You got a problem with paba?

The Depression Monster is kicking my ass.  I’m doing surprisingly well, despite.  Well, in that I’m too numb for it to touch my spirit.  The buffer has always existed, but it’s only recently occurred why.  I’m delighted by this new insight.  I’ve decided to accept it without analyzing it (to death.)  My understanding is enough.  How rare.  But I don’t dare linger here.  The brain zaps from Prozac withdrawal are happening every few moments, now.  It feels a lot like being excessively high on cannabis.  It’s almost out of me forever.  Yay.

I’m glad I went on the marijuana tour last year, or this would probably freak me out.  (Okay, definitely.)  I was awed by the amount of weed I was able to consume without consequences during the tour.  I watched the younger tourists consume far more simultaneously, also without repercussion.  It had the intended effect of eliminating rote fears.  Something about cannabis works the same way Prozac does on my brain.  Does this mean I’m going to replace Prozac with pot?  Nope.   😂  Fuck drugs.

While I had no compunction with legally consuming in the past, I’ve grown since.  People who were off my radar then are now present in my world, and their influence is intense.  I could legally smoke a joint in front of both Michelle Obama and Lisa Bloom (my imaginary personal life coaches) without feeling like I was hovering over a pit of doom.  I couldn’t do it in front of  Stevie Nicks, though.  I can’t even do it knowing Stevie Nicks exists.  So here we are.  Post pot life.  I’m glad I experimented, but fuck feeling like I’m hovering over a pit of doom just to get high.

It’s not even ironic.  Stevie Nicks specifically said to avoid cocaine, bourbon, and weed because she used the hell out of them, and it almost killed her.  She added Klonopin to the list of never do’s, too, stating it was the worst of them.  Through watching her documentary DVD’s and the interviews on YouTube, I learned of this dark chapter of her story.  It made me grieve for what she endured.  (That’s the only part that didn’t surprise me.  😂)   Do as I learned, not as I did before learning.  That’s fucking powerful.  I’m amazed by this turn of events, but not upset.

I’m pretty confident I was born high enough.  I don’t need mood altering substances to tease reality.  I can just read a Stephen King novel.  Or Clive Barker, who is rapidly gaining my loyalty as a reader.  I abandoned Tess of d’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy quickly, and read Duma Key by Stephen King, instead.  If you’re an artist, read Duma Key.  You’re welcome.  (It’s an excellent story, regardless.)  I’m done reading fiction that centers on women as victims.  I’m basically abstaining from the Lifetime Channel variety of novels forever.  ‘Cuz holy shit.  It’s like forced empathy training for sociopaths, (as if that would work.)

What?  Your novel is about a woman who got raped?  (Visualize me running away, screaming “Fuck!”)  I don’t even watch TV anymore.  I have four TV’s, two of which are newer 4k LG’s with HDR.  I’m going to give away the other two.  The new ones are still useful for movies and video games.  And to watch Will and Grace when it starts, of course.  My other show, Better Things, I buy to stream via Amazon.  I’m going to give away my Fire TV, too, since I just realized I haven’t used it since I set it up a year ago.  Oops.  Roku made it redundant.  I haven’t even looked at the Apple 4k whatever.  I’m good.

I need to give away my excess computers, too.  My house AI can stay once I adjust her, but all the single card computers can go.  I don’t need to know the humidity level of my bedroom while I’m  sleeping, for starters.  I regret I’ve crossed the line between smart home and smart ass home.  Sigh.  I thought I would love it, but it turns out I find it incredibly annoying between the hours of 2 and 4 AM.  Even Wanda Sykes couldn’t make me laugh during that time…  On second thought, she probably could.  😂  But until she shows up to try, I’ll be sleeping during those hours.  I’m off to debug de-feature.

I can’t believe that you saw her before me.

