I am four months, one week and four days off of Benzos. I am so happy to be off of all medication. No more birth control pills, no more SSRI's and absolutely no more Benzodiazepines. For the first time in many years, I am able to go out to public events without a bottle of pills in my purse. I am in control now. It's a very empowering feeling. When I was tapering off of the Benzos, I often wondered how I'd deal with future stress. If I didn't have the pills to smooth things out, then what would I do? Now that I'm off of them, that thought never crosses my mind. There is no other option than to just deal with it. I breathe, I meditate, I do self-Reiki...and when all else fails, I cry it out.
At four months off, I feel as though I'm hitting a peak of symptoms. The mains side effects right now are:
- nausea (daily)
- a feeling of a lump in my throat (this is constant)
- brief moments of fever-like chills (a few times a day)
- mild headaches (seldom)
- panic attacks (not daily)
- crying spells that come out of nowhere (like in public places)
- lower back, pelvic and abdominal pain (constant)
- ribs feel bruised (constant)
- muscle twitches
I continue to see improvements, however this current wave is breaking me down slightly. Everything I do with my family or socially takes effort. There is never a moment during the day where I feel relief. As a result, I feel irritable and exhausted during the evening. I find myself looking at other parents at my daughter's school and wondering, "Are they really that happy? Are they going through this as well?". I don't walk around with a big sign around my neck that reads, "Presently Recovering From Benzodiazepine Withdrawal...Please Be Gentle". Instead I do what needs to be done with a smile on my face. I don't see it as being fake...not everyone needs to know my struggles. I'd rather walk around with a smile and "get through" the day, than to curl up on the sofa with a blanket and feel sorry for myself. I've learned that gets you nowhere...or at least it gets you somewhere MUCH slower. I find the more I push myself, the more confidence I create in myself. I really like who I am becoming and I am more comfortable in my own skin than I've ever been.
And that brings me to my "positive" of the day. In the end, as difficult as this has been and still is, I am loving the Sarah I am becoming. I love being in somewhat control of my health. I love that I fill my body with water and lots of vegetables and grains. I love fighting a cold with garlic and tea...and recovering quickly! I love watching my daughter make healthy choices when she comes home from school and knowing that at 8 years old she already appreciates what her body can do and acknowledges its strength. I love that my husband excitedly researches alternative treatments for everything under the sun - and makes changes in his own diet to better himself as well. I call us the "house full of health". And I adore this healthy little family of mine.