Helping Myself

Posted on 20th June 2020

A lot of people have asked me what I did to help myself through the long years of my recovery. I do try and inspire members here with inspirational daily posts but sadly these aren’t going to cure you although they will help guide you in the right direction.

Healing is a process that involves the physical body, the thinking mind and and any spiritual understanding or beliefs that you have.

I spent a lot of time writing as this was my distraction and what I enjoyed. I still do this as it’s a real outlet for me. Through my writing I’ve made lots of new friends which is only good. Everything I list here I still do because, although I consider myself recovered from benzo damage, I do have some work to do on sleep and anxiety which are my remaining issues.

So the number one help towards my healing has definitely been writing. I write a daily journal to keep track of progress and I write here and am trying to put a book together. Everyone needs some sort of distraction and this can be found in doing what they enjoy.

I helped my physical recovery through a nutritious diet and did have a nutritionist in the early years but found it better to make my own way through, choosing the food I ate and what suited me. Eventually I settled on what is mostly known as the Mediterranean diet with lots of fruit and veg, good quality, mostly animal protein and low in carbs. I still have this diet now and doubt I will change as it seems fine for me.

I tried just about every supplement supposed to help and in the early days my doctor prescribed one or two drugs like Lyrica and Buspar but these were all an absolute nightmare so I learnt the hard way that my brain was only going to recover if I left it free to do so. I spent a lot of money only for these to be thrown out almost as fast as they arrived! My doctor also learnt not to prescribe just to support and reassure with any tests he felt necessary.

In the early days I inhabited the benzo groups especially Benzo Buddies where I made some friends, In those days I scared myself going on the groups, crying our about symptoms and reading the horror stories that others put up. I learnt that this was only adding to my hell so I removed myself from most groups and talked to just a few friends and used the time instead to increase my knowledge of how benzos had damaged my physical brain and body. This lessened my fear of the numerous symptoms.

I talked to the helplines here in the UK and they were great for reassurance at that time. Sadly the support doesn’t seem so positive now and they are not providing the reassurance for protracted people as they did then. I also had the help of Baylissa Frederick and a wonderful lady in Cornwall, where I lived then, who was recovered herself after three years of hell and had set up a local support line.

I learnt, read and Googled many different ideas to help myself overcome the intense periods of anxiety that withdrawing from benzos triggers. I added numerous techniques to my arsenal and used them as necessary. This has resulted in a large library of books that I continue to read today in order to support myself and others. I took out what suited and helped me best and still do this.

On the more spiritual side I again read inspirational stories and learnt about the Three Principles understanding of life and had a therapist to help me further with this. I do have faith but it goes beyond that of just religion and it’s something that has really kept me going through the worst of times. It has sort of become part of me and helps me in all life situations. You may come to your own spiritual understanding as you deal with the worst times. I’ll add here that I also recited affirmations to help myself through difficult days and nights.

Everyday that I was able and not bedridden I exercised by walking at least a mile with my dog. It wasn’t always easy but just getting away from the confines of the house and walking by the beach, over the fields, through the woods or just around the houses was immensely helpful and gradually these walks increased in distance. I needed to find the right balance for my exercise and not exacerbate symptoms by overdoing this.

If I had a bad day and couldn’t get out of bed I let it be. Sometimes after several nights of no sleep I was too worn out to even get dressed. I just used the down day to read, write or listen to my music while my body did its own thing to bring me through the wave. Trying to fight these or ‘push through’ never helped me at all.

There’s more but this is already long so I am going to stop there. I want to just let everyone know today that it does get better. It may not be as fast as you would like but finding your own way through as I did really will go a long way towards helping you. You can’t compare to others, symptoms are only part of your healing process and the biggest part of that process is, as I said yesterday, to believe in yourself and your own healing.

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