I realized I don’t code most of the time anymore.  I think this is a good thing because I laugh more.  It feels like I broke an addiction because I get random urges to start new projects all the time.  I thought I would have a harder time letting go.  It’s mind boggling how much time I’ve spent writing code on a computer in my lifetime.  It’s probably just under the time I’ve spent sleeping.  I’m impatient.  If something takes ten hours to complete, there is no way I’m going to break that up.  I know my limit is between 19 and 21 hours.  (That’s not typical, however, and I swear I’ll never do anything that long again.)

I can stay awake(ish) for 32 hours, but those last several hours are wasted time.  All I do is nod off, startle myself awake, laugh about it, (rinse, and repeat.)  I fell asleep on guard duty once when I was in the Army.  The fucker who was my relief saw me, went and caught a tarantula, and put it down my shirt.  I ripped my shirt off while screaming and running in place.  Then I burst into tears and told him I hated him, while he fell on the ground laughing.  Fucker.  Although, I never did it again.  Fucker.  (Full body shudder.)

I’m well into my second reading of The Dark Tower series, by Stephen King.  I’m just marveling at the details this time.  I think the mastery lies in his restraint.  He only told us enough of the story to force us to obsess over what he didn’t.  Human brains make premature determinations all the time, so he left room for the Constant Reader to use their own imagination and cryptography skills to add even more richness to an already lush tale.  I know!  Holy shit!  No two will experience the exact same story.  Sigh.  My next boyfriend will be more of a reader.  (It’s a joke, mostly.)

I read an article yesterday about Prozac being used to “treat” autism.  The Army came to that conclusion when I was a teenager.  I always forget about the delay.  It seems an unusually long one, though.  I’m not a parent, and I’ve already shared my thoughts on the drug.  All I can say is thank goodness I don’t have to make such a hard decision for someone completely dependent on me.  And I know that’s just one out of thousands like it.  I can’t even have a dog, so I’m generally awed by good parents.  It was the single parent of an autistic kid who helped me realize activism isn’t optional.  (Last year, sigh.)  I’m always late to the party.

I’m super anxious today, and I’m subconsciously trying to match it by speeding up.  My heart is telling me I should be running, not sitting on the floor typing on a laptop.  I’m having a difficult time remaining seated.  It reminds me of the time my PC doctor yelled at me for jumping up and down when I was supposed to be waiting to get my blood pressure checked.  (Jumping up and down makes it feel like time is moving faster, and makes waiting less annoying.  Duh.)  It scared the shit out of me because she came up behind me.  I must have accidentally let the I’m about to cry face show for a second because she immediately apologized.  It was a tiny bit funny.  Sometimes I have to admit I am too fucking literal.

I saw an interview on Youtube with Stevie Nicks and noticed she was rocking throughout the interview.  I mentioned it to M., and he said, “She’s not autistic, she’s high on cocaine.”  (I didn’t ask him if he thought she was autistic.)  I paused for a second to decide if his reading my mind was funny or infuriating.  I decided it’s funny.  (I kinda think everyone is half black, might be undiagnosed autistic, loves Star Wars, reads, and sings a lot until otherwise is proven.)  That’s right.  Still not sophisticated.

One thing I’ve learned from Stevie Nicks is to trust my intuition with a fierceness when necessary.  Also, I noticed she doesn’t tear people down.  I like that quality in a person.  For those who also wonder;  she still looks gorgeous because she stays in the shade, uses La Mer skincare products, and never ever goes to bed with makeup on.  I’m settling for 2 out of 3.  I can’t stomach paying that much to stay cute (while not being a rock goddess.  Besides, La Mer would be foolish to make her buy it.  All they have to do to make bank is put “Stevie Nicks uses this” on the bottle.)  I’ll just be kinda cute instead.  It looks the same from my perspective.  😂

This woman hates me so much I’m starting to like her.

