Where did I leave off? (Sorry it’s taken me awhile to get back to the story.)
12-18 months off wasn’t a walk in the park but it got a bit easier.
I called Don and Bliss a lot for reassurance that it was really going to end, as it kept hanging on and hanging on and hanging on. The mental symptoms of withdrawal were getting better, but the body stuff was still relentless. I still had burning spine, tingles, burning tongue, head pressure, ringing ears, dizzy spells, muscle twitches, muscle pain, bone pain, joint pain, back of head pain, vision problems, feeling as if I had the flu, terrible weakness and fatigue, chest pain, rib pain, gastro problems… and more. I was a sick puppy.
Besides the intrusive thoughts and death obsession, my two worst symptoms were the internal sensation that time was going very, very, very, very fast, and the random flashes of fear that descended out of nowhere over me. I don’t know how to describe the “going fast” sensation. It happened when I got excited over something. It was as if even happiness was too much for my CNS to cope with. Now that my receptors are mostly healed, I don’t have that sensation anymore. My body can better tolerate joy (thank God!). The fear flashes would come out of the blue, or when I heard about someone being ill or dying. That has gone away as well.
When I called to talk to Don, he reassured me that we do heal. He was much farther along and healing faster than I was. It was at times unsettling to compare my healing to his. (I knew I shouldn’t, but I did.)
It’s hard to keep going on faith, month after month, after month. But what else can we do? I got good at simply holding on. I also got somewhat skilled at letting go and letting God. That’s not to say I didn’t give him a piece of my mind now and then, but for the most part, I was learning how to have faith.
The 18-24 month span found things getting less intense. Same symptoms, (an old “early off” symptom thrown in now and then to keep me on my toes) but there were also hours during the day where I could be *almost* normal. I gained more hope. I tried working a few times during this time frame, but I was still too damaged to do more than a few odd jobs to bring in enough money to keep me afloat.
Not working was one of the hardest things for me to cope with. I felt so utterly useless. All I could do was garden. Looking back, I see that God used my garden to reach a lot of people. (I hadn’t been as unproductive as I thought!) I bet when you heal more and you look back, you are going to see ways that God (the universe, call it what you like) was there guiding you and using you for good.
You aren’t “wasting” time in withdrawal. ( I know I sure as sugar didn’t!) My suffering in withdrawal was like that of a caterpillar, trapped in a silken prison, morphing… not knowing what is coming next… and then one day, the caterpillar understands his time in the cocoon was so that he could turn into a magnificent butterfly!
I’ve been completely transformed by my withdrawal experience. My life is so much richer and fuller for having suffered and come out on the other side. My hunch is you will find that in the end, you are a much different person too, in a good way, if you keep your heart open.
I will be 36 months, three years free, next month. I still have body symptoms but they are mild most days. I don’t let them stop me anymore. I have a full, rich, happy life. I am so busy writing new books and sharing the lessons God gave me while I tended to my garden, that I don’t think much about withdrawal. BTW, My old anxiety did not return. Nor do I feel I have PTSD from the withdrawal experience. When I do have negative thoughts, (I’m human, we all have them!) I know that it is just my mind and that my thoughts are not who I am. The ME that is observing my thoughts is the real me. I don’t let my thoughts disturb my peace and serenity. I don’t dwell on the past, nor do I look ahead into the future. I have gotten fairly skilled at living in the present moment, with all of its amazing power. This present moment is where I can access God.
If you are wondering if it ever really ends, wonder no more. I believe it does. I can’t believe how quiet my mind is these days. It is even more quiet than when the doctor gave me klonopin decades ago.
Every day I see huge increases in my awareness and my peace and serenity.
So many wonderful things are happening in my life, I lose track of all of the blessings. God has plans for me and I am doing my best to step up to the plate and be willing to be of service.
If you can’t access God right now in withdrawal, or the thought of God fills you with fear, I HAD THAT TOO! It’s ALL gone now. Your’s will go away too I suspect. Give it time.
If you read back into the early years when I started this blog, (Notice the many months of ZERO posts? I was too sick!) you get the picture of just how sick I was. It does get better.
Believe in your benzo buddies who reassure you that your crazy symptoms are just withdrawal and that one day, they will fade away.
If you want a daily lift for you spirits, you can visit soulreminders.com. I write one every day. to remind myself to stay open and awake to God’s good grace now that I am back among the living!
I wish you all the speediest recoveries. Thank you all for your continued support and for walking this road with me. I feel your love and your prayers every day. I hope you can feel mine. (I’ll keep posting here to reassure new readers that we do heal.)