Mental health check

We’re at … three weeks? A month? Let’s say three weeks– on the Effexor, and other than the nightmare week of constant sleep and side effects, I gotta say I’m feeling like I’m for it, all told. My wife remarked yesterday that she felt like I’ve been in a much better mood lately, and while I’m not going to pretend that the occasional urge to quit my job and go live in the woods doesn’t continue to strike me, I think that the fact that I teach middle school means that it’s perfectly reasonable that the occasional urge to quit my job and go live in the woods strikes me.

A couple of things that may or may not be side effects: I feel like my appetite has been suppressed a bit, although given my weight problem that’s not something I’m complaining about, and I think I’ve dropped some pounds since I started the drug but I’m not about to ruin it by weighing myself to check. I’m also sleeping better, which is good and bad, because getting up in the morning has been more difficult lately– and while that’s also a typical reaction to cooler weather setting in, the drive to work has been brutal, and I’ve needed caffeine to reach basic humanity more in the last few weeks than I ever have before. In other words, it being harder to get up isn’t atypical for fall, but this is worse than it usually is, which may or may not be the drug. I’m convinced about the appetite suppression. I’m less so about the sleepiness.

But one way or another, I feel like I’m experiencing more or less normal moods given my lifestyle and circumstances– I don’t feel like the drug has me in a haze or locked in a box, and I’m also not having to keep close tabs on my mood to note when it just might be anxiety and depression fucking me up worse than normal. Things have been better for the last couple of weeks, which is what this shit is supposed to be for. And I’m pretty sure it’s not fully kicked in yet, so hopefully I’m leading to more improvement and not overmedication. We’ll see, I guess? Sure.

I’m (still) alive

And I went to work today! And I haven’t had a nap, and my wife said I was being normal! Hooray!

Seriously though everybody who told me that there weren’t going to be bad side effects from Effexor? I’m gonna need y’all to get in a line and then I’m going to get into a whole bunch of fights, because that was every bit as bad as getting used to Lexapro. The good news is that I appear to be over the hump, and while I’m not certain that the drug is making me better yet it certainly seems to be done making things worse.

But hey. Whatever. I survived. I’ll take it.

Also, there’s an update on Patreon, if you’re into that.

This happened

Day … three? of the brain meds, and I am a fucking mess and have been all day. I made it through a day at work but only through a combination of pure stubbornness and fear. Because I have no idea what will happen to me if I run out of sick days during the first semester.

At any rate, I told most of my classes that I felt like shit and that they ought to be nice, and if they pressed I told them it was a medication thing. One class asked specifically what was wrong, and I said that I was dizzy and tired and nauseous and sweaty, all of which was 100% true. (I got up this morning, took a piss, and had to go back to bed and breathe for ten minutes because my blood pressure just decided to flatline for a while.)

One of my kids looks at me and says “Are you on ADHD meds?”

Well, no, as it turns out, but … nice guess, kid.

In which I am more blatant than usual

Every so often I use either my blog or my Patreon as a bulwark against my own shitty memory, and this is going to be one of those times: I started on the Effexor last night, so today is Day One, and so far I have been dizzy all day and I have been sleepy, although not as bad as my recollection of the Lexapro early times were. The dizziness is manageable and the small supply of Meclizine I happen to have on hand cut it but didn’t kill it; I’m going to avoid driving any time I don’t absolutely have to for the next couple of days, but this isn’t close to bad enough to keep me home from work.

Yet, of course. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.


An utterly random observation: we watched the two-part season finale of Season 10 of Masterchef last night, and I continue to have the most useless mutant power of all time: we watch every one of Gordon Ramsay’s stupid competition programs and I have only been wrong about the winner once in all that time, either on Masterchef, Masterchef Junior or Hell’s Kitchen. Most of the time I’ve been able to pick the winner out several episodes before the end but I’m pretty sure I’m well into statistically impossible by now in terms of how often I’m right on the final episode.

Also, I’m not going to do a full review, but if you happen to be the type of person for whom a combination history of antisepsis and biography of Joseph Lister (the guy whose name was eventually appropriated for Listerine) sounds appealing, you could do an awful lot worse than reading Lindsey Fitzharris’ The Butchering Art: Joseph Lister’s Quest to Transform the Grisly World of Victorian Medicine. It’s not for the squeamish, and I nearly didn’t make it through the book’s description of a surgery to remove a bladder stone in the prologue, but it’s good stuff.

In which let’s do this again

It’s official! Two years and four months or so after taking myself off of Lexapro, I went back to my doctor today (a new one, actually, this one actually only a few minutes’ drive from my house as opposed to the 45-minute slog the other one required, meaning that I actually might see her when I’m sick as opposed to when it’s absolutely necessary) and requested to be put back on brain meds. I’ve had moments here and there over the last couple of years where I briefly considered it, but the neverending torrent of stress and despair that has been my life since late April has finally gotten the better of me. I can’t do this any longer; I need help. And now, hopefully, I have it.

What I don’t have is Lexapro again. After talking about my various issues with side effects– just wander through the related posts on that earlier link if you like, or search the tags for “anxiety”– she decided that we’d try something different. I have a daily 75mg scrip for Effexor and a secondary script for 0.5 mg of Lorazepam that I’m to use when, and I believe this is the actual medical term, shit gets real.

After this weekend, I took a Lorazepam immediately when I got home, because Shit has been Real for a couple of days now. I’m trying to decide how long I want to wait to go on the Effexor. On the one hand, I wouldn’t have gone and gotten the damn drugs if I didn’t think I needed them, and I do. On the other hand, brain drugs have tended to reliably produce rough transition periods for me, and I have a five-day weekend coming up in three weeks, so maybe I try and go without it for a little bit and then start taking it that week, so I’m at home when the worst of the initial break-in period hits? I asked my doctor, and she said it was up to me, so I just need to decide how bad I want to get back to normal. The main thing with Lexapro was wanting to sleep hours and hours and hours every day; when I was unemployed, that wasn’t so big a deal. I’m not any longer, so I kind of need to be able to get out of bed and go to work, and I’m not about to burn all of my sick days in September and October again.

We’ll see how this week goes, I guess. If anybody has experience with Effexor and wants to let me know what to expect the first few weeks I’m on it, I’d appreciate it. I’m definitely not starting it this week one way or another.