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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:54 pm 
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I've been visiting this forum for many years now, mainly to manage expectations, and hopefully find some inspiration in others' posts. Sometimes it was a little too "scared straight" for me, and other times I found it very helpful. I suppose it's my turn now.

I've been on Suboxone for over 10 years, and it's been about 15 years since I've met the person underneath the medication and drugs. This treatment has worked very well for me. I had one relapse early on (again, ~10 years ago), which was before I got myself to an actual Suboxone doctor. Being in the program, the early dedication to N.A., and monthly therapy sessions have helped get me to this point. I still can't shake the fear of being completely off, but maybe that's a good thing. Anyway, over the years, I went from a maximum of about 16mg, down to an average of 1mg over the past few months. For me, tapering did not come easily, and it was very much a "two steps forward, one step backward" kind of situation. It took me a long time to realize that it's best to just let it all go, and accept it as it comes. (Easier said than done, I know.)

As I got under 2mg, I started experiencing all of the usual symptoms of withdrawal. Insomnia and RLS being my least favorite. It became very predictable. I never really felt like I adjusted to anything under 2mg. I have a very fast metabolism, and have often wondered whether that had something to do with it. Multiple doses per day helped, but I almost always felt like I had a limited number of decent hours per day. And did I mention insomnia? It sucked.

At least a few times, I've asked my doctor whether there's a real difference between jumping from where I was (~1mg), and the various reductions I've done. Obviously, there's no real answer, as it varies from person to person. It finally got to the point where I thought---if I'm going to deal with many sleepless nights, anxiety, RLS, etc., every single time I reduce my dosage, why not just get it over with? So here I am.

Last week and some of the week prior, I did a rapid taper from about 1mg to zero. I entered a low-grade withdrawal after a few days. The last two days before my jump (8/17 and 8/18), I took a fraction of one-eighth of a 2mg strip. I didn't really spend more than a day at a single dose during those days, I just decreased slightly each day. I started taking clonidine somewhere during that time, as I saw my pulse increase and felt that knot in my chest. I hit the 24 hour mark on Saturday.

24 hours - very anxious/restless, disturbed sleep/RLS, chills/sweating, fever, emotional, sneezing, hungry

48 hours - same (slightly greater intensity). VERY hungry. I was actually able to get out of the house for about 45 minutes to run an errand. Back in the day, that would have been impossible.

72 hours - same (oddly LOWER intensity), skin feels sunburned, first sign of BR issues, legs very achy, mild headache, not able to sleep more than 1.5 hours at a time

92 hours (NOW) - same; chills are less frequent, but sweating has become a way of life & hobby. Fever down from ~100F to ~99F. Still anxious and restless. Slightly depressed.

After 72 hours of the most broken sleep of my life outside of the "olden days," I thought about hiring someone to describe what eight hours of uninterrupted sleep feels like in all of its glory. Last night, I cursed at my pillow as if it has something to do with my not sleeping. I have come to refer to my bed as my nemesis. All in all, the lack of sleep and RLS are the most frustrating part of all of this. The anxiety is a close second---everything else has been very uncomfortable, but bearable.

I know this is long as hell, but there's a point. I'm a damn baby when it comes to any kind of pain, as many of us likely are. There's a tremendous amount of fear that comes with any kind of W/D, but there's something to be said for learning to just let go. Oh, and I did myself a favor and ensured I had NO Suboxone lying around---but I recognize each person may have a different view on this point. Anyway, that's all. Sorry for the length, but I feel like the background is important.


Last edited by MovingOn on Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:28 pm 
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Welcome MovingOn! Thank you so much for your detailed description of your experiences. It's folks like you that really help me out. I do have a question, what did you mean by the "knot" in your chest feeling? This is one area that, as I drop my dose ever so slowly, I feel something odd in my chest area. I've even had a stress test to check out my heart per my Dr.'s instructions.

I believe that I have a very fast metabolism. I think I might experience just what you did on those doses lower than 2 mg. I'm going to try to do the liquid taper, but that's still a long way in the future for me.

Just wanted to thank you again for your post. I'll keep you in my prayers that the insomnia & RLS get better really soon! Wishing you the very best!

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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:19 pm 
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DeeKay wrote:
Welcome MovingOn! Thank you so much for your detailed description of your experiences. It's folks like you that really help me out. I do have a question, what did you mean by the "knot" in your chest feeling?


