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Billy’s Story

"Paris, France... Jan 27, 2008"

I thought I would share my story.

This is my story of my journey through the medicine cycle and how I came off Klonopin.

The way I came off is not the correct way and I don't suggest others do it this way! But I'm off and through.

In 1998 I was over at a friend's house, we were watching a movie, listening to music, and talking like friend’s do. I had never heard of a Panic Attack and never had one either! All of a sudden I stood up off the couch and "Boom!" I felt an electric shock run up my arm and into my chest. I felt numb all the way down into my left leg. I couldn't sit still and my body was shocked. I thought I had a stroke or a seizure underway. I was up for the remainder of the night... worrying.

Another friend of mine, who was visiting NYC from Berlin, came over from my mother's house at the time. I told him about it, he suggested that I walk to the hospital and he would walk with me. I said, "I'll be OK." I was really keeping everything boiling underneath and was still in a panic! We then walked to the subway; I got on and went on home; thinking about what had happened.

I told my mother about the feeling I had. She said, "Sounds like a stroke to me." This helped nothing! I went to the hospital that evening, thinking about what was wrong with me? The Doctors and Nurses all ringed around me, many tests were run, EKG done, and other efforts to find something. The nurse came around the corner as I sat upon a bed in the ER. She had a needle, I thought, "Oh Geeze!" She gave me a shot. My mother asked, "What was that?" She explained it was Ativan and told us, "it should calm him down; he had a panic attack or exertion."

After that I calmed down quickly we went home and I fell asleep all tired out. I woke up from my bed. I felt drunk and dizzy. The next thing I knew, I had two more attacks together... one after another. I couldn't breath and called 911. The next event I remember I was in the ambulance, I was losing it quickly! I do remember asking, "What is wrong with me?" I found myself in the same ER. I was crying, screaming, and knew I was doomed to death! The doctor gave me another shot of Ativan and told me to follow up with my PCP.

All the tests were run again, everything was normal. I never went to my PCP, I went to my Neurologist. He said everything was OK and after more tests, he gave me a script of Tegretol 200mg tid. I started taking my Tegretol like a good patient. The panic left for a while. I moved to Germany as I wanted to get out of NYC for a while. I still had "jumping feelings out of my skin".

I lived with my Grandparents in Munich. I had insomnia and felt so depressed. My half-sister helped me some, but I moved back to NYC. I lived with my mother for a while but then she decided to move back to Maryland. I was left behind to stay with a friend of the family.

After this I ended up in the Mental Hospital out on Long Island. I remained there 3 weeks. I was changed from medicine to medicine. Prozac 20mg, Zyprexa 15mg, Neurontin 900mg, Prozac to Paxil, and sent home with Xanax.

I was sent home with this bag of junk. The Xanax seem to work, but it sent me off to Zombie Land and to sleep I went! I felt so tired all the time. I was jerked off Xanax after a week, luckily this time had no withdrawal, only anxiety and panic remained!

I was sent home diagnosed with Bipolar, PTSD, and all that good stuff! I was afraid of addiction, so I didn't take any meds at all... besides the Tegretol.

After the loony cage, I was appointed to a Psychiatrist from the "STATE"!! She put me on Seroquel 200mg, I tried it...I was knocked out in 10 minutes or a little more! I was changed to Lexapro 10mg, Effexor 75mg, and a few other meds... "flip-flop" like a fish on and off Meds.

I remained on the Effexor. I stopped the other meds with no problem. I cold turkey’d the Effexor and it was like the "tales from the crypt"! I figured it would be OK to cold turkey the Effexor since I stopped everything else OK ... LOL right! I was wrong! I became sick, vomiting, dizzy, Vertigo feeling, vision was doubled, ELECTRIC SHOCKS, and felt indifferent! I could not stand motion, anything that moved or spun! The withdrawal lasted 4-7 months as I remember (at least).

