I have a high tolerance for pain. A former gymnast, I was taught to push through discomfort. Once I landed badly after executing a backflip, yet somehow managed to complete my floor exercise routine. After limping around for several weeks, an X-ray revealed that I’d fractured my heel.
Years later, while wading in a river in the Adirondack Mountains, I stepped on a sharp something-or-other, and practically sliced off one of my toes. Since there were no hospitals in the area, my dangling appendage was reattached at a Boy Scout Camp – without the use of any anesthesia.
Hell, I delivered Tech Support without anesthesia.
Since I discontinued using Klonopin thirty months ago, one of the most troubling protracted withdrawal symptoms I’ve had to deal with has been extreme dental pain.
Sometimes, the pain is so bad, my teeth chatter. It was suggested to me that I might be grinding my teeth together. Or clenching.
I was fitted for a mouth guard, which I wear religiously.
I’ve tried changing my toothpaste, adding a special mouthwash, taking vitamin supplements.
When I am still and try to embrace the pain rather than resist it, I feel a circle of burning energy radiating from one side of my face to the other.
Not too long ago, someone told me about Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS). Doctors and dentists do not have a specific test to diagnose this syndrome, but some experts believe BMS is caused by damage to the nerves that control pain and taste.
(Which makes sense, since extended use of benzos causes damage to the nerves.)
Think for a minute about the last time you stubbed your toe.
Or the time you slammed your hand in the car door.
Or that time you sliced open your finger.
When you’re injured, it’s difficult to pay attention to anything, except your pain.
Pain makes it hard to concentrate.
Hard to take on the responsibilities associated with a full-time job.
Hard to do house work.
Hard to be a mom.
Hard to smile.
People who have known me my whole life know that I was once a happy go-lucky person, who was on no medications and living a full life.
I’m frustrated because I know so many people who have been harmed by medications that we were assured would help us.
We are raised from infancy to believe that people in the white coats know what they’re doing and will make us better.
I trusted my doctor.
These days I know better.
- I know that half of veterans who died from opioid overdoses were also receiving benzos.
- I know that benzodiazepines are not recommended for patients with PTSD or trauma.
- I know that older patients are being transitioned from benzos to other therapies because of the heightened risk for dementia and death.
- I know that as far back as the 1960s, doctors knew benzodiazepines were associated with cognitive impairment. By the 1980s, they knew that benzos caused long-term brain damage, as well as a horrifying withdrawal syndrome.
- I know that it is not appropriate to prescribe benzos indefinitely, especially for insomnia, (and yet it is done all the time).
These days, we have increasing evidence that these mind-altering medications are harmful, and I believe we need to go into reverse and stop this increasing trend of prescribing them.
I never thought of myself as an activist, but I realize that my blog provides me with a platform from which I can share my concerns about psychiatric medications. It is a place where I write about my own plight as well as the collective plight of this group of disenfranchised individuals.
I cannot stand by and let anyone else be harmed.
What I’m looking for now is legal representation: a firm willing to take on the responsibility of a potentially huge class-action lawsuit.
I realize I’m challenging the status quo in taking on Psychiatry, Medicine, big Pharma, even the FDA.
I realize my actions are not going to be popular.
I know I’m going to make people angry and uncomfortable. My thoughts are going to be labeled as unconventional, quirky, and anti-establishment.
People are going to say I’m crazy.
To me, this is Love Canal, Tuskegee, big Tobacco, and Flint Michigan all rolled into one. In each of those cases, individuals went to trusted government officials with suspicions that something just wasn’t right. In each case, individuals were reassured their concerns were unfounded; they were assured that they were safe. And in each case, individuals in power chose to overlook documents that indicated harm was, in fact, being done.
I used to giggle about grammar errors, and now I’m taking on what I believe to be a cover-up of gigantic proportions.
Disabled as I am, I’m doing it.
tweet me @rasjacobson
If you believe that you have been harmed by exposure to benzodiazepines, contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.