82 days out

82 days since I last took benzo.

Been quite a while since I last wrote here. That says something.

I have been stuporous and gone, as previously described, to heretofore unknown levels of pure misery.  Especially re: intrusive thoughts, morning anxiety, and muscle aches.

Also I had a cold for nearly three weeks.  I didn’t even work out for four or five days.  That was hard.  My sinuses are still in an uproar.  I am pretty sure I have bad allergies.

Had the yearly physical.  On the basis of listening to my heart and chest and sticking a finger up my asshole, my medical person declared me just great for my age.

I have yet to get blood work done, and am not looking forward to results.

Life Line screening (haven’t got the results from that) indicate my right carotid is not looking good.  I saw it there on the screen: a narrowing of the artery.

Dan has not yet found work.

Carol is overwhelmed (nearly) by end of quarter and other things to do.

Now that cold is over I am back working out daily, though it is hard to get myself there some days.

Benzo Buddies has topic areas.  One is withdrawal after completing taper.  There I posted:  2 Months Out:  Is this Normal?–as follows:

I have not taken any benzo since December 12 of this last year.

With each new day I seem to discover heretofore unexplored levels of misery.

Daily I experience the following: morning anxiety, dread, insomnia, aching muscles, loss of concentration, intrusive thoughts, brain fog, fatigue, hypochondria, fear of death, anhedonia, depersonalization, anger, and extreme flatulence.  Oh yeah, and depression. With some variation but pretty much each day the same old song.

Allowing for individual differences and circumstances, I still wonder: is this more or less normal for two months out?

Going on day 41 at 0 milligrams

This is pretty bad.

I decided to break up my thyroid (120 milligrams) that I take round 7 AM.  Taking 60 at 7 and 60 round noon for two days now.

That was a mistake.  I feel stuporous. Leaden.

Could be the 60’s are too old and have no potency.  That could be it.  But don’t know.

Maybe it’s just a mistake to mess with any meds while going through a withdrawal such as this.

Did an hour twenty for 800 calories on machine, plus 15 laps yesterday.

Also cooked and did a shop at Costco.


40 days at 0 milligrams

Just awful.  Exhausted and yet feel as if I will pop a cork.

Can’t find no relief.

Last night mostly slept through; two prior nights had to get up and do meditation to get back to sleep, one at three, yester  night, at 4.

Experimented with thyroid.  60 milligrams at 7 and the other sixty coming up at 2:30.

Did 800 calories on machine yesterday, and swam 15 laps in mist, showers, and some rain.

One of the Eagles co-founders died day before yesterday.

Van Morrison turned 70 this last August.

All these people, about my age and generation, kicking the bucket.  A downpour, a symphony of bucket kicking.

Going on 37 days at 0 milligrams…

Have had rough sleep, but have not taken any more Valium.

Instead on Thursday night last, up at 3 AM, I meditated for 25 minutes and got back to sleep relatively quickly.

Same last night, up at 3 AM sweating, meditated for 25 and then got back to sleep.

Sat in  big chair from 9:30 to 10 AM  this morning dozing and feeling as if I might be in hell.  My body aching, my nose running, and my mind all over the painful place.  No energy.

Signed onto Benzo Buddies out of GB.  While looking for info, noticed that do not recommend any writing on getting off Benzos until you have been off them 2 months. That tells me something.  It may be really hard to say positive, inspirational things about withdrawing for at least two months.  And further, they don’t encourage you to write a success story narrative until 18+ months out. That tells me something.  Painful withdrawal, of the kind I am now experiencing, can last 18+ months.  At least.

Still working out daily, though it can be really, really difficult.  I get cold, tired, and bored.  Even so, makes for some of the better moments in my depleted day.

Going on 33 days at 0 (?) milligrams

This is the absolute worst.  I keep finding new and un-imagined levels of misery.

Last night, didn’t get to sleep till 2.  Went downstairs, but that didn’t work.  Up or down, in my bed or not, I just lay there with achy muscles, burning sensation in nose, plenty of post nasal drip, tinnitus, and waves of anxiety sweeping over me.

Finally, having discussed the choice with Carol, I took .25 milligrams of Valium (thus reinstating), and did get to sleep till around six.  The sleep was terrible and then I tossed and turned.

