Posts Tagged ‘luvox’

Things on my mind

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

1)      We were returning from a friend’s house this weekend and in the car realized that an ant from there (they had just noticed the beginnings of an invasion force) had stowed away in our bag.  We live around two hours away.  So it occurred to me, what would have happened to that ant if it had made it home?  What happens to an ant in isolation?  Would it feed itself?  Where would it live?  Would it attempt to build a new ant hill all by itself?  Would it just be lost without its peers?  I don’t know.

2)      I think I have some kind of crazy Mutant Virus.  I’ve been feeling generally unwell, and my glands have been swollen for at least a month now.  And I have confirmed this week that in the times I’m feeling especially ill/shaky/feverish, I do actually have a bit of a fever.  But it only happens sometimes, for an hour or two.  And the rest of the time my temperature goes back to totally normal.  What the heck is that??

3)      I had to help out my University-age sister this weekend, as she’s run out of credit and hasn’t yet found a summer job.  …Not because she’s irresponsible, just because student jobs are a little scarce, and she wasn’t able to find part-time work during the school year this year, so her cash situation is absurdly tight.  Our situation is not good either, but at least we still have some credit left.  My mother has mentioned that maybe someday my step-father will be willing to sell the house they’re in and move back to Canada.  It’s very close to the water, and worth a pile of cash as a result.  If they bought a pretty nice house here, all of our financial troubles would just vanish.  Just like that.  Poof.  Theirs, my sisters, and mine.  I can’t even imagine.  Damn, it would be amazing to be able to get on with our lives looking towards the future instead of paying off the past.  I sort of think it would be better in the long run anyway, since eventually one of them is bound to have some kind of medical problem, and taking advantage of the health care their taxes have been paying for would probably be a good idea.  I’m not sure there’s actually any chance of it happening, though.  I am trying not to get my hopes up.

4)      I have determined that if I am able to continue at my current rate, it will take about a month before I’m free of the Luvox.  A nice, long month of feeling sort of crappy, if this week is any indication.  Just right on that line of crappiness where it is very crappy, but not yet so crappy as to be too crappy to continue.  Good times.

5)      When we moved in there were some…puppy-related stains…on the living room carpet.  After several cleansing attempts, I ended up dousing them solidly with enzyme-loaded pet stain and smell remover.  Very effective. …Except that the resulting moisture left them smelling kind of musty instead.  Noticeable again now that the windows are open and there’s a breeze blowing across them from time to time.  So a couple of days ago, I doused them with anti-mould spray as well.  …Except the dampness of the anti-mould spray seems to be generating more mould.  How is that even possible?  It’s like soap getting dirty.

6)      I haven’t been feeling especially internet-inclined of late, and I feel a little guilty for not being more up-to-date on everyone’s happenings.  Also, I’m craving toast.

7)      The cat pictured in yesterday’s guitar case has decided that I have been at the computer too long now, and is attempting to remove me by force.

8 )      “…I don’t wanna miss a single thing you do…tonight.”

Reaching

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

In research news, if you ever happen to meet me in person and I am determinedly reaching up and to the right, this is why.

Sometimes I cheat in writing here.  What comes out here is mostly the product of my best hours.  If I am feeling inspired and energized a little, I can write here easily.  If I know that it’s been a rougher stretch, I will most often try to find the best little window I can and force myself to write then.  I’m trying to get to it at least a few times a week. …But there are days, like today, when the self-imposed deadline is steamrollering towards me and I would like to politely decline its invitation to run me over.

Today was not a particularly happy day.  The last few haven’t been.  I have come to accept this as my current normal, but truth be told, I don’t think it’s even really coming from me.  I think it may have a lot more to do with the roller coaster of Luvox dosage I’ve been on recently.  I know the medication changes affect me like crazy.  So things are going to be a little rocky for a while.

It’s tough to write in these moments, though, because all I want to do is curl up somewhere protected and sit there until I feel better.  I want to lie on the couch, and pull a blanket over me, and hug my cat (who is very good at hugging).  Either that or hug my blanket and pull a cat over me.  That sounds good too.

