Across the Universe: Kicking the habit

  1. 3rdStoneFromTheSun
    Kicking Benzo's: Electronic Insects are in my head

    The buzzing is incessant, coming from within and outside of my head all at once. Every nerve in my body feels as though its being forced through a mesh too fine for the neurons to pass through. The agoraphobia is overwhelming, I cannot leave the flat. If I do, I swiftly avoid contact with anyone who knows me - a stop and chat seems completely horrifying. I make quick forays to the grocery - then straight back to the flat. The mere idea of speaking to anyone sends shivers throughout my nervous system, which at the moment seems about to melt through my skin. Depressing notions plague my every thought. My third eye is blinded in a pharmaceutical haze, my memory is scattered.

    Laying in agony I review how I got to this point, 16 months ago when overwhelming anxiety led me to a valium script. I'd taken it many times over the years, fleetingly basking in the numb respite, often coming down from coke or in withdrawals from the opiate of choice at the time. Yes, for many a year I've been wrapped in the coils of addiction, but never in the grip of a benzo dependency. Until now.

    Da Taper

    Dropping from 40 to 10mgs over a few months was almost effortless. Attempting anything below that sent me into a complete tailspin, so I maintained at 10mgs for the better part of a year. Mostly functioning, yet slowly but surely unraveling to a near psychotic state. No longer masking the anxiety, the Valium is now causing it and I feel utterly fucked. This is a whole different beast. I don't crave it. I don't want it. But my mind and nervous system are physiologically entwined in it's mesh. I feel as though I am losing my mind. The electronic insects are buzzing loudly again, 3 hours before my evening dose.

    At one point a few months ago I upped the dose to 12.5-15mgs/day for a brief interlude. About a month ago I slowly dropped back to 10mg, I'm breaking the dose in two and taking it every twelve hours which works for me. I'm ready to taper but all the schedules I've seen online are long, longer than I care to endure. My grasp on reality is crumbling. I can't remember a lot of things, I'm having trouble with recent timelines and have to refer to my sporadic notes, or time stamps on my cell phone calls. Typically I have near photographic memory. Fuck this, I want to cut to the chase.

    Let's Try Ibogaine

    Now, I know Iboga doesn't interrupt benzo dependency, but I need to hear the healing message from the wood. I've used it to interrupt opiate habits a few times with stunning results. In fact, it saved my life. I'd heard of protocols using Iboga in tandem with benzo tapers. I figure maybe I can knock my daily intake of Valium by about a third based on Iboga's propensity for positive healing results. I drop to 7mgs, wait three days and then prepare a "booster" size Iboga dose, 400 mgs of 80% TA. Down the hatch it goes and I lay down and let the medicine guide me along for a couple days, in a pulsating arabesque carousel ride. Emerging from the experience I am exhausted yet renewed, the familiar afterglow warming my thoughts.

    I remain exhausted for a couple days, my thoughts are now positive and a renewed sense of hope emerges. Yet another few days pass and I begin to feel the agoraphobia kick back in. Slowly but surely the ugly symptoms re-appear, right on time for the 9-10 day post-benzo drop witching hour. I start to crave dope. I haven't done any in years. Heroin and crack... Yes... What? Huh? No! Post-ibogaine and I'm having cravings for shit I haven't done in years? WTF? Ghosts of Christmas past? Yet I am not feeling as nearly depressed as I was before the Iboga - just uncomfortable in my skin, so it did help.

    OK. deep breath. I'm too old to head across the city and cop on the street - as if I want to re-re-ignite THAT time bomb anyhow. Maybe just a little Hydrocodone? Hmmm... that might take the edge off and help me sleep. I've been getting maybe 3-4 hours of sleep a night, up at 3am wide awake with the disconcerting feeling that snakes are seething through my muscles.

    Some Other Relief? (Give me shelter)

    Instead, I opt for a small dose of Kratom isolate from my magic box of medicines. I haven't taken any for months. A slight glow forms in my solar plexus. Phew. I feel better. I get up and wash a week's load of dishes. I feel like grocery shopping. Even calling to meet up with a couple friends. Hell, I'd feel even better with some more Kratom... Stop. No, we aren't going to over-binge on Kratom and over entice those receptors!

    Over the next 8 days I take just enough Kratom to get up and going for a couple days, then break for a few days, going the tried and true Harm Reduction route. Imbibing in a small amount of cannabis brings warmth to the soul and positive thinking that helps over-ride the benzo rebound twitches and impending doubts. The cannabis potentiates the nor-ibogaine still coursing in my veins and gives me a re-assuring sense that all will be well. It helps me eat and get a little more sleep. The thoughts of doing narcotics have now subsided.

    I know forward physical motion is critical at this juncture and I head out into nature, pushing myself a little further each time, building up those natural endorphins.

    I'm struggling with memory recollection. A friend suggested an Ayurvedic herb called Bacopa. She tells me of rats being maze trained, then dosed with benzos bringing on the associated amnesia and the subsequent inability to navigate the maze. Bacopa administered to the rats reversed the benzo induced amnesia and they were once again making it through the maze.

    Sounds pretty good to me. I've been taking 500mgs/day of Bacopa 20:1 extract for a week. I am noticing my memory and cognitive response improve.

    In The Now

    I'm now pretty much stabilized on 7mgs of Valium. I slept an amazing 10 hours last night.

    I think I'll take a short break and then drop .5 mg per week now, nice and slow, following a schedule. I seem to have found the patience, yeah. I'm experiencing a new-found grasp on my sanity. Flipping a coin it lands heads up, fingers crossed.

    Those robot insects have quieted down, more of a whisper than a rending screech.

    All in all, we're just kicking the can
    All in all, there's nowhere to land
    All in all, we're just kicking the can
    And when truth be known, you do the best you can
    -Kicking The Can: MBO


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