Tag Archives: insomnia

Brain Drain

17 Sep

That point in the night

when you want to say something

right but you’re too tired.

A haiku’s too hard

when your brain’s got no more cards

to play but madness.

A frigid, simple

rhyme will take no more time than

deadened syllables.

Headaches

5 Aug

It’s too late a morning for what I’d planned,

hours of dream-thrashing that left me sweaty

what I wake up to, instead of the cool and metal sheen of dawn.

The shrunk-down woken-up figures of odd dreams and bad memories

wrestle round my neuron junctions, pulling at threads

and threatening connections that would sooner be left alone.

I re-heat the coffee and guzzle it down like magic,

hoping to thrust my mind through enough caffeination

to rid me of this rough-delivered headache

and release me, forgetting and free.

Strange Sleep

8 Apr

My brain is a very weird place. Like, very, very, very weird. Possibly also still a bit scrambled right now, seeing how I haven’t downed any coffee yet this morning. But hey. We’ll deal with it.

So, how weird is my brain? Well, when not deciding that I was going to be awake at weird hours and then sleep in a very nonsensical pattern last night, my brain was off in who-knows-what-land spinning incredibly odd dreams. Usually, I’m able to figure out what the stimulus was when I have particularly strange sleephaunts. An advertisement I saw on the Metro, something a friend said, a line from a book…

Yeah. Not so much this time.

I mean, my roommate and I did watch the lump of slap-happy confusion that is Zoolander last night, so maybe that was the impetus for my brain’s thinking that ooh! ooh! it could come up with absolute ridiculousness too!

What was last night’s brand of weirdness? Well, all within less than eight hours of shut-eye, I lived through a Star Trek-themed nightmare (neither Spock nor Captain Picard graced my dream with his presence, though) that was also slightly Monster’s Inc.-esque; I was Disney’s Pocahontas in an alternative history where I got to just hang out with John Smith and tell him he was boring; I was told via phone that the head of the tribe had died and so I (still Pocahontas) had to lead a group of other Native American aristocracy through a mine field where we were being attacked by flying frisbee-ish weapon technology; still as Pocahontas, I fought Malfoy from the Harry Potter books; and then in a completely different dream sequence, I was nanny to the Obama family’s young daughter (who in my dream was like 3 and a very unruly child); that dream somehow involved reality that was hybridized with video game graphics and clicking; and then finally that dream somehow connected back to the Pocahonatas one and the Chinese were going to try to attack through plants or something and I had $25 million that came from a fraud transaction and thus couldn’t gamble but it wasn’t my fault…

You all as lost as I am by now? Geez. There’s a reason I wake up exhausted…

Any of you lovely readers have a comparatively weird night? Hope you all managed a more restful pre-work Tuesday morning.

Brains are weeeeeird, man.

Ahem. I’m going to go drink some coffee now…

Trying To Manage Your Depression: Caution, May Cause Side Effects

23 Mar

Guys, depression is hard. Really really really hard. Obviously. That’s why it’s called depression. But you know what? I’ve been through five years of therapy, gone through intensive treatment three times, come to understand the underlying mindsets I needed to challenge, modified my thinking patterns, built up a support network, tried to prioritize what makes me happy, worked with psychiatrist after psychiatrist to find a medication regimen that works well for me and stuck to each of them in turn, held myself together long enough to graduate from college and actively work every day to keep myself from falling apart…

And depression is still really, really fucking hard.

I’m not even talking about the symptoms of depression, either. In terms of mood, I’m doing *relatively* well. I’m not entirely crippled by sadness. I don’t hate myself. I can understand ways in which the shittiness I do still occasionally feel might eventually get better… That’s all cool. But… just trying to be a normal, healthy, functioning person. That’s really fucking hard.

