Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A Friend In Need

Sleep.  I finally got some solid sleep last night.  I was fighting the physical anxiety initially, but once I fell asleep, it was deep and I woke up well rested.  The day began well.  My bowels finally felt "normal" again after having a run of, well...the runs.  My bowels have had their fair share of "flare ups" throughout this journey.  As stress can easily hit the bowels and our GI track is seen as the body's second brain.  If my brain is working hard to recover from the numbness these pills caused, then it only makes sense my second brain has to work equally as hard.

I walked my daughter to school and then managed to run some errands downtown.  The walk felt good after being in our home so much over the Christmas break (many "pyjama days" in our home).  The air was crisp the sun was shining.  I came home and ate a big breakfast that didn't leave me with nausea...whew!  All and all a very successful morning.  Until noon came around.

I was sitting on the couch, curled up in "my spot", reading a new magazine I treated myself to.  I was happy and feeling good, when things changed in a matter of seconds.  A rush came over me and my armpits felt like they were sweating.  My spine tingled and I couldn't keep my shoulders still...a sort of "nervous tick" I get from time to time.  I felt almost flu-like.  My legs ached as did my lower back.

I had to get up.  If I stayed there I would obsess over these feelings and I'd turn simple physical stuff in to BIG mental stuff.  I made our dinner - a delicious soup.  I baked some cookies.  But I couldn't shake off these physical feelings.  It was something I've had before, but it's unbelievable to me that each and every time I have a feeling, it always seems new.  I was cold.  Ice cold.  I wore a winter toque and I had my hoodie on, but I could not warm up.  My bones even felt sore from being ice cold.  I walked to my daughter's school to pick her up.  She was as happy as ever and she talked the entire way home.  We met some neighbourhood dogs and stopped to pet them for a few minutes.  When we came home I expected the feelings to diminish, but no such luck.  Now for the past 9 hours, I have been struggling to work along with these physical feelings.  Eating is almost next to impossible because as soon as I eat the feelings rev up dramatically.  There are no tears though...just exhaustion.

There are 2 stages to withdrawal from Benzodiazepines.  Acute withdrawal - which for me was the first week off.  I was a mess inside.  An absolute, nervous, shaking, nauseous mess.  Somehow I managed to go to a friend's cottage during acute withdrawal...I still don't really know how I did it.  After Acute Withdrawal, there is Post Acute Withdrawal, also known as "PAWS".  The post acute stage can last 2 years.  Google it and you will see.  Here is a quote from the "Addictions and Recovery" web site:

"Post-acute withdrawal gradually gets better over two years. Your symptoms should show gradual improvement. Measure your progress month to month. If you measure your progress day to day, or week to week, you'll often have one week that will be worse than the week before. But if you measure your progress month to month you should see steady improvement. If you take care of yourself, and you're patient, you can get through this."

Another point made on their web page is regarding Depersonalization - which is something I discussed a few weeks ago in a post:

"Depersonalization is usually worse during post-acute withdrawal. Patients who thought they were going crazy because they had depersonalization, when in fact they were experiencing typical tranquilizer withdrawal. The depersonalization will go away eventually, but it can take many months."

 I have stated before that one of my fears is that my friends are going to stop understanding.  That they will finally look at me and say, "Sarah, seriously, this cannot be the meds anymore...maybe you just need help".  And it's not the meds...the meds are out of me.  But the meds did damage to my Central Nervous System, and now that damage needs to be repaired.  And with that comes many mental and physical symptoms.  "Normal anxiety" does not cause what I go through now.  I have never buckled over in pain from "anxiety".  I have never screamed, pulled my hair, punched walls and shook from "normal anxiety".  But I have gone through all of this since being on Benzos.  So if you have a friend or family member going through this, please understand - fully understand - that this is not them.  They are not choosing to feel this way.  They don't want this kind of attention.  They are fighting the ultimate fight to fully heal.

I feel as though the longer my recovery takes, the less support I will receive...that at some point I'm just going to have to shut my mouth to avoid confrontation or embarrassment. I have AMAZING family and friends, I shouldn't be thinking like this, but I'm finding I obsess over it a lot now.  I will have to work on it.  Talking to my husband helps - and he always listens.

I hope tomorrow brings a little less "nervous energy" and a lot more calm.  I am happy that I had a good night's sleep and I am happy that my morning was very positive.  I am happy for the supportive people in my life and I should give them more credit than to assume they'll give up on me. 

One doesn't know, till one is a bit at odds with the world, how much one's friends who believe in one rather generously, mean to one.  ~D.H. Lawrence

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