Often we are told to “cope” with the challenges of withdrawal. I don’t agree.I don’t want to “cope” with problems. I want to cure them! Of course we can’t cure everything, but we can certainly approach problems with a good attitude and some wisely chosen tools.
Withdrawal is a time of fear. Not just ones we create in our minds, but also ones created by the imbalance of neurotransmitters in our brains. Let’s look at how we can cure the fear to the best of our ability.
I’ll post about the brain parts you should know when it comes to anxiety, but for now, let’s just look at the exercises you can do to calm your self when you are afraid.
There are a number of things you can do. The first is to STOP the fearful thoughts. You need to do this because any thought you have over and over, (i.e. “is this really withdrawal or am I dying?” “What if I never get well?” “What if I panic?” etc.) creates a sort of “groove” in your brain, like a groove in a record. You have now created what is called a neural pathway and just a glimmer of a negative thought can put you straight into that “groove” and very scared. You can use your brain to literally change your brain. You can train your brain to create a positive groove. one where you are at peace.
Tell yourself, “Stop!” when you are having the scary thought, and then replace the thought.
The trick is to sit down and think about things you can replace your scary thoughts with so you are armed and ready when they strike.
If you are obsessive, stop the thought and repeat a positive saying, a prayer, a chant, song lyric etc. Say it over and over if need be.
Sing! Say “stop!” and sing out loud! Singing does amazing things in the body. I won’t go into it here, but know that singing has a very positive effect on the brain, even if you are way off-key!
Say “stop” and distract yourself. Watch TV, play Angry Birds, call a friend and listen to them, play a word puzzle, anything to get your mind off of your scary thought.
Say “Stop!” and then practice “voo.” Voo is an amazing way to banish fear. It is my favorite technique! Simply get comfy and breathe out the sound “voo” which is pronounced with a soft u, as in you. “Vooooooooooo.” Feel the vibration in your body. Focus on breathing the sound from your belly. Let the breath out with the sound, pause naturally, and only when you are ready, breathe in and repeat. Never force the breath. The gentle vibration of “voo” can help you connect deeper within, below the fear and into the “real” you! Allow yourself to think on the sound, the vibration and your breath.
You can gain control over your fear by telling yourself to “stop!” and refocusing your attention.
Fear is often, False Evidence Appearing Real. Remember fear is a feeling, nothing more. It is not real. It is just an uncomfortable sensation designed to keep us alive. But when our fear circuits in our brain are overactive, we don’t get much joy out of life.
Try one or two of the “Stop!” techniques the next time you have a fearful thought.
I’ll be posting a page about the brain so you better understand what is going on that create your thoughts and what you can do about them.
I’ll leave you with this thought. Life just IS. It is neither good, bad, scary, or calm. We decide that for ourselves.
Your withdrawal just IS. You decide what it means and how to feel about it.
Yes, I know a brain that does not have enough GABA functioning is going to be more “anxious.” But we can tell ourselves that our anxiety is just a feeling, it is not US. It is not a real alarm that anything is amiss.
Keep fighting the good fight.