After writing of my recovery a few months ago and then being plunged into a setback due to an antibiotic I wanted to write something more uplifting today. Sadly, reading through one or two posts in the few Facebook groups I belong to, I see the utter hopelessness of people in Benzo withdrawal and the desperation that comes across time and time again. It does make me wonder if actually reading through these posts can influence our own fragile minds and worsen symptoms. I know how hard it is to remain positive in the face of a relentless nightmare but on the other hand perhaps avoiding the pain of others is necessary to help ourselves. We must put ourselves first in recovery and try not to be influenced by the ‘what ifs’ and ‘whys’ that circulate all the time. This post is one of my awakening to the truth of what’s helped me over time, much of which I’ve written about before.
It’s natural to ask questions and seek answers and it’s natural to seek help through the experiences of others but the one problem with the Benzo syndrome is that there are no sure fire answers apart from ‘time heals everyone’. Now, I’m not one for saying ‘Everybody Heals’ because just like one or two others I have no proof that everybody heals because there’s been no quantitative research into this. As far as I’m aware people heal from benzos if they don’t add further drugs, try to remain clear of supplements and follow their own instincts. At the root of all this is that they must put themselves first. Do what is best for them and don’t be too influenced by what has proved best for a Benzo friend. In other words our bodies and our lives are ours alone and nobody has the same experiences or the same body.
I’m now 5 years 6 months off being prescribed benzos, sometimes more than one, for over 40 years. For some of you that is a lifetime. I also cold turkeyed which is never a good idea. Once I realised why I was so ill (tolerance) I just couldn’t put another pill into my mouth. It was a bad idea and my withdrawal has been utter, unmitigated hell year after year. Look back to Blog Posts/7 and my Recovery Story. However, it’s changing, the setback is ending and hopefully recovery is returning. My symptoms are different, the anxiety has gone and the future is looking brighter. I’m not saying more at present because I know how quickly things can turn around. I want to just list concisely some of the things that I’ve learnt on this journey and what may be of help to anybody else suffering a long recovery.......
- Don’t read the numerous sad and desperate stories out there.
- Try not to focus and write about all the individual symptoms you may experience, just get reassurance that they are caused by benzos and preferably medical reassurance (perhaps pie in the sky!).
- Read as many success stories as you can and talk to recovered people.
- Know and understand that recovery from long term use of benzodiazepines can take six years or longer before the body fully readjusts to a drug free life. Don’t let this scare you but inform you when suffering many months off.
- Always put yourself first and do what is right for you and not what others think is right for you.
- Don’t push too hard, remember your brain and body are exhausted through this and more than anything need rest and gentle exercise not mammoth gym sessions which will rev up symptoms and lengthen withdrawal.
- Take time to rest and meditate every day and listen and read about spiritual evidence for helping yourself. This has been one of my biggest crutches in these final stages. There’s so much out there that points to our healing from within and not seeking cures in the outside world. (Ask me for more info if you like).
- Steer clear of supplements, vitamin injections, herbs, drugs, crazy diets, fasting, miracle cures and any other money making scam of which there are tens of thousands. You are your own healing.
- Above all trust yourself and stop looking for answers as they don’t exist. Once you relax and allow everything to wash over you without a major reaction your central nervous system will start to calm. It’s the constant looking that tends to provide the negative thoughts that we react to. I know keeping positive is futile but keeping a clear, open mind uncluttered by the whys and what ifs is going to help.
- Keep to a few trusted friends to support you and who will not pull you down into their own inferno. Talk openly and supportively to each other and be absolutely honest. Honesty and trust in each other are paramount.
There’s lots more but that’s a start and I will add more over the next few weeks. This process is unbelievably awful, a gigantic Tsunami out of all proportion to anything anyone has ever experienced before BUT it’s going to elevate you to a much higher level. You will be a thoughtful, loving, caring human being and the most amazing friend and partner. Love will colour everything you do and say. You will be invincible.