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Random Thoughts in Random Pandemic Times

Early in the summer I received an email from a frantic woman in Texas.  She was halfway through reading my memoir about prescription med withdrawal-- Accidental Addict--and had to know, DEMANDED to know: Was I well?  Honestly well?  She needed me to answer her immediately or she just couldn't go on.


Of course I was happy and grateful to be able to deliver the prompt reassurance that yes, despite the desperate depths of my illness in those years, I am now fully healed, and she will be too, given time. In our subsequent exchanges, I asked about the state of the pandemic in her area. She thought the whole thing had been exaggerated, and she was out the door to meet a friend for lunch at a restaurant.  I asked if she didn't find it pretty convincing  that  60,000 people had died, the tragic number at that point.  She didn't answer this directly, but in a later letter referred to my "fear of the Covid."


I wasn't afraid of Covid. I just believed it was real. And I've been determined from the start that I wasn't going to get it. I bring this up because it made me realize this was my first and only personal contact with a person outside the lovely bubble that is my own very blue Benton County, Oregon.


I'm proud to say we still have one of the lowest infection rates in the country.  Why?  Because we're a highly education and solidly Democratic population and nobody believed President Trump for one minute when he said we had nothing to worry about.  We hunkered down immediately and when masks were shown to be helpful, everybody started wearing them. That's it.  We are blessedly free of yahoos in jacked-up trucks, flying flags and Trump banners, mocking  masks and calling people chicken for trying to keep themselves and others safe.  In fact, my friends and I have noticed the handful of Trump lawn signs actually coming down in recent days.


As the lockdowns began in the spring, prescriptions for Xanax and other anti-anxiety medications soared, and I shuddered for those people who started desperately swallowing the poison.   Of course Xanax helps immeasurably right this minute, and who hasn't been freaked-out over everything this  crazy year has delivered? But I'm so hoping those folks stopped these meds after the recommended limit of two weeks and found other ways to cope; otherwise there is going to be hell to pay as a sizeable portion of our population who may have eluded  or survived Covid now go into benzodiazepine withdrawal.  Watch: It won't be long before people are posting reports that their benzo withdrawal is way worse than anything Covid anxiety or even Covid itself delivered.


A haunting parallel to the sufferings of benzo withdrawal  are stories from the so-called Covid "long-haulers" who can't seem to fully recover.  Neurological damage seems to be involved.  The chronic fatigue and brain fog they report sound eerily familiar to benzo survivors  and so much like what I went through after stopping Xanax.  These victims of Covid are appalled to still be sick after three or four months.  I was sick like this for several years.  Not interested in a repeat.


Damage to my precious brain is nothing I care to mess with, and as much as I miss restaurant lunches with friends, it's simply not worth the risk to me. The silver lining here is that my "long-haul" recovery from Xanax served as training for this pandemic lockdown.  I was actually more isolated in those times, being sick on my own, than I am now when everybody's going through this together, if separately.  My self-care plan of yoga first thing every single day without fail etc. was already firmly in place when all this hit, and "working my program" while I feel perfectly fine as opposed to  doing it while sick is a great contrast and serving me well.


The first order of business for our poor country  is to get rid of a President  who has made this whole thing drag on so much longer and be worse for so many people by insisting we pretend Covid isn't out there.  If ever the expression "blood on his hands" applied, it's here.


My heart breaks for the elderly who are locked in solitude and dying of isolation so that Donald Trump can keep up the fiction of his thriving economy.


Special place in Hell for him, I think.


Or jail.  


In the meantime, let's hunker down, wear masks, and get this over with.


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ACCIDENTAL ADDICT is available on Amazon

Please click here to view a two-and-a-half minute YouTube trailer for ACCIDENTAL ADDICT.

After telling in lucid prose how she become an Accidental Addict, Linda Crew provides a prescription that all of medicine should heed: “A doctor should never prescribe a drug without an understanding of what it takes to get off of that drug, and a willingness to help his patient accomplish this.” One hopes that everyone who prescribes benzodiazepines and opioid painkillers will read this compelling memoir.
Robert Whitaker, Anatomy of an Epidemic

Crew’s inspiring triumph over addiction and withdrawal is a lifeline for anyone struggling to recover from prescription painkillers or anti-anxiety medications…. a brutal eye-opener for bystander friends, family, and doctors at a loss for clarity and compassion who, inadvertently, reopen the dark, black hole of desperation. This bold memoir is a riveting roller coaster of devastating defeat, tenacious courage, and exhilarating joy, gratitude, and hope.
Gretchen Olson, Call Me Hope

I hope this timely book gets widely read. Linda Crew’s experience has been shared by millions of Americans and many have lost their lives. The medical community has accidentally created an epidemic of addiction by overprescribing narcotics, and now everyone, including prescribers, needs to know how easily these drugs can destroy lives.
Andrew Kolodny, MD—Executive Director, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing

Accidental Addict is an excruciatingly tender, necessary work, wonderfully written, so compelling, so honest. Incredibly personal and filled with love. The many, many people who don't even know this is happening to them will thank Linda Crew over and over.
Jane Kirkpatrick, Homestead

I found myself instantly drawn into her story, and her witty delivery kept me engaged. Definitely a wake-up call for all of us about the perils of painkiller and anti-anxiety medication use, and the way doctors have carelessly over-prescribed these drugs in the last few decades. A fascinating (and scary) read that won’t be easy to forget.
Margot Vance-Borland, LPC

Linda Crew clearly has a gift. Her memoir about the unrecognized epidemic of protracted withdrawal illnesses caused by benzodiazepines and other psychiatric drugs is written like a novel and, like a brilliant piece of fiction, gets under your skin…an important piece of literature that may help educate many.
Monica Cassani, author and editor of Beyond Meds, prize-winning web magazine

Linda Crew's Accidental Addict is a must read for all medical students across America, and physicians who treat pain will find this book very useful as they rethink the way they are prescribing narcotics....a superb book on an enormous medical issue of our time.
Mark Rampton, M.D., Family Physician at Corvallis Family Medicine

Addiction to prescribed medications, due to the actions of well-meaning medical professionals, has become alarmingly common across the country today. Linda Crew has written a compelling and bravely honest memoir of her struggle and recovery from the aftereffects of legally prescribed narcotic painkillers and benzodiazepines. Her voice is clear on their devastating impact, and her story is one that needs to be widely read and shared by both patients and providers.
Catherine Saeger, LICSW

If you believe that smart, strong, successful people who faithfully follow the rules, listen to their doctors, and have a solid and impressive support system of family and friends are not the “sorts of folks” who become addicted to prescription narcotics for post-surgical pain, then you’d best read Linda Crew’s Accidental Addict, a memoir that’s as harrowing, honest, and raw as it is timely. Crew writes with a ferocious energy, as though she’s determined to finish the book even as the walls of her own home are crashing down around her.
Rick Borsten, The Great Equalizer

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