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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 8:59 am 
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Ok...feeling a little blue this morning. First of all, I cut my dose this morning on these strips to 1/2 strip (4 mgs) as I just felt totally overmedicated doing 3/4 of a strip (6 mgs)....all the nodding out and immediately dreaming...I can't function like that!

Today is 4th day on strips. I am supposed to be on 12 mgs/day (1 strip in am, 1/2 strip pm)
Because of strength of strips, cut it to 10 mgs/day (3/4 strip am, 1/2 strip pm)

10 mgs/day is STILL TOO MUCH! Feel soooo groggy all the time :(

Today, I've cut the dosage to 8 mgs (1/2 strip in am, 1/2 strip in pm). Hoping I don't face any w/d symptoms but then I rationalize that even at 8 mgs on the strips...I am probably getting roughly the same amount as on 12 mgs of the tablets. I know the strips are like 95% absorbed and the tablets are more like 55% absorped (my doc's argument for going on the strips).

I have no choice but to just stay here awhile and get stabilized at 8 mgs/day. I am praying I don't feel any effects from dropping lower and can just stay here thru about the 1st of August before I start to tackle going down below the "ceiling".
I kind of wish I'd stayed on my tablets....BUT they are so hard to do the taper with...much easier to cut the strips down...so guess it's best if I go on and do the change.

It is rainy and gloomy out this morning and I realized just how much farther I have to go and just got "blue". I read DoaQ's taper thread and all the people that were down to .5 and beyond and I realized just how high a dosage I'm still on...can I really do this? If I'm so frightened of w/d...the best thing I see over and over is to go super slow and get down as low as you can. That is my plan.

I have to look at how far I've come....2.5 months ago, I was still sailing along at 24 mg/day. Now, here I am trying to do 8 mg/day....That is pretty incredible to me and pretty fast. If I can just get stable without all this drowsiness...and hopefully at 8 mgs/day...I just want to stop thinking about tapering and stay here a while...really get comfortable at 8 mgs/day...and then start my taper again in 2-4 months. I have done a lot awfully fast!

The RLS is still bothering me and I can't determine if that's from nicotine withdrawal or dropping my Sub dose. Nothing to do but ride it out! Taking vitamins, probiotics, eating healthy and need to exercise more...but I am working on a much healthier lifestyle to go along with my taper. I am even considering NA to have a strong support system in place.


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 11:00 am 
Hi Aqua! Glad to see you're keeping your thread updated! I'm sorry you've had a bit of difficulty with the switch over to the strips. I'm afraid I can't help you much there as I have yet to try the strips myself. I was recently switched to generic Subutex from Suboxone, at my request, in an effort to save a little cash. Other than the tablets tasting kind of gross, I haven't noticed any big differences. You may know that I had tapered all the way down to ~1mg/day last year and then had a brief lapse and went back up on my dose around the first of the year. Well, I have come back down again because, as before, I found that even on higher doses I still have some cravings to deal with, plus I feel generally better at lower doses (more clear-headed, less sleepy, better memory, etc.) Anyway, I've always tapered with the big 8mg tablets. I'm thinking now that I'm down to ~4mg/day again, I might ask my doctor to write me for the 2mg tablets next time. I don't have any set plan on tapering completely off, but I know that I will stay at a low dose until I'm ready to try to quit again. Anyway, I think you're right about trying to persist with the strips because it sure sounds easier to taper with those than the tablets.
I know you've heard this before and I have to constantly remind my own self about this too. But, I really believe that if we can do as little thinking/obsessing over our dose and our feelings at all times, we will be better for it. I try to remind myself that before I became addicted, I didn't obsess over every little twitch, headache, rough night of sleeping, etc. I just chalked it up to "whatever" and went on my merry way! Know what I mean? But since being on Sub, I can obsess over every little thing and convince myself that it has something to do with the Sub! Please don't take this as my belittling what you've been through. I am sure that what you experienced when you dropped too fast was quite real and was due to the Sub decrease. But at this point, you're on a fairly steady dose, still well above ceiling and you're taking your time, so you shouldn't be hit with anything too severe. As far as the anxiety, as one of the others suggested, have you thought about doing a trial of Lexapro or something like that? I was real resistant to it myself as I had never had trouble with anxiety or depression before, but my husband actually talked me into trying it. It has helped me some. It really has. We have to remember that we have really done a number on our brain chemistry with these opiates, so it may need some help to 'reboot!'
Just some thoughts for you! Also....Good for you for using other methods to cope......meditation, prayer, etc. I love those techniques. The other thing you mentioned was needing to do more exercise. I have been real wishy-washy on that one even though I know it helps me immensely. Would you be willing to enter a challenge with me that you and I will do a real work out routine of our own choosing for at least 30 minutes at least 3 times a week? Let me know!!
Forgive me if you have mentioned before.....but are you working outside the home? I am working outside the home only very minimally right now. I think sometimes that adds to my obsessing. I'm not busy enough. Something else I can work on.
I'll stop now! You are inspiring! Hey.....I quit smoking too!! Just a few weeks ago too! I didn't smoke much....was always a 'closet smoker' only smoking a pack of cigs about every 2-3 days, but still.....I had done that for many years!! I needed and wanted to quit! And I did it too!! Yea for us!!!!
Don't be afraid and I will try not to as well.. Fear is what seems to get me every time! Okay...keep on keeping on!


