I am so glad I am off these drugs and that my brain is starting to function again. I am suddenly INSANELY busy at work. I mean INSANELY busy. The more I do, the more there is to do, it is horrifying, it is like a hydra. I have sent hundreds of emails today, I had three hours of sleep last night, I’ve just written the longest research paper of my career, I have meetings nearly every day and now I have to go to events in Paris and Brussels. All of this is imminent.
Added to this, I am the size of a small country, I can’t fit into my clothes and I am having my third period in five weeks.
I just have no words. I recall that I managed to score 1 Art point some time since I last blogged but I now can’t remember exactly when it was. It’s been a very, very long day.
I am drug-free. I took my final dose of the happy pills on Sunday the 19th of October and it’s now Thursday.
Even though I tapered them off by reducing the dose over a month, wow, I am symptomatic. I hope it doesn’t last for too much longer. I am just dealing with it as best I can.
- Vivid dreams. This is the part I don’t mind, in fact it is really enjoyable. I had one dream recently about mining, of all things, that was incredibly magical and like something out of Lord of the Rings. Then I had a dream about a giant shark where I was a marine photographer and got some absolutely amazing and terrifying photos of it killing and eating things. Then today I had a dream that I’ve just woken up from where I had a pair of gorgeous diamond earrings and a matching brooch. So I am not complaining about this, it is great. Also, my sexual function is returning, fast. Less helpfully:
- Sudden and irresistible fatigue. The last couple of days, I can only stay awake for about five hours at a time and then I am blitzed and have to go to sleep for 2-4 hours because my brain won’t function any more and no amount of caffeine will keep me awake. This is making work very difficult but all I can do is ride it out and wait for it to pass.
- My weight is rocketing up and down, mostly up. Bloating, gas. Embarrassing. I’m huge enough already without blowing up like a balloon.
- I am sweating like it’s an Olympic event.
- Excessively loud tinnitus.
- This is my least favourite one, even worse than the sudden fatigue and sweating: “extreme sensitivity of body tissues”. What that means is that I am suddenly a ball of allergies. Flushed, blotchy face. Itchy skin, allergic rashes that appear and disappear. Constant asthma because my lungs are unendingly irritated – thank goodness I returned to being a non-smoker a few weeks ago, because otherwise I would be screwed now. Also, thank goodness my house is clean and unusually free from dust.
So that’s why I can’t go to the gym, even though I am starting to get desperate now because of the weight gain. I walked for an hour today because I needed to deliver some stuff to my accountant and when I returned I was sweating, red in the face and breathless in a way that would have caused the gym to call me an ambulance.
Other than that, I’m absolutely fine.
What can you do? Nothing, that’s what. Anyway, I am drug-free now. I threw the unused pills in the bin and we are all done. All I have to do, and indeed, all I can do, is wait for my body to get with the programme. 1 Health point. FML. Let’s open another can of Red Bull and check out this fantastic tune.
… oh hey, maybe this means my ability to hear music is coming back. If I can have sex successfully and appreciate a wicked tune, then maybe things are basically okay.
Ian Dury & The Blockheads: I Want To Be Straight (1980)
Five more days of low-dose happy pills and then I am drug-free. Last one on Sunday.
I am having an interesting time coming off them. It’s not awful, at all, I’m not having any symptoms that I can’t deal with, but it is interesting and strange.
- Sleep patterns have gone haywire. I can sleep for 8 hours at night, be awake for 2 hours in the morning and then be totally wiped out again.
- This alternates with huge bursts of energy. My god. You remember I said I had to stay in this weekend because of my roof needing emergency repairs? Well, the roofers came and did their job and meanwhile I went on a totally unplanned and unexpected frenzy of housework. I blitzed my house for two solid days. Charlie came over and he didn’t know what had hit him. There was no sitting around watching movies and he didn’t even get any sex worth mentioning, instead he found himself cleaning the kitchen and folding laundry. LOL. Probably not quite what he had in mind. But hey, my house is CLEAN.
- I am about to get around to buying a new cooker because it’s been several months now since the current one collapsed and fell to bits. As I don’t cook, I previously had zero interest in replacing it, but suddenly I can no longer bear the sight of its derelict condition. It is intensely annoying to me every time I happen to glance in its direction. So I am going to buy a new one. The time has come. As I have no intention of ever using it and it is purely for the sake of making my kitchen, and hence me, look normal, I have realised that I don’t need to spend money getting a good one. I am just going to go online and order whatever cheap, shiny piece of shit will resemble a normal cooker and fit in a cooker-shaped space. The same sudden intolerance for living in what looks like a one-person shanty town is motivating me to replace the missing blind from my kitchen window, and light a fire under the ass of the guy who manages this building so we can get the actual windows replaced. I think what we are seeing is a revival of the Home Improvements project from earlier this year, which not coincidentally ended when I started taking the pills.
- I am having extremely vivid dreams, which I don’t mind, and Charlie says I am talking in my sleep, which I do mind.
- Productivity at work has shot up, thank God, and the reason I’ve hardly blogged for the last few days is because I’ve just written a 5,000-word research paper.
I think that’s all the news. I am as fat as Barry White and I haven’t been to the gym in so long that I can hardly remember where it is, BUT on the plus side I actually packed my gym bag yesterday. It has my towel and my swimming costume in it now. So that is something, yes?
