Crazy Town Update

I would like to start by saying thank you to everyone who commented on my last post, both here and on Facebook, giving me encouragement and letting me know that I’m not alone. It means so much to me and I love you all for being so supportive.

Now, you may recall from my previous post that getting off of this medication caused me to experience something called “head zaps”, which while annoying, weren’t painful. That was the case for the first few days of the week. Thursday, not so good. Friday, getting worse. Saturday, unbearable. Not only did they become far more frequent and intense, but they were getting painful, too.

Saturday night, I’m desperate for relief, but I’m SO DETERMINED not to take the pills again. So, as I always do in times of crisis, I turned to Google.

I was looking for advice on how to reduce the effects – anything I could do or other things I could take that might make the head zaps less horrible. I think my Adderall really does make a difference, which is why I was able to function at work at all this week. The problem is that I can’t take Adderall at night if I want to sleep. Plus it’s not like I use it to treat head zaps and I still need it for it’s actual purpose, so it isn’t really a good solution.

The only thing I could find was people recommending fish oil supplements. Although I don’t understand how that works, I didn’t give a shit and was willing to try any damn thing. If they had said to smear peanut butter all over my body, I would have done it.

So I slowly make my way to Smith’s which is open 24 hours and super close to my house – I don’t think I would have made it too far – and buy me some fish oil. That mess is expensive! What am I paying $25 for? Some guy scraping oil off of fish? I’m sure that’s not how it works, but fish oil just doesn’t seem like something that should cost so much.

Anyway, fish oil prices aside, I went home and took some. No change, but I’m not sure how long it takes to make a difference, so I go back to my Google search to see if there’s anything else I may have missed.

And then I find a tapering schedule recommended by a doctor specifically for Celexa (I take the generic citalopram, but it’s the same thing).

This schedule? EIGHT WEEKS. 

The one I did? Three.

Now, I made up my own schedule, so perhaps that was part of the issue. It’s not that I’m not seeing someone for these meds – I am, but our focus was on the Adderall, not the citalopram. She recommended I try to stop taking it, that some people experience head zaps, but she didn’t say much about it beyond that. 

The thing is, I’ve been taking this medication for years, so of course I’m more likely to have severe side effects when trying to stop taking it. I thought I was helping that with my three week tapering schedule, but it turns out you need to give each dose reduction a LOT more time so your body can adjust. 

At this point, I realized it would make a lot more sense for me to start taking the pill again and try this longer tapering schedule. I would rather do that with the chance that I can successfully get off the pill with minimal withdrawal symptoms than try to suffer my way through the horribly intense ones I was having. 

Stage one is taking my regular dose for a week, letting myself get used to that again, then alternating days with the lower dose for a couple weeks. Then you just kind of do that while reducing each dose until you get to the end. If I follow the schedule I’ve got set up now, I won’t be fully off the drug until mid October. Which is perfectly fine with me because I woke up head zap free and I haven’t had one all day. 

I took the Knight Bus out of Crazy Town, but only for a week’s vacay. I’ll be stuck behind the world’s slowest sloth on my way back in, though, so it should take me seven weeks to get back to where I was. It’s cool, speeding in on a moped was clearly not the way to go. I’m more than happy to try again.

Welcome To Crazy Town

I have a thing I do that I’m sure I picked up from somewhere else that involves calling everything Something Town. I don’t remember where this comes from, but I do it a lot. 

This post is actually about why I’m living in Crazy Town, not how often I say Something Town. 

You see, about six years ago, I started taking a medication. It was supposed to help with feelings of anxiety. It did its job, I got better, end of story. Except that it wasn’t the end. 

After I got better, I continued to take the medication. For six years, as mentioned previously. I did this because I was terrified of returning to the place I was in pre-medication, so I figured it was safer to just continue taking it. What harm was there, right?

There wasn’t any, not really, until recently. And it wasn’t so much that the medication was causing problems as I just found out I had other problems that needed different meds so I might as well get off this other one that I don’t really need anymore.