Got up, fixed breakfast, and just sat in the big red chair for over an hour.

Did not going grocery shopping as planned.

I feel like a failure having not done what I had planned, having stayed awake till 2 (even though I did a complete workout yesterday), and having taken that damn med again.

I think my psychiatrist has hinted this might happen.  Don’t be too hard on yourself, he has said, if you have to backtrack a little.

For the record: David Bowie died day before yesterday.  He was 69.

Going on 32 days at 0 milligrams

Well, just about a month with zero benzo, and no let up.  No sign of a break.  It’s worse than ever.

Woke at 10 till 4 last night and was up for an hour and a half.  Aching all over, and convinced, because of a random cough, that I am in the first stages of lung cancer (a persistent cough being one of the signs of that).

I have thought about taking .5 milligrams of Valium to take the edge off,  because the edge is pretty bad, and if .5 could take away that edge, I might be able to convince myself that what I suffer is withdrawal and not some malignant precursor to death.  So far I haven’t done that, what do they call it, “reinstate” myself on the drug.

Going on 29 days at 0 milligrams

Things continue pretty awful.

The terror, dread thing is not confined simply to morning hours, now leaking into day proper.

I just feel carved out…empty..

There was a quote in the Nation about anxiety by Rollo May to the effect that the greater the anxiety, the greater the humanity of the person suffering it.

If so I must be very human.  Or how did Nietzsche put it, “Human, Too Human.”

Because I am just choking on the stuff.

Going on day 25 at 0 milligrams

Well, this is just awful.

The withdrawal continues.  Yesterday and today, I am ready to jump out of my skin.  Additionally, my negative self image is just incredible and expands hourly. I can’t stand looking at my aged self in the mirror.  Either my face or my body. Both are horrible.  And my neck doesn’t look like a neck anymore.  Just sagging skin.

What’s worse.  I forget more and more daily.  Yesterday, I was in Jacuzzi with a guy I had not seen for months.  Last I saw him, he had stints put in and had trouble breathing.  I think I had concluded that he was dead.   But, no, there he was and I couldn’t remember his name.  Carol remembered it–she was there–and Greg, he was there too.  But I couldn’t remember, Doug, even though I had chatted with him on and off for a couple years about his various physical complaints.

And the other day, I saw some numbers glowing the stove, and couldn’t figure out what they were for.  The oven timer, maybe.  I wasn’t sure, but figured I would figure it out later. and I did with a shock.  It was the clock, the numbers for the time of day.  How could I have not recognized that.  These little shocks…that happen multiple times daily, that remind me of my morality…load me down with fear and anxiety.

On another subject.  It’s finally raining.  A good over night soaking and water backing up on golf course.

So I worked out yesterday.  No swimming lately.  Too cold, and my congestion, while less, still hangs on.  But I did the bike for an hour and twenty minutes for 800 calories.

Found a nice summary treatment of Self-Development and College writing, “The Other Side of Pedagogy,” on Google books.

Going on 24 days at 0 milligrams

Horribly tired and despondent.  As if at 70 and going through a drug withdrawal, my life is in effect done.  Over. Kaput. Or: to say it another way, not sure what going on is all about, except to say the biological mechanism isn’t quite prepared to call it quits.

Just waiting around and killing time.

Dreams, in late morning, have become more vigorous and are uniformly painful, with thoughts of the past, and people missed, and opportunities unrealized.  Nothing but regrets.  I appear unable to locate anything positive or worthwhile in the past I did live.  It was such a struggle, just to keep this side of the insanity line.

Have I mentioned.  I have not used the CPAP device, for sleep apnea, in over a month.  I just quit.  I was waking up over and over again with dry mouth and throat.  I am so weary though I think I might go back to using it except for the fact that I don’t believe I need it.  I am not snoring anymore even with this titanic cold.

The cold, I think, is “resolving.”  Not as much PND at night.

I worked out the last two days for an hour and 20 minutes, 800 calories.  But no swimming.  It’s just too cold and I don’t want to chance making the cold worse or causing it to linger.

Going on 21 days at zero

My last entry was on Christmas day, I think.  I was tired that day, and turns out, the next day, I came down with a King Kong of Colds, either that or a massive allergy attack.

