Tag Archives: side effects

Day Eight On 75mg

Oh boy, has this been a rough week. I don’t even want to reflect on it. Let’s just say it’s taken every ounce of will power to not explode like a balloon of puke and pain.

It’s every day. Pretty much all day in varying degrees. Again, mornings are the worst. I dread them so much, especially since I wake up feeling great. Then I have to take my pill, eat something, drink my ginger tea, and wait for the nausea and crushing head pain to start. It always does, and then I lie down in a fetal position for a few hours until it passes and I can start writing.

A few hours more and then the head pain gets really bad again. I think of it as a giant fist trying to open inside my head, but there isn’t enough room, so it’s squeezing against the inside of my skull. Tylenol doesn’t really do anything about that kind of pressure.

Haven’t been able to focus on anything for very long. Haven’t touched my book this week. Barely cleaned or cooked or exercised. Barely think in complete sentences.


Sleep Reality

I am a sleep expert. I know light sleep, deep sleep, sleep in cars, sleep in planes, sleep in my own bed, in hotels, on the floors of friends’, in classrooms, on fountains in Europe, in a museum…in the latter, I was awoken by a curator who asked if I was ok, and then told me to not sleep there. I awkwardly sat up and did my best to stare at a painting like I was interested in it. The struggle was real. 

I’ve heard voices while I slept and felt sleep paralysis. I’ve slept through alarms and phone calls and knocks on the door. Sleep and I have been good friends and bitter enemies.

I dream A LOT. Like, more than normal people, at least in terms of how much I remember. I used to keep a dream journal but I stopped because I was recording two dreams every day and I couldn’t keep up. I dream at night and whenever I take a nap, even if it’s really short. Dreams have provided the inspiration for more than one story. 

I see friends in dreams, friends who with whom there’s been a kind of tension, or conflict, and it hasn’t been resolved. Friends who are no longer friends. Even if I don’t actively think about them very much, they make their way into my dreams. Sometimes there is actually a resolution, where we talk about what happened between us. Other times, they are just there. The dream is either set in the past when they were in my life, or we’re in a bizarre situation like fighting a war against vampires or what not. 

What’s weird and unsettling about these dreams is how vivid they are. Having vivid dreams in general is an effect of the antidepressant I’m on, so the people in my dreams are always very clear, look like themselves, have the right voices, and everything. It is like they are really there. The dreams have gotten more vivid, so I’m at the point now where I hesitate before acting in a dream because I am not sure if I’m dreaming or not. Even if the dream is set in an impossible reality, in the moment, the dream world is very real.

In the dreams, I’m always happy to have some kind of resolution. With some of them, I tell them how much I miss them. How I wish things were different. When I wake and realize none of it was real, disappointment follows me the rest of the day. Sometimes longer. Because with some of these people, I know resolution will never happen. Except in a sleep reality. 

Food to the Body, Food for the Soul

ImageI have a confusing relationship with food. I love it, but it doesn’t always love me. I can’t eat red meat more than once a week or I start getting chest pains, foods high in fat or oil make me sick, and artificial sweeteners give me terrible stomach cramps and insanely itchy skin. It’s unfortunate for a person who loves hamburgers, onion rings, and the new Sparkling Ice drinks.

So I’ve had to adapt. I eat mostly chicken, wheat bread, yogurt, and cereal. I loooooove cereal. I would eat it for every meal if I could.

I haven’t always been so methodical about food. When I first went on medication, my appetite was suppressed. All food tasted like ash. It took a lot of focus to eat and to eat anything besides sweets. My body had grown silent and refused to tell me when it was hungry and what it needed. After several medication changes and six years, it has awoken and although it’s a little more sensitive than before, we essentially understand each other.

Now that I’m married and primarily responsible for making the food (Chris is the dishwasher), the new challenge is summoning up the energy to think of and prepare meals. If it was just me, I would eat an assortment of random things for a meal (vegetables and dressing, toast with an egg, etc), because it takes focus and time to put together a coherent dish. However, it’s not just me. It’s me and a 26-year old man who can eat a whole pizza by himself and was raised on the hearty meals of the southern Midwest. He needs food.

It’s weird to think about the appetite of another person. Sometimes it’s really stressful. If I’ve had a particularly bad day and haven’t been able to move a frozen chicken breast to the fridge because I’ve been asleep all day, I worry about what Chris is going to eat. Even though he is perfectly happy with his meal, I don’t like seeing him making three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when I had planned on coconut chicken and rice. Other days, it’s extremely fulfilling. I’ll pull myself together and make an inspired sloppy Joe recipe with brown sugar, zesty Italian dressing, and chili powder, and watching Chris eat three of them is food for my soul. I never thought I would take pleasure from cooking; I even rebelled against the idea because it sounded too close to submitting to a life of “a woman’s place is in the kitchen.” In practice, it’s not about that though. Chris loves food and so to be able to make something he likes makes me feel good about myself. It’s also a tangible accomplishment during a day that otherwise seemed pretty pointless.