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Hello All,

 

I'm new to this forum and have come here because like many of you, I am feeling like the state I'm in is a permanent fixture.  I'm really trying to have faith because I have had moments of complete serenity and lucidity, which were....heavenly, is the only way I can describe them.  I never thought normal could feel so good.  I just felt so...in control of every aspect of my life.  I've been off benzo's now for 3.5 months from a cold turkey of about 1.5mg of xanax/day for a few years. 

 

My issue is, I'm almost absolutely fine when I'm alone.  No anxiety, no thougth problems and for the most part, no sleep issues, nothing.  But as soon as I get into a public space with close quarters, such as a restaurant, I feel this weight from the environment come down onto my brain and squash all thought process.  It makes me very uncomfortable...not anxious, just uncomfortable like I want to get up and move out and away from the area.  WTF?  The same feeling also washes over me when I lock eyes with someone to have a conversation.  As soon as my gaze meets theirs, the same heavey headed blankness pushes down on my brain and the thoughts just stop.  It takes away my ability to have a smooth, flowing conversation. 

 

This is driving me insane.  I can't seem to find anyone else with these symptoms.  I don't have anxiety, I don't have panic attacks, I just have these brain shut downs in these situations.  Even when I'm working (I'm in sales) You'd think these symptoms would be the end of my sales career, but they haven't.  (I did have to take a month off during the acute WD.)  It seems as long as I have some thing to talk about, I'm fine.(product specs)  But when it comes to making relaxing small talk, my mind just can't seem to do it anymore.  NOTHING comes to me the way it should.

 

Does anyone else have symptoms like this? 

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Hi, Wayback.

 

I had this symptom for months while I was tapering. I used to call it my "deer in headlights" symptom.  I do think it's a symptom of underlying anxiety along with the extra stimulus overloading the brain.  This must be very hard to deal with when your job is to interact with the public.  All I can tell you is this temporary and will pass over time.

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Yea, it sounds like your brain is doing a good job of coping with some underlying anxiety but when you are put in a highly stressful situation it can't quite keep up. I have had some moments where I would be ok walking through a store or a restaurant as long as no one talked to me. As soon as I went to checkout and had to talk to someone I was reminded that I'm still not well.
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hi wayback,

 

yes I understand what you are talking about.

I do believe it is a symptom of anxiety, compiled with the benzo w/d.

I breathe and focus to help.

Sometimes when I engage in smalltalk or overhear smalltalk I am thinking, "this is so unimportant!"

 

Simply wanted to let you know I can identify.

 

-Dan :)

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@[ B...]

 

@ Floridaguy:  Exactly!!

 

@ Danman:  I think the same thing in regards to small talk.  Typically though, I am the master at it.  When in this state it just seems so unimportant compared to the work you have to put in to do it.  Just doesn't seem worth it.  I can totally relate.  The thing is, it shouldn't be work.  It should just flow effortlessly..

 

Thank you guys for chiming in.  It makes me feel better knowing that other people are experiencing these deficits.  It really does have a way of making you feel "this is it" this is how it's going to be...The thing is, people will say "don't focus on it"  Well it's kind of impossible to not focus on it when it MAKES you focus on it.  It's just something that can't be ignore....People can't grasp this.

 

I have a personal question for the guys.  Of course if you're not comfortable answering, I understand.  How has this whole thing effected your sex lives?  I'm single and used to date alot, but now it's almost completely out of the question.  I don't know how I'm going to be oone minute to the next.  Not to mention any type of underlying anxiety doesn't farewell in the manly man department if you know what I mean....

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Hi,

 

I know this might sound a little simplistic, but it works. If you don't know how you are going to be one moment to the next, then simply concern yourself with the here and now.

 

Things like sex and dating will come back to you. You don't have to "worry" about them now.

 

My mantra; calmness of mind, focus.

 

Good to hear from you,

-Dan

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The thing is, people will say "don't focus on it"  Well it's kind of impossible to not focus on it when it MAKES you focus on it.  It's just something that can't be ignore....People can't grasp this.

 

Unless you have been through benzo WD you have no idea what it's all about. You can't control these thoughts. And most of us realize on a conscious level that the thoughts are BS but the benzo brain completely overrides rational thought. You can no more "snap out of" benzo WD symptoms than you can sober up at the drop of a hat when you are drunk. 

