I’m now 30 months away from that momentous jump into withdrawal in November 2012. I’ve come a long way but I’m still not finished. How do you explain to others why this is taking so long? That’s one of the most difficult tasks facing me. I’ve come through so much and yet I return to suffering at the drop of a hat. I want to be part of life again but the monster is quick to turn round and roar, “No, not yet or I will devour you’. Nobody can possibly be compassionate after so long and this I’ve learnt the hard way, as you are aware. Protracted withdrawal goes unrecognized and unsupported but the brain damage has happened and not until its fully repaired can I expect the return of normality. This takes time and that’s the most frustrating and demoralizing part of all this. I should emphasize that my long-term use and cold turkey has probably made it worse for me but nothing is known for sure in all this.
I’m so fragile and it can take just one minor negative thought to spark a reaction. My amygdalae are finely tuned and sit in wait for any threat that causes them to fire off. The GABA receptors are recovering but still want that ultimate tweaking to get them fully operational and respond appropriately to any stress. The broken tooth was the last major provocateur but this has passed and for awhile I’ve been relatively calm. Then I had a bad night and woke with a stiff, painful neck that caused dizziness and a return of the usual fear pattern which has just now started a waving effect of intermittent pain symptoms and headaches.
This minor waving so long after the event seems to be a signal that recovery is well underway. I no longer descend into the bedridden, panic stricken, revved up individual crying in pain. I’ve learnt to employ all my coping techniques to maintain calmness in the face of any stress. Deep breathing remains my chief ally as I focus on the breath and breathe out with a positive affirmation such as ‘I am calm’, ‘My body is at peace’, “This will soon pass’, and so forth. Lying on my back and listening to music always helps. My latest find is Enya, relaxing and soulful as well as the Tibetan chants. Eating a banana seems to relax me and I always have a store at hand for crisis moments. I’m now able to push through and perhaps do a short walk in the fresh air to help ground me. Everyone has to find their own coping techniques but this gets so much easier as the recovery becomes evident and the waves are less intense.
That’s where I’m at for the moment. I still like the security of my home but I need to venture further afield again just to try and train my brain to thinking in less fearful ways. I will be fine away from my home and if I have a wave it doesn’t really matter as I can ride it just as I do at home. The journey continues, I remain fragile but learning to cope with that fragility is the answer to reaching my final destination.
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