Distraction is one of the main coping skills for successfully navigating benzo withdrawal. When we put our attention on other things, we can, even if only briefly, forget about our symptoms. It’s a good rule of thumb to busy your hands. Your mind will usually follow what your hands are doing. I distracted by learning to draw. I watched instructional videos on YouTube. I made a promise to myself to draw one picture every day. Sometimes it would take an hour, sometimes several hours. It kept my mind off of my suffering for awhile. I also gardened. My front yard became a flower garden. Being focused on my plants kept me from being focused on myself. And, being in my front yard helped me to create community as I got to know all of my neighbors. I also painted. I’m not technically a “good” painter, nor will I probably ever be. That’s not the point. The point is to be involved in the doing of something, not being invested in the outcome!
Other people in benzo withdrawal have knitted, crocheted, created hook rugs, learned to play instruments, created scrapbooks, journaled, worked word and number puzzles as well as jigsaw puzzles, organized old photos, learned to sew, and dozens of other things that kept them busy.
For those unable to do things with their hands, you can watch television shows and movies. Getting engrossed in a story removes us from the story we tell ourselves about benzo withdrawal; the worry that we will never heal. We can also read books, and be transported by the story or learn something. You may struggle with comprehension when reading. That’s okay. But if the struggle reminds you of being in benzo withdrawal, it is better to find another activity.
Everyone’s level of ability to engage in distractions will be different. Some won’t be able to focus on reading or watching television or learning anything knew. The cognitive abilities just aren’t there at this stage in their healing. Some won’t have the energy for gardening. That’s okay. Just do what you can do. And, don’t put any pressure on yourself to do things “right” or “perfect.” Enjoy whatever you do for the sake of doing it. Don’t create an outcome in your mind, simply enjoy the activity for what it is.
What is it that you can do to distract yourself from your symptoms? What can you do to busy your hands and your mind? Come up with a few things that you can do, and use these as your go-to activities when you are having a more challenging day. Instead of sitting and wondering what to do to hold on, immediately get involved in one of your distraction activities. I call these “anchors.” I had a few activities that I knew I could count on when I had an exceptionally bad day. I didn’t have to think about how to cope, I just got up and got engaged in one of my anchors. They kept me tethered to the present moment and tethered to life. Feel free to share with us what you do to distract yourself from your benzo withdrawal symptoms.
The recovery process for benzo withdrawal isn’t linear. We often feel better, only to sink back down into a wave of symptoms. Waves will happen for seemingly no reason, but we can minimize their risk by following a few simple guidelines.
- Avoid taking medications, vitamins, or supplements that are (a.) known to rev up symptoms (vitamin D, B, magnesium, and fish oil, for example) or (b.) are GABA agonists (works on GABA.) Alcohol, sugar, caffeine, and food additives are on the avoid list. If your doctor wants to prescribe something for you, please do your research. Don’t assume that your doctor “knows best.” Many are not educated about benzo withdrawal.
- Avoid stress. Emotional stress wears us down. It plays havoc with our central nervous system. If you have a lot of emotional unrest in withdrawal, find a safe person you can share with. Do your best to remain positive and upbeat. Be careful of the scary stories you tell yourself. Don’t believe them! Stress also comes in physical form. You’ll want to avoid rigorous exercise. It can trigger an uptick in symptoms. Seek help from friends and family for emotional and physical support while you recover.
- Avoid fatigue. Don’t overdo things. Take things easy. Go to bed at a reasonable hour. Take breaks during the day if need be.Many of us have insomnia in withdrawal. Do your best to sleep, but don’t stress about it. (Insomnia will fade away, in time.) Another type of fatigue we can experience is spending too much time on our devices. Light from the screen is exhausting to us. Limit your time online.
- Avoid overheating. Summer months can bring an increase in benzo withdrawal symptoms due to the rise in temperatures. Keep your body cool. Drink plenty of water. Plan outdoor activities for the cool of the morning or early evening. Use ice packs to cool down, if necessary.
- Avoid infections. Whether caused by a virus or a bacteria, infections rev up our symptoms. Make sure that proper hygiene is a part of your daily life; handwashing is a good thing! You may want to avoid shopping in crowded areas during cold and flu season. Gyms, movie theaters, and other places where you touch items that others have touched before you can be a breeding ground for germs.
