Further Updates from March 2018
Some brief advice today.....
*Be patient. Going onto prescription meds is easy. Getting off them is not.
*Get help. This is a medical issue. Make sure you’ve got a healthcare professional at your side (if possible and if you have a supportive and knowledgeable doctor).
*Set reasonable goals. Allow your tapering process to be as lengthy as necessary to feel comfortable and in control then...
*Plan you taper with informed help and as you can tolerate as this is different for everyone.
*Add no further drugs and keep clear of supplements if possible.
*Never forget you are healing as soon as you make the decision to do so and start your taper.
*Keep positive and try not to dwell on each symptom as it pops up. Get reassurance as you need then let it pass.
*Stay strong. And remember you’re not alone.
There are many here in the same place as you are so always remember you are not all on your own in this. Thousands have recovered and you will as well. 💜
One of the most common subjects to come up on the group is complaints of insomnia and too little sleep when in withdrawal. It’s useful to know what’s happening in the brain as you sleep and why this is affected when you’re withdrawing from Benzos and also why no other drugs or supplements should be added at this time. It’s controversial but everyone wants to heal as quickly as possible so allowing the brain to do this is the main objective....
Sleep can be divided into two broad stages, non-rapid eye movement (NREM), and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The vast majority of our sleep (around 75 to 80 per cent) is NREM, characterised by electrical patterns in the brain known as ‘sleep spindles’ and high, slow delta waves. This is the time we sleep the deepest.
There are five stages to sleep....
Doctor Diana L. Walcutt has outlined the five stages of sleep.......
The stages are determined by the brain waves that are active during each phase. This refers to the waves you’d see in an EEG or electro encephala graph. The five stages are:
Stage One. The brain goes through the Alpha and Theta waves. These waves can happen even during the day, during a period we often refer to as ‘day-dreaming’. You can even practice the alpha waves during meditation. Slowly, you’ll start drifting towards theta, which is just a short period before we fall asleep.
Stage Two. The second stage sees our brains produce rapid, short waves called sleep spindles. The body temperature drops and heart rate slows down.
Stage Three. During stage three, your brain is creating deep and slow waves called delta waves. This is the transitional period of moving from light sleep to deep sleep.
Stage Four. In the fourth sleep, you enter delta sleep. This is deep sleep and referred to as the slow wave sleep.
Stage Five: REM. Finally, you have our friend REM sleep. Your voluntary muscles are actually paralyzed during this time, yet your brain is busy producing dreams.
Sadly when Benzos have been used for sleep this pattern is interfered with and needs to be reestablished for normal sleep to return. The only way this can happen is not to interfere further and let sleep come back naturally as it will eventually.
I do understand how hard this as lying awake night after night we do begin to despair and of course symptoms are worsened during the day. I think resting is important as well and sometimes just listening to music helps or even to white noise. I believe there are white noise machines which can be used beside your bed. Focussing away from not being able to sleep is the main objective so the brain can switch off.
In the worst case scenarios people try antihistamines, melatonin, theanine or other supplements supposed to encourage sleep. I feel there’s nothing wrong in taking these on an occasional basis if you can tolerate them but be aware that these also can become addictive as the brain adapts to their use and sleep patterns are altered. As recovery continues a normal sleep pattern will return.
Again everybody is totally different in this and in what they find helps them. It’s an important area in not to be prescriptive because what helps one may set back another as we well know. The natural sleep that eventually returns is refreshing and restorative and quite unlike any drug induced sleep and makes us aware of what we’ve been missing! ❤️
My message to everyone to day is to ‘ditch the what ifs’. Don’t dwell on ‘What if something else is going to happen’, as all this will do is increase anxiety and then increase any symptoms you’re suffering. Live in the now and not what may happen in the future because it hasn’t happened and may never happen anyway. You’re own thinking is therefore increasing your hell which is the last thing you need when getting through those bad days.
Some common what ifs.....‘What if my doctor puts me on x, y, z, drug?’ Don’t forget it’s your choice what you put into your body so this ‘what if’ doesn’t ever need to happen. Doctors can only advise, you can do the research on anything that is advised and it’s your choice what you want to try.
‘What if my doctor stops prescribing my benzo?’ Again it hasn’t happened yet so your best answer to this is to start your taper and remove the benzo while they are still being prescribed.
‘What if I never get better?’ How often have I heard this one in the several years I’ve been supporting others. It must be the most common ‘what if’ of all. Try to imagine yourself well as all anecdotal evidence shows that everyone recovers from benzo withdrawal but this takes different rates of time from a few weeks to a few years. Don’t let this scare you, read the many success stories and keep away from symptom focus. Learn ways to cope, learn techniques to calm anxiety without a pill and find your own best coping skills knowing that it will all lift eventually.
‘What if other drugs are causing my symptoms?’ We can never know exactly what is happening in our brains so the only answer is to safely taper one drug at a time. Don’t worry about any other drugs just focus on the one you are tapering at that moment in time. It’s no use worrying when their are no answers so keep on track and let future tapers wait for the moment.
