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Apathy, lethargy and procrastination ... HELP!


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For those of you who follow my recovery blog, I don't even list apathy, lethargy and procrastination among my symptoms to be rated. However, if I were to be honest, this is either my number one or number two symptom. I think the reason that it and the other mental symptoms are missing from my list is because I consider them to be situationally-caused rather than being a direct result of benzo withdrawal. But that's really a stupid distinction to make. They exist and they impact my life HUGELY.

 

I am nine months off (or I will be on May 24). I'm able to do things, but not with any reasonable degree of comfort. My physical symptoms are still so completely overwhelming to me. For a long time I've pushed myself forward by telling myself either that a) time will take care of this and I just need to push myself to do things until then or b) the act of pushing myself will result in things becoming easier and easier to do. I'm finding that neither of these things is true. I mean, I know that EVENTUALLY time WILL resolve this, but given how things went for me the last time I quit Klonopin, 18 months is the SOONEST I could expect for that to happen.

 

Part of the problem is that there are no expectations of me or responsibilities on me. I'm not able to work. I don't have children. My husband has sunk into a depression. He doesn't make demands of me. Hell, he hardly talks to me. In many ways, he's more resigned to this hell than I am. I don't have family nearby. My friends have drifted away. The ones who are still around get frustrated when I can't keep up with them, so they've stopped asking me to do things.

 

My house is dirty. It's difficult for me to stay on top of relatively easy chores like dishes and laundry. The apathy combined with the physical symptoms (the worst of which is muscle pain in my neck, face, shoulders and back) makes certain chores damned near impossible. To vacuum my rugs, steam clean my carpets, clean my oven or scrub my bathrooms is simply beyond me. My husband won't help and, from his perspective, why should he? He's responsible for our sole support and working overtime to make up for the loss of my income. There's barely enough money to pay bills. There's certainly none for hiring a cleaning service.

 

Also, relating to the thread that Perseverance created, I also find difficulty cleaning MYSELF. I do manage a bath or a shower every other day, but it's something I have to make myself do. That soooo isn't me. A daily long hot shower used to be one of my treasured vices. The only reason my teeth aren't rotting out of my head is because bad breath shames me into semi-regular toothbrushing.

 

In closing, I want to say that creating this thread DEEPLY SHAMES me. I put up such a front of being positive in the face of this thing and am, sometimes, considered to be an inspiration by some. I feel like if they knew how it really was for me, it would cause them to lose hope. But I need some help and advice. This is MY recovery too. Giving in to withdrawal symptoms sometimes can be good and permissible, but NOT at this level. I wish I could afford counseling because I feel like I need it.

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Vita - I could have written that post myself - I am so sorry that you are having such a bad time and only wish that I could give you some suggestions on how to cope.  Don't be ashamed, although I am that way most of the time myself.  This is a horrible existence we are living - I feel it is not really any kind of life at all.  I want to give up many times but just keep going, I don't know how. 

      I just want you to know that you are not alone in feeling this horrible lethargy and apathy and shame.  I don't know how to fix it or how to get through it anymore.....but I will be sure to check on this blog in case someone writes to you and gives you some suggestions.  Hold on tight to whatever you can to keep you going.... and you don't have to be brave for any of us......we all understand!

Love Hoping2BFree

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Hi Vita, i am new here but the reason i joined is because i am 4 months clean from benzo's but i am still

suffering withdrawal symptoms and wanted some advice like yourself.

 

I also have really low energy and find it an effort to get up and do things. I find once i am doing something i am not

to bad, but getting up and doing it is difficult. I don't consider myself to be lazy but post benzo w/d has really took it out of me.

 

I just wanted to write that so you know you are not alone and i know how hard things can be going through this.

Hang in there and don't stop fighting, i have real faith that we will both get through this and come out the other side.

 

Kev x

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Hi Vita,

 

Thank you for sharing your recent post. I have not read your initial blog, but will do so soon. Ruth, you and Vita are both inspirations for me as I have recently begun my taper.

