Author Topic: More Evidence: We all heal! Ready to live again after 21 months.  (Read 28884 times)

[Buddie]

I am well. Completely well.

Great.
Except, Iím lying.
As I first write this, anyway.
Iím watching myself nail this down on faith alone that, by the time you read these words, theyíll be true.

These are the opening lines of the memoir I wrote during withdrawalóAccidental  Addict: a Memoir of Pain, Addiction, and HealingÖ.also Marriage, Real Estate, and Cowboy Dancing.  I had planned not to post my success story until I could announce that the book was published and available, but seeing how much encouragement people get from being reminded that we do all heal, it didnít seem right to withhold and delay my contribution to the hope represented by the success stories on BB.

You wonít find my story by searching my posts.  Although I lurked on the BB board for a year and a half, I didnít formally join and start to post until I was 14 months off of Xanax, felt like I was through the worst of it, and could write encouragingly to others.  This means there are no documented posts of my terrible distress, but trust me, I was there.  Perhaps one reason I delayed signing on is that I was also withdrawing from Oxycodone, and had been eight months clean of that before I realized my  very low dose but five-year use of Xanax might also be giving me problems, and cold-turkeyed that.  Since I never experienced many of the worst symptoms you all have sufferedóDP, DR, dizziness etec.óI almost felt like I wasnít a true benzo buddie.  As the time of my healing stretched out, though, and new symptoms appeared, I realized I really was suffering from benzo withdrawal as well as opioid.

I have in common with everyone here the sense of having just survived the absolute more horrific experience of my life.  My healing was entirely of the roller-coaster sortófeeling good enough I could have excitedly written a success story one day, yet was feeling suicidal the next.  I relate to the sense of isolation, the feeling that no one else understands, the appalling slowness of the passing of time, the absolute loss of hope that this will ever end.

I joined BB when I took a dramatic turn for the worse at 14 months.  I thought I was almost well, only to be plunged into a solid month of fatigue unlike anything Iíd suffered up until that time.  The most helpful thing for me about BB was confirmation of the baffling non-linear nature of this healing.  If I hadnít been following the stories of others, Iím not sure I could have held fast to the belief that THIS IS JUST WITHDRAWAL AND TIME WILL HEAL ME.

I donít want to write out my whole story here since I worked hard to keep my writing energy focused on my book.  But as far as what helped get me through and find my loved ones still here to welcome me back, here goes:

Just before I went off of Xanax, deeply crazed by the effects of opioid withdrawal, I sought a therapist FOR MYSELF.  I could see I was being the Bitch of the World, and I needed help in coping with this in a way that would keep it from being any harder on my family than it had to be.
 
Skeptical of the medical system that had put me in this position, I avoided doctors.  I did not chase down each bizarre symptom or go looking for the magic medicine that must surely be out there.  I just told myself it was withdrawal and promised myself that if any one weird symptom remained after everything else was gone, then and only then would I seek further testing.  I figured, why put myself through the stress of arguing with doctors, insisting that yes, I was still suffering the effects of post acute withdrawal syndrome?

I ate a healthy diet and exercised when I could, which in the past seven months hasnít been much.

I didnít worry about supplements.  I drank my usual coffee.  I enjoyed my one glass of wine a day until a fellow BB suggested it might be delaying my healing.  I knocked it off for two months recently, but when it didnít seem to be making any difference, I went back to my routine.  I did decide to try kefir.  Donít know if it helped, but it seems healthy and I like it, so thatís a new part of my routine.

Over a year ago I put myself on what I call the No Plans Plan.  Cancelled everything on my calendar and refused to put anything new on it.  Other BBs seem to do better trying to keep up with regular life, but for me, once I realized how sick I was, turning into a recluse on sick leave seemed like the best idea.  I gave up so long ago caring what anybody else thinks about whatís going on with me, that when I read somebodyís post being concerned about this, Iím like, Wow, theyíre still worrying about that?  Give it up!  The world doesnít understand. They think weíre nutcases.  The only way to prove them wrong is to get fully well and reappear.

I have listened to Belleruth Naparstek's CD called Anger & Forgiveness hundreds of times.  I had so much anger to deal with, and this elegantly written meditation helped calm my brain.

