July to October 2014
I’ve chosen this title as it's something I’ve read somewhere and I believe to be partly true. I say ‘partly’ because there have been great advances in medicine and people are now living longer than ever before. However, there is still so much to be learnt about the body and the way drugs can affect us that, in this respect, it’s likely that our era will be regarded as the ‘Dark Age of Medicine’ by future generations. The drug companies are looking for profit and may only publish the positive results of their research. When it comes to benzodiazepines and antidepressants as the most profitable drugs of our time then the serious side effects are kept hidden from the general public. Fears of litigation run high. Just today there has been an article in the Daily Mail………..
Most weeks we can read somewhere about the horrors of iatrogenic illnesses (the results of the activity of physicians causing adverse conditions in patients). Sadly, this is so often forgotten and ignored by a rather arrogant profession. I am convinced that things will change once there is an army of sufferers waving banners outside the Houses of Parliament….it will happen.
I continue to experience this pain syndrome which varies in intensity. It appears to mimic the controversial Fibromyalgia for the want of a label. I’m not keen on labels but this diagnosis best fits what I am now suffering. Fibromyalgia can be defined as, ‘A syndrome marked by chronic, widespread pain in the muscles and soft tissues with defined points of tenderness and often multiple other symptoms, such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, anxiety, and bowel dysfunction’. Yep, I have all this which I believe originates from autonomic nervous system dysfunction. I’ve had pain throughout withdrawal but it’s now become more intense as other symptoms subside. I had hoped it would burn itself out but it's still nagging. Although the trauma of withdrawal continues to wreak havoc on my physical body the mental anguish has lessened.
The autonomic nervous system controls the Digestive system, the Endocrine system, the Circulatory system, the Respiratory system, the Urinary system, the Reproductive system and the Integumantary system (skin, hair, nails etc). This whole lot are sent out of whack by benzos and even after the GABA receptors have started to return to normal function the nervous system still takes time to calm and operate as it once did. Perhaps this may explain protracted withdrawal. Just another theory but whatever the cause of my present symptoms I will have to accept and see my way through with a positive outlook. I am so much better in many ways so what’s a little pain .
Today I would like to add a link to an article that talks of the suicide of Robin Williams and it's relationship to psychotic drugs such as benzodiazepines and antidepressants.
I can't help noticing that many celebrities that have ended their lives prematurely through suicide were on prescription drugs such as these. It's a huge area for investigation yet somehow is swept under the carpet time and time again. One day the best of our doctors and psychiatrists will announce, 'Enough is enough' and make public the very real facts of prescription drug brain damage. There will be others sadly that will continue to deny the facts because there livelihood depends on the success of the drug companies but I'm sure even these 'pill pushers' will have to eventually give way to the truth.
The dictionary definition of pain is 'An unpleasant feeling occurring as a result of injury or disease, usually localized in some part of the body'. This is not how I’ve perceived the pain I’ve suffered over the last couple of weeks. I would define my pain as, 'a sore throbbing, stiffness and twitching of muscles throughout my body that has confined me to my home due to its intensity'. There is no injury or disease and no localization apart from its severity in my lower back. It ascended out of the blue and is slowly playing itself out. It caused me to rest and take to my bed on several occasions.
There is no adequate explanation for the pains many suffer during withdrawal. This pain has been labeled as neuropathic pain, arthritis, rheumatism, sciatica, ageing and even the beginnings of Multiple Sclerosis. Blood tests however are likely to be returned with no positive diagnosis. Doctors will then label this as Fibromyalgia or some other sort of emotionally induced pain and try and describe either anti-inflammatory drugs or anti-depressants. The trick is to recognize it for what it is, the recovery of our muscles and joints after being severely relaxed by benzos. It is yet another symptom of healing and needs to be seen positively and not treated with drugs. It is difficult when the pain encapsulates our whole body and we just want it gone but with some natural remedies and relaxation techniques I believe it can be eased.
For me I’ve found Apple Cider Vinegar to be of great benefit. I take a tablespoonful in the morning and another in the evening. I have no explanation for this except it helps the acidity in our bodies and makes them more alkaline. The pain hit when I had a week of not taking this as I ran out. I’m now back to my daily doses and feel considerably better. I would recommend taking just a teaspoonful at first to make sure you have no negative reaction. Also it must be raw, organic, unfiltered ACV with the ‘mother’.
Further anti-inflammatory 'natural aids' that can be added to food are turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, onions and black pepper. There are others that I haven’t tried but suggest anyone interested should Google ‘natural pain relief’ to find something that may help them. Also a plain diet with no processed foods, caffeine, wheat, dairy or sugar is recommended but I do still have a small amount of dairy in the form of homemade yogurt and soft cheese.
