Psychopharmacology — Day Two

It’s funny. I am a pretty damn intelligent woman, by most measures–sure, I’m Captain Oblivious, sure, my friends seem oddly fixated on not letting me walk into traffic, sure I take a hint about as well as a charging rhinoceros, but still!

And yet, sometimes…

Now, as I’ve said, for the longest time–weeks, going on a month–food was making me queasy. I ate out of a sense of duty, and because occasionally I’d get hungry AND queasy, a truly vile combination.

But I got over that. I took the anti-nausea meds for a few days, then had to stop because it was giving me dreadful esophagus-eating heartburn. But I was okay. In fact, once I got back to Raleigh, suddenly I was voracious.  I was eating to make up for a month on starvation rations.  I was plowing through food with…not enthusiasm, exactly, but dedication, anyway. And in a weird way, I was proud of this–I mean, it doesn’t seem like much, but when you’ve spent a month looking at meals like you’d look at a root canal, it makes a huge difference. And since I wasn’t on the anti-nausea drugs, I felt like…like I’d gotten a little bit better. I’d clawed my way up a few inches, and I did it without serious medical intervention, and I did it mostly on my own. It was sort’ve like “Okay, I can get better. The drugs will help enormously, and thank god for them, but I’d be capable of surviving on my own, goddamnit.”

Stuff like this is important to me. I’m kinda stupidly independant at times, emphasis on the stupid.

Yesterday evening, despite spending a lovely evening with my buddy Ari,* I was suddenly queasy again. And it felt like backsliding, like I’d lost that little bit of ground I’d clawed out on my own. “Good god,” I thought glumly, “Am I this unhealthy and obsessive? Are we right back here again?”

This was discouraging. And the night of long, fitful dreams–you know the sort, where you’re thinking of something, and you fall asleep and it runs in a thread through your dreams, and you wake up still thinking, and you aren’t sure if you’ve slept at all, except that the clock says it’s four AM, and you’re completely unrested–didn’t help at all.  I dragged myself down to breakfast, feeling like the Hindenberg about forty seconds after the spark.

“How’re you?” asked Deb.

“Queasy,” I muttered, staring at my re-heated pizza with deep dislike.

“Well, that’s the drugs, right?”

I blinked at her. Several times. “Oh….right….”

Because of course it was a side-effect of the Effexor. I’d been warned about it specifically and in no uncertain terms–“Your stomach’s gonna feel fluttery for a couple of days,”–and here I am, engaging in some serious self-flagellation over it. Same with the dreams. And I knew better. But nausea’s such an oddly specific thing–you get only limited shades of it, there isn’t quite the range of variation that you get with pain, say–that I was fooled by the familiarity of it all.  If it felt like the original queasiness, it must be the same thing, it must have the same cause, I must be at fault for lack of mental discipline and wallowing in misery.

It was interesting, and it sort of brought home to me how I really AM an unreliable narrator at the moment. Definitely got to avoid any major decisions until after the meds have had a chance to work.

So that was interesting. At the moment, I feel like I’ve got the flu–sweating, tremor, nausea, slight detachment from reality. It’s not terrible, but it’s not fun. I may spend most of today napping, just to try to get through it–I can probably expect three to four days of this before it settles down, and I’m thinking I’ll just treat it like I really AM sick, ‘cos at least I know how to deal with that.

*Who, like many of my friends, sees in me a baby seal wandering the beach and looking hopefully up at the nice men with clubs.

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