In retrospect, I should’ve titled this one, “Oatmeal, Oatmeal Everywhere, but not a Bite to Eat.”
In retrospect, I should’ve titled this one, “Oatmeal, Oatmeal Everywhere, but not a Bite to Eat.”
I’ve gradually been reducing my dosage of the anti-depressant, Effexor over the past year and just last week stopped taking it altogether. There have been a few shaky, brain shivery moments, and a couple of emotional outbursts, but knock on wood, I’m finally done with this mind controlling drug.
Vivid and unusually scripted dreams have accompanied every step down in dosage. Several nights ago I dreamt that I was in my hometown of Floydada, Texas, for a reunion of sorts. There were a good many people present with whom I’d attended school, as well as several family members. All of whom are now deceased.
Maybe that should have creeped me out, but I found their collective presence comforting. They all appeared to be having a good time.
At some point a former physical education teacher approached me, and we visited for some time. I hadn’t particularly cared for her, nor did she like me much back in my junior high school days. Our dream conversation was convivial, though, until she took umbrage at something I said and assigned me the task of writing an essay.
“No problem,” I smirked, “I write essays in my sleep.”
So I composed a quick essay on the prescribed topic of the Joys of Exercise and submitted it to her. She refused to accept it, saying she’d clearly demanded it be written in meat loaf, and that I wasn’t free to return home until I’d accomplished that feat.
Painstakingly I etched the attention-getting introduction and overarching thesis statement into an unbaked meatloaf, followed by three supporting paragraphs, and a resoundingly strong conclusion. Then the meatloaf was cooked to perfection.
My words disappeared in the cooking process, but Ms. P. E. Teacher was satisfied and I was allowed to leave.
Now, my amateur dream interpretation skills have led me to conclude that my subconscious was dwelling on the temporary nature of all things. Or maybe I was just in Effexor withdrawal. You be the judge.
Peace, people, but wait, there’s more!
There’s meat loaf, and then there’s Meat Loaf.
Several days ago I wrote about my itchy skin issues. Sadly, I’ve always been cursed with dry skin, but my withdrawal from the antidepressant Effexor has exacerbated the itchiness to the point where I just want to immerse myself in a large tub of lotion until all of the unpleasant side effects have abated.
Unfortunately, that scenario is neither logical nor feasible, so I find myself using various door frames and large pieces of furniture as scratching posts. I did purchase the Roll a Lotion product which works well in the absence of my preferred lotion applicator, namely Studly Doright.
A WordPress friend suggested bathing in a solution of bicarbonate of soda, but I didn’t have any on hand. Her suggestion, though, reminded me that my mom used to use a product with oatmeal in it to help reduce my itchiness. Heck, I had oatmeal right in my cabinet!
I filled our ridiculously oversized whirlpool tub (honestly, we could almost practice synchronized swimming routines or play water polo matches in the darned thing) with water and oatmeal. Then I climbed in and just relaxed.
The bath felt delicious. I soaked for 20 minutes while singing along with Adele. Hello! She had me believing we really could have had it all whilst rolling in the deep.
Once the water became lukewarm I began the process of getting out of the tub. This is always an ordeal. You see, I’ve grown rather bottom heavy over the years while my arm strength hasn’t increased enough to compensate for the extra weight.
This night was no different. After pulling the plug, I scootched my legs up under me as much as possible for leverage and then heaved myself to a standing position. Only to realize I was covered in clumps of oatmeal.
“Well, crap!” I said aloud. In retrospect I should’ve said, “Well, oatmeal,” but that didn’t occur to me at the time.
I squatted as much as my old legs would allow in order to splash water onto the clumpy parts and then remembered that the tub had a shower head! A solution was at hand.
Of course the shower head is on the opposite end of the tub from the regular spout, and one must turn on the water from yet another side of the tub.
Unlike what is shown in my picture above, the damned shower head wasn’t aimed so water would enter the tub. Oh no. It was aimed directly at the back edge of the tub surround, and the water pressure sent water spraying in all directions. Of course I instinctively, and irrationally, ducked, losing my footing in the process and sitting down hard. I yelled at Adele to shut the hell up. She ignored me.
I cried briefly and then got down to the business of rinsing my body free of oatmeal. The shower head, properly corralled, did a fine job of rinsing the oatmeal out of every nook and cranny. Soon I was squeaky clean. The tub, though, was not. The remainder of my evening was spent cleaning it out.
When all was said and done the tub sparkled, I was exhausted, bruised, and yes, still itchy. And Adele? Well, she just kept on singing.
