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mstimc

Name Your Dragon, but Don't Invite It into Your House

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mstimc

When I first started my taper and experienced withdrawal in late 2006, I’d never heard of a lot of withdrawal symptoms:  anhedonia, akinesia, dysautonomia, and a whole alphabet soup of obscure Greek terms.  When I joined an online support group and began learning about symptoms related to withdrawal, I was incredibly relieved to know others suffered the same way I did.  Since one of the consequences of my withdrawal was extreme hypochondria, learning that others had the same symptoms helped me confront and deal with them.  It helped me “name my dragons”; I knew what was happening to me, and that gave me the ability to manage my thoughts and work my way through each new symptom as it cropped up.

 

Naming your dragon can be tremendously valuable in recovery, but it can be a double-edged sword.  Once you recognize a physical symptom is rooted in withdrawal, accept that and leave it there.  Doing excessive research and looking for constant reassurance that your specific symptoms are part of withdrawal only gives them more power.  As many times as I harassed my doctor with new ailments during my withdrawal, looking back I can see I knew in my heart of hearts there was nothing physically or permanently wrong with me. 

 

The purpose of a support group is for members to obtain information, get support, and obtain the tools needed for recovery.  Comparing notes on symptoms can help if it reassures you others have had the same experience.  But constantly referring to every unpleasant feeling is pointless.  Worse, it can lead to one of my pet peeves, falling into the trap of convincing yourself your symptoms are worse than everyone else’s and nobody understands your unique suffering. We all have suffered in our own ways, but the collective strength of the knowledge here can overcome any transitory symptom.

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Colonial

That's an excellent post.  Personally, once I knew that thousands of other had experienced the same, it took all the stress out of the equation.

I was then able to move out of the: "What on earth is wrong, am I dying" phase to the long term planning-recovery phase.

 

It's pointless to get upset that Your Family, Friends and, most dis-concertedly, Your Doctor doesn't understand or know the truth.

The medical profession has purposely been left in the dark so that both:

1.They won't lower the amount of new people they put on these drugs and

2. People don't know the truth about how a legal drug withdrawal can be worse than heroin in it's length, intensity and total dysfunction.

 

Yes, we have to explain the situation, but that's different than getting more angry or depressed than the WD will bring with it when people don't understand.

Some people take it harder than others, based on age and over all maturity, what other hardships they have already been through, and personality type, etc.

 

I've found that children born lower in the birth order in larger families, 5th child or lower, have better coping skills all around, since with 5 or more kids in the house, Mom or Dad has to "triage" the requests for help, and the younger kids start figuring things out for themselves at a younger age.

Smaller families of 1 or 2 children who grew up with someone there "right away" to "fix it" tend to do worse when a catastrophe of any kind hits. 

It doesn't hold true for everyone, but it's a generalization that I have seen hold for how well we as humans cope with disasters in Our lives, how soon in Our lives were we "forced" to figure things out for ourselves.

 

I have also seen, again in my experience, that it is from these smaller families or persons higher up in the birth order, who have a harder time of getting past the:

"It's not fair" issue.  And their right, it's not fair so many of us and Our doctors were purposely misled or flat out lied to regarding placebo tests, etc.  But I see a combination of certain personality types and people who may have been "spoiled" in their youth, or never had been "forced" to find their own answers and coping skills from an early age tend to get caught in the vicious cycle of : "It's not fair and I'm going to continue to complain as much as I can to anyone who will listen" temper tantrums, and as a result don't move forward to implementing long term plans on how to cope, thus delaying healing and making themselves worse along the way.  Then, they also end up loosing people who "would" have been their for them or who "were" trying TO be their for them, but because their stuck in the "poor Me" attitude, they take anything they don't like to hear as an insult because people don't "enable them" to continue in the very behavior that's making their situation worse.  

 

And this is different than the Neuro emotions that come from the WD, I'm not saying we aren't all suffering from the very real excruciating suffering that comes from WD or Adverse reactions. And the very deep emotions of anger and depression that come with the WD, But that is different than the person's "Outlook" on life and how their are predisposed to go about dealing with a crisis. As a 1st world Nation that has had it so good for so long, the first time we are side swiped by something we can't run away from and there's no easy pill to alleviate the suffering, we don't know how to cope.  Because we've never been "forced" to.  Because up until now there' always been an easy fix.  We've never been the 7th child in a house hold on 9 who's Mom can't get to us because She's dealing with a broken leg in one room and the measles in another, so at 5 years old we have to use our brains and figure out how to "fix" that can opener ourselves or we'll continue to go hungry for 2 more hours to dad gets home.  Basically, the earlier in life You had to start figuring things out Yourself, the better You do when Your hit with a problem You can't get out of.  If, from a very early age their was also someone to run to, to fix it, the worse Your particular road to recovery may be, if your expecting some forum r peer group to "fix it".

 

I also think Our Media has a certain blame in making every news story a "crisis", thus we all gets used to living in a society where everything is blown out of proportion.  Again, I realize the WD by it's nature brings strong feelings to begin with, but some of the symptoms "we" choose to obsess over and alot of the complaints I see over and over are more a sign of being in a Spoiled first Wold Nation and the "mindset" that comes with that more than that one particular symptom being such a major issue.

 

Does the "It's not fair" group overlap with the "I'm going to obsess to the point of spending every waking moment of my life researching the worst case scenario" group?  Maybe.

I think it's a combo of all those things above plus a low level of anxiety that comes with the WD that people might not even know their experiencing that leads them to catastrophize their personal symptoms and conditions. 

