10/25/10—Yesterday was my two month anniversary of being off Klonopin, but I put off this update until today as I was waiting for a wave of symptoms to pass. I want these progress reports to be as accurate as possible so I try not to write them during windows (times of lessened symptoms) or waves.
These are my symptoms, listed in order of severity (most to least), each rated with a number 0-10 (0 = nonexistent, 10 = unbearable) …
Muscle symptoms & resulting pain—8 (at one month off was an 8 )
This is the symptom for which I was prescribed Klonopin to begin with and the symptom which was my most intractable foe the first time I went through benzo withdrawal, so it’s not surprising to see that pattern repeating this time around. I’m hopeful that active techniques (such as stretching and trigger point massage) and passive techniques (such as a patience and a positive mental attitude) will be helpful in reducing it to manageability.
This symptom is located in my jaw, neck and upper body. A pet theory of mine is that this symptom is actually responsible for some of the other symptoms. For instance, I find it possible that spastic muscles may be impinging on nerves and causing some percentage of the neurological symptoms. I know for sure that jaw tightness causes the headaches.
Internal pressure & heaviness—7 (at one month off was a 7-8)
The internal pressure is similar to that you might experience when changing altitudes or with a head cold. Yawning can relieve it momentarily. If you can imagine being on a planet with heavier gravity than Earth, that’s what the heaviness feels like; like your body weighs far more than it should and it takes extra effort to move it around.
Dizziness, light-headedness & poor balance—6 (at one month off was a 7 )
If you’ve ever spent the day out on a small boat, come ashore and felt like the ground was moving beneath your feet, then you know what this symptom feels like. My balance is definitely improving. Running into and/or dropping things happens less frequently.
Muscle Tension Headaches—5 (at one month off was a 5)
I have figured out that these are caused by the tight muscles in my jaw. Recently I Googled “TMJ trigger point massage” and tried that. My headache went away. (More on this in an upcoming blog entry.) Excedrin continues to be a useful tool, though you should proceed cautiously if you’re caffeine sensitive (which most of us are). My headaches can be 7s or worse, but they’re not a constant symptom so they only get a 5.
Insomnia—5 (at one month off was a 5)
It takes a long time to get to sleep and it’s difficult to stay asleep, but despite that I’m managing six hours on most nights. I do have the occasional sleepless night, usually due to muscle pain, but sometimes my mind just won’t settle down. The first time I went through withdrawal, the insomnia was beyond belief with a good night netting me only two to three hours, so I know how fortunate I am this time around.
Dry mouth—5 (at one month off was a 6)
These all rank a 3 or lower …
Tinnitus (ringing in my ears), poor memory and cognition, sore and/or dry eyes, excitability (easily startled), hypersensitivity (light and sound).