In recent days Gianna’s story took a turn too intense and painful for her to tell. It falls upon me, her husband, to explain what happened.
As regular readers here will already know, for some time now Gianna has been working with an orthomolecular doctor who through a combination of modalities was able to accelerate the process of withdrawal from Risperdal, Lamicatal, and Klonopin.
About three weeks ago Gianna came off Risperdal. That brought to an end 20 years of taking neuroleptics. The horizon of becoming completely psych-med free then seemed to be a matter of months away. But if the process had over the proceeding weeks been accelerated, it soon took on an unprecedented speed.
Under her doctor’s direction, Gianna’s discipline of careful tapering, withdrawing from one drug at a time, suddenly switched to one of giant leaps as in a matter of days — on the understanding that the indications were that her meds had become “toxic” — she cut back and then came off them completely. In the space of two weeks she cut down from 60mg of Lamictal and 3mg of Klonopin, to 20mg Lamictal and 0.5mg Klonopin and then in one step… nothing.
Gianna’s reaction was a mixture of elation and trepidation. How could this happen so fast and upturn virtually everything she thought she had learned over her intense research and the evidence from the reports of others?
It seemed too good to be true but we both watched and waited. In the last days before coming off meds altogether, the doctor’s analysis that a watershed had been crossed and that withdrawal symptoms had been replaced by symptoms of toxicity, seemed to have been borne out by the evidence. Distraught nights and mornings would give way to relief in the afternoon and evening as each round of medication wore off. The most difficult symptoms Gianna was experiencing did indeed correspond with the times when the highest concentrations of meds were in her bloodstream. It logically followed that there would be consistent improvement and healing, the longer she went drug-free.
But then came the sleeplessness. One and then two nights’ sleep lost seemed manageable if two or three hours one night could be followed by four or five the next. But by the forth night, time ran out. Gianna’s need for sleep was urgent. Without sleep, the prospect of mania and even psychosis were looming realities that couldn’t be wished away. The doctor — a loving, kind and extraordinarily responsive woman — didn’t seem to appreciate the risk. She told us the Gianna’s body would learn how to sleep naturally as the healing process progressed. Yet that process was on the point of being violently disrupted! It was like being told that you can expect a full recovery from your disease — just so long as you don’t die from it.
Heartbroken, Gianna felt that all her dreams would have to be cast aside because she now faced a stark choice between chemical intervention and madness. The doctor laid out the option of reinstating Klonopin and Lamictal, yet at doses that could do no more than moderately temper some of Gianna’s fear without bringing the relief of desperately needed sleep.
We had no choice but to seek help from Gianna’s local psychiatrist who while giving his blessing to the goal of becoming drug-free did not have the experience to closely guide that process. He did however know exactly how to intervene in the current crisis and he also encouraged Gianna to believe that she could still pursue her goal — that what had happened need be nothing more than a temporary setback.
I have always supported Gianna in her effort to get off meds. I believe in the intrinsic capacity of the human body to heal itself and of the human mind to transform itself. None of us is irreparably broken and from what might seem like meager resources, progress can be made. In a cosmic sense, nothing is missing.
As witness and participant in the trial that Gianna has just gone through, the most inspiring and heart-wrenching experience for me was to see her spirit unveiled only for it to quickly become enshrouded by a drug-induced torpor that turns consciousness into molasses.
I had always assumed that on becoming drug-free, the real psychological work would only then begin. What was a revelation was to see the immediacy with which Gianna was gaining insights, having perspective and revealing a maturity that up until then had merely been masked by the drugs.
In our conversations, a fog has often appeared between us so that the loop of exchange — listening and responding — was a broken circuit. Suddenly we were connecting.
Gianna’s armor — her defenses for protecting acute sensitivity — began to fall away, making her both more vulnerable and less sensitive. At one point she told me about some criticism she’d received through email and as she was telling me, I imagined that it wouldn’t be too long before she wouldn’t so easily be stung. I didn’t have to wait, that time had already come.