The most comfortable place he could find right then, apparently.

I do not like my psychiatrist.  His solution to my super-sensitivity to the Luvox, by the way, is to just keep taking it forever.  This medication that makes me sleepy, and sometimes queasy, and makes my emotions volatile, and does not help things at all.  I told him I will be trying again to wean off.  Then we proceeded to his complete lack of understanding that sometimes it takes me a while to work myself up to taking care of stressful things (like the aforementioned paperwork), or that when I’ve extended myself to do them anyway, I sometimes need some stress-free time to recover.

The psychologist I used to work with was totally different.  I really felt like she understood where I was coming from, and had compassion for the challenges I was facing.  I had to write her this year to ask for a tax receipt.  I felt really bad about it because it would be extra work she wasn’t paid for, and had I known better I could have kept the original receipts she gave me.  I was nervous that she would be put out by my asking.  This is the first paragraph of what she wrote back to me:

You see, Mister Psychiatrist?  This makes me feel better.  Take notes.

My psychiatrist is…not like that.  We ended the session with him telling me that he will not agree to help me get the disability reimbursement I was hoping for, and making me feel (unintentionally, I’m sure) like a complete idiot for asking.  I was hesitant to ask, but apparently lots of people with extended depression are able to claim it.  The criteria do mention some crazy low-functioning examples, but also things like taking a really long time compared to regular people to make decisions, or follow through on goals.  It took me a freaking hour a few months ago just to change my cats’ water.  That sounds like a long time to me.  So I figured I was silly to be worrying that he would make me feel dumb for asking.  I figured it was one of those times like the e-mail to my psychologist.  Nope.  He sort of laughed at me.  I left the office in tears.

So no, today has not been a good day.  And I am not always great these days at shaking off the bad stuff to focus on the good.  It sort of clings to me like negative emotion plastic wrap.  But not the regular cling wrap stuff that only forms little negative emotion balls with itself.  The press and seal stuff, where you can turn dishes upside-down and all the sadness won’t fall out.  Like that.

I once read a quote from a book by Margaret Attwood that went

“’Good egg,’ he says. Small things like good eggs delight him, small things like bad eggs depress him. He’s easy to please, but difficult to protect.”

I feel like this sums me up pretty well.  I get really and truly pleased by small fortunes, and in a stress and judgment-free world, I would be the sunniest person you’d ever meet.  …But it is a very delicate, innocent, vulnerable happiness.  In a sensitive moment, it doesn’t take much for me to be totally derailed.  I am derailed at the moment.

Derailed to the left.

Like Cookie Monster, but with less alphabet and more yowling

Monday, April 19th, 2010

I’m not much in the mode of writing today.  I just got the news that despite the many hoops I’ve been jumping through, my supplemental insurance from work still says they will not cover the $700 claim that I’ve been trying to get processed.  You see, they lost the doctor’s referral (or I ate it on the way to the mailbox, because I have a photocopy of the thing in with everything else, and it damn well should have been in the envelope then), and then when I sent them another my coverage had already expired so they no longer want to honour it, and the many phone calls back and forth don’t seem to have changed that.  And the hoops were not high enough.  And only some of them were on fire.  I’m trying to go through my work representative now instead.  Fingers are crossed, but I still feel a bit like crap run over.

It’s so annoying how the world doesn’t grind to a screeching halt and slowly crawl along with you when you’re off on medical leave.  How inconsiderate.  A week or two goes by in a heartbeat for me right now, and depending on the week or two it just isn’t time for me to have received their rejection letter, gone to the doctor to get a replacement form, and had the new form in to them to meet their (not in any way communicated to me, by the way) guidelines.  This rankles on all of my usually-hyper-responsible nerves, but it is true.   I couldn’t do it.  I am trying on one level to learn that it’s okay to recognize and accept that.  But on other levels, I’m getting kicked with $700 fines.   I was asleep.  I didn’t want to be.  I didn’t mean to be.  But I was.  And now it sucks.

