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Like a flash flood, benzo rage instantly builds up until it overflows and pushes against anything in its path. Often, there is no warning. It can be triggered by the most mundane circumstances. In the heat of the moment, you may have a hard time controlling what you say, maybe even what you do. Your limbic system is hijacked; with all of its irrational, knee-jerk thoughts and feelings. Once the “flood waters” recede, you feel remorse for your outburst, and maybe a bit overwhelmed, even panicked that you briefly lost control. Like all of the other benzo withdrawal symptoms, benzo rage isn’t easy to cope with. But here are some things that you can do to help you maneuver through the anger until your brain has healed more.
- Remember to breathe. Taking a few deep breaths and exhaling longer than you inhale can help you settle down. (Shallow breathing or rapid breathing can fuel the anger.)
- Tell your friends and family about benzo rage so that they aren’t blindsided by it if you experience it. Let them know that it’s a hard symptom to control and that you’ll do your best to not lose your cool. Educate them on how to help you if you do go into a rage. Ask them to remember to be calm and to speak to you in soft tones. They can offer to take a gentle walk with you or to sit with you until you are more in control. It’s hard to be around someone who is angry, but that is often what we need the most. We are riddled with fear already; we don’t want to be abandoned.
- If you feel anger mounting, you can excuse yourself from the people you are with and take a walk, go scream into a pillow, journal, etc. A few people I’ve coached have bought cheap plates from Goodwill and found a safe place to throw them so that they shatter. That seems to let off steam in a safe way, just be careful when cleaning up the glass!
- Make amends with anyone you have disrespected or harmed with your outburst.
- Avoid supplements, vitamins, or medications that can rev you up.Sometimes we react to taking vitamins and other substances with extreme feelings, and rage can certainly be one of them.
- Understand that benzo rage is a withdrawal symptom and part of the healing process. For some, old wounds surface and feelings are incredibly big and overwhelming. Old hurts that you may have thought resolved may surface again and be emotionally painful again. It’s also common to hold grudges and to be resentful of people you don’t feel are understanding or supportive of your benzo withdrawal journey. Know that as you heal, the anger will subside. You won’t always feel the degree of anger you feel now.
- Do your best to practice forgiveness. Remember that everyone is doing their best, even those people who have hurt you, and let them off the hook. You’ve hurt people in your life, too. None of us are perfect. So extend forgiveness to others and to yourself.
- Have a spiritual practice that allows you to “Let go and let God.” Building our spiritual “muscle” in benzo withdrawal is a good way to cope with all of our symptoms.
- Count to ten. I know how silly that sounds, but it does have some merit. Pausing when we feel our anger begin to mount can help us gain control over our emotions. Give yourself some time to rationally address your mounting anger, and hopefully, diffuse it to some degree. Make some space for you to think through your feelings if at all possible.
- If your benzo rage causes you or others to be in danger, please seek help from people who can keep you and others safe. It’s a good idea to have a plan in place just in case you need help. Benzo rage is usually not violent per se, but it’s better to be prepared in the event you lose control. (Keeping weapons locked up or out of the house is a good idea for anyone in benzo withdrawal.)
These are ten things that you can do to help you cope if you have benzo rage. What are some of the things that you do that work best for you? Feel free to respectfully share your thoughts and ideas. The more we share our common experiences, the less alone we feel and the more educated we become about the process of recovering from benzo withdrawal. Benzo rage is one of the symptoms that people are often hesitant to talk about because they are embarrassed that they lose their cool. However, benzo rage should be no more embarrassing than our insomnia, tingling, burning skin, etc. it is simply another benzo withdrawal symptom that will go away in time.
Friday morning, June 23, I woke up to the deliciousness of six years of freedom from the benzodiazepine I took (as prescribed) for eighteen years. I threw off the covers and padded into the bathroom. I stared at myself in the mirror. A wide grin and dancing eyes revealed my happiness. It wasn’t always that way in the mornings. I remember my weak, unsteady walk to the bathroom during benzo withdrawal. I remember my reflection. My eyes were sunken, hollow from weight loss and despair. I’d search my reflection for some small trace of “me.” But all I could see was a wounded, terrified animal staring back at me. I was nowhere to be found. Benzo withdrawal had eviscerated me.