It’s been a week since then and the cold is still with me.  The PND at night is just awful.  I swallow over and over.  A body can produce two quarts of mucus a day.

I have had to curtail working out.  Yesterday, New Year’s Day, the club was closed.  I worked out the day before that but only for an hour.  Then did jacuzzi and steam.  I cancelled by Thursday appointment with Anny.  A good idea.

Yesterday watched football till my eyes were falling out.  Horrible, I watched them as if they were ants scurrying around.

Otis M.–who taught in Black Studies–died.  While I did not know him well, we were on a nodding basis in the corridor.

The withdrawal continues: aches, pains, strange sensations in legs, and pelvic floor.  Massive early morning depression, and fear at night.  I tried to make myself feel better by thinking, well, at least, I am not in a hospital with somebody charged to wipe my butt for me.  But that did not cheer me up.

Anhedonia…a major sign of depression.  Could be I am very depressed…drug rebound?

Going on 15 days at 0 milligrams

I have written nothing here for a number of days largely because words fail me.  I can’t  find the vocabulary that would effectively convey this purgatorial state of being neither quite dead nor quite alive.  I ache and go about half asleep it seems most of my waking hours; my sleeping hours are more like waking than I would like them to be.

Yesterday was Christmas, 2015.  I hated it.  I hate Christmas anyway, and all the more because the club closes down for Christmas (and New Year’s) and I can’t get my exercise and the heat I need for aching muscles.

So we took a short morning walk to the grocery store and an hour walk in the afternoon and in between I sort of dozed off and on.

15 days out from zero and no end in sight. Apparently, diazepam cannot be detected in the blood six weeks after stopping.  Anecdotally, the word is one may find some respite about that time, though withdrawal can continue from six months to a year.

I was irritated to see a word I had never seen before.  Found out it was a neologism, from sociology, becoming faddish round 2012.  “Precarity,” from precarious, denoting a class of persons subject to economic precariousness.

The retiree newsletter reports that M.D. died this November.  She was a good colleague.

Going on 8 days at 0 milligrams

A number of things since I last posted here.

I turned 70 this last Monday, December 14.

And on Friday, December 11, I did not, for the first time in 22 or 3 years, take any benzo med to help me sleep.

I have been nearly 8 days at 0 milligrams and am paying for it.  I am completely exhausted. Drained.  Feel like a squashed grade, as if my front side is in contact with my backside, as if my bones have turned to rubber.  All I could do most of the morning was sit in my big chair and ache…

Carol reminds me that this is the second weekend after a reduction, and for some reason, the second weekend after a reduction (this time to 0, the terminal reduction) I feel particularly awful.

The cat is still with us, though she weakens daily.

I have gone to work out every day, even though in the prospect I can’t stand the thought of all that repetition and cold out by the pool, but I go anyway.  An hour and 20 to 25 minutes on bike, plus .5 miles in pool.  I am probably using about 1 k calories, and I am convinced this workout is what gets me to sleep (though I have been waking repeatedly after 2 AM).

Oh, it’s raining.  Sort of.  Possibly enough to keep me from swimming.  But may slacken considerably by the time I get to the pool.  When we first woke, sun was out and looked like no rain in sight.


Going on 12 days at .5 milligrams

This sucks.  I am concerned.

I woke three times last night.  Am tired to the bone. Also last two days have gotten up just swimming in anxiety.  Really overwhelming.  Nothing seems to help it abate.  Except, perhaps, exercise, which I continue to do.  But that I am coming to dread.  It is so tiring and repetitious, and while it perhaps works to contain the anxiety and dread, does not get to the root of it at all.

Did I mentioned I started to have flashing lights in right eye about two weeks ago.  These scare me. Seems like lots of elderly people get them.  I am a week short of 70.  The idea that I am elderly does not somehow make me feel better.

The massacre that occurred in San Bernardino last Wednesday is seeping into my unconscious.  14 dead.  Perhaps terrorist motivations.  Overall does not add to that sense of stability that might lessen anxiety.

The old cat continues to die.  Carol tries to give her liquids.  They help, when and if she can get them in.

Carol gave her final for D45 today.

Going on 72 hours at .5 milligrams

Last Thursday, I dropped .5 milligrams, so now I am down to .5 milligrams a day.

