#WBADROCKS – 1 Month, 5 Things We’ve Learned

#wbadrocks of Kindness LogoToday, October 20th, marks the one-month anniversary of W-BAD Rocks of Kindness.

First, for those of you who may not know, a very brief background.  This project is the brainchild of a woman who, like so many, has been healing from severe neurological injury as a result of taking benzodiazepines responsibly and exactly as prescribed by her doctor.

One day she happened to notice some painted rocks of kindness in her Facebook newsfeed.  She knew this popular hobby had potential.  Realizing this idea could integrate creativity with awareness-raising for the World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day mission, she started a group where people could come together and create.  The interest was there.  The people came.

Eventually it developed into what it is today.

(If you’d like to read more about this project’s birth, check out the photo-rich blog post, “A Rockin’ Creative Outlet That’s Raising Benzodiazepine Awareness“)

So What IS It Today?

I thought a little update would be in order since this initiative is in the beginning stages of getting off the ground.

Some curiosity may be surrounding the project:

Could it actually be effective in reaching the public and raising awareness?  Is this something that can go the distance?

I can tell you already, the answer to those questions is a resounding YES.

Since our launch one month ago, we have experienced so many positives.  I hope you’ll take a few minutes with me as I break down five important things we have learned, experienced, and witnessed in a very short time.

#wbadrocks Create rock with supplies1. Personal/Therapeutic Value

Engaging and exploring personal creativity, as most people know, is highly beneficial.  It can be especially beneficial to those who may be healing from injury and trauma – both physical and mental.  It is an incredible healing modality and an outlet for individuals to express themselves.#wbadrocks Heal

Many of those who are involved in the painting and creating of these rocks are using this outlet as an uplifting coping tool and distraction.  It can bring some purpose and cheer to an otherwise challenging and gloomy day.  It provides an activity that one can look forward to.

Due to the depth of injury and trauma, some who have struggled to function and get out of the house are finding an uptick in mental well being.  Why?  Because this outlet tends to foster motivation, purpose, and a proactive mindset.  Despite battling disabling symptoms, the important mission of touching someone else’s life with kindness and awareness, can be quite the motivator.  Finding added focus and incentive to venture out to plant rocks is just another bonus.  #wbadrocks Ride the Waves

As our benzodiazepine-induced neurological injuries can bring a very difficult up-and-down, nonlinear healing experience, some days are better than others.  Some days, people simply cannot paint, connect with creativity, or get out of the house.  And that is perfectly normal and okay.

Like with anything in this often-grueling healing process, some acceptance and patience are necessary.  There are no pressures or deadlines with this project.  We do what we can do and are there to encourage each other through the ups and downs.

The bottom line is this:  The project is working on a very personal and therapeutic level.


2. Nurturing Connections

The personal connections being established, and the camaraderie and encouragement found in our rock painting group, is really something special.  We’ve become like a growing family in a lot of ways, and we support and encourage one another as we share our latest creations.  There is no judgment.  There is warmth and acceptance.

We’ve also experienced some familial connections growing out of this project.  Some parents are painting with their children.  Other adult family members and friends of the injured painters are taking interest.  This is opening the door to more personal conversations on the topic.  We have some family members and friends joining the group to offer support and watch the creating in action.  Some of them are even painting with us for the cause!#wbadrocks Connection

Oh, and here’s a story that will warm your heart:  One of our painters brought two of her rocks to her doctor appointment.  Not only did her doctor take interest in the project, she ended up taking the rocks and said she was going to check out our Facebook page (which contains links to the informational www.w-bad.org site).  Additionally, she said she would help plant the rocks in public with her three-year-old son!

There is also the general public outreach that is happening every single day.

Basically, we are using our art and rock creations to increase bonds, make connections, spark conversations, and raise awareness.  It is very naturally happening and unfolding, on many levels.  It’s a beautiful thing.

3.  There is No Failure

We are already very excited and impressed with how many of our rocks have been found and reported back to us!

This is extra impressive because in the rocks of kindness world, it is commonly known that you may have a larger percentage of rock output, with only a smaller percent of return.  There may be lulls in the frequency of rocks being reported back.  There are various reasons for this occurrence.  However, it’s not at all cause for disappointment or concern for us if this happens.  No matter how you slice it, our project is and will continue to be a wonderful success.

For starters, just the therapeutic aspect alone makes it worthwhile.  Also, we may never know who may come upon our planted rocks and how many smiles we bring forth.  Using our hashtag, #WBADROCKS (written on the back of our planted rocks), the finders may have looked into us further and found our awareness information.  Just because a finder does not connect with us directly, does not mean a positive connection was not made!

Additionally, some rocks may end up showing up months later, long after they were planted.  Sometimes the rocks will move from one person and location to the next until eventually someone reports them online.

