Archive for December, 2010


Mission failure

I took 37.5mg Effexor twice today, once at breakfast, once at lunch.

From the last post to last night I have become increasingly aware of just how fragile I am right now.

I’m trying to stay positive about it which should be much easier since I’m taking an antidepressant again.

 

I just began to notice over the course of the last few days that my typing at home is awful, I’m always missing keys, even putting in the wrong punctuation.  At work it’s not bad, I would call it “fair,” but once I get home it’s a mess.

 

I don’t really have any other thoughts right now.

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TIDAL WAVE

Today I am crying at EVERYTHING.  I’m serious.  Think about “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Tears.  Reread bits of “A Christmas Carol.” Tears.  I don’t feel sad in a conventional sense but I Can’t seem to Stop Crying.

I know it’s bad to say this, but I really don’t want BF to know.  I don’t think I can really hide, it though, not if this keeps up all day.  It’s a really small duplex we live in, and my face gets unmistakably blotchy when I’ve been crying.  Why don’t I want him to know?  Good question.  Mostly because he wants an explanation for things like that, because it kind of freaks him out.  He doesn’t understand depression at all.  He thinks there has to be a reason for it.  Our conversations when I am feeling depressed are never productive.  He gets frustrated, I get frustrated, nothing comes of it.  And I hate for him to worry.  He doesn’t know what to do with worry.  He feels like he should be able to do something to help me in some way, and I’m not sure there is anything he can do.

I am trying to breathe deeply to keep from getting sobby again.  The story after “A Christmas Carol” in this big old Book Of Christmas that’s been in my custody since before dad died is one by Truman Capote about a little boy and his “best friend,” a lady in her 60s who’s “simple-minded,” as they might say.  Totally blindsided me, and I was already weepy from reading the Dickens story.

 

Is this really what I am without the medication?  It’s so hard for me to know!!  Am I still going through this withdrawal period where things are just weird with my body and I just have to ride it out for a little while?  Or is this me, plain unmedicated me.  The idea that I am this affected when I thought I had made so much progress is really upsetting.

A dear, dear friend who unfortunately lives on the opposite coast sent me this message after I announced to my Facebook “friends” that I was off the meds:  “you are amazing, and I am really impressed that you are trying. there is no such thing as ‘failing’ in this case though, so if you find it isn’t working for you then you are the one calling the shots, and determining what works best for you. <3 Definitely sending some extra supporting, loving thoughts your way!”

I miss her a great deal.  And my mom is out of town, so I literally have no one it feels Safe to share this tumult with.

 

I started thinking about my father the last few days.  On the 27th it will be the 2nd anniversary of his death.  I was already on Effexor when he died, so this is the first time since then that I have felt his loss without the support of an SNRI.  Maybe that’s why I’ve been so affected lately.  This season will probably always be bittersweet — from right around Christmas to his birthday on January 23rd, a month of mourning each year.  It doesn’t seem fair, but I guess that’s what happens when someone you dearly love dies.

I don’t think my tears are entirely related to dad, though.  I was feeling fragile even before I started thinking about him.  I think it’s more like, my mind is desperately trying to find a reason for the tears.  An excuse, or something.  But maybe there is no reason, not a real source of the sadness.  Maybe it’s just a violent backlash by my body against cutting off that drug.  Or maybe it really is just what I am without that support.  Like if you take the rings off the necks of those ladies whose necks are stretched long.  They simply haven’t the support without those rings, and their necks collapse.  !! how painful that must be!

 

Going to do a bit of deep breathing and try to calm myself down.  I do think it’s important to feel what I am feeling, but I’d really like to avoid a full-on freakout if possible.

Bit of a downward turn

There are some things I have noticed over the course of this week that have me a little disheartened.  In the first place and most prominent (to me) is how fragile my psyche is, how susceptible to sudden change.  For example, I have almost cried at least once every day on the way to work and once on the way home, brought on by some story or other on NPR.

Second is the constant shivering, which may have little to do with withdrawal and lots to do with a climate in transition and the fact that it’s either too cold or too hot both at work and at home.  Regardless, my spine aches from being constantly tense and shivery.

Third is the sick feeling which, while not incapacitating by any stretch, has prevented me from taking my vitamins nearly every morning this week.  I have just felt too sick to my stomach to take any pills.  I can eat alright, but by the time I remember to take anything it’s been too long since I ate and I don’t trust that I won’t vomit it right back up.  It’s a feeling I associate with stress, which is only fair, as I guess my body is probably pretty stressed out.

I feel like I have gained some weight over the last few months and that brings me down a bit as well.

I do have this feeling that so much of my physical and emotional issues are built up in my abdomen.  I suffer from chronic constipation, cramping/spasms, sour stomach, often connected with emotional stress in my life.  I have never exercised, yet I am not in bad shape overall.  Except my abdomen.  It’s like this big ugly blob that is a physical manifestation of everything in my life that I can’t control or can’t seem to get right, or just seems too hard to fix.  I often imagine ripping it off, like pulling a wedge from an orange.  As though such a violent action would solve the underlying issues.

I remember what fat looks like from doing dissections in school; I have especially vivid memories of giving a frog a liposuction, essentially.  I don’t want to talk about it too much because the person I am now can’t bear the thought of dissection, and remembering being that person who could do such a thing has me tearing up.  But the fat, the fat is what I remember, and so I can very easily imagine what this belly of mine looks like under the skin.  It is vile and disgusting and I hate it.

 

What all this boils down to is that my behavior is leaning towards depressed, which, as I noted in the opening paragraph, is really disheartening.

 

I do have to give myself some credit, though!  I have made it through this whole week on no medication whatsoever and have had to rely on my own power to steer myself away from the kinds of unproductive negative thinking that is so easy to fall into.

When I told my therapist (brand new, only 4 sessions in) on Wednesday that I had gone off the medication (to be fair, I did tell her about my plan when I began seeing her) she seemed… concerned, I might say.  I suppose it does seem a little odd to decide almost simultaneously that going back to therapy and going off medication were both good ideas I wanted to pursue immediately.

Ohh my, I am feeling so sleepy.  And I kind of want to cry because this is obviously going to be much harder than I thought at first.  And I want to cry because I keep shivering and it’s frustrating that I can’t seem to stop!!  And I want to stop being able to smell myself when I sit indian-style because it makes me nervous, like there’s something irreversibly wrong with my body.

 

Sit and meditate, do some deep breathing, and see if that helps.

Total Detox: Phase Two, Day 2

Wow.  Trying to concentrate at work just one day after cutting off my meds is kind of like trying not to vomit when I’m sick.  Just not gonna happen.  It doesn’t help that the heating system is so fucked up in the office that we had to keep the windows open (high of 30 degrees F today, folks) so we didn’t faint from the heat.

The drive to work was OK.  I nearly almost cried toward the end of some little human interest piece on NPR but I managed to keep it down.  Like yesterday, though, I was plagued by chills and an inability to concentrate on complex tasks and a total breakdown of my normal ability to multitask, or have more than one idea in my head at once.  I felt physically ill most of the day —  sick-to-my-stomach ill — and I wonder if that’s common.  Feeling feverish, headaches, general confusion I expected, but not really the sick feeling.

The climate in the office was so disorienting I just wanted to go out to my car and sleep on my lunch break, but even with the sun peeking through the clouds it wasn’t warm enough to hang out in an unheated car.  Besides, I really wanted to warm up.  So I went driving around, thinking I might pick something up for lunch but not really having anything or any direction in mind.  With my diminished mental capacity at this time driving is probably not a very good idea, but I did it anyway.  Finally ended up at a Taco Bell and felt temporarily almost better after two bean & rice burritos.

The thing that is the most disorienting about the withdrawal symptoms is this feeling that’s very difficult to describe.  It’s kind of like a flash of numbness, only a split second in duration, but it strikes my face and chest probably 12-20 times a minute each minute of the day.  Combine that with the feverishness, the chills, the sour stomach and general inability to focus, and I’m thinking, maybe I should take a quarter of a pill or something…  But no!  I will have to go through this extraction from chemical dependency at one time or another, be it today, next Friday or next month.  And at this point I’ve already been through two days of it.  Why the hell would I put myself back on the drug if it only means I’ll have to go through this all over again?

And so here I am, off-balance but not quite freaking out.  I sincerely hope this doesn’t persist all week or I may have to reconsider.  A whole week of this would seriously suck.  I think I can handle a couple days, but after that it will be increasingly difficult to pretend “I’m fine” at work.  And I really don’t want to have to tell my employers about this little project of mine.  I feel like I have an edge at this job because no one knows my psychological history (past and/or present).  I’d kind of like to keep it that way.

Detox update

Yes.  After a refreshing long hot shower I have decided to definitely let this day be the beginning of Phase Two: Total Detox.  I’m going to sit and do some deep breathing and perhaps a bit of mindfulness meditation before making myself a bowl of canned soup.  I think I’ll be OK.

So I accidentally forgot to take my meds this morning.  BF and I walked up to Zada Jane’s for brunch and it just kind of slipped my mind.  I did think about it before we left but I can’t take anything on an empty stomach, so I figured I’d just do it when we got back.  But I forgot.

I have been extremely lethargic today, despite two cups of tea at brunch!  It’s been gray out all day, which hasn’t helped at all.  Since I felt so sleepy all day I didn’t actually get any of the things done that I wanted — or intended — to.  Around 5 I left to go get groceries for the week (I did manage to put together a menu for this week’s dinners).  I was starting to feel a little jittery and anxious, though still very sleepy.

By the time I got home about 2 hours later (it was a long list and I made multiple stops) I had started getting chills, feeling kind of feverish, flushed and a little shaky.  There’s a train track not too far from us and the whistle blew and sounded much louder than it normally does.  One of the cats was whining.  The combination was quite irritating, and I kept hearing the train, like the engineer was just leaning on that whistle for the hell of it.  I really, really wanted that whistle to stop.

I feel itchy because I haven’t taken a shower yet today and it’s really irritating me.  That’s where I’m going after this, into the shower.

My question is, do I go ahead and take half a pill now, just to help get my system back to normal?  Or do I take this opportunity and continue into Phase Two (ha ha- a day after deciding not to start Phase Two until next weekend)

I don’t know what I’ll be like tomorrow if I don’t take at least some Effexor.  Will I be irritable, unable to concentrate, shaky, crazy?  Will I have to call out sick? (I doubt that I would)

But this is the crux of my problem.  When is a good time to let myself experience this withdrawal?  Obviously, I will have to do it sometime, and whether it’s now or next Friday I will feel like shit for a while.  How long?

 

Well, I think I will just roll with it.  I’m gonna take a shower, eat something, maybe watch something cheezy and slightly mindless, and go to bed, hopefully to awaken fresh and miraculously independent of this damn drug.

Decisions

So today is Detox day 29.  I’m faced with a minor dilemma.  While I admit that I have noticed very little in the way of adverse withdrawal effects since cutting my dosage in half, seeing that my first day of Zero medication (day 31) will be Monday kind of threw me off in a not-good way.  Yeah, theoretically I shouldn’t experience anything severe, based on my experience over the last 29 days, but I’m seized by the “what if” of stopping medication on the first day of the work week.  I am seriously considering continuing at my 75mg daily until next Friday.

Here’s my logic for this:  I cut my dosage in half, but my brain is still getting at least some of the chemical it has been accustomed to get.  So even though my withdrawal during this period has been negligible if not nonexistent, I imagine a danger of real withdrawal striking when I cut out the drug entirely.  I think of it as the difference between cutting back on sweets and cutting them out entirely.  If you just cut back, you may have cravings, but you can still give yourself that sugar fix occasionally.  But if you say “that’s it, no sweets, period,” you find suddenly that that is all you want.  And I have had enough experiences of withdrawal while I have been on this drug that I feel pretty confident that my brain will be like, “heyyy, I was using that!  where’d it goooo??”

If I go this next week on the 75mg dose, then choose Friday to cut it out, if I have a bad day and wig out some I will be able to reassure myself that it’s the last day of the week, and possibly keep the wigging to a minimum until I get home in the afternoon.  Then I have Saturday and Sunday to really detox.

If I had thought about this earlier I could have just done that this weekend instead, but I think the idea of stopping on Friday is a good one, and by now I’ve pretty much talked myself into it.  Maybe I’m just deferring because I’m really afraid of the horrible and uncontrollable feelings of withdrawal.  What I do know is that I don’t want it to affect my job — this is intended to be a relatively smooth transition into drug-free living.

So!  T-minus 6 days until Total Detox!

“Normal” trauma

Just to keep up with the days, it’s Day 22 of Effexor Detox.

I had an experience of what I would call “normal” trauma last weekend.  I got depressed, like I usually do on the weekends, and ended up telling BF in a very tearful conversation that I thought maybe we weren’t good together.  It was weird and awkward and I felt awful about it because I really, really upset him.  And myself.

We’re OK now, and seem to be addressing some of our “issues,” but I keep thinking about it..  It’s the first real “fight”-type thing we’ve had in ages.  Well, it wasn’t really a fight, it was more like  a day of sadness and uncertainty.  But for years it seems we’ve lived pretty harmoniously, which sometimes I think is a sign that we’re doing something wrong.  But often I just think it means that everyone ELSE is doing it wrong.

I do think we’re kind of an odd couple.  We have both been pretty detached from people in general, and yet we manage to care for each other a great deal.  Not to turn this into a big mushy piece of tripe, but I do feel pretty good about “us.”

Anyway, after going through almost a whole roll of toilet paper (using as tissue for our tears and runny noses) we declared a truce, had one shaky day after that and are doing pretty good now.  We are trying to be more open with each other and more present for each other.  So yay!

 

So the holidays are coming up and I have “Joy to the World” stuck in my head… I think I always get it in my head around this time, because the cold weather reminds me of dad singing this counter-tune-thing during the chorus.  I loved the way it sounded, even though the song was never a favorite of mine.  I wonder where he learned it, or if anyone else has heard anything like it.  It was always something unique to my father, so with him gone I feel like I will never hear it again.  I treasure the memory of hearing him sing.