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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:22 am 
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Before I say anything else, let me first say that I haven't tapered off suboxone yet and won't for quite some time if at all. But I'm doing this post because after 2.5 years on this forum I've noticed something and thought I'd finally broach the subject.

Many people here do taper journals when they decide to stop taking suboxone. I realize this provides a great deal of support during a difficult time for all parties involved. And that support is extremely valuable and is something I don't discount.

That said, I wonder about something related to keeping taper journals. On many of these threads, lots of us have told people to not perseverate on their w/d symptoms and to keep distracted and busy. What I wonder is if the very keeping of a taper journal and updating it every day or so with each and every little w/d symptom could possibly make those symptoms worse. Describing those symptoms makes that person focus on them even more and isn't it true that when one does that it can actually makes those symptoms seem even bigger and possibly worse than they are. It goes against the whole "stay distracted" idea. People who have quit or are quitting suboxone have said it's the psychological stuff with regard to withdrawals that's the hardest part.

So I'm curious what people think about this - both people who have tapered off as well as people who haven't but have maybe thought about this themselves, too. Like I said, it's just something that I've thought about and thought it would be interesting to discuss.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:01 pm 
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Hey Hat, cool topic!!

For me, the concentrating on my wd symptoms was more me sitting on the couch, being a blob of nothingness, feeling sorry for myself. I mean I literally spent 5 weeks on the couch or on the chair out on the porch when I was smoking a cigarette. That was my routine.....couch, then outside to smoke, then couch, then outside to smoke, then couch.....Holy stupid, eh!! Going through wd like that, ALL I did was think of my wd symptoms.

Fast forward 5 months into my PAWS, I found this website and FINALLY was able to share about what I was feeling and it helped incredibly!!

I think it was Filur who had mentioned in the Relapse in Progress thread how writing things out switches your brain to "logical" mode and out of "emotional" mode. I think, for me, writing stuff out helped a lot. Even though I was talking about some of my wd symptoms on the forum, it was different than sitting on the couch being completely absorbed by them. It was therapeutic for me to write that shit out. Grrrrr.....I can't explain it very well!!! Do you have any earthly idea what I'm talking about??

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:43 pm 
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Romeo,

I understood what you were trying to say. Sitting on the pity pot did you no good until you took an active role on the positive side of getting off the Sub.

The question has value. For me, whenever I went through w/d's off my Norco's, it was never as bad as my mind thought it was going to be. So I think that by constantly thinking about what is going to happen, makes one more sensitive to the w/d. Or something like that.

I do plan on getting off the Suboxone eventually and understand my mental condition is the hardest one to recover. Lately, I've slowed down reading the taper posts unless they are of a positive nature. I don't want to condition my brain to think that the gates of hell are going to break loose once I stop. Plus I've read hundreds of stories so far on different sites so I think I have enough info to be successful when my time come. But yes, I too will post a taper thread, just to keep track of my progress and hopefully get enough support to finish this once and for all.

Thanks Hatmaker for bringing this up. I too have wondered the same thing. It'll be interesting to read the post of those who've jumped.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:25 pm 
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Honestly, that is a great question, and I believe 100% that if you keep a detailed journal and update it everyday with every little symptom, you are going to make it tougher on yourself. I started out doing that, but frankly, it got boring. Thankfully, I've gotten much more interested in various things to sit down and write out how I 'feel' all the time. I still do write in my own taper journal from time to time, but the main reason is to record something significant, not to spell out the little, irritating things. I still record how much I take everyday, but I do it sometimes the next day or even the day after and I do it on my phone calendar, mostly because I want to stay accountable to myself, and whenever I consider giving up or taking a bunch extra, I look at my list of decreasing dosage and that's a big motivator to keep at it. I got really sick of writing about symptoms from tapering off Sub after it was no longer new. I mean, if my legs hurt, they hurt. It's the same thing on and off and that would be a really boring thing to keep restating. When a new symptom starts up that I never had, especially like the anxiety attacks that have totally blown me away, then I write that down. It's sometimes therapeutic to acknowledge when something scares you and decide to not let it get you down.

Other than that, my 'journal' is really just a list and I go outside and do something physical, which is the very best way in the world to deal with tapering off Suboxone. There's a purpose to a tapering journal, which is to be accountable and have a hard record of your success. It's so important to not let it become a negative thing, because that totally defeats the purpose.

laddertipper

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:16 pm 
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Yeah, I don't think journaling every second of one's wd is a great idea either, but I do think a journal of some kind is a great idea.

