This ain’t no psych ward, nor is it a traditional detox but I still feel like shit

Okay. I’ve arrived. I actually came in yesterday as the trip here–two days in the car, was rough.

I feel a bit like I’m in the twilight zone. In some good ways, and some not so good.

The first thing I did before entering the center was go see a doc. She was the most awesome doc I’ve met. She was down to earth and gentle and loving. I found out she was a nurse for many years before she became a doc. I think that is a significant thing about her. She spent 4 hours with me!! She listened attentively and did a long history as well as a complete physical and drew LOTS of blood. Her staff were all really great too. There was a wonderful male nurse from Trinidad who looked and had the energy of a big teddy bear. So kind. Her daughter was the receptionist also a very sweet young woman. Her nutritionist was competent and very sweet.

Nothing was decided at the doctors yesterday. We will await the lab work which included blood, spit, and urine. We will have a follow up in two weeks and then again in about a two months because it will take that long to get the all month long hormone panel she is having me do which starts three days after my next period.

After the four hours with the doc I went to the center. She encouraged me to not wait until the next day as I might find some comfort sooner.

We were greeted by torrents of rain as we drove up to the door and were greeted by one of the counselors with giant umbrella in hand. I had been lying in the back of a van the whole way, on a futon. I asked that I be allowed to go straight to my room as I was exhausted by the doctor’s appointment. So exhausted. I’ve not talked to anyone for more than an hour in months on the phone, or in my life or anywhere. I find talking excruciatingly exhausting and so I avoid it. I was wasted.

What awaited me for the next four hours? Four more hours of talking. I had a sore throat by the end of it. Intake, nurse, counselor, IV nutrients. Boom, boom, boom. Wasted off my ass. Sick as hell. Scared. Tired. I want to die. All of this in the course of the day. Really not much different than every day in some ways.

They got me started on a blend of IV nutrients and amino acids. Was hoping for so me quick relief, was told I might get quick relief. No such luck. I felt much worse throughout the IV. I got really scared as a result of that. Will it work? Can it work? Will I come out worse than I came in?

It’s not that I don’t know it works for some people, I do know that. But I have always been trickier and stranger than “most people” and here I was feeling worse and worse as their concoction went into my vein.

All the horrible stories about detox experiences started flooding my mind. I’ve heard hundreds of them. They are ALL about traditional detox centers. Not places like this. I am afraid though that for me it won’t be different that I might end up worse off.

After about 3 hours on the IV it was done and once I was off it I had a bounce in energy and felt very good for a couple of hours. I have yet to find out if it had anything to do with the IV or not. Today after another IV I will know more. The nurse said that it might take a couple of days but I will start feeling better.

I’ve been taking my .375 mg of Klonopin and my 22 mg of Valium all at night. I’ve always taken ALL my drugs from the very beginning (save the stimulants) at night. Single dosing made my life much easier. I’ve known for quite a while that maybe I should stretch out the benzo three times a day but didn’t want to add additional discomfort to my life.

So they made that choice for me last night. First they made the choice that I would complete the Valium crossover that I had discontinued half way through due to horrible symptoms.

Once I had the very long lasting drug in my body I simply started cutting the Klonopin again. Anyway yesterday I was told they would complete the crossover. I have a lot of fear that they really don’t know how delicate I am, that they haven’t seen cases like mine. They do say they’ve seen people as debilitated as I am but they grant me they’ve seen no one with as an extreme history. I knew this. I took a leap of faith in coming here because I cannot continue like this. And frankly virtually no one any where has any experience with cases as complex as mine.

It will soon be revealed if it was foolish decision to come here or not.

So last night I went to bed with just 10 mg of Valium. That is 1/3 of what my current dose will be. This morning they will give me the 10 mg three times for a total of 30 mg.

So I was given the 10 mg at bedtime, the Klonopin was cut out completely and I was expected to sleep on 1/3 of the dose I usually take. NOT A PRETTY PICTURE. I don’t know if it was psychological or physical but I couldn’t sleep and I began to be scared. I have no fucking idea if these guys can actually take me off safely. I really DON’T.

I called them in at about 2 am and told them, “You know you just took me off (for the night) about 65% of my total dose. I’ve been withdrawing from drugs for 5 years. I’ve never made a cut of more than 10% and often I made cuts as small as 2.5% when needed. I can’t help but be freaked out and I’m not sleeping.” They gave me a PRN that had been ordered for me, 5 mg of Valium. And then they gave me a sort of energy/body work/massage which was very relaxing. I finally fell asleep at around 3 am.

They woke me at 6 am for my morning dose!! I was mildly annoyed but realized they are trying to stabilize me. I said I realized that today I just need to get my full dose in me, but please, in the future not to wake me for a dose of medication. The nurse said no problem but I was right, today I need to get stabilized—she would make note not to wake me in the future.

I feel like shit. Well, in any case, that is nothing new, but I’ve only slept 3 hours. My arms are in a lot more pain then usual. And it hurts to type.

I did want to say that the level of respect I’m being treated with is astonishing. No psych ward I’ve been in or detox center I’ve visited (as a professional social worker I spent time in detox and rehab centers from time to time) treat people so well. So in that respect, at least, I am being treated humanely and kindly.

Medically, on the other hand, I simply don’t know yet if they know what the fuck they are doing. But really I knew that coming in.

