Now I’m so much better I want to post more of my thoughts and feelings about recovery. Of course these are my thoughts and feelings and others may disagree. The whole process is so hazardous and thwart with dangers that I’m going to duck and expect some missiles to be aimed at me as I put these beliefs into the open arena.
First of all recovery happens for all of us and I’ve had no evidence to dispute this. Yes, it may take a very long time, years for some but symptoms eventually lessen and leave and we return to normal. We will be the same as we were before Benzos entered our lives but we will also have the added benefits of being stronger and wiser than we’ve ever been. As post Benzo people we’ve come through terrifying times, indescribably bad but the experience has shown us we are survivors of the highest degree. We have been taught that life is precious and now every moment must be lived to the full, whether helping others through withdrawal or just fulfilling our ‘bucket list’ of future dreams.
As we travel the recovery road it’s essential to remain focused and not be too influenced by the suffering of others also travelling this road. It’s important to remember as well that everyone is different as I’ve written about before and no two journeys are completely identical. For this reason I don’t advocate trawling the web looking for answers. There really aren’t any I’m afraid. What suits one won’t suit another and if we become too dragged down with the negativities of withdrawal I believe our recovery may be drawn out. It’s far better to choose a few friends to cry out to and use the groups and forums just occasionally for reassurance but never to read about the suffering and despair often posted. Use them for the success stories as these are inspirational. You can always help others who are suffering when you're well.
Always remember that when you ‘talk’ to Benzo friends either by phone, message or email that they’re suffering their own withdrawal and need to have positive support themselves so be wary of inflicting your pain on to others it can be very detrimental. Better to talk to the voluntary groups set up to help Benzo victims as they’re manned by former sufferers who have come through and made it. If you do this then try to stick to one or perhaps two people you trust as even here there can be conflicting messages that will only confuse further. I’m grateful to Baylissa Frederick and Rosemary, a lovely support lady here in Cornwall, for their occasional input when I had to suffer the acute waves. I tried not to load too much of my misery on to them though! I also had a few conversations with The Bristol Tranquiliser Project volunteers but again, I believed it was my withdrawal and I should never compare myself to others, merely seek their reassurance in the bad times.
For me, email support was the most beneficial. Being able to write my thoughts and symptoms down to just one or two friends suffering alongside me. We travelled the ups and downs of the withdrawal highway together and were always there for each other without too much intrusion into real life. We could write and answer when able and when in need. Thank you for being there, you know who you are! I would like to add that most of my email contacts have now either fully or almost recovered as I have.
As to what helped me towards these final stages other than the above, I do believe that it was keeping positive and having a good husband who also kept me positive. It’s too easy to panic when a wave hits and start believing that you’re ‘different’ from everyone else and you’re going to be the one who never recovers. For this reason you may go and search for endless answers through diagnostic tests, blood tests and specialists only to come away having to have undergone unnecessary procedures to prove that there’s nothing wrong with you. These procedures could also add further anxieties and cause a wave of even worse symptoms. We are delicate and easily disturbed. If something really is seriously wrong and you’re scared then of course seek reassurance. In these cases remember that going to a doctor is in itself a hazardous event as doctors rarely recognise withdrawal symptoms after a few weeks or months. You then come away with yet another diagnosis to add to your fear.
Try not to think of yourself in the terms of a collection of symptoms. Don’t talk about them if possible and give them unnecessary attention as this will only accentuate their hold over you. You are not these symptoms, you are a strong and amazing person coming through some of the worst times in your life and you’re going to be well again. Hold a picture in your head of the ‘well you’ and describe it to yourself. The brain really does respond to positive images and thoughts. Unfortunately it also responds to negative images and thoughts so be very wary of what you tell yourself and others i.e. ‘I’m never going to recover,’ I’m going to be like this for the rest of my life’, ‘I just want to die’. These statements get absorbed into your thinking and that’s really not what you want.
Finally, a word about supplements and other drugs. I believe there is nothing, absolutely nothing apart from a good, healthy diet to help us face withdrawal. Of course meditation, listening to music and positive affirmations etc. are also beneficial but again and again I read this, that, or the other has benefitted someone for whatever symptoms while for the next person it’s been poison. Our bodies need peace and space to heal so if we give them this then recovery happens. I know some have benefitted from magnesium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C and so on but I put it down to possibly being a placebo effect. I tried everything in the early stages and lived to regret it. Perhaps later on when the body starts to heal that’s the time a small dose of extra vitamins and minerals may help but always tread carefully as we’re so fragile.
So those are my thoughts. Healing happens and you will have your own ideas. I want to stress again how very different the process of recovery is for everyone. It sometimes dawns overnight but is more likely to be a slow, continuous journey of feeling better day by day as symptoms drop off until you’re able to return to life as a happy, healthy person.
Good Luck on your own journey.