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#458080 - 01/06/14 01:20 PM Coming off klonopin
SoccerStar Offline
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Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
After a year on klonopin, and feeling quite improved the last several months, I've just slowly weaned myself off. My psychiatrist warned me when I started that he didn't want me on for more than 3-4 months because it's addictive; I really didn't like the sound of that, but I was on a low-ish dose (1 per day) so as time went on and we kept agreeing to keep me on it he kept saying it wasn't that bad.

Been about 4 days since my last dose.

I can't help but notice that I feel conspicuously anxious in the 1-2 hours following the time that would normally have been my dose. More disappointingly I am finding it difficult to fall asleep at night, even when very tired. It takes probably 90 minutes, and of course all that time lying in the dark and quiet is a great way to get your mind on annoying or unhelpful thought tracks :p One of the accelerating factors of my nervous breakdown in 2012 was a total inability to sleep, and I still remember the defectiveness and humiliation I felt when it looked like my ability to sleep like a normal man had been taken from me by the perp and I could only do it by being drugged.

Has anybody ever come off this stuff and had GOOD outcomes in terms of restoring stable sleep patterns? Thanks....


Matt

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#458152 - 01/07/14 01:17 PM Re: Coming off klonopin [Re: SoccerStar]
SoccerStar Offline
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Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
Welp, that didn't last long.

Psych said that if I didn't feel mostly or entirely better after 3 days post-weaning that I should go back on. The last 2 days in particular I've been edgy, dizzy, and my heart rate was up, sometimes accompanied by chest pain (I looked it up and this is typical of withdrawal). I found myself actually craving the pill, which I didn't know was possible. Then I was.... inwardly in NEED of a drink, something to calm me down. I haven't felt that way in a long long time. I had one beer (strong, 9.5%abv) and felt vastly better... and knowing I was self-medicating made me feel worse.

Sunday night I got maybe 3 hours sleep; last night I either got 1 or none. Just like during my breakdown, I was COMPLETELY WIDE AWAKE at 11:30pm, energized and not tired and actually feeling kind of good. That was the setup for me nearly losing everything in 2012. I can never, ever feel that way again.

So as of this morning I'm back on.

I feel sad and weak, like an addict. Recovery should be goal-oriented and one if my goals was to go unmedicated when I was ready. Looks like I'm not ready, and there's a chance I might never be. Maybe I should have stopped taking the klonopin months ago, but I wasn't ready: my new job didn't stabilize until July, and then September / October always tears me apart. And now it's been a year and here I am.

It's no great hardship and I know people who have stayed on klono or other anxiety meds for years. I just never thought I'd be one of them.


Matt
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#458230 - 01/08/14 12:35 PM Re: Coming off klonopin [Re: SoccerStar]
Suwanee Offline
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Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 1280
Loc: SE USA
Matt,

Although my experience is not quite an analogue to yours, I have a long history of taking ADHD meds. I was on Ritalin from middle school on through high school for a condition many claim doesn't exist. In my case it certainly does exist---and I'm helped by medication not as a party pill or study drug, but a "keep me focused on the task" drug. That said, once out of college, I felt I should stop taking them and learn to manage life's twists and turns without pharmacological assistance.

I had mixed results.

After acknowledging the CSA, I surveyed my life and its stressors and found I wasn't dealing with it very well. My T agreed and quickly detected the unchecked ADHD traits that were interfering with any kind of CSA recovery. Reluctantly, I began taking ADHD meds once again. Admittedly, the meds do help keep me in balance.

No, I don't necessarily want to take them indefinitely, but I DO want to get to a place where I can back off and eventually stop the meds. Being circumspect about medication has led me to think that perhaps there's an "ideal" time to stop medication (as your own T originally suggested). Consider also that there is likely an "optimal" time to stop medication. They are semantic siblings, but they mean very different things.

I'm confident you'll instinctively know when the optimal time arrives.