I also have my suspicions that today is a “missed dose” day in the ongoing blind trial to get me off the Luvox.  Some days I get a dose and some days I don’t, and I’m not supposed to know which is which.  And not knowing is supposed to mean that my body won’t react at all when it’s gone because I’m taking a small enough dose that no normal human being should respond to the loss of it.  …Except that so far, my body has reacted overwhelmingly and dramatically every time.  That’s why we’ve been repeating the process again over the last week and a half.  Because it couldn’t possibly be more than coincidence, right?  I couldn’t possibly be THAT sensitive (clearly these doctors have not known me long enough).  I won’t know for sure which days I was going through withdrawal until Wednesday, but there have been some days in this stretch during which for a 24 hour period I turned into a raging-psycho-sadness-monster, and my husband was afraid to ask me to pass the salt lest I bite of his head and cry into the resulting crater.  I’m betting those were the ones.

Psycho Raging Sadness captured as art

Ah well.  At the very least, the doctors will have no choice but to believe it.  Yes.  I am a freak.  I already told you that.  Can you help me with my withdrawals now??

Traumatized, I tell you.

Friday, March 26th, 2010

So the p-doc now thinks that my body was so traumatized by the Effexor withdrawal I went through last year that now the signal of lowering my dosage of SSRI is triggering it to go bat shit crazy all on its own.  So it’s not the Luvox.  It is me.  My own sweet body, making me dizzy and nauseous, and plummeting levels of certain chemicals, and getting my brain to electrocute me.  Great.

I’m not sure how much I entirely buy it yet (he’s suggested some things to try in order to prove or disprove it).  I’m also not entirely sure which verdict I’m pulling for.  Would feel like a bit of an idiot if it’s my own chemistry sabotaging me and putting me through all of this.  But on the plus side, I might be able to get clear of the Luvox more easily.  And it’s the option that doesn’t involve me vomiting all day as a result of the testing.  Also, I would have the MOST POWERFUL BRAIN EVER.  Which is kind of cool on its own.

But damn, if it can affect my neurotransmitter levels that strongly, then somebody tell me what I need to do to kick this whole depression thing and just get my brain doing that for me instead.  Also, I would like some weight loss.  And x-ray eyes.

Had another night of crappy sleep last night combined with my now-patented 4 or 5 am awakening.  I literally let out a “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me” today when the morning alarm went off.  And I was still fully awake to hear it.  This says something, as unless I am driving or playing video games, I am not naturally a big swearer.  I say scathing things, like “crap” and “drat.”  I reserve the right to moan and whine about the frequent awakening a little, as I do not have babies yet.  I’m sure all of the new moms are rolling their eyes a little, but can probably sympathize.

(except that if you’ll read above, I’ve patented it now.  So you’ll owe me.)

The Wellbutrin continues to make a positive contribution aside from the sleep thing.  According to my mind, this is apparently cause for much celebration, followed by an instant of panic that I may be put back to work, followed by some worrying about trying to deal with that side of things and the decisions surrounding it, followed by the rationalization that if it causes so much panic still I’m probably not yet well enough to go back, followed by a moment of relief, followed by another moment of panic that they might send me anyway, followed by lunch.

Mmmm.  Lunch.

What’s so funny?

Friday, March 19th, 2010

So the need for coffee in my life has clearly won out over the desire to change medications during the withdrawal process.  Unfortunately the new quarter dose of Luvox is starting to make me sleepy again.  The brain-zapping seems to have mostly petered out for the moment, though, so I can start weaning off again.  I think this time I’m going to crush the pills and do the dissolving-in-juice thing so that I can taper off in extra minuscule amounts.