 

Trying to provide the right amount of support to each person without falling into the trap of "enabling" them to not take responsibility for themselves is hard, because we have people from all age groups, from all over the world, different personality types, etc.  And it's very hard to know what to say sometimes because of all those variables.  You run the risk of being the "bad guy" who's insensitive when all your trying to do is, like you said, help people stabilize their emotions  and help people from continually shooting themselves in the foot when You see them engaging in behavior that's making them worse, which can happen in many ways, one of which, like You said: 

On 3/25/2020 at 9:55 AM, mstimc said:

falling into the trap of convincing yourself your symptoms are worse than everyone else’s and nobody understands your unique suffering.

 

Which tends to lead people to asking the same questions over and over because the person has convinced themselves it's "Necessary" for everyone to understand their Unique" suffering before they can formulate a plan to help themselves move on.

 

 

 

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mstimc

This is a great post, Colonial, and very insightful.  I guess I'm the odd man out.  I'm the youngest of three kids, and we were all born about nine years apart, so I grew up with a combination of being the youngest and a virtual only child.  My older sisters definitely thought I was the pampered one, but of the three of us I was the only one who managed to get a decent job and raise a family.  I was able to help my parents when they got older.  My parents offered to pay for college for each of us, but I was the only one to get a degree.

 

And strangely enough, my parents came from diametrically opposite families.  My mother was an L.A. girl and an only child.  My dad was the youngest of 11 kids born to a southern Missouri farm family.  He moved to the West Coast care of the US Navy and the Japanese Empire.  They married on Valentine's Day 1942 and then he shipped out.  He came back on leave in  early 1943 (hence sister number one nine months later) and then didn't come back until 1946. 

 

I think I get my genetic predisposition for anxiety from him.  My mother died in 2000 and he depended on me for a lot until he died in 2006.  He suffered from a lot of anxiety the last few years.  I didn't realize it then but I can see it now. 

 

And yes, one of the unfortunate results of the 24-hour news cycle is that media outlets have to fill up all that time, so everything become important and a crisis.  This virus is terrible and Trump's response is borderline criminal, but constantly drumming bad news at the population 24/7 will result in more anxiety and panic than there would have been otherwise. 

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Colonial
23 minutes ago, mstimc said:

  I'm the youngest of three kids, and we were all born about nine years apart, so I grew up with a combination of being the youngest and a virtual only child. 

 

That brings up another important variable: The age of Your parents when You were born.

I was also the youngest with My closest sibling a decade older.

If Your parent is only 20 when they have You, You have a different parent, Maturity wise, then if they were 45.  Younger parents, 21 years old, tend to over react and make more out of things that might not need to be, while an older, wiser, mature parent with "parent" You differently.  

My Father did not have Me until His mid 40's.  He was the youngest of 10 born at the end of the Great Depression.

My Grandparents were both born in the mid 1880's.  You can see how differently I was "raised" based on the "aged" mindset of My Father, based on how old His parents were, etc.

That translates into understanding of how, looking at things we "panic" or complain over today, people of those 2 generations would just shake their heads at as an over re eaction.  How much of that bleeds over into how much are we, as a society, over reacting to Our WD issues? That would be on a person to person basis.

 

I just know I sometimes see people dial 911 for things I would be embarrassed to do so.  And that's not that I'm a "tougher" person than others.  It's just all part of how we have become a society that "over reacts" to things.  We actually had someone call 911 in a BLIZZARD with the roads impassible during a state of emergency, haul out both the Police and an ambulance crew because their 13 year old had broken their little pinky finger.

 

Really? It's a broken finger, wrap some tape around it until the storm passes, and drive Him down later tomorrow when the roads are safe.  Don't put the lives of half a dozen people in danger over reacting to a normal every day event.  In reality, by over reacting as parents to the slightest suffering in Our child's lives, we can accidentally "disable" them, thus accidentally leading a higher percentage of them to be put on meds for nothing more than lack of every day coping skills.  

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mstimc

Yes.  My parents were 40 when I was born (I'm convinced I was an accidental result of a New Years Eve tryst) since I was born in September.  By then, they had the typical post-War house in burbs  and my dad had started his own small business.  But they were Depression babies and I learned to be independent.  My mother had to work during World War II to support her and my sister, and she liked it, so she kept on working, first in aerospace and then in transportation for a school district.  My old man put his farm and Navy mechanical skills to work and opened a service station, where he put me to work at 15. I learned the dignity of labor and the value of a dollar.

 

As a hobby, I'm a woodworker.  Several years ago, I was in the garage working on a piece and drove a chisel pretty deep into my thumb.  I stopped long enough to wrap it in a shop towel and duct tape and went on working.  My wife wanted me to get stitches but by the time she saw it, I'd already stopped bleeding.

 

I don't buy into the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality for a lot of things.  We're all in this life together.  But I don't go along with what's been called the "Oprah-ization" of modern culture, where we all have to share our problems by broadcasting them like they're the worse problems anyone ever had.   Life isn't like that.  You do your best to play the cards your're dealt.

 

 

Quote

 

 

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Colonial

 

Yes, the fine line between knowing you need more help than You can provide for Yourself, when to ask for it, but at the same time not over reacting and broadcasting.

Well said.

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mstimc
15 hours ago, Colonial said:

 

Yes, the fine line between knowing you need more help than You can provide for Yourself, when to ask for it, but at the same time not over reacting and broadcasting.

Well said.

So true, Colonial.  I believe a lot depends on how and why you use support.  When I joined Paxilprogress in 2006, I wanted to get off Paxil and learn to manage my anxiety and OCD.   I wanted to learn from the experience of members who'd gone through WD and recovery.  Once I was well into recovery, I still came back to that site to offer my experience and advice, as I do here.  You have to stay focused on recovery and move away from symptoms, thoughts, and negative thinking.  Its not easy and we all need help in the process, but as Alto has said, we need to take responsibility for our path to recovery. 

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