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It finally hits me.PTSD?


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At 17 weeks off of a brutal cold turkey and a hard taper before that, I am slowly understanding the impact of getting off this drug. I feel shell shocked. I fight intrusive thoughts about death ALL day. I feel vulnerable everywhere I go. After feeling like I was dying EVERYDAY for months, I think it will take some time to move past this.


Anyone else feel they have to do some deeper healing from the psychological aspects of withdrawal?


I wonder if I will ever wake up and have a "normal" day and be in the moment, not thinking conceptually about death, God, life, the universe etc. Just focused on living my life. I HOPE so. But not too sure...

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Hello recoveringfrombenzos.  I understand what you are feeling.  I myself questioned the impact that withdrawal has had on me and if the intense waves and symptoms sort of created a PTSD.  After my worst wave that started in April, even when I got better, it felt like I was living in fear of experiencing those symptoms again.  When I ended up in another wave in August, I felt as though my fear or post-traumatic stress from the previous wave brought it on.


That wave stuck around for awhile and soon a few weeks turned into a month. I began to fret that it wasn't a wave but a psychosomatic state of my own doing.  I started getting existential anxiety about life, and that made me feel like I opened a Pandora's Box.  It feels like once you start questioning things like existence and purpose of life, etc... you won't ever be able to stop, like you disconnected from "the Matrix" and you wish you could go back into it.


The wave calmed down rather quickly and as it left so did those existential thoughts.  I was able to get mentally involved with the world around me once again, with anxiety/withdrawal now in the background instead of the forefront.  I know that this isn't over yet, but with each battle won.. improvements are gained.  


There is hope.  It may be too early to tell if you or I have actual PTSD from this, but if you would feel more at ease by seeing a therapist then by all means do so.  You have stated that you have other issues from your past to contend with that aren't related to benzo withdrawal.  Since you are several months benzo free you may be able to address those issues.  If coming to terms with those issues lessens your stress level, that may help your withdrawal tremendously because stress, both common and uncommon, can amplify symptoms.


You are not stuck like this by any means.  Sometime in the near future you could look back at this time period and admire your strength and courage for getting through this battle.



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Thanks Crono

I am out the door for an  hour and a half session with a therapist who knows my abuse history. I am working hard at recovery.

Thanks for letting me know that when the waves pass the intense thoughts do as well. I have hours during the day when I am more able to put this all aside, but some days I am slammed by it.


I am hopeful I will be back among the living at some point. I am out and about, but I am "aware" of myself and thoughts most of the time. It is exhausting.


To better days!



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I agree with Crono that it is too early to know if you have ptsd from the drug and w/d experience. If you had any underlying anxiety or possible PTSD already existing, of course it will be amplified....everything is amplified - -  stimuli and emotions, and the stuff in our minds as well. The intrusive thoughts are very difficult to manage, I know. In fact, I had "racing thoughts" for months after my c/t and before it as well, maybe for  more than a year as I was in tolerance. It had become a way of life. Thankfully they are gone as is the experience of the brain at a 1000 mi/hr. The intrusive thoughts took a bit longer to abate -though for me not totally gone if I am in a bad wave.


I had a lot of things happen to me during my w/d that ordinary people would have difficulty with e.g. illness and death of my father, that I just had to "postpone" because I struggled day to day keeping myself together fighting the dp/dr, anxiety, FEAR,  intrusive thoughts etc. I am sure that for some the w/d in and of itself is traumatic. :sick:


I have a lot of new sights, sounds and memories that will now be flashback material. The question is, will they ever be triggered in future when I am healed. I don't know the answer to this question. What I do know is that you have to expend all the energy you can right now to distract yourself from these thoughts. I know it is hard when your brain and body are not working correctly and nothing seems "normal". When you are feeling a little more at ease, then you can work at your next stage of healing. I think the last thing to deal with for me will be any residual PTSD and coming to terms with the death of my father and other realities that I had to push out of my mind otherwise it would have overwhelmed me. I will deal with this when I am stronger and feel calmer, and the cns is no longer so fragile.  :thumbsup:


My rule of thumb is if you get an intrusive though, based on real issues or not (e.g "i need to get a job" vs thoughts of death etc) is to push it out right away using a mental "stop" technique. It is important that you keep yourself as calm as possible and not let your mind get overwhelmed with stress and worry no matter the source. It is a goal worth reminding yourself many times a day about. For me, I came to view the w/d battle as one of  life and death where there was no time for indulging in those thoughts and "what ifs'. They are your enemy! I said to myself, I will ignore this no matter how long it takes, because I will come through this w/d. I cried alot and was living in fear a lot of the time, but each time I succeeded in overcoming the thoughts, was one more minute, hour, day I had closer to being healed.


