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Some Things That Have Helped


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I have been helped by so many here and I will never begin to be able to repay them, so I thought I would set aside my situation for a few minutes and share things that have helped me so far.  I know this is a mixed bag of things that fit under many categories, but I don't have the energy right now to post in multiple areas, so hoping moderators will excuse me.  Don't take any of this as advice or endorsement of any brands mentioned, just what has worked for me.

 

Digestion--had bad diarrhea until starting digestive enzymes and probiotics--now not a problem; acid stomach seems to have been remedied by 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar with mother

 

Pain--I seem to be helped by tart cherry juice concentrate because it is a natural anti-inflammatory.  Has worked for very bad headaches, neck and upper back pain.  When really bad, I supplement with Ibuprofen

 

Visual problems--much of my brain damage feeling emanates from the strain on my eyes.  I wear prescription sunglasses even indoors and am investigating the Irlen Method of using colored filtered lenses that are supposed to ease eye strain and promote healing

DP/DR--I have been blessed by Shaun O'Connor's e-book and downloadable MP3s on DP/DR (found him on YouTube).  I listen to the downloads several times a day.  He is a recovered survivor.  He has not been through benzo withdrawal, but he totally gets how to manage DP/DR.  Totally realistic, not naval-gazing, overanalyzing, but emphasizes what works which is focus and distraction and understanding why and when it happens.  This is my worst symptom currently.  I also know that it is most disturbing to look in a mirror, so I don’t,  and even more disturbing to look in my daughter’s face and not “feel “ like she is really my child—so I avoid her gaze and instead listen to her voice to connect with her.  And I try to hug her a lot and joke with her to feel more like me.  I also try to focus on others online and on the phone—it is especially helpful to talk to people on the phone about whatever.  I still have the DP, but the DR isn’t as bad.

 

Brain damage feeling/cog “fog”—Both my friend who has had two car accidents leading to brain injuries and ChrisW here keep reminding me that my brain has been under a tremendous stress and to subject it to unnecessary stress is only going to prolong healing.  I am just now starting to accept that if I need to zone out the whole day, that’s what I need to do.  My brain needs to tell me what it needs, not the other way around.  That being said, I am stronger later in the day and that is when I try to accomplish things that need the most brain power.  If I don’t have anything to get done, I force myself to do brain puzzles.  My job is a freelance writer/editor so it terrifies me to feel so out of it and like I have alzheimer’s.  But for some reason I have the most confidence that this will return fully.

 

Adrenaline surges—talking a lot seems to help with this—if it’s at night, I talk to God in my brain—deep breathing is supposed to trick your system into thinking that you are relaxed—sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.  The biggest thing here for me is mental—you feel like you should be able to control it and that you are weak if you don’t, but your nervous system is trying to settle back in to baseline—it’s not your fault.

 

Lightheadedness/feeling I’m going to pass out—I have found that my body really wants a lot of protein right now.  If I don’t have protein every 3 hours, especially meat/poultry protein, I feel like I have extreme hypoglycemia (which I no longer have).  Happens too when I’ve done too much and need to sit with my eyes closed and rest my brain.

 

Insomnia/disturbing sleep—again I have been blessed by ChrisW on this one.  Sleep when you are ready to sleep.  If I had not been so scared of insomnia at the beginning of my mess, I would never have taken a benzo.  I was so scared of being non-functional, that I took something that made me non-functional.  Ironic huh?  Anyway, if I go to bed and I’m not ready to drop off, I will lay there and panic.  Now what is working is to lay down on the couch after my husband and I have watched something, close my eyes and try to pay attention to what is on TV.  My brain ends up getting tired of trying to concentrate and I fall asleep for one or 2 hours.  Then I wake up freaky and disoriented/panicked (about 10 days ago I was so agitated and kept asking my husband “What am I supposed to take?  What am I supposed to take?” and he said “Nothing Mary, you are not on benzos anymore”) and then I go to bed.  Teakettle recommended months ago to get Sleep Phones soft headphones and I don’t know what I would do without them.  I listen to a Christian radio station as I fall back to sleep (which usually takes about an hour.  Then I wake up several more times (and no it’s not because of the radio) and listen again and then fall back in about 15-20 minutes.  When I wake up in the morning, I commit to listening to the talk radio on this station and to “getting involved in the world” in this way.  It really challenges my brain and makes me feel a little bit like I am not totally secluded.  And before I open my eyes and the DP/DR starts to get overwhelming, I try to remember the things I heard earlier and talk to someone about it.

