Zoe is a friend I made on a benzo board. Online support is generally a crucial part of this journey. For direction in how to find such support see this post.
There is a great spectrum of recovery time that varies from individual to individual. Every story I can share here helps people find others like them. For more stories see here.
This is Zoe’s celebration shared with a benzo board of her one year anniversary of benzodiazepine freedom:
It’s my one year anniversary today. I know that to many people in my life, it’s not a big deal, they would rather forget the person I was on klonopin, and more importantly the person I was for the year and a half it took me to get off the poison. I would like to forget her too some days. It’s heart breaking for me to come to the forum now and see the devastation and hurt this has has caused all of you. Just remember that what you are doing is a gift only you can give to yourself. As hard as all of this is, everything you lose will come back to you eventually. It’s not the end, it’s the beginning. Have faith in yourselves and in the process. Never believe that you can’t , you can. If I can do this you can too. I am not exceptional, I am and was just as beat down and lonely as you are. You were led here for a reason, none of this is a waste.
I wish I had the words that would fully express how thankful I am, for all of the people here who supported me , or who shared their stories with me. Your voice is so important. It is possible to get off these drugs, to heal and recover your life. There have been many disappointments along the way. Thing is, we just can never expect the people who care about us to understand how crazy this process is, how hopeless we can feel and how horrible we feel about ourselves while we muddle through. You have to have compassion for yourself. You have to figure out how to put yourself first, you have to dig deep and find your strength, it’s there. If you can sit back, and believe in yourself and know that you are not alone, ever, that there is always someone here to pick you up when you are falling, then you are half way there.
For me, there were many many gifts on this journey. When I was first off and alone, my days were consumed by hours and hours of feeling sick and tired of being sick and tired. As the months passed, I realized that although I really didn’t feel much better, I was indeed getting better. Pray, cry, scream, kick, write, whatever it takes, do not be silent, let it out. You need to talk about it, even if you are just posting here on the forum, do not suffer in silence, there is no good that can come of it. The reason we are here is simply to provide support, education, love and most importantly friendship, to each other. It will get you through your darkest days. My journey would have been so much more difficult had I not had unconditional understanding here.
So , onto hope, how can I give all of you hope. I can tell you that I am now a believer, yes I am. Healing does happen, not as quickly or as miraculously as we would all like, but it happens. 9 months off was the turning point for me, there were certainly days earlier on when I thought I had made it, but at 9 months I knew , it was almost completely over. I was living my life, I moved into my own place, I reconnected with friends, I had decided to let go of what had consumed me for so long, I was free and moving forward. Keep the faith, I am not the first or the last of recover. There is hope, always. You may lose it somedays, remember to always search for it, it is everywhere.
I am not a broken person anymore, I am fully healed. You have to work at it, you have to challenge yourself as much as you can once you are off. You have to find a balance between activity and rest. You will be challenged everyday, you will have tinnitus, burning skin, vertigo, and on and on and on ad nauseum, these symptoms will not kill you, your heart may be pounding out of your chest, your thoughts may be very dark and scary, you may be afraid to step outside your door, the symptoms will go away, they will not kill you. All of it is a sign of healing. You may be sick, but you will recover. If I had to pin point the few things I did that I feel were most helpful to me I would have to say firstly, walking, I walked a lot. I developed a routine, get up, try to eat, shower, get dressed, bundle up and walk, if nothing else it’s a good distraction. I know we tend to not want to engage with others, thing is I always was amazed at how well I did, fake it til you make it . I did a lot of faking. Eat well, stay hydrated and find some simple things to do to distract yourself. Find someone everyday to give you hope, someone here on the forum, or in your real life. You need a lifeline. There is always someone here to tell you, you are doing great, to show you compassion, to tell you you are loved. Open yourself up to someone, let them be your constant. And most importantly, be very kind and gentle with yourself.
This year seems to have flown by. Am I better off Klonopin, yes, there is no denying that I had hit the wall, and my life was falling apart. I don’t think I ever really made the decision to get off klonopin myself, there was a deeper part of me that made the decision for me, no one told me to get off, my doctor would have continued to be my drug dealer probably til the day he died. I was not sick, or in tolerance, something bigger than me somehow made that decision for me. It led me here, and the gifts I found here are many and my heart has been touched in ways it never would have been had it not been for all of you. thank you. so much.
Keep going guys, you are one day closer everyday. Know that it ends, it really does. I too thought I was doomed, just keep believing in yourselves and in this process. I love and care about all of you very much, and I wish I could take all of this away, or I wish you could all feel what I feel now that I am recovered. Thank you all for your well wishes and support , thank you all for sharing your journeys with each other, thank you all for letting me be a part of this journey with you. I am grateful beyond words.
Love to all of you, zoe
For direction in how to find online support see this post.
For more inspiring recovery stories that include psychiatric drug freedom see here.