Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Music Therapy

I have always had a DEEP love for music.  And it's not just one genre of music.  I enjoy just about anything...Queen, Sarah McLachlan, Muse, Sia, Bach, Chopin, The Cure, Metric, Florence and the Machine, Louis Armstrong, Pink, Christina Perri, Panic At The Disco, Aqualung...I could go on and on and on.  I don't have a favourite.

While tapering off of Benzodiazepines, there were very few days where I could say I felt well at all.  Most days were consumed with various aches and pains as well as mental anguish.  I couldn't bring myself to listen to anything happy.  I tried, but I'd then sit and think about how I wanted to be able to dance, or clean my home, or visit friends, and I'd become more depressed.  So I surrounded myself with sad music.  Music with lyrics that could make a grown man cry - in my opinion.  My "go to" was Sia.  I came across her music while watching the TV program "Intervention".  It was used as the background music during their commercial.  The song was called "Breathe Me", and several television shows have used this song...it is so moving, deep and gives me chills every time.  The lyrics "spoke" to me.  It's how I felt.  I felt like a loser - a failure.  I felt that my own stupidity and weakness had put me in this position.  If I had just fought through my previous anxiety problems instead of running to my doctor for a prescription, I wouldn't be sitting there in pain. 

Sia - Breathe Me

Help, I have done it again
I have been here many times before
Hurt myself again today
And, the worst part is there's no-one else to blame

Be my friend

Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small
And needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Ouch I have lost myself again

Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found,
Yeah I think that I might break
I've lost myself again and I feel unsafe

Be my friend

Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small
And needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Be my friend

Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small
And needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Then I came across another Sia song..."I'm In Here".  Even today this song brings me back to "those" days.  I wondered if she had been in a similar place.  I remember wanting to ask her, "how did you know?...".  I felt it was written for me.  

Sia - I'm In Here

I’m in here.
Can anybody see me?
Can anybody help?

I’m in here,

A prisoner of history.
Can anybody help?

Can you hear my call? Are you coming to get me now?

I’ve been waiting for you to come rescue me
I need you to hold all of the sadness I can not…
Live with inside of me

I’m in here.

I’m trying to tell you something.
Can anybody help?

I’m in here.

I’m calling out but you cant hear.
Can anybody help?

Can you hear my call? Are you coming to get me now?

I’ve been waiting for you to come rescue me.
I need you to hold, all of the sadness I can not…
Live with inside of me.

I’m crying out.

I’m backing down.
I am feeling it all.
Stuck inside these walls, tell me there is hope for me.
Is anybody out there listening?

Can you hear my call? Are you coming to get me now?

I’ve been waiting for you to come rescue me.
I need you to hold, all of the sadness I can not…
Live with inside of me


Can you hear my call? Are you coming to get me now?

I’ve been waiting for you to come rescue me.
I need you to hold, all of the sadness I can not…
Live with inside of me.


I’m in here.

Can anybody hear me?
Can anybody help?  

When I hear these songs, I may be brought back to "that place", but much if not most of that sadness is gone.  I can remember the first time I listened to an upbeat song and ENJOYED it.  It was last summer and I was only weeks off of benzos.  I was preparing dinner in the kitchen when a dance song of sorts came on the radio.  I stopped what I was doing and danced away.  No one was home.  No one was watching me.  And it felt great.  I dance more and more nowadays and I can listen to upbeat music just about any day.  The sad songs aren't played as often but I still adore them.  They also remind me of how far I've come.  

I think music is a great way to "let it out".  Cry with a song.  Dance with a song.  Allow yourself  to be moved.  
 

 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Facebook, And My Thoughts Regarding It

To each their own.  Some people adore Facebook.  They love to play the "apps", "Poke" their friends and loved ones, and search through photo album after photo album.  Others say, "if I need to know how my friends are, I'll call them"...or "why do I care what people are doing if they aren't a part of my life anymore?". 

Me, personally?  I love it.  For a number of reasons.  My husband immigrated to Canada on September 25, 2001.  Prior to that, I lived with him in Amsterdam for ten months.  During those ten months I had a wonderful opportunity to meet and create friendships with his life-long friends.  They were (and still are) wonderful people.  I love each of them and I am so happy I had the chance to get to know each of them.  I miss them often.  But through Facebook, I feel like I am still with them!  Whether it's a status update about the horrible summer weather in Amsterdam (sorry guys!), or new photos of their children we've never met...I feel like I am living life with them even though an ocean parts us. 

Beautiful Amsterdam

I have always had a passion for photography.  My husband and I take countless numbers of photos of just about anything - though our daughter is our favourite subject.  "Oh, a squirrel!!!"...click..."A flower!!!"...click..."A bird on a wire!!!"...click.  We are "snap happy".  Guilty and proud of it.  You want photos taken of your kids birthday party?  Just invite us...you'll be guaranteed 200+ photos.  We went away this summer to the cottage of good friends of ours - for two nights.  500+ photos later, we made some wonderful memories and caught them all on camera to forever remember.  So OF COURSE I'm going to "post" some of these photos on Facebook.  And I get excited doing it.  I anxiously walk into our home after being to an event.  I quickly download the photos onto our computer and then start the daunting task of picking out the "best" photos to upload to my new Facebook album.  For the 500+ photos we took that cottage weekend away, I posted approximately 100 photos.  You don't want to post them ALL.  Just the best of the best.  It's such an awesome way to stay connected with those who live afar, but also with my friends who live across town.  
 
