Finding Refuge: 5 Psalms For Antidpressant Withdrawal & Benzo WithdrawalJan 16, 2022
Where can we find shelter during the storms of life? When our every day seems like nothing but the same old pain and stress, where can we find the reassurance and restoration we need? Where can we find comfort for our tired minds, our weary bones, and our achy flesh?
As I approached my mid-thirties, I decided it was time to finally quit the antianxiety medications that I’d been taking for nearly a decade and a half. The Paxil and Xanax were, by that point, doing more harm than good in my life, so I decided that I’d be better off without them.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, depending on how one looks at it), I didn’t know anything about antidepressant withdrawal or benzodiazepine withdrawal. So I quit the medications (after some tapering) and then I waited for my life to quickly get better. And when the opposite happened—when my life was turned upside down by strange body pains, terrifying dreams, skin-peeling anxiety, murky depression, torturous insomnia, and a host of other symptoms—I didn’t know what to make of it.
I truly felt as if I’d been tossed into the valley of the shadow of death, and as such, each day I struggled to find hope, healing, and deliverance. During my SSRI and benzo withdrawal journey, devotions and scripture reading (especially readings of the Psalms and Gospels) were a key part of finding perspective and the strength to move forward. So, in this post I would like to share with you five Psalm readings that I think you might find useful during your own antidepressant withdrawal and/or benzodiazepine withdrawal journey.
The great King David was many things. He was a majestic warrior, a ladies’ man, a holder of great wealth, a beautiful poet, a wonderful musician, and a part of the royal bloodline that would give birth to Jesus Christ Himself. He was also a flawed man who faced many challenges and dark valleys in his life. He was constantly under attack, both physically and spiritually, and he often authored his Psalms as cries to God during times of great despair.
Maybe you feel as if you are walking through the valley of death right now. Whether your struggle is antidepressant withdrawal, benzodiazepine withdrawal, or both, you are no doubt searching for comfort and inspiration. Please enjoy these Psalm readings, and know that God hears your cries. You aren’t alone in any of this, and soon the shadows of your current valleys will give way to brighter skies, greater healing, and easier days.
"You, o Lord, have never abandoned anyone who searches for You."
Psalm 6: 2-3
“Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, Lord, for my body is in agony. I am sick at heart.”
Theme of Psalm 6: Deliverance in Times of Trouble
Withdrawal Notes: Fatigue and body pains are common symptoms of benzodiazepine and SSRI/SNRI Withdrawal. So are hopelessness, guilt, and depression (some might call these things “heart sickness”). Today, release your concerns to God. Cry out to Him. Ask Him to heal your body, your heart, your mind, and your soul. He will answer.
“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, have never abandoned anyone who searches for you.”
Theme of Psalm 9: God Never Ignores Our Cries for Help
Withdrawal Notes: You might fear that you can’t make it through one more day of your current situation, but just look at the evidence: By the grace of God, you’ve survived each and every day up to this point. And He will again give you the physical, mental, and emotional daily bread you need to survive today and then tomorrow. Keep searching for Him, and He will never abandon you.
“Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the light to my eyes, or I will die. Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, ‘We have defeated him!’ Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.”
Theme of Psalm 13: Praying for Relief from Despair
Withdrawal Notes: When we are suffering through Paxil withdrawal, Xanax withdrawal, Klonopin withdrawal, Prozac withdrawal, or the pain that has been caused us by any number of other antidepressant or tranquilizer medications, we might feel as if the spark has been extinguished within us. We might feel as if the twinkle, that unique light, has been taken from our eyes. We might even feel guilty or ashamed. We might lose our self-esteem, and we might begin to think that our critics were correct when they said we weren’t worth much. But don’t be tricked by such thinking. It isn’t from God. Instead, remember your worth, and pray to God to rise up again. You will eventually regain your strength and do great things, proving to everyone exactly how valuable you are.
Psalm 16: Verses 1, 6, 10, & 11
“Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge. . . . The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance. . . . For you will not leave my soul among the dead. . . . You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.”
Theme of Psalm 16: The Joys and Benefits of a Life Lived in Companionship with God
Withdrawal Notes: Are the winds of withdrawal or life stress battering you today? Do you feel knocked down and without strength at times during this healing journey? Seek refuge in the Lord. You will find the way of healing, the way of life.
Psalm 18: 5-6
“The ropes of death surrounded me; the floods of destruction swept over me; death itself stared me in the face. But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cries reached his ears.”
Theme of Psalm 18: Gratitude for Deliverance and Victory
Withdrawal Notes: SSRI withdrawal and benzodiazepine withdrawal were two of the most challenging circumstances I’ve ever faced in my life. For a good while, I truly felt as if death itself were staring me in the face, but I continued to seek God. I continued to cry and yell to Him, and my cries reached his ears. He heard my prayers, and He will hear your prayers as well. He will give you deliverance and healing. Seek refuge in Him today. Find strength in Him today.
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