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.

Adventures in Lexapro, ch. 325

Jeremy-Renner
The title of the .gif claims this is Jeremy Renner. As I have never seen him smile at any time whatsoever, I have reason to doubt it.

You will not believe what just happened.  I woke up this morning– before my alarm went off, a full half hour before my alarm went off– and upon discovering, to my extreme surprise, that I was awake and refreshed, got out of bed and started my day.  It is ten minutes before the boy and I have to leave for school; he is dressed, I have had breakfast, the dog is fed and let out, the cat is fed, his backpack is packed, a spot of Monster Legends has been played, and I still have time for a short blog post.

I have been tired, 100% of the time, for a year.

Is this what life was supposed to be like before Lexapro?  Is it the new bed?  A combination of both?  What the hell is going on here?

May as well tell the whole world

tmi.png.htmlI thought, for reasons that will quickly become quite obvious, that maybe I ought to not go ahead and fill the Internet in on certain recent developments in my life.  But I’ve been pretty open about being on anxiety medication since they put me on it, and this is related to that, so to hell with it.  A warning: if you know me personally, it’s possible that you might not want to read this.  Certain of you I’m giving license to never ever stop mocking me again, which… eh.  It’ll be okay.

So, to get straight to the point: I’ve taken myself off of Lexapro.  If I were a more intelligent human I would probably be weaning myself off Lexapro, but I’m not an especially intelligent human and I was on a pretty low dose to begin with so I’m cold-turkeying the shit.  I had several reasons for making this decision.  One of the big ones was that I’m not in the environment (teaching) that led me to need Lexapro in the first place, so the direct cause of my anxiety issues is gone.  The biggest one, though?  It turns out that one of the rarer side effects of drugs like Lexapro is…

…this is the part where you stop reading, if you ever want to not think of this when you see me or talk to me again…

…urinary incontinence.

I have had, perhaps once a month in the past six months, what I will describe as a “bloop” and assume that your imagination can fill in the details.  They have always happened when I was asleep, always when I was on my back, and have always instantly awakened me, at which time I’ve cleaned myself up, swearing profusely under my breath, and gone back to sleep.  Last week, it happened twice in two days, and what was previously merely an excessively irritating thing that I was attributing to getting older abruptly had me Googling things like “prostate cancer.”  There’s never been an issue when I was awake, although I feel like I’ve been having to race to the bathroom more urgently in the last year than I had previously.

Now, it’s a rare side effect.  But I was seriously considering calling a doctor and scheduling a prostate exam, and if I can just go off a drug I already don’t want to be on rather than enduring a prostate exam, I think maybe I’ll try that first.(*)

So I did a couple things:  I stopped taking my Lexapro and also stopped drinking pop, since caffeine and sugar have also been linked to urinary incontinence.  Not only have I had no nocturnal issues since then, but I’ve slept through the night most of the nights since then.  It has been months since I slept through the night five nights in a row; waking up at 3:30 in the morning needing to take a piss five or six times a week was also something that I had previously attributed to getting older that may have been caused by the drugs.  It’s only been a week, mind you, and until last week this was not a thing that happened frequently, but the absence of further bloops and being able to sleep through the night have me thinking I’m probably on to something.

Negative side effects of stopping Lexapro have been minimal; I was weirdly dizzy today and that’s been about it.  I haven’t noticed the anxiety coming back, really; I did let everyone at work know that I was off my brain meds and that if they thought I was behaving strangely they needed to let me know right away.  Predictably, this has led to every fucking interaction I have with anyone now involving someone accusing me of being overly emotional, because the people I work with are caring and serious grown-ups.

(*) The word first means “first,” not “only,” just to be clear.  I have since discovered that they’re recommending annual prostate exams start at 40 now instead of 50, so I actually will be talking to my doctor about that soon, and I’m not as het up about the idea as most men seem to be.  I’ll tell you about it if it’s a funny story, but I don’t expect it to be a big deal.  Just be aware that I’m not ignoring it.

#WeekendCoffeeShare: Mood-altering drugs edition

coffee2If we were having coffee, I’d spend most of my time yawning, possibly mixed with a few by-now patented glassy stares.  Week One of being on Lexapro hasn’t been unpleasant, necessarily, but being tired all the goddamn time has officially gotten old, and my motivation to do much of anything has been chopped to the bone.  This is a bit of a problem; I have a final manuscript for Searching for Malumba due in a few days, and haven’t really found the will to do much of anything about it, and I literally forgot that I was supposed to write a recap of last week’s Fear the Walking Dead for Sourcerer today.

Forgot.  Clean, completely forgot, until waking up this morning, well after it would normally have been published.  And the way my mornings typically work on Saturday there’s not an hour and a half to go sneak away and watch the episode and recap it, so right now who the hell knows when I’m going to get that written.

(For those of you thinking “Why not do it right now, instead of the post you’re writing?”: Reasonable thought, but this post will take ten minutes.  I have ten minutes.  I don’t have ninety.)

This is also a big birthday weekend.  Fun fact: my father-in-law’s birthday is the day before my mom’s, and my mother-in-law’s birthday is the day before my dad’s.  Well, mom’s birthday is today, so FIL’s birthday was yesterday.  Inverting the proper order of things, we saw my parents yesterday and we’re seeing my wife’s today.  We’re going to go see The Martian tomorrow, too, which I’m really excited about, in a sort of Lexapro’d “yeah, whatever” sort of way– I’ve been looking forward to this movie since the day it was announced.  There aren’t any superheroes in it!  And I’m seeing it anyway!  It’s like a miracle!

(Skylights is free today and tomorrow.  I’m hoping to steal some Martian thunder.  We’ll see if that happens.)

This is the part where I’d usually go “Hmmm, what else?” but the simple fact is all I’ve done all week is sleep and stare at the internet.  There really is no more “else” here.  So I’m kicking it over to y’all again:  what have you guys been doing while I’ve been trying to alter my brain chemistry?