Not feeling especially inspired to write at the moment.  I’ve been doing better.  My therapist has had me working on tending to and eliminating ANY feeling of sadness/anxiety/upset that comes up.  In trying to cope for so long on my own, I’ve become a master of distraction, and shoving things down, and ignoring them until they fade away a little.  If I don’t actually resolve them, they stick around forever, though.  Just in subtle, insidious ways.  They wear away at my self-image, or provide ammunition for internal voices that I don’t want getting any stronger.  It just always seemed like there were SO many little upsets in the course of each day that I couldn’t possibly be expected to take the time to get myself feeling peachy about them all.  Apparently I could.  And I am.  So I’ll try.

Seriously though, fully identifying and resolving every little tight feeling in my stomach is a bit of a tall order.  Sometimes a disproportionately lengthy process too.  Worth it, though, if it’s actually possible to live without daily feelings of anxiety or worry or sadness that are anything more than brief or transient.

And of course, like everything else that’s tasked to me, I feel compelled to fully master this as quickly as possible, and come back next week an entirely new person able to instantly identify and eliminate any potentially unpleasant emotions.  Because I’m like that.  This is why my therapist laughs at me.

In Which I Use Several Links and Some Pudding

Monday, March 15th, 2010

So I experienced the first of the return of the Luvox-related fatigue and excessive sleeping yesterday afternoon.  The dream it inspired involved a can of white pudding under my mother’s Christmas tree with a big label across the front that said “YOUR GAY.”  Yes.  Spelled just like that.

Despite its promising beginnings, the end of yesterday was not so much worthy/vital/take-on-the-world as it was zappy/queasy/fall-to-pieces.  I’ll try taking my Luvox chunks in the mornings instead of in the evenings in case it’s working its way out of my system too quickly and that was part of the problem.  There’s definitely something off with my metabolism rate.

Got the last of this round of self-help books in the mail yesterday.  Won’t likely get to it for a while, but I cheated and flipped ahead to the bullet points.  It says that the brain needs sunlight to trigger serotonin production.  Who knew?  This could also explain my grumpy husband with the vitamin D deficiency.  May begin briefly walking together in the mornings once the skies are less grey.  Will definitely try to baste myself with sunlight whenever possible.  At the very least I figure I can roll myself outside and be miserable there.

My family doctor did recommend light therapy at my last appointment.  It’s mostly for seasonal depressives, but it seems to be some help for us regular tenacious year-round saddies as well.  They make special medically-approved light boxes designed to help regulate mood when you sit close to them for 30 minutes to an hour a day.  So far it seems that the only products that aren’t super scamy (there are some guidelines that the things need to meet in order to actually be helpful, and holy crap was there a lot out there that didn’t fit them at all) run around $239 – $269, which is enough that I can’t make a snap decision on it.  Does seem like a very passive way to get better, though.  …Once you discount the minimal risk of  “headaches, eye irritation (itching or stinging), skin irritation, and nausea.”  But hey, nobody’s perfect, and as far as I know at least this one doesn’t come with MISFIRES IN MY BRAIN.  Not that I feel strongly about that or anything.

In conclusion, light good, husband grumpy, pudding may or may not be sexually ambiguous.

They say that shopping really does produce an addictive chemical reaction.

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Have decided to be brave and/or foolish and try taking about a quarter pill of Luvox for now.  It doesn’t seem to be eliminating the physical yuckiness so far, but it is taking the edge off, and I can deal with that.  I figure it is worth the risk to try it for at least a little while.  …Provided that the physical symptoms don’t worsen, that is.  If I end up feeling back where I was with the Effexor I will be sprinting for that pill bottle.  A quarter pill is still much more than I’ve been taking, but not as much of a setback as a full one would be, if I can get it to work.  If the symptoms don’t fully go away, then I can always try something else.

On the plus side, for some unknown reason I am feeling inexplicably fantastic today (well, except for the nausea, and feeling like my head is being compressed a few inches, but that’s small potatoes these days).  Emotionally, I got out of bed this morning feeling like a worthy and vital person, ready to take on the world.  I did try to take a few minutes when I first woke up to do my visualization stuff (energy going in with the breath, and clearing out some of the built-up crud and blockages as it shot back out.  …Which isn’t exactly the level that the book is getting at, but is a basic thought that seemed helpful at the time).  If that had anything to do with the recharge I will definitely be trying it again.  Maybe it’s the Wellbutrin starting to kick in?  Maybe that I went shopping yesterday before the nausea got really bad (Mmmm.  Shopping high.)?  Maybe just a combination, but whatever it is, I plan to enjoy it fully while it lasts.  …And try not to be too disappointed if it goes away.

