Love creates. Fear destroys.

There are two states we can be in— love or fear. Everything we feel resides somewhere on a spectrum of either one. Most often, we don’t have a choice as to how our nervous system reacts to perceived threats. (Those threats are usually ego based—emotional, not physical.) But our nervous system reacts all the same. Even when we feel someone is judging us, our nervous system jumps into action to “protect” us. In benzo withdrawal, we spend most of our time in a state of protection—we are triggered by so many things.

We may not have a choice over how our nervous system reacts, however, we DO have a choice over how we respond to the reaction. We can do our best to shift out of fear and into a positive state. It’s important to remember that positivity (love) baths the entire body in a calm that’s needed for our organs and systems to function properly and to renew and repair themselves. Fear does just the opposite. It rots us from the inside out, so to speak, by the stress hormones it releases.

Choosing love.

Awareness is key. We have to know when we’ve been triggered and our bodies are reacting to a perceived threat. The clues that let us know we are no longer in a loving state are the words we use. “What if I’m stuck like this forever?” “I’ll never heal.” “My life is over.” Anytime we time travel to the future and imagine negative things, we are in fear. Anytime we use negative words to label others, we are also in fear. So, that doctor bashing (or family/friend bashing) many of us do doesn’t add to our well-being.

We can be aware of the story we tell ourselves about our recovery, and we can choose to change the negative story to a positive one. We can do our best to move out of fear and into a positive state.

It’s work, I know.

It’s hard work for anyone to be aware of our negative, fear-based reactions and to change our thoughts and feelings. It’s even harder work in benzo withdrawal, I know. But it’s work worth rolling up our sleeves and attempting. We do well to spend time changing our story if we are stuck believing the doom and gloom that our minds want us to believe.

One way to cope with the negative thoughts/stories is to bathe them in love, for love is what casts out fear. And our negative thoughts and stories are just that—fear. When my brain wants to run wild with a negative story, I simply tell my amygdala (the part of the limbic system that likes to generate scary stories) that I hear what it wants me to know, but that God and I have the situation under control. I call my amygdala Amy. I’m often having to console her—to reassure her that everything is going to be alright. When I do that, my scary story usually dissipates. I’m more able to see the possibilities hidden in a challenge instead of the perceived threats. I remind myself what fear usually is: False Evidence Appearing Real.

Positivity heals.

When we choose to tell ourselves a more positive story about our healing, we reduce the impact of negative stress hormones. Even it’s only a tiny amount, that’s a step in the right direction. See how creative you can be in telling “Amy” that you’re in charge and that you understand she is frightened, but you’ve got this! There can be no darkness in light, and shining the light of love on our fears is an excellent way to banish them.

The heart that is willing to crack wide open in benzo withdrawal is the heart that allows the most light in—it’s the heart that will heal the most. Positivity is medicinal, miraculous and magical! I hope that you can turn toward it every day.