Okay, no problem, I thought. I’ve been stable for six years! Nothing can possibly go wrong! In fact, I might even feel better!

The hilarious nonsense we tell ourselves, right?

As it turns out, it probably will be better for me in the long run to get off this particular medication. In the short term, though, I am FREAKING OUT.

For the last four weeks or so, I’ve been steadily decreasing my dose in an attempt to reduce the physical side effects that I know come with not taking this drug.

I knew about them because I would occasionally forget to take my daily dose and I would be sad about it later.

I couldn’t even begin to describe what this weirdness feels like. They call it “head zaps” and the best way I’ve seen it described is that it feels like you’re getting little electric shocks that start in your brain and shoot down your body. It’s bizarre. Pair that with dizziness, headaches, and a bit of nausea and you can see why I was doing what I could to keep these to a minimum. 

This past Sunday, I took my last dose. I am on day three of no dosage. I get zapped pretty regularly throughout the day, with really intense zapping, dizziness, and headaches in the morning. The random zapping isn’t so bad. It feels weird as hell, but aside from when I first wake up in the morning, it doesn’t really hurt.

HOWEVER.

My emotions are a train wreck. As if getting zapped wasn’t bad enough, I’m experiencing the entire spectrum of human emotion within a twenty minute time period.

Most of the time, I’m irritable and pissed off, which is not my regular mode of operation. I’m generally a cheerful lil person who enjoys things like rainbows and chocolate sprinkles. I’m human, though, so of course I get cranky sometimes. This is more like every little thing just grates on my nerves. “Augh, the sky is blue and I’m just so irritated about it!”

The reality is that the irritation is caused by nothing, so my mind tries to ascribe it to something so it will make sense. At first, it was just every dang thing. But then I realized that this was probably a medication withdrawal side effect. Now I can feel irritated about nothing without freaking myself out because I know where it’s coming from.

There are two other such emotions that seem to come out of nowhere. One is anxiety, which makes sense since that’s the thing this medication is supposed to help with. But suddenly I’m anxious about… well, nothing.

I’ll be sitting there, freaking out in my own head, about nothing. I can’t explain it any better than that. 

The other one is random crying. This isn’t an emotion so much as a weird physical reaction to any emotion, no matter what it is. As you probably know by now, I’m a cryer anyway, so at first I figured this was just more of that. But I think it’s actually increased because it’s my way of dealing with emotions that come from nowhere.

Though I did have a couple hours of random happiness in there, too. I’m not sure if that was just me being me or not, though. Mostly, I’m just in a state of perpetual peeviness.

The good news is that these symptoms will eventually go away. In the meantime, I’m renting a condo in Crazy Town where I probably work as a grouchy barista, drawing frowning skulls on people’s lattes and crying any time a Bob Marley song gets played on the coffee shop radio.

Weekly Observations: A List

1. Cutting a pineapple feels more like making a sacrifice to some unholy entity (e.g. Satan). It pours its life liquid all over everything while you cut it into little pieces. And then your counter is sticky for a while.

2. I have learned that there are actually people in the world today who believe the Earth is flat. Even though science proves that it isn’t. Apparently, all science is invalid because there are no set rules and the facts can change. Instead of understanding that this is due to scientists continually learning new information and updating what they know accordingly, these people have chosen the route of idiocy by deciding this makes all science null and void.

3. Sometimes expressions that I used to use and then forgot about come back with a vengeance. This time it’s a word I used to use in place of swearing – Bach. I’ve been saying it under my breath at work a lot this week. Yes, I’m taking a composer’s name in vain. How could I be so blasphemous? I dunno, I like to think that Bach would find it humorous, so somehow that makes it okay. After all, this is the guy who said, “If I decide to be an idiot, then I’ll be an idiot on my own accord.”

4. Whenever something happens on Game of Thrones, every other Facebook post has something to say about it. I end up feeling like I’m missing some important historical event because I don’t watch the show. (Note: I know it’s a good show and I do intend to watch it one day. However, I want to read the books that are out first. I keep putting it off because they are ENORMOUS.)

