Life goes on while we withdraw. Learning to cope with what life throws at you when you have fewer resources for self-soothing due to down regulated GABA receptors can be challenging. However, not impossible.

As I write this, I am dealing with the illness of one of my children. An illness that has had him in the ER four times in two weeks.

Here is how I cope, knowing I can’t reach for my benzo to calm me down. This is how you too, can get a grip on life  when things start to get out of control.

First, I know in my heart I am not in control. I surrender to that fact. I am not God. But I can be in charge! I can be in charge of my thoughts. When they turn fearful, I simply step back, look at myself having them, thank the thought and say, (sometimes out loud!) Next! And I replace my fearful thoughts with positive ones. I may have to do this a hundred times a day! Doesn’t matter. The point is to replace the thought at quickly as possible, before it has time to switch on a part of your brain that will set off a full-blown anxiety attack.

I call this fear elimination tool, “Movie Mode.” It is like you are watching yourself. I am not talking about dissociation or depersonalization, but rather being the neutral observer of yourself as you have the negative thought. It is best to write down a script of things you can replace the thought with and keep it handy in your pocket or purse.

When we “what if?” we usually go to anxious fearful places, instead of staying grounded right here in the moment. Have you ever noticed how you don’t “what if?” about good things? I rarely hear people go on and on about “What if I got a big promotion and made more money?” Or “What if I met the man or woman of my dreams?” Usually we “What if” about the negative things. “What if I lose my job?” “What if I no one ever loves me again?” When you are “what if-ing” you are squandering the joy in the moment.

I am going to be adding some special tools you can put in your Benzo Bag to take with you on your recovery. More coming! I am taking my son to get further tests. Am I nervous? What mother wouldn’t be? Am I able to cope with my anxiety, even with down regulated GABA receptors. Yes. If I get hit with a wave of fear, I will breathe, tune into my body and listen to what it wants me to know, and I will attend to it as I need to, without swallowing a pill! I can also call a friend, pray, and keep reminding myself that everything is perfect in this present moment. Because it is.

So remember you are not in control of life but you are in charge of how you deal with life. Chose to be positive, calm, open, accepting, loving and tolerant in life. When the stinkin’ thinkin’ of withdrawal hits you, remind yourself you can observe yourself having the thought, and you can let it go and replace it with a positive thought. Make a life of positive  things you can replace the thought with so you have a script if need be.

More coming.

All best!

Dr. Jenn

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