‘What if I can no longer work?’ I agree this is difficult for those that need to go to work. I would always suggest if in a bad withdrawal to try and get time off to allow your nobody to rest. However, sometimes work can actually help and divert attention away from the symptoms so it can be a good thing as well. If you’re working as you taper keep as stable as possible and don’t imagine you won’t be able to do this but possibly put some sort of support in place just in case on some days it becomes too difficult.
‘What if I have this, that or the other symptom because so and so had it.’ This is where the groups do a disservice to members in emphasising the symptoms and horrors of withdrawal rather than the successes and marvellous release of recovery. Everybody is different, you won’t get every symptom, you may get none and be perfectly fine all through your taper. The placebo effect is powerful on the fragile, benzo compromised mind so feed it with positives and avoid the horrors.
‘What if this is such and such an illness because symptoms are the same?’ Benzo Withdrawal mimics many other illnesses and Dr Google does a disservice to benzo recoverers. Get yourself tested for reassurance and then just let that set of symptoms fade away if just withdrawal as they’re likely to be. Reassurance helps calm the nervous system.
I can go on with the ‘What ifs’ but if you become more aware of them and the negative thinking that accompanies them then you can deal with them and switch it all to a more positive scenario.
I know we all fear what may happen in benzo withdrawal and I understand as my own fear increased ten fold and the ‘what ifs’ ran rampant in my mind. Benzos increase anxiety in the long term and the ‘what if syndrome’ is one manifestation of this anxiety. Stay strong, know your mind can play tricks on you and try and keep that thinking on as positive a track as possible because negative talk just increases anxiety. Please keep this group hopeful, ditch the ‘what ifs’ and talk about those little successes or the disappearance of symptoms as well as seeking help for anything. ❤️
It’s all to easy to say to ourselves, ‘I’m never going to get better’ or ‘I can’t go on any more’ but saying this to yourself and even out loud on the support groups is not going to help those neurotransmitters reform. Here’s perhaps a little research into this written by somebody else....
Watch what you say
Dr Emoto was a Japanese professor who did some incredible photo experiments with water where he put a drop of water into a petri dish and then froze it for about 3 hours. The water was then photographed at a very high resolution and the pictures show the shapes in which they froze.
Ok, what's the big deal you are asking?
Well, before freezing the water he spoke different words to each drop of water and depending on the words the water changed into different shapes! The ones that he spoke words to like love or thank you made the most beautiful shapes and the ones he spoke words to like hate or evil were very fuzzy, stunted or plain.
This experiment has been reproduced to show consistency so make of it what you will, but think about this........ We are mostly made of water, could how you talk to yourself, be affecting your body and how it feels?
So all you Beating Benzos Buddies tell yourself you are healing, you are beautiful and all will be well.
From Beating Benzos Facebook Group.....
“You ask, 'Why should your doctor, neurologist, psychologist etc understand the benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome?' my reply is,
'Why not' - if you listen to the world renown specialists, Professors Ashton & Lader in their interview 'The Benzodiazepine Medical Disaster' (in our Announcements here) and hear that the long term problems with these psychotropic drugs have been known, discussed and written medically about for over 50 years, how can someone who has trained for years to reach the exalted position of a medical professional, even a Neurologist specialising in peoples' brains, not understand what effects these evil drugs can have, especially as thousands of their colleagues have been dishing them out like Smarties year in year out. No, there is no excuse on this planet for someone in their responsible position to be ignorant concerning the effects of these drugs, as the info is and has been out there for years.”
I found this in my saved articles and interesting posts and it’s so true as I read of more and more pills being foisted on members suffering from Benzo withdrawal when all they need is to be given compassionate understanding and freedom from chemicals so they can heal from benzo poisoning and get their lives back.
My own answer lies in another post I wrote here.......
“I know not everyone will agree here and I am also aware for some of you certain medication and supplements may be absolutely necessary. The main point is that we have been harmed by a chemical that has given us difficult and sometimes extreme side effects that are slow to recover from. We live in a society that has been conditioned to believe that a drug or supplement can do us good even cure us therefore, when suffering, we naturally search for answers to alleviate that suffering. In Benzo withdrawal we come to learn that these beliefs have to be challenged if we are to recover as quickly as we can. The body isn’t the body that used to be able to eat, drink and take a pill as needed because it’s changing. In this state of change it is highly sensitive and doesn’t want to be further abused with chemicals, it wants to be left alone to do what it has to do to fully recover. Once recovered it will accept whatever we choose to throw at it, although I believe this whole process is an awakening that helps us value ourselves more and wake up to the innate health that lies within us all.
I know this is controversial and I completely understand the need to search for that elusive ‘cure’, that miracle pill, as I’ve spent years now doing that for myself. Eventually I think we give in to it all and it’s that giving in that supports our final recovery. Always remember it was a chemical poisoning that put you in this predicament, that ‘abused’ your body, so maybe better not to possibly do further harm with more chemicals added to the fire. It’s a hard lesson to learn when doctors, even specialists try to ‘put us on something else’ so I write this is answer to all the cries searching for something to help the horrors as my heart goes out to you. You will be well.”