Her irritability — the ease with which she could rail against anything unwelcome — gave way to equanimity, as she started to live the meaning of that line from the Serenity Prayer: grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
While it might be true that psych meds can arrest someone’s development, it appears that even while under confinement, time well spent will suddenly bear fruit right from the first day of freedom.
Yesterday’s crisis has been displaced by today’s relief and all has not been lost. If the clock has to be wound back, it may not be too far. The goal of becoming drug-free still seems tantalizingly close and having been through the searing experience just recounted, we both have reason to think that Gianna’s story of recovery remains one of hope.
Thank you Daniel, my loving and awesome husband. (he now has a name!) I could not have done this without him. He stayed awake with me all night more than once while I processed all the stuff that was coming up with me and he held me while we both feared the worst. What an amazing partner I have. When I thought it was all over he explained to me that it was not. He single-handedly kept me out of the hospital and from the jaws of death, because truth be told I’d rather die than go to a hospital.
To my readers: I can of course flesh what Daniel has written out considerably, but I think for now I will leave it as it stands. Daniel’s writing style has always been more cryptic and less explanatory than mine—though I don’t say that as a criticism. I think Daniel is a great writer and much better than me actually. So while I think what he wrote is beautiful there are all sorts of things I want to explain more fully. I will either respond in comments in order to explain further or I will write a post soon.
The only thing I would like to make completely clear is that after four days of literally no sleep, I was having what I felt was psychosis. Because I hadn’t slept and it was continuing to get worse the idea of sleep coming was ludicrous, I needed to take a desperate measure. Had a psychosis been a spontaneous event while I was in good health and not physically debilitated I would have seen it through as a Spiritual Emergency. But that is not what was happening to me. It was induced by sleep deprivation and extreme withdrawal symptoms. I had no choice but to quell it chemically. I believe that had I not I would have died. Or worse, I would have been hospitalized where I would have died a spiritual death. I was so physically ill I could not get out of bed without assistance. Knowing what I know about hospitals they would have thought my physical condition was in my head and kicked me about (probably literally) and forced to sit and stand.
So I know some of you may think I’ve failed or I may have dashed the hopes of some. But I truly do see this as a simple set-back. My local doctor feels that this is emergency treatment and I can get off these emergency meds in a matter of a week and at most two weeks. Then I will be back to dealing with the remnants of meds I had been on when I got off the Risperdal. What remains is the 3 mg of Klonopin and the 25 mg of Lamictal. I am not increasing the Lamictal back to the 60 mg I was on 3 weeks ago, because right now….I feel damn good. I don’t need the mood-stabilizer and my doctor agreed. He did not see “bipolar disorder” here. He only saw sleep deprivation and drug withdrawal.
I’ve learned humility, moderation and I’ve let go of some dogma in this process. I say this is working out quite nicely. Lessons learned the hard way are really the best lessons. Having said that I don’t recommend this sort of adventure to anyone.
oh forgot the mag question…just get magnesium citrate in powder form and put it in applesauce or just a tiny bit of liquid…it’s the same…you can also get capsules and then you don’t have to deal with the bitter taste…
Natural Calm is a good product, but I too, don’t like drinking much before bedtime…
Taurine is a generally safe inhibitory amino acid so that means it is in general calming…
it’s in the energy drinks to take the edge off the stimulants …it’s sorta like mixing cocaine and heroine like junkies do….a speedball I think it’s called…it makes the stimulant high more pleasant…
but it taken alone Taurine can actually be anti-mania, not just anti-anxiety…it can also help with insomnia…
people can have reactions to it…a friend of mine ended up in the ER with a serious allergic reaction, but that is very rare as far as I know…
I take it twice a day…it helps me sleep…I love it.
Gianna & Michele:
I’m confused about using Taurine to go to sleep. I had thought this is a stimulant. When I once told my doctor I had tried an energy drink, he was adamant that I not use it again because of the taurine content, not just the caffeine. He thought it could be a mania trigger. Which is funny because something else he prescribed me to help me sleep — Starnoc, now off the market — made me hypomanic for an hour or so. Then, uber-productive. I was able to focus on chores… all night long! I have learned to take what he tells me with a grain of salt.