If you’ve read my blog posts over the years, you know how hard my recovery was. It took years for my brain to heal. It took years for me to cobble myself back together again. But I didn’t just return to my old self. I put myself back together in ways that make me extraordinarily happy. I’m not the person I was pre-benzos, on benzos, or in benzo withdrawal. I’m a whole new person for having had to walk through fire. I love who I’ve become because I had to weather such extreme adversity.
So what’s it like six years out? It’s awesome! I love my life. I take nothing for granted and I’m grateful for everything. I’m more humble, less desirous to try to control people, places, and things. I’m not afraid of much, including big feelings like loss, grief, or anger—feelings that used to have me running for a big glass of red wine (I celebrated six yers of sobriety last October 13th). I’m happy in my own skin, including my wrinkles, gray hair, and cellulite! I accept life on life’s terms.
“That’s great Jennifer, but what about your benzo withdrawal symptoms?” I hear you asking! Here is what remains at six years off. Tinnitus. It’s never let up for even a moment. It varies from soft to very loud, depending on my degree of tiredness or stress. I’ve learned to ignore it. My hunch is it isn’t going to go away, (yours probably will, so don’t worry) and that’s okay. There are worse things to have to live with. I still get tingling, mostly from the waist down. It’s a much milder version than it has been previously. It’s interesting that it revs up after I eat certain foods, and when I’ve done a lot of physical activity, or experience strong emotions. I still have a small patch of skin that burns from time to time on my left leg. It used to be incredibly painful, now when it (rarely) flares up, it’s just a slight ache, no big deal. My wrists, hands, and fingers are still painful at times. That pain level can be challenging. I don’t take any OTC meds for it. I just rest my hands and wait for the pain level to go down. I’m still prone to joint pain, especially in my hip sockets. The pain level has decreased a great deal over the years, and the pain isn’t an everyday occurrence. Dizziness, or should I say, a wooziness, is still something that comes and goes, along with some head pressure. I’ve learned to navigate my way through them, and not let them stop me. Everything, except the tinnitus, has scaled down remarkably from the first few years off.The mental symptoms are long gone. I don’t have instrusive thoughts anymore. No more benzo withdrawal anxiety, panic, terror, or depression. In fact, my pre-existing anxiety “disorder” is long gone as well. Remember, our brains are pliable; they can easily be remodeled.
Even though I’m not 100% symptom-free, I’m living a wonderful life. I have hope that as more years pass, the remaining symptoms will continue to fade away. But even if they don’t, life is good! I do everything that I want to do. Nothing gets in my way. After so many years of being unable to live life to the fullest, I’m wringing every drop of joy and satisfaction out of my days. You will be too before too long. Keep going. Keep healing. Your recovery is just up ahead. See it there? It’s waving at you and calling you to “come on over!” You’ll get there. One day at a time.
Not much ruffles my feathers these days. I’ve survived a cold-turkey withdrawal from the clonazepam I took as prescribed. I can’t imagine a more horrific experience to live through. The mental, physical, and emotional benzo withdrawal symptoms are more diabolical than anything Stephen King could dream up. They are so horrifying and bizarre that those of us who have experienced them understand the statement “truth is stranger than fiction.” Not everyone who takes a benzo will experience withdrawal, that’s true. (There isn’t any research that proves conclusively what DNA differences allows one brain to go unscathed while another is decimated.) Maybe that’s why some people, doctors included, have a hard time believing those of us who do suffer. It’s too easy to dismiss our benzo withdrawal symptoms as pre-existing conditions, a new mental or physical illness, or that we’re making it up; it’s “all in our head.” Recently I replied to a friend’s Facebook post about benzo withdrawal and a stranger answered my comment and claimed that my information about withdrawal was an opinion (not a fact, not real) and I lost my shit—feathers ruffled big time.