Waves may happen regardless of how much you try to avoid them. They seem to be a part of the recovery process. Use all of your coping skills to manage if you find yourself in an uptick of symptoms. Ask family and friends to help you if you are unable to manage a part of your daily life. When you recover, you can pay it forward and help someone else who needs some sort of assistance.
No matter how bad your wave may be, it will go away, in time. Acceptance, patience, distraction, and gratitude are all good things to practice. Keep healing! (BTW: as I climb back out of the wave I currently find myself in, I will only be posting a blog on Monday’s. Gotta pace myself.)
Those of us who got hit hard in benzo withdrawal and felt that we were (finally!) healed were eager to get back to our normal lives. We’d been sidelined for too many months, even years. We were patient. We were strong. We held onto the hope that we would recover. And, one day, we did. We embraced our lives in a new way; we wanted to cram as much life into every waking moment as possible. We had a lot of catching up to do!
The mistake many of us make is that we jump back into our lives too soon, too quickly. We don’t pace ourselves. We run full steam ahead until exhausted, we collapse, and our benzo symptoms creep back in. Most of the time we get a warning, like “idiot” lights on a car, there are signs that we are over doing things. We may have a few quick dizzy spells or head pressure. Insomnia may creep back in for a few nights. Maybe our nerve pain shows up again, or we have weakness or fatigue. These are all signs that we are overtaxing our fragile central nervous system. We need to take heed and slow down. We need to remove ourselves from stressful situations. We need to practice extreme self-care or we run the risk of a setback. For some of us, this means that we will need to be careful of our stress levels for a very long time, possibly the rest of our lives.
Setbacks have happened to people even though they were many years out from their last benzo dose. Their central nervous system couldn’t handle the stress and strain they were living under and they slowly unraveled back to having benzo withdrawal symptoms. If you want to avoid setbacks, do your best to eat clean and healthy. (One ingredient foods are a good idea.) Make sure you stay hydrated, especially in the summer months when the rise in temperatures can play havoc with your brain and body. Limit your exposure to stress. Try to keep an even keel on your emotions. Don’t overtax your body with exceptionally strenuous exercise. Avoid any medication or supplement that works on GABA receptors.
I know we all want to wring every last ounce of joy and excitement out of life once we heal. I’m certainly guilty of overdoing it. I forget that I have a fragile brain. And I tend to ignore the warning lights that come on when I do too much. I’ve been going like a house-a-fire the last few months and it finally caught up with me. I’ve got head pressure, dizziness, nerve and joint pain; I basically feel like shit again. I know this wave will pass, they always do. But it’s a good reminder for me to share with you the absolute necessity for some of us to pace ourselves and to pay attention to the signs that we are getting closer and closer to having a full-blown setback. We have to take exceptionally good care of ourselves, without feeling guilty about it. Make your complete healing your priority. Learn to say “No!” to others who want you to do things that will stress you, and say “No!” to your own ego that tries to seduce you into thinking that you can and should do it all and have it all. We can’t. We’ve been injured by a benzodiazepine and we’ve got to respect that we need to take life a bit more slowly and mindfully. Respecting the healing that we’ve attained, and the journey that we’ve been on will go a long way to creating a wonderful life.
I was sick for so many years, that when I started to get better, it was an indescribable feeling. I thought I had known joy before, and I certainly had, but this… this was off the charts. Sure, I was in heaven every time they placed one of my (four!) newborn babies in my arms, but this was as if God handed myself to me, all fresh and new and swaddled in possibility. I don’t want to look back, except to say “Thank you,” for the lessons I’ve learned. I want to stay here in the present moment and bask in the glow of the power of right here, right now!
My life has certainly taken a great many twists as turns over the last seven years. One of the main journeys I took was in my flower garden. If you’ve read any of my old posts, you know how much my gardening helped my recovery. And it wasn’t just that it offered a calm and peaceful place for me to reside while in the midst of my brain damage. No, it offered so much more! It gave me the opportunity to learn some big life lessons. It gave me the opportunity to go deep within myself and to heal my old wounds and ragged scars.
