Antidepressant & Benzo Withdrawal: Healing & Trust IssuesSep 06, 2022
Why do we often find it so difficult to trust as we are healing? Well, there are many reasons. We might have been burned by the advice and prescriptions doled out by medical professionals, and so we now find it difficult to trust such “experts.” Our entire view of medicine, health, and healing is often turned upside down by antidepressant withdrawal and benzo withdrawal, and so a healthy distrust of modern western medicine is legit and logical.
But when I talk about trust issues, I’m not even talking about the degree to which we do or don’t feel comfortable relying on corner clinics and psychiatrist offices to guide our well-being. I’m talking about other trust issues: with God, with ourselves, with the process of healing.
We often find it difficult to trust the healing process as it relates to antidepressant withdrawal or benzodiazepine withdrawal. We find it difficult to believe that an all-knowing God actually created bodies and minds that can repair themselves after being traumatized in such a way by modern drugs.
But He did. And the evidence of healing is out there.
And we often find it difficult to trust ourselves, too; to trust our thoughts and decisions as we navigate both antidepressant/benzodiazepine withdrawal and life at large.
We might ask ourselves: Did we make the right call when we decided to begin a taper?
Did we make the right call when we decided to jump off the drugs completely?
Are we doing the right thing for ourselves and for our families by trying to solve our issues in a natural way?
Nowadays, when I’m writing about the benzodiazepine withdrawal or antidepressant withdrawal process or coaching individuals who are going through one or both of these, it probably seems as if I’m so 100 percent sure that a life without prescription medications is the healthiest choice. The sanest choice. The path that eventually provides us with the least resistance and the calmest state of being on a consistent basis.
And I am sure of all that—now. But I wasn’t always so sure.
I took Paxil and Xanax for nearly a decade and a half, so for years I had to accept the “fact” that my version of health and well-being involved little orange prescription bottles. And even after I finally quit the drugs in my mid-thirties—as I was going through the first difficult chapters of my protracted withdrawal—I still had my doubts that a life without medication was truly meant to be mine.
A few months after quitting the Paxil I tried a “rescue dose” (or whatever you want to call it), and my body completely rejected it. I also in those first six months tried a small dose of Lexapro for nearly eight weeks and a small dose of Wellbutrin for about a week. Neither of those forays back into the land of prescriptions drugs lasted long for me, but they did exist. And the fact that they existed illustrates just how unsure I was of everything at that point.
I didn’t yet know if I could make it over the “hump” of withdrawal (hell, I was still trying to figure out what antidepressant/benzo withdrawal was and if I was really suffering from those things or from some other disease that was trying to kill me).
I didn’t yet know if I would ever find a calm, healthy life without the drugs (although, truth be told, I wasn’t very calm or healthy for many years while on the prescriptions, so I couldn’t even remember what that was).
Maybe you’re having such doubts yourself right now. Maybe you’re wondering if beginning a taper was the right decision. Maybe you’re wondering if completing one was. Maybe you’re wondering about everything—and uncertain about what the future holds for you.
If you are one of the many people out there who is currently scouring the internet looking for information regarding SSRI withdrawal or benzo withdrawal—if you are currently suffering from mental, emotional, or physical symptoms and are having a hard time trusting that healing is real—I’m here to give you some peace of mind. And some advice.
Here is the peace of mind: Healing does happen. Even if it takes a few months, even if it takes a few years, the residue of the prescription toxins leaves the body and the mind. Even if it takes a while, the clouds clear and life gets good again.
And here is the piece of advice: Trust God. Trust your decisions. Trust the healing process. Don’t allow the pain or confusion of the withdrawal situation to drive a wedge between you and faith; and don’t allow the conflicting pieces of information about withdrawal that you find on message boards or Facebook groups cause you to doubt your every decision about food, drink, exercise, or taper method. Find what works for you and what doesn’t, and make the necessary tweaks as you go along.
And don’t ever allow anyone to convince you that the body and mind—if cared for properly—won’t heal. Because they will.
Keep doing your research, keep finding advice from good friends, loving family members, knowledgeable doctors (I know, hard to find), and talented coaches & therapists, but ultimately make your own decisions and believe in them. Care for you body, mind, and soul as the healing process unfolds, and trust that your biggest corners are right around the corner.
Healing happens, and it is happening for you, even as you read this.
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