Will


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#458273 - 01/09/14 03:56 AM Re: Coming off klonopin [Re: SoccerStar]
SoccerStar Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
Thank you, Will.

I can grasp that people can face chemical emotional hurdles that last, effectively, for life. My best friend has had ADHD for at least 18 years and is still on Ritalin. I've had multiple struggles with anxiety and depression and went a 3-year stretch on antidepressants. But when I was ready to leave them behind, I weaned off real slow and it worked. I tried weaning off the klono even slower now and it kicked my ass. The insomnia from 2012 returning so quickly and exactly was the scariest part - like it's now the real me. I just can't deal with that again.

Everything I've read and heard is that my other med (Wellbutrin) is non-addictive, that getting off that antidepressant should be as textbook as getting off my last one. Maybe later in the spring, as long as I'm still feeling strong, I'll make that my goal instead.
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#458360 - 01/09/14 10:00 PM Re: Coming off klonopin [Re: SoccerStar]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1106
Hi Matt,

I'm in my 60's and have spent and continue to spend a lot of time managing symptoms. I have also unwittingly sabotaged myself a few times over the years wanting to not take medications. So, for me, it's one of those 'it's the journey not the destination' numbers. I only began to remember sexual abuse, physical abuse and torture from my mother 9 months ago. I didn't know that was even there in my late 30's to mid 40's when I was on a lot of meds for depression, panic and anxiety. I do not like to take meds. However, it's taken me decades to understand that my feelings are real, and that I need a lot of help managing my symptoms while I grow out of the damage done to me.

It is really hard for me to live in a true present, because there is still so much fear and terror locked up in my body. However, I do continue to grow. It is obvious to me, and I am pleased with my continued progress. However, I do continue to need meds for anxiety and panic, and have had to learn that I have to live my life a little differently than most.

That doesn't mean that my life cannot be fulfilling and satisfying. I still have a lot of growing pains, however I also see myself embracing a more authentic me all the time. So, progress, not perfection. Focusing on where I'm not instead of where I am has always been a great distraction for me, and has wasted a lot of time.

Being judgmental about needing meds has never helped me. I do not want to need medications. It doesn't mean I don't need them. I believe I will ultimately not need medications. I believe that day will be when I have uncovered all the untruths I continue to carry around which keep me unbalanced.

It's a tough area to deal with. I wish you luck.

Don
_________________________
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

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#460579 - 02/13/14 02:59 AM Re: Coming off klonopin [Re: SoccerStar]
SoccerStar Offline
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Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
UPDATE: Psychiatrist listened to my tales of withdrawal and said it sounds to him like my underlying symptoms are still there and I still need this shit - that I have a persistent and serious anxiety disorder and might well be on klonopin forever. Either forever or until I reach a point in my life where it will be okay for me to go 4-5 nights without sleeping and in no way face any career or family consequences..... yyyyyeah.

So, we've turned our eyes on the Wellbutrin now. I seriously don't think I need this anymore. When I get depressed, there's no mistaking the feeling, it's like I'm so miserable there's a black cloud over my brain and I can't even see properly, like I'm not fully conscious. I'm nowhere near there now.

And I want to progress off SOME OF THIS SHIT. So congratulations, antidepressant, you're next to get voted off the island.

Since Wellbutrin is a slow-released drug, there is no weaning. You cannot take pill fragments - it's all or nothing. Psych was extremely firm on this: just finish my current scrip and then don't refill it. Instant cold turkey is the only way he will approve.

Should get there in about 4 more days. Here's hoping....



Matt



Edited by SoccerStar (02/13/14 03:00 AM)
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#461306 - 02/23/14 03:11 AM Re: Coming off Wellbutrin (not klonopin) [Re: SoccerStar]
SoccerStar Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
Been a week off the Wellbutrin now.

I have never been so tired for so long in my entire life. It is unrelenting exhaustion, I sleep 8 hours and wake up more tired than ever. That plus an ever-present headache.

