I celebrated two years of benzo freedom on June 23. I am not healed, but I am not defeated.
I still have many of the symptoms that began during my taper, as well as some that arrived after my eventual cold turkey. I am still unable to work very much, but I am hopeful that one day I can resume a normal life. The biggest challenge is not being able to plan anything as I have no idea how I will feel on any given day or time. The uncertainly is hard, yet I do my best to embrace it and realize it is what it is.
My fatigue is crushing at times. The burning and tingling can be a challenge to cope with, but I do my best to distract. The bone and muscle pain on the other hand is difficult to ignore, no matter how hard I try. The mental weirdness comes and goes, and for the most part, I am able to distance my “true self” from it and know that it is simply the workings of a brain doing its best to heal.
I remind myself that doctors kept me on Klonopin for almost 2 decades. My healing is taking the course it needs to repair from all the damage over so many years. I know this. Yet, there are days when I am impatient. Or frightened. I want so much to be back at work full-time. I have created a handful of websites and attempted a few excursions back into employment, but I have not been able to sustain very much forward motion as the pain, brain fog, and fatigue derail me. I am however, doing something every day to birth my new company and create the vision I had in 2002. The fear kicks in when I tell myself that I will never heal, that this is as good as it is going to get. When I believe that thought, I feel hopeless and defeated. I can’t imagine another 20 or 30 years of these symptoms. Some days I want to go to a doctor to make sure I don’t have MS, or CFS, or a brain tumor, or cancer….. but I never pick up the phone and make an appointment because I know my symptoms are shared by others in benzo withdrawal. Nor do I trust allopathic medicine, with all of its pills. So I keep telling myself I am healing, and do my best to believe it.
Some days I convince myself I am close to the finish line. I remind myself of just how very, very, very sick I was during the last of my taper, and how god freaking awful it was when I cold turkeyed. I am, without a doubt, better. On some days, I am much better. But for the most part, I still have a journey ahead of me. I take it one day at a time. One step at a time. I have learned what helps me cope: gardening, community, friends….. and a strong reliance on my Higher Power to give me the strength to keep going. So far, I have been graced with that strength.
Hopefully, before too long, I will be posting a success story. I will be able to say I am back at work, healed and healthy. Until then, I keep putting one stubborn foot in front of the other. There is nothing else to do, other than to make the best of this mess, and to believe that one day, it will end.
AT 20 mos. out, I am in the same boat as you. We just have to trust that God has a plan for our lives, and that His plan is the best. It really is unbearable at times, but we must hold on. I am praying for us all.
What has helped you most? take care. Rob Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2013 19:55:07 +0000 To: email@example.com
I just want to let you know that these emails about your experience continue to be so helpful to me. I’ve “relapsed” (I hesitate to use that word because I don’t use the benzos for pleasure but just to keep me functional). I am still on this exhausting journey and hearing from you always gives me a glimmer of hope.
Sent from my iPhone
On Jul 11, 2013, at 3:56 PM, Benzo Withdrawal Help wrote:
WordPress.com Dr. Jennifer Leigh posted: “I celebrated two years of benzo freedom on June 23. I am not healed, but I am not defeated. I still have many of the symptoms that began during my taper, as well as some that arrived after my eventual cold turkey. I am still unable to work very much, b”
I am only 5 weeks off from Lorazepam (0.5 mg for 4 months), and it has been hell, anxiety, fear, feeling detached, emptiness, headache, the list just goes on. I never thought low dosage use with such short duration can still have such devastating effect on my brain. It’s good to see the courage shown in people from this forum. There has been so many times I just want to give up. Reading from your experience gives me hope. I have been having nice windows almost every second day since I came off from Lorazepam, I felt blessed for those mountain top experience. But the windows seem to disappear in the past week. No signs of that lifting. Is that typical ? I thought once you have windows, it will progressively becoming more frequent and longer duration.
Ed Chiu in Canada
Gardening! I am out in my yard every day. It helps ground me. I dont have a back yard, so forced to be out in “public” in my front yard. I now have dozens of great friends who stop by every day. The community that has grown around my garden is amazing. I feel loved and supported by so many.