I just did a little reading over at Wikipedia and learned to my surprise that “taurine has been used as a supplementation for epileptics … and may act as a modulator or anti-anxiety agent in the central nervous system.” Over at Omdict.net, it is listed as a treatment for bipolar disorder. Wow.
Have you tried magnesium powder? (the Natural Calms that Michele uses) I should get more myself because it seemed very helpful in the past. For falling asleep, at least. Drinking it meant my bladder would wake me up only a few hours later and I couldn’t always fall asleep again, so I’ll be looking for capsules next time though they might not be as effective.
I only read this post today. Gianna, I’m so sorry you had to take this nightmarish side trip. And so relieved you made it through!
aww…yes…always more and more questions…my nutritional regimen was all muscle tested for as well…but I need to find someone new to make sure I keep needing the same stuff as I’ve lost my doc…
I do know of an integrative psych in my area that does muscle testing but I don’t know her—I met her once and she kinda bugged me…
ah, well, one step at a time…I’m okay for now with what I’m taking.
I found your email in my junk email box, so thanks for writing and then letting me know that I missed it.
Thanks for the warning on SAMe. It’s always good to know what the triggers may be. Also, how do you know if you are manic, or if you energizing supplements are finally working?
As it turns out, NAC didn’t test for me (I have a medical intuitive and naturopath who does muscle testing for me) but some new things did: citrulline malate (converts to arginine and ornithine, and produces nitric oxide) and folic acid at 2400 mcg 2x/day. Look up folic acid and brain and you’ll find plenty, or NO and bipolar for the other.
I also made my first venture into nootropics by ordering piracetam and pyritinol. Piracetam did not test too well for me (but it’s excellent for my girlfriend) while pyritinol, a B6 analog, tested fantastic for me (and mediocre for her). Which goes to show how different we all are, and that we all need to find out which things are right for us individually.
Along those lines, dosing is such an individual thing, and I find that it changes as I change. Here’s my theory. Sometimes, you just need to “fill up” on something you were lacking in, and then you’re okay. Othertimes, when you find what you really need to nourish you, the supports you were using can fall away. Like if you were taking a precursor, and what you really need is the metabolite, or if you need animo acids, but you were lacking B cofactors…
Once I started glutamine, my need for a general amino acid supplement that contained glutamic acid dropped to a third of the previous dose. So I think glutamine is in fact right for me, but then again…one of my outstanding questions is, might it be right on the downswing but not the upswing?
I’m back. And I’m glad you’re doing better even IF you have to go on meds. To be sure, you’re “tantalizingly close” to getting off of them, however.
all good advice…
I take a homepathic lithium tincture and I take magnesium too as well as N-acetyl-cysteine.
the NAC I don’t take at bedtime…
be careful with the SAMe…it can be extremely destabilizing for people with BD….it was for me…
also the glutamine can be good or bad for BD…and I stopped taking that as well..
I agree I should probably take a bit more B-complex…I was taking more, but my doc took me off it…but I am with her no more!
I sent you an email and didn’t hear back from you….are you using a live email account?
so nice to continue hearing from you. please stay in touch!
PS maybe don’t take the theanine at night; it promotes calm clear wakefulness (alpha state) not the sleep and dream states that you want to induce.
PPS always take a balanced B complex with amino acids so you can metabolize them properly. TravaCor has some, but if you are taking a lot of amino acids you may need more.
That’s an impressive list of sleep aids. This time of year is the worst time for me, since by late summer the biological clock is “remembering” all the light from the weeks before, which causes me to become both manic and sleepless.
To reset the biological clock, and stabilize my moods non-toxically, I take lithium aspartate (10 mg, 3X day), and a homeopathic serotonin-containing formula. I take up to 10 mg of melatonin at night, an anti-cortisol herbal formula called Stress Advantage by New Chapter, a hot mug of Natural Calms (magnesium citrate) before bedtime and Calms Forte (homeopathic sleep aid). But my biggest breakthrough is to take taurine at bedtime. That makes me sleep a lot better, so that sometimes I don’t even need to take anything in the middle of the night to go back to sleep. (If I do take anything, I take Stress Advantage, which counteracts cortisol and doesn’t throw off my bioclock. Lithium aspartate also works for going back to sleep.)