I just realized I haven’t watched anything but Stevie Nicks documentaries and live concerts on DVD in a while.  Typically, I only allow myself to listen to music when I’m exercising because it’s the only way to get me to do it.  Lately, it’s all I do in my free time, but it hasn’t been long enough to mess up my exercise bribery scheme.  Whew.  (I don’t have a Plan B.)  I guess tomorrow will be a long run, and that’ll be my only music fix for the day.  I’m going to listen to In Your Dreams by Stevie Nicks, and The Open Door by Evanescence, and Tuesday Night Music Club by Sheryl Crow.

If it plays longer than my route, I’ll keep listening while I stretch.  I’m already looking forward to it.  I’m going to feel like Wonder Woman.  I’m off Prozac for the rest of the summer.  Or, I guess I should say until it snows.  So who knows, but as long as I can run outside.  I don’t like to run for more than an hour at a time on the treadmill, but I can break it up.  After my fall last winter, I’m too paranoid about falling again (on the ice outside in the snowy weather, where my imagination has assured me in advance I’ll die miserably.)

Note:  In my particular case, if I eat wisely, and do four hours of cardio per day, I feel exactly the same as when I take 20mg of Prozac per day, (minus the side-effects.)  If I do two hours of cardio per day, I’m uncomfortably close to frustration overload 24/7, but I can survive.  Less, and things go downhill quickly about two months after my last dose.  I’m weird.  Don’t try this at home.  Besides, finding out how many hours of exercise it takes per day to be the best me possible is exactly as fun as it sounds.  So do what’s right for you.

The thing about Prozac is this:  It interferes with creativity, sex drive, and for some people, appetite.  In my case, no sex drive, (and I started taking it soon after I realized I even had a sex drive.)  If you don’t know your sexual identity yet, don’t take Prozac.  I was a late bloomer.  I thought boys were gross until I met my ex-husband at nineteen.  If anything, it decreases my appetite when I’m initially adjusting.  It also makes me extremely sleepy for the first few weeks.  Others become overeaters for the first time in their lives.  It’s mean like that.

I want to turn off my Muse-repelling force field known as Prozac so I can do some artwork and find out the rest of this melody that keeps haunting me.  I don’t have it as bad as some.  I can ignore the urge to create if there’s something I’d rather do.  The Muse is a gentle whisper in the night for me.  For some people, she’s also a bitch with handcuffs.  But they’re usually outstanding at what they do so it might be fair.  I’m not sure how much choice they have in the matter.  They’re probably too busy being awesome to care.

I’m feeling balanced again, thank goodness.  You’d think after years of coping with PTSD I wouldn’t get so freaked out every time I hit a rough patch.  Nope.  I freak out every fucking time.  I imagine it’s like being in a fire.  No matter how many times it happens, it’s always alarming.  Plus, I think my mind lets me keep most of those times in short term memory.  Yay brain.  I finally let M. help me adjust my drum kit.  It was noticeably leaning because I loosened something I regret, and it just happened.

I was still playing on them after a few adjustments (without fucking with the rack.)  Now that M. helped, I’m a bit blown away by how much difference it makes.  It was worth the kick in the nuts to my ego.  I got over myself immediately after I started playing.  I’m starting to get pretty good.  I’m almost confident enough to start creating my own beats.  I only lack the practice hours.  My stamina is better, my timing is my strongest skill, and I rarely drop sticks anymore.  The part on my fingers where I lost the skin before getting gloves is calloused, but it’s barely noticeable (compared to what strings do to fingertips.)

I’m so happy to be feeling better.  I got busted singing twice today, but I tend to do it constantly when I’m happy.  It’s almost as good as the relief I feel after passing a kidney stone.  It’s a shame they can’t bottle the post kidney stone feeling and sell it as a drug.  On second thought, maybe it’s a good thing you have to suffer intensely for a while before you get to experience it.  It makes it addiction-proof as fuck.  I just cracked myself up.

I’m off to finish deep cleaning the carpet while listening to the rest of Al Franken, Giant of the Senate from Audible.  I love him.  I probably look silly laughing for no apparent reason every few minutes, but it’s excellent.  It’s helping me cope, and teaching me a lot about politics (in a way that doesn’t make my eyes glaze over.)  I forgot how powerful humor can be in learning.  If you want my full attention, make me laugh.  It’s my favorite thing to do in the world.

