To Infinity and Beyond!
(original post November 21, 2013)
There are several things happening in my life right now that are proving to be very stressful for others in my family. Those particular things really don’t stress me in the least, but I am very likely going to be the one who will have to “pick up” the rest of the family. I am now the “rock” of the family instead of the anxious and depressed Eeyore. How the tables have turned over the past four years. It is truly a story of rising from the ashes and soaring – like a phoenix.
For example, my father-in-law is facing a rather dismal diagnosis – lesions on his liver and some other problems. My brother-in-law will have extreme difficulty dealing with this (and already does)  – which will then affect his emotionally fragile wife and my wife. I will not be unaffected, but it will be my strength, wisdom, and perspective that they will seek for support. Two years ago I was just beginning to reacquire those three things for myself. They had been completely buried in the ashes of withdrawal for two years.
As I have healed, I have a completely different perspective on life – one that is perpetually positive and continually looking forward to the next “good thing.” After surviving the hell of benzo withdrawal, “it’s all good.” I have wondered what diagnosis I would get if I were forced to sit and describe my feelings and behavior to a psychiatrist now. There probably is some sort of disorder for being overly positive and looking forward to the next thing in life – maybe something like “Buzz Lightyear Disorder (BLD)” – always pressing toward “infinity and beyond” happily searching for something better and better. Sure beats all the previous diagnoses – GAD, PD, MDD, and whatever else was hidden from me.
When I was going through withdrawal, I read several success stories of those who promised that life would be better than it ever was after withdrawal. They weren’t lying or exaggerating. This is really good, yet I have wondered if maybe this is “just me” – possibly my personality that was “repressed” by booze and benzos. I do know a couple healed people who have survived a post-acute withdrawal syndrome (one from booze and one from benzos).
The first is my buddy Jayson who did help me through my struggle of two years. He is a former alcoholic who experienced intense PAWS for about ten months to a year. We have vastly different personalities, but we have an undeniably similar zest for life – for looking for the next good thing to enjoy.
The other friend is an acquaintance I met quite some time ago. I spent much time messaging with him last spring. He was steeped in depression and was one of the saddest, most restless individuals I had ever met. He kept trudging along, finally turned the corner, and now is enjoying enormous wellness on this side of withdrawal. Again, he is an immensely different personality and expresses himself differently, but he shares the same “ecstasy” toward life that Jayson and I share. All three of us possess very different personalities.
So, I must conclude that the enthusiasm for life that these two men and I now possess is a function of a brain that has survived the trauma of withdrawal and has rewired itself in such a way that it views life as a limitless opportunity to experience joy and to approach any circumstance (good or bad) with that joy in mind.
To infinity and beyond!