Hope your healing goes well. Jenn
I am not sure anything is “typical” in withdrawal. I can only share my experience. At four months free I was feeling pretty hopeful that everything was lifting. I even penned a success story at benzo buddies. But then got SLAMMED with terror, DR, etc. etc etc. It was a nightmare that would continue for a very, very, very long time. All we can do is hold on for the ride. One day, it will end. If you have concerns please post at benzobuddies.org for support. Perhaps there are others there who are in the same boat you are in. It’s a great resource, since there are so few doctors trained and educated about this healing process. All the best to you!
Thank you for continuing to share your story. You have helped me not feel alone. I too use to work in a similar prof. and my entire world changed from this weening of a benzo drug. You have to feel well yourself in order to counsel well and I have been deciding if I should stay in the prof. or not. Due to my own healing that Im still working on it to has left me with what to do for my prof. I pray for you Jen and everyone trying to heal from being on the benzo med. and I know God has. plan for us all. So keep having faith and thank you for sharing your story.xo
Thanks Jennifer, the windows and waves are just so discouraging some times. I agree with you that the doctors are very much useless, when it comes to benzo withdrawal. They have no idea. My doctor was trying to put me back on anti-depressant, which was the reason I had to take benzo to cope with. I refuse to go back to any drug merry go around anymore. Today is another extreme difficult day for me. I thought I was over with the anxiety as it was replaced by the feeling of fearful sensation in the stomach/chest area. But today it switched back to anxiety again, only more severe this time. Frustrating !!!!!
I hope your gardening activity will continue to help you heal. I will have to find some activities to keep my mind occupied.
Ed Chiu in Canada
Hi Jenn it is so good to hear from you again. I am now 3.5 weeks benzo free. I just keep wondering where I would be if I hadn’t started back on this stupid drug in Sierra. Oh well, here I go again! Today I can say that I know I am healing and life looks like it may be “normal” again someday……tomorrow may be a different story all together. Most everyone of the symptoms that you talk about are what I deal with also. I have such a hard time planning for anything cause I never know how I am going to feel from one day to the next……. “things” can literally change over night, from a good day to a awful day. I also try hard to find things to distract me when I am feeling crappy!!!! 🙂 My grandchildren, camping, helping my husband on the ranch, my horse, my yard work……anything that can help me get through a day. My grandson (7) and I just started a new little business…. we bought 20 chickens and are selling the eggs… it has been great fun working with him, and I didn’t every think I would become attached to chickens. I thank God for the strength that He supplies me with each day! I think about you often!
Carol from Montana
Jenn, I don’t leave comments (well, not usually), but I always read your blog posts. I can relate completely to this one in particular. I too am desperate to return to the working world. I drew my identity from that. I don’t want to be drawing my identity from this, but that’s the way it is for me right now. I’m glad you have gardening. I hope healing will come for us sooner rather than later.
Are there anyone with withdrawal symptoms for :Midazolam AKA Dormicum, Hypnovel, Versed I am not able to find any inforamtion about it other then it is one of the Benzos
Please reply if you can help
Congrats Jenn! You and I are just weeks apart from the benzo free date. Your posts are much appreciated and give me the “pat on my back” feeling I need on some days when I wonder why this is taking so long. I copied and sent some of your posts to family members to help them understand what this journey is for me….I haven’t been able to say what you say so well….and it’s helped my family (my mother in particular) to understand better. Congratulations and keep healing!
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Yes, I have considered. But I was too sick for too long to be able to do much. I’m working on a video to help bring awareness to psych med withdrawal.
I will be adding more -as you say- pop- one day. I’m only now feeling as if I have enough band width. I’m birthing my new company as well. So I’m juggling my time.
Ashton and Bliss remind us to take baby steps when we start to feel better. That’s what I’m doing.
Now that there are funds to maintain this site, I will spruce it up.
Anyone have any images or videos please send.
And if anyone visits the link to the poster I have not checked out their website or product. Just FYI.
My posting the comment is not an endorsement. But I look forward to learning more about their program.