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. ❤️
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