Author Topic: Coping during withdrawal - valuable tools  (Read 51202 times)

[Buddie]

Coping during withdrawal - valuable tools
« on: April 08, 2013, 01:54:04 pm »
These are priceless tools that Hoosierfans wrote that can and will benefit all people having a difficult time with benzo withdrawal:

1.    If you ever find yourself in a deep depression and are contemplating self-harm, or are struggling with self-harm thoughts, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE seek professional help.   There is absolutely no shame in asking for help.  And know that despite our best intentions, our immense love and care for you, NONE of us – no buddies, no spouse, no friend, no confidant – is a professional.  And you need a professional’s assistance and guidance when you are considering drastic action.  DO NOT rely just on buddies, or a spouse, or a friend.   Call a professional counselor / therapist / physician if you have one, or call your local crisis line – the numbers are available on-line or in the front of your yellow pages.  Call 911.  But reach out – you have so many good days, months, years, experiences ahead of you.

2.   Think of withdrawal and recovery from benzos as a war, and prepare accordingly.   You need a plan of attack for dealing with withdrawal and recovery, and it is never too late to formulate one.  Does the military go into the battle thinking….”hmm, I’ll just see what happens and then deal with it then.”  NO!!  Sit down and think about how you are going to handle finances, who is going to be your caregiver in times of need, who you can call on to take your kids to school if you can’t get out of bed, who can bring you meals or order you a pizza if you are too exhausted to stand.    Case in point:  my husband recently started travelling for work, and I am not yet at the point where I can care for my kids on my own, so we planned accordingly – I have caregiver help in the morning and evening when they are home, a cleaning lady to keep up with the house, and our church is graciously bringing us dinners so it is one meal I don’t have to worry about preparing or dishes to do.  By planning for your care and recovery, you take A LOT of the anxiety out of withdrawal; and the less stress and anxiety we can have, the better.  It helps so much to be able to say, “well if the worst happens, situation ____, I have a plan in place to take care of it, and it is ____.”

3.   Practice makes “perfect” – develop coping skills and practice, practice, practice them.   Parker said it great once, “this is personal brain injury rehab.”  What would you do if any other body part was injured?  You would care for it, and rehab it through physical therapy, exercise, rest, nutrition, etc.  SO DO THE SAME FOR YOUR BRAIN BY DEVELOPING COPING SKILLS.  You know yourself best, so find a set of skills that speak to you and your heart.  Practice them everyday.  There are as many coping skills as there are stars in the sky, so try a bunch and then pick a few that really help, and PRACTICE them….a lot.  Everyday I spend an hour sitting in front of my lightbox doing some meditation, journaling in a gratitude journal, working in a self-help workbook, and blogging here on BB.  Other folks exercise, do deep breathing, listen to soothing music, EFT, doing yoga, reciting mantras.  Whatever works for you, do it.  I don’t care how goofy, new agey, or off the wall it seems, if it gets you through and helps your soul, DO IT.   I sleep with a stuffed animal.  Yes, I am 36 and sleep with a stuffed animal.  But it helps me sleep, so I DO IT.  I also carry around Silly Putty for when I am anxious.  I have one in my purse, one in my car, one on my bedside table.  There is no shame in my game when it comes to how I cope. 

4.   Cast a wide net when it comes to your support network.   It took me many many months to realize this, but there were some types of support my husband just could not give me.  He just wasn’t wired for it.  So instead of fighting it, I started to lean on others who WERE wired to give me that kind of support.  And my relationship with my husband got a lot better.  You need to do the same.  Know your friends, your buddies, your spiritual advisors, the professionals in your life, your family and cast a wide net of support.  That way the safety net that is below you is super strong….because it is made up of all different strengths and types of rope.  It’s kind of like the first rule of financial planning – DIVERSIFY, DIVERSIFY, DIVERSIFY.  Treat withdrawal and recovery the same way.