This has been fairly hellish.

I have been terribly tired.  Even having some “pelvic floor” issues.  Fairly typical withdrawal stuff, plus waking at night repeatedly, not so much from drugs as problems with terrible dry mouth because of CPAP device.

Anxiety was increased enormously yesterday, when all of a sudden I could not access this very blog.  I contacted “sure support” and found out that in effect my blog was dead.  I had not upgraded Movable Type, and the are upgrading their servers, and all of a sudden the two were not compatible.

So I entered into an extended email exchange with the sure support staff.  They explained the situation, and helped out quite a bit to migrate this blog and “And He Not Busy Being Born” from MT.  I am typing in that right now to see if I can post something.

I felt really bad when I thought I could not access the blog. I have been working at blogging since at least 2006. So I have put considerable time and energy into that thing, and it felt like or as if here I go again, losing another part of myself as I age towards 70 (just a couple of weeks off).

Such much of what happens to me now in a daily way seems to involve, willy-nilly the context of aging. Even eating is not the same; I am aware of losing some of the acuity of my sense of taste. This is disheartening.

OK, I am going to “publish” this to see what appears online.

Going on 9 days at 1 milligram

Carol reminded me this morning that the 2nd weekend after I drop .5 milligrams is usually a real bummer.

That would seem to be the case today (two weekends after my last reduction).  I am crushed by depression…nothing but negative “ideation,” about death, aging, decay, how there is no way out of this fucking situation of being almost 70 years old and hating it.  How all is gone, past, and over.

I can hardly hold my head up from fatigue, even though I managed to sleep last night, for the first time in several nights, clear through to 5:30 AM without being waked by the yowling cat.

Carol took cat to vet.  The vet reports that the cat has kidney disease plus high blood pressure. The latter may be the cause of her anxious yowling.  Carol got some meds for the cat’s various conditions.

These last two days–yesterday and into today–have been and are very difficult.  From noon I can’t believe I will make it to five. Yet I do.  I get through the day but the only point of that seems to be to get through the day.

I continue working out and will go to club today.  Yesterday, I did an hour on bike, 25 on elliptical, plus .5 mile swim.  I weigh 164 these days.  Good for my knees, I guess.

Going on 7 days at 1 milligram

It’s November 19 and ten days since I last wrote here.

Last Thursday I dropped .5 milligrams down to 1 milligram.  So I am going on a week at this level.
It’s very hard.  This morning could hardly get out of bed with fatigue and an excess of end-of-life-I-am-decaying thoughts.
The one year anniversary of Steve’s death was last Saturday.  I had flowers delivered to his graveside.
That was a hard day.
Our old cat took to howling at night and kept us up at  night three nights running.  Carol took her to the vet.  Turns out she has kidney disease and perhaps associated high blood pressure which may account for her agitation and anxiety at night.  It’s a sad thing to observe.  We are giving her a kitty-cat tranquilizer at the moment.
I lost the Ipod I had for about four years.  I think I left it upstairs at the club.  I am absent minded.  This morning could not remember the Wizard of Westwoods last name:  Wooden.
I bought another Ipod and it took me two days before I could figure out how to get Itunes to recognize all the music files I have on the hard drive.
Terrorists attacked Paris.  The airways are full of nastiness, fear, rampant speculation.
The predictions for an El Nino continue dire.  Epic, a downpour of Biblical proportions, etc. is anticipated. I am afraid the abandoned golf course will flood and we will have water damage.  Who knows?  But I think about it every morning and wonder if I should stock pile food and water in preparation for a complete loss of power.
I groan every other step it seems.  Must be the drug withdrawal.  It seems as if my body is one giant muscle that’s about to cramp up, and then I groan.
Saw old George at the club.  He is 87 and had some heart trouble, a year of so back, triple bypass surgery.  You can see the scar running down the middle of his chest.
I continue to work out daily.  An hour on bike, 25-30 minutes on elliptical; plus, .5 mile swim.  I am down to 164.  Good for my knees, especially since the left one started acting up (sharp pain when walking) a couple of days ago.

Going on 11 days at 1.5 milligrams

It’s Monday, November 9.  It’s been six days since I last wrote here.