My impression is that being a normal, healthy, functioning person is already really fucking hard even when you don’t have an underlying mental illness trying to drag you back into a mental hell. But then, when you do have an underlying mental illness, all the extra things you have to do just make it that much harder. For example, I was on an antidepressant called Effexor for a little over a year. Before that, my list o’ pills that I’ve taken and since developed tolerance to (it’s like when an addict develops tolerance to a substance and needs more and more of it to feel the same effects, except now we’re talking actual legit healthy-making-medication that has a dosage you can’t exceed) has included Celexa, Zoloft, Prozac, and Abilify. Celexa was beautiful but wore off over the course of a year and a half to the point that it was basically like I wasn’t even on an antidepressant, Zoloft helped decrease my anxiety but obviously wasn’t working all that well, since I kinda attempted suicide on it, a short-term psychiatrist started me on Prozac improperly and I hated it and its somnolence side effect with a fiery passion (I hear it works well for some people, though), and Abilify I was taking as a sort of anti-anxiety med and antidepressant “booster” and had to stop cold when it started costing $700 a month because of insurance roll over. Yeah. The restless leg syndrome I had for months afterwards as a withdrawal symptom was lovely.

Ahem. So. Now that brings us to Effexor. Mind you, these are all drugs I’ve been taking to try to just be a normal fucking person with normal fucking problems instead of a depressed person with suicidal problems. I’m not searching for Nirvana here.

Now, unbeknownst to me when I started it, apparently Effexor has *super duper fun* withdrawal effects! And the shortest half life of like any antidepressant ever! Which means if you go 5 hours without taking it – heavens forbid an entire day – you’re fucked. We’re talking light-headedness, nausea, dizziness, disorientation, ALL THE DEPRESSION, brain shocks (it’s like your brain is being electrocuted and the whole world jolts) and oh yeah, SEIZURES. Seriously, it’s actually the worst. Like, ask the internet. Ask a fucking psychiatrist. Effexor withdrawal is universally recognized in the mental health world as one of the worst things to ever go through.

Good thing there were manufacturer recalls! And so now the medication is forever on backorder! Which means that even when I bring my prescription from the psych in a week ahead of time, it’s still not refilled by the time I’ve run out. Every. fucking. month.

Yeah. The first week I had to go without Effexor because of a refill issue and was subsequently bedridden with nausea and unable to even walk has been firmly and terrifyingly imprinted in my mind. And so when I’d take precautions and order a refill early (but not too early, because otherwise insurance would be like, uh, we just filled this, no, you can’t have more; that’s always fun timing to figure out) and I’d still be faced with a day or so of having to go without it, I eventually got a backup stock because I was sick of having a breakdown in front of the Target pharmacy every month. Like, normal people don’t have to go through hell like this! Yeah, sure, sometimes they have to go through hell, but it’s normal hell. It’s not the hell of having tried to goddamn take care of yourself and keep up on your meds, only to have other factors force you into bedridden brain malfunction.

Over time, my body did its thing and built up tolerance to Effexor, too, and once I realized I was spending the end of every day crying in a heap on my dorm room floor, I decided that hey, maaaaybe I should talk to my psychiatrist about finding another med that’d work better. Plus then, I could switch to something else and not worry about Effexor withdrawal hell every month.

Cue Cymbalta. Cymbalta’s an SNRI, just like Effexor, so it works on the same neural receptors and everything, which means that as long as you get the cross titration right, you don’t go through the Effexor withdrawal effects while you’re switching. And Cymbalta supposedly doesn’t have those withdrawal effects, so, that was a plus.

Yippee! Freedom! Now I can be a normal healthy person! Right?

Wrong.

So, I’m still in the process of switching from Effexor to Cymbalta. I went down in stages from 225 mgs of Effexor (yup, that’s a big fun dose, isn’t it?) to 75 mgs, and then stepped up through 30 mgs to 60 mgs of Cymbalta.

Aaaand still started going through Effexor withdrawal.

Cue 90 mgs of Cymbalta. Actually, cue 60 mg prescription + 30 mg prescription, because they don’t fucking make a 90 mg capsule of the generic, which means I have to pay twice as much for one month’s worth of pills. Wooo. So now I have to double my expenses every month just to keep myself healthy. Fun.

