I had severe painful anxiety and panic attacks in my early twenties (thirty years ago) and have had anxiety off and on ever since–increasing in severity after my postpartum depression and bipolar diagnosis and the start of being giving the revolving cocktail of psychotropic medications.
Medications never helped my anxiety, but instead made it worse. Klonopin helped and rescued me initially but after a while my anxiety and other symptoms of mental illness increased. Also, I was super sensitive to the side effects of other psychotropic medications and had adverse reactions to many of them.
I was one of those people who could not take psychotropic medications, They never seemed to help me but instead made me feel worse. Medications help many people. I was just not one of them.
I stopped taking Klonopin one year and five months ago and soon after stopped taking all psychotropic medications (medically supervised). When I first went off Klonopin, it felt like I didn’t have anxiety anymore. This surprised my Psychiatrist as he has helped many patients go off Klonopin and other Benzodiazepines and noticed great improvements in all of them. However, he said they still had some anxiety.
After finally stopping Klonopin, the contrast and beauty of feeling the difference of inner peace and well being (for me) was so sharp that I thought I no longer had anxiety. Recently I’ve learned I am still experiencing some anxiety but much less significantly. My anxiety is manageable and I have learned better coping techniques than I had before.
After reading, researching and watching many videos on the subject, the light bulb finally went off in my head. For years the increase in my anxiety, manic like symptoms, insomnia, depression and suicidality was blamed on me and my own increasing mental illness and inability to cope with it.
Instead the severity of my mental illness symptoms increased because of the side effects and my adverse reactions to the large cocktails of psychotropic medications I took for over two decades of my life.
“You do not have Bipolar Disorder,” said Dr. S., my new psychiatrist about a year ago. “You have PTSD and borderline personality disorder but you do not have bipolar disorder.
“But I had all the symptoms of bipolar,” I replied dumbfounded.
“Borderline Personalty Disorder has similar characteristics and in time people can learn coping strategies so they no longer need medication,” Dr. S. replied.
“But I was so sick. My symptoms were so severe.”
“That was caused from the Klonopin. Klonopin can cause a lot of damage, especially when using it as long as you did at such high doses.”
It was a lot to take in at first but in time I embraced the release of my bipolar disorder label.
Since becoming psychotropic medication free, I feel better than I ever have since I became diagnosed and labeled with many labels of mental illness over twenty-six years ago.
Once I was thrown into the mental illness club and psychotropic medication club, they were hard to leave. The mental illness club is an exclusive membership and it seems once a member always a member. The psychiatrists never want you to leave and say you can’t. I was brainwashed until I believed and accepted I had bipolar and other mental illnesses. I had no choice at the time, but to accept it.
“You will never be normal. We can get you to live a functional life, but you will never be normal,” said a psychiatrist soon after my initial diagnoses.
“You must take these medications for the rest of your life. You can never stop taking bipolar medications.”
Those are devastating, destructive, defeating and heartbreaking comments for anyone to hear, especially at the prime of their life–like I was.
Today we are finally more informed and we do have a choice. I fought my diagnosis for years for a reason. The reason being… they could be wrong and they were wrong. I was misdiagnosed.
I just wanted to add… This is my story and does not happen to everyone. I just want to increase awareness and give people hope if I can. Please always remember everyone is different and everyone’s journey of recovery is unique.
I am psychotropic medication free, mentally well, am living a good life and am fully capable of doing anything I want currently in my life. My only problem is now picking up the pieces from the destruction after living a mental illness life for two decades.
After I became medication free, I realized that my anxiety is very manageable and I don’t have other symptoms of mental illness. Therefore, my severe symptoms were not caused from mental illness but were from the side effects of psychotropic medications and MOSTLY from my physical addiction to the Benzodiazepine, Klonopin and the withdrawal effects from it.
When I first started taking Klonopin twenty five years ago, after I had been using Klonopin for a few months, my body adjusted to the levels of Klonopin in my system and cried out for more–mimicking increased anxiety. My doctors and I blamed my anxiety while all along it was the adverse reactions, side effects and withdrawals from Klonopin.
There is no other explanation. There just isn’t. My pain and severe symptoms and years of suicidality came from the damage caused by using Klonopin and other psychotropic medications for too many years.
To reiterate, my psychiatrist believes I was misdiagnosed and that I never had bipolar disorder. At first, I didn’t believe that but now I do. I have PTSD and borderline personality disorder but no bipolar disorder.
There are many people misdiagnosed with bipolar when they have PTSD instead and/or borderline personality disorder.
I lost years of my life and yes things could have been different, but this is my reality and I will make the best out of the rest of my life. I will keep fighting and finding new joys and purposes for my life.
I know how blessed I am and am enjoying the beauty of living.
Recovery is possible: I am living proof.
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