So now I really am well.  I sleep through the night. I eat what I want and my stomach feels fine.  Iím not anxious.  Iím not depressed.  Actually, Iím filled with the purest joy.  My memory is better than ever.  And I thought I was just getting old!  Best of all, I have ENERGY again.  When youíre lying there day after day thinking surely you must have contracted chronic fatigue syndrome, itís easy to start wondering if the miracle of energy is just something you imagined in the distant past, something that will not be a part of your future.

I hope the long timeline of my healing will not frighten anyone.  I was 61 when I went into this, 64 coming out, and Iím afraid I feel it probably does take those of us who are older a bit longer to heal.  Also, remember that my brain had a double whammy of three months of Oxycodone after knee replacement surgery.  Reading the BB stories of kindling made me wonder if that was part of my problem too.  I was first prescribed Xanax for a 12-day trip to China and was thoroughly hooked in that short time.  Recovering from that was bad enough that it scared me off of it for awhile until I started taking a very small dose just a few times a week to sleep.  I thought I was being so careful, but perhaps in spite of this, I kindled.

In a weird way, Iím glad I had trouble with opioids, because if it werenít for that, I probably would have continued with Xanax indefinitely, never realizing that the issues that were beginning to crop up for me were no doubt Xanax tolerance related.

I will come back and let people know when my memoir is available.  For now, here are the final lines of my manuscript.

      Is there any hope of prescribing doctors  trying to imagine going through withdrawal themselves?

      Itís like this:  Youíll live through the next two years depressingly sick in mind and body.   Youíll have the occasional good day, climbing a rung or two of the ladder, but when you slide down yet another chute, your damaged  brain will never be able to remember the feeling of those better days, or imagine the possibility of any more of them in the future.  Instead, with horrifying relentlessness, youíll keep hearing your own mindís morbid suggestion: Youíre a ridiculously sick person and youíre never going to get well. Ever. Why donít you just give up and kill yourself?
   Only donít. 
   Try to stay alive. 
   How hard can that be?
   Hard, as it turns out.  Appallingly hard.
   If someone you love is going through this, try to be patient.  Try to be kind.  Hold that poor soul close. Read some material that helps explain what your loved one is trying to endure.  If the whole thing baffles you, remind yourself how lucky you are that it does. Please forgive them for their inability to adequately convey to you the true horror of their mental state.  When they use the word hell, believe them.
   If itís you, my friend, hang on for dear life.
Your miraculous brain wants to heal.  Itís trying.  Have faith.  Donít succumb to the assurance of an immediate but temporary fix of the very drugs that brought you to this point in the first place.  Be strong.  Wait it out.  Live through this and somedayóplease believe itóyou will be well.
        I am, now.   
        I am truly well.
        When I first wrote these words as a goal rather than a statement of fact, I had no idea what a horrifying trip this would be, how long it would take before I could honestly make this claim.
        But how amazing, to wake up one glorious morning after another with this luminous glow of optimism buzzing through every vibrant fiber of my being.
        You know what it feels like?
        It feels like an invitation to leave behind this long, dim, twilight of an existence and come out into the light.
        It feels like permissionófinallyóto go ahead and live.

                                              Hang in there, buddies!







 

« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 12:07:14 am by [Buddie] »
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: More Evidence: We all heal! Ready to live again after 21 months.
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2015, 12:57:46 am »

 Youíre a ridiculously sick person and youíre never going to get well. Ever. Why donít you just give up and kill yourself?
   Only donít. 
   Try to stay alive. 
   How hard can that be?
   Hard, as it turns out.  Appallingly hard.
   If someone you love is going through this, try to be patient.  Try to be kind.  Hold that poor soul close. Read some material that helps explain what your loved one is trying to endure.  If the whole thing baffles you, remind yourself how lucky you are that it does. Please forgive them for their inability to adequately convey to you the true horror of their mental state.  When they use the word hell, believe them.
   If itís you, my friend, hang on for dear life.


Nailed itÖ this brought tears to my eyes for all of us and our families.
Eloquently said, and congrats on an amazing recovery!