I was put on Ativan 2mg to help the withdrawal from the Effexor, all it was doing was masking the problem. After being jerked off the Ativan, I couldn't breathe well, Depersonalization and Derealization hit with a fist and settled in quickly! I had no idea what it was, I was so sick by this time... I didn't care if I lived or died! Damned if I do, Damned if I don't... Frankly, I was tired of playing Russian roulette with Medications!

The next thing I knew, I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Misdiagnosed again! The white coat and thick glasses put me on Celexa, Depakote, and Xanax... also Trazodone... like it really mattered.

I was on 4mg of Xanax a day (Bars). I was well in zombie land and well sleep walking! I cold turkey’d everything including the Xanax after 2 months. (I know now that this was the wrong thing to do). I was so miserable, I couldn't tell if I was having withdrawal or not and I was very stubborn!

I was put on Depakote again, this was for good reason along with the Tegretol... according to the Neurologist. I jerked myself off the Depakote eventually and back to the loony cage I flew again!

I was so out of it and drained, months went by without me taking any notice. I had no concept of time, only that I wished it was the End of Time! I was angry, suicidal, nervous, anxious, and not in this world at all!

I moved back to Munich, Germany for a while. I tried to stay focused, visit friends, and have a "life". It all shattered down again! I found myself back in Queens, New York and sick!

I went to see the White Coat with thick glasses, I was put on Lithium 300mg tid, Abilify 10mg, and Valium 30mg a day. Again, the Meds did not work well! I remember walking with a friend out to Coney Island, I moved out to Brooklyn with her. She had problems over her head and that didn't help much!

I finally broke down and sent to the loony cage again! It was a different one this time, a hospital in Manhattan. I thought, this time, I would finally find a "cure". I was wrong! I was put on a cocktail of meds after several rotations and weeks, and sent home. I only took the meds while in the hospital.

After months of misery, the next winter- my Panic and Anxiety was clearing up. But, MY MISTAKE!!, Lo and Behold, I went to another Psychiatrist in Jamaica, Queens. She put me on 5 different medicines at "LEAST". She knew how to keep someone doped up! I had a background of Pain-pill abuse, I told her all about it, when I was in my teens.

And- she overlooked it, knowing I had a plastic card with money and that is what she wanted! I was diagnosed again as Bipolar, PTSD, Schizo-Effective and whatever those long words she pronounced within her hypothesis!

I was misdiagnosed as Epileptic by my Neurologist!! I had a few childhood seizures, but not like he thought! The seizures began around the age of 5 or 6.

Anyway, I told this Psychiatrist my Panic and Anxiety was going away. She said, "No, it does not go away, you need something for it." The Quack of all Royal Quacks gave me Klonopin, 0.5mg tid starting out. It helped, but I didn't know then I was sitting on a time bomb! The 0.5mg led to 1mg a day, then 1.5mg a day, 2mg a day. I stopped on that for about a year! I traveled to Germany again and eventually moved in with a friend in Berlin. I found a job, he helped me get on my feet. The Klonopin worked, yet, I was not told about this double-edged sword and I was a LPN! Then, after a year I moved up to 2.5mg Klonopin... &so on. I moved back to NYC and remained on the Klonopin and of-course Tegretol.

I was put on Ritalin (Methylphenidate) 20mg SR along with 3mg of Klonopin a day. I was told the Ritalin worked as a stimulant to keep me awake. I was on Klonopin, Ritalin, and Tegretol at this point. I then moved up to the dosage of 3.5mg Klonopin, then 4mg of Klonopin. I kicked the Ritalin cold turkey, no withdrawal there!

By 2006, I was on 4mg of Klonopin. I remember the Neurologist told me I could go all the way up to the Grand Dosage of 20mg Klonopin a day! I did not want to be on this high dosage! Who in there right mind would?

September, 2006- I reached 5mg of Klonopin. I told myself Stop!!! You have to stop or die! I chose to live. I cut  myself off 1mg of Klonopin. I didn't feel any withdrawal, if anything I felt better. I thought getting off Klonopin would be easy...  right! And I have a unicorn too!