Except I’m not even fucking healthy. I’m trying to be, but I’m not. Turns out, insomnia is a side effect of Cymbalta. I’m already prone to insomnia, which means that Cymbalta hits me hard in that area. I haven’t slept for the past three days. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I got approximately six hours of nightmare-filled, panic-sweat-inducing “sleep” over the past 72 hours. So. Not exactly healthy. Here I am, trying to just get myself to a normal level of sanity, but then that ends up fucking with my sleep. I’M JUST TRYING TO BE HEALTHY. But it’s like whatever I do to help in one area ends up hurting in another area. And it’s really frustrating. Like, I just want to be able to sleep like a normal person and wake up not feeling like absolute shit and get through my day without feeling like I’m being bludgeoned every second. Is that a reasonable request? I think that’s a reasonable request…

Sigh. So here I am, typing the blog post at 7 am my time because I’ve been up all night, tossing and turning (which subsequently also leads to crampy muscles and unhappy joints) – but hey, I fixed my apartment’s wifi… And I’m stuck on this combo of 75 mgs of Effexor and 90 mgs of Cymbalta (which is higher than a normal dose already, apparently…) for at least another week, because I’m going out of the country and would at least like to be relatively stable during that, even it means I can’t really sleep… and then I’ve moved, so I’ve got to find a new psychiatrist, and schedule and appointment with them, and then finish going off of goddamn Effexor, which’ll probably mean going even higher on my Cymbalta dosage and heavens knows what that’s going to do to me and my unsleeping… and then I’ll probably have to “stabilize” on Cymbalta and then switch to yet another med in the never ending chase after my sanity…

Guys, I just wanted to be healthy. To manage my depression. I didn’t think trying to be normal was supposed to be this hard. There are so many damn side effects.

Insomniac Poetry

16 Jan

day night idea brain

Happy Thursday, my lovely readers. So, I’ve been scribbling about in the Twittersphere a fair amount recently – the 140 character limit on writing a meaningful blurb/poem is a provocative challenge, and it’s nice to be able to throw shorter thoughts like haikus or couplets or quotes out to the world of internet readers without having to scrounge up something as official as a blog post to do it.

Anyhoo. As many of you might know, the sleeping and I, we don’t exactly have the smoothest of relationships. “Oh, what’s that? You’re done with work and writing for the day and want to get an adequate amount of shut-eye? Then how about I fill your brain with ALL THESE THINGS YOU MUST CYCLICALLY THINK ABOUT IT!!!” *cue maniacal laughter*

Yup. My circadian rhythms and I really need to have a peace summit or something one of these days.

But, seeing as right as I’m trying to fall asleep is apparently one of times that I mind-spew poetry and the beginnings of other writings, I’ve decided that rather than futilely wait until morning to write down the 1% that I’ll have remembered from what I thought of just before slipping off into dreamland, sure, I’ll just postpone my going to bed for another five minutes or so (*cough cough two hours cough cough*) and jot down those haikus my brain is generating like there’s no tomorrow through a couple to half a dozen tweets or so.

Yeah, pretty sure most of my Twitter activity logs between 11 pm and 3 am. Woooo sleep disorders.

But, one writer’s sleep issues is another reader’s free poetry! So, in case you haven’t stumbled upon it already and also happen to be awake and trawling the virtual world for verse at two in the morning (or, you know, wanna check for updates that will still exist in their digital entry in my Tweet feed at a more reasonable hour…), just wanted to give y’all a heads up that you can find the poetry (mostly haikus) that I write late at night under the hashtag #insomniacpoetry. Oh yeah, my whatever-the-fuck-you-call-a-twitter-“at”-username (handle? I think that’s the term the UI folks picked…) is @MicealaShocklee.

Just because, here are a couple of insomniac poems I’ve written over the weeks past:

Haikus for Quiet Sleep

Silence is the best

kind of poetry for an

insomniac’s night.

 

Darkness is the best

kind of poetry for an

insomniac’s mind.

 

Haiku for Words That Won’t Let Me Sleep

A cacophony

of overlapping phrases

circles in my brain.

 

unnamed poem

I can’t sleep and my heart’s a bit bruised,

so I’ll write poetry.

 

Sometimes in life, we make such substitutions.

 

Lovely readers, here’s to all our waking dreams.