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Author Topic: Anxiety finally coming under control due to ACT therapy and Klonopin  (Read 648 times)

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Offline worldbeat99

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My recovery story, like all such stories, is a work in progress.  I'm writing this story not to boast, but to maybe help or inspire someone.  (This is a revision of a previous posting.  I hope this version is more compelling, and if I can figure out how to delete the other post I will.)

JANUARY 19, 2014 was the day my GAD, generalized anxiety disorder, began.  How do I know?  Because I had been keeping an online journal.  I've kept personal growth journals since high school.  On this day, I wrote:

"START OF ANXIOUS FEELINGS? I have been feeling a bit of general anxiety. It's a gloom and dread that is with me when I go to sleep, and with me when I wake up.  Feels relentless like a nightmare I can't wake up from.  I had a premonition that I was feeling weird, not quite myself." 

MARCH 12, 2014, I started seeing a therapist and taking Buspar for GAD.  Though I was hopeful for the med, I did not feel much effect in ten weeks.

I found ACT therapy much more powerful and inspirational to me than CBT therapy.  I liked the idea of shifting my focus away from my illness and more toward the things that gave my life meaning. Still, I had my good days and bad days.  I incorporated physical exercise and yoga to my morning ritual.  Whenever I could, I broke out of boring old routines of behavior.  Even affirmations were helpful.  Spending time now and them talking with myself in the mirror.

Since this was one of the worst, darkest winters in years -- I hoped that my GAD was seasonal and would disappear with the sunlight of spring.  Sadly, the sun came and the anxiety remained.  My life was basically going fine, but I was not feeling fine inside.  My brain chemistry seemed confused. I was terrified that I was falling into some kind of hellish hole that would take me years to climb out of.  I continued my buddhist chanting to reveal my best, most enlighted self:  my buddha nature.  I knew the my anxious self was essentially a delusion.

JUNE 18, 2014, I started seeing a psychiatrist and taking Klonopin.  I now take 1 mg a day -- .5 in the morning and .5 in the evening.  I could now officially say I had GAD because it had been six months, and that's part of the definition of GAD.  Some of my friends where surprised that I was still dealing with anxiety.  I formed new friendships through anxiety Meetup Groups and an online support group.

JULY 3, 2014, about two weeks on Klonopin and I can say I'm really feeling not only more calm, but also more motivated about achieving my goals and dreams. Anxiety can still pop up now and then but it's much more manageable.  I am working again on revising my second novel.  I haven't felt passionately about that in a while.

Throughout all, I continue to reach out to my friends and be open with them.  I continue trying to dating because I do dream of having a LTR one day.
Nothing is for certain.  We have relapses and we have recoveries.  We must learn to manage our disorders, and in some way work together with them. Befriend them.  I'll try to update this thread as things continue.  I wish you all much good luck in your various unique recoveries.
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Offline will402

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Re: Anxiety finally coming under control due to ACT therapy and Klonopin
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2014, 07:40:54 AM »
good to know man! did you try a ssri before? good luck with yourself!
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: Anxiety finally coming under control due to ACT therapy and Klonopin
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2014, 09:54:56 AM »
Hi Will, thanks for reading and responding. 

Here's the thing with SSRIs.  Twenty years ago, I found I'm also bipolar 2.  So I started taking prozac and lithium and luckily that
has worked very for all these years.  Had a bit of a hiccup/relapse after the first 10 years.  I still can't remember how that got resolved.

So I have been on prozac as my SSRI.  I did wonder if I was becoming immune to the prozac after all this time.  My backup plan with to talk
to the pdoc to switch it out for a newer SSRI like Lexapro.  But so far klonopin is working for me, and hoping I can stick with it.

Good luck to you too.
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: Anxiety diminishing thanks to ACT therapy and Klonopin
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2014, 07:19:06 PM »
So my GAD has lasted about 6 months. 

I wondered how long other people's GADs has lasted.
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Offline comoso

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Re: Anxiety finally coming under control due to ACT therapy and Klonopin
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2014, 07:42:59 PM »
I'm at 11 months of VERY high anxiety with agoraphobic periods.  I've overcame the agoraphobia, pretty much.  I wish I could trust the klonopin the way you do.  I'm way scared of it for some dumb reason.  I'm prescribed .75 mg per day.  I usually take .5 and yesterday tried to take only .25. 
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: Anxiety finally coming under control due to ACT therapy and Klonopin
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2014, 09:41:12 PM »
Comoso, I'm sorry you're at a high anxiety level.  In hindsight, I can see my anxiety was more moderate, though the sense of dread was horrible.
I've always been very open to medicine.  Because early on I could see I responded well to meds.  To me my biggest fear is not the side effects.
It's the chance that there will be no effects.
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Offline redapples

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Re: Anxiety finally coming under control due to ACT therapy and Klonopin
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2014, 11:09:57 PM »
Comoso, I'm sorry you're at a high anxiety level.  In hindsight, I can see my anxiety was more moderate, though the sense of dread was horrible.
I've always been very open to medicine.  Because early on I could see I responded well to meds.  To me my biggest fear is not the side effects.
It's the chance that there will be no effects.

I'm so happy for your Worldbeat!

Most of us fear the side effects and you fear that there will be no effects. So glad it's all working for you.

You sound so upbeat and happy!!! :party0006: :party0006: :party0006:

I'm happy for you! :yes:
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: Anxiety finally coming under control due to ACT therapy and Klonopin
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2014, 12:59:24 AM »
Thanks, redapples.  :yes: :yes: :yes:
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: Anxiety finally coming under control due to ACT therapy and Klonopin
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2014, 12:31:06 AM »
I like to document my experiences with mental health issues.  I think it's crucial so that I can learn from
my relapses and recovery.  Those who fail to learn from personal history are doomed to repeat it.

