I keep remembering the powerful final scene from the film Schindler’s List, when Holocaust survivors give an inscribed ring to Oscar Schindler that reads: “He who Saves One Life Saves The World Entire.” After helping to save so many Jewish lives, Schindler expresses frustration that he couldn’t save more people.
“I didn’t do enough, “ he laments.
This is how I feel everyday.
Every day I speak to people who are going thru the horrifying post-acute withdrawal experience that I am going through, and I’m just…
So many people kill themselves in withdrawal.
Why did G-d spare me?
What do I do with this gift of life?
I’m a member of several private Facebook Groups for individuals who are in the earliest days of the horrifying discontinuation syndrome associated with benzodiazepines like Klonopin, Valium, Xanax and Ativan. People contact me through my blog, via Facebook, on Twitter. I listen to people on the telephone, and I know how they are suffering.
People tell me I’m helping by writing honestly about my withdrawal experience.
But is it enough to simply blog about the experience?
Sure, I am raising awareness about the dangers of this class of drug.
But I want to speak with doctors and have them reconsider their prescription habits.
I want them to understand that just because they went to medical school, it doesn’t mean that they know everything.
I want doctors to understand that they should not put anyone on a medication that they would not be willing to take themselves.
That it’s not appropriate to prescribe someone a medication without informing the patient of the risks of taking such a medication.
I want to visit medical schools and speak to our future doctors.
I want to find a lawyer brave enough to help me initiate a class action suit where those of us who have been harmed have the opportunities to share our stories.
I want justice.
Doctors take a Hippocratic Oath promising to do no harm.
Doctors do harm every single day.
Our drug companies are not educating doctors properly because pharmaceudical companies are in the business of selling drugs, it’s in their best interest to create individuals who become chemically dependent on the drugs they produce.
Our “more medicine is better” culture lies at the heart of healthcare, exacerbated by financial incentives within the system to prescribe more drugs and carry out more procedures.
I find myself wondering about my purpose.
Should I go back to school to be a good clinical psychologist, diagnosing and treating mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders?
Or an addictions counselor?
Or a counselor specializing in treating trauma?
Or an art therapist?
Or should I go rogue, and — work with out formal credentials — to help counsel individuals who are trying to wean off benzodiazepines safely?
A firm believer in the power of the people, I wonder if I am supposed to become an activist and attempt to singlehandedly spearhead a revolution? Call the media – radio, television, newspapers, magazines. Encourage people to bombard our politicians? Organize protests in front of doctors’ offices and hospitals?
Just the way people were harmed by an unscrupulous Tobacco Industry, the way the the people of Love Canal were harmed by the Hooker Chemical Company, the way the people of Flint Michigan were harmed by trusting their politicians to protect them, I believe those of us who have suffered iatrogenic harm have to fight to be seen and heard.
I put a lot of pressure on myself to do more, to work more, to help more people.
The reality is, I – myself – am still healing.
I still suffer from burning mouth syndrome, shortness of breath, and joint pains.
Pain that makes me wince.
I wish I didn’t have these symptoms, but there isn’t anything I can do about them.
All I can do is make a choice to get up each day and do the best I can do.
If I help one person, it’s enough.
It has to be.
Do you ever feel like this in your own life? That you’re not doing enough? How to find your answers?
tweet me @rasjacobson