Detox center, here I come (psychiatric drug withdrawal, benzodiazepines)

I have very little energy—much less than usual and it’s a chronic and serious issue already.

Today I talked to my journalist friend who is following my story. He told me everyone he’s interviewed for his book who was detoxing from benzos at one time or another said, “I felt like I was dying.”

I tell my husband that almost everyday lately. I hadn’t told the journalist yet, though, he told me that in order I might find consolation in knowing others felt the same. He could sense I felt that way.

And indeed, I do feel like I’m dying. My body in horrible pain, I’m often curled up in the fetal position. In those most dark and ugly moments I really wish my body would just shut down and die as it feels it’s doing in any case. I don’t want the pain anymore.

This, I remind, or tell new readers, for me is not just benzo withdrawal. It’s the tail end of a withdrawal off 6 psychotropic drugs—all dosed at astronomical high doses. The benzo being the ugliest part of the journey.

The journalist remarks that this frequent refrain, “I felt like I was dying,” is different from all the other drugs I’ve detoxed from, though I can tell you they were all hellish in different ways and I believe it’s the Lamictal withdrawal that landed me in bed and disabled me. He said he’s seen that before too. You can see Lamictal withdrawal stories here. That post has now gotten more than 15,000 hits. You know people are looking for info on Lamictal withdrawal.

Breggin in his book recommends coming off the benzo last if one is on a cocktail because the benzo withdrawal is the most brutal and ugly of withdrawals. He says that if you manage to get off everything else you will have toughened yourself up to withstand the particular hell of the benzo withdrawal. This is a generalization, of course, there are some who do not have troubles coming off of benzos even after many years of use. And some of those people DO have a horrible time with some other drug or drugs.

In any case, I can’t finish it alone and I’m off to a state of the art, very fru-fru detox center that uses IV nutrients and amino acids to take the edge off. Researched this very thoroughly. It’s not in the least bit a traditional sort of detox. Family is footing the bill. I’m deeply grateful. I realize how profoundly lucky I am. So many people are more like my friend and often have no one at all to help them.

My friend is at least very resourceful and does have friends helping her besides just myself. Her church too is still pitching in as well.

So she is still raising money and may go to a different detox in CA that I also referred her to as the director is a good friend of mine and is willing to charge her less. It’s not an option for me because I can’t fly. I need to be able to lay down while driving. I cannot sit because my blood pressure is so low I get very ill if I sit for more than a few minutes, so I cannot go to my friend’s detox center.

She is still working on getting her cash and is well towards the amount she needs. Feel free to donate still, she hasn’t gotten there yet.

My mom will be here Monday. Tues and Wed we drive—-I’ve set up the car so that I lay on a futon with the seat down and my feet going into the trunk.

Thursday I have a complete work-up by a woman doctor who spent an hour on the phone with me for FREE just for assessment purposes!!  Not too many docs do that these days. She is an alternative doc that seems to have integrity and seemed very open to, well, being open and not having all the answers.

I will have a huge work-up done — tests I’ve always wanted but still not done. Heavy metal toxicity, hormones for the whole month–testing levels every day! And all sorts of other stuff. The detox program will make me feel somewhat better from all accounts but it won’t heal the gross damage that has been incurred by all the 37 drugs I was on the last 20 years—6 of those drugs long term at very high doses—recovery will still be a long process but hopefully this horrible pain and nausea will at least remit and I will start being able to walk around and drive again.

How to finish off recovery is what these tests will hopefully reveal…an answer as to how to recover from the drug damage.

Okay…I could write more but I’m too sick. Nauseous as hell. Being propped up in bed to write this is now also too much. It’s amazing how fast I went from being semi-functional in bed to having to spend most of the day completely flat or curled up.

I will try to continue posting little updates of news items as usual. I also have lots of “quotes of the day” saved up. I can do my research lying flat off and on when I feel less sick.

They’re telling me I will feel better quite quickly once I have the IV nutrients in me. So maybe I’ll be able to do normal posting once I’m at the center. Come Tuesday and Wednesday I’ll be in the car a good part of the day, but the hotels we’ll be staying in will have wireless as will the detox center.

So I’ll be around, but I may not be answering comments and questions and emails because it’s just too much. This is not carefully written or thought out…I’ll try to let you know more another time.

I’m not rereading this so forgive typos and bad sentence structure.


About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters

30 Responses

  1. It’s so strange. I’m going off klonopin as well ( down to .75 from 3 mg). Anyway, all my friends say they don’t feel their age, and I believe them ( I’m 40). I don’t let them know I feel like I have one foot in the grave. Good luck, I feel your pain.


  2. Legan

    Hey, you know I’m detoxing from benzo’s too.

    I don’t know if you remember, but I was going to drop my temazepam from 30 to 15 mg? And I was down to .5 mg of xanax?

    Well…that lasted for about a day.

    Temazepam withdrawal is softer than xanax…but at this point, untenable. I don’t have the endurance.

    Benzodiazepem withdrawal is INSANE. You absolutely DO feel like you are dying, or that you want to. The last time I dropped my xanax I heard a howling train in my ears for 30 minutes straight.

    Gianna, I wish you all the best. This is the last leg of your journey. It is always the hardest.


  3. I was wondering,is this the same doctor your mom drove you to last year? this post reminded me of that trip and i refreshed my memory with the archives from last year. Has your relationship with your mother improved since then? it seemed you needed a lot of space back then.