It has been a big struggle, and I hope that the techniques I employed will help me in future when I am better and maybe even the anxiety I had originally will seem so small in comparison to what I have been through that it will no longer be an issue in my life. I need a silver lining, right??  :D;)


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Yep, I most definitely have some PTSD from the trauma of all this. I'm reading a WONDERFUL book called "The Undervalued Self" by Elain Aron and she explains that you can become traumatized by such small things as changing schools, going through a period of life without any friends, small things like that. The good news is that book's also really reassuring. I think we have to trust out bodies to work through the trauma. Another absolutely amazing book is called "Waking The Tiger".... if you're going to read a book on PTSD, make it be that one.
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It is only my opinion, but I believe the “psychological aspects” of benzo w/d have nothing do with anything that happened in my past (except the fact that I took benzos and became dependent on them). I have struggled tremendously with intrusive/obsessive thoughts, depression, fear, dread, dp/dr, and so on throughout this journey that started 2 years ago when I quit drinking. I have weathered many very difficult and painful circumstances in my life. I survived those circumstances, and I am now in this place of benzo w/d. This w/d,  hands down, dwarfs any other pain, sorrow, or suffering I’ve experienced in my life. In that regard, once through this w/d, I don’t expect any sort of adverse psychological effects from my past - no matter how tough my past has been (and my early years were extremely painful).


I am approaching w/d from a perspective that has two parts - both of which are integral parts of “what makes me tick” and what has gotten me through 58 years of life. First, I think Nietzsche said it right: “What does not destroy me makes me stronger.” I’ve weathered so much in my life, and each “episode” has only served to make me stronger for the next. The pain of my past is not something I look back at and cringe. I look back and think about how much stronger I now am for having gone through that. I survived it, and I am stronger. I believe that the strength to get through anything is provided to me (actually to every one of us) by the One who made me - whether or not I acknowledge it. The strength is always available and provided - but usually not in the way I would like it to be provided or in the time I would like.


The second “part” has to do with the thought: “Set your mind on things above - not the things on earth.” I’m beginning to understand that more clearly as I navigate w/d (even with my benzo brain). “Things above” and “things on earth” are not mutually exclusive at all. There is one thing that connects the two - love, compassion, or whatever I choose to call it. It’s becoming simpler for me to see. Love trumps absolutely everything on this earth. Love is stronger than anything in the universe. Whether my life is a bed of roses or full of thorns and suffering is not particularly relevant to why I am here on earth. I am here to grow a heart of love. If I can love - even as I go through something as painful as benzo w/d, then my capacity to love will have grown tremendously by the time I get to the other side of w/d. My heart will be right, and my mind will be strong. And there is not a better combination.


For me, in the midst of the depression, dp/dr, and all the rest that w/d has offered me, it has been hard to “find” the love that is in me. Of course, that causes self-loathing, guilt, and all the other lies that w/d whispers - and often shouts. But, as w/d time passes, I am beginning to see a love inside me again. I can’t “feel” it yet, but I can see it peeking out from time to time. It is there in the midst of my feelings of irritability, fear, weakness, and all the rest. Maybe it will be another year till I feel it. Maybe it will be tomorrow. I guess that is not what is important. It is there. It is growing. That is what is important.


I truly would love to feel “normal” again and “be in the moment” and forget about how I feel. I trust that such a day will eventually get here, and it will. For now, it has to be enough for me to find strength to do everything I humanly can to survive w/d and to try to grow in the thing I am here for - love and compassion. If I can do it through benzo w/d, everything else will be cake, and my capacity to show compassion will be enormous.


Sorry this is so long. It’s just how I am getting through w/d, and it’s the first time I actually extracted it from my brain and put it into words.


Thank you for bearing with me.




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No need to thank us for bearing with you. Thank you for taking the time and making the effort to share your thoughts.

I agree, love and compassion are the keys to freedom.


I pray you continue to heal and you find the love inside. We both know fully, that it is there.


Thank you again for sharing.

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