Also, my cat is demonic.

Oooo...Look at me...I am so evil...

Oooo....Feed me kibble....Oooo

Not Entertaining

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Maybe just skip this post if you want to.  Go read about ants or black outs or Russian search terms again.  Or maybe just the first part of that.

I’m down to a tiny little daily lump of Luvox now, but the  brain shivers appear to be getting worse.  Much worse.  Very, very nauseatingly worse.  I am now in the process of struggling to accept that I may have to begin taking a much higher dosage again and start the whole process over even more slowly once my system normals out.  It’s already been a month.  It’s supposed to take much less than that for people who have been taking WAY higher doses of medications for a much longer period of time.  The dose I started with when I began my very gradual reduction is the level that people are supposed to be okay with stopping cold turkey.  And of course, there’s that lovely added cherry that my p-doc flat out told me that people “never” have withdrawal symptoms with Luvox, unless they’re taking a very high dose or have been on it for a very long time…And even then only if they stop suddenly.  “I mean, this is medicine, so you could be the first, I guess.”  That is actually what he said.  Then he read me a paragraph from the official compendium of psychiatric medications describing what discontinuation syndrome is, and how you can only get it if you are taking a high dose of meds and stop cold turkey.

On the plus side, that grey and numbed out, going-through-the-motions feeling that I mentioned a few days ago?  Apparently that’s a pretty common side effect of this too.  That’s good.  It was weird.

I feel very lost right now, and absolutely trapped between a number of truly bad possibilities.  If I try to just tough it out, the verdict seems to be that I could be stuck with the withdrawal symptoms for anywhere from one week to several months.  And given my history, I wouldn’t be banking on my being anywhere near the one week side of that.  In fact, given my history, I would probably be more likely to break through the barriers and set a new record for long-term effects.  This is not an option.  The physical symptoms are getting steadily worse, and I have been where they lead before.  I know how my body responded the last time.  It was Hell.  Pure, unadulterated Hell.  I’m not sure that I could survive that for more than a week.  Even that week itself would be torturous.  True, there is a chance that it wouldn’t get as bad this time, but seeing as it’s nowhere near as strong at the moment, and I already sort of want to put myself in a coma to avoid the sensation, I’m not willing to take that risk.

So that leaves taking more meds.  But how much?  The safest option for avoiding those physical complications would be to start over completely; take my pill again until things balanced out, and then go at it over a period of….what?  Several months, maybe?  Longer?  Clearly this time was WAY too fast for my particular chemistry.  But taking the Luvox again means being on the Luvox again.  The Luvox that made me spend all day every day either sleeping or actively fighting to keep from sleeping, and made me more depressed, and took away my enjoyment from activities.  Do I really want to commit myself to an extended period of that?  And for sure then I know I won’t be making any progress towards getting better for months.  Additionally, as much as the latest phase of withdrawal gets physically torturous, the previous stage was equally torturous on an emotional level.  Remember that post a while back where I mentioned wanting to smash my head through a window in such a way as to embed as many shards as possible?  Tortuous like that.  I feel like repeating this process over a period of months just means that I might be drawing out that insanity.  And the only thing that really kept me going this time was knowing that in a week or two it should end.

I could try taking some Luvox, but less.  I worry that this would just be the worst of both worlds, though.  The last time this happened, the physical symptoms didn’t respond for a number of days after taking an additional dose of the meds.  So I wouldn’t know for a few days whether the lesser pill was doing anything, and if it really does continue to get worse, those few days could feel like an eternity.  I cannot tell you how scary it is to even consider having to survive a few days of that.  And even if the lower dose eases the symptoms somewhat, it might not be enough to make them go away.  At which point I still have to start fresh with a higher dose, I will just have delayed the process and caused myself extreme discomfort for an extra couple weeks.

