July to October 2014
I just want to add this link to another helpful story and informative Blog concerning Iatrogenic Illness. Ally explains it all so much better than I can.....
This is very helpful to those of us in protracted withdrawal.
A quick update. I continue in a window of calm and only the nights remind me that I'm not completely done yet. I do get very tired but that's to be expected at this stage. My days are good and I am able to do more and truly believe that this could well be my time of recovery. Fingers crossed as it can all change at the drop of a hat but I feel more positive.
Please can I add I would be very grateful for more stories to include in my section on Other Benzo Stories. You don't have to be fully recovered but just off the drug for at least a year. I am hoping to use this webste to eventually inform doctors in the UK so I need the credence that it is a tragic and very real syndrome causing suffering to countless people all over the world. You may choose to remain anonymous. Thank You. Just send me an email.... email@example.com
I’ve chosen this word to illustrate my coping techniques and where I am at the moment. I believe it’s also a word that’s used in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to help those suffering from panic attacks and bad anxiety. I’ve just adapted it for my own withdrawal purposes.
First of all this post is far more positive than my last. I have become AWARE of my healing. It may be just a very good window or it may be signaling the end of the relentless trauma. I have suffered some very bad times over the last two months, times that reminded me of the acute phase and how awful this was. I must admit I lost hope that I was healing and believed it was all going to persist until I was finally given relief through death. It was the thinking of a brain damaged by prescription drugs. Over the last few days there has been an obvious turnaround and my brain has cleared and suddenly I’ve found myself tidying cupboards and cleaning the house. This is something I haven’t been able to do much of over the last two years as the chronic tiredness and lack of motivation kept me locked in a world that just couldn’t care less. I would sit and look at the dust and fumble through cupboards of jumble in order to find what I wanted. My husband jokingly thinks I now have an Obsessive, Compulsive Disorder as he’s not used to this side of me. Once upon a time I was a tidy person in that I liked order in my life and found it less stressful to be organized rather than living in chaos. It’s amazing what the brain controls of our personalities. I’m wondering what’s coming next! Don’t forget its been a lifetime of the real me being dampened down and I’ve little idea what the final me is going to be like. In some ways it’s quite exciting.
At the moment I’m symptom free, apart from some pain and stiffness and have a relatively clear head. The nights can be a bit topsy turvey still but last night I slept for eight hours with just one wake up around 4 am. For once this didn’t indicate the end of the night and I drifted back happily to a dreamworld for another few hours. This may not be permanent yet but at least I know it can happen and one day will be the normal pattern for me.
The second use of the word AWARE focuses on how I’ve coped with the intense anxiety filled, painful, nauseous moments of acute times, such as I’ve suffered over the last two months. When panic, anxiety, revving or the physical symptoms make an appearance be Aware………
A….accept don’t fight, let it all wash over you. The more negative you are the worse the symptoms appear to be. Try and retreat into yourself and accept what is happening while you keep safe inside.
W….watch your symptoms from this safe place. They will actually wax and wane as you take note of them and you won’t be overwhelmed by them if you do this. Know and believe this is your brain healing and it’s great and one day you will be free and happy again. The GABA receptors are dealing with it all and gradually coming back on line. This is the best way to view what’s happening so you don’t let the negative thoughts creep in.
A.…act and do what is best for you to cope with the symptoms. Deep breathing is always helpful. Lie on your back and breath slowly while thinking peace and calm. If you feel agitated, as I often did, then pace your house while breathing and chanting positive affirmations such as, ‘This too will pass’ or ‘This is my healing journey’.
R….repeat all this as the wave envelopes you and as often as you need.
E….expect your healing is happening and, to reach your goal, you need to face these bad times with knowledge until they fade into your past and you’re whole again. Perhaps expect is not a strong enough word because you ARE recovering and your journey will one day end.
I hope this is just a little bit helpful. I have many meditations and wise sayings that I will one day sort out and post to help you during these stressful times when you are practising being ‘Aware’.
I feel exactly like Humpty at present. For the last few days I’ve been broken into a thousand bits. Each fragment of shell representing the return of a new or long gone symptom. Sadly there were no King’s horses and King’s men to put me back together again. I had to muster all my own reserves to get through this one.
