After my cold turkey, there were so many days I didn’t think I’d make it. The mental and physical symptoms were too severe, too cruel, too inhumane. I pleaded with God to take me home. I didn’t want to suffer anymore. I can’t tell you how many times I felt that I was at the end of my rope. “Now what do I do?” I’d think to myself. On those dark days, I’d tug on my overalls and get busy in the garden, no matter how weak I felt. Often all I could manage was to sit on the ground and pull weeds. I had to be doing something to take my mind off of my suffering. On the darkest days, when I couldn’t muster the energy for the garden, I’d sit in a chair in my yard and hold onto the arms. I knew that as long as my hands were touching the arms, I was safe; I wasn’t harming myself. There were days when I held onto those arms for hours on end.
When we are exhausted from trudging the long road of benzo withdrawal, we need to have a few things we can turn to to help us hold on a few more hours, until we feel we can keep going. Engaging your hands in an activity can help reroute your thoughts away from your suffering. Gardening, painting, crocheting, knitting, puzzles can be helpful, as is a gentle walk in nature. Some people find that talking to someone who has healed from benzo withdrawal helps to flame the sparks of hope once again.
Taking a break from focusing on benzo withdrawal is another way to help us recharge ourselves so we can move forward. I often took time away from forums and groups because reading about other’s suffering only added to my own.
Having a plan to reach out to someone you trust is important. It’s best to educate a few people about benzo withdrawal so that when you need them, they can be there for you without you having to go into a long explanation about what you are experiencing. Let them know that even if they can’t understand all your symptoms, that they can help by being available to you should you reach out and need to talk. I turned to a few trusted friends who were also in benzo withdrawal. Mary, Heather, Sherry, Matt, Baylissa, Don, Geraldine—they all took turns reassuring me that I’d get well. Even a few “normie” friends would tell me that withdrawal would end, eventually. It helped to hear them remind me of who I used to be before withdrawal and to hear the promise that I’d return to being happy and healthy again. (And I did! Big time!)
Suicide happens in withdrawal, sadly. People lose hope. They are afraid that they will suffer forever. They can’t see an end to withdrawal, nd they give up. I want everyone to know that withdrawal does end. Life becomes sweet again. It would be a shame to miss out on the blessings that await you. Have a plan of action to stay safe should you feel that you can’t go on. Enlist a trusted friend or family member to be “on call” should you need help. Better yet, enlist a few such people. And call on them should your days become too dark to manage.
Other things we can do when we feel we can’t go on anymore is to pause. Take a breath. Take another. Then another. In essence, we don’t have to do anything other than be alive. We can sit with the symptoms, knowing that they won’t harm us and that they will go away. Praying is also a good choice of action. I was at the end of my rope so many times after my cold turkey. I dropped to my knees many times in a day begging God to help me. For a long time, it seemed that my prayers went unanswered, but my life now is so full of blessings that I know I was heard, held, loved, and blessed. You are too.
Remember that the feeling that you can’t go on is just that. It is a feeling. It’s not a fact. Feelings are like clouds in the sky. They come and they go, one right after the other. And they often change shape and form along the way. Allow your feelings to pass through you without giving them much energy or focus. Know that I new feeling is coming. You won’t have the one you are experiencing this moment forever. It’s good to remember that everything in the known universe has three things in common: a beginning, a middle, and an end. When your feelings are overwhelming, remind yourself that they have a beginning, a middle and an end. Breathe through them. Or better yet, take a gentle walk as they come to an end. Moving the body (gently!) helps us process “stinky” energy. Or, you can plant flowers as I did. Being out in the sunshine, hands in the dirt, listening to the birds and the bees was exceptionally healing.
You can go on, even when you feel that you can’t. You get through those cruel moments of fear, terror, hopelessness, rage, and despair by allowing those feelings to pass. You reach out to friends or family. You take a walk. You get outside in nature. You pray. And you tell yourself what those of us who have more healing under our belts know to be true, “This too shall pass.” Hold on. Better days are just around the bend. They are there, waiting for you. And they are going to be so incredibly good, you won’t look back at this chapter of your life. You’ll be way too busy being so happy! I know I am.