I used to spend hours (all day!) reading other people’s account of benzo withdrawal. I was so deathly sick and my brain so badly damaged by the medication that I had very little hope that I would ever recover. I’d go as many days in a row as I could, then I’d break down and call someone who was further along the healing journey so they could reassure me that the nightmare I was stuck in wouldn’t last forever.
One of the stories I’d read over and over again was kate Fay’s story. Her account of her journey through benzo withdrawal mimicked much of my own. The details that she shared regarding her friends also validated my experience of the terror that you can experience. Kate shared that her friend Penny was so terrified that her husband put up a tent in the house for her so she could stay in it to feel safer. I too put up a tent in withdrawal. It helped a great deal.
I pitched a two person tent in my front yard. I put a twin size blowup mattress in it, along with comfy pillows and blankets. I hung out in it during the day, and I slept in it at night. I’m sure my neighbors thought that I was crazy, but I flat out didn’t give a you-know-what. I was exhausted from the relentless anxiety, terror, depersonalization, derealization, and all of the other benzo nonsense. Everything in my house reminded me of the long and hard months I had spent in withdrawal, and being outside in the tent was a welcome distraction.
If you are suffering from extreme anxiety or terror in withdrawal, I encourage you to create a safe space for yourself. Maybe it’s part of a closet (I talked with one man who stayed most days in his closet until the worst of withdrawal was behind him.) Maybe it’s an area of a room that you can turn into a “healing shrine.” Or, maybe you do like Penny and me and you pitch a tent, either indoors or outdoors. It doesn’t matter where or what your safe space looks like, as long as you are indeed safe there. I furnished my safe space with my laptop, food, water, my teddy bear, books, and my journal. Once in awhile, I’d cut a flower from the garden and put it where I could see and smell it. My cat even joined me in the tent sometimes.
You won’t need a safe space forever. You are going to heal and move on. What you are experiencing now is not your new normal. It’s not you unmedicated. It’s you, healing from the damage that the drug has done to your brain and body. It will come to an end. You’ll heal. You’ll see. While you are healing, please be kind and gentle with yourself. If you don’t know the do’s and don’t in with benzo withdrawal, please educate yourself. Google, join BenzoBuddies.org or search the blog posts here on this site.
There are many things that you can do to help you get through the healing process. Acceptance, patience, and distraction are key. So are good friends, family, benzo survivors, a positive outlook, and a deep faith in God as you understand God. Hold on. Life will get sweet again. Honest. In the mean time, maybe you want to pitch a tent.
The hiding out in the closet is so insane but I did it just to feel safe. 18 months off and it’s better but definitely still here and comes in waves like right now. What a way to live, eh?
I have successfully detoxes off pain meds. I want to detox off valum 30 milligrams a day. I didn’t have anxiety but a dr. Prescribed them to take with pain meds to help make them stronger. I later took them to sleep I
Only take20 milligram now. I have taken them for 5 yrs. I want to taper
Down over a period of time then quit . Please help me with advise. After
Reading the material on the hell of detox I’m scared. Please advise me.
I pray you will help me I’m scared. Also I was in an auto accident and got
A concussion 5days ago.help me please.
The gold standard for tapering is found in the Ashton Manual. You can find it on the Resource page of this site. Please be careful mixing a benzo with a pain med as the combination can be deadly.
You’re going to move beyond it. You’ll even forget what it was like. Keep going! You are doing great.
Jennifer 🙂 I too am going through withdrawal . I would SO love to chat to you sometime ? Could I perhaps email you ? I am struggling a lot ! Thank you for your amazing blog! Love, Sasha
Hi Sasha, so sorry you are having to go through benzo withdrawal. Feel free to call the office or send me a message via the contact form if you are interested in a coaching session. I am unable to answer questions via email outside of being in a coaching relationship with someone, or if they are in my private benzo withdrawal help group or have enrolled in a webinar about benzo withdrawal. Remember the resource page has links to the Ashton Manual and BenzoBudddies.org for more help and info. Keep up the good fight. You’ll get to the finish line.
Hey Jennifer! Thank you ! I would love to sign up for a coaching seminar and /or private benzo group ANd webinar , please. I need all the support I can get. This is tough stuff. You are my inspiration though and I think about you often and use your tips. I am looking forward to hearing from you Jennifer. Well done for turning this mountain into a success and triumph in you life. Really inspirational !!!!!xxxxx
I have damaged GABA receptors from Cipro, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic. This is the first time I found that someone else had done what I had done to heal– create a safe space, a healing zone. I have suggested it to numerous people in Benzo withdrawal or suffering from FQ toxicity or both.
I really like the tent idea! Wish I had thought of it! I used the futon in our back room. I decided that the futon would be my safe space and so long as I was there I was not allowed to worry about my prognosis or become anxious about any new symptom that might pop up. So long as I was on the futon I was safe and going to be ok. Sometimes I listened to music but mostly I just lay there in silence. Rarely I was able to tolerate a little television and that would be like a special treat, but usually my damaged nervous system couldn’t handle it. I reflected on my life as I lay there, picturing places I wanted to see again: Devil’s Lake State Park, the Wisconsin River. I remembered my childhood and tried to remind myself that I was still the same person. When the weather got better I also used the back porch as a relaxing zone, putting blankets down.
If I wanted to have any chance of sleeping at night I had to be winding down in one of my safe zones by about three pm.
I am much better now and don’t need a relaxation zone, but sometimes I go back to it anyway.
I have a little tent. I may have to try to put it up in the back yard in the fall and try a little back yard camp out.
I had to teach my nervous system how to relax again because it was like 24/7 on overdrive. But I have found that it pays to take that time and even people with undamaged nervous systems can benefit.
I definitely will suggest the tent idea to some of my friends who are still struggling. Some have implemented my technique of a safe zone– one of them compared it to making a fort as a kid and he calls his relaxation place his fort.
It definitely seems to be a useful technique. A very good doctor who treated me post flox said that recovering would be a mind game– not meaning that the damage was not real. Well, if you have been through it you understand he was right. It was a game I intended to win. He told me not to take Benzos to treat the Cipro induced anxiety, calling Lorazepam “a bad actor.” If only all doctors had such good sense.
Hello! I was reading your story and had a good laugh when I read about a man hiding in his closet during severe withdrawel!! I have spent many days in my closet watching YouTube video’s about benzo withdrawel and reading succes stories on BenzoBuddies.
I took my last dose a week ago and even though I’m not complety better, I’m so glad the tappering is done and my body can finally heal.
Good luck for all the fellow survivers and sufferes, it will get better!!
Lots of love!
Sasha I have a friend going through this and she read your story and has been trying to reach out to you. She felt as though your stories were very identical. Can I give her an email or a way she can contact you