Regarding Stigma and Addiction

I have been researching a lot lately about addiction and recovery as I have come to realize that most of my struggles and pain from living a mental illness life were caused from the stigma of mental illness and my addiction to the Benzodiazepine, Klonopin for over twenty years.

Regarding stigma–it was not the illness itself that caused most of my problems–it was the stigma of mental illness that created the hardships and roadblocks along my painful destructive life. If my illness was treated with understanding and compassion like most other illnesses, I would not have lost my career, friends, relationships with my family, my dignity, respect and my own identity. Those would have all remained intact while I battled the pain from my illness. Instead, the stigma of mental illness–being shamed and shunned for the name of my illlness–ripped out my soul beyond repair for years. I am in the process of removing and repairing my shame.

Image result for stigma and addiction

Regarding addiction–my physical dependency on Klonopin caused increased anxiety, depression, insomnia, mixed bipolar like episodes and suicidal ideations for years of my life. Instead of realizing Benzos were the culprit, Psychiatrists, my now ex-husband and family blamed me–my weakness, character flaws and my mental illness labels–they thought everything was all my fault.

I also blamed myself and hated myself for taking extra Klonopin and overdosing. I never understood why I did it. I was never told or learned until now–now that I am finally psychotropic medication free for over a year that it was caused from being addicted to the prescription medication, Klonopin my doctor prescribed me for over twenty years.

Image result for klonopin withdraWAL SYNDROME

Additionally, I unknowingly experienced Klonopin withdrawal syndrome for years. Going through complete Klonopin withdrawal is a hell like I had never experienced before. However, it is a hell I would gladly go through again now that I survived and know how amazingly beautiful it feels to be free from all Benzodiazepine use. After suffering for over twenty-six years there is nothing better than feeling mentally clear and a peaceful serenity inside my body.

Taking Benzodiazepines and other psychotropic medications for over twenty years at a high doses actually damaged my brain. The magical beauty and miracle is that the brain can heal. It can transform and repair itself back to a new normal. It takes time but it happens. While you take medications like Opioids and Benzodiazepines, schedule II and schedule IV drugs your brain adapts to them and changes. When you stop taking those medications your brain must relearn how to function without them again. It takes time for your brain to transform, and recover, but the beauty and gift is that it can heal.

I know everyone is different. I share my story to inform others of the possible dangers of some medications as I do not want others to go through what I did. I share my story to inspire hope that recovery and mental wellness are possible. I am living proof.

It has been a year after my near fatal suicide attempt–

a year of being psychotropic medication free,

a year of no hospitalizations,

a year (minus three months of the excruciatingly painful recovery from Klonopin withdrawal syndrome) of living with mental wellness.

It has been a year of new discoveries

and a celebration of life and living–

My Life is a celebration over death.


Just an FYI–my psychiatrist has completely removed the label of bipolar disorder from my medical files and charts. What????

Wow. It has been a process but I am beginning to accept this as true. My psychiatrist says I was misdiagnosed for over twenty-six years and do not have bipolar 1 disorder. My diagnoses instead are borderline personality disorder and PTSD which were on my long list before. Two diagnoses are enough. He kept BPD as my diagnosis because bipolar disorder and BPD have similar symptoms and people with Borderline Personality Disorder can learn to cope with symptoms and can recover. Bipolar 1 Disorder and generalized anxiety disorder have been removed from my list of psychiatric disorders. A weight has been lifted.

Whether or not I was misdiagnosed, I will never know for sure. The point is I do not have symptoms now and my new psychiatrist believes most of my behaviors and severe symptoms came from taking high doses of the Benzodiazepine, Klonopin for too long–over twenty years. I will elaborate more on my process of accepting a misdiagnosis on a later post and…

I believe when there are no explanations–

IT MUST BE GOD!

Healing is possible.


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38 Replies to “Regarding Stigma and Addiction”

  1. This post really hits home for me. Benzodiazaphine – klonopin – was actually the med that saved me from my crippling depressive episode when I first started meds last year. Thankfully.. I was able to taper off of it as my SNRI started to come into place. However, occassionally – I still get panicky and I literally calm myself by the thought of grabbing some Klonopin, knowing that can calm me down. It’s ironic that I myself is about to start my masters to be a therapist with a specialization in substance abuse. I never had problems with substance abuse itself but I can “feel” it so well eapecially for these controlled substances. Praying God will
    continue to move in your life as you boldly speak about your experience! Thank you so much for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am happy you were able to successfully taper off of Klonopin. Good luck with your studies. We need many more good therapists especially in the area of substance abuse as it is such a huge growing epidemic with pescripton medications and other drugs. Thank you for your always kind and encouraging words. I appreciate you. Much love and hugs, Sue

