Hello BBC

The BBC’s top 100 books, which have you read?
1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen I really don’t like Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte Or charlotte bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling I tried, I really did, but I couldn’t
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien David read it to me at night, I’m counting it
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams currently re-reading
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo. finally
I’ve only read 45 (i think, there’s been a lot of beer. hard to count things.) what about you?

my brain is the fundament in my skull

This is not news related at all. Also, it should not contain any ranting (but I can’t guarantee this since I tangent sometimes).
I’ve been on Effexor since late 2006. Started at the standard 37.5mg dose and worked myself up up up to 375mg a day. Now, depending on who you talk to this dose is either normal or astronomical. As it was explained to me, up to 200mg Effexor acts as an SSRI and beyond 200mg begins to act as an SNRI. We went with Effexor for a couple reasons. The first was that I had worked my way through a gamut of SSRIs with little luck. At best they were ineffective, but at their worst they crippled me with anxiety and fear. Also, as a teenager I’d gone through the same horrifying trial and error with SSRIs and eventually found relief with tricyclics. Effexor seems to work similarly to the tricyclics but with far fewer side effects (like not sleeping for 7 days straight and buzzing like a beehive the whole time). The ironic thing is that the side effects of Effexor are pretty intense when you start up, just not AS intense as nortriptyline. Effexor was my last ‘low side-effect’ option. Anyone who has ever been on Effexor knows the side effects and knows that if they are considered relatively low, then everything else must be pretty fucking harsh.
In addition to the 375mg of Effexor, I also take 300mg of Wellbutrin which acts as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor. In lay terms, Wellbutrin is like prescription meth…well, except you get to keep all your teeth and the pharmacy isn’t under constant threat of blowing up. Nice.
Sometimes the combination of Effexor and Wellbutrin is called the California Rocket Fuel! Though it depends, CRF seems to refer to a lot of Effexor +one drug combos.
So why am I gatting all pharmaceutical on your asses? The time has come to say farewell to the Effexor. I did not come to this decision lightly or without a great deal of research and thought. Straight up, I want to say that I love Effexor. For all the crazy side effects and issues that I had with it, the fact is that it saved my life. In my head I have a running list of all the nearby bridges and the heights of all the guard rails on the bridges. Before Effexor I also had some very solid and well thought out plans regarding those guard rail heights. I’m not writing this to be all emo or whatever. I had the plan, it was painful and terrifying, but I was entirely unable to see any other options. It wasn’t even about finding a different option. I had accepted it as a matter of course, much in the same way one would accept aging or flu season.
Taking the Effexor was like turning on a light in a mineshaft. I was stunned to see edges and outlines and contours. Where once there was formless pitch, now there was detail and depth and shape. It wasn’t a perfect light, of course, and it took a long time to make it bright enough. And of course there were the days of constant trembling, the brain zaps, the nausea, the super vivid dreams and so on.
But, all that aside, it worked and I could feel it working so I endured.
So why am I choosing to leave it all behind? Hmmmm, a few things…First off, I don’t have medical insurance anymore. To buy Effexor in the states it runs be about $400 a month, to buy it from Canada it costs about $400 for roughly 70 days. Did you know it was illegal to purchase drugs from other countries even with a prescription? Yeah, I didn’t either. It seems that this is one of those things that no one is prosecuting right now, and for good reason, but there have been rumblings from the conservative sides that buying pharma from the other side of the border is unAmerican and unpatriotic. I do not want to rant, but I will say that my survival trumps my patriotism.
The other reason is less concrete and more abstract. I’m not who I was. David had mentioned this a few times and my stock response was something along the lines of, “If I was still who I was then I would not be anybody now”. As true as that might have been, I don’t think that is the case now. But what does that mean? What have I become? I constantly feel like I am thinking with only half my brain switched on. I struggle with my vocabulary and find myself using the thesaurus all the time trying to find that ONE word that is on the tip of my tongue. I am too content to stay in the safety of the cocoon I have made in my home. Where once David and I used to go out all the time, go hiking, go to cafes, go walk around the lake, go SOMEWHERE, I find myself preferring not to. When was the last time I held a dinner party or hosted a holiday? Christmas 2005?
And there are other things that are even more abstract, ways in which I am not who I was, but the descriptions elude me and to be perfectly honest, I do not think they are easily described with words. You’re just going to have to trust me on this (ha! says the crazy person!)
I am well aware of the awful side effects of going off the Effexor. With that in mind, Lisa helped me come up with a plan that allows me to drop approximately 19mg a week. This involves breaking open the capsules and counting out the little grains inside. There are 250 little grains in a 75mg pill and 500 in the 150mg and these grains are TINY. So counting is a pain, but I do it.
I’m halfway through my second week. I’ve experienced a bit of nausea and dizziness and occasionally some crabbiness (but how could one tell if it was Effexor related or just me being crabby?). I get tired but don’t sleep well, but this could just be seasonal insomnia, the kind I get as the weather and the clocks and the day lengths change. It seems that if I had a parietal eye I could alleviate this, but I don’t have one. Yet.
My plan is to occasionally write about the effects of coming off Effexor over time. I’ve gleaned a lot of info off the web from people doing similar things and I hope to add to it. Maybe by sharing this I can help someone else trying to make the decision, and I accept that the help might be a great big “oh shit no! I’m not doing something like that! She’s a nut job!”
And now I am off to get my hair done and be awesome.
or something.