I do my best to avoid posting anything political on Facebook. Once in a while, I’ll post something I feel strongly about, but I always prepare myself for the backlash. And there will always be a backlash. Someone, somewhere, is going to disagree with my viewpoint and feel the need to tell me. That’s how social media works. I’m five and half years out from my last benzo, and I’ve seen a great deal of healing, so my central nervous system is much better equipped to handle the emotional stress and strain of disagreements. But that wasn’t always the case. When I was in the deep, dark, throes of benzo withdrawal, I struggled with my emotional response to just about everything. My feeling got hurt very easily. I felt teary at the drop of a hat. I couldn’t handle criticism, and everything sounded like criticism for awhile. Perhaps you know what I’m talking about. Perhaps you are struggling to keep your head above water in benzo withdrawal and in these highly charged political times.

What can we do to safeguard our recovery while the world seems to be going haywire around us? We avoid emotional triggers. We stay away from the social media or news outlets that disturb us. We can unfollow friends on Facebook that continually agitate us. We don’t spend hours and hours glued to our newsfeeds. And most importantly, we don’t stir the pot by leaving emotionally charged or unkind comments anywhere on the Internet. We don’t go inviting trouble, so to speak!

Emotional stress can set us back in benzo withdrawal. We need to take good care of ourselves. Limiting our exposure to drama on the Internet, or in our relationships, is important. Once we are more healed, we can engage with those who currently push our buttons. We will have more capability and capacity to see their point of view and to accommodate it to some degree. When we are more healed we may find that we are more flexible in life, with less and less being absolutely black and white. There’s something about going through benzo withdrawal that expands us, and opens us up in some pretty cool ways!

If you find yourself with an increase in benzo withdrawal symptoms, add up how much time you spend indulging in emotionally charged conversations either on the web or in person. How much time do you spend reading comments on a post? How much time do you spend reading the news, or watching it on television? If you find you are devoting too much time to politics, or any other topic that is emotionally charged for you, you may want to consider finding something less upsetting to do. I know that can be a challenge for some who are bedridden or too weak or dizzy to move around. But we can find simple things to do with our hands and minds such as paint, draw, knit, crochet, or do puzzles, etc. Set goals for yourself to use your time more kindly and gently. You can even set creative goals for yourself. I was determined to learn how to draw while I was in benzo withdrawal. I watched YouTube videos to learn technique and every day I drew something. I got pretty good!

No matter what is going on out in the world, you are busy healing. It is your number one, top priority job. Your health and well-being take center stage. Please respect your fragile and vulnerable central nervous system and limit your exposure to emotional upheaval. Limit your creation of drama, too. We can’t be responsible for others, but even in withdrawal, we can me mindful of our own side of the street and keep it as clean as possible.

One more thing that’s worth mentioning. Kindness is never out of style. If we treat ourselves and others with kindness, chances are good that we will be promoting not only our own healing, but healing for those around us as well. Even people who are not in benzo withdrawal are fighting great battles.