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Introducing Dr. Doryn Chervin


A Message from D E Foster...


I would like to welcome Dr. Doryn Chervin to the Easing Anxiety Team.

I have had the unique privilege of working with Doryn for a few months now building out our EA Community, and she continually amazes me. Her background in public health, lived-experience with benzodiazepines, and endless compassion make her an ideal addition to our team. Thank you for joining us, Doryn, and I look forward to growing this site together. If you'd like to welcome Doryn in the comments below, I'm sure she'd love to see it.


But, enough from me. Let's hear about Doryn in her own words.

 

I know a lot of you, even though we have never met. I've known you because I've had many of the same experiences and struggles, and like you, am working to come out on the other side.


My Story

I'm Dr. Doryn Davis Chervin and have recently retired after a 40-year career as a public health program strategist and evaluator. If you were to look in on my life, you’d see I am a wife of 40 years, a mother to two adults in their 30’s, and a grandmother to two granddaughters who own my heart.


My creative outlet is to cook and bake, my guilty pleasure is reading romance novels (yes, I admit it!), and my passion is traveling. More on this later.


Working to Reduce Benzodiazepine Harm


I am also a board member of the Alliance for Benzodiazepine Best Practices, working to prevent unnecessary benzodiazepine prescribing and avoiding harm to patients. I am delighted that D Foster has asked me to join him as a part of the team at Easing Anxiety.


A bit about my benzodiazepine story: More years ago than I can even count, over at least 25 years, I was prescribed clonazepam – known best to me as Klonopin – for fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia was debilitating and affected my work, my family life, and my ability to function. I was in severe pain and suffering from cognitive fog and was interested in doing whatever I could to feel normal and live the life I had hoped for.


Not only was my identity caught up in being a high-functioning professional, but I needed to perform at a high level for the type of work and responsibility I had. I couldn’t function without help, and the help I got was medication.

As many of you may remember, there was a time when pain was considered the 5th vital sign

– meaning that doctors were focused on doing whatever was necessary to help patients deal with pain, including prescribing any medications necessary. My doctor, with the best of intentions and the best knowledge at the time, put me on Klonopin and muscle relaxers. Well, they worked—at first. And then, after a while, they didn't work. As I got older, I started reading the literature on benzodiazepines and older adults with troubling issues such as cognitive impairment, falls, motor vehicle accidents, and other hazards. I got worried.


What did taking benzos mean as I got older?


I spoke to my doctors – my Internist and later a psychiatrist -- about the hazards of benzodiazepine use in older adults and they acknowledged the potential harms. I always took clonazepam as prescribed, and I never increased my dose. I started worrying about my vitality and my health over time.

I also knew what would happen to my quality of life if I fell, hurt myself, or even worse, broke a hip. You know what they say about older women and broken hips! I found myself tripping more, being unsteady, and more foggy – so I went on this journey to get off of Klonopin.


I had no idea what I was getting into. But I'm here to share that journey with you and what I've learned, some skills and tools, and most of all hope. I want you to know that journey we're on, while rarely easy, is one that can get better and better. I can’t say I am the person I thought I’d be, because who really has a clear image of who they’ll be at 70 when they are 30. But I can say that I am in a good place in my life after going through a taxing benzodiazepine taper.


It’s been four years of my life: I have been free of Klonopin for two years. It took me over two years to taper from Klonopin in a very slow and deliberate process. The first clue that I was healing after tapering from Klonopin was when I was able to plan a trip, felt ready to get on an airplane, and deal with new environments.

I am happy to share any of my experiences with you. I certainly recognize that many people have had a far worse, much more taxing, and longer-term process than me. I also know I had struggles and continue to have benzodiazepine-related struggles that I live with that others don’t have. It doesn’t matter if my struggles line up exactly with your struggles, what matters to me is that we can support and learn from each other.


Practical, straight-forward, compassionate help


What I like about Easing Anxiety is that it honors the experience of those of us who are going through benzodiazepine withdrawal and beyond. It also helps those of us who are struggling with anxiety and with the challenges of life in very practical ways .


One of my strengths is to look at the scientific literature and see what those findings mean for us day-to-day. In the months ahead, I plan to delve into the topic of benzodiazepines and older adults, women and benzodiazepines, identity issues that arise by the tapering experience and BIND, and managing relationships with physicians when thinking about getting off of a benzodiazepine, tapering, and beyond.


I would love your feedback and questions. I’m all in, and I look forward to more.

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