Benzo Withdrawal Life Doesn't Fit in a File Folder


I’ve always seen and heard things that other people didn’t. Early on, I could feel other people’s energy and emotions and see people with superimposed color trails ― white, blue, red, orange ― around them. Often, I heard people’s thoughts as clearly as if they’d said them out loud, which, in many cases, I believed they had. As a child, hearing people “say” things and then being told they had not said them was extremely confusing, and I was often accused of making up stories or telling fibs.

To be honest, it was scary to experience reality in a profoundly different way than everyone around me, and over time, I learned to be quiet about my visual and auditory “hallucinations” due to the negative feedback I received.

On August 14, 1999, during the traumatic delivery of my son, I had a near-death experience (NDE). I remember feeling myself levitate from the table. Hovering above my body, I looked down at myself — and the entire room — from about eight feet above. I remember seeing the top of the surgeon’s flowered paper bonnet, and peering down into one of those pink, plastic hospital-order basins. That’s a lot of blood, I thought to myself. I wonder whose blood that is. I also remember feeling like I was being pulled away from the scene below, almost as if I was on some kind of a conveyor belt. I didn’t experience a white light or the feeling of overwhelming love and connection the way many people do. Instead, I felt something malevolent tugging at me. It was scary, and I didn’t like it.

This is a visual representation of what it looked like when I woke up.

The next thing I knew, I was back inside my body, lying on my back in a room lit only by a dull blue light.

“Am I dead?” I said aloud, to no one in particular.

A nurse reassured me I was not dead at all, and then she left me, ostensibly to locate my husband who was somewhere in the hospital.

Lying in my hospital bed, I found I could hear and connect with the consciousness of others whose physical bodies had died in that space. I felt these agitated spirits swirling around me. Many were angry about being trapped in that room, and they shouted at me to listen to them.

From that moment on, the voices followed me everywhere. It was hard to focus on nursing my newborn son with angry spirits shouting at me. And it was scary not to have anyone to talk to about what I was experiencing. The only way I could deal with the voices was to ignore them, and that is what I did.

Or what I tried to do, anyway.

I stopped talking about what I was hearing, and I tried to exist on one level of consciousness, the way everyone around me expected me to exist.

That’s when the insomnia started.

It was awful.

At night, I’d get out of bed and press my ear against the brick chimney in the bedroom I shared with my husband. “Do you hear that?” I’d ask him night after night. “Do you hear people talking?” But Mark never heard anything and, after a while, he got upset with me for waking him up so frequently.

The rest is a story that many of you have heard.

Busy with a newborn all day and tormented by voices all night, I wound up in a psychiatrist’s office, where I was poly-drugged, first with SSRIs – Celexa, Zoloft, Prozac; then with the anticonvulsant, Lamictal. Eventually, I was given Klonopin, a powerful anti-seizure medication. After seven years of dutifully listening to “experts” and taking the medication exactly as prescribed, I learned Klonopin is not supposed to be taken long-term, that it has many dangerous side effects, and I slowly weaned off of it with the assistance of a specialist. Unfortunately, this wean was a disaster. I endured an horrifying iatrogenic injury which left me disabled and debilitated for many years.

While healing from that trauma, my world blew open again. The voices returned, and this time I could see things, too. 

It’s taken me a long time to figure out what brought me to meds in the first place & I’m finally crystal clear on it.

Today, I own all of it.

I’m an artist and a writer and a teacher and a mother.

I’ve survived rape and withdrawal.

And yes, I’m a psychic medium.

Instead of being afraid of the visions and the voices, I now embrace them. Being a medium is like being a translator, decoding a universal emotional language into English ― and at times, hearing words and phrases, feeling impressions of things or watching little movie clips. It is a receiving of information rather than a retrieving of it.

Working with the amazing Chuck Dilberto

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to work with a modern-day healer who did a SIX-HOUR cleaning with me, during which time he sealed up a portal through which malevolent energy was being transmitted. He confirmed that I am plugged into something powerful. (Not that I needed his validation.)

Working with CD was transformative. All my broken soul-pieces have been integrated. I no longer hear angry voices. I’m alert & aware & whole & so very grateful.

Three months short of five years, I am here.

I am healed.

And I have a new understanding about myself and the world.

Western culture teaches us to seek medical help when we are sick, to visit the dentist to get our teeth un-mucked, and we think nothing of hiring specialists to assist us with personal hygiene, legal, financial and medical matters. We hire handymen to help us with things that break in our homes, landscapers to weed our gardens and plumbers to unclog our drains.

And yet, somehow we remain resistant to the idea that things can get clogged up in our heads, too. Old emotional pain can build up in just the same way that a drain can become clogged. We aren’t always great about working these things through on our own – and, in fact, sometimes we need professional help. For some people, talk therapy is enough. For others of us, with more complex trauma, we need to call in the big guns.