I get outside around noon each day for a hike, bike or swim to make sure that I exercise and get light exposure at the optimal time to not set off mania and to reset the clock.
On a different note, according to the latest research, glutamine is in low supply in BD. I just started taking it and find I have more energy and better cognition. Also, there was a report published last week that N-Acetyl Cysteine works for stubborn cases of bipolar depression. After 2 days, it’s too soon to be sure, but I think it’s helping. Since I also take SAMe, it can be hard to sort out which is which.
Good luck in getting off your meds and getting stable. I really appreciate what you are trying to do and your willingness to help others by sharing your experiences.
I wasn’t available the other day when you IM’d me on gmail, but if you’d like to “chat” sometime try me again…
best to you.
I only read this post now.
I undestand a lot better what you were sayind about having some bad days.
Tks for talking to me anyway.
I´m starting a journal of my own to keep a track of all my process.
I also got my skipe now.
I really hope you to get wonderfull in the next few weeks!!!
I heard the news and came to the cafe’ to read your blog as soon as I could. I’m extremely relieved to learn that you are alright, that you will not let go of your dream and that the situation brought you and your husband closer together. Love is the greatest healing force of all. My heart and my thoughts are with you and I am looking forward to your happy ending, whenever it takes place. Much love, Cindy
I am sorry you continue to have troubles getting off meds. You probably feel like giving up at times. Hang in there, one day at a time–one minute at a time. I’ve been where you are. This too shall pass. You have a lot of courage. Courage is not the absence of fear; rather it is going on in spite of fear.
You are a inspiration for many. Look at all the people who are wishing you well!
You may have to get back on something for a while, but don’t give up the war. My decades of doing judo have taught me to just keep on getting up after being thrown.
Most of all do not blame yourself for what you are going through. You are just experiencing biology and biochemistry. We can’t change the past. The past is past. You will come out a stronger person for what you are going through.
my natural sleep remedies included quite a combo of things…
*a amino acid complex called TravaCor that is sedating
*Body Calm (made by the Road Back–a drug withdrawal program)
*Nighty Night Tea (traditional medicinals)
and lastly Melatonin…
My doc made a couple of other suggestions which she mailed me the next day when it was already too late…I will get those to have on hand next time I get down to almost nothing…those were:
Passion Flower Fusion (Heritage Store)
Dr. Garbers SLB
the key with all this stuff is that it helps your body do what’s natural…it’s not a club over the head like a psych med…
since I haven’t slept without a club over the head in 2 decades…really more….I need to teach my body to sleep with this stuff that helps the body do what it needs…then, of course, I hope to get rid of all this crap too!
Well, it’s all been said so beautifully. The supportive husband, your courageous journey…wow. And I second allof that.
Just wondering: what natural things did you try to sleep? Just trying to learn here, since I’ve never been though what you have, and hope some day to help others in your shoes.
I get that they had no effect whatsoever, but was just wondering. I know the likes of chamomile tea is pretty quaint given what you’re up against. Melatonin? GABA?
Merely curious, Sue
Heres another one of your fans and friends to send you warm thoughts and best wishes. You continue to inspire me with this difficult task of finding yourself again. I hope you continue to enjoy the respite, whilst you (body and mind) gather yourself, ready to take the final baby steps to the finishing line.
As mentioned by others and yourself many times -patience, perseverance, faith (in yourself) as well as support from others are what is needed and you have it in bucket loads… Thank you for telling us about what you have been through of late…. I really think you are so very courageous.
Take care, keener
thank you too, TAW!
you are one of my biggest inspirations, you know!
I’ve never forgotten I wanted to get back to your post on friendship, but, shoot, I’m just too tired and a good response demands some thought…
I’m late to the threat, but just want to add my wholehearted support, and to welcome Daniel. Hang in there both of you. I’m proud of you. All is not lost.
again, thanks to everyone…really and truly and deeply from my heart…I don’t have the stamina to respond individually to everyone…
I had to stop and thank you. I know you are going through a hard time and your good wishes mean much to me….