 "Bird on a Wire"...taken by Sarah
 
People make jokes about "status updates".  "Do I REALLY need to care that you are going to bed right now?...Do I REALLY need to know what you made for dinner?".  Well, no, I guess not.  But why let that bother you?!  I LOVE to read my friends talk about the delicious BBQ they are excited to have that night...or that they bought a new car and feel proud...or that they are first-time homeowners and want to yell it to the world!  I get excited FOR them!  I even get the shivers - really, I do.  I proudly "LIKE" their status and give them a "WOO HOO!!!"...because I genuinely care. 

I also love the status updates that are about something, but nothing at the same time.  The "witty updates".  The ones that make me laugh out loud, or "LOL".  My friend, Tara, wins with this one.  I am guaranteed a good laugh when I read her status.  It reminds of "Deep Thoughts with Jack Handey", from the old Saturday Night Live episodes.  And who doesn't need a good laugh half way through the day?!  If you are a "friend" of someone like Tara, you'll be one happy person when she turns that frown upside down with a simple status update. 

I'm not a "Facebook Addict".  I don't play the games or "apps", I don't join countless groups, and I don't spend hours searching for new friends so I can hit "200 Friends" (although many have upwards of 1000, or more).  I am "Friends" with those I am interested in.  I am "Friends" with people I would enjoy bumping in to at the mall.  But until I bump in to them, I at least have a way to stay in touch.  It's incredible that we live in a society now where in a matter of minutes and few clicks of buttons, we can share our daughter's birthday with 100+ others...including those overseas.  How lucky are we?!  I know I feel fortunate that I can see photos of my husband's family in Greece, or our nieces and nephews we have yet to meet (or haven't seen since they were little kids...and are now teenagers).  It's an inexpensive way to stay in touch.

So don't be quick to knock it!  It's not for everyone, but those who do choose to "join" the world of Facebook may just have some great reasons to do so!  I bet you wish you could "like" this post, eh?  "LOL".  



Wednesday, 8 August 2012

You Almost Can't Believe It Unless You Live It.

I am managing, but this week has been really tough.  Every day I experience an hour or two...or three or four...when I feel much like I did during my taper.  This has been tough to deal with as I thought those days were behind me.  The adrenaline, which seemed to be long gone, has really hit me hard and I often find myself pacing the house looking for things to do to "burn it off"...only my mind is so spun that I can't focus on one single task...so I just end up walking around in a daze. 

The headaches are creeping up.  One after another - nothing will take them away.  I have tried Tylenol two times this week with no relief, so I just rub my neck and hope it passes.  It does...when it's ready. 

The nausea is reminiscent of the nausea I had a year or two ago.  It's not a gurgling, sick feeling like you have with the flu, and it's not the strange empty "motion sickness" nausea I often have - it's this "oh my goodness there is so much adrenaline rushing through me and landing in the pit of my stomach that I think I'm going to dry heave right here!" kind of nausea.  So I spend many minutes deep breathing my way through this feeling.  The more controlled I can remain the better.  As soon as I lose the control of my breathing the gag reflexes kick in.

The bouts of sadness and tears are back and boy are they fun!  Especially when you are walking through the mall or grocery store and the urge to cry is so strong you have to swallow the lump in your throat - a lump so big it hurts - just to make it stop.  It comes from nowhere.  I can be walking through a clothing store when suddenly I get this tingly feeling in my shoulders.  Then my arms feel weak.  And there we have it.  Tears well up in my eyes.  I feel deep sadness over...nothing.  I am able to control it but it is not easy.  The Olympics are just about killing me.  If you win a medal, you better believe I'm going to cry for you. 

My sleep is really disrupted lately.  I often have the "urge to go" as soon as I get comfortable.  Then there was a night I was up every hour to go pee.  Then there are the nightmares that have come back - so incredibly vivid and frightening...the kind you want to wake up from but your body won't do it.  I have woken up several times these past few weeks not sure if I was really dreaming it or had lived it.  It feels so real until I finally come to and realize it was in fact just a dream.  The lack of sleep is catching up to me and I've noticed I'm not thinking as clearly.  I get overwhelmed quickly and feel on edge a lot.  Noises are bothering me and if there are too many noises at once then the space around me becomes muffled and yet my ears can zone in to each and every noise. 

