When we are experiencing health problems, nothing else matters. Possessions, pop culture distractions, political debates, professional ambitions—these things are the luxuries of those who aren’t wondering about blood tests or surgeries or the origins of strange pains.
That old adage about good health being everything really hit home for me a few years back. I was a grown man, in my mid-thirties, but suddenly I was brought to my knees by strange physical, mental, and emotional symptoms—all because I had decided to stop ingesting the medications that had been prescribed to me for anxiety at the age of 21.
Just as I had once mistakenly convinced myself that I was doing the “healthy” thing by beginning an SSRI and benzo regimen, I now foolishly reasoned that my life would quickly get better once I stopped taking the pills—those pills that had gradually made me overweight, fatigued, and generally off-kilter.
Instant relief? Not quite.
Instead of seeing quick improvement when I quit the medications, I was pummeled by the hallmarks of prescription drug withdrawal: severe insomnia, toxic night sweats, otherworldly anxiety, dark depression, and dozens of similarly troubling symptoms. And when those things didn’t let up for months upon months—when doctors didn’t have answers for me but instead told me that this “withdrawal” was a two-week thing that should have been over long ago—I began to wonder if I’d ever again return to the land of the living.
My good health was temporarily taken from me, and I felt scared and even hopeless. Maybe you are feeling hopeless right now because of your own health struggles, and maybe those struggles are even related to prescription drug withdrawal as mine once were. Maybe once upon a time you began taking an antidepressant or benzodiazepine medication because some doctor told you it was the “healthy” or “responsible” thing to do, and maybe now you are experiencing problems that you never bargained for or even imagined.
Maybe it seems as if there is nowhere to turn, but I’m here to assure you that a) things will get better, and b) there is an ever-ready place for you to turn during these dark times, a spiritual place.
If you are currently at the computer day and night scouring the internet for stories of healing, you’ve found one here—mine—and I would also like to direct your attention to the Gospel stories of healing in the New Testament. Those Bible books—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—are full of stories that involve a compassionate and powerful Jesus pulling people back from the brink of health-related hopelessness. I myself found comfort and inspiration from these stories during antidepressant and benzodiazepine withdrawal, and I hope that you’ll check them out for yourself so that they’ll provide similar restoration to you.
Remember, nothing is impossible with God.
Inspiring Story Number One
The Story of the Hemorrhaging Woman
A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse—after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. For she thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.”
Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.
Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” And He looked around to see the woman who had done this.
But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.”
The Take-Home Message for Me & You:
How much have you spent on doctors? How long have your health struggles been afflicting you? The worst of my withdrawal problems lasted for about two-to-three years, so I know what it’s like to be TIRED. I know what it’s like to feel as if hopes for a healthy future are nothing but foolish.
The woman with the hemorrhage in the above reading certainly knew that frustration and fatigue as well. She’d been suffering for about a dozen years, and she’d spent everything she had on doctors, but those trusted professionals had only made her life worse! Sound familiar?
Today, do what the tired women in this story did. Reach out to Jesus. Reach out with blind faith and childlike hope and adultlike desperation. Think to yourself, “If I just touch a piece of His spirit I will be healed.” Reach out and pray for healing. You will find comfort.
Inspiring Story Number Two
Jesus Heals a Man Who Was Blind Since Birth
As he went along, he (Jesus) saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”).
So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was. Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
“How then were your eyes opened?” they asked. He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” “Where is this man?” they asked him. “I don’t know,” he said.
The Take-Home Message for Me & You:
Many people in withdrawal fear that the situation is a permanent one. I know that, after a while, I began to worry that those powerful medications had simply wreaked some sort of irreversible damage on my mind and body. I feared that the situation might be forever. However, at the same time, I never truly accepted that fear as fact. I always held out hope for healing, and I continued to be encouraged by Gospel stories like the one above. Such stories told of “impossible” health concerns that healing, situations that seemed permanent but weren’t.
Never give up your hope. Especially when things seem “impossible,” cling tightly to your hope and your faith. Healing will come.
Inspiring Story Number Three
Jesus Heals a Demon-Possessed Boy
One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.” Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth. “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”
“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!”
Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up. Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”
The Take-Home Message for Me & You:
Being possessed by evil forces? Battling demons that seem determined to harm us? Is this stuff for real?
Maybe we never thought much about such “supernatural” things before benzodiazepine withdrawal or antidepressant withdrawal, but it certainly isn’t hard to begin wondering about them once the process hits us.
When withdrawal begins assaulting our minds and taking our thoughts and emotions to frightful places, it sure is a lot easier to understand situations like the one described in the above passages from Mark.
This evil spirit is tormenting the boy (and the people who love him), throwing him into fire or water and trying to murder him.
Do you ever feel as if the withdrawal process is some sort of evil force that is trying to conquer you, either literally or figuratively? What sorts of demons has it brought to the forefront of your reality?
Maybe your faith hasn’t always been the strongest up until this point (or maybe the process of antidepressant or benzodiazepine withdrawal has tested it to the point of weakness), but don’t despair. Like the father in this story, cry out to Jesus, saying, “Help me overcome my unbelief!”
