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benzo withdrawal has actually been one of the best eras of my life, here's how


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Every time I look at the threads here I see so much misery and suffering and I wish I could make it better for everyone.  Although I have suffered greatly with this illness, my 10 months of tapering and now 5 months of substancial post-benzo illness has been such a great time in my life.  I don't know how to put it other than I've had a good time while I've been having a bad time.

 

I've definitely had a few good things going for me that I realize with regret that some people don't have, but a lot of it has been a matter of outlook.  The situational pros have been: having very supportive parents, especially my mom who encourages me over the phone daily if I'm really sick and every other day if I'm just limping.  I also have a very cheap place to live which has really helped to making hitting the point where I was too sick to work more affordable and thereby less stressful (though I am not psyched about burning through my meagar savings and soon to go into debt, but there is nothing I can do about it so I'm just going to press on living cheaply).

 

But, mainly I think that outlook has been everything.  As much of a huge blow as it was to realize that this stupid medicine had been what was making me so sick for 11 years when I thought it was everything from loosing my mind to having brain tumors, the fact of the matter is that I have always gotten a lot done in a day, and now that I realize I got this much accomplished all with one hand tied behind my back I absolutely cannot wait to see what I can get done at full capacity for the rest of my life!

 

While no one likes spending 2.5 months largely so sick that they cannot get out of bed, I got a lot of reading done and watched a lot of great movies that I had long meant to see.  I didn't retain a lot of it, but it was the best possible way I could have spent and passed the time.

 

I've also used the time to keep in touch with a lot of friends who I really love.  Email/facebook has been great during my sickest because I can just do it when I have a moment where I'm feeling up to it and then can't see how sick I am, but the phone and even mail have been great, too, and I've enjoyed using the extra time to hang out with friends, in person, when I've been up to it, too.

 

Even though I'm still too sick to do much that is seriously productive, I keep chipping away at things and slowly but surely I am seeing personal projects get done, and certainly more so than if I wasn't chipping away.  I also used the time to practice the piano, which I largely haven't touched since I was a teenager, and just by practicing in spurts of 5-10 minutes a pop I have some cool stuff to show for it, now.

 

BUT MORE THAN ANYTHING, what has made this experience so bareable was when I stopped fighting it and fearing it and accepted it as a path I must walk.

 

It's really, really normal to not be excited about the news about reading up on your condition and realizing that you've probably got 1.5+/- years of feeling awful ahead of you.  And it's really, really normal to fear future pain.  BUT, the fact is it's a road we've all got to walk, everyone heals 100%, and everyone's life is always incaluably better for having done it in the end.  Once I realized that no amount of kicking and screaming was going to change the path I had to take, and that what I was going to have to go through was non-negotiable, it all became much easier.  I still had to go through it, but it's amazing how much just accepting it and not fearing it changes your experience going through it.

 

One last thought, while in the beginning I was scared of going out I've discovered that my town, and I think in most, has no shortage of free or very cheap things to do.  Whether it's authors reading their books, live music, free/cheap movie screenings, craft and hobby stuff, jogging/biking groups (or exercising by yourself), there is a whole world out there to distract you from your pain and once I realized my choices were that I could either feel like crap lying in bed or I could feel like crap watching a movie or band I liked to distract me from it I started gently going out and seeing stuff and have been really enjoying what the world around me has to offer.  Once you stop being afraid of it, there is a whole world of fun and affordable stuff available in most areas- check your local listings!

 

I don't know if it helps, but when I see so much pain I wish I could explain how possible it is to feel happy even while feeling miserable.  I know there are people with bigger problems than mine, but I also know I've been hit on the harder end of the scale by withdrawal symptoms, too.  I just want to put the possibility of happiness out there for people who haven't considered it, yet, since it is a little counter-intuitive.

 

;):)

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Awesome post sweet g.  Accepting and not fearing, that is so true, although difficult.  Or to put a Buddhist perspective on it, don't become attached to suffering.  Thanks for the inspiration.
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Well written! More importantly, well lived.  A great reminder that despite hardship, this is not the end of the world. 

 

Christopher

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I really love all that you said. :) I am in the thick of it right now, too - and I agree - that getting out and just doing things pushes me into a window sometimes that I'm not sure I would have had even if I had just sat at home and read scary things on the Internet.  It passes so much faster somehow when I get out and just live life.  It blurs the line between withdrawal and healing - and I like that very much.  Well said! :)
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Hi Sweet g,

 

Thanks so much for the wonderful post!! You have showed that no matter how sick you felt, you made the best of each and every day.  I think it is so important to accept this and even more so to forgive.  I have accepted the fact that I need to go through this, I am still working on the forgiving aspect, that is still hard for me.

