In June 2010 I stopped taking Klonopin everyday and started having weird sensations. I took my absolute last .25 mg of Klonopin on July 7th. Though I have had side effects since June I will count July 7th as my official withdrawal beginning.
THE FIRST 2 WEEKS
The first two weeks the symptoms slowly waxed in intensity until reaching a terrible spike. This is when I first got anxiety, dysphoria, derealization, brain fog, akathisia, burning skin, vision issues, head and ear pressure, increased tinnitus, etc.
2 WEEKS – 3 MONTHS
This time period was pure hell. I was desperate, scared, and couldn’t stay still. I could barely talk. During this period my akathisia and most of my physical symptoms peaked. The burning sensation in my ears was intolerable. My eyes exploded with floaters. I couldn’t stay still. I had to go on long walks. I had terrible unrelenting fear and couldn’t be alone. I was constantly calling my girlfriend at work. My agoraphobia was disabling. I fell apart at the slightest stress. I thought I was going crazy.
MONTH 3 – 3 1/2
This period came with a comforting lull in pretty much all of my symptoms. The head pressure was virtually gone. My vision problems relaxed a little. My anxiety seemed to have disappeared. But this was the calm before the storm.
MONTHS 4 AND 5
These two months were the worst of it. My brain fog turned into confusion. My memory became severely impaired. I felt so disconnected from reality, disoriented, and dizzy. The anxiety and depression got bad again. My ability to handle stress got very, very bad. The akathisia didn’t return in full force though. Neither did the pressure in my head. So these months were the peak for my brain symptoms, and the first and second month was the peak for my physical symptoms. I consider 4 and 5 the absolute worst months though.
Improvement at long last. I was a little more relaxed. Anxiety and depression virtually disappeared. I started feeling positive emotions and began to enjoy simple hobbies again despite the constant derealization, brain fog, and drunk, woozy feeling.
Month 7 brought another symptom flare up unfortunately, but nothing as intense as what I have been through. It mainly came in the form of buzzing and vibrating in my nerves, fatigue, and head and ear pressure.
Now I truly believe the worst of it is over. My akathisia is consistently better. Emotionally I feel almost normal. I’m no longer afraid of being alone. I’m still very miserable physically. The pressure in my ears and head constantly fluctuate and every once in a while the vibrating flares up. My cognitive impairment fluctuates but even when it’s a little better it is still disabling. I can handle stress much better meaning that I don’t fall apart, but I’m still far from normal. The only thing that hasn’t seen any improvement whatsoever is the tinnitus which still rages on just as bad as its peak. The floaters haven’t gotten better either, but that isn’t so much a symptom as the end result of another symptom.
Very few things have actually gone away, but every symptom besides tinnitus has shown improvement to some degree. Some of the things that have disappeared is: the fear and terror, depression, burning skin sensation, tremors, and probably a few other things that I don’t even remember.
I’ve shown enough improvement to realize recovery is possible, and yet I sit here wondering how much longer I have to stay at this level of suffering. My nervous system is still very dysfunctional. When will I be functional again? When can I resume a normal life?
From my time spent in withdrawal forums it seems that people who get most of their side effects all at once in the beginning say that the first six months were the worst. I guess this is true in my case. These people often find relief around nine or ten months or perhaps a year. For others, they get some symptoms in the first six months, and get hit with a different set of symptoms in the second six months, a second wave. For these people their second six months were the worst. In either case, 6-18 months is the most common healing time with just around one year being average.
I press forward.