I could try taking Prozac instead.  Some people say it’s easier to wean off of.  I still went pretty emotionally crazy when my Prozac dose went down, though, and my pdoc said that he’s encountered people who had trouble getting off Prozac sometimes (in contrast to the Luvox.  Which is symptom-free, apparently).  I’m not sure what dose of Prozac would be equivalent to the amount of Luvox I was taking either, and I wouldn’t want to undercut it or overcut it by too much (the Luvox dose was 50mg.  The starting dose of Prozac was 10 or 20).  I think this may be the current front-runner.  It still means that I will be condemning myself to months of extreme fatigue and horrible anxiety, though (because Prozac and I get along just that well).  And potentially an additional awful transition period and whole new batch of extra side effects from starting new meds.

So far I have dealt with this dilemma with some grade-A swearing and a well thought-out crying fit.  I don’t want to sign up to lose months of my life again.  I was just barely starting to get some tiny shreds of life back.  I feel a little like a soldier who has finished his tour of duty only to have the plane home turn around and take him back for another four years.  I am staring down the single worst weeks of my life (and I had some doozies before this), and signing up to potentially go through them all over again.

And my psychiatrist?  I called.  He’s on vacation this week.

To Whom It May Concern

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Dear Body,

Click, click, click, click.  I get it.  We are strange, and you hate medications.  You make noises when I blink.  Message received.  Please stop now.

Hives are only fun when they are on T.V. and full of bees.

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

So I am now quite officially a total oddity (which yes, we all already knew…).  My p-doc yesterday told me that he has never, ever, in his entire long career, heard of anyone having any withdrawal effects when discontinuing Luvox, unless they were taking high doses for a very long period of time and then stopped very suddenly.  I was taking the lowest dose.  I took it for a month.  I have discontinued as gradually as humanly possible.  I was shaving edges off the pills!

In addition to the crazy emotional sensitivity, and extended sobbing fits, and calming thoughts of suicide, and dizziness, and nausea, and desiccated-head-feeling, I am having the metallic twang sound again today sometimes when I blink (Which as nuts as it sounds is actually a relatively common side effect in cases of bad discontinuation syndrome.  So the internets told me when I thought for damn sure I must have been losing it).  I couldn’t make that shit up if I tried.

I am a freak of nature.  Document me.

Historically, as yesterday, any well thought-out plans (or partially thought out plans, or any plans at all, really) tend to go promptly out the window when I am actually sitting in my psychiatrist’s office.  I get the impression that his career has made him very adept at trying to keep control of a situation, and guide people where he needs them to go.  I can understand that.  In terms of severely mental ill people, I am a roll in the park with fuzzy rabbits.  Tough habit to break though, I think.

At any rate, I am not now taking a break from the medications, or waiting until I have weaned off of the Luvox fully before adding anything to the mix.  He tossed me a sample bottle of name brand Wellbutrin.  I took one today since it isn’t supposed to interact with the little Luvox pebbles I’m still working on.  Now we get to wait and see if I break out in hives.  The hope is that the whole period of time when my skin COULD NOT HANDLE ANYTHING TOUCHING ME was more of a reaction to the fillers, colouring, etc. in the generic brand pills than to the medication itself.  Worth a try.  Things did seem better on the Wellbutrin.  I can’t bring myself to get my hopes up anymore, but it would indeed be pleasant if this worked out.

Next step after this is looking into mood stabilizers instead of antidepressants.  My p-doc broached this subject by out of nowhere asking me if I ever get high.

And yes, my brain interpreted that question in probably exactly the way that you are now.

High like manic, he meant.  High like manic.

That’s the part where you think that you’re great and get an over-inflated sense of your own capabilities and feel unstoppable and smart and creative and wise and sociable, right?  No.  No I don’t think so.  …And can we go back to that part where I thought you were asking about drug use?  Because that’s going to eat me up for a while.