January 2020 on
Anger is a symptom of benzo withdrawal. Whether you are angry at doctors for prescribing these drugs in the first place and causing this to happen to you or whether you are angry at your immediate family and friends for not understanding, it shows itself in many guises.
Anger is a reaction to a feeling within yourself. When recovering from Benzos our whole emotional system is turned up aside down and our feelings are far more intense and perhaps exaggerated. Anxiety is another good example but other feelings such as anger and hostility for another person can become more pronounced and cause some disruption in our lives.
Being human means it’s natural to be angry at times as it’s a healthy emotion which we use to defend ourselves if we feel emotionally attacked or treated unfairly. Anger only becomes a problem when it gets out of control, which it can do while we’re in our fragile recovery state. You may find your behaviour becoming destructive and hurting others emotionally, or perhaps even physically, as well as hurting yourself by hating yourself for what you’re doing or even physically damaging yourself.
Outward expressions of anger show themselves in shouting, slamming doors, argumentative behaviour, throwing things and so on. Inward expressions of anger may cause you to become sulky and silent, even harm yourself physically (banging head etc).
The best way to help control these anger surges is first to recognise them. The physical signs may be churning in the stomach, weak legs, feeling hot and sweaty, dizziness, rapid heart rate and so on. The mental signs may be an inability to relax, being easily irritated or even humiliated, being argumentative, unable to see the other person’s point of view and so forth.
Once recognised you can try some techniques to help control this anger. These techniques are most of those that we also use to control anxiety and any other bad symptoms such as breathing slowly, removing yourself from the situation and distracting, going for a walk or other physical exercise, mindfulness meditation in a quiet room, even hitting a pillow if you feel aggressive towards yourself. Find what works for you but definitely try not to react to the anger and do anything you will regret later because it’s going to pass as your brain calms and you no longer get these anger storms as I call them. All will become calm again and then you can think rationally and deal with any situation that arises with a clearer, peaceful mind.
Over the next few days I will be adding some of the motivational posts I've written on the Facebook, Beating Benzos group....
Once again I say please don’t put a time frame on your recovery as this way can lead to disappointment. I urge you to live one day at a time and not expect symptoms to miraculously disappear after a certain time whether that be weeks, months or years.
There is no time frame for your recovery so please ignore remarks from those that refuse to believe your symptoms may still be caused by recovery from benzos, even years off. I’ve never hidden the fact that my own recovery has unfolded over several years and I’ve been supported in this by others who are protracted and by those who now voluntarily support sufferers through benzo withdrawal after their own recovery. It does keep getting better but it can take longer than may be recognised, even amongst the benzo community sometimes 😢.
Of course get checked if you still have occurring symptoms many months or years off but, also be aware the brain remains sensitive for a very long time even for those who consider themselves recovered after a couple of years.
On a brighter note, you could be well tomorrow. Things can also turn quickly for a few and the worst of waves may be followed by a complete recovery. More common, from my experience, is that waves get lighter and less frequent until they disappear. The time frame for this is entirely individual so please don’t get despondent when you are still suffering after seeing friends recover because you’re still healing regardless of their time frame.
Move forwards one day at a time, don’t look backwards or compare with others as your recovery from benzo damage is unfolding in the time that is right for you. 💜
When going through the worst symptoms that benzo withdrawal can whip up for us the one, most urgent cry I hear over and over again is,
‘I just want to be back to who I was’.
Sufferers want their sleep to return, they feel toxic, they are in pain, they want to eat normally, they want to enjoy their family and friends...........the list goes on and is heart wrenching, perhaps even more so because not everybody in our real lives understands the suffering and can even add to it.
My answer is, ‘Please don’t try and get back to who you were!’
That person has gone, the person who needed a benzo to help them through life has gone. The person who carried a pill bottle around with them for a crutch has gone. The person who religiously dosed their daily benzo, even setting their watch to make sure they didn’t miss a dose has gone. The person who reached for their benzo to force them into an unnatural sleep has gone......For whatever reason you became dependent on Benzos you don’t want that person back.
