Recognising Final Recovery
I was asked the other day how I know that what I’m experiencing at the moment is not just another long window but actual recovery? This is quite a hard one because I am sure that I’ve turned that very important corner and full healing is almost here. I’m going to try and analyse why.
* I have had only two bad days in the last six weeks. I know this because I score my days in my journal as good, fair or bad and my nights on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being nights of no sleep at all. I’ve had four nights without sleep although a few with just a lot of wakefulness. It seems my days have much improved although the nights don’t always reflect this healing. The nights have continuously been a rough ride for me but I now realize that even with no sleep at all I can function fairly well during the following day. In the past my sleepless nights have piled up until I became bedridden from exhaustion. This doesn’t happen any more. I’m sure the nights will also level out with a bit more time. The night sweats that I’ve experienced for the last forty years have gone as have the stress dreams and nightmares I suffered occasionally.
* I feel happier and calmer and with a lot more energy that doesn’t disappear when I walk too far or chat to friends. Again such activities used to exhaust me but now I can cope and start making arrangements to see people and know I’m not going to have to cancel. I’ve been frightened to do this for years.
* My husband says I’ve stopped talking about myself and my symptoms! I know I did this. When in the throws of acute withdrawal it’s very difficult not to focus on yourself and what’s happening because you’re so scared of the intensity of everything. Even when you’re reassured by internet friends, who’ve seen it all before, you always think you’re going to be the one with something else who won’t recover. That’s all gone thank goodness.
* My brain has started to function more clearly and my memory is better. It’s scary when you just can’t remember simple things and your cognitive ability is compromised. I can do crosswords again, write more coherently without missing out words and letters and understand the plots on TV dramas without asking what’s happening all the time. I also think I can hold more intelligent conversations.
* I can travel again and have been able to stay away from home after a long journey for nine days without having to run back due to the onslaught of an enormous wave. This has made a lot of difference because a change of scene is a great relief and brings its own benefits of relaxation and diversion.
* I’m able to diversify with my foods a little more. Although I still eat healthily with no processed and little sugar I am trying different dishes when I go out and adding more interest to my diet. I also have a cup of good coffee in the mornings which helps clear away the morning fog.
* Although I’ve had some minor physical stiffness and lethargy everything else has eased up. I enjoy my days and don’t feel threatened by the impending doom of bad waves. I’m a lot more confident and able to ignore any background anxiety.
* As I feel better I also look better. My skin isn’t so dry and my hair is beginning to recover. I still feel I look old but as I’m 70 now it’s no wonder! My next step is to be bold and dye my hair. I can also see and hear better than I have for years. I can read some print without glasses and I no longer use my hearing aids.
Now things are so much better I’m starting to look to the future and plan how I can use all the experiences of withdrawal to help others. My husband has become very involved with this as well. He’s already trying to start a group locally for people on long-term benzos and has put up notices in my surgery and sent out letters to other surgeries throughout our area. We are both determined to get this awful syndrome recognized once and for all. There’s a lot to be done and we won’t let it rest but more about that in another post. For now true recovery seems to be happening for me as it will for all my followers here.