 

Fear/hopelessness/despair/feeling out of control—again here connecting with others is absolutely essential.  I know which people here I most “connect” with because of the things they post.  I know who to go to when I need to be babied for a minute, those I need to go to in order to get challenged, those who have facts and figures that I need to be reminded of, other moms who know how hard this is with your child/husband and those who will make me laugh or feel more like the way I used to.  Calling people on the phone about anything—even just to get information about something I could just as easily find online—is essential!!!  I also joined Facebook 4 months ago and it has been an incredible lifeline.  Not only do I communicate with people I am friends with now, but also people I was friends with from grammar school through college.  While it’s hard to hear about all the fun they are having, I join in anyway and escape my misery if only for a while.  I post things that remind us of our childhood and things that make people laugh because I’m really a very humorous person!  I have also found a group of about a dozen friends who are currently going through their own “brand” of hell and we encourage one another—two widowers, two with MS, one with brain cancer, one who has had a stroke, one with brain injury from a car accident, one with Lyme Disease, one who has had vertigo for 6 years, etc., etc.  I also have a great therapist who has been through a similar experience and has had many of my symptoms.  He calls me on my BS and doesn’t let me think or say things that I don’t know are absolutely 100% true and has proven to me that positive words actually do have an effect on the brain (I used to think this was bogus, but it is proving helpful to me).  I try to do even small things that make me feel like me again—doing things for my husband or daughter, being there for a family member or friend (though I have had to cut off some people who insist that I am full of crap and need to snap out of it).  It also helps at times to look at the clock and imagine what my loved ones are doing at that moment and pray for them.  Also getting outside for a little bit reconnects me to people passing by and to my neighborhood and garden which I love so much!  And trying to get some exercise each day though it’s getting harder to even do a few minutes on the exercise bike.  I really try NOT to tell my husband how much I am suffering, but there are times when it is overwhelming and I just need to say it to him and remind him that I just need to get it out and hear him say “It’s going to be ok—what can I do—you’re doing better than you realize” which makes me feel more “together” for a short time. 

 

MOST OF ALL IS MY FAITH IN GOD THAT HE LOVES ME, HAS HAD EVERY MINUTE OF THIS UNDER HIS CONTROL AND THAT NONE OF IT IS IN VAIN, BUT INSTEAD HAS DEEP PROFOUND MEANING. 

I’m only 50 days out and it’s horrible and I feel like my brain is dying and I don’t know what is to come.  I know both the worst and the best could be coming.  I am praying that all of the above will continue to get me through each day.  I hope this info is helpful to you in some way!  Love and God bless you all!

 

Mary

 

 

 

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Those are very sound tips and advice. So eloquently typed for someone suffering from benzo-induced "brain damage"  ;)  The fear/hopelessness/despair feelings were some of my worst symptoms, and distraction is definitely the best weapon.

 

Faith, distraction, diet, exercise, deep breathing, and personal remedies are a good foundation for withstanding the benzo storm. I am glad you have been proactive in putting these things in place.  Thanks for sharing what has helped you.

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You're most welcome!  And thanks for reminding me that although I feel lobotomized, I am not.  Reality trumps perception! 

 

Two more things: 

 

MUSIC

I listen constantly to inspirational music that takes the focus on me and puts it where it belongs.  Recently I discovered Pandora.com and also listen throughout the day to stuff I listened to when my life was great--high school, college, when my daughter was young.  I even sometimes will sing at the top of my lungs and do a bit of dancing and pretend I am with friends (I'm sure the neighbors definitely think I've lost it).  Pandora also has a comedy "channel" and a few things I've heard recently have gotten me laughing hysterically.