1 Home point. This might be the cleanest my house has been at any time this year.
The last couple of days have been annoying (can you tell the happy pills are wearing off, ha ha). I have had way too much work on, leading to staying up all night for reasons that aren’t fun, then I had a fight with the British tax office this afternoon that nearly caused me to start smoking again and then my roof sprung a leak, A big one. So I cannot go out tomorrow because I have to stay in for the emergency roofer, otherwise my ceiling will fall in.
As the happy pills slowly wear off (9 days left to go) and my levels of rage and inability to cope with frustration gradually return to normal, I have been pacifying myself by binge-watching Breaking Bad. It runs in the background while I am working. I usually don’t care for TV, as you know, but it had rave reviews every year from 2008 to 2013, when it concluded, so a whole year after it finished, I finally came around to it, bringing me up to date with everybody else in the Western world.
I’ve just watched Season 4, Episode 8, Hermanos, and I actually started paying attention when I noticed Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) wearing this shirt. I love it!! I love the angel wings on the shoulders and the huge scale of the design.
So much sparkle! He looks like a Christmas tree. I mean that in a good way.
I could totally wear that. No reason why I can’t dress like a 30-year-old Albuquerque drug dealer. Judging by the logo on the back, it is by Xzavier. I wonder if they still make that exact shirt. If you know where I can get one, post a comment.
Right then, let’s see where we are up to.
- Happy pills. I am down to 10mg now. Light is at the end of the tunnel.
- My head is clearer and my productivity is FINALLY improving. FINALLY.
- I don’t have much appetite, which is good. I got on the scales and they said I’d lost 4 pounds!! I am not sure how much I believe this, as I am still not getting any exercise, but I am not complaining. I think I must be eating less, because I haven’t even touched that box of chocolates that Charlie bought me, and I tried to eat an ice-cream just now but became overwhelmed halfway through and put it back in the freezer, next to another one that I couldn’t finish the other day.
The Brownie Points project is going really well and I might keep it going after October.
It is making me do different things with my time, I’ve done a lot of drawing (1 Art point) and quite a bit of reading since the project began, and have spent 0 time playing video games. I also realised that I can extend Brownie Points to include American Scout badges, here are the Girl Scout badges, there are a lot. There is Hiking (you know how I like my long walks), Household DIY (which I desperately need to get on with and had to stop because the pills robbed me of energy), several types of Finance and Athletics, and a few that I would never have thought of, such as Inventing (lol!!) and something called Night Owl, which I am sure I can creatively re-imagine as something that requires me to stay out all night. Would be fun, wouldn’t it.
I am happy to report that my freshly-bleached teeth are not hurting at all and I am obsessively brushing them for fear of stains, which I have to regard as a good thing. It’s not like I would normally run for my toothbrush every time I put something in my mouth.
Right, I must be going, it’s 11pm already and I think I just have time for a bit more drawing before I go to bed.
It is 4.30 am and I am *desperate* for a cup of tea. I think I am going to drink it through a straw so it doesn’t get on my freshly-bleached teeth. If I could take it intravenously, I would.
We are just about half-way through my happy-pill tapering-off schedule. I’ve been back down on 20mg for the last two weeks. So now I’m going to have two weeks on 10mg and then I should be free of it altogether. So far so good. I can’t wait to have my normal brain back. This hasn’t been a brilliant year for Health but we are working on it. It will be nice to feel normal emotions again and not have headaches.
Right, that’s it. I’ve had enough of the happy pills now. I cut down to 20mg as of yesterday and I will cut down to zero in the next 4-6 weeks.
Points for the happy pills:
- They very quickly relieved me of an enormous amount of anxiety that I didn’t know I had.
- I eventually felt less depressed.
Reasons why it is time to stop now:
- The immediate causes of my extreme anxiety are no longer quite so immediate. Life is less traumatising than it was in April and May. Also less depressing.
- I am tired of being sedated. It is good to be free from anxiety but you can have too much of a good thing. I have no physical energy and I really, really struggle with the motivation to do anything. I do not think I am going to return to normal levels of productivity until I get some nervous energy back. I don’t want to sit on my arse all day long, feeling dopey, I’m tired of it. I missed the whole summer. Because I’m not moving around, I’m steadily gaining weight. I’m 150 pounds today and that is way, way too much, considering how much effort it took me to lose weight the last time. I want to go back to the gym and I need to get my butt off my chair to be able to do that.
- Unwanted and persistent side effects: headaches, muscle tension in the jaw and neck. Had enough of it now. Is becoming a quality of life issue.
- The artificially manufactured happiness isn’t quite happy enough to make it worth it. If I were a lot happier, like really noticeably happy, I would endure the headaches, weight gain and sedation as an acceptable trade-off. But it’s not really all that impressive a drug. I think there is a reason why this particular product isn’t being sold on the black market. People would complain.
- I would like to be able to start having orgasms normally again. Also a more normal sex drive would be good.
It’s almost October, isn’t it, and I promised myself that we would have a TLYW Oktoberfest, so that’s what we’ll try to do and hopefully I’ll rack up lots of Achievement points. Speaking of which, I’ve done reasonably well over the last couple of days. I have done 3 walks, 1 visit to the dentist and I even did one evening of Chinese, with a bit of encouragement from Charlie. So that’s 5 points all together.
Things are still going well with Charlie and also I am seeing Socrates tomorrow, which will be lovely, so I am well provided for.