The Modern Update

Oh slacker me, the one with the words who never really gets around to putting the words on the screen and sharing them with you.
One reason is that the most interesting aspects of my life at the moment have to do with therapy, depression, therapy, depression, dealing with it all, therapy and depression. Sure, you can dance to a broken record if you have to, but who really wants to? I mean besides me and other crazy people?
So yeah, stuff happens, but most of it would seem rather repetitive if I wrote about it.
But, let’s touch on some salient points, shall we?
Yes, we shall!
Effexor! A long time ago (about a year ago) I wrote about trying to wean myself off the effexor. No easy task from any way you look at it. Effexor is crazy addictive and packed full of side effects. I was at a dose of 375mg a day, not an insignificant dose at all. It’s been an incredibly tough process. By the beginning of the summer I had gotten myself down to 150mg and I decided to stay there for a while. Each jump down in dosage, no matter how minor brings a slew of amazing side effects. Brain zaps, irritability, irrational thoughts, crabbiness, dizziness, nausea and so on. With the summer upon us and David home full time I decided to stay at 150mg in an effort to experience some stability and to be able to enjoy my time with David. Also, when I am irrational and irritable I can’t really control how I lash out and it’s one thing to spend your days swearing at the dogs, they just see it as some new game. It’s quite another thing to spend your days crying and swearing at someone you love.
And I imagine it’s not an easy thing to spend your day with a crazy harpy who enjoys crying and swearing at you!
Mostly it worked out okay.
Starting again in September I got back on the plan for bumping down. Whoa, let me tell you something, whatever effects might have been apparent before are magnified 10x once you get below 75mg. Those bump downs at 75mg and under were brutal. All the brain zaps, shivers, nausea, irrationality and whatnot are there, magnified, but also it is like every single nerve in your body is just EXPOSED. Everything is just too much. Everything is too loud, too scratchy, too bright. Every statement that comes your way seems to be dripping with indecipherable hidden agendas. Most regular situations, like say not being able to eat burritos for every meal, leave you an angry mess. it’s like PMS with fangs.
I’m now down to about 18.75mg every other day, things are easing up a bit. I’m being patient with myself but also I am being honest with the people around me, I cannot tolerate much right now.
One of the more noticeable changes in me is the return of my absurd self. My ability to construct stories and scenarios from the most bizarrely unrelated factors is back and strong. I missed it dearly, i did. People who know me well have commented that it seems that I am “returning”. That while the effexor did a lot to help, it also covered much. They missed those parts of my personality. I missed them as well.
The one side effect of the effexor that I do miss the most is the vivid dreams. Really. I would have the most intensely vivid, detailed and engaging dreams. Luckily they were not nightmares, I know that a lot of people on effexor struggled with their dreams becoming nightmarish, I was lucky. I just got night after night of cinematic, yet absurd dreams that I hated waking from. If they could distill out whatever property caused the dreams but left out all the other side effects, i would totally engage in some sort of hardcore drug cartel! I do really want those dreams back, they were awesome.
Therapy! I am seeing my therapist weekly and it’s been awesome. She is amazingly intuitive, often able to verbalize my struggles when I cannot. One of the things I really appreciate about her is that she is not focused or married to a single therapeutic method, but has a pretty full arsenal and really makes the effort to combine the best bits and pieces for me.
Last week I got to draw and color with crayons! That’s amazing and awesome! I was so happy. And it was not just an hour spent coloring! We used the drawing and coloring as an exercise for dealing with my excess and often untenable anxiety. Using the repetitive physical action of coloring as a focus for my mind. Focus away from the anxiety, focus towards the repetition. The repetition is calming. Every time I chose a new color I took that moment to find a spot of physical tension in my body and try to relax it and then take a deep breath. Once I had my new color I go back to focusing on the repetition and the calmness that it brings.
It works beautifully. Re-focus my attentions, do not dwell on the anxiety but let it gradually and naturally dissipate as I pay attention to something else. Self-sooth with repetition but still take random moments to relax.
We’re also discussing using EMDR therapy and so i am spending time researching this. I got a book from my mom about it, written by Francine Shapiro, the developer of the technique. The book is good, it works with case studies as a way to show the ways it can work in different situations. I wish it had more physiological science and data laid out. There are copious notes and references to related studies, but when I go to look them up they usually require a subscription to read. Bummer.
I know there’s a bit of controversy surrounding EMDR and its effectiveness, which is why I am researching it so much. What I am finding, however, is that much of the controversy is centered around people saying things like, “why would eye movement affect the way you process trauma? that doesn’t even make sense!” All statements to that effect ust get shuffled off to the side and disregarded. A lack of understanding of a process does not negate the process. It’s like the anti-evolution crowd and their “how could such complexity just happen without intelligent direction? That just does not make sense to me!” Your lack of understanding or education on evolution does not negate its reality, it just means that you do not know.
On the other hand, I HAVE been able to find some information regarding balanced stimulation of both hemispheres during the processing of events and the role that norepinephrine plays in that process. Of course I’m not a trained professional so it takes a lot of research and backtracking and then researching the research and trying to figure out what I’m reading, but I’m getting there.
I’m not suspicious of EMDR per se, I just want to understand how it works. And I have never ever been one to just blindly accept stuff like this. I’m all give me science or give me a goddammed burrito!
In other, not so serious news:
I lost my Chibi AGAIN! I have sweaters that need finishing and I cannot finish anything until I find my Chibi! It’s been suggested that I get another Chibi. I know that if I get another one then my original would show up immediately and while it would be nice to have a back up, I know that they would just create a Chibi Herd and escape again, together. Fuckers.
One of my Pantsters, the love and awesome Summer aka Stargrrl, sent me a Spngebob coloring book and it arrived right as I got home from the therapy session where I got to color! Serendipity! It’s been added to my collection of Spongebob coloring books, which are my favorite coloring books! The only problem with having lots of Spongebob coloring books is that you go through a lot of yellow crayons.
Now I am off to the recycling room of Roosevelt High School with David so that I might break things with a hammer. Awesome? It’s my homework from therapy! I have to break something in a controlled environment as a way to safely release my frustration. Y’all can have your boring therapy! My therapist tells me to color with crayons and break things! Huzzah? HUZZAH MOTHERFUCKERS!!!!

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