 

The busboy’s coming!

I had a good day.  My shrink left me a message stating he sent me a 90-day refill of Prozac.  Yay!  I talked to my former section leader from my first permanent duty station in the Army.  She’s the first female leader I ever met.  My part of the conversation entailed explaining my decision to quit the VA.  The rest was her giving a brilliant lecture on common sense, followed by a few compliments to my intellect, chased further by utter disbelief in how one can be so smart and (ignorant) at the same time.

It made me sweat a little while Skyping.  I could easily stand before 45 and elaborately flip him the bird with a goofy grin on my face.  I couldn’t stand in front of my former SFC (Sergeant First Class) and do anything I knew was wrong, rude, or improper in any way.  I understand it, but not fully.  It’s based on respect, but it’s a particular type.  It’s bestowed with confidence, a bit of awe, and incredible loyalty.  Suffice to say, I’m not quitting the VA.  Instead, I’m going to make it safer for me to get care.  I purchased a handheld voice recorder.  I’ll bring it with me and use it when necessary.

I’m fairly sure once it’s seen the grapevine will spread the word, and I won’t need it any longer.  The vast majority of people who work there are not racists.  I only know of one and suspect another.  It pisses me off how just a few ignorant fucks can cause me so much grief.  My SFC reminded me of the POC wearing the uniform right now.  I don’t want any of them to have to put up with this shit when they return, especially if I can do something about it.  So I will.  I’m quite pleased about the refill.  I’d love to have my creativity restored, but avoiding severe episodes of depression is better.  No contest.

Do you know how hard it’s getting to tell people I know you?

I’m having a decent day.  I made a big decision.  I’ve decided not to seek medical care in the future.  As a service connected, disabled veteran, I’m entitled to health care at the VA Medical Center.  I’m also still on the health plan for my software company. (I no longer work there, but I still own 50%.)  I’ve never used it.  In the past, I’ve gotten all my care at the VA.  I’m no longer willing to put myself through the experience.  I’m hoping this will make the nightmares stop.  At least the VA nightmares.  I’m confident it will work as I usually have them the night before an appointment, or if I’m having an episode of depression.

When depressed, my mind recalls every terrifying or soul crushing experience from my life and plays them back like a really fucked up movie.  Good times.  All my life I’ve bent over backward to avoid stepping on others.  It’s my default, and so it shall remain.  I know I’m naive.  I don’t see it changing at this point.  I acquire more information, but my mind still processes thoughts from a compassionate viewpoint.  I value life.  It hurts to care.  But pain is the only negative consequence I’ve discovered.

Seeking medical care is a nightmare for me, every single time.  It’s illogical to subject myself to trauma when I have a choice.  I’m tired of the astonishing ignorance of some medical professionals, who in 2017, still believe African Americans don’t experience pain as strongly as Caucasians.  It taught me how to cope with physical pain intense enough to render me semi-conscious.  It taught me to be wary.  It taught me never to rely on medication I can’t purchase at a convenience store.  It proved my military service doesn’t count because I have a vagina and brown skin.  I’m no longer willing to enter such a hostile environment.

I realize I’m shortening my lifespan by this decision.  I have a week of medication remaining, both for depression and hypertension.  Eight days, to be exact.  Prozac has a long half-life.  It will stay in my system for a while, but as my body transitions, I’ll have the random brain zaps from quitting cold turkey.  Honestly, when I consider how long I’ve taken it, that’s getting off incredibly easy.  I know you’re not supposed to quit a beta blocker cold turkey, but oh well.  My body can handle it.  I’ve had hypertension since I was a child.  I sincerely believe it’s a physiological reaction to my environment.  It’s like White Coat Syndrome on steroids.  When I’m running, my blood pressure is lower than when I’m walking into the VA.  I eventually refused to have my blood pressure checked at the VA.  It’s like checking for a fever while in a sauna.