I ruminated over the stranger’s comment; angry and sad that in this day in age, benzo withdrawal is still not recognized as an iatrogenic illness which can be life altering and even life-endangering. I wanted to reply to the stranger how I went from having a growing career as a leading expert in my field, on television and radio, interviewed by top-tier media, with books to my name and high paying coaching clients to bedridden, unable to take care of the most basic of human needs. I had to cut off my hair because I was too weak to stand in the shower to wash it, and in too much pain to hold a hairdryer to style it. I went days without brushing my teeth because it hurt my arm and my fingers to hold a toothbrush. And, there were days I went without eating because I was too weak to walk to my kitchen. I’ll never forget the early morning I called my son to come over to help me to the bathroom. He scooped my frail bones out of the bed and carried me to the toilet where he graciously held me and turned his head while I relieved myself. Then there were the long and harsh years of recovery that I lived through. I wanted to tell the stranger who wrote that benzo withdrawal is just an opinion, that her words rob those of us who have been harmed by a benzodiazepine of our most basic human dignity. I was angry with her words because they dismissed the millions of people who have lived through the horror of benzo withdrawal and had to rebuild their lives from the ashes. Her words disrespected those whose lives were lost to benzo withdrawal.
I thought about the stranger’s comment for a few days and decided not to reply to it. What was the point in getting locked in a heated argument on social media? I knew I had little chance to change her mind. No, arguing with people who don’t want to believe that benzo withdrawal is a real phenomenon is a waste of time. But the persistent sharing of facts about benzo withdrawal is not a waste of time. Sharing hope with others who are suffering in benzo withdrawal is not a waste of time either. So, I continue to do both. I blog about benzo withdrawal in hopes of educating those who want to be educated, and I share hope, the knowledge, that we do recover, in time.
Withdrawal from a benzodiazepine is a fact. Millions of people experience it. Just because some people can take a benzo and not experience withdrawal doesn’t mean that those of us who do experience withdrawal are “making it up.” Not everyone who smokes cigarettes will get cancer, but we know that those who do, aren’t “making it up.” And, we know that the medical profession used to advertise cigarettes! One day, hopefully in the not too distant future, the medical profession will come to understand that their endorsement of benzodiazepines by way of prescribing them, is on par with their wrong and disastrous endorsement of nicotine. #benzowithdrawalisreal #benzowithdrawalisnotanopinion #benzowithdrawalhelp.com.
It was as if I had swallowed a beehive; the tingling and burning felt like hundreds of bees had stung my tongue. Alarmed, I stood in front of the mirror and stuck out my tongue. It looked normal enough. No swelling. No redness. How odd! How could it be that I felt painful sensations yet there was no physical evidence of any abnormality? Add burning tongue to the list of odd benzo symptoms I experienced. It is a benzo withdrawal symptom that affects quite a few people. There isn’t anything one can do for it (like most things in benzo withdrawal). We simply have to wait for it to go away. I chewed on ice chips and big wads of bubble gum to help me to distract from the sensations. I knew when I was overly stressed because the tingling in my tongue got worse. It was my “canary in the coal mine.” I knew when I needed to rest more or to do my best to reel in my emotions.
Formication is another odd benzo withdrawal symptoms that some people experience. It is the feeling that insects (or worms) are crawling under your skin. It’s not usually painful. It’s just creepy and annoying. Rubbing your hands slowly over the parts of your body that are affected is a good way to cope with the sensations. Warm baths or a gentle walk can also be good distractions.
“Teeth twirling” is another strange benzo withdrawal symptom. For some, it feels as if the tooth is twirling in its socket. For others, the sensation feels as if the tooth is being pushed out of the mouth. Nerve pain in a tooth (or teeth), often severe, is reported by many. Needless dental work has been performed on people who experience dental symptoms in withdrawal.
