I have been waking up nauseous. I  had crossed my fingers I would avoid this symptom, but clearly benzo withdrawal has other plans.

The first few days I was anxious about it. You know, the typical “what if” kind of thinking that gets us into trouble. “What if I can’t keep anything down and I end up in the hospital?” That kind of “what if” catastrophe thinking. I realized I was making the situation worse. I racked my brain as to how I could reframe this symptom so it bothers me less. At least psychologically.

I had four children in less than four years, twins the last go round. I recall being pregnant  and fighting nausea. Although it was annoying,  I don’t recall it frightening me. I was thrilled to be pregnant, thrilled over the idea of new life. Why couldn’t I exchange my anxiety over my withdrawal nausea for the same type of attitude over pregnancy nausea?

Of course I could!

There is no way I can be pregnant with a baby. However, I am “pregnant” with new life. MY NEW LIFE! I am “incubating” my benzo free life. That makes me excited. Very excited! Instead of worrying how bad the nausea will get, I now think about the life ahead of me, free from my little yellow pills. When my stomach lurches, I don’t recoil  in worry, I now smile and tell myself, “This is healing happening.”

Of course I am not a total Pollyanna. I know that some people lose a lot of weight and are deathly sick from vomiting. I am not making light of this nasty withdrawal symptom. But right now, I am not at that stage, and to worry myself  sick (literally!) over wondering what the future holds, doesn’t help me right now in this moment.

When I reframe my nausea and look at it as a sign of healing, instead of a sign of sickness, I am better able to cope.

How might you reframe  a symptom so you can cope better too?


Dr. Jenn

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