“I’m Not Waving, I’m Drowning”: An Autoethnographical Exploration of Biographical Disruption and Reconstruction During Recovery From Prescribed Benzodiazepine Use

Fixsen, Alison 2015. “I’m Not Waving, I’m Drowning”: An Autoethnographical Exploration of Biographical Disruption and Reconstruction During Recovery From Prescribed Benzodiazepine Use . Qualitative Health Research. 26 (4), pp. 466-481. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732315576496

Title“I’m Not Waving, I’m Drowning”: An Autoethnographical Exploration of Biographical Disruption and Reconstruction During Recovery From Prescribed Benzodiazepine Use
AuthorsFixsen, Alison
Abstract

Benzodiazepines are group of drugs used mainly as sedatives, hypnotics, muscle relaxants, and anti-epileptics. Tapering off benzodiazepines is, for some users, a painful, traumatic, and protracted process. In this article, I use an autoethnographic approach, adopting the metaphor of water, to examine heuristically my experience of iatrogenic illness and recovery. I draw on personal journals and blog entries and former users’ narratives to consider the particular form of biographical disruption associated with benzodiazepines and the processes involved in identity reconstruction. I emphasize the role of the online community in providing benzodiazepine users such as myself with a co-cultural community through which to share a voice and make sense of our experiences. I explain how the success stories of former users provided me with the hope that I, the “medical victim,” could become the “victor” and in the process construct a new life and fresh identity.

Keywords Autoethnography, diaries, journals, healing, recovery, self-help, social identity, stories, storytelling
JournalQualitative Health Research
Journal citation26 (4), pp. 466-481
ISSN1049-7323
Year2015
PublisherSage
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732315576496
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1049732315576496
Publication dates
Published in printMar 2016
Published23 Mar 2015

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