The Internet is a double-edged sword for benzo withdrawal. On one hand, it allows the fast sharing of information which we need since the medical community is mostly uneducated about the dangers of benzodiazepines, and on the other hand, some of that information that speeds through the ether is wrong and damaging. Was it always this way?
In October 2010, I began my taper off the benzo I’d been taking as prescribed for far more years than I’d like to count. Doctors didn’t know how to help me so I did what most people do when they need information: I Googled. I found the Ashton Manual, Benzo Buddies, and a now-defunct benzo site that allowed people to communicate with one another. Baylissa had a website, too, which was helpful. There were a few Wikipedia entries about benzos, but there wasn’t a smorgasbord of benzo sites or information. The information one could find then was mostly consistent with the best practices for benzo withdrawal that we know today. Of course, there were the opinions or experiences of a few people that didn’t match up, but that was the exception, not the rule.
Now? There are countless websites, books, blogs, Youtube channels, Facebook groups or individual posts, etc. available. The sheer amount of information being shared simply through social media is staggering. Thankfully, that means more people are being exposed to the dangers of benzos and to the proper way to taper off of them, however, it also means that with so many “voices” out there, there is a lot more controversial or wrong information being shared. We all need to take care to not fall victim to erroneous information or fearmongering that is triggering, or to fall for the marketing of a pill or potion that is promised to ease or stop benzo withdrawal
As benzo withdrawal becomes more “mainstream,” we will see more and more attention from the media as outlets vie to get in on the ‘breaking” story about a medication that for years has caused so much suffering. And we’ve got to be prepared for some of the information to be wrong or misconstrued, taken out of context, or exaggerated for saleability. We need to take all the information, whether from our own rank and file or from outside media or institutions, with a grain of salt. We must sift through it and hold on to the core knowledge about benzos and benzo withdrawal that has been with us since people began reporting their iatrogenic injuries. Just because the internet has changed the speed and amount of information that is shared doesn’t mean that the truth has changed. It hasn’t.
Please don’t allow yourself to get swept up in the rushing tide of information. Stay grounded. If you’ve read or heard something that is worrisome or upsetting, ask people who have been in the community for a few years for their opinion and ask for evidence as to why they think the way that they do. The bottom line? Don’t believe everything you hear or read. Do your own research. Use your own lived experiences as a baseline for the truth. And please don’t allow the naysayers in our community who like to spread fear and doom and gloom to scare you. Keep your head up and keep going. Healing is taking place all the time because that is the way our bodies are designed. You’ll get here.
On a personal note, I’ve still not had the time to organize the morning benzo support group. I have been working overtime on putting together my new journey into the vegan community. I’m almost done with the work I need for that, so I’ll hopefully have more time this week to devote to getting the support group to those of you who are interested. My apologies for the delay.