Love yourself. So many times we are tempted to take the worst case scenario and apply it to ourselves, yanking hope away. It is easy to start saying things like, “My life is ruined.” But stop and think about that. If you had a friend who was floxed instead of it being you would you say to them, “Well, I read about this person who never walked again after taking just one pill.That will probably be what will happen to you?” Of course you would not say that!
Would you say to a friend facing a long battle with an illness, “Your life is ruined now?” Not if you didn’t want them to kill themselves. Some floxies do commit suicide. Is it possible their own self talk drove them to it? Did they talk to themselves in a way they would never have talked to another human being? Treat yourself as well as you would treat your best friend. If you would not say it out loud to a sick friend do not say it to or about yourself. Just don’t do it.2. Be here now. Even though now is probably absolutely horrible and you cannot rest or get even a moment’s relief from pain, try to stay in the now. Just survive this moment. And the next one. Breathe. It is better not to keep asking how long this is going to last and when you can expect to heal. Everyone’s time line is different. And when people say they are two years out and still having issues, the issues remaining at two years out are probably a lot different from what you are experiencing at a few months out. It gets easier. It really does.
3. Think positive. I used to try to find one part of my body that did not hurt, that just felt ok, and focus on that. It helped. I usually could find something that felt normal even if it was just one limb or my butt or my big toe. Why think positive? Do it because you love yourself (see number one) and you still want to have a good life even though you got floxed. When you find the good things, no matter how small they are, you give yourself the best life you can as a gift to yourself. When you only focus on the negative you are actually taking life away from yourself. FQAD can be a killer. You are in a fight for your life, and the best way to win is to keep finding reasons to stay alive even when all hope seems lost.
It might be as tiny as feeling the softness of your cat’s fur as you stroke him or eating some blueberries and realizing they tasted good. You have to force yourself to focus on those tiny details and take pleasure in them. It won’t feel natural to do it. At first it was as if I had forgotten how to feel joy or happiness.But whenever I came across something that would have once given me pleasure I attempted to take pleasure in it. At first I couldn’t really do it, but as my nervous system healed I found that not only did I feel better, I had acquired this amazing habit of really focusing on beauty and the tiny details that make life so amazing. At nearly fifty years old I have the wonder of a five year old child. It is like I am experiencing a second childhood.
Most People Do Heal from the Damaging Psychological Effects of Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics
4. Remember that most people do heal. How do I know this? Well, Dr. Jay Cohen theorized that the actual rate of ADR’s to Cipro is around 60%, not 1-2% like in the package insert. There are millions of prescriptions for Cipro written every year. If every one of the 60% who were harmed by Cipro were permanently disabled the scourge of FQAD would have been banished long ago and all quinolone antibiotics permanently taken off the market. People are healing.I know a few in my personal life, including my neighbor, who were floxed, healed to 100% (or very close) and went on with their lives without ever writing a word about it on the Internet.
If I know of healing stories that have not been told then I am sure other people do too. Add them all up and there are a lot of people who quietly healed and put the experience of getting floxed behind them. When people are suffering they go online looking for answers and to vent. When they heal they may tell about that once or twice, but then they leave the forums. They want to put the horrible experience behind them. A few of us who healed hang around to help but it is by no means everyone and I do not fault anyone for needing to just put the experience behind them and never look back.
If every one of the 60% who were harmed by Cipro
were permanently disabled,the scourge of FQAD
would have been banished long ago and all
quinolone antibiotics permanently taken off the market.
People are healing.
5. Focus on relaxation. You need to teach your “rest and digest” nervous to work again. This is vitally important. If you are panicked all the time you are in essence telling your body that you do not need your parasympathetic nervous system, you only need the sympathetic nervous system. The more you activate the sympathetic nervous system the more it will stay activated. Yes, I realize that to a certain extent you can’t help being stuck in fight or flight. But anxious thoughts are like poison to floxies. Our systems cannot deal with them. If we keep trying to relax, even when it seems our bodies do not want to, eventually our body responds and the parasympathetic nervous system functions again as it was designed to. But how to relax when your world is falling apart? Keep reading.
6. Create a relaxation zone, a safe space. I used the futon in our back room. While I was on the futon I was only allowed to relax, to feel calm and confident that I would heal. If new symptoms crept up while I was on the futon I was not allowed to be concerned about them at all because I was going to heal and it would all be fine. My life post flox was like a stormy sea, but I pictured the futon as a life boat. The waves could not swamp me, I would not drown, so long as I was on the futon. While relaxing on the futon I played my Beethoven records, watched movies (when I could tolerate the stimulation of tv), looked out the window, meditated, played my little wooden flute, thought about my childhood– anything that brought me peace and comfort. If worries crept in while there I made myself get up.
7. Use your imagination. Find imagery that helps your healing and focus on that. Create your own reality. While relaxing on the futon I often pictured the Wisconsin River with it’s sandstone cliffs, dark swift currents, long inviting beaches and many sand bars. In my mind’s eye I was there. This was tremendously helpful to me during the times when I couldn’t really go anywhere or do anything since I was physically too weak and my nervous system too easily overstimulated.
8. Assume the best case scenario. You really don’t know your prognosis. No one does. But since most floxies do heal at least to some extent, you may as well believe that you will also heal. Negativity only activates your sympathetic nervous system and that is what you don’t want. There will always be those rare cases, those terrible stories of persons harmed by just one pill who never recover. But why is it logical to assume you will be one of those cases? It isn’t.Unfortunately, logic going right out the window and panic setting in is an actual symptom of lost GABA receptors. It takes real effort to stop the downward spiral thinking and take a balanced approach when considering your prognosis. No one can do it perfectly all the time. That is why it is actually better to focus on getting through today instead of wondering about the future. You don’t have the future. You have now. Make it the best now you can.
9. Whatever explanation for your symptoms gives you the most hope, go with that one. No one really knows exactly why FQ’s do the damage they do and some of the theories are downright scary. I consistently selected the explanation that scared me the least and left the greatest possibility of healing and clung to that one. Maybe I was wrong. But since no one really knows how to heal FQAD it doesn’t really make a ton of difference if I was wrong, except that leaving myself hope was more loving and more positive. Do not take away your hope.