I was going through medical bills this week from the last two decades for the attorneys who are looking at my case. It suddenly became painfully clear to me how many of my female problems had been the result of the benzos. Problems that I never would have associated with using benzos.
A woman I met in one of the legal action groups had filed a suit against Ativan for her hysterectomy. Up until then, I had been totally unaware that they had linked a large percentage of woman's hormone problems to benzodiazepine use. Somehow it causes hormone regulation disruption in the connection between the pituitary gland and the ovaries, leading to more widespread problems with fibroids, bleeding and other problems associated with a large percentage of hysterectomies.
What I discovered was that there had been a women's health summit held in Massachusetts, where information was presented that showed a much higher incident for hysterectomies and other women's health related issues in those using benzodiazepines.
Looking back, I was beginning to understand the puzzling looks and lack of connection that most of the doctors were making to my reaction to the hormone pellets, supplements and other things that normally "most" people would not likely react to the way I did. The further along I got in my healing process, the more I was able to look back and connect the dots to each major health calamity. They all led back to the benzos.
I was one of those fortunate women that never ever had any problems with female issues other than a few cramps, bloating and headaches. Otherwise, my periods were pretty light and regular. I could set my calendar to every thirty days like clockwork. I never had any fibroid issues until after I started on the benzos. That was also when the bleeding had become unmanageable to the point that it put me in the hospital in an attempt to stop the bleeding on more than one occasion.
Suddenly, my eighteen years of non-stop health issues became painfully clear to me. It was pretty obvious now why none of the doctors could ever find anything definitive about my health problems. All of the supposed "hormone issues" I had been having really made sense to me for the first time.
My brain was so disconnected from the benzos that I never would have made this connection while I was still on them. I believe that for those of us who have been on these drugs for any length of time, we develop a healthy sense of denial that we could be taking something this dangerous. We have to be able to justify our using the drug, and we therefore hunt for every other conceivable health problem that could be connected to the root of the problem.
Of course since the doctors aren't making the connection, it makes it even harder for us to confront the issues associated with benzos, because the doctors are suppose to know more about this information than we do. We have placed our trust in the fact that they should know about healthcare system and these drugs that they are prescribing. For many of us, this trust has been seriously violated, and we are left with a feeling of betrayal wondering if we will be able to put our faith in this medical system again.
For me it was about just trying to find some sense of balance again with how much I just blindly followed a medical professional's opinion, and how much I would go overboard at researching my own healthcare questions. Getting a second and third opinion, as well as doing my own research has now become a given.
I have mentioned the new problems arising from the use of benzos and other psychiatric medications in my other blogs. I had considered other health issues that were contributing to the rising cost of healthcare, but never women's hormones. Particularly when handing women these drugs is the first line of treatment for menopause, or what appears to be hormone related issues.
So, when do we stop building a bigger mental health system, and start actually creating programs for the people that are getting sick from the mental health drugs? We have to start by being able to convince the doctors and other healthcare professionals that these drugs are a bigger problem than they want to admit. That takes A LOT of VERY loud voices. Voices that are just beginning to get more attention on the internet with the rise in numbers in the benzo support groups.
I will be participating in World Benzo Awareness Day on July 11th 2017 this year. It is an online community of people who have been harmed from using benzodiazepines. They all share their stories with the world through an online website. I would highly encourage anyone else that wants to share their story to get involved, and make a video about what happened to you. Your stories help other people, and in turn they help others when they recover. Perhaps this is the new face of support programs in our world. Thank God for the internet!