Thursday, April 28, 2011

42. Deep breaths.

Gah, alright.  This blog is a bit personal, but hey.  I trust you all to "do no harm".
So in my gradual weaning off the Klonopin (the anti-seizure, tranquilizing drug that had been "easing" my nerve deal), I have encountered, er, difficulties at each stage.  Both physiological and psychological hiccups. 
Physiologically, each time I cut back, I enjoy multiple sequential sleepless restless nights, followed by several days of general jitteriness and creepy drug withdrawal feelings.
Psychologically, it's a whole horror show inside my head.  First, not sleeping, as we have learned, makes me emotionally labile.  Add that to feeling jittery, and my need to attribute this jitteriness to something actually happening in my life, and I am practically seeking out things that perhaps ordinarily would upset me, and assuming that's why I'm jittery and antsy and otherwise edgy/irritable.  For example, last night we had our annual HOA meeting.  Husband is the President of the board, making me First Lady, and requiring my presence.  Booo.  These meetings are just an opportunity for home owners to show up and yell about this or that, hear a satisfactory answer, then repeat themselves ad nauseum until eventually, the meeting is adjourned.  Not excited about it.  Feeling generally meh about it, but turning into some bigger deal than it needs to be in my head, because I am already in like, junkie medication withdrawal and feel like poop.
But then, I get there, and although there was one brief moment with several people yelling at once about the inefficient snow removal we experienced this past winter where I wanted to die, it really wasn't too bad.  I practiced self-calm techniques.  Which for me, are not some highly sophisticated technique of relaxation, or cognitive behavioral therapy of some kind.  They involve seeking out the humor in the situation (perhaps by judging others in my head, yes, I admit it), and realizing that eventually this meeting will be over, and I can share my funny thoughts with my neighbors later.  So, the table with all the yelling Grumpy Gills, suddenly became known to me as "the HumDrum-V", whereas the table I sat at (with the board members) was "the Fun-V".  This is from Iron Man, a pun about the Hum-Vs they were riding in.  Hah hah hhhah.
But back to more of what else is going on in my head.  I'm completely off the Klonopin as of two nights ago.  I've been hoping to be able to do this for MONTHS.  What's stopped me?  Fear.  Fear that if I stop, I'll feel worse and have to get back on.  Fear of what that might mean if I do feel worse, will I ever fucking just get better?  But you know, it hasn't been too bad.  At least, it's better than it was this time last year.  And for as incredibly impatient as I am, calculating recovery time in months or seasons is almost offensive an idea.  But, it's the only measurement in which I can see an improvement, so I have to accept it.  I would've loved to have said, yeah, just the other day my nerves were doing this crazy weird numb/tingly thing and it was kinda annoying, but this week it's completely gone and I feel awesome.  Instead, I'm stuck with, last April I had a spinal tap and my brain leaked fluid for a week.  I feel better than that now.  Even slightly better is that, last July I said I'd be OK if this was as good as it got for me, because at least I feel better than I did two months ago, and I feel better now than I did in July.  I can EVEN say that I feel better now than I did in March.  And that's almost miraculous.
And somehow, through all this crap, I can still enjoy a nice puffy cloud in the sky.

So, please, keep your fingers crossed I make it through this week on sub-par sleep without totally flipping out.  And that I don't start to feel worse.  And that I can adjust to life without the constant sedation I've experienced the last 13 months.  And, please, be impressed that I have made all these incredible observations about myself and shared them all with you (self-mocking tone there).


  1. Forty two. An interesting number; it is the result of multiplying 6 x 9 ... in base 13, of course. And it is known as the answer to the meaning of life, existence, and of course, the universe. Another little known factoid: of two physical constants in the universe, the speed of light and the diameter of a proton, the time it takes for light to cross the diameter of a proton is 10 to the minus 42 seconds. Another way to read your title is 42 Deep Breathes. Take each one of them mindfully and see if it doesn't relax you.

  2. Well, the meaning of life being 42 is according to Douglas Adams. It's not even a prime number, so it can't be that special (no offense intended, the artist formerly known as Badger).

    I'm glad that you're off of that garbage. Putting chemicals in your body should only be done for recreation; being dependent upon them is worse than living with your parents as an adult. Godspeed. I believe in you.

  3. Don't ridicule a number simply because it's not "prime". It (as all numbers) have interest for many reasons. It was especially meaningful here. So, infidel, repent!

  4. Yikes! I'm not even sure what words to sling to get into the middle of all that. You surely do attract them, CramCake.

  5. i second okatb's advice-take deep breaths. breathing changes the brain and body chemistry, mindful breathing even more so. i've also found that mindful breathing helps me to remember that we have a choice about how much energy we expend on any give event. very helpful in times of little sleep!
    all that aside, i know you can do this, and do it with grace and ease.
    we have your back.

  6. A lesson learned here: never challenge a Mathematician about numbers. Also, never get involved in a land war in Asia. And most importantly, never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line.
    And thanks to all, for having my back. XO

  7. Oh, good. She doesn't get eaten by the eels at this time.

  8. Sorry such a young girl (from my point of view) as you have to be on so many drugs. Some people are telling you to get off and stay off, but since I don't the nature of your problems, whether they're physiological or psychologcal, I'd rather give you, and your doctors, the benefit of a doubt. If it's the latter, you shouldn't be on drugs at all. I left out "psychiatriac", which falls into the first catagory, but is often confused for the second. My problems with mind-altering drugs (the prescribed kind) is this: even if they change your personality for the better, is that the real "you"? I don't know. If someone feels better on a certain medication, who am I to tell them otherwise?

    I think I need a drug to cure my long-windedness.

  9. @Kirk - Thanks. It's sort of a long story, but I don't like the Klonopin because it affects my short-term memory, and because it's a tangible representation that I have/had something weirdly wrong with me. So by weaning off (which has been given the green light by my docs), I hope to just not to be physiologically and psychologically dependent on it anymore. Both as an emotional crutch, and by getting off it I can start to see that I'm feeling better without it (meaning I'm starting to recover for real). I don't know how it's affected my personality other than to chillax me and make me ditzy. Physiologically, it worked to take the edge off the incessant tingling. Now that that's starting to calm down, I'd rather not be on something for it. So to sum up, I want to get off to see how my body is doing on it's own, as a test to see if this stupid nerve thing is resolving for real. The jury is still out.

  10. Awesome insights. So sorry you need to deal with such a terrible thing as an HOA. Ugh.

    But best of luck keeping off. I never felt as great as when I weaned myself off the Zoloft crutch. Physiologically better for me, but Psychologically empowering (though at times still daunting) to know the control is mine.

  11. @Ricky - thanks. Yes, the HOA is truly a drag. Fortunately, my personal obligation as First Lady is pretty limited.
    And yes, both empowering and daunting to be "on one's own".