I don’t mean “Are you imagining it!”
I mean it literally. Do you have withdrawal symptoms in your head? Boy, I sure did! And they can be really scary. Let’s take a look at some of the “usual suspects” so we can not be afraid of them. One of my worst head symptoms was a sudden sensation that left me feeling like I had dropped acid. My head felt “swimmy” and reality looked weird. I experienced Alice In Wonderland perception when this happened—things seemed far away and small. Like so many benzo phenomena, it is hard to describe what it was like, but suffice it to say, it was terrifying. No matter how many times it happened, I was convinced that I was having a stroke or an aneurysm. I’d stagger to my couch or bed and curl up, terrified. I never knew what brought on those strange symptoms. They seemed to come on out of the blue. I was incredibly grateful when they finally stopped a few years into my recovery.
I also had head pressure that would make me dizzy. Not a vertigo type of dizzy, but rather a feeling that my equilibrium was off. I often felt that my head was made of cement, or that it had water sloshing around in it. A few times, I felt that my brain was carbonated. I felt it fizzing deep inside my head. I hated that sensation!
Snap. Crackle. Pop.
My ears sure gave me a lot of trouble. I had pressure and popping every day. Tinnitus had set in early in my taper, but the sounds from the popping were different. My right ear, in particular, would feel full. My hearing changed when the ear pressure was bad. Things sounded tinny or hollow. It almost hurt, to be honest. I’d suffered hyperacusis in my taper, but this was different. Oftentimes it felt as if a knitting needle was being shoved into my eardrum. It was painful! I coped with my ear symptoms by doing my best to ignore them, avoiding travel that would cause a change in pressure (no flying or mountain driving—not that I was in great shape to travel very much anyway), and yawning often to relieve the pressure.
Your ear is made of three different spaces, inner, middle, and outer. Your middle ear is normally the same pressure as the air outside. When the pressure changes, as with a change in altitude, and your middle ear pressure doesn’t change, you’ll experience a sense of pressure on your eardrum. Swallowing or yawning can help relieve the pressure, and you’ll hear a popping sound when that happens. A change in altitude isn’t the only things that can cause this pressure change. Stress is a culprit as well. What can be more stressful than benzo withdrawal? So, it makes sense that we have a lot of weird ear symptoms that will pass once our nervous system calms down.
I imagine that some of the dizziness we experience is caused by a disturbance in the ear. When we understand that the symptoms we feel aren’t dangerous, we can accept them more and relax about them. We don’t want to cause more stress by stressing over our symptoms!
Do you see what I see?
Vision problems are also a normal occurrence in benzo withdrawal. Blurry vision, double or triple vision is common. Dry eyes, scratchy eyes, and itchy eyes are normal for benzo withdrawal as well. Pain and pressure can occur, too. Sunlight or lights in a room can be overwhelming, causing pain. A month ago (March 18) I penned a blog about vision issues in withdrawal. Feel free to refer to it for a more detailed account of eye symptoms in benzo withdrawal.
What a pain!
Many people suffer headaches in benzo withdrawal. They can range from mild to debilitating and last briefly or seem to go on for days and days. I didn’t have intense headaches, but I did get what I call icepick headaches. I’d feel a quick stab of pain in my head that would come and go at random times. In benzo withdrawal, these types of occurrences can create fear in us. We are sure that something life-threatening is happening! Thankfully, these symptoms don’t seem to be dangerous, just annoying and scary.
The back of the head region is a target for benzo withdrawal. Many people report feeling pressure, tightness, or tingling in the back of the head. I often felt as if someone had taken a baseball bat to the back of my head. It wasn’t the pain I’d associate with a headache, it was something very different, and hard to describe. I was able to go about my day when I had this symptom, but it wasn’t enjoyable trying to distract myself from it.
Have you ever felt that you have a tight band around your head? That’s another common benzo withdrawal symptom. It’s also a common symptom of stress or anxiety, which of course, we have boatloads of in withdrawal.
What are your head symptoms?
Do you have head symptoms in benzo withdrawal? If you’d like to share your symptoms, feel free. If you have found a healthy way to cope with them, please let us know. I only took one dose of an over-the-counter pain reliever during withdrawal. (You won’t find any medications in my medicine cabinet!) and that was for a high fever I had when I contracted the H1N1 influenza. We have to be careful of what we use for headaches or other body pains as some medications can flare our symptoms. I always tried to find natural ways to combat my head symptoms rather than swallowing a pill since it was a pill that put me in the mess I was in!
A group Sacred Relationship workshop.
So many people have expressed an interest in the Sacred Relationship Workshop but unable to afford the one-on-one cost, that I want to offer it to you at a much lower price as a group workshop. We will start on Wednesday, May 1 at 3 PM Pacific. You’ll need to be well enough to follow along and feel comfortable joining a zoom room (you can turn off your camera so we don’t see you if you’d prefer). The cost will be $99 for the workshop. It is normally four hour-long sessions, however, teaching a group might take longer. If so, we will go as long as it takes to finish the complete workshop. Please sign up here: soulreminders.com/donate. If you have any questions about the workshop, please reach out.