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I am happy you liked it and happy you thought it was inspirational. Your words made me very happy–made me smile. Much love and hugs, Sue

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  2. That is crazy because I tell my psychatrist I am not bipolar, I am an addict/alcoholic. They mimic the same symptoms. My anger stems from withdrawal, hence no anger for almost 4 years. Not extreme rage anyway. I am glad you have discovered the root of your ills. I am medication free at the moment-going on 4 months. I feel again, lost the 28 pounds I packed on and feel good about my future.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Wow. Yay. I am happy for you. Congratulations on being medication free for four mounths and losing 28 pounds. I struggle with weight loss and need to lose weight desperately. That is my next huge obstacle to overcome. I hope your p-doc listens to you. I am not sure if my old p-doc would have taken his own diagnosis off but he has retired and my new p-doc is awesome. I call him new-school and he is very pro-acrive on getting patients off Benzos in our area etc. etc. Thanks for reading and for your great feedback. I appreciate you. I wish you continued success with your recovery. Much love and hugs, Sue

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t care if it stays on my files. They treat you however they want anyway. I have watched as you have come out of the fog and it has been a beautiful process to witness. Congrats to you, Sue. You have fought the fight. You are a testament to surviving and thriving. Keep it up, lady!! I am cheering you on.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you very much Eve. I appreciate your kind and encouraging words–more than you can imagine. Your words truly mean a lot to me. Thank you. The more my mental health improves the more I realize how dreadfully beyond dreadfully awfully sick I was. Stage 4 mental illness for years. Ugh. I pray I will be an inpsiration to others and can give others hope. That is why I share my story. You are doing awesome as well Eve. Your are a very gifted writer and have overcome so much. You should be so proud of yourself. We need to keep fighting and being an inspirtion to others and keep giving others hope. We are both examples that recovery is possible. We are both living proof. Much love, hugs and continued well wishes, Sue

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You can’t fix what you don’t know is wrong. And thank you for the compliments. They keep me going as I find my way through this maze of a life.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I have always been on hard on myself and need to work on that. You will find your way through this maze of life beautfully and while you are finding your way, I pray you will enjoy the journey.

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  3. The stigma around mental illness continues to amaze me. You are so right that it does not get the same “understanding and compassion like most other illnesses,” Thanks for sharing your story.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I wholeheartedly know it is true for my life for sure. I experienced and witnessed a lot of stigma throughout the years. We all need to keep educating so it will end one day. Thank you for reading and commenting. Much love and hugs, Sue

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have felt a little stigma, but I have seen stigma years ago towards my mum because of her mental health. So because of what my mum experienced is why she doesn’t come out with her mental health condition that is on her medical health notes. It was a condition that used to get bad press, until newspapers had to change how they write things.
        Love and hugs back.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My mum is 76 and has had mental health issues from when she was 16. Mum was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. I don’t know if this was at 16, or when she was a bit older. Schizophrenia as you know always got bad press in the paper, giving impression that all people were dangerous to others when it’s not true. So not a word my mum likes mentioning.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I am sorry about your Mum’s diagnosis. Yes I think that Schizophrenia may have the worst bias when it comes to the stigma of mental illness and then bipolar like I had–lessening with the severity level. It must have been horrific to live with mental illness when your Mum was younger because the treatments were worse and the stigma was much worse than it is today. Stigma became an illness of its own for me. I was daignosed 26 years ago and the stigma caused so much shame. Please tell your Mum she has nothing to be ashamed of. She can give back her shame to the people who shamed her. She is a strong woman. Thank you so much for your feedback. Much love and hugs, Sue

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I have reminded my mum in the past when we have talked about stigma that she is strong. My mum’s response is she doesn’t feel it. Same with confidence, mum is better on this, but doesn’t feel it. I remind her how she talks to folk when we are out that are strangers, which one time mum would have never done.
        The care mum received then, she was looked after, but I think mum had moments possibly there where some things she wasn’t happy with. I think more the doctor.
        I lost weight when mum was going through this when I was a child. I was scared. But also angry. It was a very emotional time because there was lots going on. My dad did not help the situation with what he was like. Something I have covered in the early times of my blog. X