That’s part of the excitement in this:  You never know what is going to happen once you release your rock out into the wild!


How do we know this is working?  How do we know we are reaching people, not just for the sake of kindness, but also for our very important awareness-raising efforts, as well?

As we watch our public Facebook page and see the interactions, and as we take note of the page analytics, it is very obvious we ARE reaching people.

Some of the finders have specifically told us they were previously unaware of the dangers of this class of drug.  They have expressed to us that they looked up more info here on the www.w-bad.org web site.  They have told us they stand behind us.   We have noticed some of these rock finders “liking” and following the page, sticking around, and watching what we are doing.  We have noticed that some of THEIR friends/connections are visiting and engaging with the page.  We have had a lot of activity and interactions on both Facebook and Instagram.

All of this is showing us that we ARE getting visibility and this IS working,#wbadrocks Ripple Effect

Simply put, this rock art is becoming the mediator, the buffer, being injected into what can sometimes be a very difficult and controversial topic.  It seems to be a rather unique, noninvasive way to subtly, yet effectively, introduce ourselves.  This more naturally creates an amiable connection which raises curiosity and allows us to show more of ourselves (the benzodiazepine-injured).  It’s enabling conversation and allowing room for non-pressured presentation of info that can educate the public.

And we must always remember that each interaction can create quite a ripple effect.

5. No Special Talents Required!

You don’t have to be an experienced and talented artist to get into and enjoy this hobby with us.  Many of our painters had zero previous experience with this kind of craft – nor would they have considered themselves artsy or crafty.   Some have discovered how much they enjoy creating – something they never knew about themselves!

Also, I’d like to mention that many of us are using nontoxic, virtually odorless , water-based paint pens.  Some are finding the paint pens much easier and less messy to use to do the majority of their rock decorating.

There are so many different supplies and techniques.  There is truly something for everyone.  Yes, even those who struggle with chemical/odor sensitivity!

Additionally, some of the painters suffering from more difficult symptoms have even been able to use minimal supplies to create from the comfort of a cozy chair or their beds.

Literally the only requirements are some basic supplies, the desire to try it out, and the drive to spread some kindness and raise awareness!

BE THE CHANGEIf We Paint & Plant the Rocks, They Will Come

As long as we have people painting and planting rocks, this project will continue to be a great success.  It will inevitably keep growing.  And we’d love for you to come grow with us!

For more information, please click here:  W-BAD Rocks of Kindness – #wbadrocks and visit our Facebook page.  Shoot us a private message if you are considering getting involved and are interested in joining us in our closed group.  There is never any pressure.  If you are curious yet unsure if you’d like to get involved, you can always come check out and observe what’s going on behind the scenes.  And, as always, we are more than happy to give you any information and help you need to get started!  All you have to do is ask!

And things are just heating up.  As we get more settled in, we will be planning some fun group activities and giveaways for anyone interested in participating!

#wbadrocks Thank You

So, in closing, as we officially wrap up our first of many months to come, we would like to give a special thank you to not only those who have gotten directly involved, but to everyone who has been so supportive.  Your support and enthusiasm mean so much to us.  You are giving us a stronger foundation on which to reach more people.

Please stay tuned and continue to follow our progress.  Watch as our small rocks of kindness turn into boulders of awareness and change.  🙂


  1. I, a 16 year Doctor Prescribed Benzodiazapene user… Valium, or Diazepam, for Severe Muscle Spasms, due to Permanent Nerve Damage from Spinal Trauma, stopped taking immediately because my Pain Management Doctor told me to.

    I, was never counseled on this medication. I took specifically for severe muscle spasms. Please know, I am still dealing with, severe muscle spasms. I have had 2 broken spines, A disintegrated vertebrae’s, and Cauda Equina Syndrome for a period of 3 years prior to surgery. I lost my colon due to this.

    My PMDoctor never Asked me who prescribed, why I was on (assumed anxiety), or How long i had been taking. He said Stop It, so, I Stopped it. I did not follow up with the prescribing physician until a month later. Well, upon stopping, it felt as though my insides did a somersault. Truly. I also became completely agitated. Yelling at people, my Housekeeper, an acquaintance, my Doctor’s office, Daughter, not realizing this until 2 months had gone by. I was acting like someone I did not know. Until finally, on a Saturday, I called my daughter. She said I was screaming at her. She threaten to call my Ex and have him take pictures of my medicine and she was going to call 911. I said, NO!. We hung up, I went to my front door and locked it.
    You see, I did Not know what was going on with me. Because, in my mind, this was a muscle relaxant. With my medical, to include, surgical and Pain Managemnt, you can imagine, I was taking a variety of medication to manage my symptoms. This is warranted. However, never being counseled, the original prescriber, my PCP, had let me go after 20 year’s, supposedly due to Insurance change. The Next PCP, took over thé prescription, although, upsets because being forces to due to thé Pain Mgmt doctor refusing. Than that PCP, changer his Clinic into an Urgent Care Centre and released me with thé Diazapam on board, because i was à Complicated patient. I was able to get my Rheumatologist to become my new Intérim PCP. Hé took over thé prescription while beginning to wean me off. 6 months later, my Pain Mgmt Doctor saw it was on my Med List, flat told me to stop it! I remember thinking, wow! He is leveraging my pain medication if I do not do as he say’s. So, I stopped it!

    After locking that front door, I have not gone out of my house, except for Doctor Visits, in a year. My Pain Doctor than told me to Stop the Gabapentin. This was 6 weeks later, after stopping the Diazepam. Well I thought, no way! Thinking what happened after the Diazepam, still not realizing more symptoms were going to happen. I counseled than with my Pharmacist. He said do not just stop the Gabapentin. He said it should be decreased over several months. I than was given a 3 day, 1 pill reduction, 3 day’s later, 1 pill reduction, schedule. Then I was to add 50 mg Lyrica, 1 pill in replacement of dropped gabapentin, up to 300 mg a day.
    Well, I then started what would be 7 weeks of Occipital Migraines. I then went into 4 months of the worst depression of my 60 years. I did not think I was going to survive. I was literally on my knees to God. After I had reached the 300mg Lyrica daily, I went through 3 muscle relaxants, now, on 4th, Zanaflex. He changed my Opiate to 5 Oxymorphone daily. I was still in excruciating pain. Not realizing or able to even communicate to my doctor. Well the Depression finally was OVER, I thought! So I than felt, 9 months later, reached a NEW baseline for my pain. Also I was only getting maybe 3 hours of sleep every 3 days..than 1.5 hours, 2 days later, 3 hours and it was like that for 9 months. So my baseline, what does he do, he starts reducing my Opiate by 1 pill a month. I was so upset. I was just beginning to fall asleep again, and he starts the reduction of the Opiate. Well, than I was so very upset and now in more PAIN. I had lost a year of my life. I missed all the holidays and I just went through soo much physically and mentally!!!

    Now, we are 16 months into this and I am depressed. I cannot seem to get out of this Frozen State!!! I am in severe pain. I did explain to him finally at my last APPT how the change of Medications and stopping of the Diazepam affected me. He was defensive and totally more concerned about what he was going through, regarding his patient load, lives in his hands, CDC Guidelines, Fined, etc more than how these changes have affected me! I am not over this, and I am at a loss!

    Thank you for any help you can give me..Regards, Elizabeth

    1. Elizabeth, I can relate to your pain. Although we all don’t experience pain the same way, I can make a great inference by reading what other have-experienced and my very own monumental challenge by trying cold turkey and 3-4 mg daily for nearly 20 years. I can safely say that I rather be watered boarded. Screw Guantanamo’s torture techniques. Put them on Xanax for a while and cold turkey.
      I am an individual who historically has had high pain tolerance. As a kid. I walk around with a broken arm, I have worked with the gout, went straight to work after having an ingrown toe nail removed. I really did not care for pain medication in my 20’s. However, almost 10’years with my depression controlled, I felt back pain. Dr. Sends me home. She calls four days later to le me know that blood was found in my urine and to go pick up medication and she felt bad that I was in pain.
      Well a week later I was still in pain. Of course, she accused me of hurting for pain killers. Her miserable x-rays did not and do not reveal nerve damage. I demanded an MRI, but it was denied in three occasions. I finally offered to pay for it out of pocket. Amazingly, insurance approved it. Now I hold two highly controlled substances.
      I go visit mom and left briefcase in the trunk of my car with the window down. Police report would take about two weeks. It is at this moment that I started a major benzo and perhaps a Cymbolta withdraw. Luckily for me, I do not withdraw from opiates. My benzo withdraw took prescidence. Of my back pain. I was in bed for three weeks not being able to think, involuntarily muscle spasms that wear you out. I did contemplate ending it there. I remembered that my friend back home is a pharma sales man. Still withdrawing and not coherent, I took the next flight out. So I find myself in another country buy 500 bars that I
      Decided to not bring them to the US. I have very little recollection of my 10 day visit. This was definitely my worst rPain ever. It’s not only you going crazy, but the physical aspect of it changes. I was reading online that a benzo withdraw can cause PTSD that will linger for perhaps several years. So far this year, I have had problems making a doctor understand that i need both meds. Ironically, my pain management doctor has written both opiates and benzos on the same script. They will not do it for long time. All of the sudden, I can’t find a doctor who could bridge me until I find a doctor who will help me with my meds. Good luck. Liz

  2. Thanks for sharing this with us………Very nice and informative post…..!!!!!!!!

  3. I have found that changing diet and taking supplements one of the most important things I am doing as I taper. Please shine some light on this aspect of recovery

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