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Help Me to Understand Why


[Ic...]

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Yesterday I went to the school where I work as a teacher to speak with my colleagues about our plans for the school year. I sat there not comprehending most of what we were saying. My head felt like it was on fire and I had horrific brain fog. I drifted off into thought and saw that one of the teachers had Materials written on the white board with these cute little cut outs of possible materials needed for that day. I am assuming her plan was to move the cut outs needed for that day under the Materials tab. I thought of doing something similar, but then had this overwhelming feeling come over me. I was too overwhelmed to even consider doing something so simple to my white board. I walked around the rest of the day weak, nauseated, and with an all over headache. Woke up this morning with that same headache.

 

Why keep fighting this? From this site, Youtube videos, and Reddit, there is a possibility I will never recover, or it can take months. I am in literal pain everyday. I have this weird feeling of not wanting to be in my body and I feel trapped in my mind. It feels like a helmet is on my head buzzing with electricity. Even if I were a fighter, I cannot properly do either of the two jobs I am assigned to this coming year. I cannot think and feel inadequate and overwhelmed by everything. It is like I am brain dead. Heck, I cannot even enjoy a movie or show! What is the point of this fighting? What reward is there in fighting to complete my PhD and keep my jobs if I can't even enjoy them? I am miserable and severely apathetic and depressed. Fighting to say I fought literally does not do anything. I would just be living a life of suffering and not enjoying the fruits of my labor.

 

I have read so many stories from faithful Christians whom God didn't deliver. They have been suffering for 3 or 4 years! I am barely on month 2 and sick with paradoxical and interdose effects for 1 whole year; I cannot keep doing this! The scariest aspect of all of this is that I can beat the withdrawals the first time and then have a set back months or years later with worsening symptoms. So, do I live life in fear? Do I not buy a house or take out credit for a new vehicle or appliances because I will never know when an awful sickness like this can hit again and pull me out of work? I cannot live my life as I used to, so what is the point? Even if preworkouts and energy drinks are bad, I enjoyed getting amped up for a workout with a preworkout or using an energy drink to get me in the zone for writing or teaching. Until now, these things did not affect me. I had my stomach checked and everything was fine.

 

I am single with no children. Who am I fighting for?

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I understand what you are going through. You have described exactly how I've felt at work for the past two years. Everything seems to overwhelming at work and in my regular life. I have to get up and take my dog to the vet tomorrow and even that seems overwhelming. I can tell you that how I am now is much better than I was during the 2018-2019 school year and even better than last year at this time. But I know exactly what you are describing when you see somebody else's work and it seems to overwhelming. I work with a group of librarians in a shared public school library and they do most of the displays. The thought of doing a display brings doom because it seems overwhelming and also because I just could care less about it.

 

I hope this gets better for you and me. You are very early on in this journey and may not end up protracted at all. Just have to keep going.

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Boom, what is protracted? I assumed that is what I was in considering I am over acute. There are so many terms that come along with this ordeal that the doctors do not even know about! I have spent all summer just trying to understand this process and what is happening.
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It takes a long time to heal after quitting benzos. Usually protracted is considered 18 months after quitting. I'm now 28.5 months off and still feeling pretty bad all the time. I feel mad on a daily basis and have done everything in my power to mitigate the symptoms including counseling and exercise and supplements to boost testosterone, which tested low, and nothing really helps for more than an hour or so. I've listened to countless self-help books about depression, anxiety, ptsd, and anger and found nothing helpful. That's why I think it's something wrong chemically with my brain.
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I am single with no children. Who am I fighting for?

 

Icy, you are fighting for yourself. For your future. For a better  life.

 

I know possibilities seems remote right now, but I had a horrendous taper and a miserable first year off benzos. I thought I was dying every day. I couldn't read, couldn't hold conversations, was dizzy, had tinnitus, felt headachy, spacey,  and in pain. I became nonsensically afraid of electronics, my car, bridges. Anyhow . . . gradually things got better. My therapist helped me a great deal. She wasn't benzo-savvy (I educated her) but she was me-savvy, and that's what counted.

 

What was I fighting for? (Like you, I'm single, no kids). My future. My interrupted career as a writer.

 

Yes, there are seemingly plenty of people who do not get better. But (and I may get flamed for this) I think they're in the minority. Sure, we hear from them on here , but this is a forum for support for people who need it . . . not for people who get well. The group I hung with (the old  "working group") have all recovered and gone back to their lives: an opera producer, a therapist, an office admin, a realtor, a federal employee, a teacher. And me. A writer. And all of us suffered plenty.

 

So please don't give up hope. I don't know how to advise you about your job. It sure sounds as though this is the genesis of a lot of your stress. Can you work half-time? Or take a sabbatical?

 

Anyhow, please don't buy into the self-defeating talk that floats around here that most people don't recover enough to go back to their lives. I've been on here for a long time, and my observation is the opposite. I wish more people would come back to post success stories, but for whatever reason, they don't.

 

Can I say something corny? Hang in there. Keep on fighting. Because the alternative is unthinkable, isn't it?

