Antidepressant & Benzo Withdrawal: Meeting the Challenge of Your Life

August 22, 2019

 

 

 

What are the biggest milestones in your life thus far? What things do you count among your biggest accomplishments?

 

Maybe something involving home, school, or work comes to mind. Maybe something involving health.

 

Maybe you’ve built a satisfying professional or family life. Maybe you’ve recently saved money for a new car or paid down your debt. Maybe you’ve quit smoking or you’ve lost fifty pounds.

 

All of these things are grand accomplishments! They are challenges that take a lot of heart and determination to meet, no doubt about it.

 

But make no mistake about this: If you are currently in the midst of tapering off of a benzodiazepine or antidepressant medication (or if you’ve already quit one and are experiencing withdrawal effects), then you are in the process of meeting the largest challenge of your life. There are few things that compare.

 

If you are in the process of moving from a life on such medications to a life without them, then you are in the midst of navigating one of the most monumental transitions that modern man can make. And one of the most rewarding.

 

Don’t fear the antidepressant/benzodiazepine withdrawal & healing process, but take it seriously, and constantly congratulate yourself for what you are doing. It is a challenge that, unfortunately, many people give up on, and many more never even attempt.

 

 

 

I can still remember when I was first prescribed antianxiety medications. I was twenty-one years old and entering my final year of journalism school at UW-Madison. I was taking summer classes to keep my graduation timetable on schedule, and I’d begun experiencing terrible panic attacks in one of my classrooms.

 

That classroom will forever live in infamy for me. It was a tiny, windowless little rectangle of an antiquated room; it was carpeted in vomitous orange, paneled in dusty wood, and lacked anything in the way of ambience or inspiration. It felt suffocating.

 

The tables in that classroom were arranged into a square to facilitate small-group discussion, but the arrangement mostly served to facilitate a sort of fishbowl feeling for me. When my face began turning red and I began sweating—when my heart began pounding and some terrible pressure in my head began swelling—I felt as if everyone was staring at me, wondering what my problem was. And I felt frozen.

 

There I was, a free man in a free country, but I didn’t feel as if I could simply leave the room when the strange feelings intensified. So I suffered, and suffered some more. It would take me most of the day to calm down from those attacks, and then I would begin worrying about the next one. I’d grab a beer from the fridge and play my guitar on the couch to try forgetting the whole thing, but the anxiety was consuming me.

 

I white-knuckled it and finished that summer class— to the detriment of my well-being—but by the end of the semester I was ready to drop out of school.

 

However, I didn’t drop out. Instead, at the suggestion of my parents, I saw a family doctor back home, a man who prescribed me the SSRI Paxil and a small bottle of Xanax.

 

I didn’t know what to think about taking those medications.

 

Now, it must be noted that I was a proud and passionate university student. I was someone who got all A’s (only one fluke B in the course of my first seven and a half semesters), and I wanted, more than anything, to graduate successfully; however, I didn’t want to think that the only reason I’d graduated successfully was because some foreign medications had “fixed me.”

 

It was a real mental dilemma. Should I begin swallowing the pills? If I do take them, I wondered, and I do end up graduating as planned, would it be me doing the work, or would it be, in effect, the medications doing the work for me?

 

But I resolved to stop asking such questions. I began taking the Paxil and Xanax, I finished my senior year with straight A’s, and I graduated in the top 2 percent of my class, which numbered nearly 4,000 students.

 

I’m still extremely proud of myself for finishing out college, even if perhaps I should have taken a year off to simply catch my breath and deal with whatever anxiety was plaguing me. And I’m proud of many other accomplishments in my life, too. I’m proud of my seventeen-year marriage (as those of you out there who are married know, it takes work); I’m proud of various professional accomplishments; I’m proud of the many writings I’ve done over the years; and I’m proud of the fact that I’ve quit cigarettes, gotten into good physical shape, and become a regular runner.

 

But perhaps I’ll never be as proud of anything as I am of having quit the Paxil and Xanax after nearly a decade and a half of use. That, as it turned out, was the challenge of my life.

 

It was a challenge that didn’t simply last a semester or even a year; I began tapering my medications around December of 2012, I took the last doses in January of 2014, and then I fought through a protracted prescription drug withdrawal that sapped my strength and left me, at times, questing my sanity and wondering if I would die.

 

Antidepressant withdrawal and benzodiazepine withdrawal are no joke. They are an international health crisis at this point, and they were the seminal health struggle of my adult life.