In place of the benzo dependent shadow of yourself is going to emerge a stronger, wiser, happier, clearer thinking, more compassionate and healthier you. You may not know this new you for awhile if you’ve been drugged for decades like me but, with all you learn in your recovery, you are eventually going to appreciate life a lot more and have a much greater depth of understanding.
don’t look for the return of that ‘old you’ he or she took Benzos to live. Instead seek out the new you as you recover and become the person you were meant to be. Recovery is worth it. ❤️
There are now many Facebook groups dealing with the problems of Benzo withdrawal. There are also many websites and Blogs that have been created to try and help others through including my own. However, one of my greatest concerns is the often conflicting and confusing answers that can be shared through these resources. Everybody seems to have their own take on this and wants to help in their own way, even me! However sometimes too much help can be worse than too little and the results are the opposite of what we, with all good intentions, try to achieve,
All we know for sure is that there are no answers in this. Nothing has been proven, nothing fully researched apart form Heather Ashton’s studies and clinical investigations in the 1980’s. Even she could never have been fully aware of just what a worldwide problem this was to become and how her research may only have scratched the surface of this. All we have since is anecdotal evidence.
For these reasons please take great care with any advice you are given because nobody knows what is right for you and can’t tell you what to do, what to take or how your recovery will unfold. It’s one of my greatest concerns that your recovery is yours alone and you must be in charge of it. Learn the facts, be wary of what your read and use only what may be relevant to you. Well meaning people can cause you to take a wrong turning.
There is information here on this website and a lot in the Units and Files of the Beating Benzos Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/Beatingbenzos/?ref=share) but even so take out what you feel will benefit you and keep it safe. You need to form your own ideas and plan your own recovery we can only support and advise through our experiences and not tell you what to do. It’s all the different experiences that just add to the confusion but if you’re aware of this, know your body, your history, your personality and what you feel is best for you then your recovery will be progress without confusion and with hope.
Knowing yourself and educating yourself is going to help you get through this experience better than anything or anyone else can. 🌈
Cars, computers, washing machines, TVs and so on come with instruction manuals, but our minds and brains don’t. Something to think about perhaps because our minds and brains are our most precious resources. They allow us to see life as it exists for us but we have no instructions to tell us how they should be operated
When benzo symptoms are at their worse and the brain starts malfunctioning so the mind imagines the worst and can make things even more disturbed. We search for the magic switch to get everything working correctly again. All too often we press the wrong button in desperation and the operating system crashes!
We need to get that operating system rebooted and back into normal service and we can help to do this through our minds. There are many therapies and physical interventions that work on training the mind from Emotional Freedom Techniques to Mindfulness and Yoga. All these can play a part in our recovery but simplest of all is to just pay attention to the thoughts that come and go in that space we call the mind. These thoughts feed the brain and it’s the brain we need to help recalibrate.
I’m not saying think only positive things as that’s futile and who can be positive in the midst of benzo hell? Just observe your thoughts, let them come and go as they will, don’t try and control them watch them from afar as if you’re watching a movie...the movie of your mind.
It’s actually quite fascinating to see what your mind is telling you. It’s in full colour with emotions attached and even reactions as well. It’s like watching a horror movie sometimes when symptoms are flashed up on the screen! It causes the imagination to create worst case scenarios and definitely an unhappy ending. All this tells your brain that it’s not going to recover it pulls the wrong levers and clicks the wrong switches. However, continue to watch from afar, don’t alter a thing, let it flow through unhindered and gradually perhaps very slowly you may find that movie plays itself out and is replaced by a one of greater serenity and calm. The operating system is slowed, spaces appear between the thoughts and you realise it’s all just a movie, not real but an interpretation you have applied to your story. Imagine instead a happy ending and your brain and your body will feel this.
In order to recover let all this happen. Don’t fight it, let the thoughts flow, let everything go unhindered and realise that this is your own brain returning to homeostasis and it may be rough but it’s all going to work out ok in the end. You don’t need to find the right switch to control what is happening because your operating system has an inbuilt function that will do this for you if you trust it to. We really are more amazing than we can ever understand.