January to December 2020
Happy Christmas to everybody who reads this and may 2021 bring the health we all seek during these difficult times both of COVID and of recovery from Benzodiazepine drugs.
I am well and will be closing this Blog for now perhaps for ever. Of course I am going to add my full and detailed success story in the future. I’m holding off for the time being to make sure I am not just experiencing another long window of respite! Things are different though so more when I’m sure as lots to say.
I will now use the time to update all other parts of my website and transfer some of the informative units that are held on my Facebook page, Beating Benzos. I want to get as much support and knowledge out there so everybody can learn from my experiences, from the experiences of others and from the limited research that does exist. In the meantime I hope everybody can have the best Christmas possible and may the New Year bring you, your families and friends much Health, Happiness and Healing.
How to Keep Calm and Carry On Coping
After weeks or months of suffering difficult withdrawal symptoms we can become scared, demoralised and frustrated. With no evidence of healing due to the non linear nature of recovery from benzo damage, it’s only natural to fall into despair and fear of never being well. All we want is for it to be over and Now!
A few pointers on how to keep going when you reach those crisis points in your own recovery....
🌹Remember this is a temporary situation. At first you may have hope even if symptoms are raging so this hope carries you forwards. When that hope starts to fade you become increasingly agitated and worried about the time all this is taking so often you may feel there must be something else wrong with you.
It’s entirely natural to hit a wall when you continue to suffer day after day and, for some, no windows or evidence of it ever letting up. You become exhausted and burnt out. Somehow you will find those reserves of energy to keep you going if you read of the success of others, if you don’t add fear to your symptoms and if you understand all this is only a temporary situation which may change any day.
Look for the gratitude for the things in your life; set yourself little goals each day which can move your focus away from symptoms; understand that healing is your, personal journey and will end at the right time for you. Trust you can ride out the storms and reach the other side.
🌹Stop fighting yourself and expecting that you should be well because you were only on a short time, or a low dose, or young and fit. Expectations are usually built on past experiences of what you used to be able to do and what life has conditioned you to believe. Now you are compromised so can no longer do these things and you may look back to the past with envy at the person you used to be.
Always be kind to yourself and look to a beautiful future unhindered by a reliance on pills. The past has gone, let go of the things you took for granted and let the negative feelings pass through you without trying to fix them. Be comfortable with the tough days and accept them the best you can. You are still a wonderful and resilient person much stronger than you know.
🌹Ditch the expectations as friends may recover faster than you but this doesn’t mean you are not recovering. It is difficult when you see people maybe on the drugs much longer than you but reaching their own grand finale much sooner. If you become attached to specific results this only serves to add misery when you haven’t reached them at 6 months/one year/18 months......adding time frames for your recovery only adds further stress. Expectations of how long something can take does not indicate how long it’s going to take for you. Just believe in your own healing and never lose hope.
🌹Fill your mind with love and compassion for others. Even if your loved ones may not understand what is happening for you try and keep in touch with them and accept that only those that have suffered this themselves can truly appreciate what you’re going through. Give them love just the same as you need them and you need their love in return. Staying connected to friends and family is important for your healing.
In the same way giving love, support and understanding to others going through benzo withdrawal alongside you, making new friends and sharing experiences will only help you as well as them.
🌹You can’t change what has happened to you so don’t look back and start putting the blame on other people, on other drugs you may have taken, on stopping and starting benzos over the years, on traumatic life events and so on and so forth. It’s too late for all that and blame and anger will only hinder your progress. Try and create a more positive feeling of how you will educate and help others once you are fully well so this doesn’t go on happening. Constant feelings of fight and flight ramp up the stress.
🌹Finally know and believe in a better future for yourself. Don’t creat fear of the unknown such as, ‘I can’t control my anxiety without a benzo’ or ‘I will never sleep without my Z drug or my benzo’. Yes you will if your brain is allowed to recover and not further impacted by these drugs. Find other solutions for your problems such as new ways to help anxiety naturally with mind/ body techniques e.g. deep breathing, meditation, Yoga anything that is calming for you and you enjoy.
It’s normal to feel uncomfortable about the future when it’s unknown but believing in stories your mind makes up isn’t going to make it any easier. Nobody knows what your future may hold so don’t believe in the scary movies of the mind. Tell it that you’re recovering and coming to full health so you can return to a productive and happy life well able to deal with any ups and downs it may hold.
Keep Going everyone and I hope that helps just a little. At the moment I am free of symptoms and sleeping so keeping my
fingers crossed. 🌹
Before my thoughts for today just to update that things have improved and I am now in better times again. 👍
The Reductionist v The Holistic Approach
The medical model of healing starts from a place of treating symptoms and is sometimes known as the reductionist approach. In other words doctors will mostly try to reduce symptoms in one part of the body by treating with drugs and don’t always look at the whole picture.
