I am 14 months and 4 days free of all meds - specifically Benzodiazepines. There are some amazing changes, and some frustrating ones. I'll start with the negative and then end with the positives.
The itching has returned with a vengeance. If it was humanly possibly to reach into my body right now and itch my uterus, ovaries, spine and intestines, I gladly would. You know when you get that itch at the back of your throat and the only thing you can do to relieve it is move your tongue back and forth? It's similar to that only magnified, and there is not one thing you can do. It makes me squirm. It sometimes makes me cry but that's only after hours of it and not knowing when it will end. It can make me want to pull my hair and let out a brief scream. But instead I try to remain extremely calm and breath through it as much as I can. There is always an end to it...I just have to be patient.
The "benzo flu" has visited me several times this week alone and it still gets me every time. "Do I just have a real bug?" I'm never sure. But it does seem to start with my legs aching. Deep aches that remind me of growing pains. Then my back begins to ache and sometimes my arms. I'll get a very low grade fever OR feel like I'm burning up with a temperature of only 36.5 degrees Celsius. My throat will feel thick and I'll develop pressure behind my eyes. I will get chilled to the bone sometimes and I become extremely anxious. It fools me each and every time and I truly loathe it. No one wants to flu every other day. It boggles my mind that it hits me so often lately...but it's just part of healing once again and it will pass.
Aside from the aches and pains that can come along with healing, a few good things have come around. The past 2 nights I have slept quite well. This follows a string of MANY bad nights that were filled with teeth grinding and nightmares. Now my sleep has been more solid and I'm not as anxious going to bed. Only when I first get under the covers do I feel jittery and scared. I often shake and whimper to my husband that I'm scared...and it's a very real feeling. It's pure fear that hits me, but does not last. I have asked my husband countless times, "When do you think I'll stop being afraid at bed time?". We are still waiting for the answer, but seeing as how I was NOT like this prior to benzos, I have to think this too will pass.
Socializing. I have a good group of friends. Most of my closest friends I've known since I was a little girl. I feel so fortunate to have them in my life and of course I adore seeing them. But socializing became close to impossible while tapering off of benzos. Somehow I pushed myself to get through showers, getting dressed and convincing myself "you can do this!". I got through most things unscathed, but ti was not easy. This past weekend we had plans to visit an old friend who I have not seen in a long time. We were invited to her home for dinner. 2 things. We go THERE. And we eat THERE. A year ago, this would have petrified me. The distance would have made my mind spin and the thought of not eating in my "safe place" (home) would have driven me mad. But now? I did it! And with very little issues.
I was upfront and honest about my "eating habits" with her...we wrote each other 2 days prior and she, being sensitive to what I've been through, knew I had some food limitations. We agreed to a meal and I offered to bring a salad I knew I could eat (my "go to" quinoa salad for many social events as it's healthy and packed with flavour). The day of the visit, the "OLD SARAH" would have been a wreck. In fact I would have been a wreck 1-2 nights prior as well. This time? Not an issue. Only about 45 minutes before we left did my nerves rev up. My heart rate picked up and my stomach felt like it was in knots. But then I noticed something. My husband was pacing a bit and he seemed to be "jumpy". So I asked him, "do you ever feel nervous before going somewhere?". "Yep...all the time...but not really nervous, just excited", he replied. So maybe this is somewhat "normal"! Maybe what I feel is something many do! That made me quietly smile.
We drove the hour drive to my friend's house. Located out in what we lovingly call "the boonies", it was a beautiful drive. Lots of scenery to admire and it always feels good to be out in the country. When we got out of the car I took a deep breath. The fresh air was incredible. It just felt healthy. From the moment I stepped out of that car, I just had a good feeling.
The visit was amazing. Easy conversation and lots of laughs. It was the most relaxed I have felt during a social outing in probably years. I only had one very tiny wave of "nerves" while there and was pleasantly surprised when it passed quickly. Otherwise I felt "normal". I smiled, laughed, and in no way had that "get me out" feeling I used to get so often. What a great way to boost my confidence. I hope this is a sign of good things to come.
So with the negatives come the positives. This still proves to be a roller coaster but in some ways the roller coaster is finally becoming "fun" at times. I think my main complaint is that my body and mind feel very worn out. I am ready for this to be over more than ever and when I think it could go on for a few more weeks, let alone many months, I want to quietly cry. I just want to wake up and have it all over with. I look forward to that.