 

I've seen your photo and posts on a couple of mutual buddies' blogs, Vita, so nice to find this on a day when I am not feeling very motivated. It still inspires to know that I am not alone. Thank you.

 

Sincerely, with all good wishes for your healing (both of you),

 

Grace Seeker~

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I agree with hoping2befree, I could have written the same thing too.  I also wonder if pushing myself is counter productive as it causes stress.  I am so very blessed to have people to help me.  It sucks that people have abandoned you.  However I am only at 4 months and I can already see people around me wearing out, so who knows it they will hang in there for the long haul.

 

I don't know what your beliefs are, but it is my faith is what keeps me in the game.

 

I hope it brings you some comfort to know that there are other people experiencing the same thoughts and feelings of being overwhelmed by simple everyday tasks.

 

I always look at stories of people who are years out and are living their lives.  No doubt they too felt as we do at different periods during recovery.  But they say things like "life seem very easy after benzo recovery."  Now, when life seems too hard to live, I always recall this and know EVENTUALLY it will pass.

 

I think it was Thomas Edison that said humans seem to always give up just when they are on the brink of success.  You may be closer to the brink than you know.  It is the not knowing when it will happen that gets to most of us.

 

Try to picture in your mind a day in the future- you are well and looking back on this, and feeling so glad that you did not give up.  So happy you held out amidst overwhelming daily struggles, you made it.

 

I don't know about your previous w/d experience.  Would you be open to sharing that with us?

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This has been one of the hardest parts of WD for me as well. It really SUCKS when you can't bring yourself to perform even the most basic tasks. It's almost like there is a gravitational pull that is sucking you down, preventing you from wanting to do anything.

 

When I get into window it is like I am a completely different person. I will see something that needs to be done that I have been putting off and I WANT to do it and I feel good while I am doing it.

 

My business has suffered tremendously. Thinking back I can clearly see that I haven't been performing at capacity for at least two years. I wonder what the true dollar value of that is? Unfortunately I will never know.

 

If a doctor runs into you with his car on the street and you lose your ability to earn an income for two years the courts will force him to pay you for his negligence. The same doctor can negligently prescribe you a medication that turns you into a depressed, anxious, paranoid zombie for two years and there is nothing you can do about it.

 

I guess life isn't fair....

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Thanks for the posts of understanding everyone. It does help somewhat to know that I'm not alone in feeling this way. Of course it would help TREMENDOUSLY if the symptoms would ease off enough that this stopped being such an issue. Or if I ever, even once, had a window.

 

Perseverance, the first entry on my Buddie Blog has my history. It's quite a lengthy post.

http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=21934.0

The short version is in my signature.

 

FloridaGuy, the financial repercussions of this are ... inestimable. When I'm able to return to work, I won't (for physical reasons and other reasons) be able to return to my former profession. I'm looking at having to start completely over career-wise at nearing age 50 including needing to go back to school to retrain. I can't imagine how I'm going to be able to do it or what it will be like competing against young, healthy go-getters for entry-level jobs. But that's tomorrow's worry. First I have to get through this.

 

 

 

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At 9 months benzo free I was in rough shape, too.  At almost 14 months free, I can say that the apathy/anhedonia is my last remaining symptom.  I honestly can no longer tell if it's still benzo wd but it must be.  I have to push myself to go to work every day and on the weekends all I want to to is stay in bed.  It does seem like just a life of getting through the day...no fun, nothing gets me excited... just blah.  I thought the spring and sunshine would help but so far not so much.  :(

 

You are not alone...what you're feeling is, unfortunately, totally normal for this process.

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Vita

thanks for your honesty. Like you, I kept painting a rosy picture, thinking my positive cheery outlook would help me get through this.

It helps but not enough. Not nearly enough.

 

I am no longer bedridden since I went up on my taper. But now I hang out on the couch. When I have to go anywhere, I tell myself what time I have to leave the house. I actually watch the clock and dread when the time arrives and I have to peel myself off the couch. Once I am out and about I am ok, but the energy to get me going takes too much out of me at times. I used to be a clean freak. Now, my house is dirty often. I don't care. I dont have the energy to get up and clean clean clean... its like the sofa has sucked me deep within its grasp.

