Report at three months out

12/4/10—A head cold combined with benzo recovery-induced susceptibility to headaches has resulted in a seven-day-long (so far) headache from hell. That combined with the Thanksgiving holiday (enjoyable, thank you very much) has served to delay my three month update. Fortunately, I did jot down the numbers on Thanksgiving (just one day after the three month benzo-free anniversary), so they aren’t influenced by the head cold.

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—7 (at two months off was an 8 )
This symptom is changing. Sometimes it’s quite bad; a 9 out of 10. Less frequently it drops off dramatically; a 5 out of 10. Usually it’s a 7 or an 8. Lately it’s been resolving itself into individual identifiable areas. Besides my neck and my upper left trapezius (regular areas of grief), I’ve become aware that I’m dealing with a significant amount of TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder. I know this is a major contributor to the headaches.

Muscle tension headaches—7 (at two months off was a 5)
This is the only symptom which has actually gotten worse. It now competes with muscle symptoms for the number one spot. The headaches are driven mostly by muscle tension (especially the TMJ as I mentioned above). Light sensitivity also contributes to the headaches. My headaches can be 9s, but they’re not a constant symptom so they get a 7.

Internal pressure & heaviness—6 (at two months off was a 7)
The internal pressure is like a head cold minus the snot. (Gross, but accurate.) The heaviness (my body feeling much heavier than it actually is) has eased even more than the internal pressure.  I give it a 5.

Dizziness, light-headedness & poor balance—5 (at two months off was a 6 )
These continue to improve.

Insomnia—5 (at two months off was a 5)
This symptom was such a beast my first time off benzos. I’m so grateful it’s one of my lesser symptoms this time around. Whenever I’m tempted to think that my turtle taper gained me nothing, I have only to look at this symptom, the one immediately above and the ones below to know that’s not true.

These all rank a 3 or lower …

Tinnitus (ringing in my ears), sore and/or dry eyes, excitability (easily startled).

Light sensitivity moves up into the headache category. Sound sensitivity drops off the list as does poor memory and cognition. Excitability (easily startled) will likely be gone by next month.

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