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This is written with a great deal of insight and personal experience. Great paper. Qual Health Res. 2016 Mar;26(4):466-81. doi: 10.1177/1049732315576496. Epub 2015 Mar 23. "I'm Not Waving, I'm Drowning": An Autoethnographical Exploration of Biographical Disruption and Reconstruction During Recovery From Prescribed Benzodiazepine Use. Fixsen AM1. Abstract Benzodiazepines are group of drugs used mainly as sedatives, hypnotics, muscle relaxants, and anti-epileptics. Tapering off benzodiazepines is, for some users, a painful, traumatic, and protracted process. In this article, I use an autoethnographic approach, adopting the metaphor of water, to examine heuristically my experience of iatrogenic illness and recovery. I draw on personal journals and blog entries and former users' narratives to consider the particular form of biographical disruption associated with benzodiazepines and the processes involved in identity reconstruction. I emphasize the role of the online community in providing benzodiazepine users such as myself with a co-cultural community through which to share a voice and make sense of our experiences. I explain how the success stories of former users provided me with the hope that I, the "medical victim," could become the "victor" and in the process construct a new life and fresh identity. © The Author(s) 2015. KEYWORDS: Autoethnography; diaries / journals; healing; recovery; self-help; social identity; stories / storytelling PMID: 25800715 DOI:10.1177/1049732315576496
This is going to be one very long post. I posted this on the other websites as well. Some things are changed and adapted to this whole site. Here's a person who's currently going through withdrawal syndrome and has experienced a full-blown depressive episode two times in her life that lasted for months. When you're depressed, it's important to: If you have a melancholic type of depression and have no appetite, you should, as I heard as an advice from a person who's been through depression as well, is to try your hardest to eat at least 3 meals a day. An apple for some meal ? A goddamn apple as a meal. Still something. Firstly, it would be really hard to eat and you'll need to force yourself to do it - but you still have to try your hardest to do it, which is the point of it all. Soon, after maybe a week, it would become easier and easier for you to eat because your stomach will expand for at least a bit more food than usual. Do that until you reach the normal amount of food. If you have atypical type of depression and have more appetite than usual, you usually eat when you're bored, under a lots of stress and similar. Use the method HALT (asking yourself before you do something self-destructive, because binge eating IS self-destructive -- Am I [H]ungry, [A]ngry, [L]onely or [T]ired ?). If you do match some of those things - that's probably a valid reason why you shouldn't eat at that moment (unless you're hungry of course). If you're actually hungry and tend to eat until stuffed, then try to eat slowly with hand other than the main one you use. Eliminate all the distractions around you and try to eat mindfully. Here are some tips on how to eat mindfully. This is what HALT method is. If you can't sleep at night, as people who are suffering from withdrawal, you should consider trying some natural things to help you (that are already listed here, so I'm not going to list supplements). Try avoiding nicotine and caffeine after 3-5 PM. I know that you can't exercise because your body feels too weak for that because of the psyche that's destroying you, so I'm not going to recommend that, but if you feel like you actually can do it - do it. Even 10 jumping jacks is still something. Avoid exercising 2 hours before sleep. If you feel like you're full of thoughts and emotions that are bothering you - write them down before going to bed. One also good thing is meditation before bed and meditation in general; It helps the brain heal after all. Listen to some relaxing music while you're trying to sleep in bed. I can recommend phone application called Relax Melodies (both available for iOS and Android). If you sleep too much during the day, it may be a side-effect of the medication you're on (if you are on some) and it will probably go away as soon as you get off the medication or are reducing the dose of it. (if the medication is the cause, read the common side-effects in that paper where's all the information about the medication and find out). If you aren't on the medication that could cause you hypersomnia, then I would recommend (for sleeping problems in general) - tracking your sleeping habits and just writing down how many hours a day did you sleep that day. If depression makes you forgetful, then alarm on the phone is always a solution to just write on some piece of paper a number of hours of your sleep during the day every day and see how much hours are you sleeping. What can also be helpful is writing the date and tracking for how long in general are you having sleeping problems and how are they manifesting. I myself struggled with this in withdrawal and it went away after some time of not using the medication. When it comes to motivation, it's important to start from somewhere. Is it brushing your teeth at least once in 2 or 3 days and then slowly decreasing the number of days to brushing