BEDTIME FOR BENZO

bedtime for bonzo

While I lived in the US
Ronald Reagan,
somehow, managed to become
The President of the United States of America.
I say “somehow” because
in his preceding
career he was
best known
for playing side-kick
to a chimp
in some forgettable films,
which included
“BEDTIME FOR BONZO”.
It interested me
that this same Mr Reagan,
who later rose to
such dizzy heights,
was
while associated
with Bonzo,
ADDICTED TO MEDIOCRITY.
And that putting
“Bonzo to bed”
was key to him
reaching his
potential.

ronald reagan

WHY DO I MENTION THIS?

Well,
I’m not saying
I aspire
to be President.
but I am sick
to death
of the mediocrity
in my life.
I wish to leave
it behind,
to get on
and reach
my potential –
whatever that might be.
I WANT TO PUT MY BENZO TO BED
But I am stuck,
and I can’t.

question

LET ME EXPLAIN.

Just over 2 years ago I was seeing a therapist who for several years listened, and talked me through the “why’s” of the debilitating “anxiety” that I experienced at times since ending my abusive marriage. She also taught me the “how’s” of managing these times until they buggered off completely. She was terrific and I worked hard.
I have not needed to see her for 2 years now which is wonderful.

HOWEVER

During the time that I was seeing this therapist my well-meaning doctor put me on lorazepam to help ease the anxiety. She did not tell me it was addictive. Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine. It is called Ativan in the US. Benzo is a shortened name for benzodiazepine.

I have, for the last 2 years, been attempting to come off Lorazepam – my benzo.
I HAVE FAILED.
Here is why –

“It is more difficult to withdraw people from benzodiazepines than it is from heroin. It just seems that the dependency is so ingrained and the withdrawal symptoms you get are so intolerable that people have a great deal of problem coming off……..” Professor Malcolm H Lader, Royal Maudesley Hospital

Here is a photo I took that, for me, captures how it feels to be addicted to a benzo

IMG_1687

YOU FEEL HUMAN BUT NOT QUITE HUMAN

There is a strong feeling of disassociation, like living in a fuzzy mental bubble.
communication is difficult because short term memory fails you and words are hard to recall.
Also it sometimes just feels like too much effort to hold a conversation.
It is impossible to concentrate for long periods of time.
Fatigue is all consuming.
Muscle aches and cramps, joint pain and swelling are SO painful.
Occasional numbness and tremor in the hands.
Walking is difficult sometimes.
Coordination is off.
Vision is impaired.
Bloating and nausea.
Irritability.
Over reaction to small things.
The need to withdraw, be alone, or sleep is often overwhelming.
All sorts of problems with digestive system.
Bouts of insomnia
etc etc etc etc etc

lorazepam

For the last 2 and 1/2 years I have taken 1 mg of lorazapem 4 times a day because it’s so hard to come off.
I now know that this dose means that I am taking the equivalent to 40 grams of valium each day!

THAT IS A HEFTY DOSE OF TRANQUILLIZER

I asked my GP to see if the NHS provided medically assisted withdrawal.
She looked but could find NOTHING.
I searched the web for charities, support groups etc that would assist me to come off my benzo.
I found ONE and this turned out to be so utterly useless it made you want to take more drugs!!!!!
I TRIED TO COME OFF ON MY OWN –
I followed on-line advice to reduce the dose by shaving minute bits off one pill over several weeks.
I got down to 3 pills a day but the side effects were so awful I had to return to 4 a day.
I then tried another on-line method.
My doctor gave me the equivalent dose of valium for the lorazepam I would shave off. The plan being to eventually transfer to valium altogether which is easier to withdraw from.
Again I got down to 3 pills a day but the side effects knocked me for six and I had to go back up to 4 a day.

I WAS AT MY WIT’S END

BECAUSE

The symptoms described above were taking their toll on my:-

Ability to reliably turn up to my job and be able to do it when I was there.
Ability to connect effectively with my partner of 12 years.
Ability to turn up to planned events with friends and family.

I eventually had to quit my job.
My partner, understandably, experienced a lot of stress and resentment owing to my behaviour.
It has put a lot of stress on our relationship – and this is not yet resolved.
That is worrying.

another-anime-theories-blog-eyepatch-girl-deaths-parakeet-final-destination

WHY AM I TELLING YOU ALL THIS?

There are several reasons

This last month I have reached crisis point and have been so unwell that My partner has graciously paid for me to go to a private clinic to withdraw from lorazepam.

