If you suffer from intrusive thoughts in benzo withdrawal, you know that they are loud and relentless! I thought my intrusive thoughts about death would never, ever, stop. I was convinced I was mentally unhinged. I thought that without a benzo, I was pretty much bonkers. But the benzo survivors ahead of me kept telling me that “It’s the drug, it’s not you.” I held onto a very thin thread of hope, day after exhausting day.

One of the worst things about intrusive thoughts is how cunning they are. If I laser focused my attention on something else, the thoughts receded to the background. But the moment—and I do mean the very instant—I turned my attention away, the thoughts pounced! Transitions from one activity to the next were exceptionally brutal. For example, I’d watch YouTube videos of soldiers returning home. When I’d turn off the videos to get up to go do something else, “WHAM!!” My intrusive thoughts about death hit me front and center, full force!

Transitions in benzo withdrawal can be tricky (an understatement!).  If we are lucky enough to become focused on something other than our intrusive thoughts (or other benzo withdrawal symptoms) they rush back in when we go from one activity to the next. I coped with transitions by reminding myself that my symptoms were probably going to take center stage again. When I turned off the YouTube videos, for example, I’d remind myself that I might have a surge in intrusive thoughts. I prepared myself as best as I could. Of course, I wondered if I was creating the thoughts by preparing for them. However, as my brain repaired itself from the damage from the benzo, the thoughts faded away on their own. I wasn’t creating them.

If you are having a hard time with transitions, know that one day, they won’t bother you at all. You’ll go effortlessly from one activity to the next. You’ll be in the moment and out of the focus on yourself and your symptoms. Life will feel fluid again. Easy. Smooth. And you’ll soon forget that you once struggled to get through your days and nights. Benzodiazepine withdrawal will be a distant memory. And, so will all of those rough transitions you experienced. Even better news? You’ll realize that you were never “bonkers.” You were just in benzo withdrawal.