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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 10:26 am 
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Well, here I finally am. 106 days off suboxone and I have finally found the strength to write. First off, I want to thank ALL of you, as this forum has gotten me through some of my roughest days. With many of you, I feel as if I know you personally. I have never found the strength to actually respond to anyone, as most of the times, I was searching to figure out if what I felt was "normal". Never in my life did I think my journey would be so difficult. I honestly thought that I could stop suboxone and be fine about 15 days later. BOY was I wrong. I guess if I would have read posts before I actually came off, I would have realized the hell of a ride I was in for. I am not writing this post to scare anyone, although I assume I might certainly do so, for those of you who are deciding to come off. Because truth be told, if I would have known this is what was in store for me, I probably would have never followed through with my taper plan and jump off. First of all, it's VERY important for all of you to know, that I was on suboxone for exactly 2 years and 11 months (so lets just say 3 years). The last year I was on about 2mg for about 8 months. I went down to 1mg (which resulted in a maximum of only 3 days of withdrawals), which included minor anxiety and stomach issues, and then I immediately stabilized. I remained on 1mg for about 2 months and then the last month, I decided to taper off. I went from 1mg to .75 to .50 and down to .25, dropping .25 every two weeks or so. I believe I rushed the .50 to .25 too quickly (as that was only about 4 days of .50 and then I immediately went to .25), and then from there...I jumped off at .25mg after only 4 days of being on the .25. All in all, I think I tapered much too quickly, but after 3 years I was determined to be done with it.
Another important thing to note...I was doing all of this while I was searching for a new job. I actually had my second interview of "day 6" of no suboxone, and to this day, I still dont know how I made it through. But I did, and I also got the job and work there as of today. I was also misdiagnosed about 5 yrs ago with Bipolar Disorder. I was on and off all types of meds for years, and I came off my last med in August of 2011. I had never felt better in my life, as I had given myself a full 6 months to monitor my mental health off the meds. So, in Feb 2012, (106) days ago, I decided it was now time to jump the last hurdle in my life. The suboxone. Here's some of what I have gone though and am still going through.
We all know about the basic acute stuff. Of course I had it. I can also honestly say that I had diarrhea for 60 straight days (my stomach is still not right, as I will go many times in the morning, only being able to bind myself once I eat a banana). In addition, I also had the chills for about 80 days straight. I still get them every once in while, although they have subsided for the most part. By far, the WORST part of all was the depression. I cried for the first 60 days and contemplated suicide many times. I have NO IDEA how I went to a new job, as many times I would cry my eyes out in the shower before work, yet somehow, my mind would clear up my mid afternoon. The mornings were always the worst, and they still are (in terms of anxiety). The entire first week of work I also had all the sleep issues, as I was getting only 1-2 hours of sleep per night, AWAKE all night until work time, with my heart beating out of my chest. I was determined to stay off an antidepressant, but things got so bad I needed one. I have now been on wellbutrin for 61 days and I no longer have the dreaded depression. Once I started the wellbutrin, it took about 2 weeks and the depression lifted. Dont get me wrong...I am no where near myself, but I am also not crying and I no longer want to die. In addition, the wellbutrin helped me quit smoking (2 months now with no cigs), and it has given me the desire to push through this all and know that one day these PAWS will be over. I guess my question is...will this ever end?
I always thought going to the gym and lifting weights would make things better, but I have tracked all my workouts. Thus far, I have tried lifting weights on three separate occasions, and all three times, I was SEVERELY depressed for about 1-2 days after wards. I actually felt the chemicals in my brain drop to a lower level (not sure if anyone can relate to that). I thought the anxiety was a thing of the past, but it has reared it's ugly head again for the past 3 days...and I cant seem to shake it. I have this feeling as if I am nervous about everything! A lot of racing thoughts and moments where I feel as if I am back to day 20 off of suboxone. I guess you can say I simply dont feel normal and Im afraid I never will. My sleep is still not the greatest, although I really should not complain, as I am out like a light no later than 11...and although I wake up at 1:00 am and 3:00 am, I am able to go right back to sleep. By 5 (6 the latest), I am wide awake, ANXIOUS beyond belief with that impatient kind of feeling (almost kind of restless and not sure what to do). Again, it's no where NEAR where it use to be (as I use to shake like a leaf with depression and nervousness simply waiting at the bus stop with my beautiful children). Now, because I am not depressed along with it, I can handle the feeling...but I guess it really reminds me of what I once felt like...and it scares the living hell out of me.
I know I am rambling and I sincerely apologize. I guess what I'm asking is...does my life ever become normal again. Will I ever be able to wake up and not think about "how I feel" off suboxone. Will I ever be able to stop counting days? 106 days and I simply am not "sure of myself" if that makes any sense. I am still confused, anxious, and "chilly" at times. Thanks to everyone who reads this!


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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 12:04 pm 
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Joe, I'm here to tell you that it gets better, it honestly gets better, but it does take time.

I made it to day 118 before I FINALLY lost count of how many days off of Suboxone I was. It's not like I had to sit there and remind myself of my day count, it came automatically. When you feel like a heap of dog shit, I guess it's normal to count the days?

