My blog continues from December 2016 to December 2017.
I've written this on the Facebook group this morning and sharing it to my Blog......
Just to wish you all good Luck and keep going on your journey. I've not been around too much recently as my son has had some major brain surgery so I've been too worried about him.
When we're going through withdrawal with all its complexities it's also impossible to shut ourselves away from other life traumas. The very act of being alive brings with it inevitable dramas that have to be survived. In withdrawal actually getting through these natural life events is much harder because we may have been used to popping a pill to help us. Now we only have our own resources to turn to for this. One of the important parts of withdrawal is to arm ourselves with coping tools we can turn to in the event of a crisis in our outward lives. This may be a crisis of losing a loved one, of dealing with major surgeries in ourselves or others and so forth. Keeping away from that pill bottle or even a desire to up the dose of a taper becomes much harder. This is where it's essential, during this time of recovery, to help ourselves keep those natural anxiety emotions at a normal level, something that's hard to do with the damaged GABA receptors that may still be healing. Learn all you can to remain as calm as possible in a crisis and I recommend techniques such as EFT tapping, mindfulness, deep breathing and meditation, anything that suits you and you can cope with. Withdrawal doesn't have to be a non productive time of just waiting for symptoms to pass, use it to help yourselves learn as much as possible about the brain, it's functions and how to remain calm in a crisis.
For the last few days I've been tapping away saying affirmations and just getting through this difficult period for my family. Learning to cope with real life is a major part of recovery for everyone on this benzo journey.
I'm sorry I've not updated my Blog for so long. It's been an incredibly busy time but I've successfully negotiated a long and sometimes difficult house move. We're here at last. Close to the family for support in our advancing years and close to all amenities and even close to the sea 😀.
I've had to make several ‘firsts’ that I haven't been able to do for a long time. I've left a home in an area I've lived for 23 years and travelled over 250 miles to my new home, near to civilisation in the form of London. I’ve slept well in a different place and in two different beds, at a hotel then at my son’s house, over our six day move. I've not had one sleepless night in this time and I've managed to do some unpacking to make our new place as comfortable as possible.
I'm trying hard to make this a fresh start and leave the horrors of benzodiazepines and the damage they do well behind me. I still do have minor symptoms and can't deny that. Moving house is stressful at any time of life and for me, in protracted withdrawal and at 72 years of age, has been particularly stressful. The symptoms that reappeared were pain in my lower back and legs plus extreme tiredness but they are easing now. I'm hoping that all the night terrors have gone after leaving the memories behind in my old house. Memories of walking the floor night by night and of extreme anxiety that just wouldn't let go or allow me to keep still. I'm determined to do everything to prevent myself from going back there.
I know those in protracted do have setbacks even when several years off and in order to prevent this I am pacing myself and resting as necessary. Diversion is easy as there's so much to do that will allow my mind to refocus on designing my new interior and buying the necessary products to make it comfortable. For the moment I'm focussed and happy and feeling more positive than I've been for many years.
I've just come through a big wave and landed safely on the other side yet again. we've been under a lot of stress with this move but now there's finally a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. It will happen next week. I am not going to dwell on the 'what ifs' but focus on the new life that's just about to begin for me. It's going to be strange and I'm likely to have some more bumps along the way but it's what we want for this time in our lives. So it will soon be, 'Goodby Hayle, Hello Hayling'. A removal of an e and an addition of an ing will take us 250 miles away from our present home to our future lives.
I'm still healing and I'm still very fragile but my thought for today is that healing can't be hurried. As long as no further pills are added to the compromised central nervous system and all coping techniques are followed to help get us through then healing can't be stopped. It's inevitable......
Healing doesn't happen over night
Healing doesn't come in a pill
Healing happens in layers
Healing is different for everyone
Healing can hurt a lot
Healing is a process of reawakening
Healing needs support
Healing needs acceptance.
In the end healing happens for everyone, But it takes great courage to believe and let go of all attempts to control this process.
I always find this an interesting question and something I've been asked time and time again when helping others so I've had to think about it.
Do we go back to our pre benzo symptoms?
No, I don't believe we do. For myself 45 years have passed since I was first put on a benzo for sleep in my twenties. I was a totally different person then to the recovered person I am at 72. I also sleep better on most nights now than I've done since I was a child. I've experienced horrific symptoms for many of those years and not necessarily only during withdrawal from the drugs. Anxiety was indescribable as were the panic attacks plus the various pain problems that many of us suffer. All that has gone.
During withdrawal we seem to build a deep resilience and understanding of life that can't be put into words. Once recovered that resilience remains and absolutely nothing can scare or bring us down again. Normal anxiety is just a minor butterfly flitting around in the stomach not the chemical deluge we've had to battle in withdrawal. Physical problems have an identifiable cause and are not those of the overwhelming pain and muscle rigidity some suffer from benzos. Depersonalisation, derealisation and so forth give way to a clear thinking brain that can remember again as the fog lifts. Emotional reaction calms. Life becomes serene while added to all this are the numerous coping tips that we've learnt along the way just to survive yet another day in hell. How can we be the same people we were before all this happened?
I've also wondered if the extreme overreaction and sensitivity of the CNS during withdrawal actually trains it to become stronger as we battle our way through. This would obviously be a major contribution to the fact that many say all previous benzo problems have eased once withdrawal has ended. That feeling of calmness within is amazing.
I would say we definitely do not return to our pre benzo state once healed especially if a long term sufferer. The person who emerges is older, wiser and far more resilient than ever before and has new skills to help with any trauma that life throws at them.
This is a belated Blog post to celebrate World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day today. Thank you to all those that have contributed in their own way to get this day and the dangers of Benzodiazepines recognised everywhere.
David and I did our own small part and collected tributes to Heather Ashton to paste into a birthday card for her. She is the ‘unsung hero’ behind the Ashton Manual and the only recognised authority on Benzodiazepines although she is 88 today. The group can be accessed on https://www.facebook.com/groups/647966272060149/ so please add your own tribute to this great lady. It will never be too late as the group will remain open and further tributes sent to her at intervals throughout the year.
I'm very much better at the moment, sleeping and feeling clearer in my head. My memory is finally returning. I am still under a lot of stress but coping so much better now. The odd bad day here and there may persist for awhile but these are bearable and I feel strong and able to deal with anything life throws at me.
It may not be appropriate to wish everyone ‘A Happy World Benzo Day’ but I'll do it anyway and add its going to get better for you all.