Now, my garden is a place of comfort and care for many people in my neighborhood. I’ve been asked to help others plan and plant their garden, and I have, gladly. I know the power of healing that comes from digging in Mother Earth and tending to all her wildlife. I am excited to share with you that I am now working with people here in the San Francisco Bay Area in their gardens. I have a new website, and I’ll be creating an Instagram and Pinterest account so I can share the flowers with everyone. Don’t worry. I’m not leaving my work with people who are recovering from benzo withdrawal. I’ll still be coaching Monday through Wednesday. (Feel free to sign up for some time if you want to get in touch.)
My, how my heart has grown from the first time I swallowed a benzo and until now. I’ve learned the secrets of health and happiness. I’ve learned that we don’t need to seek for love, but instead, we need to seek all the barriers we’ve created to love and dismantle them. That’s what I did in my garden. I learned how to be vulnerable. I learned how to forgive. I learned how to accept life on life’s terms. And I learned how to say ‘Thank you!” in all things.
If you’re a flower gardening enthusiast and you’d like to receive posts, ideas, and inspiration from my new website, you can sign up at InJennifersGarden.com. (FYI, there isn’t any info about benzos there.) I’m so amazed at the doors that keep opening for me in my life. I’m so grateful I can be of service to others. You’ll be amazed too, at where life takes you on your healing journey. Don’t give up or lose hope. Reach out if you do, I’ll listen and hold your heart and your hand.
I’ve written a handful of books about listening skills, but I’m still not a perfect listener. I fall prey to a few bad listening habits, even though I try hard not to. So I understand how those people who aren’t conscious of their listening skills can make mistakes. Here is what I wish I could have shared with people who had the listening habit of giving unasked for advice when I was in benzo withdrawal:
Dear friends and family,
When I share my tender and vulnerable truth with you about my iatrogenic illness caused by taking a benzodiazepine as prescribed by a doctor I trusted, and you immediately respond with unasked for advice on what I “should” be doing to get well, I feel unheard and unsupported. I shared my feelings — my fears, doubts, concerns, and frustrations with you in hopes that you could simply sit with me and be fully present with me. It doesn’t help me to hear that you think I’ll get well quicker if I eat purple foods because they have a special vibration to them, or that I need to think happy thoughts, or that I need to take another medication, or a vitamin, or a hot bath or a cold bath, or go for long walks, or short walks, or pray, or meditate, or do yoga, or go vegan, or eat more protein, or go on a vacation, or stay in bed—whatever it is you think I am not doing that I should be doing in order to get well. See, when you give me unasked for advice, what you’re really saying is “You’re doing it wrong.” You’re telling me that all of the research I’ve done about benzo withdrawal doesn’t matter. You know better than me, even though you aren’t the one living in my body. Your unasked for advice separates us, leaving me to feel even more alone and isolated in my illness.
Being present with me and allowing me to share my deepest truth without you giving me unasked for advice is healing for me. I don’t need advice. I just need you to listen to me. Patiently. With an open heart and an open mind. I really just need you to love me right now, and that is what true listening is — love in action. If I do want advice, I’ll ask for it. That’s when it’s okay for you to share your opinion.
That is what I wish I had shared with my friends and family who gave me unasked for advice or had other listening habits that weren’t helpful, like interrupting or stealing the conversation. I didn’t need to hear how their Aunt Edna got off of her benzo. I didn’t need to hear how they had a medical problem and suffered, too. I didn’t need to be interrupted, or the words I couldn’t think of quickly, given to me, or the topic of conversation changed by them, or their texting while I was talking, or a hundred other ways in which they weren’t fully present and open-hearted. I wish I had told them that I didn’t need their words, I needed their time, attention, and their heart. Love heals. And love often shows up in the softness of silence between two people just sharing a moment and their hearts with each other. If words were what my friends and family wanted to share with me, I wish that they had shared these: “What do you need? How can I help?” Those two simple sentences could have relieved my fear of being misunderstood and alone. Those two simple sentences could have been a bridge that my friends and family created and walked over, right into my heart, where they would have helped me the most.
Listening is love in action. It heals. Please, listen to people in benzo withdrawal. Listen to everyone. The world will be a better place for it.
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.