Tranquil

This is my third day.

I haven’t gone more than three days without one in two years.

Through most of my 20s, they were an eject button I kept in my purse. If ever the hole in the floor started to open, if ever that nameless terror started to distort me, I could take one, early. It wouldn’t end the panic attack, but it would confuse it, making it muddled and fuzzy instead of ravenous and sharp; giving me more of a chance to beat the black dog down.

Mom died about the time my son stopped breast-feeding, so the timing was good. My in-laws came to visit within a month of her funeral, because they had planned the trip for so long. I don’t think they weren’t comfortable with my grief and I was a poor, indifferent host. Our house was too tiny, my children too needy, and my mother was unexpectedly dead. Two Klonopin made that constant percolating despair cool down. I started taking them every day from then on, anxiety or not.

I have never “abused” them, because I was afraid if I did they’d take them away from me.  I was terrified I’d seem too needy when I asked my P.A, to keep them coming even when it had been a year since mom died. The words, “drug seeking behavior” embedded in my brain. You can’t let them see how bad you want it. So I rarely exceeded my prescription of two pills a day. Although I took them together, not separately as prescribed.

Last weekend I went to stay at an inn by myself, because I was beat under and needed to. I was there to relax, and at first I did. I saved the Klonopin till dark, and under what had become it’s disappointingly short enchantment, I laid in front of the fireplace of the inn’s deserted living room, looking over old pictures of the chicken farm it had used to be, reading the historical society’s notes on the man who’d built it. I was happy.

Then they wore off, as they do quite quickly now. The intense peace lasts maybe ten minutes, the general smoothness maybe two hours. Then, alone in my pretty little room, surrounded by every kind of comfort from feather bed to Ipad, things begin to skew. Things were wrong. I was wrong. The door in the floor was opening up. Even though I still had tranquilizers in my system, I was fighting panic. So I took one and a half more, and two Benedryll on top. I snapped angry birds across my tablet for three hours, desperately trying to keep shows on the television that I was familiar with from our Netflix queue. I eventually fell asleep.

Not dropped, not sacked…as 3 and a half Klonopin and two benedryll should do to any respectable person. Just laid down and eventually slept.

I was disturbed by that. I feel unsafe that the escape button is jammed. My husband mentioned that “benzo aficionados” often pair their pills with an empty stomach full of grapefruit juice, to make the effects stronger.That was one option I began to consider. I also began wondering which among my friends I could ask for marijuana. I’d never had any, but I thought maybe it too would extend the effects of the Klonopin. A friend warned me that pot sometimes causes surrealism and paranoia, the very things I’m so desperate to avoid. So that was out.

So here I am with these tatters in my hands. I’ve grown resistant to my favorite part of the day, which now really only lasted ten minutes. And should I need the pills to do their original job, I would need to take double the amount.

My options were to begin abusing them, planning my life around them, relying on them more and more to bail me out of my (perfectly nice) reality, or chuck them. (Not literally of course. Shit no, they’re in my purse and will remain there. They’re still a layer of defense against panic attacks and I’d lick paint thinner off of Satan’s toes every night if it kept those from coming back.)

I can’t set up the life of an addict. It’s too…ambitious.  I haven’t stopped taking them from any sense of righteousness or health. They just don’t work anymore, and I can’t bring myself to cultivate the hassle of a serious addiction. I don’t feel reformed and I’m not ashamed of having taken them. I have to stop. It’s the only practical choice. All the stuff I was trying to avoid feeling; responsibility, irritation, guilt, failure, overwhelmedness…I’m just going to have to get used to feeling it again.

I feel lonesome and defenseless without them.

This is my third day.

5 thoughts on “Tranquil

  1. As a “benzo aficionado” (I’ve purposely taken benzos with grapefruit juice) – and as someone who had to come off of Klonopin 2 years ago in order to participate in a drug trial at NIH – please prepare yourself for the following: massive headaches, crying jags (this was the worst for me as I’m not a crier and tears feel like foreign objects), lethargy alongside a brick wall that was balancing on my chest, and a touch of rage. Okay, maybe that was just me. But I was there with some other folks also coming off of Klonopin and there were days that many of us could not walk out of our rooms. I wish you the best. And maybe keep some melatonin by your side, just as some kind of safety net. It’s all natural and will at least take some of the anxiety away and help you to possibly sleep.

    I’m now back ON Klonopin, as it really is the only thing that takes hold of my anxiety…well, any benzo really aside from Ativan which I call baby benzos.

    Good luck. Hold on for the ride. I hope it’s much less stressful than mine.

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  2. I’ve been on Klonopin (at varying doses) for eight years. I take one mg at bedtime, and am free to take two (.5 mg) during the day (seperately), if I need it. I find that I go through fits and spells where and I need it, and then long stretches where I don’t. I totally hear that you’re not ready to chuck the ones you have out of your purse, because they do work great (even it’s only working 10 minutes for you) for a lot of things. I think the key is to take them just a bit less than as prescribed and to not get into a regular habit of it. My best to you on this one and I hope you keep writing about it. Sometimes that will give a bit of peace.

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  3. I was basically going to say everything that Rae did above, so I’ll skip that. But I will say maybe you should consider cutting down slowly as opposed to just cold turkey…just a thought. Good luck.

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  4. Good luck, girl. I never tried anti-anxiety meds more serious than Ativan, but I was an alcohol addict for many years, and I have to tell you I’m glad you’re avoiding the addict route. I got to a point where it just didn’t work for me anymore, but instead of recognizing it like you seem to, I forged ahead. It’s no bueno, because then you can’t take ANYTHING and you have to feel all the feels, which sucks when you have anxiety.
    Anyway, I’m rooting for you.

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