  4. Call any time you need to, especially in the middle of the night… I’m usually up until at LEAST 3 am and rarely am totally out of it until around 5.

    I hope they can do something for you. I guess I haven’t read enough about benzos, but I’m glad I haven’t been on one since I was a kid… yes, when I was 12 a doctor had me on Valium, went from 5 mg/day to 10… I think I was still taking them at 17 but don’t remember taking them at 18…

    You know my thoughts are with you. Any time you need my voice with you too, pick up the phone.


  5. Sara

    Good Luck, dear woman. You are in my thoughts and prayers every day. As others have said, I feel your pain and truly hope for your liberation from the medication and recovery from your acute disability. You have given so much to so many. Thanks for that.


  6. EF

    ….I have been away from thsi blog for awhile and I just got semi caught up on it….I am sorry to hear that things have fluctuated to such a bad degree, caught in the undertow of this poisoning, …yet I cannot help but feel excited for you to be going somewhere where they will actually focus on your whole specific story and case and body and mind and help you make even more sense of it all!!!!!
    It is really great that you are so seriously aware of how lucky you are [to have come this far, to have this chance to look further at it all…] and in simply [ok maybe not so simply!] blogging about it and sharing your experiences [then and now and on through this coming period] you are throwing us all that luck like a lifeline.

    Your words have broken into the isolation and pain for SOOOO many here, many silent, and the ning group and your links have DIRECTLY helped people transcend their own physical mental and even emotional hells.
    I hope you feel all the very solid waves of regard that stretch to you from all of us [not to get too new agey but hey]
    I know it is cathartic fr you and your husband to take this step, and scary to find out the nitty gritty of your own biology, but you are so much more than those medical stats and I am sure it will be weird as hell in some ways [please tell us about it!] but then you will have more tools and more ideas that may help you in your own recovery, and may also spark something in any of us.

    Thank you for being so complicated.
    Thank you for being so hellbent and compassionate.
    Thank you for being so honest and imperfect.
    Thank you in advance for noticing, thinking about, and writing down all the details for us…..

    Anyone’s recovery and re-joining the world matters, you have been a champion of all of our rights to health and safety,…..but you are a special force and your writ9ing and work washes over alot of lives and matters in a big way.
    I have given this site out to teens and parents like 100 times since I found it.

    We are all rooting for you to just go forward as far as you can and at what the hell ever pace, and to find out more of your own personal puzzle. some of it won’t make this blog and that is fine and appropriate, we will all be grateful for whatever you choose to share of your experience.

    be safe, know we are all happy for you, drop a line if ya can, and rest and even have fun with any small bit you can squeeze beauty and fun out of….

    ~ a fan and freq reader.


  7. marigold

    thinks “EF” above this entry said it quite finely:) Lots of positive vibes Gianna…even though we all have different stories, we feel each others pain through this hell and i wish you the very best through this last part of your journey with the benzos. Look at how far you have come (From what i’ve read here on this site) and what an inspiration you are to people like me…on these drugs…silently and painfully getting off of them.

    Thanks and take care:)


  8. jan

    Oh Gianna – finally what you have longed for and need! I wish you the very best on this journey. I believe there will be much healing at this time. I, too, will be praying for you.


  9. Stan, maybe it’s that Gianna is feeling lousy, and I mean really lousy. – Do you actually read her blog, Stan? If so, I don’t get how you can miss how sick Gianna in fact is. – Maybe it’s also that she is scared, witnessing her friend in this critical state, caused by the very same poisons, that cause Gianna to be profoundly and increasingly sick. And maybe she therefor decided to go for something, she otherwise always has discouraged everybody to go for.

    You’re so damn smart, Stan. How come, you obviously failed to consider this possibility??

    Sorry having to say this, but your comment here frankly disgusts me.


  10. Val

    No time for a long heartfelt comment – EF kinda stole my thunder, ha ha!
    But I of course will be thinking of you, & praying for you, & sending you all the positive energy my lil’ shriveled soul can muster…
    I hope that you can turn a corner soon, & begin the long slow climb to recovery.


  11. Just want to share that “Benzo-Wise: A Recovery Companion” is a newly published book which will help anyone in withdrawal, their family, doctors and other caregivers. It is now available at Amazon and from other retailers. It is worth reading — it will uplift and encourage you while your recovery process takes place.


  12. Grainne Humphrys

    My wish for you, Gianna, is that your physical suffering eases at the de-tox centre and that you can gradually reclaim your life (do normal stuff that we all take for granted, like driving, etc). My wish for you is that you have freedom from the physical pain you have had to endure for so long now.
    You are very brave to face your fears. The last leg of the withdrawal journey seems to be the most frightening for many people. I’m so happy that you will be cared for in a supportive and safe environment during this stage of your journey.
    I will miss you around the blog… you are an inspiration.
    All my love, Grainne. Xxx


  13. i agree with Van. EF wrote so many things I wanted to say.

    when we talk on the phone i hear the physical and emotional pain in your voice. loud and clear. you know it saddens me. and it angers me that these drugs have done this to your body and mind. but your spirit, your energy, your heart—-I feel that as well. hold onto that because it’s beautiful. you are compassionate, smart and strong-even though you don’t feel the latter right now.

    you said, “I will have a huge work-up done — tests I’ve always wanted but still not done. Heavy metal toxicity, hormones for the whole month–testing levels every day!”

    and this makes me happy. you are doing the right thing and I will be with you in thoughts throughout this process and beyond…..

    my love to you!



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