The withdrawal process has tested many people to their limits. They are ready to give up. They begin saying, “Healing is impossible. Things will never get better."
However, the truth is that things do get better if we stay faithful and positive and committed to creating a healing environment for ourselves. And what is an integral part of that healing environment? A daily spiritual connection.
As Jesus told the distraught father in this story, “Anything is possible if a person believes.” Keep believing.
Inspiring Story Number Four
Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy
One day, while Jesus was in one of the cities, a man covered with leprosy saw Jesus and fell on his face, begging him, “Lord, if you want to, you can make me clean.” So Jesus reached out his hand and touched him, saying, “I do want to. Be clean!” Instantly the leprosy left him.
Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone. Instead, go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing, just as Moses commanded, as proof to the authorities.”
But the news about Jesus spread even more, and many crowds began gathering to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. However, he continued his habit of retiring to deserted places and praying.
The Take-Home Message for Me & You:
People suffering from leprosy were outcasts, untouchables, undesirables. They were often banished to the seclusion and depression of “leper colonies” in order to sequester the contagious disease. And while such containment efforts might have helped to reduce the spread of the insidious illness, they certainly did nothing to offer compassion and hope to those afflicted by the disease. Instead, such efforts compounded the suffering by leaving the sick individuals feeling discarded, unwanted, and alien.
Does your withdrawal journey ever leave you feeling that way? Abnormal? Unwanted? Abandoned? If so, please remember that you are none of those things. Please remember that you are a unique creation, valuable and cared for.
If you are currently walking down the challenging road of antidepressant withdrawal or benzodiazepine withdrawal, ask God to take your hand today. Ask Him to make you strong where you are weak. Ask that He would place His precious and healing hands on every part of your body and mind that is shaking, throbbing, trembling, or crying right now. Ask Him to lift up your spirits and bring you much needed relief.
Just as Jesus expressed His compassion to the man with leprosy, today He says to you, “I want to help you.”
Inspiring Story Number Five
Jesus Heals a Man by the Pool
A man was lying there who had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw the man and knew that he had been sick for such a long time, Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered, “Sir, there is no one to help me get into the pool when the water starts moving. While I am coming to the water, someone else always gets in before me.”
Then Jesus said, “Stand up. Pick up your mat and walk.” And immediately the man was well; he picked up his mat and began to walk.
The Take-Home Message for Me & You:
Sick for thirty-eight years? How hopeless do you think the lame man in this story felt after nearly four decades of his situation?
A year can seem like a decade when we are dealing with health concerns, and after a while it can certainly seem difficult to remain positive. It can seem difficult to believe we will actually get better. But still, each day, we want to get better.
So today, when Jesus asks you, “Do you want to get better?” answer yes. Even if you have stopped believing 1,000 percent that you will get better, simply tell Him you want to get better. Tell Him, “There is no one to help me. The family doctor hasn’t been much help. The psychiatrist hasn’t helped. My family doesn’t know what to do. Please help this ‘helpless’ situation.”
God’s answer might not be a miraculous thunderbolt that takes away your every symptom instantaneously, but be assured that He does hear you and will assist you. He will comfort you and connect you with healing.
Remember the words of Jesus: “Anything is possible if a person believes.” So keep seeking, keep wanting, keep believing, and keep improving. Your healing will come.
Lovely Grind Author & Web Creator
Tags: Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Support, SSRI Withdrawal and Healing, Paxil Withdrawal, Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms, Symptoms of Benzo Withdrawal, Xanax Withdrawal, Klonopin Withdrawal and Healing, Spiritual Support for Antidepressant Withdrawal, Spiritual Support for Benzo Withdrawal
CONTACT ME ABOUT COACHING
If you or someone you know is struggling to survive the pain and confusion of prescription drug withdrawal or chronic stress, I would like to offer my coaching services. Stress can suck the joy out of life, and the withdrawal process can be challenging (I know from experience). However, with the proper tools and mindset, these things can be survived and even used for greater growth. If you or someone you care about is trying to quit antidepressant or benzodiazepine medications (or simply trying to reduce stress levels), please click here to email me about coaching options and availability.
BLOG POST LINKS
5 Symptoms of Antidepressant & Benzodiazepine Withdrawal (and How to Deal with Them)
2. 5 Tips for Healing form Antidepressant & Benzodiazepine Withdrawal
3. Under Attack! 5 Psalms for Refuge During Withdrawal
SELECTED VIDEO LINKS
1. What is Prescription Drug Withdrawal? How Long Does It Last?
2. Healing Despite Imperfect Tapers and Stress
3. Your Life Is Sacred
4. Withdrawal: Ignore the Horror Stories
5. Withdrawal & Recovery: Keeping the Faith
MICHAEL PRIEBE is is a writer and personal development coach. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and over the years he has used both fiction and nonfiction formats to comment on politics, sports, relationships, and spiritual issues. Last year he released a workday devotional, The Lovely Grind: Spiritual Inspiration for Workdays (ORDER HERE), and he currently blogs about a variety of topics at michaelpriebewriter.com and lovelygrind.com. You can get all of his blog posts by signing up for his mailing list here, and you can enjoy all of his YouTube videos here.
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