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 11:12 am 
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Hi, Aqua! I also had a little bit of a bumpy ride switching to the films. I tried going straight across, because my doctor says the whole 'films being stronger idea' is a myth. Anyway, I felt like the films were, in fact, quite a bit stronger, so I dropped my dose and then I did hit some w/d. Then, I upped it a little. Within a week or so, the symptoms from the switch went away completely and I felt fine. At some point, I even felt like the film was burning under my tongue, but even that is gone now. I think in a week tops, you will feel fine and be over this switch.

You are doing a great job and let me just give you some HUGE props for making so many healthy changes in your life!!! I'm so impressed!!!

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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 11:26 am 
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setmefree and ladder...thanks for the sweet notes of support :)

Honestly, I think I'm going to do fine at 8 mgs/day on the strips. If I can FEEL the difference after 3 years on Subs, it has got to be major. I am telling myself that I AM AN 8 MG/DAY SUB USER...no w/d, no probs....I am here to stay for a while! I do want to be on the strips for the remainder of the taper because of the ease of cutting them.

setmefree, I do work so I am pretty busy. Yes, I'll be up to your challenge of exercise 30 min/3 times weekly! That is the last hurdle I have to cross...regular exercise! I am so proud of you for quitting smoking too! It was BAD for us and not helpful with anxiety at all! We will do much better without them!
My doc and I discussed meds for anxiety/depression. I have had a reaction to the SSRIs before and am kind of afraid of them! At this point, we're going to just try and get healthy, incorporate healthy habits and see where that leads. I also need to give the "quit smoking" about 2 months to even out. If, by say July/Aug, I am still having probs with depression/anxiety, we'll discuss medication options.
I agree 100% that the more we obsess about our taper, the more probs we tend to have with it. That is why I want to stabilize at 8 mgs for several months and just forget about the taper for a while...then, move on with it :)

I'll tackle the fear thingie too :) Tired of it...ready to move on! I think if I hadn't had that bad experience in tapering too fast, it would be a whole other ballgame for me here...that did a number on me! I am working hard to move past it though. I have no doubt that we are going to be successful...and it's ok to have bumps in the road...you just need to get around those bumps :)

Have a great day, ladder and setmefree! Thank you so very much for the kindness and support!