You hang in there, as will I, and these times will pass,
You are very fortunate in your husband’s understanding and support Gianna…but you know that. Once you lose that amount of sleep there is an inevitability about psychosis. I am just glad you are OK. Thanks for sharing all of this…and thanks to Daniel too. Love and thoughts, Zoe.
‘Keeping you and Daniel (and your docs) in my prayers…wishing you both love and peace and above all, more of that healing sleep you need…and, as always, I’m grateful to you for writing about your very painful story. I am so sorry for your suffering. You are not alone, and you are loved in a big way, as you can see by all of these comments on your blog! Your spirit seems as strong as ever–you’re a pioneer, girl, going where most people would not dare to, or care to, and I admire you for it.
PS Risperdal withdrawal sucks! When my loved one was taken off of it last spring in exchange for depakote, he ASKED to go back to to the hospital because he felt so bad…We BEGGED him not to (for EXACTLY the same reasons you wrote about) and suggested alternative interventions. We ended up meeting his doc in an urgent care setting and that’s when the doc had to do something–so he put him on lithium and it seems to be going ok right now. I totally understand the choices you made–it’s VERY scarey and unpredictable for the person going through that experience and very little healing takes place until you can get some sleep! In my mind, it’s also very temporary and just a slippery step along the journey toward complete healing.
glad you hung in there. every experience we go through is something we grow through…ok that sounds like a hallmark card but…i’m just glad you’re on track and made it through what could have been a dangerous time. glad you have a great hubby to stand by you and with you.
my prayers are there with you both…
Take care of yourself…which you are doing. Sorry about the setback. When I read what you were going through I wondered if it was too fast. You know what you want and you will get it… it might take while, but you will do it.
Thank goodness for good friends and your good husband.
What an amazing story, and Daniel is truly a prince among men! I’ll write you offline, but I wanted to add my voice to the chorus of people who are wishing you well!
Your spirit is still there with the intention to withdraw. We learn from all our experiences. The psychiatrist you contacted was good for you. You are a stronger person now for having come throught that episode.
You now know what amount of Klonopin to take to get a good night of sleep. My doctor has advised me to sleep for at least 3 days if and when I feel I am loosing control.
Best wishes to you and your husband as you are withdrawing. Thinking of you.
thank you everyone for you wonderful support…I just got home and am tired…I’m sorry I am too tired to address all of you individually…
know that I am touched and you all mean a lot to me…
love to all of you as well!
stay strong Gianna
Hi Gianna…a little rushed lately, but just wanted to say I love you, echoe everyone else’s sentiments that you are not even close to a failure, you are an inspiration, and that yes, indeed, you’ve got a very good man, and what a wonderful writer as well! Your writing styles go very well together and I could see y’all co-writing a very important book together.
Much love to you, mi amiga!
Gianna, bless your heart, woman. I have read Daniel’s report and yours and the comments and thank goodness you are feeling better now. As for the real you, I can’t add anything to Marian’s comment – but the you who has appeared in this blog is pretty darn special – strong, disciplined, honest and a talented writer.
You are wise to follow your own path and you’re blessed with the local doc who gave you a hand. Your pause, as somebody else described, it is only that. You have come so far on your journey. You can rest a while on your major achievements of the past year alone! You will succeed in having the clear headed, physically healthy, drug-free life that you want.
Do you still want to work with the energy medicine doc, or have you lost faith in that person now that the theory of toxicity turned out to be bullshit?
You’re still my hero, Gianna. Your ability to share your experience is such a gift to the rest of us edging up to the brink of life without chemical dependency.
You are doing wonderful – and you are listening to your body – I would have done the same thing – it was your body telling you to take it slower and by responding kindly – that was taking many steps forward….your body and mind will thank you in the long run….
You are so right to medicate if NECESSARY.The reduction you achieve is fab-no risperidal(the worst).My own experience after more than 10 yrs and a 90 % reduction,lots of insomnia,lots of anxiety,some wierdness etc but hey it all feels good now 5 years later.My hubby also a rock here.A couple of times in a A Spot I’ve taken 2 mgs HALDOL which calmed it down and brought a liitle zzzz.(that’s what my dr came up with).we are all different,each is different.
