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Genie

My dear Friends,

I really wanted to tell the world that I'm finally off this poison, but I was going to wait to see how I would do before making this announcement. But, then, I decided, what the heck? Regardless of what will happen down the road, this IS good news, believe me!

On Saturday, April 16, I took my last droplet of Diazepam. Those "old timers" who've known me since forever know that I began this horrible benzo journey in 2001. In 1999, I was put on Ativan for insomnia caused by a hyperactive thyroid, and the Ativan worked for a while. Then, it wasn't working as well as it had worked, and I had to increase my dose. Sound familiar? Of course, I had no idea that Ativan was addictive, so I just assumed my thyroid condition got worse and that increasing my Ativan would make it better. Wrong. All it did was increase the dose of Ativan which I eventually would have to get off.

I tried tapering directly off the Ativan, but boy did I suffer! First of all, I was tapering way too quickly and, second of all, I didn't realize that it would be a bitch to taper off the Ativan because it was a short-acting benzo which would lead to severe interdose withdrawal symptoms. When I was unsuccessful in tapering myself off Ativan, I wanted to switch to Valium, but my former excuse for a shrink nixed that idea and sent me to a "dietox" center instead.  Whatever you do, don't go there!  The aftermath of dietox was horrendous, and I must have had almost every symptom in the Ashton Manual, if you can believe it. That and advanced Lyme disease and kidney malfunction. Without going into the gory details, let's just say I was a royal mess!

So, in September of 2002, I had to reinstate onto Valium (actually, Diazepam, the generic). I really hated the very idea of reinstating. I thought I was a failure. I thought I was weak. But, my doctor told me I really didn't have a choice because my medical condition was precarious and I needed to go back on benzos so that I could get well and taper properly this time around. In spite of the warnings from many people who told me reinstating would bring me more pain, I reinstated in the hope that I might be one of the lucky ones.

I have to thank my friends Jenny, Val, Steve, Geraldine and Reg for encouraging me to reinstate when I was at the end of my rope. I won't say my Diazepam taper was a piece of cake, but it saved my life. I was able to recover from my other illnesses and to taper myself slowly off the Diazepam. And, I certainly went slowly. I used the 10 percent tapering method even to the very end. Many folks jump off .5 mg of Diazepam, as Ashton recommends, and have lots of symptoms. I jumped off of a 10th of that dose, namely .05 mg of Diazepam, and I only have a few lingering symptoms, mainly fatigue and sweating.

I work out at the gym, and I'm back to giving music recitals. I realize that I'm not out of the woods yet because I tire very easily. But, I'm really glad that I don't have to worry about taking benzos anymore. I was afraid that I might be benzo dependent for the rest of my life, but I was determined to try my darndest to get off these drugs which were only making me feel numb and sick. I must have written around 100 benzo poems during this ordeal. Some of them were even published.

During my taper, I tried to lead a fairly stress free life, and I tried to eat properly. I didn't go out partying, and I didn't drink alcohol. I took supplements daily and tried to eat nutritious foods. I'm a little heavier than I want to be right now, but I'm hoping the weight will eventually come off. And, I have to remind myself that, at 58, I'm no spring chicken and maybe I'm destined to be a chubby Moose -- LOL!

I will keep everyone posted about my progress. I also want to thank all my benzo buddies for being there for me during this ordeal. In particular, I want to say thanks to Helen, Marsh, Diane, Cathy and Chris for always being my friend. You know who you are.  And, I want to thank Yvonne, Madelon, Anthea, Nancy, Suzie, Carolyn, Lee, Raven, Pat, and Alison for being around to help when I needed advice. And, if I left anyone important out, chalk it up to my benzo brain and know that I did appreciate your advice and help, too. I just can't remember everyone's name here.

To those of you still tapering, keep up the fight. You will succeed if you're determined, and the only way out is through. Take my word for it. There IS life after benzos and I'm out there living it.
 

Love and healing,

Genie

 

 

Disclaimer:  The information contained in this website was not compiled by a doctor or anyone with medical training. The advice contained herein should not be substituted for the advice of a physician who is well-informed in the subject matter discussed. Before making any decisions about your health or treatment you should always confer with your physician and it is always assumed that you will do so.

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Last updated 22 July 2015