Thursday, 15 March 2012

1am...We Meet Again

I don't get it.  I had a relatively good day.  In fact the past week has been all and all pretty good.  My main issue has been non-benzo related as I have been experiencing a lot of pain due to ovarian cysts.  Today I've had my fair share of mild nausea, but it was tolerable.  I ate well and everything sat well...and then about 10 minutes before bed time I began feeling waves of slight nausea.  Not horrible, but I was fully aware of it and it was a bit unsettling.  Now at 1:19am, I am on the sofa curled up under a fleece blanket and all I want to do is cry.  This nausea almost seems "real" to me.  By "real" I mean, possibly flu-like.  I'm scared.

No one likes getting the stomach flu.  The hours of vomiting and diarrhea and the endless dry-heaves towards the end - not my idea of fun.  But a few years ago I developed a great fear of this.  It's called "Emetophobia" and it's #4 on the list of most common phobias.  A phobia of vomiting.  It began to consume me.  Every single day I feared "the call" from my daughter's school stating, "your daughter has a tummy-ache, can you please come pick her up?".  I began fearing germs in general and that is when the slightly obsessive hand=washing came into play.

Now months off of benzos, I've noticed this fear is slowly diminishing...but it still lingers.  And now tonight I can't figure out what is going on with me.  One minute I feel intense hunger pains.  But I ate well today.  Although I ate dinner very early - around 5pm - and it's 1am it could be hunger.  I have what feels like truckloads of saliva in my mouth with every swallow.  My stomach, intestines and even my esophagus are all gurgling and popping.  I tried to meditate in bed and it almost worked as I slowly began to calm and settle in...which tells me this is anxiety related.  But then my mind tricks me and I feel "something" in my stomach that tells me "you are officially sick".  I am terrified right now.  I don't want to be sick.  And I kick myself for knowing there's a good chance this has NOTHING to do with a bug and I could just be asleep right now.  I am more than likely in panic mode.  But how come after all this time, I still can't figure it out?  How is it that it always fools me?  My husband will say to me, "Sarah, you've felt this SO many times and every time it ends up being a panic attack...not the flu".  And I KNOW this...but to ME, it feels "different" every time.  A different kind of gurgle.  A different "pop" in the stomach.  The saliva kicks in and it's hot, just like when you have the flu.

I think back to what I ate today.  I ate a cucumber and tomato salad for lunch - raw veggies are something my system isn't use to anymore.  I ate a homemade dinner of whole wheat pasta with fresh tomato and basil sauce.  Tomatoes are acidic and in the past didn't sit well with me.  Add in the fresh raw garlic that I crushed in the pasta...and maybe that's it?  But then I get angry with myself for looking for answers.  I've always needed "the answer".  And sometimes there is no answer.  Or sometimes - well, most of the time in my case - it's all just after-effects to these silly meds I was on.  I've read enough to know that these strange physical and mental side effects can wax and wan for up to 2 years.  So why can't I just "let it be" and accept the fact that 99% of the "strange sensations" I feel for awhile are going to be related to the healing of my central nervous system?

Lots of questions that can't be answered.  This post is just me thinking out loud.  .Putting my obsessions, fears and thoughts on to paper.  I'm scared, I feel alone, and I want to cry.  I HATE what these pills have done to me, and as positive as I try to remain, I can't help but wonder if I've been permanently damaged in some way.  Will I always have problems with nausea?  Will my IBS flare up more often now?  When I'm not up at 1am and feeling positive, I know the answers to these questions.  But it IS 1am (now 2am) and I'm not feeling the most positive, so now I fear I'll never get better.

If there is one thing that stands out the most with benzo withdrawal, it's the obsessive behaviour or thoughts that come along with it.  So many people experience this but in their own way.  Some begin to irrationally fear death.  Some fear leaving their home and become agoraphobics.  I fear illness.  The fear of never healing from this seems to be the most common.  And rightly so.  After working so hard to properly wean off of these pills, I am still left (almost) 8 months later with a list of side effects that hit me almost daily.  It doesn't seem possible.  But then you have to remember how intricate the central nervous system is, and that's what has been affected by these meds.  These meds have numbed the system and now it slowly comes back alive.  And unfortunately it doesn't know how to send the correct signals.  So physical and mental feelings become exacerbated.  The simplest stomach gurgle feels like balls rolling through the intestines.  A feeling of sadness can turn into hours of uncontrollable sobbing.  And a simple comforting touch to the back can feel like a crushing hug.  Our system becomes so extremely sensitive.

So there is my answer for tonight.  I am still typing 1 hour later with no vomiting.  My stomach still gurgles and I still feel off, but I'm not sick.  My system is just being "loud".  I will attempt to go to sleep again soon.  I think - and hope - it will happen.  I'm sure it will.  And I'll have another 1am visit to the sofa under my belt.  I remember reading a story about a man who spent 2 years healing from benzo withdrawal, and at the end, he bought a brand new sofa and completely demolished the old one.  It was his way of saying "good-bye" to withdrawal.  I think his idea was perfect, because I'm really beginning to hate this sofa. 

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