I’m so wasted right now I have to stop. Hope I can say more later, but frankly, have no idea what direction this is going to move in. My tendency is to go silent on my personal shit when things are dark and ugly.

Peace out.
(finished at 7:30 am today—will be posted later)

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters

24 Responses

  1. Oh Gianna!

    You got there and you are safe…. and it sounds like just the thing you need.

    Just woke up the cat, picked her up and dancing around the room to celebrate the start of your healing….

    Gosh I miss you girl.

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  2. Dear Gianna,
    After reading what you’ve written dear friend, I have a few thoughts I like to share with you. Because of the way they are treating you–which as you said is “more respectful” than any place you’ve ever been–I would urge you to use all your energy to try and believe this will work.

    Even if your case is more complex than any they’ve treated, and even if your level of debilitation is worse than what they’ve treated, I’m hoping that if all of these people and you work together, you’ll feel better.

    I can’t imagine how tired and frightened you must be. But I do know there is no one who’s more motivated to achieve wellness than you are. And if the doctor spent all that time with you taking your case history and listening to your story, then perhaps she, too, is truly motivated to help you.

    So, I’m hoping you’ll use all your strength and hers (and the other staff members) to heal. And I know that you have a wealth of skills to bring to this, including relaxation and meditation skills, prayer, a positive attitude, and so much more.

    You even might consider taking a break from writing about it, so that you’re just experiencing it without analyzing it as you go along. And, in the same vein, I’m going to spend a portion of each day thinking and praying for your healing, and perhaps all of your other readers and friends will do this as well.

    While I know it sounds like California “woo-woo” stuff, I’ve just read a few books by Dr. Larry Dossey who has documented that prayer truly makes a difference.

    All my love!

    Susan

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  3. Marlisa

    Faith is believing in spite of the evidence, then watching the evidence change. This will work, Gianna – I know it. You’re so brave – hang in there and BELIEVE!

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  4. Eden Williams

    Dear Gianna,
    I have been following your blog for several months.
    I am encouraged to know that you are getting off of Valium.
    It is a nasty drug and it causes depression.
    I know this because I took it for about 15 years. I also took a host of other meds.
    I was considered to have a total and permanent psychiatric disability.
    I have been medication free for over 12 years due to a wonderful holistic doctor.
    It can happen! I hope all goes well for you. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
    Love,
    Eden Williams

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  5. Hey Gianna,
    I’m SOOOOO GLAD you got a bounce from the IV – and I pray that CONTINUES.

    I’m praying for you too! God bless you and keep you and make His face to SHINE upon you in your times of grief and pain.
    You write when you can – don’t FEEL like you HAVE TO. K?

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  6. Val

    Man, you don’t need me to tell you what a long hard road this may be…
    But it sounds like at least steps are being taken in the right direction.
    Sending all positive energy in your general direction, & prayers upwards!

    luv Val

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  7. Selene

    Wow. I really, really want to just send healing thoughts and all and tell you to have faith and that this is going to be wonderful. And gawd I hope that’s true.

    How long will you be staying at this place? And will you stay for the entirety of your taper?

    But, however it turns out, you are still in charge of your health care. If it doesn’t feel right, then insist that they do whatever does feel right.

    I don’t believe that anyone who is connected to the medical field understands how benzo withdrawal works. Not because they don’t want to understand, but because it’s so complex. Myabe only people who have been through it can understand.

    For me, a very slow taper has been the answer. Anything that speeds up the taper has been destabilizing. And I know you’ve gotten off some really nasty drugs already. But these benzos are different. They are, imo, the most harmful drugs I’ve ever seen as far as discontinuing them (although I believe one can recover fully, or near fully, once off).

    I wish you well, Gianna. And I DO send healing thoughts and hope the treatment you’re getting makes you feel better.

    S

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  8. Sara

    It all sounds quite reassuring the way you describe it. I really think you are in good hands. It may not be easy what you are facing but I truly think you are in loving and experienced hands. Wellness Writer put everything brilliantly. Focus all your energy on believing this is going to work and wanting it to work and know that you have scores of supporters wanting the same thing too. It’s got to be good!

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  9. Ana

    I left a comment right after Susan’s but it didnt’t appear.
    I’m sure you’re in good hands.
    Please don’t worry. It’s hard to trust anyone when psych´drugs are at stake.
    But I believe you should give them a chance.
    Love,
    Ana

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  10. Deborah

    Gianna! You are so brave, you have searched so long. I’m praying that your detox goes well. I’m with Wellness and Sara – focus on your belief that these folks, this method will heal you.

    Love,
    Deborah

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  11. Molly

    Today I hold you in my heart. I had a dream with you in it last night and we were laughing and dancing gently like the breeze. This is an incredible journey you are on. I am grateful you are getting the support you need and respect you deserve.
    I send love!

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  12. nomad365

    Gianna,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now. Your struggle for wholeness and desire to contribute to the healing of others inspires me. I’ve had my own struggles with medication withdrawal and recovery from depression and anxiety. Thank you so much for the information you share through your blog. I am praying for you to have a full recovery.

    Peace

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  13. as always…i am with you…sending good thoughts your way.
    my sweet boy is on my lap purring away as I type-he’s also sending good vibes (purrs) your way!!!! we love you!

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