Monthly Archives: February 2013

Medication Roulette

Is it possible that I hit the jackpot at the first roll of the wheel?

Lexapro was the first medication I ever took for my mental health issues. I was given a one-month sample pack by my GP, and afterward, I took Celexa. Back then, Lexapro was available only as a name-brand, and so it would’ve cost $90 a month for me to stick with it, even with insurance. Celexa, on the other hand, was readily available as a generic, and as I’m sure many of you know, it is similar to Lexapro.

When I tried Lexapro, it worked remarkably well, or it seemed to. I didn’t feel much of a difference, but a friend told me that I seemed to behave in a more upbeat manner. I think it was on its way to working.

Celexa, however, did nothing for me. No side effects. No benefits. I took it for several months just to be sure it truly wasn’t working.

I’ve been on quite a few medications during the past five years. I have a general idea of which ones I’ve been on and in which order, as well as how long I was on them and what I experienced while on them, but alas, I do not keep a medication log like Ruby or DeeDee. Perhaps it would’ve been a good idea to begin one, but when my medication journey commenced, I didn’t know that I would sample so many medications and feel like some sort of lab rat what with all the drug experimentation. I could maybe start one now, but I feel like it wouldn’t be that useful since so much has already happened in that arena.

If I’d kept a journal, I could remember more certainly how Lexapro worked the first time. But as they say, it’s too late for woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Toward the end of 2012, my latest pdoc brought up the possibility of trying Lexapro. I explained my first experience with it, and I was delighted when she told me that there was now a generic option available.

So I began taking Lexapro once again. We’ve been fiddling with the dose, going back and forth on 10 and 20 mg, because we can’t tell whether it’s responsible for heightening the physical effects of my anxiety. Also, for the first month, Lexapro did cause digestive problems, just as it did five years ago. But after I had taken it for a little while longer, that side effect faded away.

I did notice mood changes when I started taking Lexapro, too, but I’ve been hesitant to declare success. I didn’t even fully explain this matter to my pdoc. During our last session, though, when she asked me if any medication had ever helped with my mood, I answered that Lexapro had. Other medications have helped with problems to varying degrees, but not with my mood. Wellbutrin, for instance, has been an enormous help.

But now I’m tentatively ready to declare that Lexapro has provided me with substantial benefits, even though I’m still not quite sure. I sometimes wonder if I’m experiencing some sort of mania instead.

You see, I have experienced an improved mood. It’s made me ever so slightly bolder, though I’m still the epitome of timidity.

This isn’t to say that I somehow have “gotten better.” I don’t think my mental health problems are all due to biology, for one. Then there’s my anxiety, both social and generalized, that’s still at the same level. Oftentimes I can be sensitive to medications, which is why I haven’t tried any hardcore anti-anxiety solutions.

I still have very little confidence. I still harbor a lot of self-hatred. I still feel pointless. I still experience moments of excruciating despair. I still have urges to harm myself. I still can’t connect with others and feel as if I never will. I’m still hypersensitive and defensive; in fact, sometimes I am more so.

But I would swear that, over the last few months, some aspects have been tempered. There’s nothing on this blog to document whether or not my memory is correct since I took a break to work on my novel. In fact, occasionally I’ve wondered if the novel is responsible for my mood changes. Perhaps, I theorized, intensely focusing on the project prompted other concerns to fall by the wayside. However, I finished the rough draft about a month ago, and there hasn’t been any rapid downward spiral.

As I said earlier, I could also be mistaking the source, which could be mania rather than Lexapro. But it doesn’t feel like mania. At least I don’t think so.

Therefore, I’ve concluded that Lexapro must be the deciding factor. The next few weeks may help prove or disprove this theory.

But it’s incredible to believe it, that I potentially won medication roulette on my first spin.


Filed under Mental Health

The Artists’ Retreat

It’s time once again for the Friday Fictioneers. This week, my offering is 92 words. The photo prompt was provided by Janet Webb.

“Are you sure this is it?” Rhoda asked. “This place looks a little . . . run-down.”