5.   Do not be afraid of physicians or other medical professionals.   We all have a little PTSD when it comes to health care providers because of what these crazy meds have done to us, but you CANNOT not see doctors and ignore health issues that arise in withdrawal because of this experience.  You are not going to be forcibly medicated; at the end of the day it is your body and you choose what to do with it and what to put in it.  So do not NOT go see a physician because you are fearful of what they may say or prescribe or suggest.  Many buddies have gotten through withdrawal successfully BECAUSE they took something like a beta blocker or remeron to help them through withdrawal.  Many others have had those nasty health fears that arise in withdrawal calmed because they went to the doctor and tests came back normal.   And know that whatever your experience with the medical establishment, there are alternatives out there.  The field of alternative / holistic / integrative medicine which tries to improve overall body health WITHOUT pills is greatly expanding, and there are practitioners everywhere.

6.   Read and research benzo withdrawal until your heart is content, and then DROP IT.    Read, read, read as much as you can on benzo withdrawal – whether on BB, Bliss Johns’ book, or any other of the myriad of resources that there are out there.   But try (easier said than done) to not obsess.  My therapist has always taught me, “what you focus on expands.”  So guess what, if you don’t do anything but read and research about benzo withdrawal, that will become your world.  And that is not healthy.  For me personally, I give myself that hour I spoke of earlier to do my “personal benzo rehab” early in my day (9 to 10 am) and then I try to do other things – even if it is just chilling on the couch watching movies for the day.  Some days I am better at it than others – some days I am still on BB all day.  But I can tell you that the days I can compartmentalize it, the better I do and the FASTER TIME GOES. 

7.   Practice acceptance.    Any buddy who has gone through this will tell you that one of the keys to recovery is to practice acceptance.  Like anything, we have days where we are good at it, and we have days where we yell, scream, cry, hit something.  The more moments, hours, days we can live in acceptance, the easier this journey becomes.  I tell myself everyday, “Accept today, but expect recovery.”  This helps me believe that today is just today, and that I can handle it.  At the same time, it also keeps me looking forward to recovery but not NOT living until recovery happens.

8.   Know that you are worth this fight.  I don’t care how non-functional you are right now.  I don’t care if you have lost your job, are not the spouse / parent / friend you want to be, have lost your home, have run through your savings – YOU ARE STILL YOU, AND YOU ARE WORTH THIS FIGHT. You are worth it for all you are now, deep down at your core.  You are worth it for all you WILL BE when you recover.  You bring a unique set of gifts and talents to this world.  No one can take your place.  So you are worth this investment of time.  Who cares what everyone else in the world is doing, earning, experiencing?!  You will do these things again one day….and guess what….the only way you are going to do those things again is to recover…and the only way to recover is invest the time necessary.   I used to feel so inferior and awful when I tried to go to my son’s events at school, and see all the “perfect feeling” moms baking treats, participating in class parties, attending sporting events.  I was so dizzy I couldn’t see straight and would think “I wish I was them.”  Now I tell myself, “I WILL be them.  Just not yet.  But I will be them soon.”  And that change in thought process has made all the difference
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: Coping during withdrawal - valuable tools
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2013, 06:19:35 pm »
Good post and advice!

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: Coping during withdrawal - valuable tools
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2013, 06:34:00 pm »
Distract Yourself

The one thing that got me through the misery of early withdrawal was learning how to distract myself from obsessing about my symptoms.  This may sound trivial, but believe me, it's not.  When I started having obsessive and intrusive thoughts, I desperately looked for something to regain "control."  This is what worked for me:

I distracted myself - using anything that stopped the train of thought for even a few moments.
I did this again, and again - using my very obsessiveness as a tool.
Over time, this stopped the train of intrusive thoughts.
I became an "expert" at self-distraction, and began to actually look forward to my favorite distractions.

So, don't take distraction lightly.  It can really help when nothing else seems to.

 :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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: Coping during withdrawal - valuable tools
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2013, 06:35:14 pm »
Distract Yourself

The one thing that got me through the misery of early withdrawal was learning how to distract myself from obsessing about my symptoms.  This may sound trivial, but believe me, it's not.  When I started having obsessive and intrusive thoughts, I desperately looked for something to regain "control."  This is what worked for me:

I distracted myself - using anything that stopped the train of thought for even a few moments.
I did this again, and again - using my very obsessiveness as a tool.
Over time, this stopped the train of intrusive thoughts.
I became an "expert" at self-distraction, and began to actually look forward to my favorite distractions.