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 7:10 pm 
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4th day on 8 mgs/day...still some lingering anxiety, melancholy and RLS. It's ok...I am pushing thru this! It is not as bad as it has been and I remain optimistic that the longer I stay here at 8 mgs, that the symptoms will begin to ease.

I am still having such drowsiness after switching to the film strips from the tablets last Friday. I dropped from 12 mgs to 10 mgs and now down to 8 mgs just trying to stay awake! I was not this drowsy and sleepy on 24 mgs/day of the tablets. It is something how much stronger these strips are with me.

I plan at staying at 8 mgs/day until I feel very, very good here...then time to start dropping again. I sure am happy to be down to one strip daily...this was my original dosage and it makes me feel like I'm making progress and that I can actually do this!


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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 7:55 pm 
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Aqua, I feel pretty confident telling you that the symptoms will absolutely go away if you stay and wait them out. You are doing very well. You are a long-term Sub-er like me and I am very proud of all the progress you have made. If you are anything like me, you may start feeling a lot better after tomorrow (Day 5 for you). Good luck!! Don't go too fast!!

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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2011 10:38 pm 
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Just a quick hello to let you know it was nice chatting with you.

Keep up the good work. Stay with us. Meet you in the chat room whenever you want.

Love & hugs,

Queenie


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 12:35 pm 
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queenie...nice chatting with you too...hope to see you again soon! Hope you are still recuperating nicely :)

ladder...still on 8 mgs and waiting it out...I know I will stabilize here eventually. Not going down again for a while and would not have gone to 8 so fast except the strips were so powerful!
How are you?


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 2:10 pm 
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Hi, Aqua! Good for you for hanging in there at 8! Yes, the films do seem stronger, which makes me wonder if it is important to taper even lower on them.

I'm doing okay. Still got w/d around dosing time and at night, but I'm kinda getting used to it at this point. It's actually snowing today. Can you believe that? It's not supposed to snow in MAY!! :D

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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 3:46 pm 
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ladder, it's so good to hear from you. Glad you are still hanging in there...we are going to beat this someday.

I've been at 6 mgs for 3 days now. If I can make it one more day at 6, I will have overcome the half-life from my last dose at 8 mgs on Monday. I've been doing a faster taper as I know I am going to have to have surgery and I want to get as low as possible. I've been following the taper schedule at another site but not before really checking into it and talking with people who had done it.

I will stay here until I feel well enough to drop again. It's funny how back the first of April, 6 mgs sent me to ER in withdrawal and now I've been at 6 for 3 days! I stabilized on that lowered dose for a month and it worked. So glad I did not go back up to where my doctor wanted me at (he wanted me at 16 mgs/day for a few months longer after that ER fiasco).

Like I told you one time, if I can just get to a very low dose, I'm ok with staying there a while before I make the jump...just trying to get down there!

I've been doing so much reading on Subs...I find myself today so angry that I was kept on such a high dose for so long. I was not a huge addict on 50 pills/day. I was just a lady who had bad back surgery, was still in pain and found myself unable to stop my 4-6 Lortab daily without being sick. Being taken up to 24 mg/day by doctors and turned into a full blown opiate addict is beyond my understanding. If anything, I am depressed from that and NOT the Sub taper.

I'll still update my journal here and let you know how I'm doing...don't want to lose touch.

mg, livin, romeo, DoaQ, and hat...a big hello and hug to all of you!


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PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 4:19 pm 
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ladder, I just wanted to really let you know how much I think of you for hanging in there like you do. You have been at this a long time...it is easy to get discourated...but you keep going and it does not go unnoticed. I have a lot of admiration for you!

I know I'm going a bit faster than I said I would but really...I got to thinking about it and I can't do a long drawn out taper of a year or more. I'd almost rather be like romeo and just jump, take a month off from work and get it over with.
It's just not in me to do that drawn out route. So, I'm doing the quicker taper....down 10% every 2 weeks or so, stabilize and move on. When I get to the end, I will start skipping days. Don't know when that will be and I'm not setting a date...it will get here when it gets here.

