The Anniversary

The twelfth of January is always a rough day for me, a day that evokes a melancholy that I can’t shake after, well, decades.

I was snappish and quick, and mean to Elise.

I threw out bag after bag of PURGE from my basement – things I haven’t touched or barely touched in the year that I’ve been here, they’re going, they’re gone.

I wandered around my apartment staring at things and wondering what to do next, in literal and existential ways.

I wished for this day to be over, basically from the moment I woke up, so I’m going to put a new book on my Kindle (the one I borrowed last is just too depressing) and be thankful that this 1/12 came and went without a tear.

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Forlorn as all F…

Forlorn is the word of the day, and it seems appropriate for the mood I have been in lately.

Life is a topsy-turvy kind of thing, and sometimes you tumble and fall, and I feel like this one of those times when my life is just tumbling, tumbling, and I am totally out of control.

I can’t afford anymore to live alone, my lease is up soon and I can’t afford to both pay rent and heat the damn place, so it’s back to my parent’s house I go, for now, until I figure my shit out and get “back on my feet” as it were.

It feels like a huge failure to me – I mean, I’m sure it feels like a huge failure to other people when this happens, too, but I guess I am very lucky to have supportive parents who aren’t making me feel shitty about it – and also really good friends who aren’t making me feel shitty about it.

“Oh no, you haven’t failed, you just need help for a little while,” my friend Gina said, and she and her husband and kids have been living with her mom for years now while he goes to school full time.

Maybe it’s this day and age – it’s all about money – the LACK of it.

For my friends, it made no sense for both of them to work if they were going to have to pay for daycare for two children that weren’t even school age.

Do you have any idea how much infant childcare cost these days?

A little bit more than the full-time salary of a minimum wage job if you’re living in Connecticut.

The more I think of it, the more I think of people who have either “gone home” or who are just cohabitating with others to save money – old women who are unmarried, same with a lot of young men who are unmarried, pretty much all of my peers who aren’t married and living with each other.

Hardly anyone I know who is alone can support themselves alone anymore.

Isn’t that messed up?

It’s not just me. There’s a lot to be forlorn about when it comes to this situation, but I keep telling myself – it’s temporary.

And I’m not a failure for not being able to keep myself afloat.

And this is really, really going to suck for a while, but we’re going to be okay.

my magical sleeping pill

jordan-bauer-265172
Photo by Jordan Bauer on Unsplash

If I could, I would funnel all of my creative time into a more manageable area, like between 9am and midnight, and not suddenly perk up and feel like writing an hour or two before I need to try to go to sleep.

If I could, I would sleep every day from 2am to 10am, a healthy eight hour chunk, but I know how hard it is to do that because a number of things tend to happen:

  • you wake up feeling guilty like you’ve already missed half the day even though you did it on purpose because it’s what feels natural to your body
  • you “peak” at about 7pm when it comes to energy and willingness to do things, but then, you’re kind of tired from already doing a lot of things, but that’s okay because you’re an introvert and you don’t want to go out much anyway
  • someone gives you a really hard time about being a lazy ass, getting up at 10am every day, even though it’s what makes your body feel good and 2am is when sleep comes naturally
  • 2am is when sleep comes naturally, which means you’ve only been getting between 5-6.5 hours of sleep a night for about the last twelve years

And when I say you, I mean me, this is what happens to me, this is my life.

I do my best to get in bed by midnight to get out of bed by eight, but whether I just fail or don’t even try, when 1:30am approaches and I sigh and think, ugh, you have to go to bed now, it still doesn’t happen.

The best mornings are always the mornings when I get to wake up without an alarm, and guess what time that usually is? Right around ten.

Oh, sleep.

It’s been such a pain in my ass for the last couple of decades (ZOMGI’MGETTINGOLD) I think a lot about how cool it would be if humans only needed, like, an hour of sleep a night.

Imagine how nice it would be if we could take our magical sleeping pill, crawl into bed, fall easily asleep, and wake up an hour later feeling like we’d gotten an entire good night.

Oh, wait. That happens sometimes and I actually hate it, but that’s without all the extra time.

IMAGINE ALL THE EXTRA TIME TO DO THINGS.

Would you take the magical one hour sleeping pill with me?

I wish winter would die in a fire

I hate winter.

