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BENZO STORY: Cathy from Phoenix, Arizona

Updated: Feb 28, 2023

Summary


A hopeful story from a woman who’d been prescribed several benzos and SSRIs over the years and found help through yoga, meditation, exercise, and support.

 

Details

  1. Key Topics: Anxiety, Benzos, Dependence, Withdrawal, Ativan (lorazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam), Success, Positive Outlook, Yoga, Meditation, Exercise, Polydrugging, SSRI, Antidepressant

 

Content Warning


Stories presented on Easing Anxiety may contain triggering content. If this is a concern for you, please refrain from reading any further. These stories are provided for informational purposes only and should never be considered medical advice. Opinions stated are those of the author only. See our disclaimer at the bottom of this post for more information.

 

Cathy’s Story


My story is still unfolding. Never in my life would I have thought one tiny little pill would pack such a profound wallop. But before I even start on my experience, thank you so much for your podcast. It is a great comfort.

It’s a shame there is a stigma to this benzo challenge…

More people would share if the shaming wasn’t so prevalent. It is a shame there is a stigma to this benzo challenge, as the vast majority of us are NOT addicts; we followed doctor’s orders! We never bought drugs on the street, but relied on a doctor’s advice, and their long-term prescriptions.


I was never warned of dependence. Years upon years of Ativan to Xanax to Valium. Years!

When I finally reached tolerance, nothing worked anymore. And hell opened up before me, reaching an agoraphobic apex at a Christmas cabin in Flagstaff. All I could do was shake, and suffer tremors and terror while everyone else enjoyed Christmas. The snow fell and so did my hopes for any semblance of normalcy.

Each SSRI we tried was a disaster. Each had a paradoxical reaction.

The dear doctor thought that an SSRI would help, as I must have an “escalating anxiety disorder.” Each SSRI we tried was a disaster. Each had a paradoxical reaction. Anxiety escalated.


I weaned off 5, before the doctor finally believed that an anti-depressant was not for me. I just want your listeners to know that it is my opinion, not advice, that polydrugging is something you really need to think through. It was the wrong treatment for me.


I have crossed over to Valium from Xanax (which was brutal). I have cut from 40 mg to 4.5 mg valium. And I am committed to ride this pony all the way to the finish line, to zero.


Along the way the last 18 months, were myriad symptoms from hell itself. Palpitations for days, tachycardia, blood pressure spikes, terror, insomnia, dizziness, agoraphobia, derealization, gut issues. And a host of others. There were days I was sure my body would give out.

I cried. I prayed. I asked for hugs. But I did not fade away.

I cried. I prayed. I asked for hugs. But I did not fade away. Another day passed. And as I seek that magic balance between cut amount and rate of regenerative healing, I also have you, and meditation, and yoga, and exercise, and good nutrition, and hydration in my toolkit.

We Benzo Warriors are going to make it. Every day we are healing, sometimes imperceptibly, but our malleable brains will carry us through.

Every day we are healing, sometimes imperceptibly, but our malleable brains will carry us through.

Sometimes this podcast brings me back from the ledge of despair. I will keep you posted on progress. Please do not stop reaching out, D.


Your friend, Cathy

 

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Disclaimer


All stories shared on Easing Anxiety are done so with the author’s permission. These stories are provided for informational purposes only and should never be considered medical advice. The views and opinions expressed within are those of the author only, and do not necessarily reflect those of Easing Anxiety or its founder. Stories presented on Easing Anxiety may contain triggering content for certain segments of the population. While provided as an informational resource to our community, some stories may not be beneficial to those who are sensitive to their content. Regarding benzodiazepine withdrawal or BIND, most people can withdraw safely, successfully, and without serious complications if they are informed and have a solid support system. Many of the stories shared on Easing Anxiety are extreme and should not be used to create any expectations of one’s individual experience. Please read the Ashton Manual formore information and work with your doctor. Withdrawal, tapering, or any other change in dosage of benzodiazepines, nonbenzodiazepines (Z-drugs), or any other prescription medication should only be done under the direct supervision of a licensed physician. View our complete disclaimer for more info.


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