Even on 6 mgs/day of these strips, I struggle so much with drowsiness! I can't believe I was doing 24 mgs/day! How did I ever stay awake?
Really, on 24 mgs/day, I was so full of energy, it wasn't funny. Here I am at a much lower dose and I find it hard to keep my eyes open!

Hugs to you,ladder-girl...keeping you in my prayers.


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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 12:36 am 
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Hugs to you too ClearAqua! I'm glad to hear that you're doing well.

I hear you about being depressed and angry that your doctors had you on too high a dose of Suboxone, especially considering the small amount of painkillers you were taking. That would have me feeling pretty bent.

For what it's worth though, you shouldn't have any kind of permanent damage. Once you taper down and off of Suboxone, your opiate receptors will return to normal and your tolerance for opiates will return to where it was before you ever took Suboxone. Our bodies are so miraculous and our brain's ability to heal is far from fully understood.

And 10% every 2 weeks or so seems totally reasonable to me. Just pay attention to how you're feeling and be flexible and you'll be fine. I am so impressed with your wonderful positive attitude considering all you've been through. You rock!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:06 pm 
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DoaQ...that means a lot to me what you said about my brain's ability to heal. Frankly, I've been worried about that! But even my doctor said that honestly, I should have an easier time of it just because I've been on it so long. My receptors have been used to the partial agonist of Sub and have been making my own endorphins again for awhile. I want to believe this is true.

TaDA!!!!! I am now at 3 mgs/day...I take 1.5 in the morning and 1.5 in the afternoon. Except for some depression, I am doing good physically. Mentally, it's taxing but I am pushing. I want off the Subs so badly at this point.

It's a strange type of depression...a lot of crying, a lot of emotionalism. I read all over the place that it is very, very common in coming off Subs to deal with this. My doc said it was pretty normal too and to let him know if I just lost all interest in things or could not get out of bed. Another thing is it comes in waves and is not just constant.

I have full confidence it will pass. I am hoping to be off Subs totally by Oct - Nov.
I am so done with it all that sometimes I think about pulling a "romeo" and just stopping and going through CT and getting it over with. I just don't know if this old girl could take that! So, I'll keep tapering.

I'll be updating as I drop and hope all my buddies here are doing well :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 1:19 am 
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WOW! You are down to 3 mg a day already!? Girl, that is fantastic. I mean, sheesh....that was fast!!!

You are doing great. I am really surprised at how fast you've gone. You are one tough cookie. Just be careful with pushing it too fast, though. I've gotten to a point where the emotional/mental part of this whole thing concerns me a whole lot more than the physical part. The physical stuff is annoying, but the depression/anxiety/mental weirdness can be downright unnerving. Going slowly can allow you to avoid lots of that stuff. I really believe that. I think if you go slowly enough, you give your brain time to heal little by little and won't send it into shock nearly as much. I'm happy for you that you are already down this low and can really give yourself time at the low doses. You know how I was stuck for so long at 1 mg? Well, sometimes, it's worth it to take a break and let your body catch up, because since then, I've been able to drop more without nearly as much trouble. Listen to your body! It takes a while for your whole being (body and mind) to catch up to a very rapid taper. Don't be as afraid as I was if you start to feel like you need to stay put for a while. I believe at this point that staying put can actually be getting somewhere after all.

Of course, I feel you about wanting to pull a 'Romeo'. Don't we all?.....Tapering gets tiresome. If you decide to do that, let us know so we can support you as you go through it.

Hip Hip Hurray for you, Aqua!!

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:08 pm 
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Hey Aqua, congratulations on your taper so far! I am new here but I have been on subutex for 5.5 years and I know everything about it. I am on 8mg daily and want to taper off. My question is, how did you taper from 6 to 3mg? And do you think going on the strips has helped your taper? I ask this because I read about how you switched to strips and they felt stronger (which is what my doc tells me too) so you just immediately went from 12mg to 8mg when you switched to strips.

