Overcoming Klonopin

Self Portrait taken by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All rights reserved | www.bonnie-rose.co.uk

“Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.” (Albus Dumbledore)

Day 16, Thursday: Something difficult about your “lot in life” and how you’re working to overcome it.

This prompt made me think for a while on what to share due to the fact that right now I feel very content in life.However it has not always been this easy, nor have I felt this happy.  Although this is not something I am currently having to work to over come, it is the first time I have ever talked about it online.  Mental health still seems like a taboo conversation by many and I hope by sharing we can break the stigmas and help people so they do not have to go through it alone. 

The first two deaths in my family were sad but not life impacting.  My mum’s brother died while I was in high school and my dad’s father died while I was in University.  I felt more sad for my parents and their loss because I had only been around each individual a few times when we visited the US. I experienced loss as a Third Culture Kid (TCK) with no sense of ‘home’ and having to continually say ‘goodbye’.  However death had not affected me as much as it would a few years later after I have had two kids.  On August 14th, 2008 I realized my marriage was falling apart fast and hours later I got the call that my dad had been run over on his bicycle.  My life shattered into a million pieces.

It was not just the sudden loss of my dad that we were all dealing with in Arizona.  We were dealing with the police department, the reporters, the hospital over my father’s missing rings (still missing), the funeral arrangements in both Tucson and for his funeral at the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs, the memorial service at his school, the memorial service at church, the ghost bike, and the correspondance pouring in from all over the world. Though I was not really speaking to my husband at the time, he was a rock for my family taking care of so many details.  However I felt I was going through this loss all on my own while my sister and mother both had people to help them through the process.

When it was time to leave after the funeral  I decided to stay at my mum’s for a while.  While I should have fully had my husband to support me through the loss of my dad, I equally should have had my mum to support me in my broken marriage.  But how could I dare to even bring it up when she just lost her husband.  I would be lying now if I said I was not still somewhat angry at the girl who decided to be high when she hit my dad in that truck. I’m equally still upset at the the Tucson Police Department for doing a shoddy job on the scene and in the police reports, as well as never charging the driver for the death of my father.  Tell me again how someone ‘struck from behind’ on a bicycle yields to someone in a truck? It is much more subdued now but you can understand the anger, pain, sadness and confusion that would come from that initially. Before I left to go back home to Hawaii, my mum urged me to see a doctor about medication as depression ran in our family. Thats what I did.

I had seen therapists before and I realized after the first couple of visits that my psychiatrist more incline to subscribe me medication and less to hear me talk. I had wanted to take the same thing my mum was on and for whatever reason my doctor decided against it.  Since I was also dealing with anxiety at this time of my life he put me on Klonopin (clonazepam).  I think it helped in the beginning for when I really felt anxious being in public or when it just hurt to much about the loss of my dad.  I remember once being out with a mummy and kids play group on base and my best friend looked over at me and could tell I was having a panic attack. I remember how comforting it was to know someone understood and taking my klonopin helped so much.

There were issues with the dosage while I was taking it as they tried to find the right amount over the course of my treatment.  After getting my dosage raised once and still taking it in the morning, it would knock me out so quickly.  I would not even know I was getting tired until I was fast asleep. It was more than that it was the way it took away the passion and the heart of my personality.   I may have not been myself with dealing with everything going on in my life, but I was definitely not me on Klonopin either.  My emotions felt very flat and if I was needing to take another pill I could be really irritable and upset.  I remember just wanting to be alone a lot of the time.  Being around my in-laws at all brings on a lot of stress and I just sat in a closet once during the Christmas holiday to find some quiet and past out amongst the coats and the darkness until my husband found me.  There did not seem to be an end to this tunnel because it was masking the problems.  It was not fixing the loss of my dad or the cracks in my marriage.

During the summer my kids went to spend a few months with my in-laws on the mainland.  I had just taken a new job at a salon across town and had decided it might be best to find a new place to live while we attempted a trial separation.  We had tried marriage counseling though we mostly talked about  my issues of loss, my need to move ‘home’ to Europe, and whatever trivial talk my husband and the counselor brought up about life. Nothing seemed to be moving forward when it came to us. It was in my new job that my boss found out about the Klonopin.  He could not medically advise me to stop taking it, but he told me he didn’t think I needed it anymore.  As a life coach and mentor, he helped me to start working out again.  I began doing crossfit and yoga every week with my coworkers. I started making sure my diet was better, meaning making sure I ate enough calories  and not relying on fastfood since I was now renting a room with college students.  I started to slowly change back into myself.

