Hello to the start of the holiday season!

I’m seeing twelve-foot-tall skeletons and pumpkins in people’s yards and lots of Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations on store shelves. Fall is my favorite season— the cool nights, the smell of woodsmoke, and the night blanketing us in her coziness earlier and earlier. I’m looking forward to the coming holiday celebrations. Of course, it wasn’t always this way. I remember the holidays I spent feeling sick, scared, and hopeless, convinced I would never recover from benzo withdrawal. But I did. And you will, too. If you are not looking forward to the holidays because you are in benzo withdrawal/BIND, do your best to observe your negative thoughts and feelings and not buy into them. You experience them because your nervous system is in the ‘protect state’ due to the downregulation of the GABA receptors. The protect state generates negative thoughts and feelings. (The world is still magnificent, even though you can’t see or feel that.)

Practice patience, acceptance, and as much gratitude as you can muster. Add some distraction to the mix, too. These four things combined help us turn down the volume of our suffering. If you can find a creative way to be of service to someone or something, even better! The outward focus of service greatly helps our nervous system shift into the parasympathetic ventral vagal state, where we are the healthiest and happiest. I gardened and kept the wildlife fed when I was at my worst. Those things helped a great deal.

What’s new at Benzo Withdrawal Help?

  • I gave the website a facelift. Hopefully, it is easier to navigate. Check it out and let me know.
  • I added an events calendar showing what we are doing in The Tapering Club, which meets on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. Pacific, and in the Benzo Withdrawal Help Premium Support Group, which meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9 a.m. Pacific. Now you can see what topics we will discuss or any extra events like movie night, yoga classes, or hanging out with me in my kitchen.
  • I invited you to join us in the Benzo Withdrawal Help Premium Support Group for a free Q&A  session. You can hang out in the group for a few days and check us out. You won’t have access to all the bells and whistles, but you’ll get a feel for what we do. I’ll add another invite in a few weeks. You can find the invite on the front page of the website, or you click here to Join us for a free Q&A
  • I’m working on a Benzo Withdrawal Basic free course. I’ll post it when it’s ready to launch. (Yes, I’m aware I promised years ago to write a book. I’ll make good on that promise, I promise. Until then, the free course can help you.)
  • More people are sharing the link to the certification course with their healthcare providers! That’s good news!
  • I’m looking for big podcast shows to be a guest on to share about the dangers of benzos. Let me know which shows I should approach.
  • What topics would you like me to blog or post a video about? Let me know.

What’s new in the benzo community?

  • I’m seeing a positive shift in how people cope with benzo withdrawal symptoms. More people understand that adjunct medications rarely work and often come with their own adverse reactions and withdrawal symptoms. They are standing up to the healthcare professional who wants to polydrug them. This makes me so happy! It means people are becoming more educated about benzo withdrawal/BIND.
  • I’m also seeing an increase in people understanding polyvagal theory and putting into practice stress relief coping skills. If you want help with that, please let me know. 
  • I’m being asked often about COVID-19 and flu vaccines now that virus season is upon us. Here is what I know: both vaccines can cause an uptick in benzo withdrawal/BIND symptoms. It doesn’t always happen, but it can happen. If it does happen, it is usually short-lived. Everyone has to decide for themselves if getting a vaccine (for anything) is right for them or not. I can’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.
  • I get asked questions about at-home treatment for viral infections. Always consult with your doctor if you are concerned about any symptoms. If you need to treat pain or a fever, acetaminophen is better than ibuprofen. Oral decongestants have been recently shown to be ineffective, but nasal ones do work. They may cause an uptick in benzo withdrawal symptoms, however, so you may want to start with a small squirt to test. (Don’t use them for more than the days recommended, as that can cause a rebound effect.) Always check out the resource page on the website if you are in doubt about any medication. If you get COVID-19 and are taking a benzo, please read about the possible interactions with Paxlovid. 

What’s new with me?

  • I’m looking forward to my breast explant surgery. I’ll know in a few weeks when that will take place. I’m beginning to realize that some of my issues with benzo withdrawal *may* have been made worse due to my implants. I’ve had them for almost forty years. Yikes! I’ll let everyone know when I will take a few days off from coaching for my surgery recovery. (And no, I am not at all worried about having a setback of withdrawal symptoms due to the surgery. We heal and get past that risk.)
  • In my search for ways to help people avoid taking a benzo (or other dangerous medications), I started the Great Sex After Fifty website. But after more exploring, I realize my energy and efforts are better suited elsewhere. I have closed that site. It’s challenging being an entrepreneur, especially if you are like me, with big ideas and a bit impulsive. 🙂  I have promised my three business advisors that I will look before I leap in the future. I know the right opportunity to help people avoid meds will show itself. I’ll practice what I tell my clients: patience, patience, patience.
  • Tuesday, I start the aesthetics part of my dental recovery journey. Please, please, please, see your dentist! Benzo withdrawal/BIND can be hard on our teeth. I am facing tens of thousands of dollars worth of work because I didn’t stay on top of the damage the benzos caused. You don’t want to end up like me. Book a cleaning or consult with your dentists today! I’m serious about this!
  • Life continues to be sweet, full of mystery and magic. I’m looking forward to one of my twin’s wedding celebration in December. He and his wife got married during COVID-19 without a ceremony. Now it’s time to have the big bash! I am also looking forward to the birth of a new (my 7th grandchild!) grandson in March, near my birthday. As I embrace the four cornerstones of well-being, my life becomes richer and fuller. Benzo withdrawal is long behind me, but my journey to live my highest and best is ongoing, always learning and growing. You will, too. (We discuss life after benzo withdrawal on Friday, October 13th, in the Benzo Withdrawal Help Premium Support Group.)

What’s new with you?

Leave a comment and let us know how things are getting better. What are you able to do now? What shifts in your coping skills are helping? What can we help you celebrate?