I’m seven years into my recovery from taking a benzodiazepine as prescribed. That’s a long time to be having to accommodate one’s life around health issues. Of course, I am better than I was when I was tapering, and I’m better than I was for the first few years after my cold-turkey (at the hands of an “addiction specialist.”). I am even better than I was at this time last year when I had a very unexpected setback and was bedridden for many months. I’m better, but not yet healed. At least not as healed as I was before the setback.
We hear that our symptoms come from down-regulated GABA receptors. But is that all, especially in protracted withdrawal? I’m not so sure that it is, even though I have no scientific evidence to validate my opinion. But I do know my body, and I feel that at this stage of my healing, more is at play than “just” GABA receptors not working correctly.
I’m aware that histamine may play a role in my symptoms. My high viral loads, as shown by my blood work, also might play a part. Perhaps my thyroid is a bit out of whack—not an uncommon occurrence in withdrawal. Although my lab work doesn’t show any known autoimmune issues, I feel reasonably confident that my immune system isn’t functioning at its best. I believe the stress and trauma of benzo withdrawal cause all sorts of issues that take time, proper nutrition, and impeccable self-care to heal.
I’ve been tested for most of the illnesses that benzo withdrawal mimics, and nothing has been found. It’s not a bad idea to get tested to rule out other causes of your ill health if you are in protracted withdrawal, however, I’m not a big fan of a lot of medical intervention, as that is how I got harmed in the first place. But I am a fan of creating stress-free environments for ourselves, eating organic whole foods, avoiding foods or supplements that rev up our symptoms, avoiding drama, exercising gently, being of service to others, having a spiritual practice, having a victim-free, positive outlook, and working with medical professionals who think outside of the “Big Pharma Box,” or working with alternative healers (I now work with a wonderful bodyworker who is helping me immensely).
Even though the road is long for many of us, I do think that we ultimately heal. When I read about Dr. Reggie Pert’s traumatic benzo withdrawal and recovery, he said that his symptoms were either gone or that they were so mild as to be incorporated into everyday life. I think that sums it up best. If we do have any lingering symptoms, they will be so minor that we can overlook them. That’s how I felt before my setback. My symptoms were so minor that I didn’t even think about them. I know that I will get back to that baseline, and better, in time, especially if I address my body’s need for rest, quiet, gentle movement, and proper nutrition, and my mind’s need for service to others, a belief in something greater than myself, and positive thoughts.
I’ve shared this before, but I’ll share it again as it is such a powerful tool to use: I ask myself every day, “What is the most loving thing to think, feel, or do?” That question guides me to my highest and best. Learning to treat myself with love, care, and compassion goes a very long way toward healing. I’ve learned that even on the days when I don’t feel my best, I can still be loving to myself and others. I’ve learned to keep moving forward and to be grateful for my life, whatever shape it is in at the moment.
By the way, I floated the idea of a private group/forum for healing with love (spirituality) but unfortunately, I haven’t been able to create all of the framework for it on the back end of my website. I got delayed with family obligations. I’ll let you know when I have everything in place. Thanks for your patience.