The Fourth Day Never Comes

I was so close. If I could just make it through the evening, I would have gone four days without a Klonopin. A first in over two years. But things were falling apart.

Gus was very sick, and his misery made me anxious. I had to do my first solo Girl Scout meeting that night, which made me anxious. I’d taken a half a caffeine pill earlier in the day, and I was still inexplicably jittery from it, which made me…yeah you’re getting it. Frankly by that point I had a growing uneasiness that the blades of grass in my lawn were all different lengths. SUCH CHAOS. 

I sat at the cluttered dining table furiously coloring paper plates for the meeting. One yellow to represent truth, and one dark blue for lies. The crayon strokes were jagged and scribbled because my hands were shaking.

“Gus, honey, I know you’re sick but I need you to talk me down from having a Klonopin. Cuz I’m feeling like I need one real bad.”

He lumbered over to the table and sat down, snorting and hacking, squinting his watery eyes and trying to focus on me.

“I am probably not the best person to do that,” he said. “I think going cold turkey off a benzodiazepine is dangerous.” And that was when I realized why I had never gone more than three days without a Klonopin. Why it always fell apart before the fourth day.

I remember the frustration of watching my P.A. look up “Klonopin” in her little drug dictionary, tracing her finger down the page as we haggled over how high of a dose she would give me.

“Mmm. Says here that the drug is effective for up to 70 hours,” she looked up with a sort of, ‘ooo, sorry…that means I can’t give you as much as you want’ grimace. In my head, I slapped that stupid little book out of her hands and screamed “Bullshit! Try TWO hours!” Maybe I should have. It would have supported my case that I needed tranquilizers.

Well lo and behold. Even though the warm fuzzies last but a few hours, the dope itself rides your bloodstream for days, keeping things even. As those 70 hours expire, I begin to shake and worry and sorrow. I couldn’t think straight. How was I going to help my little girls earn their petals if I couldn’t talk without tripping over my tongue or having my voice break?

I always think there is virtue in needless suffering. That it shows how tough I am. Well, that’s dumb. I took a half dose. No high followed, but the world righted itself and allowed me passage through. Now I take a half dose when things are grim. I apparently still need it, legitimately. Where is the balance between reasonable use and lazy, “I don’t like this reality so I’ll try another one” use?

I don’t know what will happen next.

16 thoughts on “The Fourth Day Never Comes

  1. Therese. I believe you CAN get off this shit. In fact, I know you can. But you need to be smart about it. You’re smart. You can do this. Be smart so that you don’t feel like your losing your mind and failing. You know?

    Also, I think you need to enlist help, first and foremost, Gus’ help. He’s your peg – or is it hole? You’ll need him 100% behind you. And, if possible get a *smart* medical professional to help you. They might not exist. Get a plan in place, and start in a small, SMART way.

    It won’t happen overnight. But you CAN do this. I know you can.

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    • Ann why doesn’t your name link back to your blog??? Hook me up, I want a more regular dose of wysdom. Thank you so much for the support.

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  2. Very brave writing to match a very brave journey. Not that it’s the same, but I have an illness that causes a lot of chronic pain. I particularly loved when you said “I always think there is virtue in needless suffering”. I try my hardest to suffer through the pain and when I finally take something I’m at my highest pain level. My husband always asks why I wait and I always say that I hate having to take a pill every time I feel bad. I don’t want to be dependent and I want to just live. It doesn’t always work that way. Do what’s best for you and helps you have quality in your life.

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  3. The scene with the little drug dictionary would have made me rage. I remember going with my husband to help him through a medication adjustment and being completely floored at the asshole holding the book’s inability to look straight ahead and really see my sweating, shaking husband vulnerably requesting help before he was readmitted to an in-patient program.

    I hope you find peace, and the right advocates, doctors and supporters to get you to that peaceful place.

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  4. Wow, I totally get this. I’ve been taking prozac as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy since I turned into a witch after the first year of hot flashes. Now we live in Egypt and the damn prozac only comes in a package with 10 pills! That is so stupid! Its a p.i.t.a. to go to a pharmacy every ten days for more pills, so I try taking one every 3 or 4 days to stretch the box out to a month… I just wait till I burst into tears about not having any more creamer for my coffee or someother equally stupid issue… it’s crazy, isn’t it?!! ;^)

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  5. First, I agree. That 70-hour mumbo jumbo is bullshit. I mean, I know it’s medically accurate, but the 2-hour mark is about all you’ll get in terms of feelings it’s effects, so it seems like feeling 2 out of 70 is getting the short end of the stick.

    Second, I think Gus is right, and that you should wean yourself off the medication. Going cold turkey can definitely have harmful side effects.

    Third, I think it’s awesome that you’ve shared this (so, thank you) and it’s awesome that you’re trying to curb any dependency. Mental health issues are hard…

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  6. I am unfamiliar with benzos, but I am terribly familiar with anxiety and medicating of the anxiety. It is SO HARD to go off something that curbs the anxiety. I had to learn how to not take anything for my anxiety (stupid addiction), and that was hard, hard, hard.
    Did I mention it was hard?
    But I know it’s possible. I did it. And if I did it, you can, too. Best wishes to you.

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  7. Ann’s comment was so much better than anything I could come up with, but I wanted to leave a quick comment that I liked how you wrote this and to wish you well.

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  8. Like Marcy, I want to be gutsy and tough love like Ann. I don’t know you but I believe that it’s possible to have the life you want. I believe in getting support and asking for help and reaching out. I also see you doing that.

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  9. thank you for this insight into Klonopin and anxiety – it helps me to understand someone’s struggle. How do you decide if taking it is worse than not taking it? You sound like you could do anything you set your mind to doing, even if it’s hard.

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    • That’s a really great question. I think I genuinely needed it in this situation. But yesterday, when I was just bored and wanted something to distract me from my deadlines and messy house….to take it then would have been questionable. I wish whoever in your life is struggling the best of luck.

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