them at least once a day ? Is it trying to do at least the lightest exercise that exists at least once in 3-4 days ? Is it forcing yourself (because yes, when it comes to lack of motivation - you just need to force yourself at the beginning) to write down what happened during that day, what your thoughts were in some important situations and how did you react, or at least one of those 3 things ? It really doesn't matter what are you deciding to do if you think that would help and if it's not anything destructive. The thing that could easily demotivate you is to try doing everything at once. Slow down, because there's a high possibility that if you force yourself to do things all at once and see that you can't because lack of motivation is one big problem, you could have another breakdown and, because of that, try only with one thing that matters to you the most. I would, personally, start with the hygiene thing, because I've had problems with it in my depressive episodes. Those were some major things when it comes to depression, now some small, little tips: Unfollow things that are triggering you into feeling even worse than you already do and follow/focus on some things that are more helpful. Reach for help on the Internet (and I encourage you to start going to the psychologist to work on some psychotherapy, since they can't prescribe medications), there's absolutely no shame in asking for help when you feel awful all the goddamn time. There are many helpful subreddits (on site called Reddit) with helpful resources on depression such as r/depressed with massive resource lists, many Tumblr blogs that are encouraging and are promoting recovery from mental disorders and many Instagram accounts that can also be helpful. Reading success stories when it comes to healing from withdrawal syndrome. I highly encourage you to do that when you feel really hopeless, that's what always helps me or at least, keeps me alive. Learn as much as you can about withdrawal syndrome and learn how it functions. Can't read and understand things because of bad cognition that is here because of W/D ? My mechanism for that is - read the same sentence, word until you process it in your mind and understand it well enough to continue reading. Try recognizing when you feel the worst: morning or evening ? Usually, it's morning, so try to create a list of coping mechanisms when you're feeling bad. Wish you the best recovery and healing. If you read this and have withdrawal syndrome - well done, you're so strong for getting it through the whole text while you can't think properly because of the W/D. That's all, my friends. I truly hope that this would be helpful for someone.
historygal replied to Altostrata's topic in Symptoms and self-careRecovery and Renewal book- Your essential guide... by Baylissa Frederick In my research not just about the Gupta programme I found this very helpful book which I would like to share. This lady is amazing she survived protracted withdrawal from Benzo tranquilisers for years. After her horrific ordeal she then decided to take a degree and become a qualified counsellor. Baylissa also set up a charity called Recovery Road In Britain for those suffering Benzo withdrawal as well as Antidepressant withdrawal. The charity deals with calls of withdrawal all the time and through this she has documented peoples symptoms and experiences. Her book describes her journal entries throughout her period of Acute, post acute and protracted withdrawal. Intertwined in this is actual medical information certified by Doctors in Britain (all of which you can Google) which explains in simple terms the process of withdrawal. It is also a self help book explaining duration and recovery times which actually has helped me to come to terms with my own WD. Baylissa explains that the usual natural outcome is recovery but it could take months, years. If you are over exerting yourself drinking alcohol or taking supplements it can all help to blight your recovery.The book all explains about natural alternatives to self help such as Meditation, mindfulness, sunshine boxes, exercise and various other techniques which help to cope with the symptoms. This truly is an amazing book it has sections about employment, friends and family, how to cope with Doctors. its a very informative book and all her knowledge is from her own experience as well as her work with the Charity. In Britain she won a very high court case against a tabloid newspaper who claimed she was blighted by the Benzo drug, but this accusation was false. Baylissa has also helped to campaign and lobby our parliament about Doctors being dismissive about WD. Although, she suffered with benzo WD, the interesting thing to note is that both AD withdrawal and Benzo Withdrawal have the same symptoms, as I read her story a lot of her symptoms I had experienced, although our stories are inevitably different and that is an important point that she makes, is we have to stop looking for someone else who has the same set of symptoms (me included) WD is a very unique journey with varying timelines and recovery processes. I have had the pleasure of emailing her my story and she wrote back and was concerned about me. Every now and then she writes an email, which is great as she is a very busy lady, she genuinely is now devoting her life to educating people about WD. Give it a try, its not too expensive