One step forwards, two steps back...t... - Mental Health Sup...

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One step forwards, two steps back...trying to quit diazepam and establish more healthy sleep patterns!


With schizo affective disorder (mainly depression), COPD (moderately severe) and chronic but intermittent lower back pain.

Decreased my antidepressants last year as sick of feeling numb then decided it was time to tackle my Diazepam use - 30mg per day by going 'cold turkey'...didn't quite work out as planned but down to 10mg per day with none on some days and a little more on others. Previously tried the taper method but it didn't work for me.

I was doing OK until yesterday when I had been up since 3am but by 10am was very shaky and feeling spaced out. Spent most of the remainder of the day laid down drifting in and out of a light sleep until I got undressed for bed last night and slept reasonably well until woken by yet another nightmare - this time about sexual abuse as a teenager which, although I did suffer, I was out of school and old enough to consent so it wasn't strictly abuse but was manipulative and messy as they were so called friends of my Dad and had children the same age as me. They bribed me with incentives that I couldn't have afforded myself at the time as a single Mum.

It seems like what began as an anxiety problem in my mid 30s has, over time, catapulted me right back to my childhood and things that I hadn't considered problematic until pointed out as connections by psychiatrists to my current state.

I'm now 57, with four marriages behind me, and feel as though I've now got a hornets nest to sort out and all help has been withdrawn. Changes in meds are left largely to me (most of them don't help anyway) which my current psychiatrist endorses in the 20mins he sees me 3 times a year. Other than that I can speak to a duty officer if I have a crisis but they know so little about me it hardly seems worth it and sometimes ends in an argument.

Where on earth do I turn to for help?

11 Replies


I am sorry you have so little support in view of how bad you are feeling.

It is difficult to know how to advise you. Part of what you are experiencing will probably be due to the effect of your system being messed about by different drugs and altering the doses and should settle down in time, but obviously that isn't the only thing.

You say you had another nightmare and that it was about sexual abuse which sounds as if you are struggling with dealing with your feelings about that. I don't know where you live and won't know what services there are local to you, but you would probably find it helpful to join a support group for people who have been sexually abused. You say what happened to you wasn't technically abuse but you were manipulated into having sex and are still having nightmares about that so it was clearly abusive regardless of your age - it certainly wasn't mutually consenting sex between two adults as it sounds as though you were struggling with childhood feelings at the time. You could find a name of a local support group or voluntary body for victims of sexual abuse through your local mental health team, or citizens advice bureau or your GP surgery may have that info.

You say all services have been withdrawn which isn't strictly true as you see a psychiatrist several times a year and have the duty officer to contact - BUT that clearly isn't enough support for your current difficulties. I don't know whether you have had any talking therapy? If your GP was agreeable he could refer you to the secondary mental health services for assessment for one of the long term therapies such as DBT, EMDR or another depending upon what's available locally. Whether or not you will be considered suitable I can't say but if you are interested in that kind of therapy then it is worth following up.

The other thing would be joining one of the local branches of Mind or a similar organisation. By getting involved with them you can get support and at the same time help other people by joining in with them - it would be a lot less threatening than you imagine as everyone else will also have emotional difficulties that they struggle with and you will find them very supportive.

Also of course you can use the website for support as we can all relate to things you have experienced.

I am wondering whether you have friends or family, you don't say.

Do continue to write and we will do all we can to support you.


Hi there I think Sue has covered everything , I think you should try

And work on getting on a routine of Medication to suit you, this is never easy as

It can take a while to feel the benefit of the new regime. A support Group

Would also be a great help for the sexual abuse, even an online Forum specifically

For thus would help you, as then you would feel your not on your own.

I would also talk to your Psychiatrist about all that you have said here.

You are well able to express yourself. To get the best value from your next appointment Write a Reminder Note listing the two

Main points which are your problem.

1. Your medication

2. Lack of support and

Realistically he will be able to adjust your Meds but a lot of what needs to

Be done will be up to you. I think you will have to make a decision to get all

The support you can and by finding others who have gone through the same

Experiences. Coming off or tapering off Medication can also cause rebound

Nightmares, but they will go when you get back to an even keel.

Hannah x

Hi Hannah,

Cutting the meds was MY decision due to constant nightmares, my psychiatrists have largely left my dosing up to me and flowed with me.

An online group sounds like a good possibility as I am limited by my emphysema.

Many thanks,


Thanks Sue,

I'm in the Bournemouth area and live with my (separated) husband as he is also my carer although he has had two major strokes and several TIAs. The only other family support is his Mum who is 86 and healthy and very active.

All my family are in Manchester 300+ miles away and not awfully helpful anyway.

I don't know where to turn as the only talking therapy I've had was following the death of my Dad and following my husbands 1st stroke so they were actively focused on problems 'in the now' so to speak.

I am having less nightmares now than I used to on higher meds but, by the same token, have less of an arsenal at hand to put them to the back of my mind.

Glad to see you made admin put in a lot of work on here so it's well deserved. :)

I just don't know if it's all worth it life is so far removed from my past and yet so still connected, it's confusing!

I'm afraid for the future and my inability to cope with any more hits as I'm still struggling to come to terms with my husbands last stroke only a year ago when he was, to all intents and purposes, already on all the right meds for him not to suffer one - it breaks my heart. :(


Hello Lorraine, I can sort of relate to all the confusion and the mixed messages in your post. You sound like a strong a feisty woman in many ways but down in a really bad way in another sense.

The meds thing can definately mess about with your mind but then I would never criticise you for that as what else is there when you need help and there is not the kind of help you need forthcoming? We often seem to be left in these quandaries of having to survive each and every day with poor or unworthy sense of self and not enough help to get us through the pain of our lives as a result.

