Life Doesn't Fit in a File Folder

World Benzo Awareness Day: Coming Soon


Monday is World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day. Below, you’ll find information about Monday’s event and a video featuring individuals from around the globe who have been injured by benzodiazepines. My own video will go live on Monday, July 11, 2016. 

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Instead of teaching us to slow down and take time to care for ourselves, our culture teaches us that we’re supposed to hurry up as quickly as possible so that we can get back to work. We believe doctors have our best interests at heart, and we are taught to admire them  – not question them. We have put our faith in science, and with drug companies now pimping their wares on television, it’s only natural that we’ve grown to believe that doctors and their prescription pads possess the key to salvation.

These beliefs are flawed.

I recently read that 91% of patients leave their psychiatrist’s office with a prescription in hand. . . after just one short 15-minute consult.

That’s what happened to me.

When going through a difficult time in my life, rather than being encouraged to talk about it, I was given a diagnosis and handed a 75-day prescription for Klonopin, a serious brain-altering drug.

Seventy-five days.

This, despite the fact Klonopin is intended to be used for the short-term relief of symptoms, due to the ease with which the body and brain can become tolerant to its effects, even when used exactly as directed. The British Journal of General Practice (BJGP) reports that benzodiazepine medications may induce tolerance within four weeks of regular usage.

My doctor never informed me about any of the dangers associated with long-term use of benzos.

But I trusted him, so I continued to take these drugs for seven years.

Big mistake.

H U G E .

So why am I going on and on about this?

Because Monday is National Benzo Awareness Day.

Twenty-hour hours devoted to raising awareness regarding the dangers around commonly prescribed benzodiazepines like Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan.

  • to provide victims with an opportunity to unify so they aren’t left alone in the dark, as has been the case for so long.
  • to educate people about this decades old problem that has been swept under the rug
  • to encourage the provision of ‘specialized’ withdrawal facilities for those who desperately need them.
  • to give a voice to those who have been criticized and abandoned, and left alone to suffer
  • to recognize those who didn’t make it.

To be fair, I don’t believe that doctors mean to cause harm to their patients. I believe they are truly uninformed about this issue, as pharmaceutical companies are not releasing accurate information regarding these drugs.

As a result of my own independent research, I now know more about how to wean off of psychiatric medications than most doctors who make six figure salaries. (PS: It takes a lot longer than they usually suggest. And it is a lot more involved than they know.)

Part of my life’s mission has become educating the general public and doctors about the dangers of psychotropic drugs and the repercussions of unintentional chemical dependency.

NOTE: It is potentially dangerous to come off medications without careful planning. Please be sure to educate yourself before undertaking any sort of discontinuation of medications. If your MD agrees to help you do so, do not assume he/she knows how to do it well even if he/she claims to have experience. 

What’s your experience with psychiatric medications? Have anti-anxiety medications/antidepressants helped you? Harmed you? I’m interested in your experience, even if it’s different from mine.

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19 thoughts on “World Benzo Awareness Day: Coming Soon

  1. Big Pharm has lock on the hearts and minds of our country – we believe that we need to be normal, whatever that is. Our sense of normal seems to be formulated by the media and our society gobbles it up. We want the quick fix and are not willing to work on a long range solution that is balanced. This mentality manifests itself in all sorts of issues – medical, financial, political, and societal. We want it now – we’ve become like the characters in Charley and Chocolate Factory – gluttony, greed, impatience, avarice, we need to slow down and let God provide. Do good works, give service to our community, and let God provide. All I can do is to continue to try to make my days count and hope it rubs off while I learn from my mistakes. Peace.

    1. You are preaching to the choir, Clay. And I would add that as a culture, we aren’t very good at facing the negative emotions of anger and sadness.instead of teaching people to be direct about what’s making us sad or angry, we’re taught to “stifle” our emotions and “be nice.” It’s not healthy to repress these feelings and we need to get better about expressing ourselves directly. Not easy to do. I’m glad you’re walking the planet.

    1. It hasn’t been fun, that’s for sure. But, as with everything else, love is the answer. There are so many people who have been given pills when REALLY what they need is love and understanding. I know that’s what I needed.

  2. As always, I am so very grateful for your honesty and courage in talking about difficult things.

    I am so with you on the overdiagnosis and the overmedication of too many issues, especially when doctors don’t have a true understanding of who their patients are, what they struggle with, and how psychiatric drugs will affect them. My brother died from a prescription drug overdose, and I know it is (among other things) because he grew to see Pharma as the solution to all.

