25. Aug, 2020

Responding versus Reacting


Throughout my recovery I was, like so many others, having to deal with a multitude of physical and mental symptoms caused by the changes happening within me. Also, like others I was scared, very scared, as I never believed such torture imaginable from just a tiny little pill taken for sleep. My body was, and still is at times, swamped by a tide of fear and pain.

It was a process of change that somehow I needed to learn to endure. For almost a lifetime I had been subdued by this drug and now I was coming back to life both inside and out. Somehow I had to survive if I was to see my grandchildren grow up and enjoy any life that was left to me.

At first my reactions to symptoms were those of fear as I spent my days trying to find answers and seeking a doctor who could understand and support me in this. A bit futile but my last doctor was at least willing to learn. I did my best to educate myself purely to try and find a way to reduce the living nightmare and survive the process.

Slowly I became aware that my reactions to this process were likely to be worsening its effects on my body and brain. Trying to unravel the endless procession of symptoms and apply some sort of logic to them was merely making their effects the centre of my attention day after day and causing even further trauma for my tired brain. Crying out on benzo buddies had a futility of its own and just served to intensify the chaos as confusing answers sent me reeling.

My responses to the symptoms caused an expectation of their arrival. Even during periods of calm I waited for them to return ready to do battle whenever they made an appearance. I waited for the chaos, pain and anxiety that no human being should have to endure. I waited to be catapulted into the abyss again with all guns blazing!

Gradually I began to realise that I was fighting a losing battle. If I was to recover I had to surrender, wave the white flag, take myself away from the chaos and trust my reawakening. I gave up the searching, chatted to a few friends for support and stopped defining myself by my symptoms. 

Somewhere between the symptoms and my reactions there was a place of calm where I could watch them from afar and let them do what they needed to do. This led to greater acceptance and lessened the addition of more trauma to the brain as I recovered.

I still have the return of insomnia and anxiety but now they are just a nuisance and I know they continue to show that I am recovering. It’s important to understand that this process is one of strength and endurance not fighting and reacting but remaining calm even in the midst of the battle.

Please learn by the efforts others have made to help you. Avoid anything that further down regulates those receptors. Stay clear of other people’s pain and take your focus away from symptoms and into a place of calm and acceptance. 

 

Instead of searching for answers now try and find that place of calm within yourself where you can rest, be at peace with what’s happening and watch your recovery unfold as I have done