Thus the detailed journaling above.  My journal acts act breadcrumbs in the forest
to lead me back to home.  Do you guys journal too?  Is it helpful?
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: Anxiety finally coming under control due to ACT therapy and Klonopin
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2014, 01:52:38 AM »

Update:  End of 3rd week on klonopin.  Things are going great.  Keeping my fingers crossed.
(Comoso, I hope you give klon a try.)  I'm staying on .5 mg in am and .5 in pm.  I feel joy returning
to my life.  I'm being very social again.  Working on my novel, but wish I could make more progress.
I'm going to a Meetup Group this week where people just write for 2 hours.
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: Anxiety finally coming under control due to ACT therapy and Klonopin
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2014, 03:26:16 AM »
WEEK 3.5 on klonopin

I wish I could express to you how differently I feel now that I'm recovering from GAD.  Thanks to the klonopin and various therapies and yoga positions.
In January 2014, when I first experienced gad, it was like the floor had vanished from beneath my feet.  I seemed to feel anxiety 24/7.  At work, I worried that people could tell I was nervous.  And oddly when I got off work, I felt worse because I didn't now what to do with myself.  I wondered: What does Dwight do with his free time?  How does he enjoy himself?  None of those things seemed relevant anymore.  All I could obsess about was finding a cure for my anxiety. It was like I could watch my life but not really feel it or touch it.

Now it's July 2014.  I've been on klonopin for 3.5 weeks and I feel pretty much like myself again.  I used to say I could only feel 60% as happy or calm as before.  But now I'd say I feel 95%.  And some days I easily feel 100%.  Those are days when I'm making jokes with coworkers, or going on a date with someone new, or learning to revise my second novel.  Or just enjoying my friends again.  There are a few times when I lose my temper with people, but it's rare.  Overall I'm feeling great.  I'm hesitant to say I'm recovered yet.  Maybe after a few more months when I've been recovered for as long as I was suffering from GAD.  I hope everyone finds their solutions.  Whether thru meds, or faith, or the love of friends, or therapy, or the rediscovery of your passions.  It's weird that all the good things in my 55 year old life could seem to vanish overnight.  But were they ever permanently gone?  I don't think so.  Because here are all those good things back again...seemingly restored overnight.  The human brain is a mysterious thing.

I write science fiction, partly out of my interest in the future and evolution and solving the unsolvable problems we deal with every day.  My new novel is called THE HOPE STORE.  "We don't just instill hope.  We install it." That's the store slogan.  They sell hope over the counter.  I bet you that a fresh supply of hope would cure a majority of society's problems.  And also resolve many of the mental illnesses in the world.  I also lead a Meetup anxiety group in Chicago.  I think we have to share what we've learned and give back.  And it takes at least a village to lift a person's spirits.

I plan to remember my recovery path this time.  I've written it down here for all to see.   :-*
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Offline forever young

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Re: Anxiety finally coming under control due to ACT therapy and Klonopin
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2014, 07:36:11 AM »
thanks worldbeat for posting this. It is helpful for those of us who are looking for our healing path. I have been given klonopin .5 mgs to help with anxiety I am having with fear of weak spells and other issues. I am trying to get back on an anti depressant and the weak spells still come. I started having them after I went off Prozac. I hate them so bad as they scare me and feel terrible. I am afraid to take the klonopin all the time as I don't want to be dependant on it. I also have agrophobia and was wondering if it would help me face it. I know I need to face my fears because they will never go away on there on. I wish I was like you and not afraid of the sideffects of meds. keep us posted.
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Online tinam7

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Re: Anxiety finally coming under control due to ACT therapy and Klonopin
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2014, 08:05:11 AM »
Thank you for sharing your experience, wonderful for you, helpful to anyone reading. The vast mystery of the brain is one huge challenge. There are a number of other challenges (environmental) which may vary from person to person.

Socialization is very important to some people while others do well (or even better) on their own. Hope is very precious so your novel sounds promising. Hope can vanish like the sun behind clouds, but can re-emerge. The grand adventure of reading, thinking, learning, growing, etc. is extraordinary. Those of us with some of the conditions we recognize can be highly motivated explorers. Our brain can actually give us that pleasure of learning and changing.

Do think it is naive to believe we are ever "cured." Our tendencies will likely recur which we can learn to accept without giving in.
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: Anxiety finally coming under control due to ACT therapy and Klonopin
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2014, 10:32:13 AM »
Tina, thanks for your comments.   I agree that hope can vanish so easily. Which is why it's so important people remember that hope can return too.
I tend to think as mental illness as something I learn to manage rather than overcome completely.  I've learned this from relapsing.  But management is a great skill to learn.  Thanks for the encouragement on my novel.  Here is a tiny excerpt:

"Living without hope for the past forty-some years is kind of like wandering through a dark cave the size of the Grand Canyon with bats flapping overhead and not having a flashlight to your name. It's a mystery to me how I survived this long, though I'm sure that bravery had nothing to do with it."


Forever young, thanks for writing.  What are weak spells?  Are they like fainting spells or low blood sugar?  Have you tried the klonopin before?  I hope you find something that works for you too.
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Online tinam7

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Re: Anxiety finally coming under control due to ACT therapy and Klonopin
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2014, 08:26:54 AM »
Learning to manage rather than to overcome is a good way to look at it. What we learn about ourselves is just as valid (or better) than the "scientific" studies, or so I believe.

You give effective imagery for the depths in which we can find ourselves. But this need not stop us from reaching our goals (your novels) and finding some good days. Hope you enjoy writing your novel as others will enjoy reading it.
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