I never did a daily or weekly journal of my wd experience, but several months ago I sat down and typed out everything I could remember about my wd experience and it has proven to be extremely valuable to me. I refer back to it from time to time and draw immense strength and determination from it. It always reminds me of just how strong I can be if I want to be and that helps me a lot.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:38 pm 
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Great topic!

I weaned off sub a couple years ago, and while it was an extremely long and sometimes excruciating experience, it was actually pretty anti-climactic compared to what I was expecting.

When I was using, I spent countless hours lurking on general addiction forums, reading about people's struggles going c/t or weaning off oxy. I'd be trying yet again to quit, and obsessing about how I could get through it. Counting pills. Marking things on calendars. Recounting my pills and remarking my calendar as I couldn't keep to my taper. Then I'd do the c/t thing, and be on death's door by day 5, and then relapse. (I swear, there is something about that 5th day when my body and soul just couldn't handle another minute of the pain. Blah, blah, blah... so dramatic... But really, when I look back on it, it WAS as bad as it seemed.

So when I tapered off the sub, I followed exactly what my doctor instructed. It was a much faster taper than I see now on the forums. I had my partner hold onto my pills so I couldn't let my mind toy with changing my taper. Talk about freedom! I didn't go online and read about others experiences. Instead, I went to tons of meetings. I eventually went c/t from 4mg (don't recommend that jump!), but I survived. Previously I had loved my sponsor, but that changed rapidly while I was withdrawing. I kept telling her I couldn't do this or that, and she would completely dismiss me. Sorry dopeless, you're going to the meeting, and you're going to talk to introduce yourself to every newcomer there. I wanted to tell her how I was feeling, both physically and emotionally. She would tell me, "Yeah... so your thoughts and feelings can't be trusted right now. So I don't care about those things. I care about what actions you are taking today." So much rage for her at the time, and today I'm a much more gentle sponsor. But the truth is, it worked wonders. There was not a single day I couldn't leave the house (although I wanted to...).

I also knew that anxiety and insomnia were the things I couldn't bear the most. So rather than obsess over it in a self-fulfilling prophesy sort of way, my sub doc make sure I was doing well on my SSRI and increased my dose of trazadone.

I planned to do well. And no... I'm not some pollyanna, and I've never been able to do affirmations without laughinng. I just didn't think focusing on how crummy I felt would have helped.

On the other hand, I'm sure it helps some people to stay connected with others this way. And it probably helps others reading it in knowing they're not alone.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:34 am 
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I journaled during my taper, but not every day. Focusing on how I was feeling always seemed to amplify the negative, where distraction and exercise always made me feel better. But I did want a record so I could see my progress and track how I was doing.

I didn't read other people's taper stories though. I really believe that much of withdrawal is mental and I just decided to avoid the power of suggestion.

When I jumped, I stayed off the forum for a week or so because I just didn't want to hear about anything to do with Suboxone at all for that first week. Plus I was pretty touchy and I didn't want to take it out on anyone here.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:43 am 
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Interesting idea.

I wonder if the same concept applies to us writing about our problems on internet forums :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:14 pm 
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I can only answer for me but the more I kept dwelling on wd, the harder the wd became for me, I remember for a few days I told myself I had a mild flu and took nyquil for it and that helped alot. For me, part of my addiction was an addiction to drama so it was only natural for me to get stuck in the "poor me I am in withdrawals and it sux mode". I made a conscous effort to stay busy and positive.. I remember someone asking me if I thought i would get paws.. I never gave paws a second thought ( I think I replied that the only paws I knew about were in my cats ) and I didnt experience it, actuallly at the time I didnt know what paws was and I didnt bother to find out until recently I felt if I googled it I would experience it lol.

I dont think being on this forum made it worse though because I stayed away from alot of the threads and just focused on writing my experiences. As a matter of fact had I not come here i wouldnt have known about the slow tapering.. and I probably would still be on subs, my first attempt a year earlier I went by my dr's recommendation and ended up so sick they had to hospitalize me for dehydration andn put me back on subs.. I jumped at 2mg per my dr's request.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:26 pm 
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Thank you all for your opinions and for sharing your experiences. This is really interesting. And of course like everything else, we are individuals and have different needs. I think I'm one of those people who would perseverate on the symptoms and be made worse by them. But that's just me. Maybe that's why I asked the question in the first place. Hell, I didn't know what PAWS was until I came to this forum, either. I almost wish I could unlearn about it before I taper off, if I do.

I'd love to hear more experiences and opinions.