For the symptoms of benzo withdrawal this means that if anybody is stressed by a certain symptom in one system that person may visit their doctor and come away clutching a further prescription. Of course these prescriptions are often necessary for ‘real’ illnesses but when the symptoms are those created by a disturbed body trying to right itself due to damage caused by a drug they may only add further to the problem.
The reductionist understanding reduces the body to its various parts. It reduces the biological body to a collection of systems. This is why we have specialist doctors who concentrate on just one of these systems e.g. the gastroenterologist or the orthopaedist or even the psychiatrist.
The problem that arises in benzo withdrawal is that it’s not just one system but the whole body that’s been altered in some way and therefore needs a more holistic approach. Trailing from one specialist to another won’t solve the problem and may even lead to a new, unnecessary diagnosis.
We are more than the sum of our parts and it’s the health and functionality of all parts working in cooperation that brings wellness.
‘To better understand the specific differences between reductionist and holistic approaches....
reductionists are so focused on the minutiae of each individual biological system, that they fail to account for the health and functionality of the whole.’ Vivian Goldschmidt.
This was written about achieving bone health without drugs but can apply to the health of any system. Drug companies employ extreme reductionism and concentrate on drugs that alter one system with little regard to how their drugs can impact on other systems (hence side effects). We all appreciate where the reductionist understanding has brought us today so now a more holistic approach is needed to bring us to full recovery.
I think this old fable describes it well....
“There’s a famous fable about a group of blind men encountering an elephant for the very first time. The first blind man, who had his hand on the elephant’s side, said that it was like an enormous wall. The second blind man, wrapping his arms around the elephant’s leg, exclaimed that surely it was a gigantic tree trunk. The third, feeling the elephant’s tail, declared that it must be a thick rope...... Vehement disagreement ensues, but after a while the blind men eventually come to realize that, while each person was partially correct, there is much more to the elephant than initially thought.”
I hope that makes sense for you but the main point is to not treat just one symptom you may experience on a certain day but look at how you can help the whole body repair itself from benzos so that each system can recover and bring full health. In this respect we know that a healthy diet, learning relaxation techniques, light exercise, good support and all the various coping tips can benefit healing plus anything else that you feel may benefit you.
Look beyond the present with all its inexplicable, individual symptoms, try not
to focus on each and every one and remember these symptoms are bringing you towards a whole healing picture, a strong body and a beautiful future. ❤️
This is just a brief update to let you know I'm still here!
I continue to have a sensitive nervous system which causes insomnia but no other symptoms now. The worst trigger for me seems to be any additional stress and I have plenty of that. I would like to add that my setback after feeling mostly recovered is likely to be from this outside stress and not anything to do with benzos apart from the continuing sensitivity of my CNS. It's happened to others and is a phenomenon well recognised.
Please don't let this reflect on your own recovery which is very unlikely to be like mine and to be over much fasterl Never give up hope but somehow keep going and don't look backwards.
Try not to give give in to the fear that obviously
surfaces when symptoms return after a long respite as this is still a healing time. ❤️
Almost a month since I last wrote here. I've been lying low as symptoms have done an upsurge over this time.
Moving from GI issues to fully body pain has been the latest experience Plus a bad histamine reaction to a bite on my ankle (no idea what nasty little insect decided I was so tasty). The pain was worse in my neck, right shoulder, hips and knees. Anxiety hit the roof and of course sleep disappeared yet again!
Today I seem more or less normal and the pain has subsided and the GI issues have eased. I've no idea what has triggered all this but don't feel I'm through the woods yet so taking it easy and keeping calm. My new mantra...'I relax and let healing flow through me easily'.
I'm including my latest positive post here for encouragemen.
'Perfect As You Are
As you move through the readjustment from shedding benzos you may have to endure many painful mental and physical experiences which cause a loss of self and a focus on the body and suffering.
Illness, confusion, discomfort are not who you are. Focussing on the relentless symptoms, which can morph and change from one day to the next, won’t help you to heal any faster. Trying to figure out how to ‘treat’ them will, more often than not, only make them worse. Any further attempts to quieten them with medicines, creams, diet and so forth leads to questioning everything you put on or into your body so whipping up anxiety and constricting your world.
Learning to just ‘be’ with those sensations, that pain in your outer physical body and watching it all from within in the present moment with curiosity and not judgement, allows everything to pass unimpeded by a fearful mind. There’s nothing you need to do to ‘fix’ yourself because you are whole and perfect as you are.
Relax into your recovery and try not to fight it. You can make it easier for yourself. Continue to learn and understand what is happening in the brain and the body then watch it all unfold in your
time of healing. You are all so brave and acceptance of what is will become part of the new you as slowly you begin to find yourself in the midst of chaos.
Love as always 🌹'