 

I used to be the life of the party. Happy, bouncy. I bounced ideas off the wall... I was on GO all the time. Now I can barely think about doing anything creative.

I have never in all of my life been this unhappy. :(  My friends don't come around or call as often.. who wants to talk benzo wd over and over? Its all I think about.

 

I keep telling myself I have to get a life and get on with things. But..... I just don't really care at the moment. If I could go to sleep and never wake up I'd probably be ok with that. :(  So much for my rah rah positive spin on everything.  I don't know who I am... I don't recognize this life.  I have NO idea when this ends and the sunshine comes back out. I went for a walk and tried to stay in the present moment, feel the wind, hear the birds.. but it was so hard to not think, when this walk is over I'll be on my couch alone, feeling lousy.

 

I guess I am on the pity pot today.  sorry..

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the fact that multiple people are saying they are 14 months off benzos and feeling this way is extremely extremely frightening to me considering im 2 months into my taper and i can hardly deal with this anymore, to even imagine another 14 months of this is just ridiculous. I dont know what to say, i honestly dont. This is really bad to hear these stories.
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Hi Vita, I am sending you a hug........(((((((((((HUG))))))))))

 

Does your hubby know how bad you pain can be in your neck and back? Is the pain always on/chronic right now?

 

You already know where I am at and I can relate. I understand the apathy and lethargy and procrastination. And very well at your time frame. I was like you and just pushed myself so much feeling overwhelmed with symptoms. I had to learn not to feel guilty when I just god fed up feeling the stress of withdrawal for so long, and let myself crash and burn. Things just didn't get done. I'm a clean freak and that was a first. When I was in super duper pain, things realistically just couldn't get done. That's okay. So I am giving you things I did when I wasn't in super maxed out pain. Because if you can't do vacuuming when you have benzo back pain Vita, you can't, that's normal.

 

That said, when I felt less pain after a crash and burn, which could last for a bit, I would pick myself off after giving myself a mental and physical vacation as I noticed I could only take so much of ceasing to exist in a way, I started to leave myself little one chore things to do. Each day. Maybe the dishes got done and laundry would sit. They dishes might just get washed and not dryed. But it was something organized. And accomplished. It made me feel better even if not during but after. Then I'd look at 3 loads of laundry, but do one only. That was a good start and enough for the day. Maybe it just got put in the washer that day and dryer the next day. And I might fold the one load but not put it away for a bit. But it was neatly folded and clean. I found if I didn't overwhelm myself thinking I could do things the way I did before withdrawal, I could crash and feel bad and get things done even if I didn't feel like it or feel good doing it, just with small things.

 

Eventually I didn't think I was procrastinating with my NEW system. I felt proud I found a way to keep up in a different way, and it eased the apathy by giving me a different kind of gas. Benzowithdrawal is something that changes how we think and feel so it's okay to feel bad for a while and it's okay to switch up how you do things. Or not do them. It's okay. You don't have to push.

 

Remember, we are not the same in benzowithdrawal, we don't have to do things the same way so we can have less expectations for ourselves while in the thick. I did at that time in withdrawal, small chores done differently therefore different expectations. Then I could meet them.

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the fact that multiple people are saying they are 14 months off benzos and feeling this way is extremely extremely frightening to me considering im 2 months into my taper and i can hardly deal with this anymore, to even imagine another 14 months of this is just ridiculous. I dont know what to say, i honestly dont. This is really bad to hear these stories.

 

Just try to get off the drug as soon as you can and hope for the best. It is very, VERY difficult to be optimistic when your benzo brain is in control but remember, it might not take that long for you to heal. I haven't hit month 5 yet and I am soooo much better than I was just a couple of months ago. Some people heal even faster.

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the fact that multiple people are saying they are 14 months off benzos and feeling this way is extremely extremely frightening to me considering im 2 months into my taper and i can hardly deal with this anymore, to even imagine another 14 months of this is just ridiculous. I dont know what to say, i honestly dont. This is really bad to hear these stories.