I went 2 full weeks without sleep when they put me on prozac, which started my awful mess in the first place. I feel your pain. I thought I was going to crawl out of my skin. I get agitated just thinking about it. You are not even close to a failure, and I am so grateful you have shared your journey. Coming to this website is part of my daily routine now, and you did a very smart thing. I have been 2 and a half weeks clear of lamictal and just starting to wake up. I have the opposite problem as you. Keep on keepin’ on and put all this into a book when you are well! Hope you sleep well tonight!
thank you dear David,
yes..slow and easy, and as Breggin says…maybe I’ll take mere crumbs for months…some people do when they get right down to the end!
I appreciate your support.
Certainly nothing even vaguely resembling failure — just an excellent reminder that you have to be extremely careful when doing this kind of thing. I think I left you a comment about a month ago saying that the day when you’re fully off, even if you do it slowly, will be a horrifying shock to your body. In retrospect, I wish I’d been bright enough to go back on a small dose every other day, or something like that, rather than suffering the unbelievable physical stress of that final drop-off … and that was from far fewer and far less inherently toxic drugs than you are using.
It’s also pretty scary when the fog clears and the lights all go on in your head. Wonderful, but take that slowly, too. Be good to yourself. It’s the only self you have, so don’t push it too hard. 🙂
thanks, as always you have many kind words…
and Marian, thank you for saying I’m one big success! It’s hard to feel that way but when you said it it actually resonated with me…
that’s movement forward I believe….
You’ve really helped me dear Marian….
yeah the real me is here…I just hope I don’t lose track of her too much before I really get off the meds…
I don’t want to go back to the bitchy irritable me that drugs create…it hasn’t happened yet…maybe it won’t.
I agree with Tamara: it’s not even a setback – and definitely not a failure! When I look at all the difficulties you’ve experienced during your tapering-process so far, you’re one great big success. You did the right thing. And the real you, she’s right there waiting for you, and won’t go anywhere, no.
And, thanks for helping so many people along the way Gianna – so many!
Including this kid,
This is only a small setback –
You were able to experience some of the best of what it felt like to be psych-drug free, and there will be more of it to come….much more….
I can only imagine what some of the mixed emotions you must be feeling….some of what it must have felt like to achieve what you have longed for – for so long….and then, the realization that you have to take meds again…..at least for the short-term….
It’s around the corner Gianna, and you’ll get there….
I think this takes two things – persistence and patience – both….and, for some of us, the latter is the most difficult….
I remember the early days of logging onto your site – not aware of much about you….not understanding much about your experience – your reason for wanting to share it with others….
As months have gone by, I’ve seen throughout your journey a strong faith – a desire to find wholeness/wellness…..a belief that you will……This is why I read your posts, and why I find your work so very inspirational!
As far as the setback – this momentary setback –
You get back up – every time….you look for the missing part…..the next thing…..you figure it out…..you always do!
Reading the words from your husband….I can see a devotion and caring….you are forunate…..So is he – to have such a special woman in his life! –
Thank you for the example – thank you for the inspiration!
My very best to you and your husand,
somehow I missed your comment!
yes I know it’s two step forwards etc, etc….
thank you katie,
well…four nights made me psychotic…but I suppose it was withdrawal psychosis, not simply sleep deprivation…
how did you deal with 5 sleepless nights??
thank you for such lovely commentary!
kisses to you!
here’s to taking care of yourself – good for you gianna! i believe that if we are in tune with ourselves, and obviously you over the weeks have become very in tune with yourself, that you will go towards what is needed for yourself and your own growth. i don’t see this as a setback either, not by any means. it is a step along the path to recovery, an unexpected jag. i totally understand about the sleep issue – i don’t sleep on my own, not yet, and i do know what it is like to be without sleep for 5 nights in a row and how one can be close to the brink at that point. it sounds like you made a sound choice for yourself. your husband is a wonderful writer, as are you. thank you for sharing all you do here.
