbals (which often have side effects just like any other medicine) can NOT be used in conjunction with antidepressants because of interactions. Please check first with an authority at a reputable health food store and do some research, okay?
Hi everyone, well I did it. I survived day 2 and am now onto day 3. Small mercy's for me to be grateful for. Yes, I will look into the valerian more.
Reach, yesterday I took your advice and told my hubby and he was really suppportive. I couldn't do much tidying up around the house as I was pretty anxious. He was very understanding and cooked us all a nice dinner.
I took the xanax and valium at about 6.00pm - my kids were fighting and carrying on and I was really getting into trouble ie. having a panic attack.
It calmed me down and I managed to cope. I then went to bed early at about 8.30pm as I was very tired (I think more brain tired). Stayed asleep till 11.30pm and then, bang awake and ready to rock and roll - ha.
But - I didn't get up out of bed (as usual). I stayed there and thought of being at a beach and swimming in the clear water (one of my favourite past times). Well what do you know, I managed to go back to sleep without popping any pills. (very proud)
Well - I have taken the am valium and xanax at 8am and hopefully this will get me through till tonight ( ). I am going to distract myself today by pottering around the house and doing housework - which always keeps us busy. It is never ending with kids in a house.
Thanks for your support on here, it is really keeping me sane and helping me heaps. I am having some withdrawal symptons but am trying to deal with them as best I can. I will stay on this dose for maybe another two weeks I think, until my body is used to it. You are right - the taper does need to be slow, it is very frustrating but needs to be done or I feel like a raving lunatic and angry as a tiger!!!!
Anyway, thanks again and will keep everyone updated, ta tessa
That is a very good strategy to employ about not getting out of the bed immediately when waking like that. I do that also and often it is working. All about retraining the brain. Another thing I do is not look at the clock... if it is dark, it is not time to get up! If you can not always fight the urge to check the time, try what I have to do.. turn the clock backwards. The alarm works whatever way it is facing!
Also, if a 'tinkle urge' hits during the night... try to use no lights. I keep an ultra low light nightlight in the bathroom socket that just, just allows me not to miss the seat when I sit. Chuckles. That almost no light helps not to signal my brain with a wake up call from too much light. Then I simply walk calmly back to bed and say goodnight again to myself.
I know these things can sound silly to some readers, but for those of us trying to get our slep regulated again, they really can be helpful!
you realy should be cutting down on the benzo's in 10% increments every week to 10 days. I dont know how much you are cutting down, but just cutting it in half, or a 30% reduction, or 50% reduction will become quite filled with symptoms. I would cut out the xanax first since its half life is short. I would keep the valium where it is, in fact it maybe wise to increase the valium to compensate for the xanax and just cut out the xanax all together then go 10% every week. But either way, the valium can act like a buffer since it can stay in your body for a while(days). The withdrawal can continue well into you being off the drugs, as your brains gaba receptors take time to adjust and turn back on without the drugs. I tapered off xanax without valium and it was hell. Slow is the key. I wouldn't judge having 1 good day here and there as your indication of what is to come. I didn't notice my serious symptoms for days after cuts. These drugs you have to be smarter than. I would go to a benzo site like benzo buddies and get advice, and talk to your doctor before you do anything. goodluck.
Thankyou to everyone for your advice. It has been very much appreciated and taken on board by me. Today is day 4 of my taper and I am feeling like I am getting a head cold. Last night before I took the pills I swear I had a fever, headache, sinus blocked, runny nose, etc. I layed down but it didn;t get rid of the headache etc. I told my hubby and he thinks it's from tapering down off of the Xanax.
It was 5.00pm so I hung out until 6.00pm (I don't know how I did it) and took the night time dose of the pills. I also took some ibuprofen and paracetemol.
well within 15 minutes I was feeling better! ha so it is the pills. Wow I know this is nothing compared to some peoples withdrawals but I need to be aware of it. So I have decided not to taper any further for another week/10 days.
I also bought valerian and took them and they worked and made me feel less anxious. Also had chammomile tea, multi vitamins, lots of fresh fruit and vegies and all of this is helping me feel a bit better.
Reach, I survived last night from 6.00pm (taking the pills) until 8.30am this morning when I took the morning dose. Wow, what a hard night. I layed in my bed for about 4 hrs knowing that I could just take a xanax and go straight back to sleep or hang in there. With the determination that I have at the moment - NOTHING - is going to send me backwards. But I didn't get out of bed, I think that is better for me. I finally went back to sleep and now feel ok for the day.
Yesterday, I busied myself with housework and walked around the neigh bourhood, played with my dog and surfed the internet (unrelated stuff, like gossip and stuff). I also watched a bit of tv but I find that mind numbing and makes me think of the pills.