But I'm doing it. It isn't getting any worse and I can handle it. Absolutely no sign of depression or any other psychological / emotional side effect. Would sure love this bone-bitter exhaustion to fade away, any time now. But I'm doing it.

And I'm proud of myself for being able to do it after I failed on the other try.


Matt
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"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

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#476864 - 02/09/15 10:03 PM Re: Coming off klonopin [Re: SoccerStar]
SoccerStar Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
I did it! I DID IT!!

It took over 3 months this time but I got the wean-down sequence that worked for me. Every time I'd go down a step, I'd be edgy and jittery for 2 days and sleep was a challenge. But the rebound was noticeable enough that I was always able to remember thst these weren't "real" feelings, it was withdrawal.

It's now been over a week since my withdrawal symptoms ended after my final dose of klonopin. For the first time since October 2012 I am un-medicated!

Very glad these meds were there for me when I needed them, and just as glad I could prove to myself that I was ready to leave it behind. Hopefully forever - fingers crossed!


Matt
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#476866 - 02/09/15 10:21 PM Re: Coming off klonopin [Re: SoccerStar]
Bluedogone Offline
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Registered: 07/03/13
Posts: 1122
Loc: Southern US
Matt,

Congratulations on this great milestone !!


Medications can be a two edged sword sometime. They're great that they are available if and when needed. But a ton of relief to realize we can lead a (semi) normal life without them. Well done - Keep up the good work.
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#476988 - 02/11/15 11:57 AM Re: Coming off klonopin [Re: SoccerStar]
peroperic2009 Offline
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Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3856
Loc: South-East Europe
Congratulation Matt, wow!
just proceed like that further wink!
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#477073 - 02/12/15 07:32 PM Re: Coming off klonopin [Re: SoccerStar]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/12
Posts: 766
Thanks for sharing this with us, Matt.

I have a few friends who still have problems coming off the meds, especially with the withdrawal aspect of it. There is a lot of insight and hope here.

Congrats on the milestone.

Way to go, Matt!
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#483893 - 06/14/15 05:41 PM Re: Coming off klonopin [Re: SoccerStar]
SoccerStar Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
Well. At least I knew I COULD do it.

I'm back on the klonopin now :p It's a bit disappointing, yes, but it was better than the alternative.

Have been back on since about the first week of May. The pressure at work was just too great. 4th quarter 2014 I had my biggest successes of my entire career and it made a difference on a company-wide scale. So basically all of April/May 2015 was every level of management making clear to me just how I was expected to make the "sequel" at the end of this year even better. The goals and pressures were unbelievable - if I went a day where I was ONLY having what would be a goodly-productive day under normal circumstances, I'd start to have panic attacks again.... the kind from the bad old days, where I'd be basically immobilized with fear until 2-3pm and get NOTHING done. Started to see my end-2015 "sequel" as the ideal excuse to fire me.

And then I started having sleep paralysis / night terrors again. It's been a long, long time. My wife is used to me having wake-up-screaming nightmares but this was different. I had so hoped that phase of my life was over forever but it's not.

So I went back on the klonopin. I knew it would work for me, it did before. It's a low dose, just a half-pill a day first thing in the morning, to keep me from freaking out at work and to keep my sleep normalized. I know I was worried (still am worried) about Alzheimer's, but if I can't function well enough to make it much older then what kind of victory is that?

Am honestly not sure if or when I'll try weaning off again. I consider myself lucky that I had this option available.

Oh and my psychiatrist can go fuck himself. I called him to ask about dosage levels and he refused to discuss it unless I came to his office. He has moved offices so it would severely cut into my workday. He treated me for OVER TWO YEARS, he knows who I am, and when I asked him "How long can I really be on this, at any dose?" he still insisted that I go to him... like he needs my extra co-pay to just answer a question. I have enough pills to last me probably a year - and if I do need a consult I'll be getting a different psychiatrist!