If what you mean by a professional setting is a traditional detox center, that I don’t recommend…they essentially do cold-turkey withdrawals sometimes with the aid of other drugs like phenobarbital which is a monster of it’s own…
If you find a health practitioner than can help strengthen your body with diet and supplements you might do better…
My doc helped me a lot in healing my body….the mistake came here at the end…
If you know how you want to taper, than all you need is good support with nutrition and other healing arts…
my best to you…
I would love to write more, but I can barely stay awake! If I could bottle my tiredness, then I would ship you a crate of it!
I’m so glad you nipped the problem in the bud. You have a great insight to recognise the situation was getting out of hand and needed attention. Others can guide but ultimately, you are always the best judge of what is good for you. You have proved that to have got where you are now.
This isn’t a setback at all. It is a period of consolidation. A pause. A time to rest from the trauma of withdrawal. I know you are so determined you won’t rest for long, but I reckon you deserve to put your feet up for a bit, in your lovely new home!
You are both such magnificent writers that maybe one day, your extraordinary journey will find its way into print! Hint! hint!
Take Care and Bon Nuit!
I’ll get back to you soon…not sure I can help, but don’t have time right now…I’ll try later…
I have been lurking on your blog for a little bit, hoping that you would be successful in your withdrawal process. I have to agree that the whole toxicity thing, presumably a theory of the naturopath sounded iffy at best. Klonopin is incredibly addictive and I have heard it said that it is harder to get off than heroin. I recently attempted a very slow taper and actually did rather well until I was down to nothing. I went through a similar experience of not sleeping but also had intense physical withdrawal. I became very ill with ulcerative colitis (a chronic disease that flares occasionally) and had a plethora of other painful physical symptoms. After talking to my psychiatrist, (“i told you not to go off of klonopin”) I started back on at .5 mg. I have been able to sleep and my colitis is calming down. I do however feel like some major damage has been done. I do not feel myself and now I recognize that I may not be able to get off of this drug outside of a professional setting. I do not feel very hopeful?
Thanks for the update, and yes you have quite a wonderful support in your husband. When my daughter stopped Zyprexa from 2.5mg to zero, she crashed into wild, horrific psychosis (what I know now had to be withdrawal psychosis) and it was by the 100th hour after the last dose. That’s how bad it got, that she and I were counting hours.
This is not a failure by any means Gianna!!!!
One step forward, 2 steps back, 2 steps forward, one step back….you’ll get there!
oh yeah, I slept 12 hours last night…after 4 days of nothing…the 3rd night I had a strange phenomena in which I passed out three times for about an hour, but it wasn’t sleep…it was really weird, disorienting and frightening…
the fourth night I was experiencing my body as floridly psychotic…I know that sounds weird but it is the only way I can explain it…my mind was sane for the most part…lucid, any way, and it could distinguish between reality and some of what was going on inside me, but my body was insane….horrible out of control sensations all over it…no way in hell I was gonna sleep…and at that point, I knew it was plain dangerous.
ok. so are you sleeping now?
i find when i miss sleep for more than 2 days, i am useless.
glad to hear you are going to use a more gentle taper.
what a wild ride you went on.
your husband sounds like a great friend to you!
you have it exactly right and yes, I am proceeding with a more gentle taper.
oh…but no, the doctor who rescued me was a different doctor…a more traditional doc who nonetheless supports my withdrawal…
that being said…the holistic doc that was doing the tapering with me is no doubt extremely skilled…I’m not sure what happened…but sometimes bottom line we gotta listen to ourselves…
no doc, no matter how good ever knows what is best without fail.
i am confused. your doctor who got you rapidly off all the meds did put you back on the klonpin and resperal OR the pyschiatrist you went to (which sounds like a different doctor) did this.
sounds like you went thru cold turkey withdrawal and they reinstated you.
can you try a more gentle taper?
Gianna, I didn’t know that hubby was a professional journalist.
Obviously writing talent runs in your family.
(send me a link to his stuff at my email address if you want, I am dying to read it!).
I have experience NO sleep for days and began hallucinating. Not fun! I think you did the right thing taking the meds and I truly believe that you will get right back off them. You are doing such wonderful healing that I wouldn’t even call this a setback just part of the process of allowing your body to adjust to all the changes. Some people would be too proud or stubborn to go back on the meds and therefore risk much of their progress. I am glad that you didn’t do that.