5. Last night, my cat threw up her barely digested dinner all over the couch. I found myself torn between concern for her well-being and a sense of irritated despair at the thought of trying to clean the vomit off the fabric couch.

6. I signed in to Evernote for the first time in at least two years. I found a note from September 2014 that said only, “Do you think my consumption of vegetation is so horribly lacking that a single baby carrot can make my intestinal tract start broiling in a storm of digestive discomfort?” I have no memory of this, so I’m not sure if I was talking to myself or not.

7. It seems I’m only capable of keeping one room in my house clean at a time. At the moment, it’s the kitchen. Dishes? Done. Counters? Clean. Floors? Mopped. My bedroom, though? Laundry piles everywhere. Bathroom? Counter covered in various hair accessories. Living room? Empty Amazon boxes strewn about the floors which haven’t been swept in who knows how long. But, damn it, my kitchen’s clean!

8. I refuse to say that this list format of weekly observations is going to be a regular thing because whenever I do that, it never happens again. So don’t hold your breath.

On Being a Cry Baby

“Some people say, ‘Never let them see you cry’. I say, if you’re so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone.”

-Tina Fey

I came across this quote the other day and it spoke to me on about a million different levels.

The thing is, I can always cry. Not on command or whatever, I ain’t no actress, but I just happen to cry a lot. About everything. Happy? Sad? Angry? Hungry? I cry about all of them.

Normally, it’s no big deal. I tend to feel everything about a million times more than is really necessary, so I believe it’s just my body’s way of coping with being overwhelmed. It’s actually very helpful. Once I cry for a bit, I end up feeling what I’m supposed to feel – level one instead of level one million.

The problem is when it happens in public.

I can remember several specific times when I have cried in public. I could go into the details, but I don’t want to put you to sleep, so I’ll just summarize.

Movies are always a problem, whether I’m at a friend’s house, on my own, or in a theater. They don’t have to be sad for me to cry about them, but if they are, hoo boy it’s like freakin’ Niagra Falls up in here. I can remember several different movies off the top of my head that I’ve seen in theaters where I cried a lot.

Music often moves me to tears, too. Once again it doesn’t matter where I am or what the song’s about. Sometimes just a pretty melody will set me off. Though, like movies, if the song is sad, I’m far more likely to act like a broken water pipe. So I have cried at a few concerts. Next to complete strangers who were probably close enough to get my tears on them.

Books and plays will cause trouble, too. I listen to audiobooks while I work and I remember crying for an entire chapter. There I was, sitting at my computer, typing away, with tears streaming down my face. Fortunately, nobody walked by and saw me. And plays? Once I went to see Les Miserables at Hale Centre Theatre and I cried through the entire second act. (To be fair, Les Mis has both a sad story and incredible music, which is basically a double whammy.)

I think you get the point.

In nearly every instance, someone had something snarky to say about it. Perhaps this is why I have always been embarrassed about how much I cry in public.

And that’s why this quote is spot on. It does terrify people. I think that’s why they tend to scoff at it. It makes them uncomfortable when a stranger cries over something they view as unimportant, like a movie or a song. It also makes them uncomfortable when a stranger cries because they’re in pain.

People who know the crier are also terrified, but usually because they don’t know how to help.

So listen. It’s okay, you know? If you’re the one who’s shaking in their boots about a public display of emotion, just chillax. Everything is going to be okay.

If a stranger is crying, it isn’t your business. Unless they look like they need help, leave them alone. In my case, I just need to let it out. I’m just overwhelmed. I’ll be fine once I’ve stopped. I don’t need a stranger making snide comments or giving me weird looks. The only thing I want is to cry judgment free so I can feel better.

If it’s someone you care about, just be nearby. You don’t always have to fix it. Sometimes there’s nothing to fix. Once, I started crying for no reason and I just couldn’t stop. I was living with my parents at the time. I went upstairs for dinner, told them I couldn’t stop crying, and attempted to eat my soup without sobbing into my bowl. When the tears finally slowed down enough for me to think, I realized I was just overly stressed because I had been working overtime every day for the past several weeks. It became too much, I was overwhelmed, and my body responded. In a situation like this, the crying person doesn’t need you to fix anything. They just need to get out their stress.

