Blech, day 2

I need, like, a sunlight lamp or some shit like that; I spent all day staring at walls and sleeping, basically, and that’s not healthy. I’m basically only posting this so that I can stop worrying about whether I’ve posted anything today.

I’ll snap out of it sooner or later, I promise.

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.

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 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.

RIP, Summer 2019: 2019-2019

This summer sucked, and now it’s over. Which is the rough equivalent of complaining about both the taste and the portion size of your food, but such is life at the moment, I suppose.

It would be a joke if it weren’t so close to undeniable truth: I have previously said, in this space and elsewhere, that 2016 was easily the worst year of my life, and I usually pair that observation with the comment that it feels odd to me to be able to so easily pinpoint something like that. 2019 thus far has handed 2016 its beer, lit itself on fire and jumped off a cliff, and there are still four and a half months of this impossibly miserable soul-sucking bastard of a year left. I wanted to get a novel written this summer; that became a sad joke so fast that it’s barely even worth reminding everyone of. My total fiction output for the entire summer probably did not reach 10,000 words, and the book got a page-one rewrite anyway before I gave up on the entire idea.

I have mostly been talking about this on Patreon due to my somewhat less public profile over there (and the fact that no actual relatives subscribe to me on Patreon) but there have only been perhaps three or four days since April 26 where I did not have at least one if not both of my parents in some sort of medical facility, either an actual hospital or an inpatient physical rehab place. My dad is home– still having issues, but home– and my mother is due to be released Tuesday. I will be in my classroom all week, my first contractual day is Wednesday, and the students return on Thursday.

I, along with every teacher on Earth, only very rarely begin the school year genuinely feeling ready for school to start, and even when I am I’m more likely than not to at least joke about mourning the end of summer. I am less prepared, on every level– emotionally, mentally, physically, curricularly, you name it– for school to start right now than I have ever been in my life. I feel like returning to work in general may actually be making a mistake right now. That said, I have about a month worth of money left in the bank– just enough to make it to my first paycheck of the next school year– so it’s not like I have a choice.

I am very, very strongly considering making an appointment with my doctor to go back on my brain meds. The only problem with that idea is that I probably won’t be able to get an appointment for a few weeks and even once I do the first month on Lexapro all I want to do is sleep and I don’t think that’s a thing I can have going on during the first grading period of a new job at a new school. So “tough it out” is going to have to be a strategy for dealing with mental illness, I suppose.

I can’t pretend to be excited about this year– not right now. The best I can hope for at this point is survival. We’ll see how it goes.