Do We Return to Our Pre Benzo State?
I always find this an interesting question and something I've been asked time and time again when helping others so I've had to think about it.
Do we go back to our pre benzo symptoms?
No, I don't believe we do. For myself 45 years have passed since I was first put on a benzo for sleep in my twenties. I was a totally different person then to the recovered person I am at 72. I also sleep better on most nights now than I've done since I was a child. I've experienced horrific symptoms for many of those years and not necessarily only during withdrawal from the drugs. Anxiety was indescribable as were the panic attacks plus the various pain problems that many of us suffer. All that has gone.
During withdrawal we seem to build a deep resilience and understanding of life that can't be put into words. Once recovered that resilience remains and absolutely nothing can scare or bring us down again. Normal anxiety is just a minor butterfly flitting around in the stomach not the chemical deluge we've had to battle in withdrawal. Physical problems have an identifiable cause and are not those of the overwhelming pain and muscle rigidity some suffer from benzos. Depersonalisation, derealisation and so forth give way to a clear thinking brain that can remember again as the fog lifts. Emotional reaction calms. Life becomes serene while added to all this are the numerous coping tips that we've learnt along the way just to survive yet another day in hell. How can we be the same people we were before all this happened?
I've also wondered if the extreme overreaction and sensitivity of the CNS during withdrawal actually trains it to become stronger as we battle our way through. This would obviously be a major contribution to the fact that many say all previous benzo problems have eased once withdrawal has ended. That feeling of calmness within is amazing.
I would say we definitely do not return to our pre benzo state once healed especially if a long term sufferer. The person who emerges is older, wiser and far more resilient than ever before and has new skills to help with any trauma that life throws at them.