“Yeah,” Zeke answered after he switched off the ignition. “Everything’s just as my uncle said it would be.”

Rhoda snorted. “The fence is in better condition than the barn. Remind me, whose idea was this again?”

Zeke blushed. “It’ll be fine once we spruce it up a bit. I like it already.”

“You would,” Rhoda commented wryly. “You love anything that’s untameable.”

“I’m sure there’s enough here to inspire even you,” Zeke replied. “C’mon, let’s take a look inside.”


Filed under Writing

Serious Hallucinations or Hypochondria?

Okay, I probably am being a hypochondriac here, but I’m starting to get more worried about hallucinations I may or may not be having.

For the past couple of years or so, I’ve occasionally had olfactory hallucinations. I’ll smell things that can’t possibly be there. I’ve brought this up to professionals before, but since it’s so infrequent, it’s usually been dismissed. But when I first had them, I was a bit startled.

Now, for the past few months, sometimes I have “hallucinations” in my peripheral vision. I’ll see something approaching me from the side and turn to find nothing there. I will think I see a person walking past and turn to find no one there. This doesn’t happen when I’m alone, though. Well, it has a couple of times, I think, but that’s not typical. I concluded that perhaps these incidents were just a manifestation of my anxiety.

Over the past couple of months, though, I’ve been occasionally seeing wisps of smoke in my peripheral vision. Small wisps, like the size of the smoke one might blow out when indulging in a cigarette. During these instances, no one’s ever been smoking nearby. I put this down to anxiety, too, although I don’t know why it’d conjure up the vision of smoke . . . it’s not something I sit around worrying about a lot.

Then I thought that perhaps my glasses weren’t clean or that this smoke illusion was produced by a glare. This, even though I’ve never before imagined seeing smoke because of a glare. I cleaned my glasses yesterday.

This morning, something even stranger happened. As I taught my class, I thought I saw a wisp of smoke floating above a student’s head. It was almost, but not quite, face on, and it was so vivid that I did a double take. The angle also wasn’t right for the sight to be the result of a glare.

My brain stumbled at this moment, trying to grasp an explanation. Maybe she was somehow smoking in class? No, idiotic idea. There was no smell, and such a thing would be obvious to everyone.

This sort of thing is so subtle that I’m not sure if it portends a problem. I could be making a big deal out of nothing. I probably am making a big deal out of nothing. It doesn’t disrupt my life; it just takes me aback.

I’m not sure if this is something I should be worried about. It is probably nothing, and I’m being a hypochondriac about it all. I probably sound moronic right now.


Filed under Mental Health

A Heart Bursting With Weakness

I’m going to do some complaining even though I have no right to. Things are going decently, comparatively speaking. I’m not in one of those deep darknesses that make me feel as if I might endanger myself. It’s a softer spell.

I’m just so tired. All I want to do, and all I’ve wanted to do for some time, is sleep. But going to sleep at night makes me nervous. I don’t know why.

I just want to sit here and do nothing. For my whole life, almost. I can’t get myself to do more than the bare minimum at the moment.

I want to lie in a warm cocoon and never leave.

There’s so much pain in my heart. Just pain about everything, the whole world. Any topic I can think of, and I feel as if something about it smites my heart.

I’ve been reading over the rough draft of my novel. I think I’ve come to the end of the part I wrote during NaNoWriMo. I still have circa 46,000 words out of 112,000 left to read. I wrote most of those after NaNoWriMo, so I guess my blogging hiatus paid off. I would’ve never been able to write so much otherwise.

But the last couple of chapters I’ve read in it have been awful. I don’t know how to fix them. And now I read it, read everything, and the writing is in abysmal shape. I’m not cut out for this. It’s just not good enough, and it’ll never be good enough. All this effort I put into noveling is laughable. I don’t know how to edit. There are many wonderful books out there, and this idiotic novel will never fit in among them.

I have to put the novel away for a few days; I can’t look at it right now without shuddering at how inane it is.