Another odd benzo withdrawal symptom is the feeling that your insides are vibrating. Called “internal vibration,” the sensations aren’t usually painful, just annoying. It can be hard to sleep when your insides feel as if they are strapped to a jackhammer! (I had this symptom for quite some time and I was quite happy when it finally went away.)
There are so many strange sensations that benzo withdrawal can cause. Head pressure, feeling as if you are being pulled down, feeling as if you are being pulled out of your body, burning skin, and uncontrollable body jerks and twitches scare a lot of people when they experience them. What strange benzo symptom do you have? You may be surprised to learn that many other people have the same symptom! In time, all of the odd benzo withdrawal symptoms go away. Patience, acceptance, and distraction are the best tools to use to cope with withdrawal symptoms. One day, you’ll realize that you’ve recovered and you feel
normal again better than ever! Keep healing!
My recovery was hell, I’m not gonna lie. While tapering, my benzo withdrawal symptoms were debilitating. After my cold-turkey, they were unimaginably horrific. I never thought I would heal. I suffered for years. But ever-so-slowly, as the years passed, I got better. Then, at three years off, I got hit with a wave that shook me to my core. Any healing I had done seemed to vanish into thin air. I was certain that I was damaged and doomed for life. I didn’t think I’d make it. But I did make it! Now, I have a great life. What helped me cope with years of recovering and that last wave from hell? These five P’s helped me a great deal.
The power of words. That’s the first P: power. I know we don’t have a great deal of control over the words we think in withdrawal, but we can control what words we speak. Choose the words you speak carefully. Your mind may be filled with doom and gloom but you don’t have to share those thoughts so frequently. Respecting the power of words helped me to use my words to create a better environment for my healing.
The present moment. When you find yourself projecting into the future and saying negative things like “I’ll never heal,” come back to the present moment. Say instead, “I am healing!” Remember words are powerful so use their power for good! Which takes us to the third P.
Positive builds, negative destroys. I know it’s a challenge to have positive thoughts in withdrawal; the negativity is a withdrawal symptom. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t try our best to sneak in some positivity! Be mindful of how much negativity you speak. Do your very best to ignore the negative thoughts you have. Keeping your hands busy with a creative endeavor may be helpful. The mind will often follow what your hands are doing.
Pause. When you are overwhelmed, stressed, panicked, baffled, befuddled, etc., take a moment and pause. Take a deep breath. Exhale slowly. Stay in the present moment. Look around you. Get grounded. Next, you may want to use the fifth P.
Pray to whatever you believe in. Take this present moment to share what is in your heart as honestly as you can. Prayer doesn’t have to mean that you are asking for anything. Prayer can be just a simple confession of what’s in your heart. Building a relationship with that which is greater than yourself helps us in so many ways!
The five P’s: 1. the power of words. 2. Speak (think) positive things. 3. Stay in the present moment. 4.Pause when upset. 5. Pray to whatever you believe in. Those are the five P’s that helped me in benzo withdrawal and help me now to create a great life! I hope that they help you to better navigate your life during benzo withdrawal and beyond. Remember, we heal. Your brain is putting itself back together again even as you read these words.
Wikipedia defines kindling as: “the phenomenon of increasingly severe withdrawal symptoms that occurs as a result of repeated withdrawal from alcohol or other sedative–hypnotics with related modes of action” Those other sedative hypotonic include benzodiazepines. Kindling is a real phenomenon that can occur in benzo withdrawal. Let’s take a look at what may cause kindling and let’s dispel any myths about recovery after kindling occurs.
Updosing, Some people have such severe withdrawal symptoms during their taper that well-meaning doctors may suggest that they go back up in dosage to stabilize then taper again. The problem is that we may not stabilize after an up dose, and our subsequent taper may produce even more symptoms, presumably due to kindling. However, it’s important to note that some people do find better footing at a higher dose and can then go slowly down. Everyone is different. If you want to avoid having to face the gamble of an up dose working or not, taper slowly the first time. Listen to your body. Be kind and gentle with yourself.