All I would say to you is what I would say to myself I guess. Do keep trying to get help with those aspects which are problematic. Some of your suffering just seems to have come down to the cruelty of other people if you don't mind me saying. But that seems so prevalent and no it shouldn't be like that but now we have to try and think of all the good in life and the good things we can do for ourselves. Physical disability is so hard and so limiting and also so misunderstood I have found; it feels almost like the final nail of despair but it doesn't have to be.

It is very sad and frightening for you as well about your husband. I understand the feelings; I am waiting for my parents my only relatives apart from my sister and both elderly to finally die and then I will have just my sister and we are not close. It is frightening, terrifying even to feel we have ended up like this when we never thought it would be so.

I would say try and distract with any interest group you can find. Try and find therapy and don't be proud or worry about labels. Try and find compassionate people in your life, absolutely anything which helps. I have started going to Church as it can help a bit but maybe a knitting group, coffee group, I don't know if you can get out to anything or could you have a befriender visit you? I know this is not enough and I can still feel despairing despite all of these things so I would never blame you for feeling so or for feeling you could not go on.

I guess the core problem is the self image and the depression which we all suffer from. It is hard Lorraine but we just have to keep fighting. You do have kindred spirits on here and i know it isn't a lot but maybe just writing helps a little.

Gemma X

Hi Gemma,

It IS a lot much more than you'll ever know...the outlet this site provides is unparalleled and the support overwhelming. I often don't respond to other peoples messages but the ones that I do I try to make from a very deep place within myself.

I just feel so very sad that it took me 4 goes at marriage (I won't go into those) to find a man who I could love and respect, who has never pushed me or deceived me but alas too late for me to give myself fully to as I had done in my 1st marriage only to have it thrown back in my face!

Although we are separated we support each other as much emotionally as is humanly possible but there are parts of my life that I just can't share with him although he too suffered abuse from his 2 previous marriages in the form of lies, deceipt and bullying he copes by compartmentalising everything...something I can't do unfortunately.

Yes, I get suicidal, have had extensive ECT to treat it but it just wiped out 2+ years of memory permanently but that was over 10 years ago and now, with so many cuts we seem to be left largely to our own devices.

Thanks so much for your support,


I'm glad that sharing is helping and that you feel supported on here Lorraine. Yes that sounds like a cruel twist of fate doesn't it what has happened with your husband; it does sound though that at least you have had some happiness together in times gone by even though things are so hard for you now. Yes I have read about the ECT and so on and it sounds awful; when we are that low we probably just don't care in a way what happens and then find later that our memories have been wiped by that process; and its all cumulative and harder with getting older isn't it; I do think when you're young you have a vision of things always working out but it is harder to hold onto as you get older and things start to deteriorate all round. Guess we all have good days and bad days though, or even good moments is a start. I've felt a little better in the past hour than I have for the rest of the day and even that small relief means something to me and so sometimes I guess we do have to go hour by hour and minute by minute. Yes the cuts I agree they add insult to a wound literally and make things ten times harder. If only selfish people had the slightest idea of the agony we had experienced then they would be humbled by it but there are many who distance themselves from people like us without realising that it could happen to anyone and we are all connected in this world; there but for the grace of God go I or so they say. That is why I believe it is always good to practice humility and compassion as there are many of us who have suffered in many ways and we can at least show compassion for each other. Some of the nicest people I have ever encountered have been on this site and yet we are all people who are suffering.

Gemma X

Yes, I agree Gemma. I was chasing a dream...a fairy tale ending but instead ended up with a sort of Romeo & Juliet. lol :)

My previous psychiatrist of 11 yrs used to call me his 'cookie who never crumbled'...that's yet another change I've had to deal with in the past year, a change of hard after such a long time but I just count myself lucky that I had the same one for so long.

ECT IS horrible and I had no advocate to explain to me what could happen and I was so bad that I hadn't got a clue...I just signed, anything was better than the hellhole I was in. :(

Hey,ho...we live and learn, I just wish the lessons were easier sometimes! :)

Thanks again hun and take good care of yourself.



hi Lorraine, I'm not medically trained so I'm only going on instinct, but cutting down on diazepam, or anything similar, needs to be done slowly and safely, please check with a gp or pharmacist, our bodies cannot deal with the sudden withdrawal.

please keep in touch and let us know how you are.

contact mind, the samaritans amongst others to talk about things. There is a good list on the "this morning" helplines on




Mind Infoline: 0300 123 3393 Mind InfoLine offers thousands of callers confidential help on a range of mental health issues. Mind helps people take control of their mental

health. We do this by providing high-quality information and advice, and campaigning to promote and protect good mental health for everyone. They also


a special legal service to the public, lawyers and mental health workers.


Helpline: 0800 018 2138

Parents' Information Service gives advice to parents or carers who may be concerned about the mental health or emotional well being of a child or young person.

The Samaritans

Tel: 0845 790 9090

Whatever you're going through, we're here to help 24 hours a day. We won't judge you and we won't share what you tell us with anyone else. Get in touch


telephone, email, letter and face to face in the UK andIreland. Visit if you live outside the UK or Ireland.

The Rape and Abuse Line (RAL)

Helpline: 0808 800 0123 answered by women

Helpline:0808 800 0122 answered by men

A registered charity that offers a freephone, confidential helpline to persons who have survived rape or abuse however long ago the experiences were.


My mother was on diazapam for many years and cut down and finally stopped. But she went through some dreadful symptoms the same as you describe. I would put them back up a bit and cut down a lot slower. There are a lot of newer and better drugs on the market now than diazapam so maybe one of those could help? Thinking of you. x

Thanks to everyone for your input. I will discuss appropriate action with psychiatrist and GP.

Had a better night last night. :)

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