Improvement, by god, yes….

Today is my 3 month anniversary of drug freedom. I can actually tell you all that there has been undeniable improvements in my general well-being. It’s sometimes hard to appreciate because the bulk of symptoms are still overwhelming and debilitating but this morning upon waking I felt certain for the first time that relief is coming.

I do not consider myself bed-bound anymore!! I thought of myself as bed-bound for well over a year. Because though I could get out of bed to use the bathroom and sometimes to go to the kitchen most days it was incredibly difficult and taxing. The last several weeks I’ve been outside in my yard most days for brief periods of time, some of those days I’ve done what I affectionately call my “tree yoga.” I use the trees to stretch and use my muscles. I have a little circuit that takes about 5 minutes. I started off doing it once a day a couple of times a week when I could. Yesterday I did it about 3 times over the course of the day!

I also now respond to the pain and aches of my muscles in my arms with exercise! I have little 3 lb dumb bell weights and yesterday I must have done 4 sets (spread throughout the day) of mini-arm exercises.

What has changed dramatically is that being up out of bed used to make me immeasurably worse. NOW in small increments it makes me feel BETTER!! That is so exciting! I’m very deconditioned and still in a lot of pain so it’s not that I can do anything I want but the trend is different. Wonderfully so.

The tone of excitement in my writing is not mirrored in my feelings. I recognize intellectually that this is exciting change, but my mind is still feeling traumatized and anguished more often than not. But I can also imagine that will now slowly start to change.

I still can’t leave our property because I still have this crazy sensitivity. I still can’t talk on the phone. I still can’t vocalize in general. But good changes are happening. Yes.

Five days ago I had another horrible bout of horribleness where I was stuck in bed unable to do anything for a few days so this is not linear and things get worse and better again. But there is a trajectory towards better physical health.

One of my greatest frustrations during this journey of the last few months has been the English language’s complete lack of vocabulary for most of the overwhelming phenomena I’ve been experiencing. Simply no lexicon for the bizarre pains, sensations and yes, even emotion that is created from the damage my brain, body and neurotransmitters fell victim too. This has aided the sense of isolation and loneliness. And today too I wanted to talk about certain things being less frequent that I might share my victories, but I have no words for so much of what I’ve experienced. Other benzo survivors know what I speak of and that’s it. Lonely.

I will say I sleep through the night more often though certainly not every night. I have less terror. At the beginning of being clean it was around the clock. My body would be frozen in terror. To call it a panic attack would be a useless description. I never had anything like that before being on meds nor during the taper. I still get terror attacks but they only last a matter of an hour or so now…it’s a big change. Again this terror is not something a drug naive person could imagine…it’s drug induced and iatrogenic hell. And it’s passing…

People who have recovered from this darkest night of the soul often say that life after benzo withdrawal is wonderful. Life becomes easy and joyous having passed through the jaws of hell. I sometimes get a glimmer of what that might look like now.

Life is far from easy now and in fact I still routinely wish it would just be over, but the fact is things are changing for the better. Often shit is still overwhelming and it’s hard to appreciate the changes, but the fact is they are happening.

Ah…another thing…I’ve been taking photos in our yard. And I’m using them in my posts. Spring is lovely and it makes me happy to take pictures of nature’s bounty. Above is a photo of dogwood blossoms from a couple of weeks ago. The trees are now covered with leaves. I take pleasure in simple things now and finding beauty in my small world is a healing thing.

And ha! I’ve just written a real (personal) post for the blog. This is a first in months! Most have been cut and paste jobs from emails etc because I’ve not had the energy to devote to the blog when I’ve needed to use my energy to seek help and support elsewhere.

Recovery is not linear as we are all reminded on the benzo boards and it’s hard to recognize progress sometimes, but these moments in which we do are precious.

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About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters