I Want My Life Back! Will it ever happen? (xanax drugs)

cathie54July 24, 2006

I have been on disability for over 14 years(?) now.

I was in my mid-30's - maybe around 33 yrs old. I had a massive panic attack one day at work (a Friday morning) - out of the blue. (My office full of paramedics and some other group - there must have been at least 15 people swarm into my office that day. I don't remember, as all I could do was keep my head down on the cool desk. Even to try to speak raised my adrenaline (sp) and heart palps.)

"They" tried to take my purse from me. I wouldn't let them have it.

(My hubby's Mother had a heart attack once in middle of night - hubby and I were there that night. All emergency came - asked what, if any, meds she was on. They were given meds, and those meds DISAPPEARED! (Expensive heart meds). Hubby's Father had to call around - eventually the meds showed back up - someone "accidently put in their pocket" and supposedly "forgot".

So, even tho I was in midst of something I had NO clue about and feeling very horrible, I remebered that episode of Mom's meds MIA. I didn't have any meds. I DID have all my personal info and some CC's in my purse.

I was hauled off on gurney to hospital. They stopped along the way to draw blood. Wasn't till MUCH later I realized they wanted to search my purse for possible illegal drugs.

So I end up in hospital emergency - a little tiny room alone. Nurses came and went. Blood pressure sky-high, heart "jumping out of my chest", adrenalin rush that won't stop, feeling disoriented, etc. All the while not knowing WHAT is going one with me. As bad as I was, they even made me get up to pee in cup.

I thought I was going to die.

After awhile, they released me. I'm still feeling bad. I ask Doc on way out: "What's wrong with me?" He only says "Maybe you have some problems, and cut out the caffine." (A whole lot of help THAT was!) I think they only waited for lab results to rule out DRUGS, and let me go.

Well heck! Now I'm miles away from my car (still at work in parking lot). Son at school and only 15 - barely has learners' permit (which didn't matter since he didn't have car anyway), closest relative a 2 hour drive away - which happened to be my elderly parents. So, I call my friend (now my "hubby") at his work for a ride.

I sit in waiting area - waiting for him to arrive. Still feeling horrible. I almost collapse a few times walking to hubby's car. Couldn't even get my car at work - still feeling so bad I had to lay down in HIS car till he got me home.

Once home, I lay on couch with phone next to me. Hubby had to go back to work. Son would be home in a couple hours, and "hubby" would come over after work.

It was dreadful awful.

We HAD to get my car that evening. Where I worked - there had been numerous cars stollen from parking lot - I couldn't afford to lose my car. After son and hubby were there, we went to pick up car. I STILL felt too horrible to drive. Son drove my car home (YIKES!), and I had to ride in car back with hubby.

This "THING" lasted ALL weekend long!

I managed to get appt with my regular G.P. for following Monday. Called into work to let them know I wouldn't be in - going to Doc. Got "the 3rd DEGREE!!!" - "Why didn't you go to Doc FRIDAY?!!!"...

Managed to get to Doc on Monday. He immediately told me sounds like a "Panic Attack". I started laughing. I had never heard of such a thing! He gave me a paper to read about panic attacks while he stepped out of the room. I was amazed. Everything on that paper made sense to my symptoms. He later told me that he had a patient who has been having them for over 5 years. I was shocked, and told him "that won't happen to me".

Well, guess what?

He immediately started me on drugs that aren't even heard of much these days...Pamelor, Klonopin or Chlorazepate or?

Well, the "Pamelor" was the anti-depressant. Big capsules. Naturally, I overslept for a few weeks. (no matter what time I took them in the evening, I STILL never heard my alarm in the morning.) People from work would call and WAKE me at 9 or 9:30am - I was supposed to BE AT WORK at 8am.

I finally got over that, but the panic attacks would still kick in whenever.

Doc finally put me on Xanax. That helped a lot with the panic attacks - didn't completely stop them, but the panic attacks were less severe. (Most times, anyway)

I eventually stopped taking the Pamelor on my own - was keeping me up at night with really bad indegestion/heartburn.

I've been to numerous "therapists", Docs, etc., over the years - to no avail. I've had numerous tests (including checking for "Mitral Valve Prolapse" - which can mimic symptoms). Brain scans, EKG's, Holtar Monitor...

I had a therapist who wanted to "try" hypnosis. Now, I don't have a problem with THAT, but she was obvously "new", and...well it just didn't work. LOL!

Everytime I've had to change Docs, they IMMEDIATELY feel the "need" to try me on some different meds. I've tried almost every anti-depressant out there. I'm extremely sensitive to even the lowest dosage of anti-depressants, and have horrible side-effects. (I've even tried taking 1/2 dose of MINIMUM dose)

Also, the more I see these therapists, the more screwed up I become! (I keep thinking about my past now - trying to figure out what went wrong. The more I think about it - the crazier I become. It's like I can't move forward - I'm dwelling on past, and I don't know how to stop.)

I'm only on Xanax now. Low doses: normally .5mg 3x per day. On REALLY bad days (RARE) I will take up to 5 ea .5mgs.

(I had a doc once who prescribed 8 mg/day! YIKES! I have NEVER even taken a total of 3 mgs /day! That's scarey!)

Now, I've recently realized I've had a change in personality. Some good - some bad. It took me years to realize this. I THOUGHT it was due to "worldly" things. I'm only beginning to realize it must be related to the drugs.

Also, I always LOVED driving - especially long distance. NOW, I won't even drive two blocks. (I WANT to)

I'm VERY outspoken in public - never used to be...

There are many things...


I want to be able to go to work.

I want to feel comfortable driving again.

I want to be able to make "committments" - and KEEP them.

I want to be able to enjoy the Holidays again.

I want to do those big family "get-togethers" with lots of food again.

I want to be able to clean my whole house in one day.

I want to be able to run those last minute errands - grocery store, bank, P.O. - ON MY OWN!

I want to be able to get into shower or bath without having to "monitor" how I feel or wait for someone to be home to "check on me".

There is SO much I want to do that others take for granted - that "I" used to take for granted!

NOW - for last few years - been "doing the p-menopause" thing. More problems with that, and anxiety/panic/heart palps worse!

Does this just never end???

I want off Xanax! I don't wan't any more prescription drugs! (I'm even more worried NOW about trying to go off Xanax. Not only the potential wdl, but the p-menopause on top of that.)


Anyone in the same situation?

I've read horror stories about weaning off these drugs.

(I DID try Valerian root extract for anxiety. Didn't work)

Please - if you've been in this similar situation - anxiety/panic attacks/RX drugs/on disability for a very long time - and now p-menopause - share your stories.

I KNOW I'm not the only one!

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Cathie - I think you should join a forum devoted to anxiety/panic attacks. People that are dealing with the same issues as you can be very helpful. The link below might lead you in the right direction.

When I was having anxiety and depression I found that the meds were of little help, but a change of diet (cutting out most carbs/sugar) helped a lot. I didn't have the panic attacks though.

Best of luck to you!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Anxiety Forums

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 9:04PM
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Cathie, are you my twin? Many years ago, I had nearly the same thing occur out of no where. After the heart, etc. checked out fine, I was diagnosed with panic attacks. The first one was so severe I was transported via ambulance. Then they were so severe that I would pass out within seconds of entering a store and ditto on driving. Life stopped as I knew it. Was doped up on only xanax for a long time - increasing doses to stop attacks - till I was a zombie. But hey, I QUIT passing out whooopee!!! FINALLY, after several different antidepressants were tried, we found that Effexor worked the best. I was able to ween down on the xanax and eventually switched to clonzapan (sp?). For me, it was the perfect combo. All weening was a slow process.

As more time went on, I did my own very slow weening of both drugs. Once I learned that I was mainly suffering from the fear of the fear of not being medicated and that something might happen as a result (if that makes sense), I was okay.

I was drugged for approx 5 years and have now had approx 5 years drug free with zero attacks. Was already menopausal due to surgery years before the first attack.

No, you aren't alone and it is frightening. As they say, it's often the fear of the fear. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 12:20AM
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Cathie: Same here ... happened one day at work and I can still remember where and when even though it was 10 years or so ago! Fortunately my family Dr. knew exactly what was going on and put me on Xanax and clomipramine which helped and I've had none since those earlier attacks, thank goodness! I can really sympathasize with any one experiencing a panic attack : sweating, vision blurred, heart racing,feeling weak, shaky and dizzy (I initially thought I was experiencing low blood sugar and tried to eat but couldn't swallow!) ..

Hope you can now experience a panic-free life and can believe it is in the past!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 10:35PM
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You might want to research mega doses of Vit. B-12 and B-6 - took care of my panic attacks.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 2:43PM
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I now take a minimum of 7 2mg xanax a day. I take them all at once. On a Friday I ususlly take about 15 to 20. When I first started taking them one gave me the ultimate feeling of happiness and well being. Now no matter how many I take I can't get that feeling back, so I just keep taking more and more hoping I will get that same feeling that just 1 2mg xanax used to give me. BUT NOTHING! MY DOCTOR PRESCRIBES THEM BUT ONLY 8 MG PER DAY, I GET THE REST THROUGH OTHER MEANS.

Thanks In Advance!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 10:14PM
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YOu need to detox off the xanax. I believe you are overdosing on them. You need to be under a doctor's care while coming off them. You need to try a different drug.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 10:27PM
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Cathie, are you excercising? That is the absolute best way to help prevent panic attacks and alleviate the need for Xanax. My husband used to have the same thing, now he goes to the gym everyday and hasn't had a panic attack in years. You need a good cardio and strength training routine. It will naturally rid your body of the anxiety that causes you to need the Xanax, and will sleep better.

Victoria, you need to call a drug treatment center. This is an addiction, I can't understand why your doctor would prescribe the amount you are taking now without trying to figure out underlying problems. This is serious problem, and without professional help it will cause other physical health problems. Please look up "drug addiction treatment centers" in Google or whatever search engine you prefer. Call a friend or family member you trust to help you with this. You really need to get treatment immediately.

Best of luck to you both, and let us know how you are doing.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2006 at 11:23AM
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In September when we moved from our home of 28 years I had a HUGE panic attack, never had one before. Am now on meds, can't seem to get over it. I feel this panic attack did someting to my nervous system and now I rely on meds to take the edge off.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2006 at 7:53AM
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believe it not,caffine is a huge contributor to anxiety. First panic attack I had was cuz I drank several cups of coffee.In fact,everytime I drink coffee (which I love the taste of) I have a panic attack.
Usually I can tolerate a soda,but I have pretty much completely cut out all caffine. My family and friends think I'm wussy for this.
I have been on .025 mil. of xanax for the last almost 5 years.
it was the only real thing that helped my anxiety attacks.
But I started slowly weaning myself off.One every other day,then every two days.Got to the point where I only began taking them if actualy really needed them,which for a while was once a week,then once a month.Sometimes I'd even break them in half and only take a half.
Now I have been off for 5 months.I still kinda need one around PMS time,when anxiety runs the worst for me,but I deal without best I can.
Exercise does help alot.It gets out pent up energy and tension. Hot warm baths to relax tense muscles.
Also,you may look into getting one of those massage chairs. Intimate contact helps too.
During my worst attack,I was shaking and having terrible thoughts.My husband layed beside me and just held me until I finally fell asleep out of exsaustion.Now when I'm really tense,I hate to be crude,but having sex helps alot too.
I also find,I try not to dwell on being mad or upset.The more I do,the more likely to have an attack.
You need to detox though before you do anything.Quiting cold turkey could be very dangerous at this point.
And...you will have some side effects from quitting like insomnia. I do occasionally still deal with that as my biggest withdrawl.
I really know how you feel though.It is so terrible to be run by anxiety.Alot of people dont understand or think you are making it up.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2006 at 4:20AM
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Coolmama is also right on about the caffeine. Cutting it out will help a lot.

I am still at the point where I stay in REM unless I take a Xanax, I have weird dreams and can't fully fall asleep unless I take a pill. I keep trying to ween myself off of them fully, but I can't fall into a deep sleep without it.

Cathie and Victoria, how are you guys doing?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 1:46PM
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Yes it can happen. jewest1941@juno.com

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 1:40AM
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