Six awfully rough days, and this one especially, since I believe I screwed up the night before last and took 1 whole milligram at 6 AM.  Today I am paying for that.  I felt a little better yesterday perhaps because of the mistake in dose.  But today I ache and feel nearly comatose.
I am taking .5 at bedtime, .5 around 6 AM and .5 around 4:30 PM.
I am a little over a month from being 70.  I just don’t think I have that long.  I keep thinking about cancer of the lung or maybe just dropping from a stroke or heart attack. These things do happen.
I am exhausted and terrified.  I just don’t know how people hang on in a situation like this; still I am taking and have no plans actively to seek suicide.  Buy a gun or research pills or something like that.  Every time I think in concrete terms, I am brought up short; and think, well, I will just wait for what takes me to take me.
Additionally, I keep forgetting stuff. I lie in bed half asleep and try to remember names of TV actors.  Who was I thinking of this morning?  Can’t remember.
Been going to the club every day, no matter what.  Did an hour on bike; 25 on elliptical, for a total of 800 calories, plus .5 mile swim.

Going on 5 days at 1.5 milligrams

It’s Tuesday, November 3.

Today–and last night–among the worst so far experienced.
Woke at 3:30 from cat yowling with dry throat from open mouth breathing.  Really felt bad. Nose stuffy and cpap mask making noise all through the wee hours.
Really didn’t sleep much after the cat woke me; some, I guess, between 5 and 6, a little between six and seven.
Got up at 7:30 cause I just couldn’t stand it in bed anymore with all that darkness starting to pour in.
I am concerned.
It’s 11:30 now, and I haven’t done a damn thing.  I did make and eat breakfast; and I called back to SC to have flowers placed at Steve’s grave to mark the one year anniversary of his death.  That happened last November 15, 2014.
It’s been a year and a lot has happened in that year.  We spent a month, for example, in Manhattan, but it feels as if Steve died just yesterday.  I remember with photographic vividness the first time I visited hospice for some grief counseling.
I called Dan because he had emailed about when Steve died exactly.  So I called him, and told him about the flowers, and asked him about his job hunt.  Nothing so far.
My sense of time is being additionally screwed up by the clock change.
At some level, I am terrified.
Yesterday worked out an hour on bike, 30 on elliptical, and .5 mile swim in the rain.  Not much rain, but some.
The temperature dropped dramatically yesterday from the low 80’s to the low 70’s.  About time.

Going on 4 days at 1.5 milligrams

Reduced last Thursday to 1.5 milligrams.

Most importantly I took the .5 reduction out of the 1 milligram dose I had been taking upon retiring.
I was really afraid to do this because of potential disruption to sleep.
So far I have gotten to sleep pretty quickly, though I have not slept particularly deeply or well.
I think the getting to sleep has mostly to do with no coffee after noon, and my workout: 1 hour on bike, half hour on elliptical,  followed by .5 mile swim, plus Jacuzzi and steam room.
I think my exercise might be excessive (on joints) for a person one month shy of being 70. When I get this drug thing done, I plan to plan a more reasonable workout schedule, in any case something not quite so intense.
Woke this morning early, couldn’t really get back to sleep much after 6, and had thoughts of dark things–prostate cancer from age, colon cancer from red meat, lung cancer from smoking, and of course Alzheimer’s for good measure.
I am pissed off that the clocks got set back Saturday night; I hate it getting dark so early, and when my metabolism gets out of sync with the sun, I get confused and depressed.

13 days at 2 milligrams

Today is Oct. 28, 2015.  A Wednesday.

Tomorrow I will have gone two full weeks at 2 milligrams.  Usually after two weeks, I drop the dose again;this time, it would be to 1.5.
I guess I will do it.  I have already set up my med box with only .5 milligrams upon retiring, .5 at 6 AM and .5 at 12:30.
But I have felt pretty terrible, awfully tired, and miserably bleak waking up (or at least getting out of bed).
I have gone through this day in a foggy daze.  I finished polishing the down stair’s tile–this time the floor in the half bath.  Kitty-litter every where.  And the old cat is looking awfully old.
Did an hour on bike; 25 on elliptical, for a total of 800 calories, and .5 mile swim.
I feel like Beckett again:  “I go on; I can’t go on.  I can’t go on; I go on.” And so forth, and so on.
I have a little growth on the end of my nose that I may have to get a doctor to look at….
The World Series started yesterday, like I care.  I don’t know any of these guys.  I lost track 20 or thirty years ago. 

