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Autoimmune or something else?

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Old 09-02-2016, 12:05 AM   #1
JohnMonsour
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Join Date: Sep 2016
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Default Autoimmune or something else?

I have been on xanax (Alprazolam), Valium (Diazepam), Ativan (Lorazepam), and Klonopin (Clonazepam).

It started when I was 18 when I experienced my first panic attack. I was in the library at University and my fraternity brother was proofreading an English Composition essay I had written. I felt this overwhelming sense of dread and palpitations including dissociation and depersonalization. It lasted for 2 hours. After that I never felt "normal" again...

After dealing with strange feelings on my temples and head in general for two months. I came to the conclusion something was terribly wrong with me. My Pdoc at the time suggested I see a neurologist, so he wrote me a referral.

After going to my appointment with the neurologist she came to the conclusion I might have hyperthyroidism. She tested me for thyroid disorder. Came back negative. After that she ran a series of tests. Heavy metal poisoning, 24 hour urine analysis, brain damage, an M.R.I., a full blood work up. Everything came back within normal levels.

She said nothing was wrong with me physically and that it was psychological. So she prescribed me 120 tablets of 0.5mg Alprazolam. I was relieved but not convinced that there was nothing wrong with me as I had always been extremely outgoing, genuinely enjoyed life and extracurricular activities, I was extremely athletic and very healthy prior to the incident that forever changed my life in the library.

She wrote me 120 tablets a month prescribed Q.I.D. (4 times a day) every 4 to 6 hours included 6 refills. And set me an appointment 6 months down the road. This continued for a year and a half. Then the xanax started wearing off every 2 hours and I was needing to take them every 2 to 3 hours.... this included extreme fear, light-headedness, depersonalization, derealizations, dissociation, agitation, and tremors.

She upped my dose to 1mg tablets and shortly after my quality of life started deteriorating, my grades suffered, the activities I once enjoyed I no longer had interest in, my family relationships suffered, I was scared to answer or look at my phone, my interest in anything and everything totally was nonexistent. I would just lay in bed all day and skip class and activities with my friends and my fraternity activities. I hated my life. I was debilitated.

Shortly after I lost my insurance and returned to my family Pdoc, he is an Indian doctor so it was free. He said that my neurologist was insane and can't believe that she had prescribed xanax to a 18 year old college student and had me on so much of it for such a long time. At this point in time it had almost been 2 years....

He said I needed to wean off of it immediately as no person like me who was perfectly healthy before the incident in the library and then being on Xanax for 2 years. He noticed my mental health and deminor had changed significantly. He started me on klonopin 1mg T.I.D. (three times a day). And said he would ween me off of it over the next 6 months slowly and created a tapering schedule for me.

The switch alleviated the precipitated withdrawal symptoms I was having every 2 hours from xanax due to its extremely short half life of 4 hours. Klonopin has a 48 to 72 hour half life. He explained it would be easier to ween off of then Xanax due to the long acting nature of the medicine.

He continued to prescribe it to me at the same quantity and relied and trusted I would follow the tapering schedule. The second month he told me to hold off as long as I could before I took it. And to take a half of a 1mg pill and if that didn't alleviate my symptoms to take another quarter to a half. He gave me some time to get used to it and that continued for another 4 months where I had got down to half a pill twice a day.

The next month being the 5th month on this weaning process I got where I only needed a half of a 1mg pill a day. That continued for the most of the month where he said I should be able to just quit it with minimal withdrawal and told me to hold out as long as I could. This is where it started getting fairly difficult. I would not take it until after work about 10 p.m. at night. At that time I would be experiencing strange withdrawals.

These were different then Xanax withdrawal. I would feel anxious, be light-headed, and have visual disturbances at night. Like street lights would have tracers and see green orbs. Also in the complete darkness of my room laying in bed I would see prism looking shapes in my visual field when looking at the wall.

The next month my 6th and final month of the weaning process my doctor told me to try and take as minimal as possible. I started taking a quarter of a pill at night instead of a half. So .25mg. This is where it became extremely trying. Same withdrawal I had from the .50mg I was taking. But the hardest part was that my doctor said he wasn't prescribing anymore klonopin and that I was taking such a miniscule amount I could quit at anytime at this point.

I tried, I tried with all my might but I couldn't stop taking it. If I stopped taking it the second night I would be experiencing moderate anxiety and insomnia. I just couldn't stop, by the third day to night I was just as debilitated as from Xanax withdrawal. I continued to take .25mg and then I ran out eventually.

I called my doctor on his personal phone in the middle of the night and explained to him I felt like I was going to die. He called in 30 1mg klonopin pills. After I ran out of those around a month and a half later I had to call him again. He was angry this time and said that this was the last time and not to call him on his personal phone unless there was a medical emergency. To me it was. But he insured me I wasn't going to die and he called in 15 1mg pills.

When those ran out I called him and he freaked out. Telling me I should have just been able to quit with no symptoms. He threatened to drop me as a patient. And if I ever needed anything I needed to make an appointment. So that was the end of that. No more klonopin.

Long story short I had to go to medical detox for a minimum of 14 days. That's the minimum for benzodiazepine withdrawal. The regiment was introduce a different benzodiazepine called librium 4 times a day and rapid taper off of that. I had 8 days cold turkey prior or to admitting myself in medical assisted detox. Because I started experiencing extreme withdrawal symptoms such as extreme tremors, dissociation, depersonalization, extreme agitation, extreme insomnia, panic attacks, derealizations, extreme delusionions, extreme hallucinations, high blood pressure, ultra rapid heart rate, paranoia, strange thinking patterns, completely insane. I couldn't even talk in complete sentences. I lost my job, my relationships all were heavily affected. They also gave up to 300mg of trazadone at night for sleep. I started feeling slightly better.

But I wasn't feeling "normal" I never have since the day I had that first panic attack 7 years ago. I checked myself into a luxury rehab for 45 days and placed on various psych meds, none of which helped other than Neurontin (Gabapentin) and Baclofen. Those seemed to help for about a year to a year and a half. Then I had to deal with withdrawal from them.

I remained abstained from benzodiazepine use for almost 2 years but never felt okay. I still dealt with debilitating anxiety and this tingling sensation on my temples, and tremors. Everybody always made comments that I was shaking and asked why I just always said I have always been shaky.

7 years later I still don't function properly. I dropped out of college and was a straight a student until my problem started. I researched and researched. Been to doctor after doctor. All say the same thing my blood work and M.R.I's come back normal.

I am back on klonopin and it helps with my debilitating anxiety and makes mg head feel a little better. I am convinced something is wrong with me or my brain. I don't have insurance. I have lost interest in anything and everything, I no longer get excited, I have a girlfriend I can't even give her the attention or affection she needs due to me constantly focusing on the way I feel. I just want to feel like I did before that day in the library 7 years ago. I just want to feel normal. I want to be successful but whatever happned won't go away.

Please help. If anyone can relate in anyway. Thanks, John.
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