Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Out of the Effexor Coma

After a dozen weeks of smaller and smaller doses, I'm finally done with Effexor. Or "Side Effexor" as it's nicknamed -- because when you try to stop it, it gets jealous in a kind of mad-scientist way. Nausea, dizziness, ear aches, brain shivers -- but I did start pooping again.

I stopped the Effexor because it reduced my life to work, bed. I felt so exhausted every day that I wondered if I was physically ill. Sometimes I didn't have the energy to stand up or move an arm -- a weird feeling that we all describe at some point but that I had never experienced so convincingly.

So I'm out of my waking coma, and out of the stability it provided. It was awesome living without the constant irritability that I now see has plagued me since I was a kid. I have a new perspective on my mental illness -- I learned (again?) that no matter how many issues I conquer, the illness is still there perturbing me. And the illness is mostly about hypersensitivity. My senses overreact and make me irritable. I see that now, without Effexor, in the heat and the noise of the city, with all the little bits of things that collect on the floor every day and the dirty dishes and the sink that never seems to get clean, with neighbors slamming doors and the bright sun that won't go down. If I can find a med that smooths out my senses a bit, I think I'll feel much better. Effexor stabilized me and either doused my senses with sleep or smoothed them down directly, but it withdrew my life to do it, and that wasn't an acceptable solution.

I see my doc later this month, so we'll see what happens. I don't have insurance yet and the financial advisor sucks at her job and hasn't returned my handful of calls, so I may be pulling this one out of my own pocket. But my doc is worth it, and maybe the new med won't be $300 a month without insurance (or financial advice) like Effexor. I'm still on Trileptal, $45 a month at Target (elsewhere over $100).

My butt/hips/upper legs/lower back started whining more as I got to the end of my Effexor taper, and I haven't decided if that's because Effexor was helping the pain or because they really liked lying down as much as we did the past seven months. After six hours walking around at work yesterday and then sitting through a movie and dinner, my pelvis wanted to go on strike. Catfish told me I was limping; I'd thought I was only limping in my head. Those movie chairs are comfortable, but I was shifting every few minutes, trying to negotiate among all my body parts. Finally I balled my legs up to my chest despite my short skirt, despite the many children at Toy Story 3, thankful for the darkness.

A friend (who has Celiac -- coincidence?) linked me to this site about Hip FAI, which she recently discovered she has. When I manage to get insurance again, I'll ask about it. My mom's hip problem seems so far to be an increased dose of arthritis in her right hip. Maybe that plus my dad's spinal stenosis explains my problems? I'm still gun-shy about doctors -- I'm not convinced I can get anyone to care, so I sit around feeling like I'm rotting or maybe just aging too quickly. But I know I'll beat down doors again when I have the #!$*ing $$$ to do so.

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