So, don't take distraction lightly.  It can really help when nothing else seems to.

 :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Absolutely!   :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: Coping during withdrawal - valuable tools
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2013, 01:06:15 am »
Thank you for the post. It's full of wisdom learned the hard way, so very valuable. I like the "Battle" metaphor; it's so true.

It has helped me a lot to maintain a good support network.
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: Coping during withdrawal - valuable tools
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2013, 11:04:00 pm »
Distract Yourself

The one thing that got me through the misery of early withdrawal was learning how to distract myself from obsessing about my symptoms.  This may sound trivial, but believe me, it's not.  When I started having obsessive and intrusive thoughts, I desperately looked for something to regain "control."  This is what worked for me:

I distracted myself - using anything that stopped the train of thought for even a few moments.
I did this again, and again - using my very obsessiveness as a tool.
Over time, this stopped the train of intrusive thoughts.
I became an "expert" at self-distraction, and began to actually look forward to my favorite distractions.

So, don't take distraction lightly.  It can really help when nothing else seems to.

 :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

[...], this is exactly what I do, I would go crazy otherwise.  It helps...I'm learning new coping skills this way also!

[...], great post, glad this is now a sticky thread  :)

love [...]
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: Coping during withdrawal - valuable tools
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2013, 08:03:39 am »
Distract Yourself

The one thing that got me through the misery of early withdrawal was learning how to distract myself from obsessing about my symptoms.  This may sound trivial, but believe me, it's not.  When I started having obsessive and intrusive thoughts, I desperately looked for something to regain "control."  This is what worked for me:

I distracted myself - using anything that stopped the train of thought for even a few moments.
I did this again, and again - using my very obsessiveness as a tool.
Over time, this stopped the train of intrusive thoughts.
I became an "expert" at self-distraction, and began to actually look forward to my favorite distractions.

So, don't take distraction lightly.  It can really help when nothing else seems to.

 :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

[...], this is exactly what I do, I would go crazy otherwise.  It helps...I'm learning new coping skills this way also!

[...], great post, glad this is now a sticky thread  :)

love [...]


I love this thread  :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: Coping during withdrawal - valuable tools
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2013, 04:24:44 pm »
Thanks, [...], for a very helpful post! I am definitely in the battle right now! My husband is very supportive, but doesn't really understand how long this may last and I'm really glad to have found this group. I've gotten so much inspiration and encouragement just by reading how others are coping with the recovery process.

[...], I use knitting and reading and my dogs as distractions and it does help an awful lot to have something to do with my hands to keep me from obsessing over symptoms that seem to never abate. I know the day is coming though when I will have a 'window' and I'm watching and waiting for it!! Thank you for your post...makes me think of other ways to distract myself.... ;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: Coping during withdrawal - valuable tools
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2013, 11:03:48 pm »
Appreciated, thanks for bringing it to attention -  :)
What a bizarre and harrowing ride we are on w/ this process.
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: Coping during withdrawal - valuable tools
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2013, 05:55:05 pm »
Great post [...]<3!

Distract Yourself

The one thing that got me through the misery of early withdrawal was learning how to distract myself from obsessing about my symptoms.  This may sound trivial, but believe me, it's not.  When I started having obsessive and intrusive thoughts, I desperately looked for something to regain "control."  This is what worked for me:

I distracted myself - using anything that stopped the train of thought for even a few moments.
I did this again, and again - using my very obsessiveness as a tool.
Over time, this stopped the train of intrusive thoughts.
I became an "expert" at self-distraction, and began to actually look forward to my favorite distractions.

So, don't take distraction lightly.  It can really help when nothing else seems to.

 :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

This is really positive, I like it. :]]  Out of curiousity, what are some of the things that you now look forward to doing?

I'm still struggling to ENJOY doing the things that I want to distract myself with.  I'm getting there I think... Not able to sit and read or write for very long as of yet, but soon I [...]..  Cooking has been my favourite thing to find helps distract me so far, which is a new joy I've found.  Something about the multitasking of physical and mental work, it really works.  Too bad my stomach is so messed up!  But this too shall pass. :]]
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.