 

I have a personal question for the guys.  Of course if you're not comfortable answering, I understand.  How has this whole thing effected your sex lives?  I'm single and used to date alot, but now it's almost completely out of the question.  I don't know how I'm going to be oone minute to the next.  Not to mention any type of underlying anxiety doesn't farewell in the manly man department if you know what I mean....

 

When I started the benzo I was put on zoloft at the same time. Anyone familiar with these stronger SSRI's will tell you that one of the first things to go is sexual function. I dealt with that at the time but eventually came off of the zoloft and sexual function returned, but something still wasn't right. Told my doc and she wanted to give me Viagra. I told her it was more about the sensation so the Viagra wasn't going to help. Of course it was and is the benzo that has numbed things down, just like it does all of your other senses.

 

As for dating, I totally feel your pain. This experience is so much worse for men in that department because we are expected required to be the ones who initiate things. Pretty hard to do when you are afraid of your own shadow.

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What a great thread.  All of you said things that I've been feeling, but couldn't put words to. 

 

Wayback--I'm pretty much okay when I'm by myself too, but I get that same overwhelmed feeling you described.  And like you said it's better if it's a somewhat controlled environment where you have certain things to talk about.  I REALLY dread going to Trader Joe's where I do my grocery shopping because most of the cashiers are really nice and friendly and I just want to get my food and leave.  I am incapable of small talk, can't think of a thing to say, because my anxiety goes through the roof in public places.  Plus I'm always afraid others can see how nervous I am.  I'm outrageously self-conscious.  My boyfriend and I got invited to a huge college graduation party which is tomorrow, and he has to go alone because there is no way I can handle it.  I just wonder how long I can keep coming up with excuses.  I'm rather tired of being alone so much, but socializing is agony.  What do you do?

 

Beeper--You hit the nail on the head with "deer in the headlights."  I feel like there's something wrong with my brain, like I've turned into this total idiot when that happens.  I just seem to freeze.  I don't like to hear that anyone else experiences this, but I have to admit it's nice to know I'm not alone or completely losing my mind.

 

Mal

 

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Hi,

 

When I am anxious in a check-out line, it helps me to remember there is a beginning  and an end.

To clarify, what you are buying is rung up, you pay, and you and the cashier go your separate ways.

If you are spoken to , most of the time the person is simply being kind, which is a good thing.

 

Think of it as a controlled exercise in social interaction.

 

Becoming familiar and comfortable in some situations leads to being comfortable and familiar in others.

This might seem a little over-thought for such a "simple" interaction, but I believe that the recovery we are going through

merits this kind of attention.

 

It does get better :thumbsup:

 

-Dan

 

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@[ M...]

 

I can tell that when I do have a window, as is called on this forum, EVERYTHING seems so effortless, it's almost shamefull.  To think that is the normal way a brain works, almost is to much for me to handle.  The window feels like I"m on some kind of mind altering drug that turns my brain into a supercomputer.  And then the realization sets in about how damaged I'm currently living my life.  What a huge deficit I'm working with compared to the rest of the population.  Ugh.

 

I literally feel as if my "link" to the outside world is broken.  There is nothing quite like feeling the smooth flow of thoughts and feelings effortlessly dance throught your head without having to use a battery of mental gymnastics just to get through every twist and turn in my daily living.

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Another thing I want to bring up on this thread is someting I've been noticing lately, and I'm not sure if it's related.  I'm not sure I'm even going to be able to describe it acurately, but here goes.  Lately I've been noticing patterns to my thinking that are laid out, as if on a track.  I can't get the thought to deviate from that track no matter what I do.  It never used to be like this.  Before this mess I could think freely, say as if opposed to being on a track, I was in a helicopter.  I could think up, down, sideway's, you name it, there were no limits. Now I feel as if my thoughts are limited somehow to a certain rut, or track.  I don't have expansive thinking, like I used to.  Also, having very grand and abstract thoughts are difficult if not impossible.  I was always a deep and ponderous thinker and could just get lost in my head for hours on what ever I decided to focus on.  It seems now my thoughts are very shallow and limited.  

 

Can anoyone else relate?

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