I had an interesting thing happen this week that I believe is no accident. As many of us do in benzo withdrawal, we tend to keep to ourselves due to the horrific things that happen to our brains and nervous systems. So, I had hardly spoken to many of my friends during the four plus years of withdrawal and recovery.
I had ordered my bottled water from another supplier as the rates hate gone up on Amazon where I had been ordering. Because of where I live, I have to provide delivery instructions to the drivers that deliver the orders. I was having a hard time finding a contact, but came across a local number, and I didn't pay any attention to the name given with the number. I called, but it went to voicemail and I didn't leave a message.
Later that day, I got a call from an old friend of mine that said I had called and she saw my number on the caller I.D. I didn't connect the two things because very few of my friends had my new number as I was just completely fried after moving in here and coming off the last of these drugs. I kept trying to figure out how she got my number, and then we both put the pieces together that I had called her regarding the bottled water order, and she was the local customer care person for this company which we both thought was totally amazing.
What are the odds of that?
Well, as I said I don't believe in accidents, and as we began to share information about what we had both been doing the last several years, she shared with me that her son had committed suicide due to the drugs he had been taking. I knew she had been led to me so she could understand more about the truth where these drugs are concerned, and I was really impacted by yet another friend who had lost a son due to drug related suicides.
I had also lost one of my very dear friends a few years prior to this, and I never made the connection that it was also from the drugs she had been put on. These stories had started to become more and more frequent and closer to home for me. I have been asking myself for the last couple of days, how many more deaths and horrific benzo survival stories is it going to take before anything is done to help the people whose lives have been destroyed from these drugs? How could the doctors not know what is really going on at this point?
It's still not really clear to me how much the doctors do seem to know, and how much they are just protecting themselves from liability due to continuing to write these prescriptions. I have spoken to a few doctors that will come forward and say that they are aware of the problem, but are put in a difficult place because the patients that come to them are already on the drug and are afraid to come off. With good reason I might add.
It seems to me that this whole mental health explosion almost caught up with us in what seems like an over night torrential hurricane of pills. It has come to a point where there is almost no one I know that didn't know someone on one of these medications or they are on one themselves. When I first was prescribed a benzo, it seemed as though people appeared to be embarrassed to even admit that they were taking something for anxiety or depression, so most of the information on these drugs was under the radar. I even remember a few people telling me that they had tried to come off of what they were taking and were having a horrible time with it, but at the time it never occurred to me that the problem was as big as it was. As I look back it appears that was the beginning of where I became at least partially aware of this issue. The internet is what has brought more light to the subject where people have been able to share openly with others who are going through these terrible withdrawal symptoms.
During the time these medications began being widely prescribed,it didn't appear that anyone was even questioning the doctors who were prescribing these medications. The real question that comes up for me is were the doctors questioning these drugs when they were seeing the issues that their patients were having? Are they too busy to care? Are they being pressured by the pharmaceutical companies to push these medications on us? Now that the stories are coming out on line about the number of horrid withdrawals symptoms people are having, are they hiding something, or are they actually just catching on like the rest of us?
I am hoping that with the recent discontent people are feeling who are experiencing damage from some of these medications, that it is creating a wave of information and helping those people to come together to force these doctors to uphold the oath they made to "First Do No Harm." I was also hoping that my friend would gain something from the conversation we had and understand more about what a hell that her son must have been experiencing to take is own life. I talk to a large percentage of people who are coming off these drugs that say they have experienced suicidal thoughts. I know I did for sure. So, if we have 36 million people on benzos alone, how is that really impacting the state of our mental health?
From my own stand point, I know that coming off these drugs certainly made me appear mentally ill. I had gone to a mental health facility in Arizona when I was tapering the benzos to get help. I was frantic and agitated. All they did for me is declare me SMI (Serious Mental Illness) so they could get me benefits that were only geared toward keeping me a prisoner in the disability system. I had no idea they had given me this status until I found out they had changed my healthcare provider without notifying me. The whole thing was pretty surreal. It took me two years and I don't know how many phone calls to get that status off my record. It was the revolving door from hell. I have to say that it feels really nice to in a place in my life where I am not running to doctors and counselors every month to have to refill prescriptions. I certainly does appear to be a system that is set up for repeat busniness.