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-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:17 am 
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Knowing about PAWS can only be beneficial imo.

ie: One person gets through acute withdrawal not knowing anything about PAWS. They go about their merry way, then realise that life is actually really hard. They're all anxious and feel like a fish out of water. They put it down to life without drugs, believe it's too hard and will go on forever, and relapse.

Another person gets through acute withdrawal after hanging out on suboxone talkzone and has heard so much about PAWS it's driving them nuts. Then when they feel like a fish-outta-water, feel anxious, they recognise it as a symptom of PAWS, they realise it's only a temporary thing, and push forward.

There's a massive difference between awareness, and dwelling / brooding on something. When someone dwell's on their hardships, that creates a bit of a negative loop and magnifies itself until they snap outta it. Awareness and identification is a powerful asset though, as you can apply other people's experiences so you have an idea of what to expect.

I guess it's a fine line. What kinda person are you? When you get the flu, do you whinge and complain about the pain and want your partner to take care of you? Or do you recognise you're sick, address it as best you can and get on with it? I'm definately the whinging variety :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:38 am 
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I think I'm biased. See, I have a husband who does this thing...he reads about every single possible side effect on all his meds, then lo and behold...HE HAS EVERY ONE OF THEM! That just tells me how strong the power of suggestion is. I know it's strong for me as well. I think in something like you're describing, tearjerker, yes, knowledge is power. I do think one could argue it from either side.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:00 am 
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hatmaker510 wrote:
I think I'm biased. See, I have a husband who does this thing...he reads about every single possible side effect on all his meds, then lo and behold...HE HAS EVERY ONE OF THEM! That just tells me how strong the power of suggestion is. I know it's strong for me as well. I think in something like you're describing, tearjerker, yes, knowledge is power. I do think one could argue it from either side.


Yes, you could absolutely argue it from either side. I have to say that what I've learned here has allowed me to taper to where I am now, though. I remember so clearly reading DOAQ's microgram taper thread, with the "finished my taper ya'll" thing flying across and reading Dr. J's explanation of why we must taper down low, and it was such a vindication for me. Before that, when I tried to follow what my doctor said, especially when I tried to drop from 3 to 2 mg once and the time I jumped off at 3 mg and got really ill and he said it was 'just me' and 'must be in my head', it put me in such a bad, defeated place that I gave up. It's horrible to get symptoms you 'aren't supposed' to get or that 'aren't normal'. It's SO lonely and confusing.....Once you understand that what you're dealing with is normal, everything is doable again instead of impossible and puzzling. Even my current doc saying most people can stop at 2 mg with nearly no symptoms. Thank goodness for all the reading I've done on here, because I can nod and smile but not let it get me down or make me feel like a loser. I wonder how many people my doctor has told that '2 mg' rule to, who then go to jump and get into a bad state but don't know why. My doctor admitted he does not see any patients except for one who he's had jump off at 2 mg. He's a primary doc. Where did his patients go? I believe many probably went back to using, because they didn't know the proper way to do this.

Of course, the power of suggestion is strong. I know people like your husband, Hat, and they need to stop reading about symptoms, lol. We all have to limit our exposure at some point. We get unnecessarily afraid. I've stuck to this forum because there are forums out there that basically say "if you've been on Sub a long time, you're screwed and this is a terrible med that may even damage your brain." Blah, blah, blah. Read enough of that stuff and you'll sink yourself for no reason. Those hopeless, helpless places/people online are no help and offer no solutions, so we should really avoid them. Unfortunately, misery loves company.

I don't think I've gotten much placebo effects from reading other people's experiences. I still don't have any significant depression or crying. I still have no back pain at all. I don't sneeze all that much. My lethargy is minimal. Nearly no diarrhea. My symptoms haven't exactly mirrored any other person's. In fact, I'm so ridiculous that I started thinking I wouldn't get most of the stuff many people get. Then my legs started to hurt and the anxiety hit. I knew it was normal, thank goodness, so I adjusted my taper to avoid those things. For me, knowledge is power. I guess the trick is to separate knowledge out from the diatribes meant to just freak people out. It's also good to remember that when someone writes in the middle of feeling crappy, they are going to have a skewed view, and you have to take that into consideration.

Also, there's that section about 'Why all the Anger' or whatever, and I believe the anger for many people simply comes from a lack of understanding/knowledge. I know for me it did! Many of our doctors don't understand this med as well as they should. Once we understand it ourselves and know what to do, the anger goes away.

This is a great topic!

laddertipper

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