Reinstating. If you reinstate after a month off of your benzo it can backfire (as we’ve learned from so many who have tried it and shared their experience with the benzo community). You may not get stable and/or your next taper may be even more symptomatic, presumably due to kindling. Does that mean you shouldn’t reinstate if you absolutely can’t hold on another minute, especially after a cold-turkey? Of course not. It just means that you should educate yourself about the risks and make the best decision for yourself.
Going on and off a benzo. Some people have gone on and off their benzo without any withdrawal symptoms. They’ve taken them for months at a time with no consequences. Until now. This time, they’ve been slammed with withdrawal symptoms and can’t understand why. Kindling may be the reason.
You’ll recover if you’ve been kindled. You’ll recover, just like someone who hasn’t experienced kindling will recover. Being kindled doesn’t mean you’re damaged forever.
Kindling doesn’t predict being becoming protracted. It just means that you have more symptoms than you did before you were kindled. You may heal within the six to eighteen month average time-frame.
You don’t have to be frightened of kindling. Some people worry or obsess over becoming kindled. That isn’t necessary. If you do a slow taper, listen to your body, and be kind and gentle with yourself, chances are high that you’ll not be in a position to risk being kindled. If you’ve been taken off your benzo at a rehab or detox and you are considering re-instating due to severe withdrawal symptoms that are beyond your coping abilities, don’t worry if that will kindle you or not. If feel that you’ve got to reinstate to survive, live in this moment and don’t worry about the future. (That’s good advice for anyone in benzo withdrawal and after recovery!)
I’m living proof that we can be kindled and heal. No matter how many symptoms you have right now, you’ll recover too, even if like me, you were kindled. That’s the bottom line for anyone in benzo withdrawal: we all recover. You will too!
Please seek the medical care of a doctor who is educated about benzodiazepine withdrawal if you are concerned about kindling or any other benzo withdrawal symptom.
Bedbound from my benzo withdrawal symptoms, I grew tired of watching the hands of the clock move at a snail’s pace, marking the passage of time. One particularly rough morning, a little voice inside of me whispered, “Go plant a garden!” I laughed out loud; the idea was so far-fetched. But the next day, the voice returned. And the next, and the next. Curious as to why the urge to plant flowers was so strong when I was so weak, I crawled out of bed, put on a pair of overalls, and limped my way out into my front yard. That moment was a defining moment in my recovery. Unbeknownst to me at the time, that was the moment I allowed the earth to heal me.
I tore out my front yard and planted a flower garden. I spent most of my days outside, in the dirt. My hands and face were often covered with it! I didn’t mind. I loved the smell of the soft earth. I loved the way it crumbled in my hands. I was fascinated by the fat earthworms wiggling about when I exposed their secret lives to the sun. There are microbes in the earth that we need for optimum health. (If you want to learn more, you may want to consider watching this documentary on Netflix or Amazon: In Search Of Balance.) Every day, for years, I was covered in one of the best medicines on the planet: dirt.
I ate healthy foods from healthy soil. I bathed in the sunshine. I breathed the sweet breeze. I talked to people walking by and felt love. My garden was where I healed. It gave me all I needed to distract from my benzo withdrawal symptoms. It gave me the opportunity to witness the miracle of life. It pried open my frightened heart and filled it with love and gratitude. My garden changed me in profound ways I am still discovering!
If you have a bit of land that you can garden, I urge you to get out there and plant! Spend time every day in your garden. Tend to it, and it will tend to you, I promise. If you are convinced that you don’t have a green thumb, google gardening tips and read or watch videos for advice. I learned from watching videos on AnniesAnnuals.com website. (I’m fortunate that Annie’s is in the Bay Area, and I can shop there, She also ships plants, so you can enjoy some of her rare exotics, too!) You can also explore your local nursery. Just avoid the “big box” stores that sell plants. (The plants are often sprayed with growth retardant, and they are blooming when you buy them, neither are good things.) I’d be happy to hear your gardening stories or to see pictures of your flowers or vegetables. Do the “dirty” work of healing from benzo withdrawal. Dig in the dirt. Plant some flowers (or vegetables). Feel nature’s healing magic. Feel the love. You may be amazed at the transformation that cultivating a relationship with the earth can bring.
