I keep reading about ‘Resilience’ in relation to Benzodiazepine Withdrawal. It seems to be today’s ‘buzz’ word. Of course resilience doesn’t only apply to something we need to acquire in withdrawal but also in life in general. As the years go by there will be many occasions in which we must be strong and employ resilience to help us cope.
I would like to tell you the remarkable story of my Mother. She had to have both her legs amputated below the knee in her late eighties and early nineties due to infected ulcers, first one leg and then three years later the other. Had she not agreed to this she would have died. Even at this great age she learnt to walk using her prosthetic legs and a walking frame. She continued to live alone in her bungalow for several years. I was very proud of her. She was a remarkable woman and showed true resilience in spite of life’s adversities. Finding such strength is something we all aspire to.
I like this dictionary definition of resilience – the ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy. While going through Withdrawal, especially if this turns out to be protracted, we have to learn to adapt to whatever it may throw at us; as time goes on and symptoms rage so we learn new coping skills to help our resilience grow and develop. These skills can then be further applied to replace the crutch of benzos when we’re eventually able to return to a full and active life without the drugs.
We need to feel the stress, pain, sadness, anger and loss of the withdrawal but we also need to accept these emotions and physical difficulties before we can move on. Some pointers for developing such resilience are;
- Having a positive view of yourself and accepting and loving yourself as a person
- Having confidence in your own strengths and not believing you are a victim but in control
- Knowing how to manage the numerous symptoms of withdrawal through all the various techniques you have learnt….breathing, meditation, tapping, acceptance, affirmations etc
- Diverting from a bad wave with anything you love and enjoy such as music, reading (if you can), television and handicrafts.
- Seeking help from those that understand and can support you and also helping others yourself
- Finding a positive meaning for your life and starting to work towards your goals as you recover
I hope I have become more resilient over the years of withdrawal and I also hope I’m ready to use that new resilience to help me back into life as I recover. I continue in a better place and feel so much has changed within me now.
'The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it'