In the first year off my benzo, I had to cope with new symptoms appearing from time to time. At first, I was overwhelmed when something new showed up. I was terrified that I’d forever be adding more symptoms to my already lengthy list. I could hardly cope with what was already on my plate, let alone cope with anything new. However, as time went on and some symptoms went away, I stopped being afraid of new symptoms. I knew that I was slowly healing.
Today, one of my coaching clients shared with me that when he has a new symptom he says, “Welcome to the party!” I wish I had had that attitude the first few months into my recovery. What a wonderful, positive way to look at your new or changing benzo withdrawal symptoms. Instead of expressing fear or frustration, a simple courageous invitation sets the tone. Of course, that statement may be said sarcastically, but even so, that’s better than shrinking in fear or feeling victimized! If you are still at a stage in your recovery where new symptoms announce their arrival, I hope that you can invite them to the party and make the best of things.
Eventually, new symptoms stopped occurring. I had a few windows—days when I felt pretty good. But of course, I’d be slammed back into the pit when a wave hit. I learned to ride the waves until they lost their energy by telling myself, “I’ve been down this road before.” I reminded myself that I had coped with waves of increased symptoms in the past, which meant I could do it again. I knew I’d be okay.
What we tell ourselves in benzo withdrawal is important. Of course, if you are deep in the “doom, gloom” phase of recovery, it will be almost impossible to convince yourself that anything positive can take place. However, it is important to at least go through the motions of having a positive attitude. Say the words, even if you don’t believe them. One day, you will!
Coping statements such as “This too shall pass,” and “One day at a time,” are helpful as well. What positive statement or reminder do you use to cope with benzo withdrawal symptoms? Please feel free to share them with us.