The positive changes will include a return to writing poetry and songs.  Prozac stifles creativity in a noticeable way.  It’s probably why a lot of famous artists and writers die from suicide.  The tortured artist is such an accurate term.  Creativity has a cost and usually exacts its toll in tears.  I entered a poetry contest when I was a Private (PFC) in the Army.  It was the first and last contest I entered.  I won first prize, and it deeply disappointed me.  It wasn’t my best poem, just my latest when I entered.  It wasn’t very good.  For it to get first place depressed the shit out of me.  My Commander was excited I won, and I was in The Army Times, and the newspaper at home.  I didn’t go to the ceremony in D.C.  I stopped writing altogether for a few years.

While on Prozac, it’s rare I’m inspired to write a poem.  I’m looking forward to being a tortured artist again.  At least it’s the type of torture I can endure.  I’m getting ready to go on vacation.  I’m in the planning stage (which usually lasts as long as the vacation.)  I probably enjoy the planning more than the vacation most times, but I’m aiming to have a lot of fun this time.  Off to the whiteboard.

#connection

It snowed all day and it’s still snowing now.  We had a brief reprieve, but it’s supposed to continue through tomorrow.  I love it.  It looks pretty through a window.  I went out in it very briefly to pick up a package at the office.  They haven’t plowed yet, so I went slowly and pumped my breaks.  I slid a little, but nothing startling.  I know how to drive in snowy weather.  The last I checked, there had been 71 car accidents, and that was 5 hours ago.  This happens every year.  The first few snowfalls cause massive amounts of fender benders, and then people remember that snow requires slowing down.

I got the gym to myself for the last 2 mornings.  The cute guy went swimming instead of weights.  I know you’re not supposed to lift every day to allow your body to heal, so I’m thinking he’ll be there tomorrow.  We’ll see.  I do like having the gym to myself, though.  I turn off all the TV’s that people leave on all night, (eyeroll).  Then I put on my headphones and rock out while I run.  I know they leak sound, but the treadmill probably drowns it out.  I don’t wear my Grado’s in the gym because they leak a lot.  I use my Audio Technica M50x’s because they have interchangeable velour ear cups.

My slip over studs for my running shoes turned out to be crap.  I lost half of the traction pegs the first time I used them.  I can get replacements, but I didn’t realize they were disposable.  Poor engineering.  The snow is too deep to run now, because I can’t see the ground, and that can be super dangerous.  I even tripped when going to get my package earlier.  The Voice was really good tonight.  I also liked the first 2 episodes of the new show with America Ferrera.  They showed a Force Awakens commercial.  Bonus.

I played hashtag games a few times, and noticed some that one of my followers was posting.  They were basically her admitting things about her upbringing that broke my heart.  Hashtag games can be a safe way to empty the ghosts out of a closet.  The overall goal is to be funny, but sometimes being honest is better.  I let her know that I was reading them, and that I could see that she was being honest, and sent her hugs.  She admitted it was mostly true, and put a link to her blog.  I went and read it.  It explained a lot of what she was tweeting.  I felt bad that I told her I hated her parents, because she lost her Dad at a young age.  I couldn’t apologize for it though, because it’s still true.

I saved the link after reading several entries.  She takes Prozac too.  She also mentioned having a sociopathic older sister.  I wanted to say hey I have a sociopathic older sister too!  But then I thought about it, and figured that it’s not something to high five over.  I stopped reading after that because it’s too close to sleep time, and I was afraid of coming across something that might trigger me.  One thing that seems to separate me from others with similar issues surrounding depression and childhood trauma, is how they react.  Heather reacted the way she did.  Everyone I have read about did too.  The promiscuity and drug abuse.  I don’t know why I never turned to either.  Maybe it’s because I’m autistic.  I’m glad I didn’t, of course.

It was nice to feel a connection with her.  She’s super funny in hashtag games.  On her blog too.  I’ll read the rest tomorrow.

