Dealing with benzo withdrawal can be an arduous journey, characterized by waves of symptoms that ebb and flow. However, amidst the challenging waves, there are moments of respite known as “windows” when symptoms temporarily subside or disappear. It makes no sense. If the nervous system can get it right for a while, why can’t it stay that way? Why do symptoms have to return? There are some theories but no solid evidence of what occurs in our brains and nervous systems to make our symptoms ebb and flow. Not everyone experiences the typical “windows and waves pattern.” Some people are symptomatic throughout their recovery and experience more of a linear healing process. If you experience windows and waves, here are some suggestions on approaching windows in benzo withdrawal, making the most of them, and preparing for the inevitable return of symptoms.
- Recognize and Acknowledge the Window:
- Be aware of the signs and sensations when you experience a window. Note the reduction or absence of withdrawal symptoms during this period.
- Understand that windows are a natural part of the withdrawal process and a sign that your body is healing and adjusting. (If you don’t experience windows, don’t worry, you are still healing!)
- Practice Mindfulness and Self-Observation:
- Observe your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations during the window. Be mindful of any negative thoughts that may arise, such as doubting the duration of the window or fearing the return of symptoms.
- Cultivate an attitude of non-judgment and curiosity toward these thoughts and sensations, allowing them to pass without attachment or resistance.
- Avoid Overexertion:
- Resist the urge to push yourself too hard during a window. While catching up on missed activities or responsibilities may be tempting, remember that pacing yourself is crucial for long-term recovery.
- Prioritize self-care, rest, and relaxation. Engage in gentle activities that bring you joy and nourish your well-being without draining your energy reserves.
- Set Realistic Expectations:
- Understand that windows are temporary and that symptoms are likely to return. Avoid placing unrealistic expectations on yourself or anticipating a complete and permanent recovery during this time. (Your recovery will happen!)
- Embrace the window as an opportunity for respite and regaining strength rather than a definitive resolution to your withdrawal journey. A window will become a door one day, and you will walk free. Until then, appreciate the window for what it is: a break from the intense symptoms.
- Use the relief of the window to catch up with friends if you have the capacity for social engagement.
- Reach out to your support network during a window if you need to share your experiences, feelings, and concerns.
- Use the window as a time to get out in nature, which is so healing. Connect with the life around you.
- Engage in Gentle Physical Activity:
- Light exercises or activities promoting movement can be beneficial during a window. Gentle yoga, walking, stretching, or other low-impact activities can help alleviate tension, improve circulation, and promote overall well-being.
- Gardening is a wonderful activity for boosting healing power.
- Avoid strenuous or exhaustive workouts that may deplete your energy and potentially trigger a wave of symptoms.
- Focus on Emotional Well-being:
- Dedicate time to activities that nurture your emotional health during a window. This includes engaging in hobbies, creative endeavors, journaling, meditation, or relaxation techniques.
- Seek professional help from therapists or counselors specializing in withdrawal or mindfulness-based approaches to support your emotional well-being.
- Build Coping Strategies:
- Utilize the window as an opportunity to explore and develop coping strategies that can be applied during wave periods. Identify techniques that help you manage symptoms, such as deep breathing exercises, grounding techniques, or mindfulness practices.
- Consult healthcare professionals or withdrawal specialists to learn additional coping tools tailored to your needs.
- Prepare for the Return of Symptoms:
- Understand that the return of symptoms is normal after a window. Instead of being caught off guard or becoming discouraged, mentally prepare yourself for this possibility.
- Reflect on the strategies and coping mechanisms that have been effective for you during previous wave periods. Implement them as the symptoms resurface to navigate through the waves more effectively.
Approaching windows in benzo withdrawal with a mindful and balanced mindset can help you make the most of these precious moments of relief. While it’s essential to enjoy and engage in gentle activities, it’s equally important to remain mindful of the temporary nature of these windows and prepare for the eventual return of symptoms. By incorporating self-care, support, and coping strategies, you can navigate the waves with greater resilience.
Remember, patience and self-compassion are key as you journey toward recovery.
Add your voice to the conversation. How do you navigate the windows and wave pattern in benzo withdrawal/BIND?