I promise I won't hijack your thread. I will create a thread of my own when it comes time. I am just thinking that maybe I should switch to strips if they are so much stronger. Maybe I would only need 6mg or maybe even 4mg on strips as compared to 8mg on subutex generic pills?

Again congrats and God bless you.

P.S. Just to be honest with everyone, I am also on 20mg valium at night that I have been on for 5.5 years too. I am going to taper that after I get off sub completely. I am also taking half a dose of benadryl and a half dose of unisom alternating every other day. So one day I take half a dose of benadryl, then next I take half a dose of unisom which has the active sleep ingredient of nyquil in it. Just for the record in case you are wondering, the unisom works far better than benadryl for sleep. I have also been doing this for 5.5 years. Also take fish oil and centrum vitamin. Thats it.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 9:51 am 
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BupHasMe...Let's see...To drop from 6 to 3, I first dropped from 6 mgs to 4.5 mgs (stayed there for a week), then dropped from 4.5 to 4 (stayed there another week) and then went from 4 to 3. I have been at 3 mgs for 8 days now.
I really felt the drop from 4 to 3 more so than any other drop and am going to stay here until I stabilize..however long that takes.
I think it is so important to feel stable at one dose before dropping. Yes, I believe switching to the strips helped me to go lower faster. If I had stayed on tablets, I'd probably still be at 8 mgs or so. I was told that the absorption rate on tablets is so much less than strips...you ARE getting more medication on the strips. I agree that you could easily do 2-3 mgs LESS on strips than your current dose on tablets.
YOU'LL DO FINE ON YOUR TAPER!!! There is no set rule that works for everyone. I have been able to taper pretty quickly to this point and am finding at the lower doses that I am going slower. It just proves to me that the "less is more" theory about Suboxone is true!
I'm glad you're here and look forward to watching your progress :)

ladder...yes, I've been able to come off the higher doses pretty quickly but I can tell I need to slow down at these lower doses...and that's ok. I have reached my first goal which was to get to under 4 mgs/day. When I really got educated on Bupe, I was frightened about the dosage I was on. I feel much better now being at 3 mgs...that say, if I needed emergency surgery or pain relief...I would have a better chance than when I was at 24 mgs/day. I now realize what an insane dose that was for a doctor to have me on for 3 years given my history....there needs to be more accountability from some of these "addiction doctors".
I share your frustration with the size of these strips! My doctor did switch me to the 2 mg strips which are easier to cut into small doses but still you hate handling and bending them so much. I think we all need to bombard the pharma co with emails asking for smaller dosages in strip form!


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:01 pm 
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Aqua, I am so proud of you. It must feel much better to be closer to a dose that would not present a problem if you need surgery. You started to really feel the drops at exact same place that I did! What I did wrong was continuing to push myself down even when I knew I wasn't 100% adjusted to 3 mg. You're smart to wait and let yourself get normalized. If you don't have an absolute deadline, it will make it much easier to drop later!!!

Good job, Aqua! I feel the same way about the doctor prescribing me so much. For a long time, I had no clue what I was really taking, meaning how potent it was. How can you know if you have nothing to compare it to?

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 5:27 pm 
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Hi, Everyone!

Just me, checking in :) Today is July 1...I started tapering on March 1, 4 months ago at 24 mgs. I started at 2 mgs on June 29. So, here I am 4 months and 22 mgs down!!!! Seems like so long ago that I first came here!