 

 

Just for clarification, I am about 14 months benzo free and am 95% free of the symptoms I had the first 2 months past my c/t.  Please don't let the fact that some of us this far out are still dealing with some mild symptoms concern you.  I'm sorry if my post caused you so much fear and anxiety.  I am doing just fine, minus the apathy, and you will, too.  :)

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In the spirit of L123's post I am 4 months out and after finishing my latest progress report I came to realize my symptoms are waaaay better than when I first began this journey.  I was pleasantly surprised comparing my 4 month level of discomfort to the beginning hellish state.  The first 2 months were hell, the 3rd month was better but still pretty difficult, but now at my 4 month anniversary it is so much better.

 

During the last 2 weeks of the 3rd month I had something weird happen.  For seven days straight my symptoms intensified and I felt like I was back at day one.  But then suddenly my symptoms drastically improved for the next seven days (and still counting).  The following link says:

 

"It is very typical to have setbacks at different points of time (these times can vary). These setbacks can be so intense that people feel their healing hasn't happened at all; they feel they have been taken right back to beginning."

 

And...

 

"People typically find that after a bad spell, symptoms improve and often go away forever. Try to remember this when times are hard."

 

So keep this in mind if you have a bad spell.  My symptoms improved afterward and a few disappeared.  Here is the link:

 

http://psychmedaware.org/recovery_tips.html

 

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Sammycat, we all sit on that pity pot occasionally. I lounged on it ALL DAY yesterday as if you couldn't tell from this thread.

 

NYyankeefan, I'm sorry my story upset you, but you should know I'm among the worst of the worst. I was a long-term user (14 years), a high-dose user (3 mg K for most of the 14 years, equivalent to 60 mg of V) and I have a history that includes a failed taper (the second time around can be more difficult) and protracted withdrawal (so I knew going into this thing that I was in for a rough ride). You probably don't have that many strikes lined up against you. But even if you do, you can't judge your taper/recovery by mine or anyone else's. There are soooo many factors that play into this. Just worry about getting through your taper. Once you're at zero, every day is a day closer to healed.

 

Vancouvergirl, I've been dealing with chronic pain since 1994. It's why I was put onto Klonopin in the first place. For most of that time, I functioned at a pretty high level despite always being in some degree of pain. Since I was able to "suck it up" for all of that time, most people think I should STILL be able to suck it up. It's difficult to explain, even to family and close friends, that there's a threshold. On this side of the line, I function. On this side, not so much. I've been on the incorrect side of that line for some time now and, quite frankly, everyone's fed up. They're just totally out of patience with me.

 

Your strategy of attacking the housework a little bit at a time, that's how I've been tackling it since May 2010 (the point in my taper at which I could no longer keep up with it like normal). This strategy allows me to get the dishes and laundry done ... eventually. When I have really good days (rare), I try to do something like scrub the tub or clean the oven. It's just that the messes accumulate faster than I'm able to make dents in them, so things are gradually getting nastier and nastier around here. As you can imagine, being in a filthy house only adds to the "why bother" feeling of apathy and depression that sometimes grips me. I know what's wrong. I just don't know what to do about it. What I wouldn't give for a good week-long window. I would strip clean this place!

 

Today's better than yesterday. I'm having a laundry marathon right now.

 

NYyankeefan, I wanted to echo what Perseverance just said. My first two months were hell. Then I saw real improvement. There've been setbacks since then, but they pass.

 

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Good lord. Chronic pain is why you were on klonopin. Ug. I'm sorry. I mean..........I get everything you're saying. Yeah, it'd be tough for your family to understand due to length, and I know we all love our friends and family, it's just, if they could feel just for a day what you do, the impatience would turn to patience and they would see how much you do push to try to be normal until it is just too much. It's difficult to explain the "threshold" is a good way to put it. Same same with the chore huh.