Last night I posted the following post on my Facebook page:
A few people responded directly, but no one took me seriously. My friends know I have nowhere near a gazillion dollars. Right at this moment I barely have twenty dollars, and that has to last me all week.
The interesting thing that occurred following that post was the number of rather lascivious offers I received on my private message board. So many that I ended up deleting that app from my phone. Who knew that my itchy back could inspire so many perverted responses?
Back to my back. I cannot tell you just how agonizingly itchy it is. Apparently one of the side effects of withdrawing from the antidepressant Effexor is itchy skin–along with vivid nightmares and brain zaps. There isn’t much I can do about the last two, but I can put lotion on the offending body parts. At least the ones within reach.
Studly Doright was out of town last night, and he’s my go to lotion application expert. Without him I was reduced to all sorts of physical contortions that still left my back untreated. One of my Facebook friends (not a creep) suggested that I do the following:
” get a very thin dishtowel, lots of lotion. roll up the towel, lotion top to bottom, hold it as if you want to dry your back, like this / right top to bottom left, lotion side toward your back, and rub up and down. reapply lotion, switch hands, repeat.”
What a great plan, I thought. But what if I went a step further and got an old white tshirt, one of Studly’s of course, and squirted lotion all over the inside? Then I could just put the tshirt on and voilà, lotion would magically be applied to my back!
This was not a terrible idea; although, I did end up with copious amounts of lotion in my hair. The important thing, though, was that my back was thoroughly moisturized and for a wonderfully, blessed time wasn’t driving me ape sh*t crazy.
In retrospect I should’ve used a button down shirt which would’ve prevented the whole lotion in the hair scenario. I’m now thinking of designing and patenting the exciting new MOISTURE SHIRT! Available where fine personal care items are sold.
Today I took a proactive stance. That’s something I seldom do, so applause might be in order. I’ll wait while you give me a standing O…. I purchased a product that should make applying lotion much simpler:
I gave it a trial run this evening, even though Studly is home. Honestly, this lotion applicator might be my new best friend. It worked exactly as advertised and doesn’t need any laundry done or dinners cooked. If it knows how to change a tire I might not need Studly at all.
Yesterday I wrote that I was fiddling with a draft piece on my blog and my characters weren’t giving me a clear idea of where they wanted or needed to go. In particular my heroine is stuck in a house of ill-repute for reasons I can’t go into at this time.
This afternoon in the middle of a deep tissue massage I clearly saw her, and she gave me a hint as to her dilemma. Apparently, she doesn’t feel stuck in her situation. I argued with her a bit, surely she was being exploited or victimized, but she was adamant.
If you write fiction, do your characters argue with you? Or am I going crazy? I am weaning myself from the antidepressant, Effexor–could this be a side effect? At any rate, I need someone to proof this piece before I proceed. Any takers?
throw them all away
smash the bottles
discard the pills
try to find the you
I’ve been slowly weaning myself off of the antidepressant, Effexor. So far, so good. While I’ve had a few of the side effects that come with withdrawal (i.e. headaches, brain zaps, etc.) they’ve not yet been overwhelming.
While I’m at it I’ve decided that I might as well stop drinking wine and coffee, too; although, I’m not quite ready to give up my one “hoppy” beer in the evening. I think I’m doing pretty well. Let’s see what Studly has to say:
Seriously, if you don’t hear from me in a few days it means I’ve gone off the deep end.
A few days ago I shared a post called “Paranoia” about my crazy night of attempting to ambush an imaginary intruder due to a temporary imbalance in my chemical makeup.
This imbalance, caused by an unintentional withdrawal from the antidepressant Effexor, led me to act in an erratic manner and resulted in a sleepless night. Once I had the drug back in my system all was right with the world. No harm, no foul.
Except that it’s not all right. This wasn’t my first experience with Effexor withdrawal. Several years ago I suffered a similar reaction after a bout with the stomach flu. For three days I kept throwing up my meds along with everything else in my system.
The withdrawal was a terrifying experience. I had violent night terrors involving vivid decapitations and stabbings. In one savage dream I watched as Charlie Sheen had a leg brutally removed with a chain saw. Reality and imagination merged in my brain until I couldn’t discern one from the other. When I was awake, I experienced brain shivers, a sensation that’s difficult to describe but is vaguely similar to the feeling one gets when one has an inner ear infection. And the paranoia was off the charts.
Studly was out of town on business, and had no idea how sick I was. I called him frantically insisting that I was near death. He cut his meetings short and rushed home to find me a mess. I had a migraine that had me cowering in our darkened closet and I was certain a tornado was imminent.