October came around, I was making frequent visits to Germany to see my family. I felt OK on 4mg of Klonopin at that time. I moved from NYC to Boston, Massachusetts to live with some friends, also I lived in Rhode Island a short time. I found my "Significant Other" in Boston.

I looked for a Psychiatrist ASAP! I explained to this Psychiatrist about my Klonopin and I did give her the Ashton Manual. She laughed and gave me the option... Detox or get out! I said a few words that ruffled those tail feathers of hers and I slammed the door! As a Madam of Medicine, she didn't know too much. I walked out in the lobby where other patients were twiddling their thumbs awaiting to see her. I told them loudly, "You might as well leave if the medicine has a 'Pam' at the end! She isn't going to give it to you!" I don't know if anyone left or not!

I finally found a Psychiatrist; he kept me on the Klonopin. September (Ending), October... I started "water tapering" I call it. I made cut by cut by cut! I started to feel sick, sicker, and sicker! I knew I was rolling down the stream without a paddle quick! "I have to get through this or die!" I told myself.

As I cut lower and lower, I started to feel better. One of my best friends died in a car accident, this didn't help! I visited my mother in Maryland and my half-brother in Germany, my other half-brother in Toronto, Canada... I was visiting more often. I stayed in Munich for a month with my half-sister and Grandparents.  I took a flight back to JFK and up to Boston, MA.

I then started to cut more and more but slowly using watering... I was in complete withdrawal by this round and at the same time, feeling better! Don't mistake me, I was in misery. I lived in Boston 8 months and moved back to Brooklyn, NY in September of 2007. I continued my taper, I admit, I cut over 10% at times (not recommended)!

I enrolled back into College at LIU (Brooklyn Campus).

I'm going for Forensics, very stressful at times... but I feel like I need to accomplish something coming back from the dead! Sadly in October of 2007, I had a first cousin to die in a car accident in Germany... I thought, "why all the deaths?" This didn't help either! I kept pressing on, it was so hard and nothing I could do! I kept everything in secrecy and didn't say anything about my withdrawal attending funerals half dead and feeling like a zombie!

A doctor attempted to put me on Xanax 0.5mg at bedtime! I quickly said "NO! you're out of your mind Einstein!" Nope, wasn't fooled that time!

I have made it off Klonopin... I watered down to 8ml of 30ml with a 0.5mg Klonopin pill in it and I stopped my taper 4 days ago. This isn’t recommended either - people usually take it down much lower than this. I feel OK, not the best, I am looking for a recovery and I will recover as we all do! I remain on the Tegretol for Neurological reasons, and will for a long time. I recently visited my Grandparents in Germany and my Aunt in France.

I don't suggest anyone come off Benzos like me – but things were certainly better when I did things slowly. I think Meds are a cycle of horrible twists and turns! I would encourage anyone to stay away from them! I had many withdrawal symptoms and still do in waves. I'm happy to be off the "Grim Tonic". I will see a therapist to vent secrets and problems, not for medicine! I also have a part time job coming up in NYC. My future plan is to stay in NYC for the next 7 years in school and move to Berlin, Germany thereafter.

I don't think it was a wise decision to cold turkey, as once I tried to cold turkey 2mg of Klonopin and within the space of three days...my experience was anything but good! It is wise to use a method to taper slowly such as Water Titration or Ashton's Manual schedule, Cross over to Valium for example. WARNING:- If a doctor makes a decision to put you on Benzodiazepines, such as Klonopin, Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Halcion, or any other drug, also Ambien, Sonata, and Z drugs, you may want to educate yourself first and know the truth about what they do to you

I am off the Klonopin and in recovery.

This is my final Story of my Medicine Mishaps and Misdiagnosed so many times, Sigmund Freud couldn't keep up!

Hope, Love, and Peace.

God Bless, Billy from New York City.

 *Also a thanks to the Yahoo Benzo Group... Debra, Anthea, Emily, Cook, Madelon, Genie and everyone else!




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 21 July 2020