 

Well, I'm glad you are having a better day, albeit you're knee deep in laundry. I don't know what to say except we are all right here for you. If I was down south I'd take you or bring you whatever your favorite decaff is from Starbucks or an Amy's Icecream or something. I really would!  :smitten:

 

 

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Grande toffee nut mocha, decaf, nonfat, no-whip, hot.  :laugh:

 

Would love to meet you if you're ever in town.

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Grande toffee nut mocha, decaf, nonfat, no-whip, hot.  :laugh:

 

Would love to meet you if you're ever in town.

You just cracked me up!  :laugh: I can't mess up that order, it's too specific lol!

 

It's on my to do list!  xo

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I'm looking at having to start completely over career-wise at nearing age 50 including needing to go back to school to retrain. I can't imagine how I'm going to be able to do it or what it will be like competing against young, healthy go-getters for entry-level jobs.

 

 

I don,t want you to put pressure on yourself and am not exactly sure what your abilities are right now, but I was thinking about what you said about going back to school.  I wanted to share my experiences as an older student to help ease your mind.

 

In my mid 30's I decided to go to college for the first time.  I was formerly in the Navy for 6 years as an Electronics Technician.  I worked successfully in the field for 13 years and made good money.  However the high stress environment and mandatory over time was taking a severe toll on me.  So I went to college to change careers.

 

I thought everyone would be fresh out of high school and I would be the old lady in the classroom.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was actually a youngster compared to the majority of my fellow students.  Two students whom I developed frienships with were older than I.  One was 2 years older, the other was 53 years old when we graduated (and BTW, he has been working at a great job since graduation).

 

I also am approaching 50 and feel I will once again have to change careers and go back to school to retrain.  But I am excited about it.  I know from experience that I will not be the oldest one.  And I am also looking at fields where I can either free lance or start my own business.  I thought I would tell you this because you were worried about entry level jobs and competion in the job market.

 

My sister-in-law is a good cook and at age 54 she has started her own catering business, in much the same way Paula Dean did.  The economy has created a mass shortage of jobs in our area.  She decided to do this after a year of unemployment and being unable to find a job.

 

If you do decide to go back to school, I would start by taking only ONE class.  That way you can begin to gage how much stress you can endure, being that you are still in w/d.  Don't worry that if you only take one or two classes in the first year that it will take forever to get your degree.  When I went back I tried to keep my credit hours at 7 to 10 per quarter.  I took classes during the summer months to keep the momentum going, because a lot of people have a hard time going back if they have too long of a break.  I was able to graduate with my associate degree in 3 1/2 years.

 

I wouldn't worry about retirement or health care obsessively for the future when you can no longer work.  Things are constantly changing today as far as options to purchase your own health care and who knows what it will be by then.  I would however sock away anything you can and try not to accumulate debt.

 

The main thing I want to leave you with is this.  Sometimes you need to make a change to pull yourself out of an apathetic state, to give yourself something to want to get out of bed for.  Colleges are great for this because you will always meet people with whom you will click with, you feel better about yourself because you are doing something positive for your future, and I personally think it is fun to learn stuff.  Just don't put too much on your back at first.  Don't pile on the credit hours and send yourself backwards in recovery.

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And I am also looking at fields where I can either free lance or start my own business.  I thought I would tell you this because you were worried about entry level jobs and competion in the job market.

 

The freelance idea is a good one, but I'm up against these hurdles ...

-It was the many, many hours in front of the computer doing graphic design that gave me the neck problems for which I was eventually prescribed Klonopin.

-I haven't worked in graphics since 2004. To say my skills are out-of-date is an understatement. I was a print designer. Nowadays you can't be a graphic designer unless you're also a web designer and preferably a video animator, illustrator or some other "plus."

-The other skills and interests that I have which lend themselves to freelance are also very computer intensive. For instance writing and copy editing.

-Even before this economy, competition in creative fields such as those I mentioned was INTENSE.

-Also, I left behind all of my valuable professional networking contacts when we moved from Baltimore to Austin in 2004. It was shortly after that move that the rug got yanked out from beneath my feet benzo-wise. I simply haven't had an opportunity to establish myself here. Whatever I do, I really AM starting from scratch.

