Backward and Forwards
During my whole recovery I’ve had to endure a forwards and backwards process that alone was enough to drive anyone insane. My first year saw a ‘two steps forwards and a one step backwards’ journey as I waved and windowed. It was one of the most frustrating but common happenings for me. Feeling well and happy and almost normal only to wake the next day to be suffering with debilitating pain, sickness, inability to walk and a chemical anxiety that kept me bedbound. As things progressed this became more like one step forwards and two backwards as the whole situation deteriorated during my second year off. By month 24 everything had returned to the acute stage I experienced at the beginning. I began to lose hope that my health and sanity could hold out any longer. I wanted out of it after so long. I could see no signs of healing.
I’m not going to attempt to explain this apart from the fact that it seems to be the pattern of healing when brain damage is involved. It’s a million miles away from the usual healing process of a broken arm or leg and more like the eruption of earthquakes in a road that’s full of potholes and dangerous U turns. I hated this not knowing how things would be from one day to the next. It was really hard to remain positive and keep climbing out of those holes. Even harder to convince others that this was actually healing and I would be well one day, somewhere in the future.
Again, the ‘not knowing’ is one of the most annoying and frightening aspects of the damage that Benzodiazepines did to me. I kept hoping a major wave would be my last and I would wake one morning to find the road paved with fresh, smooth tarmac that I could walk happily along. It didn’t really happen like that though. The tarmac remained wet, sticky and pitted as I travelled to a better place. I was finally able to function with some normality after that last major setback during months 24 to 27. By the 28th month I actually found that many symptoms had eased and the potholes were smaller and not quite as deep or as often! Now, as I celebrate my 32nd month off today, I can see healing as the waves weaken and I’m able to enjoy my life at a better level. It’s far from perfect but there’s no doubt it’s happening. I didn’t wake one morning and shout, “Eureka, I’m healed!” It’s been more of a gentle dawning and awareness that the worst of the symptoms have gone and the real me is returning slowly from a very dark place.
I would love to hear from others who have reached a final place of healing. So often I am told of the acute despair and suffering happening to those of you reading my Blog. If any of you have healed it would be encouraging to know how it's happened for you as the process may differ for each of us. The message here is please never give up and despair that you will never recover. Just when things were at their worst everything changed for me. That final bad wave could come for you at any time, either early off a taper (or cold turkey as myself) or even years later, as is sadly the case for just a very few, but I do believe it arrives for everyone.