February to April 2015
Today the UK witnessed an eclipse of the sun ....I love its smile. This is the last phase, 85% covered by the moon. Such a positive and uplifting event. I hope it signifies change for the better. We must remember that a miracle of nature is taking place within us at this very moment.
I just think this is such an empowering post from Baylissa this morning that I want to make sure everyone has had a chance to read it.
Guys, what’s going on? Why spend your entire withdrawal comparing notes and working yourselves up into a frenzy? I know it’s not easy to spend day after day, month after month, year after year for some of you, trying to cope with the complexities and demands of withdrawal, but please... step back and put things into perspective.
This is something 10s of 1,000s of people have experienced over the past 50+ years, long before it was even recognised for what it is… from the first person tried to come off Librium, post 1960. If recovery was not the normal outcome, this page would have around 30,000 or more members freaking out about having had symptoms for the past 20, 30, 40 years!
I am not judging anyone. Maybe if Facebook was around when I was in withdrawal, I would have been seduced by it too. Every day I am thankful that I was stuck in my little cottage with Eckhart Tolle et al, “Friends” and "Shawshank Redemption" and my little Paramahansa Yogananda healing book (thanks to my AT for reminding me). Why? Because everything is energy and I do believe if I was fixated on my computer, I would have been absorbing way too much of the fears and anxieties of other people.
Technology is taking away our ability to be grounded. Consistent computer screens and electric and magnetic fields are not good for the nervous system. Add to that the frightening and frantic exchanges from the people who are losing hope and you have a recipe for prolonged feelings of ill health, dis-ease and despair. Please consider these things.
One of the reasons I come here to post is just to reassure you that we heal. But this doesn't always have to come from me. The reality is that we humans are self-healing. When I was mostly recovered from withdrawal I did a degree in metaphysics from the University of Sedona. It wasn’t accredited or anything and I don't normally mention it, but it remains, by far, the best education I have ever received. I learned so much about the self-healing capabilities and intelligence of the human body, the power of the mind, and the relevance of meditation and mindfulness, I do feel it has set me up for life.
There is a lot about withdrawal that I do not know. My knowledge of some aspects is limited and I am not interested in all the different theories about what causes what, etc. Based on the studies I've done and what I have observed, I conclude that withdrawal is so bizarre, it defies the laws of logic, it has no rhyme, no reason, and there is no empirical evidence to prove anything. So speculating and freaking out makes no sense. The only thing I know is that we heal, that self-compassion is powerful, that gratitude is a mood-enhancer, and that acceptance and mindfulness can eliminate a lot of worry, anxiety and depression.
I do not want to dis-empower you by having you think I have all the answers. I don't. When I speak of feeling invincible after withdrawal it is because I had to find ways to spur myself on and to speak positively to myself and to stay alive. Don't underestimate your ability to cope. Don't underestimate your strength. Everything you need is within you. But you must take a break from the computer and other people's energy and be still for a while, in nature or somewhere else that is grounding.
When you use that power within you to cope and the storm ends, you think, I did that? Wow! I am amazing! You feel so proud of yourself, in the humblest of ways, and you emerge with a confidence in your ability to handle whatever life sends your way.
So, come on! Stop spending so much time playing, “Let’s catastrophize!” Let it go. Accept what is happening and allow your body to heal. Withdrawal does not last forever. You will recover and be able to pick up the pieces and continue along your different paths. It's just a matter of time.
Phew... okay, I just had to get this out of my system. I’ll probably delete this later. Writing is my therapy. Well,it’s just that I feel that all the positive things I share here get eroded along the way by the collective energy of despair that pervades the virtual recovery community. The reality is that withdrawal ends with recovery. We heal, we pick ourselves up, and we move on. This is your truth. Believe it.
Baylissa Frederick, 20/03/15
I know I’m guilty of fixating on my withdrawal and searching for answers on the Internet and from my Internet friends. I’ve often panicked over advice I’ve received or something someone has said that’s plunged me into a downward spiral. I’ve read the forums and believed I was going to suffer for years with intense symptoms. I have had every illness under the sun and would certainly never recover and be healthy and well again. Absolutely wrong, I must remember my own words, ‘Everyone recovers’.
Just last night I removed my ipad and iphone from my bedroom. The waves from Wifi could interfere with brain patterns and prevent sleep. I slept well! It may be coincidence but then this post from Baylissa appeared today. I’m sure if we stop focusing on symptoms and stop interacting on the Net in a negative way then the recovering brain will start functioning more normally. I love to hear from others and help with their withdrawal but I also know that only positivity is going to bring them relief in the long run. However far along the recovery road, remember the end is drawing closer day by day for everyone.
I’m waving in and out on a daily basis. Today I feel clear-headed and very well with no symptoms. Yesterday I was bed ridden with intense anxiety and pain throughout my legs, arms and back. This syndrome can change at the drop of a hat and accepting and surrendering to all that happens is the only way through. This is the healing process.
Throughout this healing process I’ve needed to reach out for advice and comfort. Sometimes it’s been an urgent cry for help and the only way for me to find this has been to contact the Samaritans. We are so lucky in the UK to have this wonderful support service when we feel we just can’t go on any longer. I found talking to someone, even a faceless person on the other end of the phone, has been my saving grace when symptoms have become intense in the middle of the night. They are compassionate and they listen; they don’t judge you or the situation you’re in. I did just this last Thursday night and have sought their help again and again throughout my worst times in withdrawal.
After my last post I had a relatively calm day that suddenly morphed into the wave from hell. Everything went into overdrive and I found myself doing battle with the devil again. I thought it was caused by the steroid eardrops the consultant had prescribed following the ear cleaning procedure but who knows? It could just have been a delayed reaction to the event. It lasted about 24 hours then eased off. During that time I was once again using every support avenue available to just get the reassurance that this was a reaction and would pass. Of course it did. Talking to the Samaritans helped me to pace the night away knowing someone was there for me.
It’s so important to have people to reach out to in withdrawal that I just can’t emphasize this enough. If we have a partner they can be worn down by our constant self-centred and negative thoughts. If we say anything to friends they just drift away not wanting to believe that this has been caused by a simple prescription drug given up long ago. I have learnt to say nothing to those without understanding or compassion and rely on the wonderful internet friends that are going through this alongside me. I don’t know how I would have come this far without being able to scream and shout to someone who understands and can keep me calm. So a very big THANK YOU to all the friends I have made on this journey….you are true friends and I love you all.
The words of this song come to mind………..
Now if you feel that you can't go on (can't go on)
Because all of your hope is gone (all your hope is gone)
And your life is filled with much confusion (much confusion)
Until happiness is just an illusion (happiness is just an illusion)
And your world around is crumbling down, darlin
Reach out come on girl reach on out for me
Reach out reach out for me
I'll be there with a love that will shelter you
I'll be there with a love that will see you through
……….I'll be there to love and comfort you.
('Reach Out, I'll be There' by the Four Tops, 1966)
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.
Sadly I've fallen into that deep, dark pit again and can't escape .
Things are too bad for me to write much at the moment. I have severe anxiety and revving and haven't slept for the last four nights. Both my ears are painful with possible infections whch may be the cause of the bad wave. Otherwise everything is as in a wave and I'm trying hard to remember all that I've been writing here to get through. When it's this bad I just want to curl up and forget everything. I'm in my bed praying for this to pass and set me free again. I have lost all positivity for now and I apologise. I must remember this is healing and will take me to a happier, healthy place eventually.
I will return when I can be more lucid. My love to everyone alongside me in this.