Still, after a few days, this random pain in my heart (it has nothing to do with the novel) won’t go away. Everything makes me want to cry. I don’t know where it’s coming from or what it means. Nothing’s happened to trigger it.

Something whispers to me:

No one likes you. You’re weak.

The only thing for it is to maroon yourself from humanity.

I don’t care if that hurts. It’s what you deserve, and it’s not like you’ll ever belong anyway.

The world is too much. It bruises, and you bruise too easily.


Filed under Mental Health

Sensitivity and Defensiveness

I am too sensitive. Simple as that.

I’ve been told this my whole life. I’ve known it my whole life. I would remember the hurtful things most, holding them in my mind, maintaining a grudge even when I knew it was wrong, even when I knew I wasn’t being sensible, even when I knew the words had never been meant as criticism.

Any hint of disapproval, whether in the words themselves or the inflection of the voice, would have me devastated. Another scar on my soul, a scar that wouldn’t even be there if I weren’t such a weak person.

But I have my pride. Yes, even though I am deeply insecure and hate myself so much, there’s pride in me. Pride is wrong. It’s egotistical. It makes me question myself. Am I really as insecure as I say I am? If I were, then I wouldn’t have this pride. I must be a poseur, lying both to myself and the outside world.

After being constantly derided for my sensitivity, I tried to hide it better. I often did a piss-poor job, breaking into fits of weeping I’d be told were way out of proportion to the situation. I didn’t reveal my innermost thoughts, though, because I knew I’d just be told they were silly.

I would wonder why no one loved me, but I didn’t say anything about this to anyone. I was inclined to keep my self secret.

This was no one else’s fault. How were my parents supposed to reassure me if I never brought up what I was feeling? In the grand scheme of things, I had good parents. They’ve always cared about me, and many can’t say the same.

It’s always been my fault. I should’ve learned to be stronger.

How can I ever make it in life if I bruise so easily?

I like the idea of constructive criticism. I’d rather people be honest about matters than mince words.

At the same time, I need to be handled with kid gloves. Too much indication that I’ve done something wrong, and I crumble.

Yet I cannot be handled with kid gloves. If I am, then I feel insulted, as if the person talking to me believes I’m too much of a baby to digest the cold, hard truth. Or that they’re disguising their real feelings by feeding me lies.

My sensitivity makes me defensive. I feel like I have to prove I’m not wrong at all costs. I have to vindicate myself. I have to explain every little thing that led me to an action in order to show I’m right. If I’m wrong, then it feels like a personal failure.

The only way never to be hurt is to isolate myself, yet I crave human contact, human connection.

But I feel unworthy of that connection.

There’s always an insurmountable distance as well.

People are always closer to others than they are to me. I grow jealous and take it as a personal affront. I’m not good enough, I think, or else that person would talk to me as much as they talk to those other people. I can’t initiate the contact myself. What if I’m bothering them? I’m always a bother. When I’m present, they might indulge me so they don’t hurt my feelings. Why do they care about my feelings? They don’t, perhaps. They just don’t want to see me make a scene.

I’m overly defensive in order to protect myself. I grow hard, disdaining the world. This to prevent my sensitivity from devouring me.

For that would be the end of me.


Filed under Mental Health

The Vandal

Here’s my story for this week’s Friday Fictioneers; it’s 105 words long. This week’s photo comes from David Stewart.

“Checkmate,” Philippe whispered when he spotted her.

Adriana upended a cauldron over the priceless statue, molten metal cascading in clumps.

He crept out of his hiding place until he was inches behind her.

“You’re under arrest!” he exclaimed. He whipped out his handcuffs, poised to slap them on her.

But she elbowed him, and his knees crashed into the pavement. She grasped a chunk of his hair, yanking his head back, her brilliant blue eyes boring into his.

“Boy!” she spat. She bent down, her chestnut-brown hair brushing his cheek. It inflamed him.

She planted her lips on his. He was his own man no more.


Filed under Writing

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Filed under Mental Health