 

Best to you,

 

Katz

 

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Kat, thank you. Your post means a lot! Do you consider yourself recovered?

 

Boom, my heart goes out to you and it is admirable that you are able to work as a librarian through this!

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[52...]
I know it is difficult...you are fighting for you, and this is temporary.  People get sick in life sometimes, always keep a years worth of living expenses in the bank in case.  I decided not to make any large financial commitments for another year.
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I'll try to help but I can't tell in which fight you're struggling to motivate yourself for. Is it the fight to hang in there long enough to stabilise without medication? Or, is it the fight to continue your career while you're going through this?

 

For me, once I understood the reality of these (so-called) medications, it's never been in doubt that I'd stay the course. I held at 5mg for a long time to stabilise because I was in such a terrible condition all round. I was more than ready to start reducing again even though it filled me with dread at the same time. Some of my reasoning relates to my personal experience but some of it applies to everybody. These medications are neurotoxic, make you more likely to develop other health issues and lead to a significant reduction in life expectancy. The longer you take them, the more they warp your personality and the less effective they are. Something that is often overlooked is that chemical dependency puts you in a vulnerable position. Your life could be ripped apart if doctors are no longer willing the prescribe a drug at the dose you're dependent on. I've seen quite a few people posting about this sort of problem in recent months.

 

Obviously, it's only worth it if you get better. All you can read into anecdotal accounts of people who haven't recovered is that they haven't recovered yet. As long as you're still alive, it can only be called a failed recovery if you reinstate. That's mostly in your control. One good reason to be optimistic is that it will help you through the adversity. Your mindset can and will influence your ability to cope. It doesn't take blind faith to be optimistic; if you can hang in long enough, recovery is almost guaranteed.

 

On the work situation... I think it largely comes down to why you set off down this path in the first place. I assume that you're happy with the direction your career is going? So I guess you're gritting your teeth trying to get through this period without having to quit and set yourself back by at least a year. Perhaps even though you're struggling, you know that it's a good school to work at, so you'd like to stay there rather than risk ending up at a school you don't like. Perhaps you're worried about having difficulties getting another teaching job having to explain why you aborted this time around.

 

Perhaps it's not so much about work as it is about the fear of what will happen if you take a break from work to focus on your recovery. It might put your living situation into doubt if your income is reduced. Maybe you are worried about explaining your situation to friends and family who might be surprised that you're leaving a job that they thought you wanted.

 

These are the potential reasons I can see. No doubt there will be other reasons. There are lots of factors to consider and you just don't know how your recovery is going to progress. If you don't see how you can go on like this if your symptoms are like this for a full year or more, that sounds like a compelling reason to leave your job right now. The worst thing would be to stick at it for several months and the stress of the job causes you to have a breakdown and you're forced to leave it anyway. However, if you were to leave your job and you quickly recover after that, this will seem like a bad outcome too.

 

Ultimately, it's a judgement call and it's no surprise that you're struggling to make it given your situation. I hope that by listing some factors that might be relevant to the decision, I have helped you to weigh things up rather than made it seem even more complicated. There's no doubt that work related stress (or any stress) makes recovery considerably more difficult. If you do stick at it, you are basically trading comfort and well-being in the short/medium term because the long term implications for your career make it worth it. Is it worth it? Or, is it more important to get healthy as quickly as possible and not risk anything being a barrier to this aim? I believe you will benefit hugely when you make a decision either way on this. I wish you luck figuring it out  :)

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Diaz, thank you so much for your continuous support to my posts. I am worried about never recovering and if I do recover, I am worried about getting hit with withdrawals again. It is one thing to go through hell, heal completely, and never look back. It is another nightmare to think our lives will never be the same. I will be living in fear that 10 years from now I will take a medication or supplement that will send me right back into the depths of hell. 
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Diaz, thank you so much for your continuous support to my posts. I am worried about never recovering and if I do recover, I am worried about getting hit with withdrawals again. It is one thing to go through hell, heal completely, and never look back. It is another nightmare to think our lives will never be the same. I will be living in fear that 10 years from now I will take a medication or supplement that will send me right back into the depths of hell.

 

I think (and hope) statistically there's a very small percentage of people that don't heal properly. The vast majority of people taking benzos don't even look for a forum, and the people that do are obviously part of that small percentage.

 

I've been in despair as well, it's the drugs talking and they're talking shit....

 

Life will be good again, and probably better with this experience of how bad things can be

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You are so very new off benzos, I applaud you for stepping into your teaching role so soon.  I had the luxury of teaching piano at my home studio, which I did throughout my taper and recovery. 

 

It's easy at this stage to catastrophize and wonder if you will ever heal. After all, there is a myriad of inexplicable symptoms that one can experience during withdrawal and recovery.

 

Although I thought my teaching suffered because of the disconnect between my brain and fingers, no one else seemed to notice. We perceive that everyone sees something wrong with us when we actually look and act quite 'normal'. 

 

Katz is right, so many people have recovered and gone on to lead an active and full life, with benzos in the rear view mirror. 

