This may turn into a long post so please read when/if you have the time. I’m feeling confessional.

As I journey further into my withdrawal, I am overwhelmed by old scary thoughts and feelings I thought long healed. Perhaps my withdrawal is a golden opportunity to heal them, and gain more power in my life.

I have swallowed my anger most of my life. Anger is a scary place for me. If I get angry I am terrified something awful will happen. I remember the time my sister and I fought when we were little girls and she ended up getting the belt from my father because of our angry fight. Her cries from the “spanking” made my blood run cold. I thought my father was going to literally kill her. I begged my mother to go help her, but she sat and sewed at the kitchen table as if nothing out of the ordinary was taking place. I felt terribly guilty for my sister’s suffering even though I was not the one wielding the belt. But I learned that getting angry meant someone got hurt. When my father would get angry, he would say, “I am going to tear you up!” I knew what that meant and his anger terrified me.

Because I have been so wimpy around anger, I have allowed great injustices to take place in my life.

The times I was able to tap into my anger, was when I had to protect my children. I felt my fury and had no problem standing up for them.

What I need to do is learn how to do that for myself. 

When my symptoms get scary, I go to this place of defeat in my mind. I feel like a silent victim, at the mercy of my psychological and physical symptoms. I don’t stand up for myself. Feeling helpless makes my symptoms worse. Every new symptom is a cause for alarm. How bad will it get? Can I endure it?

Instead of avoiding anger I would do better to tap into a moment of anger, “Hey symptom! You aren’t going to push ME around!” That doesn’t mean I  have to fight the healing process. It just means I can stand up to it.

Acceptance of what is happening in your life is a good thing. No use fighting the fact that you are in benzo withdrawal. But, and it is a big but, nothing is gained by feeling victimized and allowing your symptoms to “win.”

There are times when I am engulfed in a wave of terror. It is not a panic attack per se, but rather a strange sensation that comes over me. I know when it is coming, as it has a distinct feeling. My usual stance is to sit and cry, shaking from head to toe, and feeling helpless. It started tonight and I said out loud, “Oh, not you don’t!” I got out of bed and walked around, and I got angry. Good and angry! I am tired of sitting around feeling helpless.

I may have been too young and too small to stand up to the things in my childhood that made me feel it wasn’t safe to feel anger or to be around others anger.  But now is a perfect time to learn to dance with my anger. Now is a perfect time to visit the scary place that I know will help me heal.

Once I am benzo free, I will have to cope with ALL of my feelings. I won’t be able to take my benzo to relieve my anxiety.

I am beginning to see my anxiety is my  anger repressed.  Instead of feeling anger at people or events I feel helpless and that fuels my anxiety. I don’t feel I am in control.

What scary place do you have in your psyche that may hold a piece of the healing puzzle?

How might you dance around the edges of that scary place and get closer to it? What might you need in order to go down into the scary place and explore?

I am strapping on my lighted helmet, and I am going rappelling down into my pit of anger. Don’t know what I will find, or what the journey will be like. Am I scared? Hell yes! But with just a little bit of anger under my belt, I bet I can go explore the whole place and come back safe and sound.

I’ll come out of benzo withdrawal safe and sound too.

You will too.

Dr. Jenn

“When I am angry I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understanding sharpened, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart.”
~ Martin Luther