When I was tapering, I was overwhelmed with how sick I was, and how much I had given up in life. I read posts on forums about benzo withdrawal being the hardest thing one ever will do, and that helped drive my engine of self-pity. It didn’t take long until I was as sick in my soul as I was in my brain and body. It’s easy to go there. Easy to sit on the pity-pot.

Life didn’t start to get better until I could finally find the tools to use to realize that, in my humble opinion, benzo withdrawal is not the hardest thing I will ever do in life. If I have to watch one of my children suffer terribly, or bury one of them, THAT will be harder. If I ever have to fight for my life with chemo, my hunch is that will be harder. I at least know I will most likely not die from withdrawal. Fighting cancer, you just don’t know what the outcome will be. I’ve lost friends to breast cancer that should have been healed. So, I started to feel more joyous when I stopped thinking about withdrawal as something awful in my life. It just is what is. When I accept it as that, I can free my energy for other things.

Life also got better when I stopped trying to get people to understand my reality. It really doesn’t matter if they get how sick I feel. That need to have then understand is just one more way I keep myself on the pity throne. Because, at least for me, me needing people to understand was a way I was invoking their sympathy. “Oh, poor Jenn, what she has to endure!” That is what I wanted to hear. And that just kept  me lodged on my throne.

I have noticed a few times my kids text to see how I am. I text I am getting better, but I’ll add, “you know, benzo wd is up and down, and I could could get worse.” It hit me the other day, that my need for them to stay “on attention” to be ready if things get bad, is another way of keeping myself tied to my own misery. It’s a way to keep the focus on me.

Maybe none of you suffer from this self-absorbed affliction. But I sure do. I am getting better at it though. When I reach out to others, I forget about most of my symptoms. When I stop thinking about how cruel life is that it handed me this, I feel much better. When I stop reaching for everyone’s compassion and understanding and I get on with what I need to do to get through today, I feel better.

That’s not to say that this is always easy, or painless. It is not. But, is it the end of the world? No. I will heal. Is it awful that this happened to me? No, it’s just life. Shit happens. I am not so special that life has to avoid allowing me to suffer.

If you are on the pity-pot, I gently ask if you may want to climb off and engage in life on any level that you are capable of. It’s a much better place to be. At least for me. I feel lighthearted most days. Instead of carrying around my old  misery and despair. When I feel lighthearted, I am better able cope with my symptoms, and put them in perspective in my life.  They are what they are, I can’t change them, and they will go away.

To sitting in peace as opposed to pity.

Dr. Jenn

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