Moving towards wellness

Well, I’ve talked about how the Klonopin (clonazepam) seems to be making me sick at this point and that theory seems to be holding up. It was also that theory that had my last doctor have me recklessly cold-turkey a couple of months ago. The thing is she wasn’t all wrong. I am toxic on the Klonopin, but we’re dealing with a double-edged sword or a catch-22. Yes the drug is making me sick, but a too rapid withdrawal as we saw, stands to make me sicker. So now it’s figuring out the dance so that I get the heck off this crap and minimize how sick I am by virtue of the drug but also don’t go into massive and dangerous withdrawal as we saw happen in September.

I keep going round in circles about what is exactly happening in my body and frankly, I’m sure I’ll never know with certainty. I do believe, from reading other people’s Lamictal withdrawal experiences that I’m still in a sort of sub-acute withdrawal syndrome from the Lamictal. This opinion is backed up by my withdrawal mentor who has been assisting people like me exclusively for 20 years.

So I think much of the malaise and fatigue is still a direct result of the Lamictal withdrawal, as it started 2 years ago when I first started the Lamictal withdrawal. Granted it’s gotten progressively worse, but markedly so when I started to rapidly withdraw from it first in CA with the orthomolecular guy I saw there in January of this year and then it really skyrocketed when I cold-turkeyed it with the Klonopin a couple of months ago under the direction of yet another orthomolecular doc. I never reinstated enough of the Lamictal when I reinstated the Klonopin after that disaster. This I figure out in retrospect. It’s alright. I’m improving mildly, but clearly, now under the care of my mentor.

Yesterday I got very sick again as I didn’t do my usual clearing up after 1 pm or so. I generally feel like I join the living every day after 1 pm or so until I take my Klonopin again at 8 pm.  I didn’t clear up until around 9 pm last night—in other words I had a particularly bad day,  and then at 10:30 pm feeling rather well, I realized I hadn’t taken my Klonopin. So it dawned on me I had crossed a tipping point again with the Klonopin and moved the date of my taper up to last night rather than tonight. And, lo an behold, after tapering .25 mg last night I slept very well again after having 2 or 3 really bad nights. So at least provisionally it’s clear the Klonopin had reached the intolerable toxic levels again and the taper improved me dramatically. I tend to wake up feeling like I’m in hell (always) and this morning I woke up feeling shitty, but much much better than usual. The whole day has been better than usual in many ways.

This suggests that perhaps I should speed up the Klonopin withdrawal, but all will depend on how things continue to go as always.

In general I am mildly improving, as well, at least within the last week or so. I get out more often and by myself most days, even if I can only last an hour or so. Also the minor tweaks made in my treatment regime by my mentor has vastly improved my irritability and anger AND I’m even pre-menstrual—this is markedly the best pre-menstrual phase I’ve had in a couple of years in terms of by not getting much worse than usual. This may be the acupuncturist helping me as well, as she helped with the other hormonal problems I’m having too. So, again, in general, I’m improving though it’s still an up and down, two steps forward, one step back sort of thing. However, having any sense of improvement now is a major improvement in and of itself!

Thanks for hanging in there all my readers. Again I’m really wanting to switch gears on this blog, but I really can’t just yet. And I must accept my reality as it is now.

I’m currently reading and watching stuff with Eckhart Tolle, who I purposely stayed away from for a really long time. He’s such a pop phenomena it turned my stomach in the past and put me off of reading him. Oprah has raised his profile to insanely famous guru status calling him a prophet. Yuck, was my only reaction…

BUT, when I finally took the time to read his stuff and watch him on video, well, I think he’s awesome and he does articulate the wisdom of the ages in a beautiful and simple way for us today. (I’ve been reading the wisdom of the ages for 2 decades, being that I was a religious studies major, and I still find his perspective wonderfully insightful and as original as something like the wisdom of the ages can be.)

The most awesome part of his theories is that without ever using the term mental illness (because he is simply speaking about the nature of being human) he gives us the explanation of the root cause of all mental illness. These are spiritual texts, and he is explicit in explaining how one becomes mentally ill. Really how all of us are mentally ill, yes all you “normies” out there too! They are quite glorious books I highly recommend them and look for his videos online (yeah look to Oprahs website….ick!!)

I recommend, based only on these being the only books I’ve read so far, The Power of Now and The New Earth. And look for his videos on Oprah here and here. (I suppose I’m being unfair to Oprah, she just sometimes irritates the hell out of me, like when she did her segment on bipolar disorder and everyone she interviewed talked about how they were violent if they didn’t take their meds! And then she and all her producers refused to hear any alternative views. I have doctor friends who did their damnedest to reach her and the whole production team had their ears shut.) In any case she has done nothing to help us fight the stigma and has contributed to the frank bullshit propaganda about the so-called mentally ill.  I will grudgingly admit she does good things from time to time. But her pop princess status annoys me in any case.

Anyway, Eckhart Tolle’s books are articulating what I’ve experienced in my more enlightened moments in the past and what I trust is in store for me in the future and I find them wonderfully reassuring.

Little postscript: Orthomolecular or integrative psychiatrists may very well know how to treat mental health issues through alternative means, and I know that most of them are okay with that. The unfortunate thing about them is that in general the people they see have successfully avoided meds altogether or, alternatively, been  on meds only a short time, so that when someone like me presents they still are not a whole lot better at dealing with us than anyone else. There is virtually NO ONE out there that understands the risks of withdrawal that are a reality for some of us. We MUST be proactive and help educate the docs we choose to help us and that means we have to find docs flexible enough to listen to our experience and who are willing to read stuff we print for them off the internet. This is a generalization but a solid one in my opinion. Be careful about who you choose to trust if you’re having a complicated withdrawal.

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About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters

5 Responses

  1. Dear Gianna:

    Benzo class drugs such as Klonopin have a renowned history of severe withdrawal symptoms, and are notoriously hard to come off of. Having come off this particular drug both by cold turkey and by tapering {neither are a cake walk in the park, as no withdrawal process is without some draw backs; and its ups and downs}; I can only suggest a taper off of 1/2 mg at a time. If you start to tail spin, you can always pop a 1 mg quick tab for relief, and then go right back to the tapering. There are no easy roads to being medication free, especially with benzo’s. But with fortitude and allowing yourself the luxury of time; this will be successful in the end and you can claim victory.

    The down side is always what you’re going to do with the anxiety after you’re free from the drug. I would have lots of activities and stress relief plans in place and started as you go through the process; including lots of walks, some form of meditation exercises, hobbies you can immerse yourself in such as writing or other enjoyed endeavors. Of course removing as many triggers as possible is always a huge plus during the process. We all as humans will forever deal with situations and events that will send us into the stress/anxiety mode (remember a good belly laugh is worth at least 1 mg of Klonopin). But with time and effort I have no doubt you can and will be successful in being drug free. If you need any support, loony advice, or such; I’m only a blog and keyboard away.

    Though many doctors are good at writing scripts and such, I have found personally they are not so great at getting you off these drugs, and have limited experience or good options to offer in this area.

    Yours Truly,
    Stan

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