I thought I was done with these damn pills, but as I lay on a friends couch in Dallas, TX after an acoustic show I had just played… I knew I was not.
I had been trying to taper off these things for the past few months, but it felt like something was wrong.
I had a plan, but it wasn’t working. I felt horrible. I was anxiety ridden in a dark living room on an old uncomfortable couch. I couldn’t sleep. My mind felt broken.
I didn’t purposely take these pills for recreational use, but I have always suffered with a little bit of anxiety and depression in my life since I was in my early 20s. I’m 35 now (as of writing this post) and for the most part have it under control with diet and exercise, but I was in a bad spot when the Dr wrote the script for the pills that could have potentially killed me.
Before this night on the couch, there was a period of about 6 years of being on these pills which were a type of benzodiazepine. This particular benzo, that a Dr. prescribed, was called Clonazipam.
HORRIBLE stuff. Similar benzos are Xanax and Valium.
When I think about it, from the moment I started my 1st band in 2004 and the following 6 years, I would take 2 pills a day. I just felt like crap all the time and the anxiety was getting worse. I had done a little bit of research, so I knew that the pills I got on to help me were actually making the anxious feelings worse!
I knew I had to get off of them, NOW.
I almost just quit cold turkey, but then I read that I could of gone into seizures and possibly died. Crazy right?
I also read I had to try and taper off of them slowly. So that’s what I did. For a period of about 2 months I would slowly take smaller and smaller doses until I was completely off.
That night on the couch was was supposed to be my first time completely off these things.
From being on the pills for about 6 years my mind was still in a shaky spot. I made it through the show, but as I lay on that couch it felt like I wouldn’t make it through the night.
I called my wife and said I don’t fell good. I felt like I was about to go crazy. My wife was scared and didn’t want me to, but we agreed that I would take half a pill so I could drive home the next day and figure out the next step.
Once I was home,( and back on daily pills) I did some more research and found this UK based website all about helping people get off benzos. Apparently you can just get them over the counter in the UK and it’s a big problem.
I found out that the particular benzo I was on was not a good one to try and wean yourself off of because of it’s potency and the way it reacts in your body. I pretty much was going about it all wrong and was having withdraw affects the whole time. It wasn’t fun!
I had to transition over to Valium from Clonazipam and then slowly wean myself off of Valium. I was determined to get it done and be off this shit. So with the help of the UK site I made a timeline with doses of transitioning over to Valium from Clonazipam and then tapering off Valium.
I presented it to the Dr. that prescribed me this junk in the 1st place so that she could fill 2 prescriptions…one for each drug.
What a mess.
We had some heated words in her office about not informing me about how addictive this stuff was. I trusted her. I felt misguided as I’m sure millions of people do with the way our health care system is set up.
That’s a whole other story.
She filled the prescriptions and I was off to the pharmacy.
The Pharmacist looked at me like I was a huge druggie or drug dealer, but I showed him my plan and explained that I’m trying to get off this poison. Once he could tell I was serious he filled both prescriptions and said…”good luck“.
As of 2011 I can say I have not had a pill, and as of writing this post it’s 2018. I am happily married with an amazing 2 year old son and one on the way.
I ended up writing a song about this whole experience called “Pill in my pocket” and I’d like to give it to you FREE with no strings attached.