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.
Jennifer, that last paragraph was exactly what I needed this morning! I look forward to your posts. THANK YOU and God Bless you! Dan
I look forward to your posts every week… They keep me going. Your encouragement and “you can to this and will get through it” attitude is a life saver I’m sure for many. Knowing the intrusive thoughts and other symptoms are a result of the withdrawal and not how I’m going to be the rest of my life really gets me through the hard times. Thank you as always for helping me to see the light at the end of the tunnel! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.
Jennifer, your website is the Best anywhere on the Internet. I feel blessed to have discovered it because it is not an easy one to come across. You speak to all the real life situations to us in withdrawal are going through and we know you have been there, done that and are telling us just exactly the way it is. You have a wealth of information to share and I just pray that others are able to find you easier than I was. You are certainly earning your wings here on earth by giving of yourself so selflessly to help guide others through what you know is probably the worst thing they will ever go through in their lives. You should consider putting all your postings into a book so that it can reach More people. God bless you.
Thank you, Jenn. I hadn’t experienced intrusive thoughts before, but I had a bout with them yesterday. Thoughts of death and suicide, though my physical symptoms were much better. It is so disturbing. Your posts are so timely for me. I’m glad to have some things to do to get through the them. Today, I experienced my first day of being relatively symptom free. I was able to shower and dress and go shopping. It has been glorious, and I’m gonna tie a ribbon around this window. I hope to remember it when symptoms return. Thank you for all you do.
So true Jennifer. Intrusives have been one of my worst symptoms, right up there with fear. It has gotten better just recently. I am 30 months off a C/T after taking Klonopin for 20 years. Would you happen to know how many of our symptoms are linked to fear? Thank you for all your encouraging posts.