It's kind of interesting how day 106 was your first post on this forum, I was around day 130 off of Suboxone when I made my first post here. Your wd and mine seem pretty similar. Not to freak you out, but the severity of wd you're going through and the wd I went through are not typical of Suboxone wd. I've been a member of this forum for 1.5 years and outside of you and I, I've only ever met 1 other person here who experienced the severity of wd/PAWS that you're going through. Why you and I and this other person got smacked so frickin' hard with wd is something that I've still not figured out completely.

I experienced all of the symptoms you experienced, but my depression issues didn't really hit until after one year off of Suboxone. I too took Wellbutrin. I got on it, then off it, then on it, then off it. As of right now, I'm not on it and feel pretty good.

I ended up having to quit caffeine for a good while because of my anxiety issues. No coffee, no soft drinks.....that alone helped my anxiety a lot.

After the day 118 mark (I usually say that's when my acute PAWS stopped), my next big improvement came at 9 months, that seems to be when my PAWS really lifted altogether.

Things will get better, man. It seems to take for-fucking-ever, but you will continue to get better.

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Be kind to yourself. Our character defects do NOT define who we are!


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 Post subject: Much Thanks Romeo
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 1:10 pm 
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Romeo...I've been popping off and on here all day hoping for a response. And I can't begin to tell you what a relief it was to see your post. In my heart, I think I simply needed someone to let me know it will get better eventually. So I thank you for that.
I too had to stop drinking coffee and anything with caffeine in it. I actually noticed during my taper that coffee was giving me tremendous anxiety. Its been about the same amount of days, somewhere around 110-120 that I have not had a single ounce of caffeine.
I've heard in the past that these WD's we went through are NOT typical of suboxone in terms of length. I understand the whole half life shit, but I never thought in my wildest dreams these "feelings" would stick around so long.
I would like to say Congrats to you, and thanks from the bottom of my heart. Your post gave me much needed insight, and made me laugh quite a bit. "A heap of dog shit" is exactly how I would describe it...and you honestly made my day! I wish you all the best Romeo.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:57 pm 
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I can totally relate and I feel for you, but I know it will keep getting better. I jumped off at 16 mg cold turkey and was sleeping 8 hours a night on day 30. Everyone's different. I had severe sneezing, achey legs, diarreah, and insomnia for 3 full weeks, and then one day it was just all gone.

Hang in there, you've come a LONG way.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:22 am 
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Thanks for the kind words scianto.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:48 am 
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Hey Joe.

Firstly, congrats on your persistence so far. You should give yourself a pat on the back. What you decided to do took guts and that you went through with it, and even sat through a job interview shows you got some determination.

Everything you're describing sounds like PAWS to a tee. The feeling of anxiety, and constantly being unsure of yourself and questioning yourself and what you're going through. I equate PAWS to feeling like a "fish out of water". Something doesn't feel right, like you haven't found yourself, and you worry if you ever will find yourself.

You will feel better. It's such a long gradual process though that even you will find it hard to identify when and if you will feel normal. One thing I can guarantee is that you will feel ..better.. In a few months you'll look back at your first post and think "fuck I was pretty crazy sick back then"... After another 6 months you'll likely have enough security in your identity, knowing and being used to living as the "Joe off opioids", that you may have some kinda definition of what normal is again. And most days you will be experiencing it. People still have their good and bad days though. That's true even for those not in recovery!

Just keep at it. You're doing awesome.

The depression you are feeling is worrying for me when I want to go off Suboxone. Can I ask why it is that you you wrongly diagnosed bipolar? Did you get a second opinion? I think there's merit in trialling no-medications at some stage if one questions their diagnosis ... if anything just to find out if they truly do have an illness. After I kicked opioids I trialled going off my medications (lithium / depakote) and I was fine for about 8 months. Then I relapsed into depression (with paranoia) and as a result relapsed into addiction. Despite that, I still think it was something I had to do to truly acknowledge that I have bipolar. I hope your case will be different!

Keep us posted.

PS: Someone else recently posted about having PAWS symptoms get worse after intense exercise like weights. I explained to him a theory I had about it, because it was something I noticed as well. Always after I'd exercise I'd feel better straight after, then a couple of hours later I'd get chills and restless legs that'd last all night.

Exercise is still really useful for speeding up the recovery process, even if it leaves you spent and down for a day or two. Exercise causes the body to excrete the leftover traces of Sub and its metabolites from your tissues and lipids (our brains are 60% fat). Some of it gets sweated out, but some also gets pushed back into the blood-stream before being excreted. This bit from now is just my theory. It could be that some of the bupe / nor-bupe being worked out of your body while exercising finds its way into your synapses, causing your opioid receptors to temporarily up-regulate again. While the exercise is speeding up your body excreting its leftover traces of nor-bupe / bupe, especially early in recovery it might leave you feeling a bit worse at first.

You could go on working out like you are, no pain no gain style. Or if you like you could do exercise of less intensity at first and slowly build up to the heavier stuff as your body and mind recover naturally. Things like yoga, swimming, walking, jogging.


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 Post subject: Update?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:11 pm 
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Hey Joe,

How are you feeling now? I just noticed its 2 months now since your first post, how are things? Progressing? All good?

Thanks,

-glen


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