Sunday was a rough day. I had the "blues". My daughter had been sick the previous three days and I think a bit of cabin fever had set in with me. My husband and I got out during the day and did some early Christmas shopping while my daughter played at her Grandma and Grandpa's. The stomach pains were intense that day although I was able to hide it well and carry on with the shopping. That night I felt very uneasy. It was a mix of emotions. Anger, sadness and some anxiety. I felt as though the past month didn't bring me much relief from the side effects. Each day there was something whether it was stomach pains, nausea, adrenaline rushes or muscle aches. I felt a bit beaten down.
I cried off and on that night after my daughter went to bed. Usually a good cry makes you feel sleepy and ready for a good night's sleep. I hoped that would be the case that night, but the infamous Benzo Beast had other plans for me. I fell asleep anxious, holding my husband's hand for support. I woke up with a jolt. Covered in sweat and chilled to the bone. My stomach flipped and my throat burned as though acid was bring trickled down it. There was a strange sweet but metallic taste in my mouth. Was I sick? I turned on my ipod. 1:25am. No! That meant I had only been asleep for an hour or so. Please no! My heart was beating so hard I could hear the drumming in my ears. I sat up in bed and took a deep breath. Nothing changed. My heart continued to pound loudly and my body began to twitch. I softly cried and forced myself to focus. This doesn't have to happen. If I could just focus on being grounded, this could possibly pass. But the panic attacks that I've had since being on Benzodiazepines have a mind of their own. The tried and true relaxation techniques that help many overcome anxiety or panic attacks are wonderful tools for anyone to have, but they offer little help to someone experiencing a "prescribed medicine induced" attack. You might as well throw it all out the window because when the Beast comes to get you, you're going down.
The feelings would not pass and if anything became stronger. The burning in my throat became more intense. My tears flowed and as I sat there crossed-legged, I could feel the hot tears hitting my bare feet below. I whispered my husband's name, hoping he was awake. No such luck. I whispered his name a bit louder and then cringed. I hate to wake him knowing he has to work in the morning. But this wasn't going to pass and I needed the help. Do I call my parents? Maybe if I try to go to the family room. So off I walked and sat on the couch. I turned on the laptop, hoping the distraction would be enough to calm me down. My heart began to race faster and harder and the room began to spin. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs. I quickly shot off the couch and quickly but quietly walked back to our bedroom where I sat on the edge of the bed by my husband's side. I woke him up and cried to him, telling him I was having another attack. Eventually I tried to go to the basement, hoping I could really let out the tears there and things would pass. I sat on the floor of the exercise room, a Kleenex box in front of me. I rocked my body and pulled at my shirt. I punched my legs in frustration. My body was screaming inside. My stomach continued to turn, my head felt tight and my jaw began to ache. I cried out "Why?! Please make this stop!" I sobbed and pulled at my hair. I felt crazy. It felt as though something had taken over me. The intrusive thoughts came into play and this is what can truly make you feel insane. Suddenly there is no hope for you. You might as well not exist because you have nothing to offer. You will never get better and you have been permanently damaged by this medication. You are worthless. You bring nothing but stress to others.
I sob until I heard a noise that startles me. I quickly walked upstairs and wake up my husband again. He asked me to come lay in his arms which I refuse. During these attacks you feel as though your body needs to move move move. The shear thought of resting in your husband's arms seems like torture, but I eventually stop resisting and curl up in his arms. The pain is intense. My legs writhe across the bed and my toes and hands became claw-like. I cry so hard the veins protrude from my temples and my jaw aches as I clench my teeth. It feels as though something is trying to break out of me. It pushes on my back, and through my limbs. I go into a sweat and my body wriggles while my husband holds me and quietly runs his fingers through my hair. I beg him to make the pain stop. This is inhumane. I feel like someone is laying lit matches on my legs and arms - nerve pain - common during Benzo withdrawal. My body begins to loosen and relax, only to be thrown right back into the pain of it all minutes later.
I eventually roll onto my pillow, facing my husband. I thank him for staying up with me. My eyes burn and are swollen and it hurts to wipe the final tears away. I look at the clock on his bedside table. 4:45am. Three hours later the attack is nearing the end. My husband said he thinks the energy I burn during one of these attacks is comparable to running a marathon - or three. My husband's alarm goes off at 5:45am. Not much sleep for us that night. Fortunately, an attack this extreme hasn't come around in a long time.
I was warned when I came off of this medication that since the healing isn't linear, I may find it has a roller coaster effect. And for many, it can get worse before it gets better. I hope that this was my "worse" and that amazing times are to come very soon. I fear the next attack, but also know that could have been the last extreme one. My husband said last night that he tries to see it as my body working overtime to heal during those horrible attacks. I'm hoping after that much overtime, I get a much needed vacation.