Further Updates from March 2018
I think many of us get tired of hearing others say it takes time, keep positive and so on, I know I did. To a certain extent it does take time and for some people a very long time but how on earth can we keep positive and wait for time to pass when we feel trapped in the torture chamber that our body has become? It's natural to fight and try and find a way out and when we can't we become more negative and more hopeless.
A just-published article in a Psychological Bulletin concludes that, “The available evidence supports the facial feedback hypothesis’ central claim that facial feedback influences emotional experience.”
You may think how can I smile when suffering like this? First of all the act of smiling can make you feel happier even a false smile, this means that using a smile to decrease stress or negativity can be effective. Secondly, smiling isn’t the only expression that can change your mood; frowning, scowling, or other verbal negative expressions have a negative impact on your emotions so replacing them with a smile will naturally lift your mood. Finally, smiling at someone spreads happiness rather than misery, lifts their mood as well as your own, just as writing positively here spreads happiness. Sounds daft perhaps but try it!
Today bring happiness through a smile. Forget what is happening to you and smile. Even a fake smile is better than nothing. If possible smile at someone else and receive the warmth of their smile back. Such a tiny thing can help calm and lower blood pressure. Think of happy times in your life and smile, stroke your pet and smile or watch funny TV programs and smile even laugh out loud, every little helps. So never forget to smile in spite of your adversity. My Love and many smiles 😊💗🌷😊
(see also Windows and Waves)
I would say windows are a period of time when all or many of your symptoms subside and you feel normal or close to normal. All psychiatric drug recovery patterns seem to follow this window/wave phenomena which therefore has to be something to do with brain recovery after alteration by these drugs.
Recovery is more than just a series of debilitating emotional and physical symptoms it’s also an imbalance in neurotransmitters. I’m not going into details of this here except to say the GABAa receptors are down regulated in benzo withdrawal and it takes awhile for them to up regulate and for the brain to find a new balance. Having these receptors ‘managed’ by a benzo for a period of time lasting weeks, months or years means that it’s going to take further time for them to return to normal once the influences of the drug are removed from the brain. In doing this, whether the recovery involves the damage inflicted by a benzo, antidepressant or antipsychotic, the various pathways in the brain have to resume normal service and levels of neurotransmitters return to their original, pre benzo state. This seems to cause an enormous emotional and physical upheaval in our bodies and even in our minds which, as we know is exhausting. Nothing can continue ad infinitum without letting up for respite. So.....
My point to all this is that the brain needs a rest from all this hyper activity so it switches off from repair mode to resting mode giving some breathing space for a short time. During that time everything breathes a sigh of relief (including our conscious selves) and gives the semblance of normality. The brain ‘practices’ homeostasis. It’s like the sky clearing and allowing the sun to come out briefly while the clouds reassemble again. During that brief interval we enjoy the feelings, the return of the old us, but we shouldn’t go overboard and start running marathons or eating or drinking unhealthily because this is also a resting time for our physical selves to enjoy but not to abuse. Overdoing it now could actually slow recovery just like trying to walk too soon on a broken leg. Pushing too hard at these times is not a good idea as this just exaggerates the stress response and closes the window faster.
Enjoy these periods of calm because they show you how you will be when that window remains open for good. Let the brain continue to do its job and bring you to full health without trying to control it with any more chemical substances. Windows are a sign of healing but so are waves so just let both wash over you and bring you to full health.
Learn to believe in yourself and the capacity of your body to heal without drugs or anything else.
Belief in yourself is powerful and can help you escape the grip of psychiatric drugs of all descriptions. If you have this belief then you won’t ever resort to a dangerous drug again and let it control you. You will be paving the way for recovery by showing acceptance and developing power within to be able to cope with any situation that life may throw at you. You are a powerful human being able to conquer the world if you so wish!
Doubting yourself and your capacity to recover is a strong component of withdrawal. You may have relied on taking your daily dose of a benzo even with an antidepressant added for years and years. Now you have to do without these drugs and rely only on yourself. Self doubt can devour your confidence and lead to taking another drug or simply giving up your taper when the going gets rough. You become a slave to its attempts to bring you down and weaken your defences leaving you fearful and insecure. All your coping strategies get lost in its forceful presence and you do your best to fight and survive. But, the more you fight the more you go under.