Ladder...when I get down to your dose, we can try to make the jump together if you'd like. I know you've been stuck for a while and I worry about getting to that point too. I'm thinking about not really "jumping" but just extending the time between doses by an hour everyday...does that make sense?
Say, if I dosed every day at 7 am...then extend it to 8 am, then 9 am, then 10 am and so on....until I've gone roughly 12-14 hours ahead..then try and skip til the next morning and start again. I read of someone doing it this way and they said it went very smoothly.
I'm still hoping to be off completely by the end of the year...maybe even late fall and so any residual PAWS or w/d gone by end of year .
I've been doing so much reading about Subs and I'm feeling more confident that my having been on them almost 4 years is going to be helpful rather than a hindrance. My brain has had ample time to begin healing. I also saw a PET scan of a brain on different mgs of Sub...oh my gosh! Even at 2 mgs, where I'm at now, there was quite a bit of open receptors! That was really surprising to me and made me feel very good. You can also see how much more opens up as we go down to 0. I wanted you to see this, ladder, so that you could know that at the low dose you are now, your brain should be pretty open now :) You may have seen this before so forgive me if you have...Here it is:

http://www.naabt.org/images/petscan.jpg

I'm doing very, very well physically...just a little RLS. Emotionally...yuck :) I'm kind of flat...not a full depression but just flat and yes, I'm very emotional still...cry very easily...but it is getting better. I know that I can't get off Subs without feeling some of these things. I suppose if I took 1-2 years, I could maybe get thru it with more minor withdrawal but that's not me. I'll go through some discomfort to get off sooner.

I'll be back to report at my next drop!


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:45 am 
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Hi aqua,

Good to hear from you again, thanks for the update. So, you're all the way down at 2mg, WOW, that's fantastic!! I remember, quite vividly, the horrendous time you had when you first gave tapering a shot. I was honestly pretty worried that that experience was going to put you off tapering for a long while, but NO!!! You jumped right back into it and now you're at 2mg!!! Very, very impressive.

I know I've already said this to you before, but I'm gonna say it again because I think it bears repeating. I had the weird kind of depression feeling during my wd too, like you said, not a full blown depression, but I sure didn't feel like jumping up and doing cartwheels. I too wrestled with being very emotional for a long time, I could be brought to tears very easily too. I am VERY happy to report that I no longer have to deal with those issues. Right around the one year mark, whatever naggy PAWS symptoms I was still experiencing diminished greatly. It's quite an amazing feeling to feel real good again, I can honestly say that I didn't believe I would ever be feeling as well as I am now.

I don't know if this has anything to do with anything, but we went on vacation during my 1 year anniversary off of Suboxone. My daughter had never seen the ocean, so we all went to the ocean for a week. Anyway, during the last few days of that vacation and ever since, I have felt like my PAWS all basically ended. Kind of hard to explain how quickly those last pesky symptoms disappeared. So, you may want to go on a nice vacation.....it seemed to help me AND now you have the perfect excuse to go somewhere!!! :D

Oh Yeah, those PET scans are amazing!!!

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:48 pm 
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romeo, I am so glad that it seems to all be over for you! You DESERVE it...boy, what a year it's been for you but you've done it! AND continued to come on here and help others...that is something to be commended :)
You jumped at such a high dose, it's unbelievable that you made it. Really, I'm quite jealous LOL

If I were 10-15 year younger, I would do it too! But, as I told you before, don't think this old girl could take it...it's rough enough when you're young.
Even at 2 mgs now, I feel like I should be able to just stop and rough it out for a couple of weeks...if it weren't for being afraid of anxiety/depression, I probably would try it. It's odd how for years, I put 3 tablets under my tongue everyday without questioning it...thinking I would be on it forever...never knowing what a high dose I was on.
Now, just doing my 2 mg strip feels so bad to me....it's because I don't WANT to do it anymore and when you don't want it but are forced to do it because of dependency, it's a whole other ball game.

I know I've got the hardest part ahead of me but who knows? Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised and be one of the lucky ones Ive read about who actually had an easy time of it once they got under 2 mgs. Sheesh, I hope so!

Congrats on your one year anny!


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Fond Du Lac Psychiatry
Dr. Jeffrey Junig, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Board Certified Psychiatrist
  • Asst Clinical Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

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