The beauty in yourself that you and your husband saw on those drug-free days is still there. That is the REAL you and it is not going anywhere. So, when you are off the drugs, that is what you have to look forward to. How beautiful!
Thank you Jazz,
and yes, I agree, a setback..I only felt like it was a failure briefly…
believe it or not, I had no idea just how awesome my husband is until this incident…it brought us closer in really deep ways…
so I suppose I can be grateful for that too.
I think these men are out there. It’s not always obvious who they are and they are not always perfect which makes us think sometimes that we don’t have the right guy….
this showed me I have the right guy…in spades…
I do hope that relationships don’t have to be tested to the point this one was for someone to realize how lucky they are….I’m a bit blind and stupid though.
I really did wake up when the drugs left my system…
Gianna, I’m so sorry for your reaction and set back. You sound like you’re on the way again, if only set back a bit.
The whole time reading your husband’s words, I kept wondering where I could find a man like that! Such compassion and knowledge!
Gianna, this doesn’t look like a failure, just a temporary setback. Take what you can from it and move forward. You’re treading in unmapped territory, and there are no experts who can tell you what to expect and how to do it exactly right. I think you’re doing wonderfully! You go, girl. It’s going to happen, and when it does, we will all celebrate with you!
oh and Jane,
I too believe I will learn to sleep…after coming off the meds in a responsible fashion!!
Which is what I am now proceeding to do…
my husband is a professional journalist!
thanks for your words of encouragement Susan.
Gianna, don’t worry about being a failure. Everyone reacts differently to every medicine, and you have to do what is best for your body.
Recovery is baby steps. Something I didn’t fully understand til I saw my nephew learn to walk. A step here and there, then a fall on his pampered bottom. Get back up and try again. He is running now on his baby legs. Its a beautiful site to behold.
I am glad when things were falling apart you had your husband with you. He sounds like a very kind and compassionate man, and he is a good writer.
Keep on…Keep on..
You are doing fine.
the toxicity theory was bullshit…she said I was toxic and could die from the Klonopin if I stayed on it…
well….Jane and Moss….it was 8 mg of Klonopin (related to lorazepam) that knocked me out!! No toxicity reaction…I feel great today. That and 1 mg of Risperdal that the doc wants me off of in about 3 days.
yes it was IN PART my brain bouncing around as a result of being drugged for 23 years…but I’m deathly allergic to alcohol…that would have been a nightmare!!
I’m sure I did the right thing…sleep deprivation will make anyone psychotic, labeled or no…
I hope some people take note of how wondrous I was when I was clean. My mind and spirit blew open and free and I was whole!! It was not just a sensation but something my husband experienced in my behavior as well.
My husband met a beautiful woman he’d never met before while I was drug free….we both have that person in mind as I continue on the journey and shed the drugs forever!
(though I have to say, she has not completely disappeared, it’s as though the coming off drugs unlucked the door. I want more doors to unlock….hence I must get off the drugs.)
If your toxicity spiked at the times you were taking the drug (or as they were taking effect), what would happen if you split the pills into sections and took only one part several times per day? That would make it easier to come back off them, as you could just cut down or eliminate one dosage… I’m sure you’ve thought of this, but had to say it just in case.
Gianna I agree with your healer. You will learn how to sleep without meds someday. 20+ years is a long time for the brain to adapt to chemicals and *need* them. It’s going to take a little bit more time than you thought.
It’s a shame you have bad reactions and abstain from certain other chemicals. I might have recommended a strong alcoholic beverage, a joint or a lorazapam but I know that is not acceptable for you unfortunately.
I think that was your chem free natural mind bouncing back from years of slumber you were experiencing. Some kind of opposing, correcting, rebalancing action of the brain at being drug free finally. Making up for being shut down for so long by being on all the time.
I don’t think anyone is going to look down on you, criticize or recriminate you over it. I certainly don’t.
Thank you Daniel and Gianna I continue to hope for the best for you and I know it’s only a matter of time.