That makes its sound like it was almost easy to stop relying on the medication and that life was now blissful.  It is too much to add to this blog post but at that time life was just as hard.  My marriage was now going through the beginning stages of a divorce. My in-laws were orchestrating a deal with a lawyer so my husband could push for full custody of the kids, giving me a clean break so I could leave for Europe. Obviously anyone who knows me knows how much my kids are my life and that no deal would ever come between us. At that time I was floating through new acquaintances with no real support system of friends.  I realized how much of a gossip pool the military circle can be hearing untrue things about me circulating about me from people I had never met.  Everyone has an opinion when others are dealing with hardships.  I will say my mum, though at the time our relationship was not doing to great, never said a bad thing about my husband.  It is something I am going to remember when my children get married especially in comparison to everything my in-laws have said or done up till last summer.  

So life was not easy.  But I was now dealing with it without medication and not covering up the sadness, the pain, the anxiety of feeling like everyone was focused on me.  I ended up moving back in with my husband when the kids got back from their summer vacation.  It took three years but my husband and I are doing better than we have ever been.

I still no longer take any medications.  I honestly dislike to have take anything for a headache until I complain too long about it and cave.  I am more incline to go the homeopathic route for myself and my family.  My dad has been gone for almost five years but I have been able to work through the stages of grief.  The last two years living as expats in England has really helped my marriage flourish and strengthen.  When you live in the military world where divorce is so common, I find that a major accomplishment especially through everything we have been through.  There was a time in my life where I felt so angry with God because he had ripped everything from my life and left me alone in the broken pieces.  I have come out of the ashes again to be able to look at all the beauty in life.

***I will end this by saying that if you do take medications and they work for you, awesome.  They only made things worse in my life.  In a better situation I would have had a better support system to work through the problems.  Honesty and communication could have helped so much.  I saw a friend have to come off of a different drug and the side effects are scary.  I honestly feel that clean eating, exercise  and homeopathic resources should be the first way to combat an issue before taking any sort of drugs. My previous sessions with therapists have been by far more beneficial.***


*photographs found here either belong to Bonnie Rose of Bonnie Rose Photography © 2013 All Rights Reserved | www.bonnie-rose.co.uk 

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15611780399151839267 Susanne

    That is something you went through. So brave of you to post something so personal. I’m still hovering above the publish button for my own post. But seeing you posted this, I can do the same.


    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05022023043718407104 Bonnie Rose

      Thank you Susanne and glad to know you were able to publish your post today too! x

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07672672046096104876 Melyssa @ The Nectar Collective

    Wow, this is one of the most honest things I’ve read on the internet in a long, long time. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us. Where to even begin! Well, first, I’ll say that I’m so glad you were able to start this story by saying that this isn’t necessarily your “lot in life” anymore and you are really happy nowadays. It’s so powerful to look back on past experiences and both wonder how we survived and how we were able to get to such a positive place now.

    Depression (and divorce, actually) runs in my family, too, so I’ve seen (and felt) how crippling it can be. My dad has been married three times, and being the oldest, from his first marriage, I’ve seen how painful custody battles and divorces can be, for everyone. I love coming to your blog because you are a strong, multi-faceted woman with honest opinions and experiences. I’m glad you’ve been able to reach a point of contentment these days. Thank you for sharing this story with us, especially in regards to your battle with depression. Like you said, it certainly needs to be heard more often.

    The Nectar Collective

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05022023043718407104 Bonnie Rose


      Thank you and I really appreciate the comment. I did not know how impacting my story would be until the feedback today. I am so sorry to hear that you had had to deal with divorce in your family. I hope that the hope Ryan and I have found through our story will give up to many others as well. Marriage is definitely not easy.


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10282427768935973822 erica @ to the sea

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m most intrigued that you had reached that point in your marriage and able to come out of it. Divorce IS so common in the military that people make it look easy. And maybe it is easier than sticking out the rough patches. I’ve definitely been in them before, though, and even though we never got to the point of a trial separating we recently got pretty darn close. So I’m glad to hear your marriage is flourishing now… my husband and I seem to be back on the upswing, but hearing that still gives me added hope.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05022023043718407104 Bonnie Rose

      Thank you Erica for reading today and sharing. Marriage is def hard work and I agree with that saying about if you were meant to have a spouse the military would issue one because it seems like it’s not all that conducive to helping marriages flourish and thrive. But I hope We can motivate an being hope to others as I know we will face hard times in our future they will only help make the good times mean that much more too. I think I’ve learned that its okay to not be perfect to not have a perfect marriage because that sets too high of expectations on someone. One day at a time and keeping working hard. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08563442390740639521 Amy @ The Tide That Left

    Thank you for sharing this. I think it’s really good for people to know that mental health issues can affect us all, but that we can recover. It’s an amazing testament to you; you have such strength. I’m so pleased that you’ve been able to come out of the other side. It’s a lovely ‘happy ending’ for you, your husband and your children. Thanks again for writing this and putting it out there.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05022023043718407104 Bonnie Rose

      Thank you Amy for taking the time to read today and I really hope that more and more people will speak out about this. I have gotten quite a number of private emails about the post today and I did not expect to have touched or met so many others who have gone through similar situations. There is hope out there. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03481775343584575260 Casey Martin

    beautiful and very honest post… thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05022023043718407104 Bonnie Rose

      Thank you Casey. It was a little nervous to post, but glad I was able to share with everyone. x

  • http://themovetoamerica.wordpress.com/ themovetoamerica

    A really honest and beautifully written post.

