Anxiety and panic are hallmarks of benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Even people who were not anxiety prone pre-benzos experience gut-wrenching fear and terror. I dreaded many benzo withdrawal symptoms, however, panic attacks were my biggest fear. I had been given the drug for them. I worried that without medication, they would resurface. Of course, the panic attacks in withdrawal was not an indication that I would be panic-prone forever unmedicated. They were merely benzo withdrawal symptoms, like all of the other crazy things my mind and body experienced.
My panic liked to squeeze my heart into racing away just as I was about to fall asleep.
Have you ever had that happen to you? The sweet relief of sleep is there, waiting to catch you as you gently fall into it, and WHAM! You are startled into a fight/flight reaction. I began to dread sleep.
Then it hit me!
The next time I startled into a falling asleep panic, I fished an almost empty jar of Vicks Vapo Rub out of the nightstand drawer and poked my nose into it. I breathed in the sharp vapors, slowly. My body relaxed. I kept my nose in the jar for a few minutes, focused on controlling my breath rate. The swell of panic faded. I fell asleep clutching the little jar.
It became my comfort at night.
Anytime I got “squirrelly” at night, I reached for the jar of Vicks Vapo Rub and pushed my nose into it! The trick was breathing slowly. The pungent smell helped me stay in the moment. My nighttime panics eventually went away. I haven’t had to reach for the little blue jar in a long time, but it remains in the drawer, just in case. My pre-benzo anxiety did not return. I don’t have random panic attacks anymore. I am so much better than I was pre-benzos!