I am 21 months off tomorrow and moving forwards. I can do so much more now than I could at the beginning of all this. I do still have bad setbacks but these pass eventually. This pain interlude is now easing and I feel positive in myself and ready to move forwards through whatever the next storm may bring!
I’m finally sitting down to take a look back on the last month. A month of upheaval, changes and stress. Where to start?
I’m now officially in protracted withdrawal at well over 20 months since stopping my Nitrazepam tablets. 18 months is considered the cut off point and after that protracted withdrawal takes over. My symptoms over the last months have been some of the worst I’ve experienced for a very long time. Once again the insomnia hit hard and I was pacing the house, breathing deeply and chanting positive affirmations to get through the long, sweaty nights. I survived and have been left with a head filled with cotton wool and muscle pain particularly my low back. Any energy I had been regaining has disappeared and I sit here trying to focus a cloudy, non-functioning mind.
As usual I started crying for help and once again Baylissa (Bloom in Wellness and Recovery Road) came through for me and was by my side. She talked of an increase of the worst symptoms around two years free of the drugs. It seems to happen with others and isn’t going to let me be any different. Certainly everything ramped up and tried to fool me into believing this was the way it would be for many years to come perhaps ever. It has eased a little but the fog and lassitude remain.
There are many reasons for my present downturn but I think if a wave is going to break then it will do this whatever is going on in our lives. My families were all coming to Cornwall at the same time for a get together of my sons and grandchildren. Good stress but nevertheless stress. My husband swapped our motor home for a new one and had to travel across the country to collect it leaving me home alone for a couple of days. We suffered a plague of black beetles some even venturing into my bed…ahhhh, ghastly. There are other things any of which could have tipped me over the edge. Certainly my nervous system was having a field day with it all.
It has made me ask why some of us enter this extended period of recovery and how long it’s likely to continue for, especially the sudden acute relapses. For me the most likely cause is my long term use of forty years and my cold turkey from the drugs rather than a slow taper. It must also depend a lot on our genetic make-up and personalities, so much is thrown into the mix.
There is no research to show what is happening in the brain during this extended period but many theories have been put forward. The Gaba receptors are still in a state of down regulation and very sensitive to stress; the benzo drugs are still being released from our bones, muscles and fat after such long term use; our brains are stuck in withdrawal mode and bad memories and therefore unable to function without its influence, a form of post traumatic stress; our makeup is such that we are very sensitive anyway and more time is needed and so forth. I find it hard to know exactly what to believe. On the positive side such high sensitivity is only found in those with a high level of creativity and intelligence! Maybe this explains why so many professional and creative people are stuck in withdrawal such a long time out…..that’s my theory anyway!
I have to keep going, to find the strength to move forwards whatever this process throws at me. I'm going to finish with some of Balyissa’s wise words from Bloom in Wellness her Facebook site.......
One day this will all be behind me. Things are going to work out brilliantly for me. Right now I may be overwhelmed and not
able to see how, but there is a STRONG, STILL voice inside telling me to KEEP GOING...that everything is going to be better than I can imagine. This is the voice I choose to believe.
I found this on the internet and thought it was a good analogy of the twists and turns in recovery......
The Road of Life
At first, I saw God as my observer,
keeping track of the things I did wrong,
so as to know whether I merited heaven
or hell when I die.
He was out there sort of like a president.
I recognized His picture when I saw it,
but I really didn't know Him.
But later on
when I met Christ,
it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride,
but it was a tandem bike,
and I noticed that Christ
was in the back helping me pedal.
I don't know just when it was
that He suggested we change places,
but life has not been the same since.
When I had control,
I knew the way.
It was rather boring,
but predictable . . .
It was the shortest distance between two points.
But when He took the lead,
He knew delightful long cuts,
and through rocky places
at breakneck speeds,
it was all I could do to hang on!
Even though it looked like madness,
He said, "Pedal!"
I worried and was anxious
"Where are you taking me?"
He laughed and didn't answer,
and I started to learn to trust.
I forgot my boring life
and entered into the adventure.
And when I'd say, "I'm scared,"
He'd lean back and touch my hand.
He took me to people with gifts that
gifts of healing,
They gave me gifts to take on my journey,
my Lord's and mine.
And we were off again.
He said, "Give the gifts away;
they're extra baggage, too much weight."
So I did,
to the people we met,
and I found that in giving I received,
and still our burden was light.
I did not trust Him,
in control of my life.
I thought He'd wreck it;
but He knows bike secrets,
knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners,
knows how to jump to clear high rocks,
knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.
And I am learning to shut up
in the strangest places,
and I'm beginning to enjoy the view
and the cool breeze on my face
with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.
And when I'm sure I just can't do anymore,
He just smiles and says . . . "Pedal."
-- author unknown