Matt


Edited by SoccerStar (06/14/15 05:41 PM)
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#484144 - 06/18/15 03:39 PM Re: Coming off klonopin [Re: SoccerStar]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1106
Hi Matt,

Having been through my high income years, and steeply crashing from my high income years, there are very familiar warning signals going off for me as I read your post. For me, the kind of signals your body and emotions are giving you are serious warning signals about the sustainability of your work and life choices at this time.

I hope you are able to clearly assess the wisdom of continuing a life/life-style/working situation that requires such toxic efforts from you. I wasn't able to stop until I seriously crashed, and became unable to work any more. My ability to work went straight downhill from 45 until age 53 when I was unable to work anymore at all. My nervous system was shot at that time, along with the last of my assets.

I'm not saying anything like what happened to me will happen with you, but all my alarm bells are going off as I read your post.

Sending you love and good will,

Don
_________________________
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

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#497091 - 03/29/16 01:38 AM Re: Coming off klonopin [Re: SoccerStar]
SoccerStar Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
Off again! Keeping my fingers crossed for this time....

My last dose was over 2 months ago. Withdrawal this time was really hard but in a different way than previously, and I'm still not totally "over" it. I really hope I never have to go on again because I'm worried about how much worse withdrawal gets every time.

-instead of being unable to sleep, I slept but it wasn't restful. I'd be "trapped" in extremely realistic disturbing pursuit / humiliation / failure nightmares that felt like they were 8 hours long, and wake up more exhausted than I'd gone to sleep. These still happen but have reduced in frequency and length; I mostly sleep normally, thank God.

-feel anxious and edgy more or less at all times, except in the immediate post-sex afterglow. Constantly feel like something is about to happen and get impatient waiting for it. Like my every waking moment I'm walking on a highway and must constantly scan the horizon for a truck that's coming to flatten me. This again is something I've just learned to settle for I suppose. If anything in a weird perverse way it's CALMING. I've learned to reason through the fact that utterly nothing is wrong at all and the fears are made up, which has a strange comforting effect. It's also possible it's part of a midlife crisis cloaked behind my "baseline" anxiety bullshit issues (this is what my T thinks - I still see her about every 7 or 8 weeks).

-I am dissatisfyingly forgetful. Abnormally, every day it's 4-6 things I misplace or overlook. That's the only thing about this that I'm not able to settle into, this notion that I might have permanently altered my short term memory.... There's just nothing to be done about it, I took the pills and it's in the past. I choose to believe it won't get any worse, that it won't become Alzheimer's, because what choice do I have?

Work is stable, wife actually a lot nicer than she'd been in some recent years (I think we've had a breakthrough?), kids fine.... I have a lot worth remembering. And I aim to do just that.


Matt
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"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

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#512007 - 06/14/17 04:31 PM Re: Coming off klonopin [Re: SoccerStar]
LinEar Offline


Registered: 06/02/15
Posts: 359
Loc: USA
Reviving an old thread -- Matt, any updates on coming off/staying off Klonopin?

I'm working on this now. The paperwork that comes with my prescription says not to take it continually for more than 3-4 weeks. And I've been on it since 2004 or 2005(!)

I was originally prescribed it by my family doctor for anxiety/dysautonomia, and to help with sleep. I didn't know about my CSA or PTSD then, although that's what it was. I had been taking Ambien for sleep and Ativan as needed for anxiety prior to that (since about 2002). The Ambien was no longer doing much except making me extremely hungover the next day, and Ativan's short half-life provides almost instant relief but doesn't last long and can be highly addictive (not that Klonopin can't be too).

I started with one 0.5mg pill, split in half, taken twice a day (so a half, or 0.25mg, around late afternoon/early evening and another half just before bed). This seemed to help and I kept it up for years, never increasing the dose, thankfully. At some point, maybe around 2010, I reduced it to just the one half pill (0.25 mg) just before bed. I didn't start to have flashbacks/clear memories until 2013, and began therapy in 2014, pausing in 2015, switching to a new therapist in early 2016, where I've been for about 1.5 years.

