Tuesday, March 28, 2006

BRAIN SHIVERS! Never Coming Soon To a Venue Near You

So, due to some ugly brain chemistry situations, I have been on an antidepressant, Effexor XR, for a few years now. When I first started taking the drug, I was so completely depressed, distressed, and tearstained that I didn't do any sort of research, rather, I clung to the prescription slip from my doctor like a liferaft and waited for something to please, please, help me.

And it did help me. A lot. I'm more or less a normal human being these days.

Unless, as I have been known to do upon occasion, I neglect to take my meds.

The alarming thing about the drug that I am on, the thing that might have freaked me out to no end if I had done some googling prior to popping the pills, is that it has hellish withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms begin within hours of a missed dose. So, for example, if I miss a dose in the morning, by 3 PM I am starting to feel a weird dizziness, by 7PM I am nauseous, and, on the rare occasion that I go to bed without having swallowed a capsule, I sleep very hard and dream Technicolor fever dreams.

So, I try not to miss a dose. In fact, I try very hard to make sure I'm never without -- I have pills stashed all over the place. Somehow, though, this month, I waited until the last minute to refill my meds -- I took every pill in the house, then I called Walgreen's on Sunday and didn't get there in time to pick up my refill. Which meant a forced full 48 hours between doses.

This has happened before, when I've been traveling, for example, and have forgotten to grab my pill bottle off the kitchen counter. What happens is that I become a Raving Lunatic.

I walk down the street with a full understanding of why homeless people twitch and scream at phantom enemies and pull their hair out. Because that's what it is like inside my head.

Yesterday, waiting for the pharmacy to (please please) open at 9AM, I did some Internet research, and found a brilliant explanation of That Thing That Happens In My Brain -- it's incredibly, called BRAIN SHIVERS! Man, I wish I could play an instrument, because that would so be my band name. I very happily stumbled upon this explanation, which beautifully articulates the whole thing. "The Electric Brain Thing!" Yes! That is both absolutely accurate AND a great album name! Sort of retro seventies, how very.

It's bizarre and torturous, and because I'm me, I also think it's weirdly hilarious.

I wrote this email to Sarah yesterday, as she is my clinical consultant AND BFF so, like, she can think it's funny but also let me know if I need professional help. I mean, beyond what I'm already getting. You know. Oh, and, technically, she also prescribes me my meds, so, it's good to let her know what's up.

-----Original Message-----
From: RJ
Sent: Monday, March 27, 2006 11:41 AM
To: Sarah
Subject: meds

I am tempted to write a post about how loopy and goofy I am today as I forgot to take my Crazy Pills yesterday and therefore am like a Drooling Lunatic in a normal person's body. Have done things today like:
- scared the eff out of the cat by walking into the kitchen for coffee, seeing her, and screaming, "TIME TO MAKE THE DONUTS!" then laughing maniacally while she runs away.
- Realized I was twitching on the train platform as this old lady stared at me.
- Using Random CAPS

On 3/27/06, Sarah wrote:
What do you mean you were "twitching"??

On 3/27/06, RJ wrote:
Well, I had a cramp in my leg that I was trying to stretch and I was making faces like, "I'm annoyed at this cramp and in pain" and was maybe mouthing words to myself like, "motherfucker" and such. Basically raving like a lunatic.

On 3/27/06, Sarah wrote:

Ok, that's different. I wanted to rule out true neurological symptoms.
Now take your meds!!

PHEW! Neurological symptoms RULED OUT!

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