I’m now approaching five years off benzos on November 22nd. It’s been a long hard road and the last few months have seen life stresses that have been hard to live through. On several occasions symptoms once again could be described as acute but somehow I’ve survived by just taking one day at a time and reminding myself that waves pass bringing me to a new level of healing. For the last two weeks things have much improved again with shorter waves and windows that have remained open for longer
I was well along the road to full recovery when my life changed and as you know I moved to the other side of England with numerous blips along the way as there always seem to be in buying and selling houses in this country. Then my son had a major operation which caused some complications and I couldn’t manage the stress associated with this so have been unable to visit him yet. This continues to give me extreme anxiety and he is rarely out of my thoughts. These events spiralled me backwards as my sensitive CNS continued to react in the usual pattern of windows and waves. Luckily things are looking up once again as my system has calmed and I’ve settled into my new home.
The whole benzodiazepine saga has made me angry. Not only over the friends I‘ve lost over the last five years because I’ve had to opt out of life (amazing how we find out who are true friends are in this so perhaps for the best) but also over the scandalous lack of understanding by a society that goes on seeking a pill for every little ailment. People just don’t appreciate that such a miracle cure doesn’t exist only a dampening down of the symptoms the body could often well repair successfully on its own. The huge sales of over the counter drugs and queues in doctors’ surgeries provide the evidence. It’s only the greed of the pharmaceutical companies that is fed by this ignorance in the long run. Western medicine has a frailty that’s not recognised although I acknowledge it can often be life saving when used correctly.
Like everybody else in a Protracted Withdrawal we search for answers as to why us and why so much suffering for so long? I’ve talked to the helplines and it does happen but they say better not to analyse just accept and make our way through somehow. I suppose even this flippant attitude of ‘cast aside worry and accept what’s happening’ angers me. How can we let it all pass and just lose our lives in waiting year after year for the non arrival of full health. It‘s all made me even more determined to help the U.K. campaign to the best of my ability when fully well. I did get this website mentioned in a very good Daily Mail article on the dangers of benzodiazepines which was published recently. They are good support but my own story is so complex over such a long period of time that I can only advise and put them in touch with other sufferers. I long to see this syndrome recognised and for doctors to be educated on the dangers of the drugs they so flippantly prescribe. It’s not only benzodiazepines that take lives away but also antidepressants, antipsychotics and opiate pain medications. It remains an all time scandal that there is no support for those trying to get off these drugs and so very little knowledge amongst a medical profession that takes our lives away with a prescription written after a few minutes consultation and without a mention of the dangers of the drugs being prescribed.
I feel angry tonight after my forty years on a medicine that should be taken for no longer than two to four weeks as written in the British Medical Journal. Brain damage was inevitable for me yet not once was it recognised or acknowledged nor has it been over the five years of my life threatening withdrawal. I was lucky I survived but sadly there’s a growing number of people who don’t make it. I now understand that patient consent is required for anything prescribed but what good is this if doctors don’t have any clue about their medications in order to inform their patients. Many GPs have a lot to answer for with their failure to keep updated by reading the guidelines for their profession. A conundrum that needs redressing.
So I’m angry and hurting and very, very tired of the whole situation. I’ve had a rant and want to finish by reassuring those that are just starting their withdrawal that it’s only a very small percentage of people who enter a protracted withdrawal after 18 months off. Always see your doctor if you’re worried about anything but always question any drugs you may be prescribed. If you are already protracted then rest assured that it will get better eventually. Also please show your doctors the Ashton Manual and attempt to spread the word about this worldwide disaster.
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