 

If you do decide to go back to school, I would start by taking only ONE class.  That way you can begin to gage how much stress you can endure, being that you are still in w/d.  Don't worry that if you only take one or two classes in the first year that it will take forever to get your degree.  When I went back I tried to keep my credit hours at 7 to 10 per quarter.  I took classes during the summer months to keep the momentum going, because a lot of people have a hard time going back if they have too long of a break.  I was able to graduate with my associate degree in 3 1/2 years.

 

This is EXACTLY what I'm doing. Tomorrow is my first day of Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology. I chose this class because it's the prerequisite class for almost all of the Allied Health A.A. degree programs. I'm thinking Allied Health for several reasons ...

-Even in a recession there will always be jobs in this industry.

-The Baby Boomers are aging, so this industry is actually growing.

-You can get a job that pays a living wage with good benefits having only a two year degree.

-Given what I've been through, a job where I can help people appeals to me. (I'm planning on avoiding anything where I might be complicit in handing out benzodiazepines to people, so definitely NOT medical assisting. Plus, that one doesn't pay as well.)

 

I wouldn't worry about retirement or health care obsessively for the future when you can no longer work.  Things are constantly changing today as far as options to purchase your own health care and who knows what it will be by then.  I would however sock away anything you can and try not to accumulate debt.

 

My husband and I are both pretty close to uninsurable privately due to pre-existing conditions. Our best hope is the insurance that an employer provides. For right now, setting money aside is out of the question. That will have to wait until I'm working again so I'm anxious to get started as soon as my health permits. Somehow we HAVE managed to avoid accumulating debt. Our credit cards are at zero. Our cars are paid off. So we have that in our favor.

 

The main thing I want to leave you with is this.  Sometimes you need to make a change to pull yourself out of an apathetic state, to give yourself something to want to get out of bed for.  Colleges are great for this because you will always meet people with whom you will click with, you feel better about yourself because you are doing something positive for your future, and I personally think it is fun to learn stuff.  Just don't put too much on your back at first.  Don't pile on the credit hours and send yourself backwards in recovery.

 

I agree with every word of this. I'm REALLY hoping the class will help with the apathy.

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Good luck with your class tomorrow.  So glad to hear this.  You are absolutely right about greater job security, living wages, and benefits in the health industry. There is a huge variety of places that hire medical personnel.  Wise move!

 

Also wise to start with a class that is a prerequisite to many other classes.  Buys you time to decide your major while still moving forward.

 

I understand what you mean about being uninsurable.  My Dad has a pacemaker.  Enough said.  Pretty much rules out freelancing/starting your own business too.

 

I am excited for you starting class tomorrow.  Keep us posted on how that goes for you and remember we are always here during finals for moral support!

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Hi Andrea,

As you know I haven't been posting because I really am at a loss for what to write.  I thought I would see so much more improvement by now at almost 8 months benzo free but not as many improvements as I expected.  Yes I do work but quite honestly it's such an easy job nothing is really expected of me, could I ask for more work yes but really don't want it. I remember I used to thrive on work and always asked for more then I could handle but now who really cares.  I watched Oprah's last show and there was a quote in there that hit me and I had an ahha moment and maybe it will inspire you or others but my plan is to live by it. 

 

Among the other lessons she's learned over the past quarter century, Winfrey said,

"You are responsible for the energy you create for yourself, and the energy you bring to others. Don't wait for somebody else to save you, to complete you, to fix you"

 

Why this was my ahha well for 2 years I have said more times then I can count I just wish I had someone to help me thru this but now I realize that nobody can help in benzo w/d it's something only I can do. Nobody can save me, complete this for me or fix me it's all up to me.  I call upon God to take this from me like people say to ask but he can't take it either.  This is all  mine to learn many lessons from.  It hurts on every level to go thru this but I won't let it take my life.  In the past week I have dug very deep to get thru.  Andrea keep pushing and healing you are a strong lady pursevere and show all those so called friends and husband how strong you are compared to them and make it thru the tunnel because in the end you can stand tall and say I did it!!!!

 

love and hugs Kristin

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