He rushed me to convenient care where I was fortunate to be able to see my former general practitioner. Thank goodness he was familiar with my medical history. He immediately asked how long it had been since I’d taken Effexor and got me started on an I.V. Within an hour I was back to being me.
The ironic part of this whole thing is that I don’t take Effexor for depression. My oncologist prescribed it to help ameliorate the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats. Since I cannot take a hormone replacement, she believed Effexor would provide some relief. And it does.
But I worry about the future. What happens when I’m an elderly woman and cannot control my own medical care? What happens if at some time I do not have access to the drug and go bonkers?
Recently I read a novel with a post-apocalyptic theme. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. In the novel a virulent flu has decimated the world’s population, and a group of survivors has sought refuge in an airline terminal. The group has enough food and other provisions, but one character who takes Effexor, soon runs out of her prescription and the group is unable to secure more. That character does not do well and ends up wandering off into the unknown. I think about her often.
Well, this was a cheery post. I highly recommend the book.
The kitty is too cute to be a symbol of Effexor withdrawal.
Several nights ago before I went to bed I tied a rope around the knob of my closet door and attached the other end of the rope to the linen closet door. It actually wasn’t a rope so much as a cat toy that had a stick with a mouse dangling from it. Then, I placed a metal belt with a tinkly bell on it to the cat toy.
In front of the closet door I placed a piano bench, a laundry hamper, and a large box of cat litter. Then I went to bed, but not to sleep.
That night was the longest of my entire life. Studly was out of town, so I enjoyed the luxury of staying up a little later than his normally prescribed bedtime of 8:45. I realize that’s the bedtime of a ten-year-old, but I’ve learned to live with it.
I watched my accumulated recordings of Criminal Minds until eleven, then began making preparations for bed. The cats needed bedtime treats and water. There were a few dishes I loaded into the dishwasher, then I made the rounds switching off lights and checking door locks.
When I came to the front door I found it unlocked, and my heart stopped beating for the briefest of moments. No one goes in or out of that door. The only time it’s opened is when a package is left on the front porch. As far as I could remember, we’d received no deliveries in awhile.
After locking the door, I went into full ninja mode. Studly and I have several beautiful walking sticks that his brother made. I grabbed the nearest one and began methodically searching room to room, under beds, behind furniture, every nook and cranny.
We have a large, open floor plan, so there aren’t a great many hiding places. Even so, it took me a half hour or so to make a complete search.
At this point I think it’s important that my readers know I take a prescribed anti-depressant–Effexor, and that for two consecutive nights I had forgotten to take my prescribed dosage. Forgotten isn’t exactly the correct word, you see I’d taken so much cold medicine last week that I’d get into bed and couldn’t remember if I’d taken the Effexor or not, so rather than take an extra dose, I’d erred on the side of caution and not taken what might be a second dose.
There are several awful consequences of Effexor withdrawal. One is extreme paranoia. Even after making a thorough search of the house I was certain someone was in there with me. But where? Finally I decided there was no place anyone could be hiding, so I closed my bedroom door and began my nightly ablutions.
We have a large walk-in closet adjacent to our bathroom with a pull down door to access the attic. As I washed my face, my eyes were drawn to the rope attached to that attic door. I walk underneath that door every day without noticing it, but in my Effexor withdrawal paranoia I instantly knew that someone lurked above me, just waiting for the lights to go out and for me to fall asleep.
And that’s why I had tied a cat toy to the door knob of my closet door. Now, my readers are not stupid people and have probably foreseen a problem related to hanging a cat toy on a door knob in a household of cats. Yes, the cats wanted to play with it, and did so throughout the night.
Just as I’d doze off, a ding-a-ling would sound. I’d jump up, heart racing, walking stick in one hand, a can of hairspray in the other, looking to ambush whoever had dared hide in my attic.
I watched every hour click into existence on Studly’s digital clock. As my Effexor kicked in my paranoia slowly faded, but I still had some residual withdrawal effects, the worst one being brain shivers, so any time I turned my head I thought I caught a movement in my peripheral vision.
That’s why I put the piano bench, the clothes hamper, and the large box of cat litter in front of the closet door. If my early warning system didn’t work, then maybe they’d buy me some time.
Everything made sense in the middle of a long sleepless night.
Now some would say, “Girl, get yourself a gun.” To which I’d reply, “Did you actually READ this post?” Who in their right mind would put a gun in the hands of a crazy woman?