        Liked by 1 person

      5. My mum is back in the same mental health unit as when I was 11, after taking an overdose last weekend. A different ward though than before, as it’s for her age range. I hope my mum finds the whole thing a positive experience as they help her with her medication.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Thank you. It was certainly a worrying and scary time. Especially at the weekend last week, when me and my cousin were told there was nothing could be done and that she was very unwell, not knowing if she would stop breathing when taken off ventilator.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Wow! So sorry. She was even on a ventilator. I hope she continues to make great progress both physically and mentally. After she makes it through the roughest patches maybe she will realize how blessed she is to be alive. That happened to me and helped me to keep fighting. I know God saved my life… for many reasons. My faith helped me survive alot. I pray for peace for you dear.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Yes. Mum was on a ventilator when I was allowed to see her in a&e. I was warned on more than one ocassion that my mum was very ill and when it came to removing her off ventilator, they did not know whether she would live or not. So that night, me and my cousin expected the worst. But thankfully she was still breathing and eventually, just a day later, she opened her eyes and was moved to a ward. But doctors remained baffled and ruled out stroke. Then mum came out with it on Monday that she took an overdose that night and so the right care plan was sought.
        Mum now in this mental health unit, until her meds are sorted and they are happy she will be safe. I should all being well, be seeing her consultant this week. I hope so, as I need help by this person to fill in form in regards to her mental health for the housing list I am on, now we plan to live together. X

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      9. So sorry to hear this. I am sorry your dad was the way he was regaerding your Mum’s illness. Family is part of the problem sometimes. They don’t understand and stigmatize too. My family did. I pray you will all be well.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. My dad was mentally abusive, to both my mum and a couple of times with me. I was scared of my dad at times, as a child. Me and mum were certainly better off without him when he died. But the damage he did is still there in both of us.
        For me, when I raised it and more in counseling a few years back and followed it through by having some more, that was a breakthrough for me.
        Mum has never had counsellor for anything and for years I have said to mum that I feel she needs to get if off her chest too. Mum was on a waiting list for counseling, which she took herself off. Mum did through my persuasion put herself back on. But whether she kept herself in it, I don’t know. I hope now, where mum is, mum gets to talk about it.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Yes. Hopefully being in the hospital where she needs to be will help her be able to be seen sooner. Mental helath care is so bad everywhere. Years ago there was no wait list. Now it takes months before you are seen and then it can be too late for many. It is so sad… and scary. I am sorry about the abuse, but I understand it for sure. My father was abusive as well and I am still afraid of my father. I have PTSD becasue of it. After I stopped taking all psychotropic medications my PTSD regarding my fahter kicked in as I didn’t have anymore band-aides of meds. covering up the pain. Now it seems I have made it past that. Your mom needs to talk about it and how it made her feel. It is hard work but it will help her for sure. I pray for mental wellness and happiness for both of you. Much love and hugs, Sue

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post. Mental illness is a fight, Ive learned, seeing it as one your gonna win and beat, competativley, not letting it win, can be a fuel to overcomjng it most days, some days, just a few to get through another smoothly. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and thank you for your great insights. I wholeheartedly agree with you. It is a fight that you can never give up on and being competitive in the battle of mental illness is the best way to be. Much love and hugs, Sue

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m happy that you have reached a milestone that not many have reached, or believe they can. I hope your story inspires others with your example, patience, and determination. More than that, hope.

    On wellness,

    Ernesto

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much. I pray others can reach this milestone. Recovery is possible. It is not easy but the beauty lies in the fact that it is possible and acheiveable and worth every fight, battle and obstacle that needs to be overcome. I also pray my story helps others have hope. It is my passion and is why I continue to share my story. I pray you are doing well. Much love and hugs, Sue

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  6. Wow thank you so much for sharing your story! My husband is terrified to talk about his addiction because of the stigma behind it. Nothing worse then having to deal with it completely alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sorry to hear that about your husband. The stigma is real. Unfortunately, we cannot pretend it is not real. I found the more I tackled the stigma of mental illness head on and continued to fight through others’ shame of me, the easier it all became. Each time I shared and told my story, the easier it became and the less ashamed I was. When I realized I was not ashamed of mental illness and it was a shame others tried to give me–I decided I didn’t want to have it and they could have it. I gave back my shame. That was when I understood what stigma was. The shame of stigma is not ours. I choose to give back the shame. YOur husband has nothing–I mean NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING to be ashamed of. He is fighting and every day he SHOULD be PROUDER than PROUD of himself. Pease tell me him repeatedly so. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading and for your feedback. I appreciate it. Much love and hugs, Sue

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  7. God bless and thank you for sharing your story. People like you help others heal too . I pray you gain more support and more understanding. You’re strong and you got this ! God is with you 🙂 and proud of you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words I appreciate them greatly and your words made me SMILE. “God is proud of me.” I love that. Thank you dear. Much love and hugs, Sue

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