because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

In Case You Want To Know Where I’ve Been

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Some of you may have been wondering where I have been since my blog abruptly stopped back in August 2013. Let me assure you, I was not having a good time and this post is likely to be a rather harrowing read.

In order to explain where I’ve been, it’s necessary for me to provide a little background.

Image by Benjamin Kranzusch. Click HERE for other amazing images.
Image by Benjamin Kranzusch. Click HERE to see his other amazing projects.

Almost 15 summers ago, I gave birth to a beautiful son. It was a traumatic delivery that culminated with my losing nearly 70% of my blood when my uterus didn’t contract. At that time, I was rushed into surgery for an emergency procedure. I should’ve know I was in trouble when I was still in the hospital after a week. I should have known I was in even bigger trouble when my insurance company agreed to reimburse for a personal care aide. My husband returned to work while I was still in the hospital, assuming I was perfectly fine with the assistance of the aide.

After 3 months, my blood was tested and it was determined that I was fine.

The reality was that I wasn’t fine at all.

My crippling insomnia was coupled with a horrible tightness in my throat that felt like I’d swallowed a pebble.

After years of struggling with little sleep and the feeling that my throat was going to close up, I finally went to see my primary care physician. We tried several antidepressants, each one revving me up more than the last. (I now know that some people have a paradoxical reaction to antidepressants; instead of calming me down, they made me even more anxious.) Eventually, my primary care doctor wrote me a prescription for a few little yellow pills.

All my symptoms magically disappeared with that first pill. Suddenly, I could sleep again. And I could breathe.

I was referred to a psychiatrist who asked me what hadn’t worked and what had.

“The last stuff I took was amazing,” I said. “I think it was called Klonopin.”

The psychiatrist opened the top drawer of his desk to retrieve his prescription pad. “Good choice,” he said.

Over the next seven years, no doctor ever suggested I should discontinue using clonazepam, that it is actually a medication recommended for short-term use only.

That the stuff does terrible things to one’s neurotransmitters.

Everyone was so casual about my clonazepam use, I never questioned its safety. I should have known not to trust anyone who promised Paradise in a pill, but I’d always trusted my doctors. There was no reason to think that he was prescribing something that could hurt me.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

(NOTE: I’m so glad to be writing again. More about where I’ve been for the last 7 months to come. I’m doing this very slowly. In installments. With a lot of time to breathe in between because it’s all still very fresh.  Much gratitude to bloggers Misty’s Laws, Molly Field, Lisha Fink, Nina Badzin, Rivki Silver, David Walker, Kitt Crescendo, Ruchi Koval & Erin Margolin for their steadfast support over the last 7 months. Appreciation for my real life friends & family will be given in an ongoing way, for the rest of my days on this planet.)

119 thoughts on “In Case You Want To Know Where I’ve Been

  1. Hooray!!! I was so glad to see in my email your blog!!! It is wonderful to see you back. May your days be filled with love and hugs. You have my admiration, my love and my utmost respect for all you have accomplished and all you will. I have faith in you and have for over 35 years 😉

  2. It’s good to have you back. I’ve missed you and your blog.

  3. I’ve missed you, Renee! Sending lots of love. You are a beautiful, courageous woman!

  4. I am so, SO glad you are back and writing. I missed you tons, and I know that your journey is one that lots of people need to hear.

    Hugs!

  5. Hi Renee! So glad to see you back! Keep getting better and better each day!

  6. 82 comments (and counting). Don’t think I’ve ever had half that many. See how much you’re loved and how we’ve all missed you? I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have you back.

  7. I have seen you poking around Instagram with that horrible sounding hashtag. I was just waiting for the day it would release you enough to find us on here again. I am so glad it did.

  8. I’m SO happy to have you back at whatever pace you’re ready to dive in. I had tears in my eyes when I saw your avatar pop up on Twitter or maybe it was FB. I don’t know. Yours was a face and a voice that was missing for sure. You’re generous to share your story step by step this way. It WILL help others. It just will. And I’m guessing one day it will serve as a reminder of how hard you worked to get back HERE to your life. Welcome back, friend. We’re all here with open arms. You’re sweet to have mention me and others too. My goodness–I know you’d be checking on me, too.

  9. I was hoping you’d back to this soon… look at how far you’ve come, one step at a time. Keep telling your story – you never know who might benefit from the lessons you’ve learned!

  10. Renee, it’s good to see you back and writing. I’m so sorry that you’ve been through such a traumatic experience. Bravo to you for writing about it.

  11. Omg! sounds really scary, but also sounds like you’re sorting it out now gradually, so thank God for that. Keep writing. Lots of love. You’re a brave woman!

  12. You know, I’ve been completely out of touch but I have noticed that you’d gone missing and am happy you are back. I miss your blogs and the occasional twitter back and forth. I’m sorry for the trauma you went through and I hope that you heal more with each passing day. Honestly, we’ve had a bit of hell over here with my daughter and paradoxical reactions to medications. It’s been absolutely horrible! She is starting to feel better but it’s been a rough road and we’re still not out of the woods. So, with great anticipation, I look forward to learning from you as you find the strength to tell you story.