And guess what? There are talented practitioners who know how to unclog gunked up emotional pipes, too.

Clearing my emotional mess has allowed me to see my psychic abilities as a blessing rather than a curse. Doing this work requires a willingness to deconstruct one’s life & figure out where you got off your path. It is possible to put yourself back together, but only YOU can do it. As painful as it may be, looking at your life is an opportunity to rebuild.

If you’re interested in learning more about my experience and/or would like to meet with this amazing healer, feel free to contact me and I’ll put you in touch.

Do you believe there there’s another dimension beyond the one we see with our eyes? Or is this waaaay too woo-woo for you? Leave a comment!


  1. Renee, what a powerful testimony of the Universal energy that binds us, all. Thank you for the willingness to be vulnerable and free from the clutter of judgement. Yes, our connectedness is real and true. There are gazillions of things that we cannot experience with our eyes! Goodness, think of the way a honey bee sees a flower…right? Or the way our sight fails in the dark of night… As a “distracted” species, we also miss most of what we are capable of seeing naturally, forgetting that we are all vessels of Source, here, on Earth. This article isn’t “woo-woo”, it’s the realization of Truth.

    1. Hi Gayle. I love that term “distracted species” ~ we truly are exactly that. I try so hard to unplug from electronics and plug into human beings, but I worry that not ever has that same sensibility. It’s so important to plug into Source. We can train people in the language of the Universe…but it requires slowing down and paying attention. I guess not everyone is interested in making that ind of a lifestyle change.

  2. I found this super interesting… I always have sort of mixed feelings about what I believe, but I have had enough strange experiences to know that there is something out there that, in general, we just don’t really understand. I have seen what I can only assume are spirits, I have heard voices that weren’t really there, I have known things were going to happen before they did, and I have deja vu a lot more than other people seem to. I often find myself sitting and hearing things being said around me, knowing that I have heard the same things before, and it feels like I’m not even there – it’s really bizarre.

    Reading your story made me feel a bit less strange for the very minor things I have felt/dealt with.

    1. Hi Sidny: We have to teach people that hearing voices and having visions isn’t “strange” ~ and it’s no weirder than being good at math or English. Some of us are just more dialed in to the language of the Universe than others. The first step is starting to acknowledge that you have this amazing super-power as a blessing and not a curse.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I had a very bad car accident 11 years ago. After the accident I had a lot of incidents where I heard voices and saw my dead relatives sitting at the end of my bed. It was not as traumatic as your experience with spirits yelling at you, but it sure scared me. I didn’t know what to think. Was I crazy? What was happening? They eventually went away and I sought out help. I was told they were there to take me home, but realized I wasn’t ready. They were there to comfort me. Today I still have moments. I still hear things and sometimes even see. I just had a Reiki session done on Wednesday to help clear my head some. I was blocked up everywhere and it do feel better. I am happy you are feeling better now.

    1. Many people connect with spirits for the FIRST time when their physical world is blown open. In those moments of vulnerability, we are open to something bigger than just ourselves. With training, it’s possible to make friends with the voices and visions. And it’s VERY important to stop thinking of your amazing super power as a liability. It is truly a gift. 🙂

    1. Hi Beth! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a non-judgmental comment! 🙂 I appreciate your willing ness to hear my story.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I had goosebumps the whole time. I am so glad you are healed. For me its dreams. Dreams so vivid that they feel real. There is a bench I dream about where I always sit with my dad and talk. Its always the same bench and trail, but the conversations are different. And always what I need to hear to put my heart at ease. I didn’t get a goodbye, so even after 6 years, I struggle to accept that he really is gone. Not sure if that makes sense. Either way, thank you for opening up to us!

    1. Hi Kim: What you say absolutely makes sense. Many people connect with spirits for the FIRST time when their physical world is blown open. In those moments of vulnerability, we are open to something bigger than just ourselves. With training, it’s possible to make friends with the voices and visions. And it’s important to stop thinking of your amazing super power as a liability. It is truly a gift.

      I’m sorry to hear about the passing of your father…just know that those visions/dreams that you have on the bench…well, let’s just say it means your father is hovering close and trying to reassure you. BELIEVE IT!

  5. Wow Renee! Thank you so much for sharing that part of your complex and incredible story! Perhaps that explains why I felt such a strong connection to you when I met you at the May Underground art show. I definitely believe in the spirit world, and that there are different levels of awareness and spirituality. My personal experiences have been much more limited but enough to make me a believer, although I have always been. I hope you have an everlasting new found peace and that you are able to continue to channel that energy in a positive and meaningful way thru your art and the gifts you share with others, including strangers like me. As challenging as life can be, it is a blessing to share love, truth, and solidarity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop