Blog anniversary today and drug freedom — on the road to recovery

It’s the anniversary of this blog today. I wrote my first post 3 years ago today. I republished that post yesterday if you didn’t see it. This year I get to announce I’ve accomplished what I set out to do and that is I’m med-free as of February 8th at 7 pm. My first drug free day was my 45th birthday, February 9th.

What do I have to say now? Mostly I can only muse about what I’ve learned. At this juncture nothing is clear. I’m still very physically ill as a result of the detox. I jumped off what is considered a large amount  of Valium in the end, my last and final drug of six I withdrew from. I’m glad I stopped a bit earlier than recommended as I would have dragged it out another month had I done what most of the benzo groups advise. My withdrawal symptoms have changed  since I completed the taper. I’m not getting better yet and struggling with some pretty scary problems that are clearly neurological. My favorite mental health professional in the world is helping me through this. He is a neuropsychologist who has been following me for seven years. He understands what is happening from a brain science perspective and helps me so much. My neurotransmitters and other limbic brain functions have been damaged by the long-term drug use and need lots of time to heal. Stimulation of all kinds is overstimulation which is why I continue to keep comments closed and really can’t correspond with people virtually at all anymore. I’ve had to impose an isolation on myself which is by necessity and not my nature. It’s been very hard on many of my relationships. I look forward to the day  I can once again socialize and communicate broadly. The fact remains that this blog brought into my life dozens of inspirational people who continue to guide me even if I cannot engage with them all at this time.

I’m looking forward to the process of rehabilitation even if right now I can’t really do anything but wait to improve.

I have plans to do hatha yoga to get my physical strength back, I will continue to breath and learn pranayama, I will continue meditation which has carried me through this whole journey. I have a yoga teacher who has studied rehabilitation who will be helping me. At first all will be done from my bed. Once I can again leave the house I will resume neuro-feedback to strengthen my brain functioning.

I’ve eaten well throughout this trip and will continue that as well. The one thing I have never stopped doing is cooking. I am not always able, but two or three times a week I manage to make meals of which I often freeze parts for later. I’m pleased that my passion for cooking has survived such difficulty in functioning. It’s hard to get up and cook but with my husbands help I still get to enjoy my passion.

The most stunning thing about all this is that more than anything this process has taught me I know nothing. And I don’t wish to convince anyone of anything. Life is wonderful and tragic, beautiful and ugly, wondrous and terrifying. Whatever cards we are dealt, and some are certainly dealt worse hands than others, we must live the best we know how with the information we have available to us. At best we are supported to do what we feel is best for us, but no one ever gets all that they want. Life is not fair. And that is just the way it is. I want to embrace life and accept it on its terms. I have no interest in fighting reality anymore.

My experience is mine alone and I now do my best not to impose what has worked for me on others as I’ve hated so much when people have done that to me. Live and let live. The best we can do is wander through and try not to hurt other people, and better yet, serve people as best we can as we figure out how to be as whole and honest and real and loving as we can be.

So below is the practical stuff I’ve learned:

It’s clear my body does respond to diet and nutrition and meditation and so perhaps I can count on continued healing as I move forward.

During this process, in attempting to support my body as much as possible while I withdrew from drugs, I’ve managed to cure or greatly improve many chronic conditions I had. Undeniable that healing is happening. I have a long way to go, but I still believe I’m heading in the right direction. Or perhaps now I don’t believe in a wrong direction as I can always change course at any time.

Diet and nutrition has corrected multiple problems for me. A short list of the things that come to mind immediately is:

  • Twenty years of chronic diarrhea and horrible irritable bowel syndrome. (I went to dozens of gastroenterologists before discovering my own wellness through my own research—and 20 years of diarrhea sometimes meant 12 bowel movements a day) Here is a post on how I healed my gut.
  • Psoriasis, an often severe skin condition, is virtually gone.
  • My knees which were suffering from what seemed to be arthritis for several years are no longer painful. (these cleared up years ago now while I was still very active with the first changes I made in diet and nutrition)
  • My hair is much thicker and shinier than during my whole life. I had incredibly thin and sparse hair. It’s not luxurious even now, but the difference is amazing, striking and visible and palpable.
  • My skin, even where I did not have psoriasis is baby soft and smooth. I don’t remember ever having such skin. Indeed I had psoriasis since before I hit adolescence. My nails too are healthier then they’ve ever been.
  • Vast improvement of my endometriosis pain. Whatever pain I now have, it’s never debilitating as it always was before I made dietary changes.

I share all this stuff about nutrients and diet because I’ve had profound healing in these simple things above. And the gut issue is no simple thing. You have to have a healthy gut to absorb nutrients and thus have a healthy mental life too. I’m sure it is the helath of my gut that has helped all the other health issues I had as well. These things give me a foundation of health in spite of the insults the drugs caused.

That I am not well in a general sense now is only because I was on neuro-toxic psychotropic drugs for twenty years at much too high dosages. I have literally been poisoned.  No one really knows how to heal that damage. It is not within the realm of normal. I am among the first of a generation confronting these issues as these drugs have been out only for my adult life. I do think it’s likely I’ll improve greatly as many folks who have been only on benzos have been as ill as I am and they recover. I also know about three people who were on cocktails similar to mine for well over a decade, who have begun to thrive after a difficult healing process post withdrawal. There simply are not too many of us. It’s hard not to worry about all the other drugs I was on though and I get worried I may be different and less fortunate. The few of us who have done this are pioneers and no one knows enough about outcomes to make any sort of reliable predictions.

The last two withdrawal updates from Dec and January.

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