Reunion, Fire Consequences, and Stimulants

I wrote a week ago about my angst and even anger with E on the eve of our first session after her vacation. Before I head into another session tomorrow, I just wanted to catch you up on things I’ve been thinking about.

Our reunion last week was easier than I had feared. Once I saw her, I felt happy to see her, and her friendliness help dissipate a lot of the anger I might still have been carrying with me. And then a few other things helped to melt any other resistance I still held. One was her warmth and concern when I talked about how hard the wildfires had been. It felt genuine, and I felt heard. I needed that, I think. I had talked to my mom about it, but she hadn’t seemed to take it very seriously. Not that it’s new for me to feel my mom doesn’t take a very deep interest in what’s going on with me!

Anyway, I also asked E about her vacation, and she admitted that it wasn’t all wonderful. Some parts were great, but (this is not a very nice thing about me) I felt a little gratified when she said it had been a bit too long. She said at one point, she realized she felt done and wanted to go home, but she was still on the river in Colorado and had many more days of rafting before she could actually head home. I felt for her–that must really suck. But my naughty child part thought, “see, you shouldn’t go away for so long!”

I did tell her about the (unprovoked) anger and distance I’d felt in the days leading up to the session, as well as the way I had coped with it by imagining comforting my raging toddler self. She really liked this–fortunately in a supportive way, not in a way that suggested to me “oh good, now you can take care of yourself so I don’t have to do it anymore.” And as you know, I’m very sensitive to even the slightest hint that she might be sick of me!

So there we are, in a a peaceful place again, maybe not fully reconnected yet but certainly on track to re-establish that connection. So tonight, before our Wednesday session tomorrow afternoon, I’m calm and looking forward to seeing her.

Just a couple of other items I wanted to fill you in on, things that have been important to me but I haven’t written about:

Andres’ girlfriend and family, who were in the fire in southern Oregon, are doing all right despite the terrible events. The girlfriend’s mom, let’s call her Helen, lost her home. We’ve seen the photos, and it’s devastating. In the area where she lived, literally hundreds of homes are flattened, with nothing left but a few blackened remains. The girlfriend has been back to take a look, and she found the charred bodies of eight cats, which makes me so, so sad. There were nine cats left in the house, and she’s still hoping one will turn up, but I really doubt it. And I know they aren’t the only family to have lost beloved pets.

The girlfriend had recently moved to a separate apartment with her now-husband and babies. To our surprise, her complex did not burn down, so they are happy to have some physical belongings still. Helen and the girlfriend’s two teenaged brothers have moved into the apartment and may be there for a long time. The town lost so much housing in that one night that they expect it will take four to five years to rebuild enough homes for everyone. Can you even imagine?

One of these days I’ll need to write about how my son is doing, but that’s a big topic that needs a whole post for itself.

I told you I was going to quit group therapy, and I did. The last session was surprisingly touching. There was time for each group member to say goodbye to me, and I was honestly moved by the warm and loving things they said. I often felt like a misfit in that group, but it doesn’t seem like the other group members saw me that way. They all said they hoped I might go back later, and in fact, I might, after I do the art therapy for survivors of childhood sexual abuse series.

However, I don’t know when that will be. We were supposed to start on September 22, but then one of the members couldn’t make the planned time and pulled out. So now we are short one person to reach the minimum the therapist wants in order to run the group. I want it to happen but, for now at least, I’m okay with waiting. I guess I feel I am busy enough these days that it’s kind of a relief not to have one more things.

Last thing I wanted to share: I am going off the Adderall. For a while, I felt like it was genuinely helping me be more focused and motivated. I started getting more done and making progress on projects, and that felt so, so good. But little by little, I noticed that my sleep was getting worse and worse. Even though I took a small (half) dose when I woke up and another half dose at noon, I couldn’t fall asleep at night. At first it was not that bad, maybe an hour or a bit more to fall asleep. But by mid to late September, it was crazy. Some nights I would go to bed at 11 and fall asleep after 4am. Maddening! And of course, that started to undermine my daytime productivity, because I was so exhausted.

Then on top of that, I started to get tingling in my hands and feet again. This very annoying symptom had gone away when I got fully off the Effexor. And now suddenly it was returning?

I experimented some with not taking the half dose at noon or taking the dose at different times. Finally, though, I decided that even though Adderall offers some things that I like, ultimately, it was harming me. I don’t know why it is, but I seem to have a hard time with many medications. It’s just the way it is. It was hard to decide to give up this one, though, because it had literally been years since I’d had that much energy and motivation.

Now I’m off it for four days and still don’t know exactly what I’m in for. My sleep is up and down, one night better, one night worse. So I don’t even know if this will solve the problem. The tingling is reduced, and I expect it probably will go away. I wake up in the morning, and without the Adderall to kick me into gear, I’m lethargic and kind of depressed. Well, no, I’m more than kind-of-depressed; I’m really depressed and experience a lot of urges to harm myself. But that seems to lift by around mid-day, and after that I feel pretty well.

It is a weird thing to feel pretty depressed every morning and not depressed at all every afternoon. I don’t love it, but I’m definitely thankful for the not-depressed hours.

I continue to practice acceptance. (What else can I do, really?) I try to find the good things in every day, whenever I can. Today I made the most delicious smelling enchilada sauce ever! I did it by roasting the tomatoes (fresh from my garden) in the oven, instead of cooking them down on top of the stove. I’m looking forward to making enchiladas later in the week and finding out if the taste is as good as the smell was. I take pleasure in my garden, the tomatoes and squash I harvest as the season comes to an end. I make a lot of collages or do some drawing every day and find that brings me a lot of satisfaction.

Tonight, at least, I feel like I can say, I have no idea what lies ahead, but I’m going to be okay.


  1. those all sound like a beautiful set of resolutions! I’m glad life is evening out after the fires. so are you totally off Effexor now? glad that phasing out is over!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a shame that E felt her holiday was too long 😂… ha! I’m also pleased the reunion was ok and she could hear all you had to say. Sounds like you’re doing well despite all the challenges. I’m glad your group were so validating when you left. You’d be an asset to any group. Take good care xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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