“You and I belong, good friends, to a group that gets up early. We get up early because we don’t sleep much. And we don’t sleep much because the world doesn’t let us sleep. And in turn, we try our best not to let the world sleep. That when people suffer anywhere, either we shout or we whisper, but at least we try to wake it up.”
–Elie Wiesel PEACE 1986
“Only the tortured can understand those who have endured torture.”
–Yasser Arafat, PEACE, 1994
One week until I will begin a torture that I do not understand. One week. Benzodiazepine withdrawal is, as I have been told by my many doctors, worse than heroin withdrawal. This is why so few attempt it. This is why its use is a silent epidemic in this country. It is a slow, killing mistress. And I’m going to take her on for the sake of my children, my family, and the many of you out there that have not been informed by your doctors that these drugs will eventually cause suffering that you can’t even imagine. I will be doing research. For you. Because your doctor is not doing the research. Nor is your PA. Nor is your NP. They’re caught in the web of a medical system that promotes short visits with a pill for a prize and insurance companies that like it that way.
Seven days. I will leave my family, my children, my home. I will hope to have days that I can walk down the hall to the bathroom without stumbling. I will hope for the grip of anxiety to not leave me in a corner, breathing into a paper bag. Michael Moore, this is the stuff of your fury and I don’t know if I’ll make a difference, but I’m going to try. Because no one should have this kind of suffering at the hands of the medical system. Insurance companies need to know that they’re going to be paying out later – for neurological tests, auto-immune tests, anxiety disorders. Many caused by long-term benzo use. But there has to be research. And, ah, funny, there’s been an axe on that kind of research. Funny, that. Perhaps the people that make the pills don’t want it’s profligate distribution halted. Maybe. Just. Maybe.
Now – the Joy Pocket. I will get through this. I will go to the depths because I believe in beauty. I will find it again. I see it in my children. I see it in the people that know suffering and therefore, know joy in this world. My son and daughter are my joy pocket. I will hold them with me as I stumble. In my little room, I have pictures. I will hold them to my chest until I can breathe.
Seven days. I am counting.