I will be 2 1/2 years off on the 23rd. It’s hard to wrap my head around that much time in recovery from a medication that the doctor told me would “cure” me and “help me.” I look back on the journey and I am amazed and grateful that I survived. I am grateful that I am (hopefully)) nearing the finish line at the Good Health marker.
I still have symptoms. Burning, tingling, ear ringing, weakness, fatigue, bone, nerve and muscle pain, twitching, feeling as if I am being pulled down, and the lovely boaty sensation. I find myself feeling as if I am being crushed from the hips down. The mental symptoms from withdrawal are better. I still have some remnants of the benzo withdrawal classic symptoms of looping thoughts, and ruminating over things. I can tell when it is wd, and not my normal funky negative thinking. There is a much different feel to it. As I type these words, I have intense hip pain deep in the sockets and electrical feelings in my legs. The bee sting feeling on the bottom of my feet kicked in too, just for fun. *Sigh.*
But…. overall I am better. I am thinking more and more about work. I am able to sustain enough focus to plan. I have been accepted to teach a class at Stanford this spring, the neuroscience of creativity. (A one day workshop.) So, I am most defiantly getting better. Would I like to be more healed? Of course I would.
I am no longer feeling hopeless though. The depression has lifted for the most part. On days it sets in again, I am able to discern that it is simply my brain in healing mode from the benzo. I no longer worry that I will be a train wreck for the rest of my life. I may not be chugging along the tracks at full speed, but I am not derailed in a zillion twisted pieces anymore.
What helps me the most now is my gardening (thank you god that I live in a Mediterranean climate even though we are expected to see freezing tonight) service to others, working the 12 steps, and understanding when I get hit with sx, that I can take care of myself. I go for a long walk, plant, weed, or simply curl up in bed with my laptop and watch a movie. Before too long, the sx pass, or change to another set of sx.
In the almost 38 months I have been battling withdrawal, starting with my taper in October 2010, I have never had a day of zero sx. I dont know if my tinnitus will ever heal, so I may always have something to remind me of wd the rest of my life. (Like I could ever forget the horror.) I have learned to live with what I still suffer from. The waves no longer feel like tsunamis. I’ve worn the wet suit a long time. I’ve learned to surf and to go with the flow. Matt Samet said he had “foregrounded” wd sx for the first three years. He said he ignored them for the most part. I never understood how he could do that when it was earlier in my recovery. Now I understand.
I don’t have the glowing story (yet) that Don (madeinpa) writes about here. But I do know I am a much stronger person. I feel that I can accomplish much in my life with god’s help. God (as I understand god) has come this far with me. I doubt god will suddenly stop being there.
That’s my 2 and a half year mark update. I honestly thought I would be done with withdrawal long before now, but…. here I go, pulling on my wet suit, riding the waves, watching the shoreline, and praying for a window that turns into a door I can walk through and be done with all the nonsense.
Hang ten everyone. Keep the faith.
P.S. please sign the petition to the current FDA commissioner. I will do my best to get media attention to our plight. Please share the link in any way you feel comfortable. Thank you! http://www.change.org/petitions/fda-ban-long-term-prescriptions-of-benzodiazepines If I can at least get the right people to start thinking about this topic in my lifetime, I will feel I did my part in making change happen. Change that so desperately needs to happen.