 

I am happy you are getting to the piano, music can be so soothing to the heart and soul.  I have missed being able to practice for hours, but I am practicing more and more as time goes on.

 

I also think in many ways I am a better person, more aware, certainly more educated and proactive about my body and my health.

 

Congratulations to you and I wish you a continued love of life and living.

 

pianogirl  :smitten:

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Sweet g,

 

I printed it off and read it to hubby last night.....I'm so glad you posted it.....I'm winding down

hopefully to my last few months and I'm hanging on to that post....Yesterday was one of

the roughest days and it came just when I needed it....

 

It's funny I had even programmed some of the local museums in my gps for rough days....

 

You are doing great and you are right that acceptance lessens suffering.....

Slowly but surely I'm getting there...

 

Pam

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Hello Sweet g,

 

Thank you so much. I printed it too and just read it again with my husband. What a wonderful thing for me to have as an inspiration. Thank you again.

 

Love,

Summer :smitten:

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Imagine how much stronger we'll all be after this! 

 

Such a great concept.  Certainly this is no fun and it's a horror at times... but we'll all get through this and

we'll be tough as nails for doing so.

 

 

;)

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is a major influence that I need right now. Such positivity in the darkness of this. Amazing. You are a beacon of strength and hope for us all.

 

I will look to this post in my darkest hours. Thank you for being so brave. <3

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[c4...]

Interesting read.

 

Personally, I've been wrestling with trying to come up with the most awesome experience of my life. I didn't know whether it was this whole process of getting off benzos or that nice, slow two-week cruise my wife and I took from Los Angeles (well, Long Beach...), up the coast of the western U.S. to Astoria, Oregon, and Seattle, and then on to Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, and then back down the coast to San Francisco, and finally ending up back at Long Beach.

 

Now I know!

 

The cruise winds, hands-down! :thumbsup:

 

Tucson

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This is a major influence that I need right now. Such positivity in the darkness of this. Amazing. You are a beacon of strength and hope for us all.

 

I will look to this post in my darkest hours. Thank you for being so brave. <3

 

wow, how nice to see that this post is still making a difference.  I meant every word of it.  It's a strange thing, but I have been very happy even while so physically miserable and when I read through the thread titles here I wish that I could give some of my calm and happiness to others.

 

:)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Every time I look at the threads here I see so much misery and suffering and I wish I could make it better for everyone.  Although I have suffered greatly with this illness, my 10 months of tapering and now 5 months of substancial post-benzo illness has been such a great time in my life.  I don't know how to put it other than I've had a good time while I've been having a bad time.

 

I've definitely had a few good things going for me that I realize with regret that some people don't have, but a lot of it has been a matter of outlook.  The situational pros have been: having very supportive parents, especially my mom who encourages me over the phone daily if I'm really sick and every other day if I'm just limping.  I also have a very cheap place to live which has really helped to making hitting the point where I was too sick to work more affordable and thereby less stressful (though I am not psyched about burning through my meagar savings and soon to go into debt, but there is nothing I can do about it so I'm just going to press on living cheaply).

 

But, mainly I think that outlook has been everything.  As much of a huge blow as it was to realize that this stupid medicine had been what was making me so sick for 11 years when I thought it was everything from loosing my mind to having brain tumors, the fact of the matter is that I have always gotten a lot done in a day, and now that I realize I got this much accomplished all with one hand tied behind my back I absolutely cannot wait to see what I can get done at full capacity for the rest of my life!

 

While no one likes spending 2.5 months largely so sick that they cannot get out of bed, I got a lot of reading done and watched a lot of great movies that I had long meant to see.  I didn't retain a lot of it, but it was the best possible way I could have spent and passed the time.

 

I've also used the time to keep in touch with a lot of friends who I really love.  Email/facebook has been great during my sickest because I can just do it when I have a moment where I'm feeling up to it and then can't see how sick I am, but the phone and even mail have been great, too, and I've enjoyed using the extra time to hang out with friends, in person, when I've been up to it, too.

 

Even though I'm still too sick to do much that is seriously productive, I keep chipping away at things and slowly but surely I am seeing personal projects get done, and certainly more so than if I wasn't chipping away.  I also used the time to practice the piano, which I largely haven't touched since I was a teenager, and just by practicing in spurts of 5-10 minutes a pop I have some cool stuff to show for it, now.

 

BUT MORE THAN ANYTHING, what has made this experience so bareable was when I stopped fighting it and fearing it and accepted it as a path I must walk.