When I came home from the hospital after my cold-turkey from Clonazepam I had taken as prescribed, I was weak, in severe pain, and plagued by a laundry list of withdrawal symptoms. I worried a great deal about the future. I’d ask myself “What if …(fill in with anything negative)…” over and over again. As I navigated my way deeper and deeper through benzo withdrawal, I learned that asking “What if?” Is a recipe for creating needless anxiety.
When we worry about the future we kick our limbic system — the flight/fight/freeze region of the brain — into action and we experience anxiety or even panic. We miss the opportunity to experience the good that is happening all around us, right here and now. This present moment — the IS of our lives — is the only time we can connect to that which is greater than ourselves (God, Higher Power, Source, call it what you like). We can’t connect in the past for it’s gone, nor can we connect in the future, for it has yet to arrive. When we worry about “What if,” we shut the door to all that is good, all that is sacred, magical, and wonderful in this present moment. “IF” is in the future for it has not yet happened. “Is” is in this present moment, it’s taking place right now. Don’t miss it by time traveling into the future. Stay right here. right now. Feel this breath. This heartbeat. You are alive! You are healing. Celebrate this moment.
I know, I know, you’re reading this post’s headline and thinking, “Help them through my withdrawal? I’m the one suffering! I need help, not them.” True, you are doing the lion’s share of hurting, but I assure you that your loved ones are not unscathed by your experience. My coaching clients ask me what they can do to help those who are supporting them through withdrawal feel better. Here are some suggestions that may help you help others, without compromising your own needs for help.
- Let go of guilt. You didn’t do anything wrong to end up in benzo withdrawal. Feeling guilty won’t help you to heal, and may even cause an increase in your symptoms. When we feel guilty about our benzo illness, it can set up an unhealthy relationship with our loved ones. We may feel that we have to apologize all the time or to seek approval in compromising ways. That can be draining for all involved. The most loving response for yourself and for others is to accept that you are in benzo withdrawal, it isn’t your fault, and you are doing the best that you can. Trust that you are healing and that one day you will be healed.
- Don’t over share. One of the most common ways we add stress to our loved ones is to share too much about our benzo withdrawal symptoms. Being obsessed with “all things benzo withdrawal” is a symptom of withdrawal, however, we can do our best to minimize our constant speaking about how we feel. It is important to be mindful of what we share about our recovery process with our young children. It’s easy to turn our children into sounding boards and they may not be emotionally mature enough to handle such a role. It’s probably a good idea to vent fears and frustrations with adults. Sure, we need reassurance that we will recover, and we need to know that we are still loved, still valuable, still worthy, etc., but we can get those needs meet without talking about withdrawal 24/7. If I could go back and change how I got through the worst of my recovery, talking about it less to others would be one of the first things I’d change.
- Encourage your loved ones to take some time off. Compassion fatigue is a very real phenomenon. No matter how much we love someone, we all have a limit as to how much we can emotionally bear. Being a care-provider for someone who is suffering in benzo withdrawal is an exhausting and heartbreaking task. Time off is critical to recharging and renewing.
- Say “Thank you!” It’s easy to forget to express your gratitude to someone who is helping you when you are in survival mode and holding on by the skin of your teeth. Do your best to remember these two words and say them!
- Allow your loved ones their opinion. Not everyone who tries to support you will understand benzo withdrawal. Some people may believe that you are suffering because you are tapering or no longer taking a helpful medication. They may not believe in the dangers of benzos. They may think that you just need to think happy thoughts, or get a good nights sleep, or stop worrying in order to feel better. It’s not worth the stress and strain to continually educate or argue with a loved one who doesn’t “get” benzo withdrawal. You can do them a favor by letting their opinions go through one ear and out the other. One of my favorite sayings is rather vulgar, but it’s apropos: “Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has one, and they usually stink.”