 

Although I thought my memory and cognition was shot, it came back strong and has stayed.  I tried to find positives about every day, dwelling on the negative did not help me in any way.  I did heal completely, the fear left and the confidence returned.

 

Give it time and don't be too hard on yourself, you are doing the best possible under the circumstances. 

 

pianogirl  :smitten:

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Diaz, thank you so much for your continuous support to my posts. I am worried about never recovering and if I do recover, I am worried about getting hit with withdrawals again. It is one thing to go through hell, heal completely, and never look back. It is another nightmare to think our lives will never be the same. I will be living in fear that 10 years from now I will take a medication or supplement that will send me right back into the depths of hell.

That's alright!

 

I have a lot of time on my hands. I feel like giving advice based upon my own recent experiences is about as useful as I can be right now. It would have been literally impossible for me to continue working while I go through this, so the decision was already made for me. I plan to volunteer part time to get back on my feet but at only a month since jumping and with coronavirus making everything more complicated, it is not yet time. Posting here is the best way I have found that I can be useful in society for now. It scratches that itch quite satisfactorily.

 

Let me try to help you cope with your fear. It's much more my area than making guesses about a work situation! The only way to cope with fear is to understand it and rise above it. I'll try and explain how you can do it, or at least how I do it. First of all, you need to understand what function fear serves. Fear is a basic survival mechanism which makes you act to avert danger. It's not desirable to eliminate it completely and you couldn't if you tried (especially not right now!).

 

In benzo withdrawal, the brain area associated with fear is overstimulated. The effect is that valid fears seem worse than they are and irrational fears occur at greater frequency and seem more compelling than they otherwise would. Fear is a call to action and our instinct tells us to do something to avert the danger. Once the danger is averted, the fear subsides along with the associated feelings of anxiety.

 

It's really common for buddies struggling with irrational fears to repeat them here. I hope you don't mind that I labelled some of your fears as irrational. You would be pretty unique if you were going through what you're going through without some irrational fears! What you're doing is satisfying the call to action by repeating them here. We can keep reassuring you in different ways but it's difficult to compete with such strong feelings. The problem with repeating irrational fears is that in doing so, you legitimise and reinforce them. If fear calls you to action but the only action you can take will reinforce the fear... which will call you to action once more... and so on and so forth.

 

Yet, if you do nothing about it, it won't go away either. So what can you do about it? It is nobody's first instinct to examine such intense  fear. There is a good reason for that. It's the fight/flight response to danger intended for survival situations when there is no time to think. However, you know that there isn't really an immediate danger and there is plenty of time to think. This isn't a survival situation, your brain is misfiring. Try to remind yourself often that this can be the case.

 

Let's break down some of the things you said:

 

I am worried about never recovering - Already covered!

 

if I do recover, I am worried about getting hit with withdrawals again - If you get hit with withdrawals again, you never were recovered. You started off with "if I do recover" and went on to describe a scenario where you don't. Your distressed mind managed to spin the positive outcome as being negative. But at least you're not sure that you'll never recover, which is quite common here. It is possible that you will feel a lot better before feeling worse again. We call it windows (spells where symptoms are mild) and waves (spells where symptoms are more intense). This is a part of recovery. Over time, windows become longer and waves get shorter and less severe. If the recovery time is the same, I'd rather have good spells than it be horrible all the time.

 

I will be living in fear that 10 years from now I will take a medication or supplement that will send me right back into the depths of hell - If I follow, you fear now that at some point in the future when you recover you will fear that something could go wrong 10 years from now? This is fear of fear. It's understandable and very common but if you recognise it, you can disown it. You won't be the same person in 10 years from now. If you're like me when I was going through this, you might not be the same person tomorrow. In truth, you have no idea how you'll be feeling in 10 years but you stated as a certainty that you'll be living in fear. You need to remember who you really are. You asked why you're doing this. That's why. You know who you are, deep down. You will come out of this a different person to before. We all change constantly anyhow but especially with something like this. What will return is the essence that makes you, you. Maybe when you first get it back, it will seem like a fragile thing and there'll be some apprehension about it ever being lost again. But you will be much better able to put that in perspective, because you will be your real self. Mostly though, you'll feel joy and gratitude.

 

What your fear-filled brain did was at first entertain the idea that you won't get better, even though the odds are extremely favourable. I think you understand that, but you still feel it the same, so next your brain invented a scenario where recovery isn't recovery. Lastly, just in case, your brain has cooked up a scenario where recovery is possible but can't be enjoyed because you'll be living in fear of a setback.

 

When you understand that these occur because you're trying to make sense of the fear you are feeling, you can do something about it. The fear is chemical in origin. You're having those thoughts because of the fear. I promise you it's that way round. You have the power to recognise the emotion as false and not legitimise it by assigning a reason. I've seen people refer to "neuroemotions" as a way of distinguishing them from more normal emotional responses. Try to ask yourself the next time you have an extreme emotional reaction whether it's just neuroemotions running amok and if so, don't be tricked into thinking there's some valid reason that you have to find that you feel like that.

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