 

It's really, really normal to not be excited about the news about reading up on your condition and realizing that you've probably got 1.5+/- years of feeling awful ahead of you.  And it's really, really normal to fear future pain.  BUT, the fact is it's a road we've all got to walk, everyone heals 100%, and everyone's life is always incaluably better for having done it in the end.  Once I realized that no amount of kicking and screaming was going to change the path I had to take, and that what I was going to have to go through was non-negotiable, it all became much easier.  I still had to go through it, but it's amazing how much just accepting it and not fearing it changes your experience going through it.

 

One last thought, while in the beginning I was scared of going out I've discovered that my town, and I think in most, has no shortage of free or very cheap things to do.  Whether it's authors reading their books, live music, free/cheap movie screenings, craft and hobby stuff, jogging/biking groups (or exercising by yourself), there is a whole world out there to distract you from your pain and once I realized my choices were that I could either feel like crap lying in bed or I could feel like crap watching a movie or band I liked to distract me from it I started gently going out and seeing stuff and have been really enjoying what the world around me has to offer.  Once you stop being afraid of it, there is a whole world of fun and affordable stuff available in most areas- check your local listings!

 

I don't know if it helps, but when I see so much pain I wish I could explain how possible it is to feel happy even while feeling miserable.  I know there are people with bigger problems than mine, but I also know I've been hit on the harder end of the scale by withdrawal symptoms, too.  I just want to put the possibility of happiness out there for people who haven't considered it, yet, since it is a little counter-intuitive.

 

;):)

 

Thanks Sweet G,

You are right, we all have to go down this road to heal. Either go down it and heal or go back on and be sick.  NO WAY AM I GOING BACK!! I was so sick on them for years without knowing that was what made me sick.

I am so lucky to have the support of my family = husband, and children plus siblings.  I'm so happy to hear you are able to have your mom a phone call away. Some people don't have what we do. I haven't reached out to friends, I just have disappeared - I don't know why I feel shame. This isn't anything that I abused, xanax was written from a dr.  Who knows benzos make you think weird, never had phobias going places alone before - but that's getting better.

Take care, one day at a time. Lots of healing to you, JAF

 

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It really makes my heart go pitty pat to see that people are still reading and bumping this thread!

 

:smitten:

 

If I can add another idea to the mix, I recently just started Skyping with my out of town friends and wish I had been doing this all along.  Withdrawal can be so isolating, especially when it lasts for so long.  Having face to face contact is so wonderful I can't begin to say.

 

For those who are not familiar with it, Skype is a free video phone service of high quality that can be downloaded at www.skype.com.  You need a webcam, but almost all laptops have webcams built in.  If you do not own a webcame you can buy one for around $30 and start skyping with your friends.

 

:)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thankyou for this post sweetg.  I am having a very difficult time with depression and your post has put some things in perspective that I am unable to achieve on my own.

 

Thanks Brushy

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great post. This is my outlook as well, it has been from the get go. I was EXCITED to get off ativan, and for ONCE I had an ANSWER to all of my PROBLEMS, that also made me fear brain tumors in the past. Ativan had turned me into a huge hypochondriac MANY MANY times in the on and off use I've done in the past 4 years.

 

When I found out I was most def. going through some what of a withdrawal, whether it was a c/t or a tolerance... whatever I was going through 4 or 5 months ago I KNEW it was benzo related. IT TOTALLY WAS.

 

When I up-dosed in the beginning to 2mg before weaning, I FELT NORMAL... GREAT! And my head was so clear, I was SO EXCITED to get off this poison. I knew by brain was CRAVING this crap out of it when I wasnt taking it on a normal basis at this point. It was complete insanity.

 

Once I started weaning, I just KNEW things were going to be better!! No more strange or scary symptoms, no more Dr's visits over strange head shooting pains, no more irrational cancer fears. LIFE IS GOING TO ROCK AGAIN!

 

It took me 4 years to finally find out my drug was my problem. I didnt have a problem. I did at the beginning... I was having anxiety... but if I would have known what I do now... I would have taken the ativan for a few days to get through the pain I was in, then never would have touched it again. I would have done some counseling instead.

 

But that's life. Thank God I had a journal I kept all 4 years, writing down my "anxiety" symptoms... and I somehow logged my ativan usage in my journals too.

 

That journal put 2 and 2 together for me. I realized my anxiety was getting worse every year. Stranger and stranger physical symptoms were occurring on a regular basis... but when I was on ativan... they'd disappear. Hmmmm.