 

But I continued to move forward; with the help of my wife, my family, and my God, I survived the worst of days, made sense of my situation, and slowly began rebuilding my strength. And it is a rebuilding process. Again, it is a transition. A monumental one. Both the body and mind become extremely accustomed to operating beneath the pixie-dust filters of antidepressant and benzo medications, and when they are taken away our body and mind are forced to once again make sense of daily processes, stimuli, needs, emotions, and thoughts without the medications around.

 

And as much as the withdrawal and healing process is a physical one—a process of GABA and Serotonin receptors regenerating—it is also a psychological, emotional, and spiritual one. It is a process of learning how to separate symptoms from self; it is a process of learning how to once again live at peace with ourselves; it is a process of learning how to manage stress and anxiety through natural means, which takes practice; and it is a process of finding God and fulfillment and inner peace without medications. Because really, isn’t that what we are all seeking in the first place? God, fulfillment, excitement, and inner peace?

 

Are you searching for inner peace right now? If so, I want you to know that it will arrive for you, but it just takes a little time and few adjustments.

 

 

 

If you are currently in the process of tapering, withdrawing, and healing from antidepressant medications or benzodiazepine medications, remember that it is a process. Be patient with your symptoms, and yourself, as you go through the varied stages and continue to find your footing and strength.

 

Remember, this is the challenge of your life, and many days just surviving will be the accomplishment of your life! Feel very proud about what you are doing, and never get discouraged that things are “taking too long.”

 

Real changes take time, and real good health—the kind without prescription meds—takes consistent effort. We must consistently care for ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. There are no shortcuts. The trick, then, is to eventually make real self-care enjoyable because it is a part of our larger goal-setting structure and worldview. It is part of what gives us fulfillment.

 

Some people might tell you that making the transition from a life on medications to a life without them is impossible. Doctors, psychiatrists, and even concerned family members might tell you that making that transition is impossible. But I know that isn’t the case.

 

I’ve done it, and it has given me a sense of accomplishment and inner strength that continues to spill over into every other area of my life. It truly is meeting the challenge of a lifetime! It can be done, it just takes time. So be patient with yourself. And be very proud of what you are doing.

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Priebe is a writer and personal development coach who has studied psychology, literature, and print journalism. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he graduated with honors. and over the years he has used both fiction and nonfiction formats to write about health, sports, professional life, politics, relationships, and spiritual issues. He puts out a variety of spiritually inspiring content at The Lovely Grind, and he blogs about his life at www.michaelpriebewriter.com. He invites you to reach out to him on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

Tags: Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Support, Withdrawal Counseling, Benzo Withdrawal Coaching, SSRI Withdrawal and Healing, Paxil Withdrawal, SSRI Withdrawal Support, Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms, Symptoms of Benzo Withdrawal, Xanax Withdrawal, Klonopin Withdrawal and Healing, Spiritual Support for Antidepressant Withdrawal, Spiritual Support for Benzo Withdrawal

 

 

Did you enjoy this article by Michael Priebe? If so, you will enjoy his new e-books & videos about prescription drug withdrawal, healing, and spiritual connection. Just click on the links or photos below to order one or all of these new healing tools today!

 

 

Show Me the Way of Life 

 

Based on the powerful poetry of the Psalms, Show Me the Way of Life offers fourteen daily devotions for those going through benzodiazepine withdrawal and/or antidepressant withdrawal. These devotions help readers to stay spiritually connected while finding emotional and mental relief from antidepressant withdrawal and/or benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.

 

Tags: Antidepressant Withdrawal, Benzodiazepine Withdrawal, Prescription Drug Withdrawal & Healing, Paxil Withdrawal, Xanax Withdrawal, SSRI Withdrawal, Benzo Withdrawal Support, Gospel Hope, Christian Devotions

 

 

 

 

I Call You Friend

 

Based on the powerful & comforting Gospel words of Jesus, these fourteen daily devotions offer peace, perspective, and healing to those who are going through antidepressant withdrawal and/or benzodiazepine withdrawal. The messages in this book allow readers to find spiritual connection while helping to ease the mental and emotional symptoms of SSRI withdrawal and/or benzodiazepine withdrawal.

 

Tags: Antidepressant Withdrawal, Benzodiazepine Withdrawal, Prescription Drug Withdrawal & Healing, Paxil Withdrawal, Xanax Withdrawal, SSRI Withdrawal, Benzo Withdrawal Support, Gospel Hope, Christian Devotions

 

 

 

Lead Me Beside Still Waters

 

Based on the powerful poetry of the Psalms, Lead Me Beside Still Waters of Life offers fourteen daily devotions for those going through benzodiazepine withdrawal and/or antidepressant withdrawal. These devotions help readers to stay spiritually connected while finding emotional and mental relief from antidepressant withdrawal and/or benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms. 