Thanks for the kind words, DeeKay! When I've described this "knot" in my chest to the doctor and therapist, they each, on their own, seem to associate it with agitation/anxiety. Non-medically, I'd describe it as a vague discomfort in my chest that is certainly part and parcel to the restlessness I've experienced throughout the process. The clonidine seems to help a tiny bit with it, but it doesn't take it away. On the other side, caffeine exacerbates that "knot" feeling quite a bit.


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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:27 am 
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MovingOn we are wishing u total success! If u feel this is ur time and ur ready, I believe that it's easier to let that fear go and just do it. I can totally understand that way of looking at it.

Good luck and you'll definitely have support here from all of us :)

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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:32 pm 
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Thanks for the kind words, jennjenn!

---

Small update. I passed the 120 hour mark a few hours ago. (I know... I'm setting records over here. 8) ) While the RLS has improved slightly, my sleep has not. If I could dream, I would dream of sleep. I'm choosing not to fight it, which I think is preserving my sanity. Also, today, I had my first appointment in which I did not leave with my usual script. It was gratifying, but it also made me a little anxious (fear of the unknown and all). After I got back, I took my dog for a nice long walk. I think I enjoyed it more than my pup. The chills are almost completely gone; although, I still have some sensitivity to temperature changes. I'm also still sneezing in fours and fives.


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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 11:24 am 
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I could imagine leaving the doctor without ur normal script..... that would be different and very normal I would think to feel like that. Ur normal routine changed, no pharmacy to go to (at least for ur bupe script) and us addicts love our routines lol :)

Congrats on passing the 120 hour mark!! Hey that's something to be very proud of for sure.

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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:29 pm 
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Thanks, jennjenn. I'll tell ya, I was pretty happy to not have to spend all that money on a script! Here's to new routines!

---

So, I'm at just over 144 hours, meaning it has been six full days since my last dose. Sleep was marginally better last night, but still plenty of tossing and turning. Overall, I got 2-3 periods of sleep lasting between 45-90 minutes. My sleep watch thing doesn't know what to make of me right now, so I'm estimating it was probably about three hours total. The chills came back today too, and a wave of extreme tiredness. Instead of staying put, I forced myself to take a shower, and then took my dog for a walk. I'm still exhausted, probably mainly from the lack of sleep, but walking was better than sitting still and focusing on the discomfort.

So, I have neglected to mention the things that have been helping me. In case anyone is curious for their own future taper, upbeat music can work miracles. If I've been trying to fall asleep for some extended period of time, and I'm just tossing and turning, I will get up and take a shower, or go into the other room and listen to music. Sometimes it manages to calm me down enough to get one of those one hour periods of sleep. Staying in bed is bound to cause frustration during those times, and getting revved up at the prospect of not sleeping will not help one sleep. Finally, since I know I'll be up for at least some number of hours during the night, I give myself 11-12 hours to sleep.


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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:29 pm 
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Hi MO and congrats on making the final decision to stop. The most important thing is that you don't relapse back onto your old DOC. Only you know if this is the right time to get off it or not and it seems like you're committed so I wish you all the best in recovery.

Most addicts make much more out of the withdrawal symptoms then they need to. Not to deny they exist, rather to just not acknowledge the discomfort and keep your brain busy with other activities other than thinking how you feel at any given time. Exercise, etc., does wonders for distracting the mind.

Yes, RLS and sleep are maddening to go through. Try to read all the OTC comfort meds posted here in this section and don't be afraid to ask your doctor for some Requip or another drug to aid the RLS symptoms. I know from experience that Requip makes a person very sleepy so it may hit two birds with one stone per say.

Keep posting your progress and we will support you the best way we know how.

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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:30 pm 
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Thanks, rule! I will say this first: a lifetime of Suboxone > a (very likely, much shorter) lifetime of the other stuff. With that said, I always had this as an eventual goal, and I am certainly committed! I appreciate the tips on the OTC comfort meds. I will certainly look into that.

---

So, about 20 minutes ago, I just passed the 168 hour mark, which means it has been a full week since my final dose of buprenorphine. I'm patting myself on the back today, but only very lightly because I am *extremely* tired. This is the longest I've been without a substance in my body in about 15 years. Anyway, I had plenty of energy in the morning, and felt productive while working, but as the afternoon progressed, that energy depleted rather quickly, and I was hit with a wave of exhaustion. I've not seen any change in physical symptoms since yesterday, but I did manage about 4 hours of sleep last night in two hour intervals instead of one hour intervals. I actually dreamed for the second time in over a week. I think I am improving, albeit very, very slowly!


