The most profound difference in month 17 from previous months is the reduction in the severity and number of symptoms. It has been a while since I had a full blown episode or flush of withdrawal symptoms. I still struggle in the early morning hours however.
I wake between 4:30 and 5:30 each morning with a lot of anxiety – so much so that I cannot return to sleep. I am nauseated and have body twitches and jaw chattering – as though I was shivering. Although I try to go back to sleep, I am rarely successful and most times need to get up, eat a banana (for the nausea) and prepare to go for a walk.
During months 16 and 17, I walked about 150 miles or about 5.5 miles per day.
I find that for me, walking takes about two to three miles to break the intensity of the anxiety which includes a sinking feeling in the stomach, pressure in the chest, racing thoughts and an unsettled feeling.
A banana has proven to be especially effective when dealing with nagging nausea. I also slice fresh ginger and add lemon to hot water to aid in finding relief.
I was told by my therapist that the blinking white lights I see on occasion when my eyes are closed are just synapses or neurotransmitters firing off and not to worry because the brain is healing and returning to homeostasis.
When I return from my morning walk, I usually prepare a bowl of oatmeal with some kind of fruit, usually pineapple and raisins with some honey just before eating. I also prepare a juice concoction using a NutriBullet, a kind of radical blender.
I try to juice fruit in the morning and vegetables in the afternoon. In the morning I add pineapple, mandarins, pears, blueberries, banana and lemon with Kefir and Good Belly which have probiotics. The afternoon juice might have cucumber, bock choy, spinach, carrots, celery, radish and tomatoes.
While I try to avoid red meat and preprocessed foods, as for protein, I find salmon and steelhead are a favorite source. I was advised by my primary care physician to eat at least 33 grams of protein each day. I have also heard that more is better.
I’ve begun going to the Pacific Trauma Center and have become open to discussing and processing past traumatic events. Some of these events probably started me on the path which led to the panic attacks and eventually to my dependence on the benzodiazepines.