When the wheels of the wagon started coming off, so to speak, when I was tapering, all I wanted was for the withdrawal symptoms to go away. I’d have made a deal with the devil, if I could have, to be free from the suffering of benzo withdrawal. Thankfully, deals with the devil are mostly Hollywood lore. I didn’t have to trade my soul with some scruffy scoundrel in the back of some smelly dive bar. If I had, it would have been a huge mistake, for obvious reason, but also for a reason perhaps not so obvious.
I wanted to be free from benzo withdrawal. But what I didn’t realize at the time was that true healing wasn’t just about getting over withdrawal symptoms. True healing meant that I had to heal the trauma/wounds that propelled me into the office of a psychiatrist in the first place. I had to heal myself, my entire being, not just my nervous system. How in the world would I do that? Hadn’t I spent year and years working with therapists to talk about my traumas? It hadn’t done much good, as I ended up on anti-anxiety medication after all those hours of spilling my guts.
As time went on after I was off the benzo, and my brain and nervous system began to settle down, I knew what true healing was all about. It wasn’t about talking. It was about doing. Doing things for others. Eating the right foods that nourished my body. Moving my body more. Avoiding stress. And loving well—fully opening my heart to the wonders and mysteries of life and all the beings here in creation.
But I couldn’t do any of those things very well until I did one very important thing. I HAD to learn to love myself. That was the key that unlocked the doors of true health and happiness that I had never been able to open before. Learning to love yourself isn’t difficult. It starts with making the decision to love yourself and being aware of your daily thoughts, feelings, and actions. Are they in alignment with love and compassion for yourself?
As you stand at the edge of 2019 and peer out onto the horizon of 2020, what do you wish for? Do you wish for your benzo withdrawal symptoms to go away, or do you wish for true healing? If you wish for true healing, I hope that you will take the steps necessary to learn to love yourself—to treat your body, mind, and spirit with care and compassion. I hope too, that you will eat right, move more, stress less, and love well. If you’d like to start the New Year off learning how to better accomplish these things, please join my Mornings With Jenn support group. I’d be honored to help you move forward with actions that result in true health. Here’s to a New Year and a new you! A wonderful new decade to fill with love, laughter, and true well-being.
Jennifer, thanks for choosing to share your entire journey thru withdrawal, rather than just using this place as somewhere to air your pain and abandon when you feel better. I’ve benefitted more from your life lessons about how to navigate the end of withdrawal than from anything about the horrors of being in the depths of it. There’s nothing else out there about how to care for yourself as it starts getting better. I’m dealing with fear right now of everything, worrying about when I’ll get hit with a setback. These posts always seem to come at the right time.
Thank you for your kind words. I hope that you can navigate the fear and allow it to pass. It will. Many of us lived “on eggshells” for awhile, but eventually the rising tide of life flows in and we find ourselves swimming in familiar waters, going about our daily lives with ease. You will stop looking over your shoulder at some point.
What do you think you can do for yourself to realize that your worry isn’t a predictor of the future, but rather a story, and most likely, a fictional one at that? It helps when we can view our worries for what they 99.9% of the time are, baseless stories.
Thank you Jennifer! I keep wondering what the timeline of symptoms are and have to constantly remind myself that this process is different for everyone. For me, I was prescribed Valium for back spasms from an injury because I didn’t like the way muscle relaxers made me feel and I didn’t want the addiction that accompanied them. Irony for sure…
Taking Valium helped my back to some degree and, without knowing what was happening to me, I would stop taking them when my back felt better and, mysteriously…, started having panic attacks and anxiety. Then, my doctor prescribed Xanax and, long story short, the descending spiral continued.
I’m off Xanex 14 months now but did so with very short taper, almost cold turkey. A mistake for sure but I didn’t want to reinstate and loose the healing I’d accomplished. I guess one saving grace is that i never took large doses, far less than prescribed, but took Xanex for roughly 5 years, off and on. “Those small doses are therapeutic” my PCP said. Kindling is therefore part of my story, I suppose. So, here I am… I’ve had a pretty rough road at times, bad 2-3 month waves at 3 and 6 months which is common as I understand. Have had another one from 12-14 months (also common I read somewhere…?) which has been exacerbated by having to deal with my elderly mom and several of her health issues (broken back and hip). The added stress has been REALLY HARD! Also, my brother has been no help with her and a real burden for me to also deal with.
All in all, I think I’ve done pretty good, considering. Sold a house, bought a house, moved, kept working (even been an acting manager while the position is being filled) raising my youngest son, basically carrying on despite the pain. Sometimes I forget that and forget to congratulate myself for that. That’s love I need to give to myself. Also, don’t forget to receive the love that others give. If it were not for my wife I don’t know where I’d be… That love is sometimes taken for granted when in withdrawal.
Anyway, thanks again! I’d sure like to feel that my timeline is in someway typical so predicting the end would be at least tangible. I do feel like I’m improving but the waves described above make it hard! I am, however, safe and I will heal!
Love you so much! ❤️
Hi dear Jennifer,
I feel humbled and blessed that our Lord send you my way. Thank you for the times that you lifted me, and encouraged me to carry on. I am deeply grateful. At this point I am a bit below 1.00mg of Lorazepam. I experience a ton of frightening symptoms. The latest having to do with my head mostly. I get abrupt surges of dizziness, that cause me to lose my stability. I stop what I am doing, and hold on to a counter or wall. I get overwhelmed with fear with these. Also, I started to have short windows during some days. These are a blessing. Unfortunately they do not last long, and the usual dizziness set in 🙁 Thank you for letting me talk here. Wishing everyone Godspeed in their healing. And may you have blessings always, for your caring heart.❤️
What about those of us given a benzo not for anxiety, not for depression but to help us sleep which was probably most likely hormonal issues? And on top of that taken for a very short term. From start to taper for six months and only taken randomly in the beginning until the benzo medication itself created the horrendous benzo symptoms that we have never had in our life? And now suffering intense mental gut wrenching hell, weakness and internal shakiness due to protracted brain injury five times longer than the medication was ever taken?
You will recover. In time. Eat right. Move enough. Avoid stress. Love well. Those four cornerstones will help you as you recover.
Thanks for your ministry to us.
I am in week 4 of acute withdrawal from Olanzapine a very nasty drug.
Symptoms are very intense and anxiety and depression are unbearable at times.
I’m just hanging on hoping for a break soon. Baylissa says that acute can last from 2 to 4 weeks usually.
Hopefully the intensity will lessen so I can cope better.
Never knew that acute phase could be this intense and scary.
Anyway thanks again for your encouragement and prayers.
Thx jenn this is all so true..yes I really do want to heal and that’s mostly what I think about but ..for sure it’s been a journey that has changed me to the core..all I want to do is love myself more and live life to the fullest. Anyone going through any kind of trauma knows this!! If they let it change them for the better…All the things that bothered me in the past have lost there grip and when I’m stuck in drama or stress I want to retreat..want to be the best God has created me to be!! Couldn’t NoWay!! do this without God!! Thx for everyone’s help and I pray this is an amazing new year for us all!!! Healings and blessings to come!!!❤️