Don’t give self-doubt the time of day. Let it wash over you as with all other symptoms. Let that belief in yourself and your own body’s healing capacity take its place. You’re going to become so much stronger for this experience and it will be a strength developed from within and not given to you temporarily by a damaging drug. You can do this, you can believe in yourself and through that belief you will emerge as a happier, stronger and healthy person both emotionally and physically.
A few pointers to help you believe in yourself and conquer self-doubt
- Don’t believe in people who may pull you down. This may mean spending less time on the groups. Negative conversations and posts can steal your own energy. Make a few trusted Benzo friends and talk with them for support.
- Don’t believe you have another disorder or be scared by those who insist you have something else and it’s not Benzos. Benzo withdrawal symptoms mimic numerous other illnesses and diseases.
- Don’t believe another drug can cure your problems as it can only relieve symptoms temporarily or may even make them worse.
- Remember your happier days, the days either before the drugs or when you felt normal and play these on the screen in your mind.
- Trust, love and accept yourself as you are. Be your own best friend and be loving and kind to her/him.
- Never give up on yourself. If you do have a relapse and perhaps sneak in another pill don’t beat yourself up about it, it’s happened so keep moving forwards and vow to do better next time. It’s not the end of the world.
Believe in yourself, your strength and your capacity to heal and you’re going to come out the other side happy, healthy and free.
Everybody’s perception of symptoms suffered in Benzo withdrawal is different. We all create our reality from our thinking which is strongly influenced by past experiences and by what we have learned to be ‘real’ for us. We also have different pain thresholds and different life support as well as different personalities. An easier withdrawal may be seen as being experienced by somebody with a positive outlook on life and no great traumas influencing recovery plus a high pain threshold and good family support. Being able to talk things out with a partner can help a lot as can keeping negativity at bay and trusting that symptoms are the body and brain recovering.
This doesn’t mean those that suffer and cry out here are not strong people needing help because they are. They may just be coming from different life experiences in their personal past. Other illnesses, lack of that support and fear can really make this a horrendous process for so many. Wherever a person is coming from everybody needs the help and the support that is vital for them. Nobody is experiencing the process as worse or better than others because it’s only how they are viewing their recovery and how their particular circumstances and reactions are true to them.
I don’t believe it has anything to do with the dose, the length of time on or the age of a person. There’s different factors at work here and maybe genetics, life experiences, the mind etc play a bigger part than realised although Ashton does touch on this. Everybody, whether they cry out or suffer in silence, is suffering in their own way 😢. Our task is to be compassionate to everyone whatever their experience of Benzo withdrawal.
One of the biggest challenges in Benzo withdrawal is learning that somehow any symptoms suffered must be ‘pushed through’. It’s natural to want to find something to treat those symptoms because that’s what we’ve always believed and how any past illness we may have suffered has been dealt with. Sadly benzos are a whole different kind of animal and the suffering they cause can’t be just dampened down with another pill.
Symptoms may rage and we may become pretty desperate as all the cries for help in the benzo groups demonstrate. Sufferers will try anything, believe anything, that may give relief from the hell. All too often anything that’s tried just adds fuel to the fire which then burns more fiercely and takes longer to put out. It’s all so upsetting, I’ve been there and been burnt many many times. Eventually we realise that the way to recovery is ‘pushing through’, a far too inadequate term for the almighty efforts of acceptance and surrender that we have to make. But when we do learn to do this, perhaps using the affirmations I’ve posted here, the rewards are amazing because slowly (sometimes quite fast for the lucky ones) things will change and recovery will start to happen. The fire will have burnt itself out.
My message here is to let things be as much as you possibly can. Be aware of adding any pills that can lengthen and perhaps worsen the process and believe your symptoms are bringing you to a better place. Somehow find your way through and let your body and brain reorganise themselves without further interference and without adding to the battle. This is how healing happens, not by searching for answers but by using the evidence of those many, many warriors who have gone before you and now live a Benzo free life. If there was anything that could relieve the horrors of withdrawal it would have been discovered long ago as the problems of these drugs have been known for over fifty years now. Your healing is yours alone and can be achieved if you can keep pushing through any bad times that may happen along the way. ❤️