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6 Months Benzo-free!


[RS...]

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Six months ago today I jumped.  I remember those early days well, what a nightmare.  Laying on the couch under a blanket thinking that I was losing my mind.  Burning skin, twitching, tinnitus, benzo belly.  I started doubting myself.  I tried before to quit, but just couldn’t break free.  I remember wondering how I would make through the day, and then when the day was done, I wondered how I would sleep.  I knew I would be tossing and turning, and then once I finally fell asleep, the nightmares would come.  Then I would wake up feeling the dread of knowing I had to do it all over again.

 

But I kept going, I used what I learned in therapy to shut down my over active brain.  It wanted to just surface bad thoughts and bad memories, but I learned I needed to keep pushing back and changing my thoughts.  So I tuned out the noise of the outside world, I focused on trying to stay positive, having faith that one day I will emerge from that dark tunnel of suffering.

 

One day became two, three days became three months and before I knew it six months have passed.

 

Today I woke up refreshed as I slept soundly last night.  I went for a long hike in the woods with my wife.  I’m going out tonight for dinner—and I don’t dread and fear leaving the house. 

 

Month 5 was different than I thought.  Most of my symptoms faded away.  My rash is gone.  I have decent energy.  The tinnitus and burning skin are infrequent and so diminished that I barely notice them.  The good days outnumbered the bad for the first time ever.

 

I’m cautiously optimistic.  I know it’s still early and things can change quickly.  But for now, I am happy and glad I jumped.  My life is much improved because of it.

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What an incredible post RShack, you've made wonderful progress in only 6 months time but I can see it's not been easy.  I'm so glad you used your tools to beat back the horrific thoughts that accompany our physical pain, they served you well.

 

Congratulations on your recovery thus far, I'm happy for you and your family.  :smitten:

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Thanks Pamster.  I am pleased with my progress.  To get back to normal sleep patterns is huge.  In therapy I learned that I was carrying around a lot of unnecessary mental baggage.  Obsessing over this and that, always ready to be triggered,to be offended, to complain.  I ditched all of that and now there is room for joy, for happiness.
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This is so great...really. You know how much we need stories and updates like these!!

Looking forward tot hat success story one day :thumbsup:

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Thank you for this post, RShack!! Congratulations on 6 months - what an accomplishment!! It’s been awesome and inspiring to read your updates the last several months. Keep on keeping on...you’re doing great!

 

Beauty

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The past couple of weeks have been a test for me.  My work stress ramped up dramatically as I am the acting manager for my team.  Endless conference calls, some personnel issues, and then my normal day job...by the end of the day I am totally exhausted.

 

As expected, for the past couple of nights I have had mini waves.  I say that because the issues are not lingering, they just pop in and out—especially at night.  I had some trouble sleeping, some nightmares, some tinnitus and burning skin.  And then add in this hot humid weather...bam, it makes me feel like an old man.

 

But that said, I did it.  I made it through the stress and didn’t crave an Ativan.  I kept calm, I still took some time for myself.  I got a bit grouchy, but that will happen.  And now, I am soaking my feet in a nice foot bath and watching the hummingbirds buzz around me.  Next week will be busy, but that is next week, I am going to just enjoy the weekend.  No need to worry about work, it can wait until Monday.

 

 

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Way to beat it back, RShack! You’re doing so well. I hope things smooth out at work and that you continue to heal nicely no matter what comes your way.

 

Beauty

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just coming off of a bad wave caused by work stress.  But I could feel the anxiety creeping up and so I started using the tools I learned in therapy.

 

1. No caffeine.  I typically have 1 cup in the morning.

2. No screen time outside of work.  No iPad, phone use—unless it is a voice call.

3. Set limits.  No working around the clock or trying to be Superman.

4. No news on TV or any other medium.  It’s all bad news anyways but I only have energy for my problems.

5. Carve out time for relaxing activities like walking and/or soaking in the tub.

 

I also had a couple of drinks last night.  I made a nice dinner and my wife and I enjoyed it outside with some wine.  It was so nice out last night that we lingered a bit and I had some port wine afterwards. 

 

I slept great and can feel the stress lifting.  The symptoms are diminished today and I can actually concentrate on my work.  Sometimes you have to stop and take a break.  I’m glad I did!

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tomorrow I hit 7 months off of Ativan.  What I can say is that the windows and waves have hit a quick alternating pattern.  I was hit by a wave due to work stress, but it dissipated and I had a nice nine day window, but the past couple of nights have hit me hard:  night sweats, nightmares, burning skin, some vibrations, hearing a radio playing in the distance, general exhaustion and weakness, bad attitude, benzo belly.

 

So weird to see some of these old symptoms come roaring back.  Aside from work stress, the only other issue has been bad allergies.  Nothing else in my life has changed. 

 

Oh well, I’m not going to overthink things, I will just ride out the wave.  I’m grateful to have made it seven months.  I’m still in a much better place. 

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Often we can't pinpoint why we fall back into a wave so I'm glad you've accepted what is because we can stress ourselves trying to find the reason.  Its good to see you recognize you're in a much better place, I failed to keep track of my progress so I felt like I hadn't made any strides towards recovery. 
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Thanks Pamster.

 

In therapy I had to learn not to overthink things because I have an analytical mind that is constantly churning.  My therapist advised me to learn to let some things go, saying that I did not need to respond to everything around me all the time. 

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