11 days at 2 milligrams

I think it’s been 11 days since I dropped to 2 milligrams and 8 days since I last wrote here.

I have little to note.  It’s been a  trying few days…much the same as usual in the withdrawal.
The second weekend after a Thursday drop has been usually pretty awful.  It doesn’t seem to have been as bad this time around, though maybe things are catching up with me today.
I feel pretty low.
I have been applying a polish to our down stairs tile.  They were looking pretty drab.  I did the kitchen this morning, and am waiting for it to drop.
The glass micro wave popcorn popper broke in the sink.  It’s pretty fragile.  I will probably get a new one after working out.
Don’t think that I remarked:  I was able to buy an edition of the Compete Works of Henry James with my kindle for 99 cents.  Hard to believe, nearly 400 hours of reading by their estimate. Sadly I have difficulty getting through his sentences now.
I continue exercise.  1 hour on stationary bike; 20 to 25 minutes on elliptical…for a total of 800 calories no matter what.  Plus, 15 laps in pool.  
I am losing a little weight, almost down to 165.  And am completely blown-away exhausted after working out like that.
Watched a TV show that suggested Ativan (a benzo) destroys memory. That freaked me out, cause my memory sure ain’t what it used to be.
I get scared thinking about reducing another .5 milligrams (which I hope to do this coming Thursday).

3 days at 2 milligrams..

It is October 18; last wrote here October 13.

I believe last Thursday was October 15.
In any case, while I usually reduce on a Thursday, I had decided last Thursday because I was so tired from not sleeping well (due to the heat) that I would not drop.  But by accident I failed to take .5 milligrams at noon, and so, de facto, I reduced by .5 in any case.
So I dropped the .5 at 6 PM the next day and that’s what I have done for the last couple of days.
The cycle repeats:  the first day or so I just feel horribly tired; the muscle aches start again, and by this morning I was back in terror land, waking with dark thoughts of my brothers, my family, and morality.
Mercifully the heat has abated.  Some warm days ahead but this time next week promises to be sort of normal Fall weather.
Good neighbor Polly came over with some “tea tree” oil for my toenail fungus and good suggestions about how to cure the inflammation under my thumb nail.  Quite painful.  But soaking in hot, salt water has helped.
I missed Steve when I saw Billy Joe Royal died.  He would have remembered “Down in the Boondocks.”

19 days at 2.5 milligrams

Today as bad as yesterday, if not worse.

Woke at 4 am sweating and did not get back to sleep till after six and then only for a dream troubled hour or so.
I thought maybe I was going through a different cycle with the meds and that kept me awake, but up and about Carol said she had looked at the thermometer at 4 Am and it was 80 degrees in our bedroom.  That contributed, surely, to the lack of sleep.
I got out of bed terrified, ate breakfast and sat in chair for a good hunk of the morning.  It’s now a quarter to 12.  Then I will try to meditate,
Frank Zappa’s wife died yesterday.  She was 70, born Jan. 1 1945.  Also dead Billy Joe Royal–“Down in the Boondocks”–born in 1941.  Missed Steve.  He would have remembered Billy Joe Royal…”Lord have mercy on a boy from down in the boondocks.”

18 days at 2.5 millgrams

Today is October 12, been 6 days since I last wrote here.

Have only to say: this is the worst it has been.
I feel, especially in the mornings, nearly suicidal with fatigue and depressed thoughts.  I am happy I do not own a gun and have no desire to get one.
2/3’s of death by gun are suicides in these Fucked Up States.
I have to believe that the ongoing miserable heat is playing some role in my despair.  I am just exhausted.  Yesterday was like 85 or 86, the day before 91, and the day before that 95 and we have no AC.  Yesterday three people in the same afternoon described the weather as brutal.  I think that a fair assessment.
Still I continue to workout daily.  Were it not for that, don’t know what I would do. The exercise shakes up the system and takes some of the edge off the suicidal despair.  I mean what am I going through this for.  I probably have only a few years left to live and what have I got…ashes in my mouth.  Fuck it.

