Friday, 27 January 2012

Passing The Time...

I joined a forum for Benzodiazepine Withdrawal when I was beginning my taper from Diazepam (after crossing over from Clonazepam).  The forum was a life saver.  It was hundreds of people from all over the world with one thing in common - fear of the unknown.  Not every one was sick from the meds (though most were to some degree).  Some had dizzy spells.  Some had insomnia.  Others had made the mistake of coming off of Benzos "cold turkey" and were living through "Benzo Hell".  Benzo Hell is a term used by those who suffer greatly - normally from cold turkey detox.  They spend months bed-ridden.  No appetite and lack of exercise leaves them skinny with no muscle mass.  Showering can be torture as the beams of water feels like pins on their overly sensitive skin.  They cry all day and often cannot even sit outside as they become so sensitive to the brightness.  They also risk experiencing seizures.  It's an excruciatingly lonely place to be and as hard as my taper was, I am thankful I never made the mistake of stopping my meds all at once.

During my taper, I would spend a lot of time on the forum.  I was home alone as my husband worked and my daughter would be at school.  When I'd read other peoples stories, I'd read the same thing over and over again.  "Distraction is the key".  That frustrated me to no end.  Why?  Because doing anything other than curling up in "my corner" of the sofa was painfully difficult.  I lived in fear every day.  I called it the "frozen feeling".  I was consumed with so much uncertainty and fear that I was frozen and could not move even an inch sometimes.  The mornings were so difficult as it took every ounce of energy and mental strength to make my daughter's breakfast and get her to school.  When I came home, I went straight to my corner and counted the minutes until my husband would come home and I'd feel a little less lonely.  Even when I was with him I was lonely.  It felt even lower than depression.  And just like the daytime, the nighttime was just as difficult and long.

Sums it up quite well

Distraction was the key.  But I didn't have the strength to do anything TO distract myself.  Laundry became difficult, as did meal time.  My husband made many frozen pizzas during those months, always while smiling and saying "Sweetie...don't apologize, I love pizza!".  I hated it.  I couldn't be "me" anymore.  There was no energy left.  The joy was gone completely.  

However, very quickly once off the Benzodiazepines, I learned that distraction was now GOING to be the key for me to get through this as symptoms changed and I became consumed with nervous energy.  Six months later I still have it.  I paint rooms, bake, do laundry, reorganize my closet (again and again) to keep myself going.  Now it's the opposite.  SITTING is difficult.  I get nervous and shakey and feel like I need to pace.  So I do.  And I don't see it as a negative as I'd take this over last years depression anytime.  At least I am now getting things done and I feel productive.  I can do more now on 4 hours sleep than I could last year on 7-8 hours sleep.  Last year, my biggest distraction came from colouring in my daughter's colouring book (a great distraction by the way if you are anxious).  

I still pace myself as I don't want to burn out.  In the past I've had the habit of doing too much too soon.  I've learned so much about myself and don't foresee that being much of an issue with the "future Sarah".  I've learned to take life a day at a time.  People spend so much time filling in their fridge calendar with endless amounts of "stuff".  But does all that stuff make their life more fulfilling?   Adults push their children to succeed.  And they push themselves to keep up appearances.  I've learned to accept that I'm not perfect - and I have no interest in being perfect.  

I have spent a lot of time feeling insecure about these past few years - and although I sometimes feel slightly uncomfortable talking about it now to certain individuals, all and all I feel powerful discussing it.  I have a chance to help others.  It's a powerful thing to open up and use your voice.  This entire experience has been empowering.  

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