It may be useful for others if I list the symptoms that descended to shatter me…..total insomnia (no sleep at all for two nights and very little for a week), violent stress dreams, tachycardia when waking from these, painful hands with tendonitis in my thumbs and wrists, indigestion and constant wind and stomach movement plus pain, flowing pain throughout my body, stiff muscles and joints, temperature variations with fluctuations between the intolerable heat of the Sahara to the freezing cold of the Arctic, mild headache, deafness and fullness in my ears, painful, red, watery eyes, runny nose (no cold), overwhelming tiredness, foggy head and a new feeling of unreality, difficulty in remembering what I was talking about, feeling hungry all the time but able to eat little, dry retching and shaking while, overriding all this, was tension that held my body in its vice like grip and sent out messages of needing to die to get out of this one. Nevertheless I didn’t die and slept a few hours last night to wake with a feeling of unreality but relatively calm again. What a nightmare of a journey.
The last couple of months symptoms have certainly ramped up but there’s been the odd window or two here and there. I am absolutely certain that all this represents major healing. Now, at nearly two years away from Nitrazepam, I am beginning to feel different deep down inside myself. I was able to cope with the beast of the last week by lying back and listening to relaxing music with my eyes closed as well as visualizing myself healthy and whole again. The battle was exhausting but, somewhere deep inside me, I knew that it was one that should be happening at this time if I am to slay that beast and put it to rest once and for all.
I have much more to say but am typing this with the rubber end of a stylus as my wrists are painful from the tendonitis. It’s slow and frustrating. This bad setback may not be over but for today I’m calm again.
October is Iatrogenic Illness Awareness Month.
What is an Iatrogenic Illness??? It is one caused by the very drug or medicine used to treat you....
In my case I was prescribed sleeping tablets for my early menopause. After being on these medications, used to treat the insomnia caused by this, they actually created a much worse, disabling condition as you will be aware if familiar with my Blog. I am now off the harmful medication but the Iatrogenic illness I continue to suffer is severe... Chronic pain with stiffness... Arthritis... Fibromyalgia... Foggy head.... Insomnia and night sweats.... Itchy skin sensations... Stomach cramps and digestive problems.... Food intolerances.... Full painful ears.... Poor concentration... 'Flu like symptoms and so on...... All caused simply by a medication prescribed by my doctor. Yes... and it gets worse, way worse.... Many with Iatrogenic Illness suffer needlessly for many years after the harmful toxins and meds are removed from the system. This appears to be my fate at nearly two years off the poison.
I continue to battle through pain and drowsiness as in my previous post but have managed a few days away just doing what I can when I can. We went on Safari to Longleat, scary but I remained calm even at close quarters to lions and tigers. The relentless symptoms have worsened on my return home. Going away offers distraction which helps but doesn’t cure. The desire to be ‘normal’ again and doing ‘normal’ things is very, very strong but it seems can't be rushed.
I slipped into Satan's pit about ten days ago. Everything became considerably worse. It was all preceded by a ramping up of the relentless pain. I was tipped into bed and stayed there for several days. Nothing I could do except wait it all out. Insomnia, due to the vibrations and anxiety within my body, made it harder to remain pacif as I have to do to get through. Fighting is a natural reaction but only makes symptoms worse. I've learnt that acceptance and giving in is the only way.
I continue to wait it out although the pain has eased. I'm living in a fog and remain lethargic and unmotivated but it will pass. Bliss has given me hope that this may be the dark before the dawn. Now at 22 months I'm trusting the possibility but also accepting there may be more to come. I've been better, I've had widows and know these will happen again.
I have a long history of benzodiazepines starting in the seventies. I've also been put on several different forms of these drugs over the years. When one stopped working to help me sleep so my doctor of the time was only to ready to prescribe another. The list must be quite long and I will check all this out when fully recovered. Luckily I was able to avoid the addition of any other class of psychiatric drug although they were offered! I also tried to completely stop the sleeping tablets as time went on but always had a reaction after a week or more. I never took the drugs every night but would go two or three nights with nothing as in the latter years I was only prescribed ten a month. I now know the damage that an intermittent dose like this can do. My brain was going in and out of withdrawal on a daily basis. No wonder I'm still suffering. This phenomenon of repeated withdrawal over time from any drugs or alcohol is known as kindling. Wikipedia offers the best explanation.....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindling_(sedative-hypnotic_withdrawal)
With kindling perhaps comes a worse withdrawal syndrome which lasts longer and brings more symptoms. All I can do is wait it out. I know I am recovering and this is a time of major brain reconstruction. The worse it is the better I will be when through this wave. I have enormous hope and certainty that healing is on it's way.