The winter rains had slowed, and I yearned to visit our family farm in Georgia. I packed up my little Hyundai Elantra, dropped off my cat and dog at the Pawington and set out for a solo cross-country adventure. And what an adventure it was! Snowstorms, hailstorms, thunderstorms, and a tornado watch. Not to mention being turned away at the Grand Canyon to camp (it was spring break and filled with college students) or the drunken man terrorizing my hotel (he pounded on my door at 1 a.m.) in Alabama. But, I arrived at our farm in good shape, albeit a bit dizzy and woozy. (That was my first warning that my CNS was being stressed.)
I enjoyed every minute back in Georgia. I remember telling my parents more than once, how elated I was that I had healed from benzo withdrawal. I honestly felt that it was in my rear-view mirror and that the future was shining brightly ahead. After two months of helping my parents, I drove back home in three and a half days, driving almost three thousand miles. That was where the real trouble started. 1. I drove home a new car, a Honda Civic. I was steeped in toxic “new car smell.” 2. The vibration of the car rattled my CNS. 3. The mental stress of the drive overtaxed my brain. It didn’t help that once home I tore out much of my garden and replanted and added gravel and flagstone; it was a lot of bending and heavy lifting. Soon after I was home, I got terrible news about a few people I love. My heart broke for them, and I found myself not sleeping very well. The dizzy spells started soon after that. Weeks after arriving home, I was completely bedridden, back in the “snakepit” of benzo withdrawal.
I won’t bore you with all of the gory details. Suffice it to say that in many ways, it was worse than my cold turkey back in 2011. I developed such a severe case of POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) that my doctor was stunned. He called my case “remarkable.” I was unable to stand up (or even sit up) without my CNS going haywire. And so I laid in bed, day after day, week after week, month after month. I felt so hopeless, convinced that the setback meant my CNS would never heal, or that if it did, it would take many years as it had the first time. I was pretty much inconsolable for awhile. (I took down this site because I wasn’t able to help anyone at that time.) I emailed Baylissa, Geraldine, and Matt on a regular and I’m sure for them, exhausting, basis.
To help myself heal, I decided to throw myself into the most committed self-care/self-love routine that I could. A friend moved in to take care of me, and she cooked only organic foods for me. Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions, became my bible for nutrition. I ordered organic food delivered to the house each week. I also decided to limit my stress which meant limiting my interactions with people who I didn’t 100% enjoy or felt nourished by their company. I cut my hair short, so I didn’t have to style it. And, I distracted from my misery by writing a novel, something that had been on my bucket list for decades. I created a Pandora station called Healing Sounds and played that as background music every single day.
As the days melted into the fall, my symptoms slowly started lifting. By Christmas, I was about fifty-percent better. My parents came to visit my sister and me, and I was grateful to see them. Over the holidays, my heart and soul began to cry out to me for something they had desired for a very long time: to live back in the mountains among nature and peace.
In January, I was well enough to drive to the Grass Valley/Nevada City, California area. The moment I arrived at my Air BnB accommodations, I knew I was going to move away from the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area. By the next week, I had given my notice on my apartment. Within another two weeks, I was moved and had rented an office for my coaching and intuitive guidance and healing work. It happened so quickly, everything falling into place so easily, that I knew it was my blessing for having walked through the valley of the shadow of death again.
Now, I’m living in a forest, listening to the pines as the wind brushes through them. On stormy days I watch it rain or snow. In the dark of night, I often walk outside to view the moon hanging above the trees, its pale lantern of light spilling over the branches. I am the happiest I’ve been in decades!
I still have a few lingering withdrawal symptoms, but they are minor. I’ve learned to practice extreme self-care and love and kindness for myself. I rest more often instead of pushing myself. I won’t allow anyone to pull me down or pull me into their drama; my boundaries are the healthiest they have been in my entire life. I eat organic. I go to bed earlier. I pace myself in all things. I also give thanks every day for everything in my life. I’m profoundly grateful.
I survived a horrible set-back. It wasn’t fun, but it taught me a great deal about finding the courage to carve out the life I want. I moved three hours away from my four children and two grandbabies to live where I am the most nourished. Nothing and I mean nothing, will ever again come between me and my wellbeing, my wholeness. Loving myself in thought and action is my top priority these days. When I love myself, I’m available to love others.
If you are worried that you may have a setback, please do your best to push that fear aside. I’ll be blogging soon about things you can do to avoid a setback. Please know that there does come a time in our recovery when our receptors are healthy and healed and that setbacks can’t and won’t happen. I don’t fear another setback, and you shouldn’t either.
It’s so good to be back on this site. Good too, to be coaching again. I’ve missed you all so very much my precious friends.