 

Chemical Chaos

I tried to sleep again.  I hate PTSD.  The name doesn’t really cover it.  It should be called “Trying To Function While Existing In Your Own Private Hell”.  I’m so tired.  Nightmares are kicking my ass.  I’m afraid to try sleeping again.  I hate that I am so vulnerable when I’m asleep.  I can face down my fears when I’m awake, but while sleeping, I have no control.  I’m going to design an experiment.  I want to figure out how to control my mind when it’s asleep enough that I can redirect my dreams away from nightmares.  I’ll think on how to accomplish this.  Ironically, if I could sleep on it, I’d have a better chance at figuring out a solution.

I’m going to lower my dose of Prozac.  My next appointment is in December, so I’ll inform my psychiatrist of this change then.  He trusts me to suggest the proper dosage based on how I’m functioning.  It was my idea to increase it by 10 mg.  It worked really well for a few months.  The risky thing when increasing it to this level is how it effects me.  It’s truly bizarre.  If I stay with 20 mg’s I do fairly well, but it requires me to rigidly stick to a low carb diet, exercise daily, and avoid viewing anything with suspense.  While that sounds like a cinch, one migraine headache can completely derail me.  If I miss one day of exercise, or if I forget to eat, or lose too much sleep to nightmares, my chemical balance gets thrown off kilter.  It’s very noticeable to me.  It directly effects my ability to fend off the Depression Monster.

Switching to 30 mg gives me some leeway.  I can skip a run, or a meal.  I can go for a few days on very little sleep, and still manage to keep the Depression Monster at bay.  The risk, is that at 30 mg, suicidal ideation becomes a concern.  It’s wickedly strange.  It’s like my brain chemistry becomes too steady, which makes it far more vulnerable to the slightest onslaught of stress.  I’m always a bit back, observing while these changes take place.  I can’t seem to become inured to the process.  It blows my mind every single time.  I can barely comprehend what my brain chemistry is doing when I encounter the Depression Monster while on the 30 mg dosage for more than a month or two.  It’s illogical and surreal.

I think I tried the higher dose again because part of me was unwilling to believe such a small change in dosage could be fatal.  It’s hard to accept that being on the higher dose is like being suicidal without feeling it.  Without the pain and despair.  Until suddenly, one seemingly minor stressor rips away the mask and races me to the edge of the cliff.  It happens so quickly it frightens me.  I catch myself seriously contemplating suicide.  Formulating a plan in my mind with an odd sense of urgency.  Then when it passes, it’s obvious to me that my thoughts and plans were ridiculous.  It’s scary.

It’s not like feeling as if I’ve lost control.  It feels like I’m being rational, and making logical choices. That’s what scares me the most.  The inability to recognize the fact that my thoughts are betraying the shit out of me in real time.  The knowledge that a chemical reaction in my brain can so easily lead to my untimely death.  I’ve figured out how to prevent this from happening.  That was easy.  I simply never allow myself to act on any life changing decisions for 48 hours.  Logic saves me from tainted logic.

It bothered me a lot at first when I realized how much of ‘me’ is due to the chemical mixture in my brain.  Now I’ve accepted it.  After having surgery in the past, I noticed my tastes in food changed immediately afterward.  A permanent change.  It’s fascinating to me.  Whenever I’m put under anesthesia, when I recover, I try foods I previously rejected, and have found that I’ve liked some.  I hated any kind of melon all my life.  After surgery, I love it.  Especially watermelon.  I have to wonder what other traits are so easily altered by undergoing the administration of powerful chemicals.  I won’t be doing any experiments to find out, but I’m still curious.  Once I’ve been on the lower dosage for about a month or so, things will return to normal for me.

I do better in the winter.  I suspect it’s because allergens are less prevalent.  I also like the cold.  I’m always hot, so it’s nice to get relief.  It’s 36F right now, and windy.  I have a window cracked and am wearing pajamas and it feels great.  If only I could sleep.