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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:27 am 
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So, today is day 9. ...I mean, today is day 9! All in all, I'm doing okay. I think I've sneezed more today than any other day. I also got a wave of withdrawal symptoms at the end of the day yesterday, but it was typical and *mild* (chills, restlessness, sweating, aches, skin burning). I had more good hours than bad hours, and for that, I am very grateful. I expect that will, or at least has the potential, to happen from time to time for the next few weeks. I was also able to go on a nice long walk with my pup, which felt good.

The lack of sleep is starting to catch up with me. I'm still taking clonidine at night, although my desire is to take nothing at night. I keep waking up after about an hour, and then I can't fall back to sleep without distracting myself for some period of time. I started to feel frustrated last night, but I quickly put myself back on track by jumping in the bath/shower to chill out. After that, I managed a 2.5 hour period of sleep, which is my longest consecutive block of sleep in probably two weeks. I felt tired upon waking, but better than days prior. Apparently, a 2.5-hour block of sleep > 1-hour block of sleep!

Anyway, I hope everyone out there is enjoying the weekend.


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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:25 pm 
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Yesterday, day 10, was by far the toughest day so far. Anxiety, lack of motivation, etc. I suppose I've arrived at the hard part? The mental X Games. When I started to feel overwhelmed and anxious, I forced myself to do some free weights, and some other exercise, although it didn't really make a difference in the short term. By the end of the night, I watched some comedy sketches. I think I laughed for two hours straight... this was very therapeutic. Last night was probably the best sleep I've had so far, which isn't saying much, but I'm grateful for any improvement. I awoke at least three times, took two showers, and was able to fall back to sleep each time.

Today, day 11, has been pretty damn good, comparatively anyway. I felt halfway human for the first time in a while. I knew the way I was feeling yesterday was temporary, and I am happy I powered through it. On a side note, my hunger is insatiable.


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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 2:29 pm 
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I'm on day 16 now. Days 11-16 were a bit of a roller coaster. There were a few really good days, and some bad days. My sleep is still very broken, and it's really starting to deplete my energy and motivation. I also had a using dream for the first time in many, many years, and I was very grateful to wake up and realize it was just a dream. Other than that, I still have some sensitivity to temperature changes, flushing, random aches/pains, and stomach issues. I'm starting to see glimpses of light, but progress is slow (it's a marathon, not a sprint). Being around, and engaging with other people has been very helpful, and hot showers are still a great help. Anyway, that's all for now. I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.


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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 10:23 pm 
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Thanks for keeping us updated! I hope that this next week goes better in terms of sleep and other symptoms. We so often hear that it is two steps forward, one step back. Suddenly it's two months later and you can't believe how much better you are feeling! I hope that your days/weeks go quickly!

Amy

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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:43 pm 
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Day 18. I contemplated putting an exclamation point after day 18, but that would be inaccurate. My enjoyable symptoms include sneezing. My dog now leaves the room prior to my sneezing; apparently, I offend her. My sleep less broken the past two days, although I know this can wax and wane, so I'm not getting my hopes up. My appetite is also starting to normalize (no longer insatiable), but I am finding I need to eat more than before, almost like the Suboxone was numbing that hungry feeling. The less enjoyable symptoms include feeling like McGregor after Mayweather got the TKO. Today is the achiest day of them all.

I seem to have developed hypersensitive senses. Don't worry, I'm not donning a mask, and fighting crime by night. My newly developed super sniffer means that certain smells are quite overpowering (esp. smoke and spicy foods). I normally enjoy the latter, and while I have not smoked for many years, I typically don't mind when people smoke around me. Lights feel too bright, and the smallest noise can get quite annoying after some arbitrary time period. Whether this is rebound sensitivity, or just a new normal, it's quite surprising how much the senses have been numbed by Suboxone.

Anyway, my current status is "acclimating."


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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:47 am 
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I imagine it's some sort of rebound sensitivity.

You made me laugh when I read your post. At least we know your sense of humor is still intact! Maybe your dog just doesn't want to catch what you have. What happened to man's best friend???

You know, you could use your new spidey senses for good! You could go from day care to day care detecting which baby has a poopy diaper! Or hire yourself out to people who detect a smell in their home but just can't find the source!