12 days at 2.5 milligrams

This is Tuesday, Oct. 6, been five days since I last wrote here.

It has been rough sledding at 2.5 milligrams, and Carol leaves for a convention starting Wednesday evening and running through Sunday morning.  So I will be alone with my misery for going on five days.
I wish I could be more upbeat but this is just too Sisyphean.  Pushing that rock up the hill, every day just like the next and the one that came before it.
I work out daily for about 2 hours and lately it has become a horrible chore.  I count the minutes as I exert.  1 hour on stationary bike, one half hour on elliptical, plus 30 minutes of slow swim.
In the morning I do a little cleaning or shopping.  Today I went to store.
After working out I take a nap, eat dinner, and watch TV till bed.  That’s my day in a nutshell, and it fits in the nutshell very easily. 
Talked with Dave from Seattle on phone.  He completed his journey; he called to talk about Dan.  What is there to say?  Dave didn’t ask a single question of any kind about what I was doing or how I was feeling.  Yes, it was good to hear his voice.  But….
We had a little rain on Sunday, and the temps fell to pleasant, but long range says they are going back up and up to about 90 this coming Sunday.
Another massacre, this time in Oregon.
Flooding in SC; have had a little contact with relatives.  They all seem safe.

7 days at 2.5 Milligrams

Today is Thursday.  I did not write on Tuesday or Wednesday.  

Both of those days were equally bad, both being only maybe a tiny hair less bad than Monday.
The heated continues unabated.  Supposedly some drop into the 70’s this weekend, but back up to the mid-80’s by the following weekend.
Today is October 1.
David made it to Canada yesterday; he walked some 2600 miles in six months.
I am nearly completely crushed.  I keep hoping for an upswing but it doesn’t come.
I forced myself to go to Carol’s book signing yesterday evening and felt a little lighter or more in control immediately afterwards.  But my morning  today that was all gone.
I woke first at about 315 and didn’t get back to sleep till after 415.  I was trying out a new mask.  It is not working correctly.  I had to change back to the old one in the middle of the night.
The pain of withdrawal is creeping even into my exercise time. I am 15 minutes in and suddenly anxiety hits and I wonder what the hell am I doing, why am I doing this, and I think about just stopping and going home.  But what would I do there?  Sleep?  But I probably couldn’t sleep, and if I could what would that mean….snore away the rest of my days?

4 days at 2.5 milligrams

Four days at 2.5.

This morning was one of the worst–if not the worst–ever.  Fear, terror, regret, grief…all congealing around massive anxiety.
Just horrible.
I forced myself to get hair cut, get gas in car, check air pressure in tires, buy carpet cleaner at vacuum place, and buy Bose noise cancelling earphones.
The earphones seem to work.  They significantly reduce ambient noise and may help to cancel out crying babies, the beep-beep of trucks backing up, and that guy nearby fucking with an electric guitar.  Him, I could shot.
They cost about 350 with warranty.  I feel like an idiot.  But the idea of being in a sort of noise free cocoon seems really appealing right now.
OK…it’s not yet noon.  I will meditate in two minutes.

2 Days at 2.5 Milligrams

It’s Saturday, Sept 26.  Six days since I last wrote here.

Not good days.  The heat continues and the withdrawal side effects intensify.
Still, perhaps against my better judgment, I tapered again by .5 milligrams Thursday night.  So at the moment I am half way through day 2 on that reduced dosing.
I hurt pretty bad.  I am exhausted yet wound up.  Not a pleasant combination.
Thursday night, the first night, I was awake for at least an hour around 4 AM.  Finally had to take an Advil because my body started aching from all the tossing and turning.
Last night, while I was not awake continuously for an hour, I slept poorly, very lightly.
Carol is going to a convention in the second week of October, so I will stay at 2.5 for three weeks.  I need her around while I go through this, and staying at one level for a little while longer might not be a bad idea.
Dan still has not found work.  Dave is 80 miles from the Canadian border.  Taken him what–five months–to walk there from the Mexican border.
Dan sent me a picture of myself from the late 70’s, early 80’s:

10 Days at 3 Milligrams

Been five or so days since I last wrote here.

