Art Benzo Withdrawal

Morphing From Writer to Painter

One year ago today, I swallowed my last dose of a medication that was prescribed to me by a doctor, a medication I believed was helping me with a “chemical imbalance.”

Almost immediately, I began to experience severe benzodiazepine withdrawal, a horrifying syndrome associated with stopping this class of medication. Nearly a year later, I still have symptoms, but my mind and body are definitely healing.

Over the last few months my creative muse has reappeared, pulling me away from writing, away from my busy mind, which  likes to think and dwell and ruminate. These days, my muse wants me to paint, which is cool because when I paint, I can turn off my mind and have fun getting messy with color.

And for that I am grateful.

Truly, there are no words to express my gratitude to G-d for allowing me to find a creative outlet during this ordeal.

Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that folks like and are willing to pay for my work.

Since I was (and continue to be) too debilitated to hold down a traditional job, being able to earn money by doing something I love has been fantastic for my self-confidence.

It is with great joy that I share my most recent piece with you.

ROAR, an unframed 12″x24″ acrylic painting on canvas, is ready to ship.  I’ll accept payment of $225 (+ shipping & handling) via PayPal. Leave a comment if you are interested in purchasing this piece, and I’ll contact you as soon as possible.

I completed ROAR this morning.

And it feels perfect.

Because I’m coming back to life.

I am.

It’s happening slowly.

And while I’m not quite ready to roar, I’m reconnecting with old friends and making new ones along the way, like Dorothy Gale did on her journey to Oz.

I’m healing old wounds and learning to forgive myself and others.

And I’m growing, learning to say: “I’m an artist,” the way I once said, “I’m a teacher” or “I ‘m a writer.”

It still feels strange, the way I imagine those ruby slippers felt to Dorothy when they magically appeared on her feet. This painting thing is shocking like that. I didn’t choose to become an artist; the images simply reveal themselves to me in dreams and visions and I do my best to realize them with paint.

And buttons. And ribbons. And texturizing medium. And other found items.

If you like what you see, follow me on my Facebook page, RASJacobson Originals. I post new work as it becomes available. These days, I’m doing things slowly and with great intention so I don’t become overwhelmed.

Thank you for continuing to stick with me as I heal.

What’s something you can do that no one (or very few people) know about? I wanna know!

tweet me @rasjacobson

22 thoughts on “Morphing From Writer to Painter

      1. Thanks for stopping by! I’ve been a tad slow with the blog this summer – other things going on. Keep chugging away, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of your paintings. 🙂

    1. Kathryn: You are soooo right. If someone told me that I would be painting instead of reading and writing, I never would have believed it. Never! My brain is healing because that’s what brains and bodies do, if we are lucky. Odd to think I’m lucky at the thime, but I’ve come so far, I really feel it. Last night I went to see my niece in a play. She was amazing, and I kept thinking, look at me! I’m out in public. I could have never done this 11 months ago or even 6 months ago. Talk about believing in miracles. I do. I really do.

  1. I love to see the written word as well as your paintings – they are lovely. I am glad you are on your way back. Slow and steady wins the race, don’t you remember the story of the hare and the tortoise? Deliberate slow steps and keep moving ahead.

    1. Clay, so weird that you mention a children’s story. Last night I went to see HONK, an adaptation of the story “The Ugly Duckling”: are you familiar with it? I’m starting to think that all of these children’s authors have been through horribly traumatic experiences and that the stories that endure are the ones about epic hardships, transferred into the most simple terms so that even a child can understand and identify with the themes. Anyway, I’m trying to believe I’m a beautiful swan but I’m still a little, lost duckling looking for his momma. Getting better everyday. It’s slow and steady, indeed.

  2. You’ve always been a swan in my book, Renee. I had to chuckle at the part about enjoying getting messy with colors. I couldn’t stand that, which is okay – no one would want to see something I painted anyhow.

    I glad you’re healing and enjoying the painting, but I hope that doesn’t mean no more writing. I miss your blogs when they aren’t there.

    Luv ya.

  3. Always so great to hear from you, especially when you’re doing something that makes you happy. You’re giraffe whale hybrid roar thing kicks ass. If I had $225, I’d totally buy it and hang it proudly in my officer. Alas, I am poor and shall have to remain sans art in my life. Keep up with the healing, beautiful lady. I’m rooting for you.

  4. To answer your question, I can hang drywall. And texture it. Like a pro. Especially when my husband is out of town and I try to pull off a crazy renovation project before he comes home. 🙂

  5. Renee, this is so incredibly awesome! You are one talented artist! Love the vibrant colors and contrasts. Keep following your heart because it’s leading you to good places. Going over to check out your FB page now. 🙂

    1. Maria: I’m glad you are looking into taking an art class. We are going to very similar things right now, the two of us. It’s scary to realize how alone we are in this life, ain’t it? I encourage you to get out and connect with other people. I think everyone feels like us at one point or another. Starting over is scary.

      1. Happy one year since your last “swallow”! So happy that you are healing, Renee.

        I keep going through rough patches but somehow pick myself back up and keep going. Don’t we all, right? As long as my health cooperates, which it hasn’t lately, I will be ok to try new things and start over. 🙂

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