And before anyone asks with the snark “Well why do you still live in Connecticut if you hate winter and the snow so much?” the answer is because I share custody of a child with someone who wants to see her every week and I’m not a bitch.

But this fucking sucks. (There will be a lot more swearing, you’re warned.)

I just want to go closer to the equator, to a place where I don’t have to deal with snow.

I want to never, ever see, feel, touch, or hear snow falling around me ever again in my entire life, not even once.

No more white Christmases. Ever.

I am allergic to winter. I’m over it.

Yet here I am, buried, trapped inside my house with snow knee-deep against my door, and snow with the audacity to be thin enough to see the grass in my neighbor’s patch of yard on the other side of my driveway.

I hate snow.

I was fucking pissed.

But you know what I did today? I used that hateful anger that boils into a rage within me, and I shoveled myself out today like the badass bitch that I know I am inside.

I went out there and for two hours (on and off between breaks sitting on the stairs in the mudroom to prevent my nose from falling off) I did indeed make that pile of snow my bitch, and I’ve cleared myself a path out.

Yeah. It’s hard to see here, because there was no way in hell I was going back out, after removing my boots and finally warming my buttcheeks and nipples, just to take photos.

Oh, but tomorrow, I will. Tomorrow you may see the glory of my path out of this frozen hellhole, I mean my driveway.

Meanwhile, I’m going to self-medicate with a number of different drugs to see if I can get anything to touch this aching in my arms and shoulders.

I’ll pay for my badassery tomorrow.

one pill makes you smaller

Photo by Cheney Meaghan

Trying to explain brain zaps caused by weaning off Cymbalta and other SNRI’s is actually harder than trying to explain what it’s like to be struck by lightning.

How does someone who hasn’t experienced it understand what it feels like, the sensation of a tiny electric bomb going off deep in the brain that makes a tingle run down your spine as you wonder whether you’re stroking out, maybe this is it, thanks for all the fish?

That, paired with another vertigo-inducing sensation: when I move my eyeballs, it feels like my brain is being left behind, and then is pulled slowly in the direction of my gaze – this also comes with its own little brain tingle.

How fun.

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Years ago, I suffered through Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome while I was getting off Effexor – a vile drug that should be banned from the Earth, in my humble opinion, for the physical and mental agony it wrought me.

People have said that getting off Effexor, Cymbalta, and Paxil, is as hard on your body and mind as getting yourself off heroin, and I believe it.

But there’s no rehab for antidepressants.

There’s no methadone to counteract my body’s aching need for these tiny little white beads of Cymbalta.

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Four months ago I started weaning myself off Cymbalta.

The manufacturer only makes it in doses of 20, 30, and 60 milligrams, because they don’t even know or care what they are doing to the people they make the drugs for.

My doctor told me to just stop taking it. He said that my new antidepressant would “counteract the symptoms of withdrawal” and I would be fine, but of course I didn’t believe him.

Instead, I took to the internet and found thousands upon thousands of people who have gone through the same thing – this terrible withdrawal we were never warned about.

I mean, I never would have started taking these drugs if I had any idea what would happen when I tried to stop.

So I ordered a bag of empty gelatin capsules on Amazon and for the last four months I’ve slowly been taking out a couple of little white Cymbalta nuggets of doom every day.

They call it “titrating down” and it’s taken forever and I’m still not done.

There are so many little white balls in one of those capsules, I don’t even honestly know how many are in there. At first, I started by taking out five a day, and  then ten a day for a week, and so on and so forth, until I started to get down to less than half my regular dose and started feeling some of those unwanted withdrawal effects – heart palpitations, brain and toe zaps, weird eye issues.

I know this is the right thing to do for my body and mind.

Scratch that, I THINK it’s the right thing to do, and I’m doing it anyway because I didn’t think Cymbalta was working as well as it could. Sadly, now that I’m almost off it and onto something else, I’m finding it actually worked better than the new medication.

Such is dealing with mental health. It’s a rollercoaster in the dark.

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I stopped for a while, asking myself why I was writing this post.

Is it to complain about how a medication is making my life harder right now when it’s supposed to be making it better?

Is it because my mental health is in the toilet and I needed to talk about it for a little bit, reach out and maybe hear a “yeah, me too” to remind myself that I’m not crazy?

Nope.

This rambling, lame medication drivel has its purpose: it’s a warning, a red flag, an IMHO PSA.

If it helps a single person, every word is worth it.