 

Tags: Antidepressant Withdrawal, Benzodiazepine Withdrawal, Prescription Drug Withdrawal & Healing, Paxil Withdrawal, Xanax Withdrawal, SSRI Withdrawal, Benzo Withdrawal Support, Gospel Hope, Christian Devotions

 

More Than a Glimpse of Hell

 

What was my life like during my Paxil Withdrawal and my Xanax withdrawal? What lessons did I learn as I healed? In this book I offer candid word portraits of my daily life during withdrawal. I show readers how I struggled to manage my many symptoms, how I dealt with frustrating doctor's appointments, how I kept my job, how I maintained my family relationships, how I made sense of my newly resurfaced emotions, and ultimately how I found the courage and motivation I needed to secure healing and happiness.

 

Tags: SSRI Withdrawal, Benzodiazepine Withdrawal, Benzo Withdrawal, Antidepressant Withdrawal, Prescription Drug Withdrawal, Withdrawal & Healing, Paxil Withdrawal, Xanax Withdrawal, Healing from Antidepressants, Healing from Benzo Medications

 

PREMIUM VIDEOS ABOUT WITHDRAWAL & HEALING

 

 

"The Healing Power of Thinking Outside the Box" (Video)

 

 

The Healing Power of Thinking Outside the Box 

 

Antidepressant/benzodiazepine withdrawal is a unique challenge, and so it stands to reason that our approach to healing from that withdrawal must be unique as well. After taking Paxil & Xanax for nearly 15 years I decided to stop the medications, and the resulting withdrawal and healing process, while difficult, taught me important lessons about finding better health and happiness. In this video I discuss the dangerous groupthink that exists in the health-care and withdrawal communities, and I go on to talk about the importance of independent thinking when it comes to healing. If you're ready to find better health and greater measures of healing, then check out this new video is my Outside the Box Healing series!

 

 

"Avoid This One Thing While Healing!"

(Video)

Avoid This One Thing While Healing!

 

There are a lot of confusing and conflicting opinions out there regarding the things we ought to do or ought not to do in order to find healing from antidepressant withdrawal and benzodiazepine withdrawal. While I myself don't subscribe to a rigid list of "Dos and Don'ts" regarding healing, I do believe that there is one thing that everyone going through withdrawal needs to avoid! Find out what that one thing is in this new video from my Outside the Box Healing series!

 

WORKDAY DEVOTIONALS

 

The Uncommon Grind

 

Are you seeking ways to better cope with the stress and hectic pace of the daily grind? Are you seeking greater meaning and fulfillment out of it all? The Uncommon Grind: Spiritual Motivation for Workdays offers readers fifteen daily workday devotional messages meant to aid spiritual growth, personal development, and professional fulfillment. Each message includes two applicable Scripture verses, a discussion of a particular professional/workday challenge, and a motivational idea meant to spur personal growth. Readers will love this new e-book from Michael Priebe, author of The Lovely Grind: Spiritual Inspiration for Workdays. 

 

Tags: Christian Devotional, Workday Devotional, Stress Relief, Professional Development, Personal Development, The Lovely Grind, Christian Workday Devotional, Christian Daily Devotional, Professional Growth, Personal Development, Spiritual Growth

 

 

True Professional Development

 

Are you seeking ways to better cope with the stress and hectic pace of the daily grind? Are you seeking greater meaning and fulfillment out of it all? True Professional Development offers readers fifteen daily workday devotional messages meant to aid spiritual growth, personal development, and professional fulfillment. Each message includes two applicable Scripture verses, a discussion of a particular professional/workday challenge, and a motivational idea meant to spur personal growth. Readers will love this new e-book from Michael Priebe, author of The Lovely Grind: Spiritual Inspiration for Workdays. 

 

Tags: Christian Devotional, Workday Devotional, Stress Relief, Professional Development, Personal Development, The Lovely Grind, Christian Workday Devotional, Christian Daily Devotional, Professional Growth, Personal Development, Spiritual Growth

 

 

 

 

THE LOVELY GRIND: SPIRITUAL INSPIRATION FOR WORKDAYS offers 90 devotional messages that will help you find rest, renewal, and perspective for your workweek and beyond.

 

WHAT IS YOUR STRUGGLE RIGHT NOW? Difficult coworkers? A lack of professional fulfillment? Financial concerns? Balancing work with the rest of your life?

 

By discussing a variety of professional stressors and personal-life challenges and then offering spiritual and thought-provoking perspective on each, THE LOVELY GRIND gives readers a truly unique devotional experience.

Get a copy for yourself and don't forget to order one for a friend or family member who has been feeling fatigued or stressed out lately. Come join THE LOVELY GRIND & start living lovely!

 

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.

 

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