    It is so good that mental health issues are being more widely discussed and shared as it helps others realise that sometimes when life throws you a curve ball, and you may have coped in the past, depending on what else is going on may mean you are no longer able to cope with it in the same way and need help.

    I admire your honesty and reflection in this post.

    Molly ♡

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05022023043718407104 Bonnie Rose


      Thank you Molly. Exactly. Sometimes its just as simple as removing the stressors that trigger that stuff in our lives. I def think being able to talk about it or say, hey I’m feeling like this today, is so much better than trying to tough it out and survive it all on your own too.

      Thank you girl, x

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01568095711517362117 Vivienne Z

    Such a raw and honest post. The rough times must have been really hard.

    On a slightly different note, have you tried green tea with cinnamon, cloves, lime and honey for that head ache? I find that it really works great!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05022023043718407104 Bonnie Rose

      You know I havent! But I shall try! Is it a certain kind of tea, or do you just add all those ingredients to your green tea. We normally have cinnamon and honey on hand, so I can see if maybe that will help too. Thank you for the tips!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00644742445752067065 Jessi Couser

    I am blessed by this – thank you so much for sharing. Sharing these things with others takes the power away from them. I am so happy that you are flourishing and that you and Ryan have been able reconnect. I also love that you’re having another ceremony to recognize all that you’ve accomplished! I’ll be praying for you as you continue to heal and journey down the path God has laid for you! <3

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05022023043718407104 Bonnie Rose

      Thank you for taking time to click my link through facebook and comment today. I’m not sure what is more scary, opening up to bloggers who I have never met online or to my friends on facebook. But thank you so much for all your good wishes. We are so looking forward to renewing our vows this August. x

  • http://theunpoisonedapple.wordpress.com/ theunpoisonedapple

    Thanks for sharing Bonnie! I think we all need to do more of this, of sharing our troubles as well as how we’ve overcome. It would help us realize that nobody is perfect, and that there’s no reason to wear a “perfect” mask. I think that’s a big problem in churches today; we all wear our masks and because of our own fear of being seen as who we are, we point fingers at others. Great post.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11732317583716160010 Maddie~The Whimsy One

    Great post. I am glad that you were able to get healthy and that your marriage is succeeding. and I appreciate your notes on the end. As I am definitely living proof that for some people…medicine is life saving. I hate medicine, I took so many different ones for so many hospitalizations for depression and bipolar so that I would rarely stay on them. Funny enough…it was when I was “healthiest” working out regularly and eating right that my depression was hands down at it’s worst. Always interesting to see what works best for each person.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17450964045192162771 Kendra Pahukoa

    although you had touched on your marriage struggles in an earlier post I didn’t know about your dad. that isn’t just a loss, it is a loss mixed with tragedy and unanswered questions and just way too much for a girl to take on during her own personal struggles in her private home life.
    i’m glad you are you, doing well, beating statistics and sharing such personal stories with us. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01079473916722620673 Erika @ CHiMERiKAL.com

    AH! I thought I had commented on this!!!

    I realize now that I read it, but was unable to comment due to internet issues and then I forgot to come back.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It was powerful and although I have not been through tragedy first hand as you have, but I can sympathize and imagine. I love the quote you used from Harry Potter as well — I believe that to be very, very, very true. I think a lot of times in life, we aren’t given the tools to confront our feelings — rather, we are given countless resources on how to hide from them. Thank you for being brave and sharing your story of facing your life and feelings. I’m so glad your marriage made it through! (AND YOU, OF COURSE, AS WELL!)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05022023043718407104 Bonnie Rose

    You’re very brave to open up like this, and I just wanted you to know I’ve been there with medications, too. From 17-26 years of age I was a zombie (antidepressants). It took my own research and willpower to ween off of that med, and with much precision and planning, I did! I became a new person, and it was interesting to see who I really was after not having had full control of my Self since I was a teenager. I still had the anxiety, and still do, but the depression is more situation-based than chemical-based. And I find ways to manage it. Even a few years later, when my late husband was diagnosed with cancer and died, and I was prescribed Klonopin (on an as needed basis), I was able to cope far better than I ever could have imagined without relying on the medication. Soon after I started traveling, which led to meeting my future husband and eventually moving to England.

    As someone who can empathize, I’m so glad to read you’re feeling so well now!