A good therapist can do wonders for helping people learn how to cope with their thoughts and feelings. The metaphor of teaching a dog new tricks applies. However, it is difficult to learn anything new to help in benzo withdrawal. It seems you can’t teach a wounded dog new tricks. That makes sense. A wounded dog is in survival mode: protective and fearful. Those of us in benzo withdrawal are in survival mode as well.
Research supports the idea that therapy doesn’t help alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Nor does it help when old wounds are uncovered in withdrawal. Without enough working GABA receptors and hence an irrational mind bathed in fear, it makes sense that now is not the time for self-reflection.
Other healing modalities such as acupuncture and neurofeedback often have limited positive impact on withdrawal symptoms. One neurofeedback practitioner reported that the benzo brain is totally different animal. Of course it is.
Even massage therapy can ramp up the CNS.
You may not be able to teach a wounded dog new tricks, but you can provide a safe place for her to lick her wounds and recover. Journaling is helpful. It is also a good way to note the topics you may want to delve deeper into with a therapist once your brain is healed. Walks in nature can be calming, as well as listening to sounds of nature on a CD or Youtube. My favorite is the sound of rain and a thunderstorm. Baths and swimming can help. (Too much exercise can flare symptoms, so be careful.)
Expressive arts can help us cope with the tsunami of feelings we have during withdrawal. I am not an artist but it helps to paint what I am feeling: big bold colors, angry swirls, etc.
Now may not be the time for therapy, neurofeedback, acupuncture etc. But it is the time to nurture yourself with good sights and sounds, safe activities, and ways to safely cope with intense feelings.
Good food goes a long way to helping the healing process as well. The movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is an eye opener. I now juice every day. (Kale, carrots, oranges, apples, cucumbers, celery, parsley, asparagus, tomatoes, ginger, beets, 1/2 lemon. Yum!)
You may not be able to learn new tricks in benzo withdrawal but you can certainly take good care of yourself while your brain heals.
And when this is all over, you will have learned the greatest tricks of all: self-care, self compassion, patience, and how to cope with one of the worst experiences life will throw at you.
If you have a coping skills that works for you, please take the time to share. We learn from each other.