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I have been on Zopiclone for over 15 years. The strange thing is it never worked for me but I was desperate as I had to work, so stayed on it for this long. I have tried many other sleeping pills too over the years and none worked. The highest dose I was on was two 7.5mg tablets for a few days. When it had absolutely no effect, it spooked me and I cut it back to one. I am now on 3.75mg and tapering slowly.
I was put on sleeping pills because of insomnia due to severe stress. I was also put on antidepressants in the hope that it would help with my sleep but it made it worse because it was over-stimulating. I also reacted paradoxically to benzos, so they were no help as well.
My sleep now is worse than before I started any medication. The stresses are gone but I seemed to have lost the ability to sleep. My insomnia is quite extreme. I often go for days with zero sleep. A good night is 2-3 hours of broken, half-awake type sleep. I average 14 hours a week. I had to quit my job because I couldn’t function at work. I now have limited ability to go out because of exhaustion.
The years of medications have seriously affected my health. I regret being put on any of them but I can’t change the past. Now I have to do what I can to heal my body. These drugs mess up the neurological systems governing sleep. Sometimes I get really frightened the damage is permanent.
To get off these drugs I had to deal with the issues that led to taking the drug. It also needs to be tapered at a rate that is comfortable for you. This means you would need a doctor who will write the scripts to facilitate your taper. It helps to have supportive people in your life. I struggle with this as I don’t have any family close by. I find that one of the most critical factor is to MINIMISE STRESS and beware of hidden stresses too. Eat healthily, avoid coffee, alcohol, very loud music, violent movies, etc. Keep things simple.
As I could no longer work I had to really live a very simple life and try and make my resources stretch. Had to make some big changes but you get used to it.
I pray that all of us who are struggling to get off the drugs can one day sleep deeply, naturally, adequately and wake up refreshed. I believe it can be done but requires patience, faith and commitment. I look forward to the day when I can post a success story that can encourage others. In the meantime I am far from there, and most days I really struggle and feel very frighten and alone.
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