I hope that the aches go away very soon and you are feeling better all around.

Amy

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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:43 pm 
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Amy-Work In Progress wrote:
You made me laugh when I read your post. At least we know your sense of humor is still intact! Maybe your dog just doesn't want to catch what you have. What happened to man's best friend???

You know, you could use your new spidey senses for good! You could go from day care to day care detecting which baby has a poopy diaper! Or hire yourself out to people who detect a smell in their home but just can't find the source!


I've had some dark moments, but I'm trying to keep my wits about me! I suppose keeping it light is a coping mechanism, which is interesting because I feel like this is a new development. But hey, at least I know where I stand with my pup now!

As far as your job recommendation, they'd have to pay me the big bucks to do that one. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:19 pm 
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Hi MovingOn,

Can you tell us how you're feeling now? You've been off it for almost a month now and we're just wondering how your body and mind are healing. Years and years of opiate use and now, nothing! I would think it would take some time for your body to get back to normal. Some get there quicker than others. Who knows in your case.

It still sounds like you have a good sense of feeling better each day. Of course there will be dark days. Opiates are a mood lifter so of course the opposite is bound to happen. You'll get past those just like you've gotten past all the other obstacles.

Hope your days are doing better and better.

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 Post subject: Re: Scared straight?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:40 pm 
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Thanks for asking, rule! I can't believe it, but I didn't even realize I had stopped counting the days. I am going to view that as a good sign! So, I did the math, and today is day 25. Last week, the third week, was a mental roller coaster. While my body is still healing, mentally I was all over the place. I had some very high anxiety moments, low threshold for frustration, etc. I also had some of the best days I've had in years, along with a handful of equally horrible *moments*. My personality is really coming back, and I almost feel like a different person, which I welcome. So, while week 1/2 were the hardest from a physical perspective, week 3 wins on the mental front. It made me feel like a Civil War had broken out in my brain. Surprisingly, I haven't really had to deal with cravings, but I don't necessarily expect that to necessarily remain constant (i.e. I have no expectations on that front).

As you mentioned, finding some sense of stability and some semblance of peace after all these years can be quite slow. My sleep is still awful. I still wake up after two hours, and I can't seem to get more than 5-6 hours of broken sleep. Last night, I don't think I got more than four hours. I think the lack of sleep is contributing to the anxiety, tiredness, and lack of motivation. Although I'm certainly feeling every emotion more, I don't feel depressed. And despite the motivation and sleep issues, I've been able to pick myself up, and accomplish most of my goals, which is important because my schedule is quite hectic now. Physically, I am still sneezing, my body feels a bit achy, and stomach issues are off and on. Around 6 PM every day, I actually get the chills a bit... I didn't make the temporal connection at first, but this is around the time I used to take my second dose.

Finally, I have to remind myself often that 25 days (likely more) is nothing compared to the rest of my life. I came across a music video called "Believer" by a band called Imagine Dragons, and it encompasses my general feeling at the moment. There's one part where the music stops, and there are two people boxing (presumably the same person). One of them says, "I wanna stop," and the other responds, "We can't." After that, he gets hit pretty hard, and the music comes back. All in all, it's a song about perseverance in the face of pain. For me, music has been a godsend. I cannot stress that point enough!

Anyway, I finally see a real path to a happier, healthier life, and I am going to do the best I can to stay on that path.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:26 pm 
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IMO, you hit it right on the head with listening to music. So many others have said the same thing over the years of reading these posts. Music takes your mind off of what's going on around you and surely lifts the spirits when you put on a favorite. Imagine Dragons are from where I live now so it's great to see a local band make the big time.

Whenever I listen to good stuff it seems to release those feel good endorphin's like drugs used to do. It's been used in so many recovery ways you can't put a finger on it. It calms down animals and humans alike. I can't even imagine life w/o having recorded music to listen to. Our ancestors didn't have the luxury of what we take for granted today. Being able to listen to the exact same song over and over again is fantastic!

Day 25 is so short of time. Just remember these days a year from now when you don't have any symptoms at all. Amazing how our brains get so used to being altered over the years and then you take it away and, POW!! A long time to heal. And heal you will.

Keep us updated from time to time. You did good.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:56 pm 
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How are you doing?

I don't always comment but im usually always reading. I've been following your post because im in the process of tapering now and getting an idea of what I can expect.


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