It’s Sunday, September 20, and I am completely wiped out.
The heat is up again, probably to 90 today.  Mercifully it does drop some at night, allowing for some sleep.
BUT I woke terrified.  This has been going on for a couple of days but was particularly bad this morning.  So much so I went online and typed in “valium withdrawal terror and fear.”  I came up with a couple of entries on the benzo blog that do a better job of describing what I feel than I have done so far.  As follows:
Quotation 1:
The morning anxiety was awful and it was always there no matter what I did each morning.  I seemed to sleep rather well but as soon as 7am rolled around I was unable to lay in bed.  I had to get up and pace around a bit, often with nausea that would cause me to dry heave or even vomit.  I remember waking up around 3am or so and wishing that morning wouldn’t come, grateful that I had a few more hours before hell started over again.  There was this horrible feeling of dread every morning where I didn’t know if I had the strength to make it through the day. As the weeks wore on, this feeling of dread seemed to get worse because I was getting so mentally frustrated with the mornings. 

I have not had the dry heaves, but I know the feeling of being thankful it is not yet morning, and I know the horrible feeling of dread.  And it does start for me relatively close to 7.  The above quote was a response to this entry:

I am 4 months out, I have had many symptoms during tolerance (7 months), re-instatement (1 year) and now that I am 4 months out, while a lot of symptoms have lessened or gone away, the most disturbing ones for me have not and they are……

Morning terrors which last sometimes till mid afternoon, they mostly are not there in the evening.

These are coupled with anxiety, restlessness and the need to move or pace around.

I am “tired” of this now, I don’t see an end to this now and would quite welcome a natural death in my sleep so I don’t have to go through these horrendous feelings in the morning again.

It just goes on and on.

I am realtively comfortable when I go to bed but after “sleep” it just starts again.

This  does a good job of capturing my feelings.  Going off to sleep is not so bad, but waking is hell, and the feeling of dread can stay with me the whole day.  Well, no, the guy is right there too.  It is not so bad in the evenings, but it can last well into the late afternoon.

What horrifies me is that these people report these feeling four months “out.” Meaning they quit completely four months before and still feel this shit.  Here I am withdrawing. Still…looking at three more months to complete that, and as far as I can tell maybe having, if I am lucky, four to six more months of this shit.  I say lucky because for some the withdrawal is so bad they have to “reinstate” and start all over again.

Below quote 3:

Thank you so much for posting this!!! I’m experiencing EXACTLY the same thing as you and thought I was going crazy. Everyday, I wake before my alarm, getting only 4-5 hrs sleep and just praying to doze off a little more. Most the time I can’t and lay awake until having to get up and get ready for work. Luckily I’m able to still work and somewhat distract my mind from the anxiety that builds during the morning hours. Last week was the worst so far, I walked 15 mi during the week to help combat the anxiety and fear…it helps tremendously but now the pounds are really starting to melt off and I have to remember to eat more often to keep from losing too much. Just as you are, I’m scared during these hours…its the strangest thing because despite knowing that its withdrawal, the fear hangs on…only time makes it go away. Around lunchtime I start to feel better and it continues until completely dissipated by the evening. By the time I’m ready for bed I feel almost normal…thats the real torture, knowing I have to wake up to the same thing in the morning. This has been happening to me for the past year because of tolerance withdrawal. Now I’m tapering and it continues…

Day 5 at 3 Milligrams

Slept poorly.  Carol says I was muttering in my sleep and kicking about.  Don’t remember dreams exactly, just a feeling of paralysis.

Grim most of the morning.  Tried to fight it off by keeping busy: going to market, wiping down car, cleaning and polishing the granite in the kitchen plus other little things.
Went to club.  Did 1.5 hours on machines, only four laps because my shoulders are hurting, and I worry that swimming is not something I should be doing.
Weather very strange. Heat predicted for later in the week; today overcast with some drizzle and prediction of possible additional drizzle tonight.
Feel rather oppressively tired.
Worth noting, I guess, those feelings I had a week or so ago that my whole life has been a waste have somewhat abated.  Still, there in a deep sort of way but not so present to consciousness.  Thinking less about that–the past; and more about what’s ahead–the End.
Oh, went to drugstore and got flu shot.  Carol went too.
Still reading Great Expectations.  Closing in on the end.