Crescent+Clinic+Cape+Town+-76233_l_6fc5a6aec6df1e85a74427e2196f505f

I leave on Saturday 24th August for Cape Town, South Africa for 3 weeks.
It is cheaper than to go to any private clinic of similar quality in the UK.
I am NOT looking forward to it – I understand it is a very unpleasant experience

BUT I LONG to be free of this toxic substance that has me addicted to mediocrity, it is:-
ruining my health
ruining my working life
ruining my ability to be independent financially.
ruining my creativity and ability to fulfil plans
and most of all – potentially ruining my relationship with my wonderful girlfriend.

I could have quietly skulked off and pretended I was going on holiday,
BUT I wanted to be honest and transparent on this blog
BECAUSE
there are loads of people going through this.
It SO important to know that we are not alone.
IF my being open helps someone then that is great.

hug 1

So – I will not be blogging for 3 weeks as I undergo treatment.

But please if you have read this and you too are suffering on a benzo
do get in touch,
share your experience if you want to
and I will reply on my return.
I am not wise
I do not have the answers
but I have been there,
I do understand
and would love to have a chat.

so it’s

“BEDTIME FOR BENZO”

and remember

DONT GIVE UP!

hope

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22 Responses to “BEDTIME FOR BENZO”

  1. I will send positive energy your way!!!
    Tara

  2. The same courage and bravery that allowed you to write this post will get you through these next three weeks. I will be thinking about you, and can’t wait to see you on the other side. We can take a picture to replace that skeleton one – what it feels like to be free. I wonder what that photo will look like!

  3. I admire your courage. I will hope with you, think of you, and pray for you. Get well soon!

  4. best of luck to you, i so appreciate your honesty and openness about your challenges, i really think it hits and helps many people for you to talk about them so openly . i cannot even begin to imagine how hard this will be, but know that with you and your partner both wanting this it will help you to get through it. anything that takes your life out of your hands and into its control is scary and it will be wonderful if you can once again regain your personal strength without this monkey on your back. i wish you the best on this continuing journey – beth

  5. Hi there, I am so sorry you are dealing with this hell. I know you are in detox right now, and I pray that all goes well.
    I am suffering from larazapam withdrawal. Have been off for eight months and still suffering. I too know how hard it is. You may be aware of this site, but there is a benzo buddies site that helps people in their withdrawal stage. I am a member on the site, and while sometimes the site and postings can cause discouragement, the success stories on the site may help you. this is a long, long healing process, but we do heal.

    • Thank you so much for your encouraging words x

    • hi debbie thank you SO much for telling me about benzo buddies – i have just returned from rehab and my psychiatrist there told me i need not expect any side effects when i asked her what i could expect to experience on my return home!!!!!!! BELIEVE ME i will be sending her some information to the contrary !!!!! i am experiencing the most horrendous side effects as im sure you can imagine – i even went to the emergency room yesterday thinking i was having a f****ing heart attack – i passed out at home for 2 hours!!!! of course all the chest x rays and ECG’s came back normal – i then went on benzo buddies and to my utter shock discovered that i am not alone and all these crazy physical symptoms are the result of coming off the benzos and my body and brain trying to heal and recover – THANK YOU again!!!!! x

      • It’s amazing what the “experts” don’t know about these dangerous poisons. I sure hope you are feeling a bit better. I’m still struggling, but praying that I will heal. If you are now a part of benzo buddies, I would encourage you to read the success stories on the site. Praying for your healing and recovery. xo

        • Oh yeah, and I think there may be some utube videos that could help from Bliss Johns. Just affirmation/confirmation of what you are going thru. Example link below:

  6. Give me a shout if you need some encouragement while in CT… wishing you the best

  7. In the words of Jacck Kerouac: “It isn’t what you write, it’s how you write it.” Well, you do it very well!I simply can not decide if
    I should share this blog with my buddies or keep it
    as my personal private secret…

    • hi hardcore – lol i love your comment!!!!! sorry i havent replied before but have only just returned from rehab – its up to you sweetie – you can keep me as your private secret if you like hahahaha but then sharing our secrets can some times be SUCH fun x

  8. What’s in place very cool website! Guy. Lovely. Superb. I am going to take note of your web site as well as take the bottles additionally? Now i’m thankful to find quite a few tips with a publish, we end up needing acquire more practices on this regard, thanks for expressing.

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