- You can’t control what others think, feel, or do. You can’t stop your loved one from feeling the way that they do about your recovery. Sure, you can do your best to minimize their stress, but at the end of the day, you can’t make them stop worrying. Just keep your side of the street clean (I love that A.A. saying!) and let your loved ones be responsible for their thoughts, feelings, and actions.
- Take responsibility for yourself when you can. Wean yourself off of needing so much help/support/attention as you recover. Do the things that you can do, and don’t feel guilty about the things that you can’t.
What’s most important to helping the people who help you is to check in with them from time to time for an honest assessment of how they feel. What do they need? We are so preoccupied with ourselves in benzo withdrawal that we may forget that our loved ones are hurting because we hurt. We may envy their healthy and happy life so much that we can’t see their pain. Or, we may see their pain and feel so guilty for having caused it that we make ourselves and our relationship worse off.
Patience. Acceptance. Distraction. Gratitude. These are the things that can help you to best navigate benzo withdrawal. Hopefully, these things will help you to reduce any negative impact on others who are doing their best to help you.
I’ve always loved the John Denver song, “Back Home Again.” I sang along with it as it streamed on my Pandora station as I made my way back from our family farm in Georgia. Thankfully, no one was in the car with me, so I didn’t hurt anyone’s ears! I drove 2,500 miles in four days. Traveling cross country alone gives one a lot of time to think. It also gives one the opportunity to have to push through the intense wanting for the long journey to end. It’s sorta like benzo withdrawal in that way. There were many times I wanted to blink my eyes and instantly be back home, away from the 18 wheelers rumbling past me on the curvy mountain roads I drove at a snail’s pace. It was a good lesson in acceptance and patience, and self-care, too.
Getting through benzo withdrawal takes a lot of patience and acceptance. We desperately want the journey to come to an end so that we can get on with our lives. However, we forget that what we are experiencing in benzo withdrawal IS our life! It may not be the life we particulary want, but it is what we’ve got to deal with. That’s the “trick” to manuvering our way through benzo withdrawal; dealing with what we have on our plate this very instance. We don’t look back at what we had and feel regret, and we don’t look ahead and feel anxious. We live each day in the moment, coping with whatever symptoms(s) we have at the time. And, we practice extreme self-care. We do what we need to do in order to survive another day.
What can you do today to cope with your withdrawal symptoms? Do you go outside and garden (as I did for so many years)? Do you take a walk? A warm bath? Do you call someone who understands and ask them to listen? Do you find ways to distract with creativity? Or, do you find ways to be of service to someone else, so that you aren’t focused on your own suffering? As you decide on what you can do to cope with what’s on your plate today, use these six words as a good tool for discerning the best outcome: “What is the most loving response?” What is the most loving thing for yourself or others that you can do? On my third day into my trip, I wanted to push a bit farther, and cover another fifty miles. But I was tired, and my driving skills were decaying by the second. I asked myself “What is the most loving response?” The answer was plain and simple, “Stop for the night and rest.” My ego wanted so much to keep going, but I knew the most loving thing to do for my brain and body and the safety of those around me was to get off the road and into a warm bed. The most loving response might be contrary to what your ego wants, but that’s okay. We don’t always have to give into the demands of our ego!
Now that I am back home, I’ll be working in the Pacific time zone. The office number is 650 372 5880. Feel free to leave me a message, or to book a coaching session through the new scheduling calendar. I’m still working on my benzo book. Hopefully, it will be out this fall. I’m looking forward to writing more blog posts here to help you cope with your symptoms, and to help you move forward once withdrawal is over. Let me resassure you that we do heal. In time. I was convinced that I would be broken forever. I was sure that my life was over. In so many ways, it’s just starting. Life is so good. Know what else is good? Being back home!