Anyway - hope you are all well and hanging in there. Will update asap. Ta Tessa
You are off to such a wonderful start here! Your thinking is where it should be. Keep it that way.. reread this thread form start too finish everyday to help do that.
This may be a long 12 months road ahead, but nothing compared to the years and years (6yrs on morphine pills/10-12 yrs on benzos) that have been on them
Tessa... I chuckled out loud when I read that. It is so, so true!I can remember writing to a poster some months ago that if it took me a year to accomplish the tapers, so what? I am 55 years old and 1/55th of my life ethus far was not much to give in comaprison to my whole life and all th years I hope to have in my restored joy and happiness. Oh, there were days I hated the taper with a passion, but then again, I hate the pain my recently broken toe has caused, too. Chuckles.
I am so glad you shared with Hubby. hE WILL BE A WONDERFUL SUPPORT TO YOU i AM SURE AND ANYWAY, HOW HORRIBLE IT WOULD BE IF HE THOUGHT YOU HAD SIMPLY BECOME A WHACKO BECAUSE HE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON!! iT IS PRETTY HARD TO HIDE WITHDRAWAL WHETHER from cold turkey or taper. ( Sorry.. didn't see the cap buttton got hit and too lazy to go correct all that).
The sinus stuff? Perfectly normal. Happens to most of us. Opiates and benzos depress the repiratory system. As we come off of them, it is the miraculous body beginning the restoring itself. Our bodies really do have unbelieveable abilities to restore themselve and are probably satying, "Oh, thank you, thank you, for allowing me to get back to working on my own again."
Okay, Tessa, long overdue to sign off and get to bed.
I am currently getting off xanex as well. Tapering off of it is been a really bad experience for me currently. I was prescribed to 4mg a day but took much more than I was supposed too. I also am on 4mg of klonopin a day and haven't started going down on those yet. I am dreading that. I remember the days before I had anxiety and I know I won't ever be completly free of it..I need other methods than these pills that control my life.
I have had two seizures from taking too much like if I had a panic attack so then I would be out for like 2 days before my next dr appointment to get more.I didnt even know I had a seizure until my husband told me.Should I go to the hospital next time if I have a seizure afterwards? I am freaked out and can't sleep but am trying to not think about it too much ...probably cause I am worrying about too much other stuff and I have tried sonata and ambien cr and I still cannot sleep..and going thru withdraw even if I take my med's before bed do not make me sleepy. Any advice on a sleeping pill that allows you to actually fall asleep and stay that way till morning? I hope that their is a light somewhere at the end of this tunnel..and is tapering .25 mg every two weeks slow enough. I do not think so..but I am not the one who prescribes the medicine but would love any and all advice.
What courage it has taken you to post. Thank yourself for the self-care. It is a pound of miracles to be sure.
I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. What a horrific experience you have gone through, what chilling memories you collect with the experience. He was so young; it must be terribly hard on you. I cannot imagine it. I feel so speechless in aide.
Of course it makes sense to me why you have panic attacks, vehicles and outside circumstances trigger them from the off-set of your trauma. I am confused why any doctor would suggest you tackle the panic attack head on? I am guessing that means the doctor wants you to talk about what is going on for you with another doctor which then is a good thing.
There is only one way to get past your fears and that is to go through them.
I started out by taking a whole lot of valium from many different doctors in the 70ís. I recently now in recovery have been diagnosed as agoraphobic and depressive from past abuse. Iím wishing I never saw the doctor this year for being labelled Ė but anyway - I used to take valium for the attacks, my attacks happen frequently in public places, and then I became dependant on the pills and forgot why I was taking them. And I took a lot, for a lot,, a lot a lot of years .And it took about a year and a bit to get off them. I am not taking ANYTHING anymore; I donít adventure out as much as I did, stay low, in fear of an attack. The attacks are not nice. My bp goes up, heart beats so loud I can hear it popping in my ears, I get dizzy, I just want to run, but I cannot, I freeze up, I feel trapped. I substituted the pills for yoga and alternative medicine that seems to help me for now.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to wean off like you are doing. Just keep the magic number in your mind. You will get there eventually; if that is your desire, then that will be your outcome. You have a spinal cord injury, that is something that is not to be taken lightly tell your doc honestly what is going on for you, with your addiction. he will advise you, your priest has moved on.. and so must you, as he has as well. Everything changesÖ. Your children sound like they are from a Disney series, so helpful and respectful, how fortunate you are.
Yes the pill thing is lonely, yes the pill thing strips your soul, eats away your roots, and tears away shreds of perseverance and self-respect, it is up to you to cultivate, nurture, replenish, recover all that has been lost so you can be 100% available for yourself and your children. You are going to be OK; you have a supportive husband and a lot a lot of support from the board. Just be careful with the St Johns wart if you are still taking it in your condition, I suggest to do some research on it.
You have beautiful dancing children, and so shall you, be it true