 

 

So I KNEW that getting off this drug could be a bit uncomfortable. And there have been times of that yes, but most of these s/x I have experienced in the past. And in the past I used to be scared of these sensations... and was always told it was just anxiety... which would never give me an answer why? why these symptoms? and ativan seemed to only be the answer by my Dr....

 

NOW I have an answer! I no longer fear those muscle twitches, I no longer fear I have MS or cancer. I can point those scary sensations to ATIVAN W/D!!!

 

It's an EXCITING YEAR FOR ME!!! This is my ANSWER I've been looking for FOR 4 LONG HARD YEARS. =) I FOUND IT.

 

AMEN! God was watching out for me.

 

I feel SO MUCH better already off this drug. I'm not a worry wart that much anymore at all!!! I used to over-analyze EVERYTHING. I used to fear of losing my job all the time even with the good work I produce. I don't do that anymore. That irrational fear is GONE! A LOT of irrational fears are GONE. =)

 

AMEN!

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Every time I look at the threads here I see so much misery and suffering and I wish I could make it better for everyone.  Although I have suffered greatly with this illness, my 10 months of tapering and now 5 months of substancial post-benzo illness has been such a great time in my life.  I don't know how to put it other than I've had a good time while I've been having a bad time.

 

I've definitely had a few good things going for me that I realize with regret that some people don't have, but a lot of it has been a matter of outlook.  The situational pros have been: having very supportive parents, especially my mom who encourages me over the phone daily if I'm really sick and every other day if I'm just limping.  I also have a very cheap place to live which has really helped to making hitting the point where I was too sick to work more affordable and thereby less stressful (though I am not psyched about burning through my meagar savings and soon to go into debt, but there is nothing I can do about it so I'm just going to press on living cheaply).

 

But, mainly I think that outlook has been everything.  As much of a huge blow as it was to realize that this stupid medicine had been what was making me so sick for 11 years when I thought it was everything from loosing my mind to having brain tumors, the fact of the matter is that I have always gotten a lot done in a day, and now that I realize I got this much accomplished all with one hand tied behind my back I absolutely cannot wait to see what I can get done at full capacity for the rest of my life!

 

While no one likes spending 2.5 months largely so sick that they cannot get out of bed, I got a lot of reading done and watched a lot of great movies that I had long meant to see.  I didn't retain a lot of it, but it was the best possible way I could have spent and passed the time.

 

I've also used the time to keep in touch with a lot of friends who I really love.  Email/facebook has been great during my sickest because I can just do it when I have a moment where I'm feeling up to it and then can't see how sick I am, but the phone and even mail have been great, too, and I've enjoyed using the extra time to hang out with friends, in person, when I've been up to it, too.

 

Even though I'm still too sick to do much that is seriously productive, I keep chipping away at things and slowly but surely I am seeing personal projects get done, and certainly more so than if I wasn't chipping away.  I also used the time to practice the piano, which I largely haven't touched since I was a teenager, and just by practicing in spurts of 5-10 minutes a pop I have some cool stuff to show for it, now.

 

BUT MORE THAN ANYTHING, what has made this experience so bareable was when I stopped fighting it and fearing it and accepted it as a path I must walk.

 

It's really, really normal to not be excited about the news about reading up on your condition and realizing that you've probably got 1.5+/- years of feeling awful ahead of you.  And it's really, really normal to fear future pain.  BUT, the fact is it's a road we've all got to walk, everyone heals 100%, and everyone's life is always incaluably better for having done it in the end.  Once I realized that no amount of kicking and screaming was going to change the path I had to take, and that what I was going to have to go through was non-negotiable, it all became much easier.  I still had to go through it, but it's amazing how much just accepting it and not fearing it changes your experience going through it.

 

One last thought, while in the beginning I was scared of going out I've discovered that my town, and I think in most, has no shortage of free or very cheap things to do.  Whether it's authors reading their books, live music, free/cheap movie screenings, craft and hobby stuff, jogging/biking groups (or exercising by yourself), there is a whole world out there to distract you from your pain and once I realized my choices were that I could either feel like crap lying in bed or I could feel like crap watching a movie or band I liked to distract me from it I started gently going out and seeing stuff and have been really enjoying what the world around me has to offer.  Once you stop being afraid of it, there is a whole world of fun and affordable stuff available in most areas- check your local listings!

 

I don't know if it helps, but when I see so much pain I wish I could explain how possible it is to feel happy even while feeling miserable.  I know there are people with bigger problems than mine, but I also know I've been hit on the harder end of the scale by withdrawal symptoms, too.  I just want to put the possibility of happiness out there for people who haven't considered it, yet, since it is a little counter-intuitive.

 

;):)

 

Very nice read, thank you.

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