Last Fall, with all the progress I was making in therapy, I talked with my doctor about tapering off the Klonopin, which he agreed with. He suggested cutting the dose in half weekly, 2 or 3 times, until I stopped completely.

I didn't think it'd be too big of a deal, since I was already taking half of the smallest available dose. First I cut it back to a 1/4 pill (0.125 mg) every night, and another 1/4 pill occasionally during the day if needed, which was maybe once every 2-3 weeks. For at least several weeks I was more anxious, had more restless legs at night, more difficulty falling/staying asleep, etc. After I finally seemed to adjust to it, I gave it some more time, and cut it back again to 1/8 of a pill (0.0625 mg) this past March/April. Again the same withdrawal symptoms, heart racing, hypervigilance, etc.

It's hard to know whether it's a placebo effect since the dose is so tiny, but I truly don't think it is. Once every 1-2 weeks I'll wake up at 3 or 4 AM and be awake for an hour or two and end up taking another 1/8 of a pill, which always puts me right back to sleep within 10-15 minutes. I used to do the same with a 1/4 pill when I was on a 1/4, or a 1/2 when I was on a 1/2, etc. -- doctor is ok with this.

I have issues with unrefreshing sleep, short-term memory, frontal lobe area headaches, and difficulty concentrating that have gotten initially worse, and then somewhat better than baseline, each time I reduce the dose.

I still feel dependent on the tiny amount that I take now, and I've done some reading over at the benzobuddies forum where apparently my experience isn't unique, especially for someone who's taken it as long as I have.

Right now I'm entering a lull where work will be slow for a month or two, and other symptoms and issues are improving. I'm going to try to stop taking it completely and see how it goes. It has a long half-life so I'm sure there is plenty of it in me, not to mention the tolerance/expectation for it that my brain has.

So I wanted to add my two cents and experience with this. It's definitely been helpful, maybe even a lifesaver, but I badly want off of it and I'm hopeful that my brain can rewire itself back to "normal" 1) fully, and 2) sooner than later. I am encouraged by the brain rewiring results I've seen from neurofeedback, so we'll see. I feel like even the tiny amount that I take is contributing big time to quality of sleep issues and daytime lack of focus/sedation. Wish me luck.
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#513408 - 07/17/17 05:26 AM Re: Coming off klonopin [Re: SoccerStar]
SoccerStar Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
Sorry to hear that you've been struggling with this, LinEar. Some of your symptoms feel eerily familiar.

I am still off the klonopin, I have been totally unmedicated since early '16 (with 2 exceptions, below).

And there are still days where I want it. Where I feel I MUST have it, where I feel like I am tasting it (which is odd as I don't recall it ever having a taste; it's the concept of 'I must ingest this, I should ingest this, why am I not ingesting this, why am I PRACTICALLY DROOLING??"

There have been two days when I was having emergencies so I took a half-pill. These were about 5 months apart, I just used them to cancel panic attacks and did not take the pill again the next day. Single-use doses do not build dependency. Interestingly after a year or so off it, a half pill is a pretty good emotional dampener / stabilizer. For how long it lasted, anyway.

Memory has NOT recovered. I'm still an anxious person and about once every 8 months I'll have my good old familiar devastating wake up screaming feels-like-death nightmares. Not a true paralyzed night terror, thank God. That hasn't happened in at least a year.

For the most part I'm glad, rather proud, I left the stuff behind. I'm not "all better," but really feel it was an investment in my future health to get off it. Still, I often want it again... sometimes quite a lot. Can be a struggle to say the least.


Matt


Edited by SoccerStar (07/17/17 05:27 AM)
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#513550 - 07/20/17 09:40 PM Re: Coming off klonopin [Re: SoccerStar]
LinEar Offline


Registered: 06/02/15
Posts: 359
Loc: USA
Thanks Matt for the update. Great job!

I'm down to the occasional 1/8 of a pill now, and haven't had to take the 2nd overnight 1/8 for weeks. Almost totally off now.
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