  13. I just wrote a big ole response and it got deleted, so I’ll try again. I’ve missed you and I’m glad you’re back! I’m sure you have quite the story to tell, and undoubtedly a story that many of can learn from. I’m so sorry you’ve been going through so much. We’ve been going through our own little spot of hell due to medication reaction (or over reaction) with my daughter. I don’t wish this on anyone…painful to watch her battle so much. My heart reaches out to you. Hugs!

  14. I was just thinking of you yesterday. I am so glad to see your name in my e-mail, but so sad to see your journey hasn’t been a good one. I will be here, to read and to support as much as you need.

  15. […] like to wish Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson a hearty welcome back to blogging.  It’s good to see that familiar title in my inbox […]

  16. Hi Renee, I have a different avatar and name, but it’s me Sprinkles aka Sherri :). I began a weight loss blog in January and let my other inactive blog go to start my new one. I’m so sorry you’ve been having a tough time of it. I’ve looked for you from time to time and I’m so glad to see that you’re back to writing. I’m now following you on my new blog. I know, from my daughter’s struggles how mind altering medications can, be. Take care of yourself. 🙂 <3 I'm sending the best of vibes and good thoughts your way! 🙂

  17. Yay, Renée! So wonderful to see you back writing! I teared up when I saw you here. Bravo for all you have, and continue to, overcome. Onward!

  18. *Hugs* You know I have plenty of love in my heart for you and you’ve definitely been in my thoughts and prayers. I’m here for you in whatever capacity you need, girlfriend!

  19. R,
    Welcome back. Keep writing. You are truly gifted at it. I also appreciate you sharing the difficult times. Someone close to me seems to be going through the same shit show. I suspect it is far more common than most realize.
    Keep fighting the good fight. You and your family are worth it.
    RA

  20. Renee, So good to see you back, and sorry to hear of your struggle. This will be a remarkable tale to tell that will help others–kudos to you for sharing it. Sending prayers and good thoughts your way…I’ll never forget how you helped me get started with writing. 🙂

  21. Welcome back, Renee! Yes, I have missed you — both your blog and your wonderfully wonky picture in comments on blogs I visit.

    I hear you loud and clear on the Klonopin. It was one of the drugs they used during my detox window in rehab for alcoholism. Fortunately, THOSE peeps were experts on when to put me on it & the need to wean me off of it quickly. Yes. I whined about giving up my happy pill. Thankfully, they were rock solid in yanking that med from my regimen.

    During my many, many years (decades) of struggling with anxiety and depression, I tried to fill the hole in my soul with copious amounts of wine and whatever Meds the psychiatrist scribbled out for me. IMHO, the psychiatrist I visited was the worst. After an initial hour visit, his appointments were 15 minutes each — just long enough to ask me how I was feeling and then pull his script pad out to scribble a refill, a higher dosage, or a “go with” med to add to the mix.

    I can only imagine the harrowing impact of Klonopin long term. From this side of sober and properly medicated…

    CYBER HUGS!

  22. Welcome back Renee ~ I always look forward to your writings!

  23. I’m glad that you are feeling better. You were truly missed!!

    Hugs!

    Valerie

  24. Renee: Thank you for sharing this side of your life. You have so many people that care about you! Since you’ve been gone from the blogosphere there’s been something amiss. So happy you’re back and taking baby steps. One minute at a time.

  25. I’m glad to see you back here again. More glad that you’re feeling well enough to be back.

  26. […] ← In Case You Want To Know Where I’ve Been […]

  27. I was traveling when you posted this so I’m playing catch-up today. So glad to see you back in the blogging saddle. And just look at all these comments. The whole gang is here!!

  28. Welcome back. I’m sorry to hear you were going through something and I’m happy to hear you are better. I missed reading your posts.

  29. Renee, my bro, David Walker, shared your blog with me. I am so sorry that you have had to struggle with the hell of Klonopin withdrawals. I will be thinking of you and sending prayers and cyber hugs. You have so much courage!

  30. I’m SO glad you’re back, Renee–as you can tell from all these comments, your readers have genuinely missed you! XO

  31. I wondered when your blogs stopped coming in my e-mail. Missed you. Wish you health.

  32. You have been missed! Sending you hugs and good thoughts!

  33. […] Part III of my account regarding my struggle to survive after weaning off clonazepam, a powerful anti-anxiety medication. To read Part I, click HERE. […]

  34. if you could see me smiling, it would creep you out. 🙂 i’m so proud of you. beaming, i am. you glorious, fantastic thriver and fighter. God loves you. so so so so so so so so SO much. xoxoxoxo welcome back. enjoy.

  35. […] her blog every few months to tell how she’s doing. It’s a horrifying read. Start here and click forward through her blog. Or jusr read her most recent entry:  Read Limping Back to […]

  36. […] some of you know, I was sick for 15 months. During that time, I didn’t know anyone else who had ever been through what I was going through, […]

  37. […] (I had no idea that taking .5 mg of Klonopin at bedtime as prescribed was destroying my brain and my central nervous system.) […]

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