 

REALITY TV

But only good stuff--like travel shows that make me feel like I'm there or that remind me of places I've been.  Also comedy reality shows like "Larry the Cable Guy" (I'm sort of embarassed to admit) that are part history/travel/comedy.  Also good, positive competitions like "The Next Food Network Star", "The Voice" and others that I can follow with my daughter and others on Facebook.  AND OF COURSE FOLLOWING THE CHICAGO BULLS!  This is the one way that my husband and I have been able to bond throughout this miserable experience.  Season's over soon though so have to come up with something else!

 

Again, thank you all.  Love you.

 

Mary

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I have been helped by so many here and I will never begin to be able to repay them, so I thought I would set aside my situation for a few minutes and share things that have helped me so far.  I know this is a mixed bag of things that fit under many categories, but I don't have the energy right now to post in multiple areas, so hoping moderators will excuse me.  Don't take any of this as advice or endorsement of any brands mentioned, just what has worked for me.

 

Digestion--had bad diarrhea until starting digestive enzymes and probiotics--now not a problem; acid stomach seems to have been remedied by 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar with mother

 

Pain--I seem to be helped by tart cherry juice concentrate because it is a natural anti-inflammatory.  Has worked for very bad headaches, neck and upper back pain.  When really bad, I supplement with Ibuprofen

 

Visual problems--much of my brain damage feeling emanates from the strain on my eyes.  I wear prescription sunglasses even indoors and am investigating the Irlen Method of using colored filtered lenses that are supposed to ease eye strain and promote healing

DP/DR--I have been blessed by Shaun O'Connor's e-book and downloadable MP3s on DP/DR (found him on YouTube).  I listen to the downloads several times a day.  He is a recovered survivor.  He has not been through benzo withdrawal, but he totally gets how to manage DP/DR.  Totally realistic, not naval-gazing, overanalyzing, but emphasizes what works which is focus and distraction and understanding why and when it happens.  This is my worst symptom currently.  I also know that it is most disturbing to look in a mirror, so I don’t,  and even more disturbing to look in my daughter’s face and not “feel “ like she is really my child—so I avoid her gaze and instead listen to her voice to connect with her.  And I try to hug her a lot and joke with her to feel more like me.  I also try to focus on others online and on the phone—it is especially helpful to talk to people on the phone about whatever.  I still have the DP, but the DR isn’t as bad.

 

Brain damage feeling/cog “fog”—Both my friend who has had two car accidents leading to brain injuries and ChrisW here keep reminding me that my brain has been under a tremendous stress and to subject it to unnecessary stress is only going to prolong healing.  I am just now starting to accept that if I need to zone out the whole day, that’s what I need to do.  My brain needs to tell me what it needs, not the other way around.  That being said, I am stronger later in the day and that is when I try to accomplish things that need the most brain power.  If I don’t have anything to get done, I force myself to do brain puzzles.  My job is a freelance writer/editor so it terrifies me to feel so out of it and like I have alzheimer’s.  But for some reason I have the most confidence that this will return fully.

 

Adrenaline surges—talking a lot seems to help with this—if it’s at night, I talk to God in my brain—deep breathing is supposed to trick your system into thinking that you are relaxed—sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.  The biggest thing here for me is mental—you feel like you should be able to control it and that you are weak if you don’t, but your nervous system is trying to settle back in to baseline—it’s not your fault.

 

Lightheadedness/feeling I’m going to pass out—I have found that my body really wants a lot of protein right now.  If I don’t have protein every 3 hours, especially meat/poultry protein, I feel like I have extreme hypoglycemia (which I no longer have).  Happens too when I’ve done too much and need to sit with my eyes closed and rest my brain.