[...]  :highfive:
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: More Evidence: We all heal! Ready to live again after 21 months.
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2015, 01:31:37 am »
Well, I'm touched at YOUR kindness, [...].  Thank you.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: More Evidence: We all heal! Ready to live again after 21 months.
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2015, 01:34:18 am »
Thanks for this, very powerful, very appropriate, very real!!

[...]  :smitten:
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: More Evidence: We all heal! Ready to live again after 21 months.
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2015, 02:13:17 am »
I am well. Completely well.

Great.
Except, Iím lying.

This part had me skimming down to the bottom to make sure you wouldn't give me an anxiety attack haha
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: More Evidence: We all heal! Ready to live again after 21 months.
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2015, 03:01:22 am »
Sorry, Love!  But you get the idea, right? that I started the book knowing the happy ending I was working towards?  I actually write my novels that way, too. :D
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: More Evidence: We all heal! Ready to live again after 21 months.
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2015, 04:05:42 am »
It was perfect :) One question! Everything from your childhood comes back, correct? Memories and such, as well as your beautiful ability to learn??
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: More Evidence: We all heal! Ready to live again after 21 months.
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2015, 04:19:39 am »
Yes, Love, I believe it all comes back.  One day I sat down at the [...].  I hadn't played in almost twenty years, back to when I had brushed up my skills to play accompaniment for my kids when they were trying out for theatre roles.  I was astonished to find I could still play!  It was such a great surprise I started crying.  I feel like my mind is coming back to a point BEFORE I ever started taking Xanax.  The stuff is flat out bad for your brain.  I read another of your posts and saw that you're just 21 and got into this partying around, right?  Sweetie, don't do that anymore, okay?  I'm hoping my own kids got a good lesson from watching what I've gone through and will never consider messing with this stuff recreationally.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: More Evidence: We all heal! Ready to live again after 21 months.
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2015, 04:25:39 am »
Mmhmm, I've drank on Xanax as well..alot...I have my regrets, but I also am glad I got the stupid stuff out of my system. One thing they should teach to kids since it's 2015, don't do drugs, any kind of drugs. I was taught, of course with the "don't do drugs" but the specifics were always those hardcore drugs, so when I was around these other things, I thought what harm could be done if you don't get into it and just do it every once in a while during your younger days. Derp haha, I just want to be me again, and be me who's 22. Not a hurt 21 year me and definitely not a hurt 30, 40, etc year me. I could play clarinet and [...] as well :) Guitar just the typical songs but to me, those are just muscle memories, I want to be that intelligent, absorbing, reckless kid that I was but no longer reckless of course haha. (Actually, I'm still reckless. When I get off the freeway, I choose the fast traffic merge that's closer to home rather than the calming exit before that involves hill..I don't know...I couldn't decide then finally when it came to having to make a decision, I had to do the one that pushed me, but no drugs! and I do love horror movies while in recovery haha, never will we have a chance to be this scared from a movie)
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: More Evidence: We all heal! Ready to live again after 21 months.
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2015, 04:38:04 am »
[...],

Well how about that, you've posted your success story.  So amazing.  So really, fantastically, terrifically great.

I am ao very happy for you, I could jump up and down a million times and still not express how over the moon I am for you and for your loved ones.

What a long, long haul.  You've been a voice of reason and strength on these boards.  Calm and tough, in a good way.  I so admire your grit and determination and well, here you are, pretty much good to go!

I'm just a bit before you but I can tell you that there are no limits.  What your brain told you in withdrawal?  Lies.  Crappy, benzo lies.  You have the rest of your life to do whatever you set your heart on, sprinkle magic and love around the universe and get the word out to those unsuspecting victims still out there.  There is so much good for you to go forth and do and this is just so positively wonderful.  Not enough superlatives!

Thanks so much for all your encouragement.  I'm in the same head space - ready to rocket.  Feeling there are simply no boundaries now that I'm getting well.  Turning the corner, everything seems just so full of possibilities.

I'm first in line to buy your book when it comes out.  You've done it.  So great, so great, so great!

Right there with you,

 :smitten: :smitten: :smitten: :smitten: :smitten: :smitten: :smitten: :smitten: :smitten:

[...]
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.