Yes, miracles can really happen even in the midst of a terrifying withdrawal! It's time for a more positive post after my rather negative ramblings of the last few weeks.
I have been completely down and out for over a week now, retreating to my bed on several occasions and rarely surfacing to even distract in front of the goggle box. The anxiety ramped up to unbearable and just left me frightened and exhausted with no sleep at all on many nights. I was dangled over that deep, dark pit again and scared of letting go and plunging into its bottomless abyss forever. The trigger was most likely an ear infection causing total deafness in my right ear. The withdrawal negativity led me to believe that I was going to be deaf forever, that I would need antibiotics that would make me worse and, of course, I had an incurable ear disease. Somehow I had to face going to my surgery and seeing my doctor. Even such a simple exercise becomes a major task when in a wave as all you want to do is curl up and shut out the world.
I achieved the doctor’s surgery in a haze of tachycardia, anxiety and fear. I did have very blocked ears and one showed evidence of green pus. Off went my untamed anxious mind with overreaction and panic. I had to see an ENT consultant and to do this I would have to overcome yet another fear, that of hospitals.
As I needed urgent treatment (everything is urgent when in a wave) I managed to get a private appointment the next day at our local hospital. The night before I just paced the house, sweated and lay there with waves of panic and a rapid heart rate. Naturally this was the end, I would die on the treatment couch or, at the very least, I would freak out and not go through with it. I had to wait until 4 pm before we left for the hospital about 23 miles away. The journey alone was going to be a nightmare but, after a day of ramped up anxious thoughts, I made it, got there and sat outside the waiting room as I was too agitated to be amongst people. The consultant eventually came out and greeted us and thank goodness I liked the look of him! An older man who was very sympathetic to the benzo withdrawal problem and my anxiety as well as being shocked by my length of my time on the drugs. To cut a long story short, I did it. I lay on the treatment couch and clutched my husband’s hand. The procedure was some sort of micro suction and irrigation of both ears but I didn’t look. It took about half an hour and the pain and noise were intense. Amazingly, and this is the miracle, the anxiety, rapid heart rate and panic just switched off as soon as I lay down. It was as if I was suddenly thrown into a window of calm and nothing mattered. It was worse than being in the dentist’s chair and yet I was at peace. After the procedure my husband and the consultant congratulated my calm and I went home in an aura of disbelief, had a small fish and chips (naughty but nice) and slept for nine hours.
Why such a bad wave of anxiety should switch off in a situation that would provoke a nervous reaction from even the most ‘normal’ of people is beyond me. I can give you my winning formula which may have helped……..
- I spent the whole of the day before leaving for the hospital on and off my bed reciting positive affirmations such as everything will be fine and anxiety is just a feeling, an emotion that can’t hurt me.
- I stayed in the moment accepting and surrendering to everything that happened. I didn’t fight it and I didn’t I moan about it, I just breathed deeply and watched my breath. I got through minute by minute.
- I ate lots of porridge which is high in cuddly carbohydrates so my blood sugar didn’t dip and make the symptoms worse. I even had a bowl just before leaving for the hospital.
- I didn’t go on the internet or enter any of the forums or discuss what was happening to me. I believe this just causes us to focus on our symptoms and amplify things. People are well meaning but the wrong advice can send us into a tailspin of negativity. I think this is something that must be emphasized for all withdrawal symptoms. The more you discuss them the more they intensify. It is so important to distract and not to surf for answers.
I remain calm today and no sign of any anxiety although my right ear is still deaf and may take time to recover. It seems we can have positive experiences from some of the worst situations. It may be all a matter of facing our fears and not letting them grow out of proportion as well as facing our anxiety and telling it to get lost! I no longer feel afraid of doctors or hospitals and accept that I may sometimes need a medication. I would advise everybody to make sure their medical records are updated to say no Benzos and that you may have sensitivities to most drugs. A simple thing to do and has certainly put my mind at rest. I included no Fluoroquinolone antibiotics known to cause problems during and after benzo withdrawal.