Okay, I’m recovered from the horrible dental cleaning I wrote about in my last post. Now what is she going to complain about, you wonder. Ah, but there’s always something, isn’t there?
I do feel like I am complaining too much. And expecting too much. And not doing enough. That is, I’m feeling like crap about myself. My energy is low, and my focus is terrible. I’m impatient and grumpy. And why is that? Is it the endless rain we’ve been having in the Pacific Northwest? (no, though I do long for sunshine) Is it my son and his pregnant girlfriend? (no, they are doing okay in the new condo) Is it too much work stress? (nope, not working much these days). You wrinkle your brow and look at me curiously, “So what’s the problem?”
It’s withdrawal. Psych meds withdrawal again. I’ve written about that many times in the past, since it took me literally three and a half miserable years to come off Effexor. This time I’m simply reducing my dose of Cymbalta, and okay, it’s not as terrible as Effexor withdrawal. But it’s no walk in the park either.
I waiver back and forth between, “Oh, I’m lucky that I’m doing so much better than I was a few years ago,” and “Oh shit, can’t believe I am dealing with these awful withdrawal symptoms again.” The part that feels lucky reminds me that I sleep so much better than I used to, and even though I might wake up two or three times a night, I tend to go back to sleep most nights within ten or fifteen minutes. I used to be up for hours. That part says, thank goodness that this time I know things change. Difficulties pass. I can handle this.
The grumpy part says: This SUCKS! Once again, we’re dealing with muscle spasms and some tingling. Okay, the tingling is not as bad as with Effexor, but it’s still maddening! And we can’t concentrate on work. How are we supposed to keep taking professional contracts, when we don’t even know from week to week whether we can focus enough to get things done? And how about the trauma memories that pop up more when the body is disturbed? Why do we have to keep dealing with those? And the thoughts of self-harming?
And underneath that is yet another part, quieter but persistent: We are so alone with this! No one understands. We try to tell husband, and he is sympathetic, but he sees us trying to power through and so figures we are okay. We don’t have E anymore. Charo is on vacation and anyway doesn’t know our history of withdrawal experiences. And Tabitha, alas, Tabitha…
That’s another story, perhaps for another post, about how I lost my psych meds prescriber from the past five years. I will need someone to replace her. I have put requests in at two mental health clinics, but so far no sign of getting an appointment.
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE AGAIN? (in case you forgot) E: my long-term therapist, from 2003-2005 and again 2009-2021; I ended my sessions with her last August Charo: a therapist I started seeing online in 2021, as a support while I get used to coping without E--maybe a bridge to independence? Tabitha: a psychiatrist nurse practitioner I started working with in 2017, and she gave me a lot of support as I battled my way off Effexor
I find it surprising that I have so many of my old thoughts and feelings coming up again. I would have thought that I’d be past a lot of that, but maybe my body and mind have connected nervous system dysregulation, on the one hand, and old unhealthy thought patterns. I don’t know, is that even how it works?
It doesn’t matter how it works or why I’m feeling and thinking the way I do, I guess. The question that matters is what do I do now? I feel like I need to take on the sensation of being alone with it all. There is some truth to it–I no longer have the team of professionals I used to have supporting me. Some of my friendships are weaker than they were six months (all for different and probably legitimate reasons, but still kind of sad). I’m tired and feel crappy, but (the positive part says again) at least I am not lying in bed, so depressed I can’t do anything. Maybe with the bit of energy and motivation I do still have, I can conjure myself up some support, and that support can help me figure out what step to take next.
It’s a plan, right?