 

Insomnia/disturbing sleep—again I have been blessed by ChrisW on this one.  Sleep when you are ready to sleep.  If I had not been so scared of insomnia at the beginning of my mess, I would never have taken a benzo.  I was so scared of being non-functional, that I took something that made me non-functional.  Ironic huh?  Anyway, if I go to bed and I’m not ready to drop off, I will lay there and panic.  Now what is working is to lay down on the couch after my husband and I have watched something, close my eyes and try to pay attention to what is on TV.  My brain ends up getting tired of trying to concentrate and I fall asleep for one or 2 hours.  Then I wake up freaky and disoriented/panicked (about 10 days ago I was so agitated and kept asking my husband “What am I supposed to take?  What am I supposed to take?” and he said “Nothing Mary, you are not on benzos anymore”) and then I go to bed.  Teakettle recommended months ago to get Sleep Phones soft headphones and I don’t know what I would do without them.  I listen to a Christian radio station as I fall back to sleep (which usually takes about an hour.  Then I wake up several more times (and no it’s not because of the radio) and listen again and then fall back in about 15-20 minutes.  When I wake up in the morning, I commit to listening to the talk radio on this station and to “getting involved in the world” in this way.  It really challenges my brain and makes me feel a little bit like I am not totally secluded.  And before I open my eyes and the DP/DR starts to get overwhelming, I try to remember the things I heard earlier and talk to someone about it.

 

Fear/hopelessness/despair/feeling out of control—again here connecting with others is absolutely essential.  I know which people here I most “connect” with because of the things they post.  I know who to go to when I need to be babied for a minute, those I need to go to in order to get challenged, those who have facts and figures that I need to be reminded of, other moms who know how hard this is with your child/husband and those who will make me laugh or feel more like the way I used to.   Calling people on the phone about anything—even just to get information about something I could just as easily find online—is essential!!!  I also joined Facebook 4 months ago and it has been an incredible lifeline.  Not only do I communicate with people I am friends with now, but also people I was friends with from grammar school through college.  While it’s hard to hear about all the fun they are having, I join in anyway and escape my misery if only for a while.  I post things that remind us of our childhood and things that make people laugh because I’m really a very humorous person!  I have also found a group of about a dozen friends who are currently going through their own “brand” of hell and we encourage one another—two widowers, two with MS, one with brain cancer, one who has had a stroke, one with brain injury from a car accident, one with Lyme Disease, one who has had vertigo for 6 years, etc., etc.  I also have a great therapist who has been through a similar experience and has had many of my symptoms.  He calls me on my BS and doesn’t let me think or say things that I don’t know are absolutely 100% true and has proven to me that positive words actually do have an effect on the brain (I used to think this was bogus, but it is proving helpful to me).  I try to do even small things that make me feel like me again—doing things for my husband or daughter, being there for a family member or friend (though I have had to cut off some people who insist that I am full of crap and need to snap out of it).  It also helps at times to look at the clock and imagine what my loved ones are doing at that moment and pray for them.  Also getting outside for a little bit reconnects me to people passing by and to my neighborhood and garden which I love so much!  And trying to get some exercise each day though it’s getting harder to even do a few minutes on the exercise bike.  I really try NOT to tell my husband how much I am suffering, but there are times when it is overwhelming and I just need to say it to him and remind him that I just need to get it out and hear him say “It’s going to be ok—what can I do—you’re doing better than you realize” which makes me feel more “together” for a short time. 

 

MOST OF ALL IS MY FAITH IN GOD THAT HE LOVES ME, HAS HAD EVERY MINUTE OF THIS UNDER HIS CONTROL AND THAT NONE OF IT IS IN VAIN, BUT INSTEAD HAS DEEP PROFOUND MEANING. 

I’m only 50 days out and it’s horrible and I feel like my brain is dying and I don’t know what is to come.  I know both the worst and the best could be coming.  I am praying that all of the above will continue to get me through each day.  I hope this info is helpful to you in some way!  Love and God bless you all!

 

Mary

 

 

 

 

Hi Mary Did you receive my message that I just posted.... regarding your beautiful letter... Please let me know.. I am also a  mom of 2 children... I know what this is like...I do not know if my letter posted back to you.  Luv Mishi

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Mary,

 

It looks like you have found some wonderful coping skills!!!  You are a strong woman and I have NO doubt that you will get through this! 

Keep reminding yourself that God restores all!

 

:smitten:

Tamra

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Thanks Tamra--so hard to hold on to hope and reality at times as you know.  Hope to connect with you soon!!!

 

Love,

Mary

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Maranatha

 

Thanks for posting this. Printed it off yesterday. Please share more. I hope this keeps getting bumped and bumped.

 

Pam

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