There can be times when something really is wrong, but let the person cry before you try to work it out. When I’m crying, I don’t need someone trying to talk to me logically about an actual problem. I’d be fine with a hug or maybe a rum & coke, but save the problem solving for after I’m done dehydrating myself. I’ll be far more likely to actually hear what you’re saying.

In fact, unless I ask you to stay with me, leaving me alone, letting me cry, and not judging me are the best things you can do for me in that moment.

Most of my family and friends already know this because they’ve experienced these instances over the years. I’m mostly writing this with the hope that some non-criers will read it and perhaps understand us criers a little better, whether it’s someone they’re close to or a complete stranger.

Strangers are the only ones who have made me feel bad about crying, though, so I guess it’s mostly for them.

I normally wouldn’t care except that I’m already a puddle of emotional goo when this happens so when people get judgy it makes me feel like I will never amount to more than a weak puddle of goo.

So listen up you emotionally intolerant mother truckers! Quit doing that. My crying ain’t none of your business. And I’m not sorry for causing you discomfort with my emotions. If feelings make you uncomfortable, you need to re-think who the weak one in this situation is. Just do it somewhere else so I can cry in peace, got it?

Oddments

Sometimes weird little amusing things happen in my life. Usually, these little oddities end up as Facebook posts, but since I have this blog now…

I have two from the last week that I wish to share with you lucky souls.

The first is a voicemail I received from “No Caller ID”. A lovely computerized lady-voice tried to talk me into calling her back. I’ve written out her short but sweet voicemail here for you all to enjoy. You’re welcome. Be sure to read it quickly and in monotone.

“From grants department you have been approved for grants money of nine thousand dollars. I tried to call you and inform but cannot reach you. Please call me urgent on this number 555-555-5555 and collect your grants.”

That’s obviously not the real number she left, but I don’t want to be responsible for someone calling it and trying to claim the $9,000 in my name.

They probably ask for your bank account number and routing information so they can “deposit” the “grants money” into your account, but they just take out whatever you’ve got in there instead. If I did somehow fall for this (I won’t claim I haven’t fallen for a scam in the past), they’d only get maybe forty bucks anyway. I have two accounts that are through the same bank and are linked together so I can keep my bill money and my spending money separate. I only know the account number for the bill account and all my bills have gone through. That forty bucks is my gas money for the next two weeks.

The lesson here is don’t fall for voicemails from robotic lady-voices that have “No Caller ID”.

The second thing happened at midnight several nights ago and I remember it clearly because of the RAGE it produced.

And by RAGE I mean mild annoyance.

You see, it was midnight and I was in bed, trying to sleep. I have a hard time sleeping anyway, mostly due to a highly active brain as well as delayed sleep phase. I have found various tricks to help me so it isn’t as much of an issue as it used to be. Sometimes, though, things happen that are beyond my control. This was one of those things.

Some FOOL was in the parking lot, having some kind of HOUR LONG jam session on their CAR HORN.

It went kind of like this: BEEP. BEEP. BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP. BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP. BEEPBEEPBEEP.

I’m sure it wasn’t really an hour long, but the point is it was much TOO LONG. In fact, it shouldn’t have happened AT ALL. If my theory is correct, whoever the honking was aimed at wasn’t likely to respond anyway. And if the person WAS drunk, they shouldn’t have been in a CAR in the first place.

The other option is that it was NOT a drunken fool, but just a JERK who thinks it’s okay to get out of hand with a car horn at midnight.

This is the kind of thing you get to look forward to when you live in a condo (or any kind of living) complex. People seem to think that parking lots are places where it’s okay to hang out and/or be noisy at any time of the day or night. This may be true if your particular parking lot is by a Taco Bell or a Walmart, but not so much for living areas with parking lots. Next time you’re thinking of participating in a parking lot hang out, perhaps keep this in mind. The residents won’t thank you for it because they’ll probably be asleep.