You almost can't believe it unless you live it.  Every time I write an entry on my blog that depicts the intensity of Benzo Withdrawal, I ALWAYS say to myself, "now, I wonder if this is the entry that is going to make people start to roll their eyes".  I don't think people can understand or grasp the severity of the withdrawal effects that can come on during this process.  After all the research I've done and knowing very well this journey can take up to a few years before I am "healed", I STILL sat here tonight - my body feeling weak, my blood pressure low, my head spinning, the tears flowing, my head pounding, my arms shaking, my breathing heavy and my chest and throat ice cold - and wondered how I can still feel this horrible!  My husband always says (I should have a t-shirt made for him with the words spread across), "It's the withdrawal.  You KNOW this can happen.  You've read it every where.  I don't understand why YOU don't believe it?!".  But that's just the nature of the beast.  It creates so many fears and irrational thoughts so you spend so much time doubting. 

I do know it though - deep down.  When I'm thinking clearly I know what it is and the sooner I accept it, the sooner I can just breeze through my day WITH the side effects.  I have said many times this week, "I hate this...I am done with this...I want this to end" - and yet there is a part of me that rejoices in the fact that I AM getting through this and it has created a better "me".  A stronger and more confident me.  And hopefully soon a less irritated, blubbering and achy me. 





Saturday, 4 August 2012

The Fear Has Returned...

It's 2:38am.  I haven't slept yet.  My bowels are cramping up.  I have the sweats and the adrenaline is rushing through me.  My hands and feet shake.  The saliva crept up again tonight and I spent an entire movie swallowing time and time again.  I feel fear. 

The fear hasn't been around for quite some time.  Of course it creeps up during a bad night, but not like this.  This is the kind of fear that leaves me wondering if I am just permanently damaged.  I get angry that I ever took these pills and then as the anger sets in I can feel this sudden "OH MY GOSH!" feeling hit me in my chest and pit of my stomach.  It's this surge of fear and adrenaline that is uncontrollable.  It's a feeling that makes you want to pull your hair, pace the house and punch a wall or two...and maybe scream.  So far I have only paced the house.  And cried a lot. 

How will I get through this for one more day, let alone several weeks, months or even a year or two?  I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE!  I have said this several times in the past 24 hours.  I CAN'T.  I WON'T.  THIS CAN'T HAPPEN!  PLEASE MAKE THIS STOP!  It's the fear and it's back full force. 

As I type this, I really have no clue how I will do this.  If these symptoms stick around for a few weeks, I just can't fathom it all over again.  I don't want sleepless nights and panic attacks.  I want normalcy.  Even if my normalcy right now is what I felt a few weeks ago.  I just don't want this. 


Friday, 3 August 2012

Unwanted Suprises At One Year Off

I can't believe how horrid I feel right now.

I woke up feeling fine.  I had a good solid sleep - 6 hours.  I woke up happy.  I was hungry - much more hungry than usual.  I made some breakfast and ate it quickly.  I felt full - more full than usual since I ate quicker than usual.  But I felt fine.

Then the saliva came.  Rushes of hot saliva filled my mouth and I had to keep swallowing - which then brought on excessive burping.  I started to notice that sounds around me became louder.  The bulldozer out on our street began to sound like it was approaching our home.  The Olympics on the television became muffled claps and cheers.  I could feel the adrenaline rushing through my body...and that's when I sat straight and said, "Oh no...this is how I felt when I tapered!".

I got up and did some dishes, but the feeling of having to throw up came on so strong.  I cried on my husband's shoulder but even my tears wouldn't take it all away.  Now an hour later and the feelings have lessened but is still strong enough that I feel completely unsettled.  My fingers burn with adrenaline.  My chest is heavy and my stomach still turns.  The saliva is still coming on in waves and it wonder if a good heave over the toilet would end this.  I have cried so hard my eyes now burn and feel swollen. 

I took a break from writing this post and had a long shower.  It helped a bit.  But my body feels 100% rattled.  And I am sad.   I am human and when things get this tough I do feel a bit of the "whoa is me" feeling.  I'm angry this continues to be so prevalent in my day to day life.  I am tired of explaining to friends, "it's just the pills...it's just withdrawal".  I literally cringe when I say it.  I think it's because of the fear that lingers that eventually people will stop believing me. 

The literature is out there.  If you take the time to do some research, there are documents and articles as far back as the 1980's discussing the risks of long term use of Benzodiazepines.  None of what I say is fabricated...however, I fear people will stop believing the further out I get. 

Off I go to face the day.  It's now 11:24am and this all began at 9:23am.  I know this can pass in a matter of minutes.  Yesterday I had the "Benzo-flu" symptoms for 6 hours straight.  I remember thinking several times, "maybe this is just THE FLU"...but there was no fever, no diarrhea, no body aches...just this horrible heavy/tired feeling and my body felt unsettled.  And just like it came on without warning, it too vanished.  I went from the flu to 100% within a minute.  It's like a switch that toggles on and off.  I have to continue to visualize the "Benzo Beast", laughing at me as he turns the switch on...telling me I'm going to break and I'm going to fail.  If I can get angry at him it makes things easier.  Visualizing can be a wonderful thing.  And that beast is going down.