    In another direction, my son takes Vyvanse for his ADHD, and it has been a game-changer, both for his schooling and our family dynamics. We were lucky, though, to have a complete neuropsych eval, along with a pediatrician and psychologist who were willing to listen to us, and to take things conservatively when it came to medication.

    1. Lainie:

      I’m so sorry to learn about your brother. That is awful, and I’m so sorry you have to live with that memory of him. As you can imagine, I’m not a fan of drugging children. I think our entire educational system needs to be overhauled, so that parents don’t feel that they need to drug their children so they can succeed academically. Truly, we don’t know the longterm ramifications are for being on those “meds” while those young minds are developing. People are not machines, but we certainly treat ourselves like we are meant to perform perfectly all the time. Thank you for your response! 🙂

  3. Very well said Renee. Unfortunately, your story mimics my own along with hundreds of thousands around the globe. While doctors may have good intentions, they should not be allowed to claim ignorance on this issue that is literally destroying people’s lives on a daily basis. They should be held accountable for prescribing drugs that have been VERY questionable since the 1950’s. If they were, it would not take long for this harmful practice to stop!

    1. Hi 1krafty:

      As you know, you’re preaching to the choir. I’m having a hard time trusting anyone in the medical profession these days. I’m sure there are some good ones out there, willing to work as a partner might – but I have yet to find that person. I wish that I could hold my doctor accountable, but I’m pretty sure he received information from Big Pharma (whose trials were approved by the FDA) and around and around in a circle we go. These days, I’m not looking to blame others. I’m trying to accept where I am in all this and move forward with my life. It’s going to take time to fully heal from the trauma of having been isolated for all that time, no doubt, but I’m rebuilding my network.

      How are you now?

  4. Yes and the people who hear our stories and understand tend to only be people who have lived, or are living through it. There is a sea of disbelief. If I can’t get my family, who watch me suffer everyday, to understand and be motivated to fight these dangerous doctors and medications, how can I convince a stranger? Thank you for trying to raise awareness. Unfortunately, the people who read these things and respond tend to be far too few. We need to find a new way.

    1. It is REALLY hard to convince people when we have “invisible” illnesses which are impossible to quantify. I know that I’ve had brain scans and all kinds of tests, and everything appears to be normal…except I know how I feel. I’m sure you understand. It’s frustrating. I believe all of this is so that we can become more empathic with others. We need to believe people when they tell us something is wrong. We need to believe people when they say they feel sick and cannot work. Who would ever want to feel unproductive?

  5. Renee, Thank you for sharing your story! I am one of those who still cannot formulate a thought due to the damage done by big pharma and my own faith that Drs had my best interest at heart and could heal me. Keep being vigilant and shout out for all of us! We hear you, we appreciate you, peace, love and light 🙂

    1. Hi Cassandra:

      I know how hard it is to trust again. I’m in the process of finding a new doctor who, hopefully, will become an ally in all of this with me. I’m hoping to get some allergy testing done, since I have so many weird sensitivities that I never had before. I’m wishing you well right now. Stay the course. It does get easier.

    1. CJS: I sincerely hope that it true. I thought I was being prescribed properly, too. Now I don’t believe there is any proper prescription of psychiatric medications. Our culture is a very sick one, and no one wants to talk about their pain, their sadness, their disappointments. Instead, we pop pills and pretend to be happy. It’s completely crazy-making. I’m done with that. I’m not surprised that life is “not pretty” without your drugs as our bodies adjust when we give them chemicals. These are personal decisions, obviously, and I wish you well on your journey.

  6. Keep sending those valuable lessons about life. I am glad you are trying hard to enjoy the simple things in life. I only wish you happiness in your life. I love you.

  7. I weaned myself from klonopin in 2015, after less than a year on it, because the way it made me feel physically wasn’t good. I’m very med sensitive and had life threatening reactions to medications so many times, I could write a book. It is very sad how the damage done by medications is largely ignored. My mother has failing kidneys, thanks to years on prescribed medication. I have a brother in law who has needed two hip replacements, thanks to prescribed medication. All taken as directed by their doctors. It is disgusting how doctors and big pharma get away with causing so much harm.

    1. Thank you for sharing your words. So many of us have been harmed by convention medical practices. I know that doctors mean well, but so often their “treatments” are unnecessary. The body knows what it needs to do to heal itself. And much as we don’t like it, Nature knows what it’s doing, too. It’s quite possible that we would all do a lot better if we simply worked on emotionally supporting people during difficult times, rather than trying to fix them with pills. I look forward to hearing more from you.

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