PBE 2: Working Around Withdrawal Woes

Day 196 of titrating
Starting dose: 1.5mg

Current Dose: 1.302mg

It’s been 35 days since my last personal blog update, and as you can see: titration is a very slow process. In roughly six-and-a-half months, I’m now down a total decrease of 0.198mg of Clonazepam. Getting so close to a quarter of a pill!

Yeah, it’s a small victory.

I spoke about my alexithymia this week so that hopefully you reading out there may have a better understanding why coming off this class of drug has an extra barrier. Before even considering titrating, I had to learn what were my anxiety responses, and what were actual medical emergencies. I don’t say what’s commonly said: I feel like I’m dying. I don’t understand what that means (from an anxiety perspective). The last time I felt like I was dying was when I couldn’t leave my cold bathroom floor, head propped up on the toilet, throwing up nothing for hours after a round chemotherapy. I had to learn that not everything I sense in my body is an actual medical emergency. Those cramps, that flutter, and constantly running to the toilet is anxiety.

The past few weeks the symptoms have varied, and they’ve been a lot more mental. It’s becoming more and more difficult to get out of bed. My passive suicidality has really made itself known, and my brain and body feel rather empty. I’m very tired when I get up even after I know I’ve had enough rest, and haven’t done enough to consider a boom-bust style crash. This tells me I’m going through a heavier depression than normal. My eyelids feel so heavy, and I’ve noticed I’ve started to fidget when I’m still. What sucks is the stubborn part of me say keep going down in doses, the rational part of me says hold. Give it one more week, I can do this, I’m tough. I give my word to you reader that if this continues, I won’t allow pride to allow my mind and body to play catch-up

I wish I had more physical withdrawal symptoms than this mixed bag of mental. That’s why they say coming of benzodiazepines is so difficult.

Top this off: I got some medical news that requires the attention of a specialist. You’d think my GP would be glad I’ve been taking a passive role in my healthcare, knowing how busy they are, and went to look for help in other types of practices. Nope. I’ve never seen a more defensive stance, even flat out lying. Anyone living outside of Nova Scotia would say find a new family doctor: not so easy. Don’t worry, I have contingency plans (as many of us have had to do these days). I’ll write a post about this topic and what you can do if you’re ever stuck in that situation.

True that.

So what has been helping?

  • If I’m feeling too fidgety, no caffeine for the rest of the day. If it’s the evening, the next day, decaf it is and none of my Coke Zero (yes, I have some shit vices).
  • Exercise every damn day, and push myself to get my ass out the door. Outside if I can. It helps in so many ways. I also have had to switch up the types of activity. Boredom and inattentiveness seems to accompany this depression, so too much repetition reinforces that gravitational pull back to my bed.
  • Pay attention to my body. I’ve ended up turning my hypervigilance inwards, and it has been incredibly useful in self-awareness.
  • Stay the hell off social media, or consume in small doses. I have to heal myself, and once I’m back to 100 percent, I’ll be able to use my faculties as strongly as the opinions I read (and used to be able to share). That, and the falsehood that is Facebook causes me to compare myself.
  • Be social at levels I can handle. This has meant saying no: healthy boundaries are hard. It plays into the last point made: there’s so many social topics I want to discuss, but if I engage, I have to be prepared for opposing opinions. I welcome these, but nine times out of ten, in heated debate, couth lacks in personal opinion. I’m usually able to steer the convo back on track, but I don’t have it in me right now. This also goes for anything that may aggravate my already sensitive nervous system. Too many people and not enough exists? No thank you.

And, the most important one that I struggle with…

  • Be kind to myself. Treat myself like I was someone I cared about going through any of this. Do I listen to my rational brain 100% of the time? No, but I’m getting better. I’ll say I’m proud of the incremental improvement.
The Awkward Yeti speaks to me. One day, you two. One day…

Well, that’s all for now. I hope your weekend has a moment of learning, a moment of fulfillment, a moment of rest, and a moment of reflection.

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