You know it's a serious issue when t-shirts are made...courtesy of zazzle.ca
Things have steadily improved since I last wrote. I needed a break from the blog as I felt I was becoming a bit of a broken record, and I prefer to write when I have something new and hopefully enlightening to tell.
I had a wonderful Christmas, and though I still felt some physical side effects and the occasional bout of tough anxiety, I truly enjoyed it this year. The past 2 were pretty tough - lots of anxiety and nausea. It was nice to genuinely enjoy it this time.
The last full blown "oh my goodness this is going to do me in" panic attack was at the end of November - and it was a tough one. I was up till 6am with aches, pains and fear.
That WAS the last one, until this past Friday night. One week ago. I had felt it brewing all day but never thought it would turn into "one of those". But it did, and it hit hard. My arm was jerking, body tense and in pain, and the tears flowed for quite awhile. I was up till 3:30am with that one. So not AS bad as the one 3 months ago...but not fun at all. Since that night things have been a bit intense physically.
The internal restlessness has returned just a enough to remind me of "those days". The lower back pain has slowed me down (just a bit) and the nausea has reared it's ugly head a handful of times. But the thing that is bringing me down is the IBS pains. The lower cramps are at times enough to put me into a sweat. And I don't have a clue what to do. I eat healthy foods ALL the time. I only drink water. What else can I do? I've done some yoga, I walk each day and I keep active at home. But the pain just won't end.
So here I am , it's 1:28am, and I can't sleep. I am tired, but the pain is like a spasm that has me running to the washroom - only to rarely turn into anything at all. So I just sit there in pain. My ovaries ache as well, which then makes me mind spin and wonder, "Is this something else? Am I putting the blame on Benzos when something sinister is growing inside of me?". My head is spinning tonight as I'm tired out and ready for a good night's sleep, but my body refuses to allow it.
When I first became "Benzo Free", I just assumed deep down that I would be healed by the 18 month mark. So when 18 months came, I had a real mix of happiness and frustration. Happy to be FREE of the meds, but frustrated my journey wasn't over. I have no clue when this will end. My family doctor told me an upwards of 2-3 years for many - and I've read that online over and over. But of course you want to think optimistically - "I will beat this quicker than you all!". I LOATHE talking about this anymore which is why I've been neglecting the blog as well. I truly want this over with. I know I may deal with anxiety for the rest of my life (though I'm confident I've learned so much from this journey that I will cope well with it), but this part of my journey can't end soon enough. Just to get through an entire day with NO pain. I don't know what that's like anymore.
If I look back at all the symptoms I've had throughout this recovery, the ones I'd say are gone or are rarely seen:
Fear over exercise (I've recently started to "really" workout - going well)
Arm jerks (only during a full blown attack)
Electric shock feeling
The ones that linger every so slightly:
Neck stiffness and pain
Crying spells (that come out of nowhere)
Full Panic Attacks
The ones that are sticking around for a while longer:
Intestinal pain and cramping
Muscle aches in legs and back
Shingles-like pain (nerve pain that is sharp and prickly)
Pain under right rib cage (this was gone for some time but is back now)
Mentally, I feel good. I'm still working through anxiety that comes on out of nowhere, but I am very HAPPY. I smile a lot and laugh. I enjoy life. I feel very fortunate for not only an understanding and supportive husband, but also a daughter (who at 9 amazes me daily with the amount of love and empathy she has), parents, brother and sister-in-law, family and friends. I have some pretty amazing people in my life.
I'm definitely at a point now in my recovery where I can sit back and think, "WOW, it was really THAT bad!". All the sleepless nights, the 5+ hour long panic attacks, the CONSTANT fear of anything and everything. I was basically a ball of nerves 24/7. It went on for MANY months and it was totally and utterly exhausting.
But here I am at 19 months with another bump in the road. Hopefully it becomes smooth again soon and stays that way for awhile. And ONE day (hopefully in the near future), my official "It's all over!" story will come.
On a side note, it was recently Mental Health Awareness Week here, and it really brought on the passion I now have for this. If you read my blog and aren't a "believer" in the pain (mental and physical) anxiety and/or depression can cause, then I hope you sit back and think to yourself:
If you sat here in your bedroom today, looked outside and thought - "I don't want to be here anymore. I am nothing but a nuisance to the people I love. I hate having to fight to get through each day. I hate having to cry myself to sleep. I hate feeling lonely even though I'm surrounded by people I love" - would you not hope you had just ONE person in your life who cared enough to stand up for you, hold you, love you, and tell you, "YOU ARE WORTH IT...we can do this together". If you went to work each day - to a job you once loved - but couldn't put a single thought on paper, couldn't socialize with co-workers as it brought on instant anxiety, and cried alone in your car or in the bathroom...wouldn't you hope that someone, just ONE person, stopped by your desk one morning and said, "Hi...I know something's not right...please know I care and if you need someone, we can talk"?
So many people struggle with these issues - whether med-induced or not. It's one of the loneliest places to exist, and unfortunately with all the material out there at our fingertips, many still don't "get it". It doesn't mean you have to understand the way they feel as not everyone does experience these emotions...but where is the empathy? I have been fortunate to have all but a few people in my present life "get it as much as they could". They took the time to read "Benzodiazepine Withdrawal". And that meant the WORLD to me (and my family) during my darkest time ever.
I leave you now with this quote that sums it up perfectly:
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
- Henri J.M. Nouwen