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Forty Days And Forty Nights

That’s a long time to go without writing on a blog. I’ve seriously thought about quitting, but it’s not necessarily because I want to. There are a couple of factors limiting my output.

#1: I’m getting off Clozapine. I intimated in some recent blog posts that the heady atypical antipsychotic was actually helping me gain perspective on some “stuck” memories, events and situations I involuntarily flash to that torture me in ways large and small mostly when I try to sleep. They turned out to be OK stories, some of my longest work. So why am I getting off this drug? The side effects became too much to bear. I was fine over the summer at my highest dose of 250mg. When school time for the kids rolled around, finding it incompatible with that schedule was a mild understatement. Every fucking night I had a fit an hour into sleep that would sit me bolt upright, heart pounding, mouth dry, clutching for breath. I would often fall asleep sitting upright to stop it from happening. An then there was the mornings. It took my wife twenty minutes to a half hour to get me out of bed, yelling my name loudly at least 40 times. And when I did fall out of bed, I went straight to the couch downstairs and fell asleep again. I was no use to my learn from home children whatsoever. And when I tried to help them or let the dogs out when I woke up, I was unsteady on my feet. Orthostatic hypotension became my new horrible symptom. I nearly passed out standing up too quickly. I could not make the 8 foot trek to the bathroom at night without seriously screwing up some courage. I decided this was not going to work anymore. I am crazy, but I might switch a little crazy with some of these symptoms, I thought.

So I stepped down 50 mg without consulting the pharmacologist, who really, really wants me to stay on this shit, even going so far as to say I needed 100mg more and I’d be better. I can’t imagine what that would feel like. It feels like a trip to the psychiatric ward is what. The thing is, I am not schizophrenic, and I imagine this drug is handy for shutting some voices up. That is what Clozapine was developed for. However, I am just bipolar. I did have a wild journey into schizoaffective disorder about a decade ago that ended in a locked ward trip for three weeks, where I experienced all kinds of delusions and hallucinations that still boggle my mind. The important thing is that I came back somehow. But anyway, down 50 was the only way I was going to get out of bed without being yelled at. Instead of going straight to the couch, I stayed upright until the wife left for work and then I would doze until 11 on the couch. Again, not much use to my learners. So I couldn’t seem to win.

Along with the drop in clozapine came serious symptoms. Neurons hungry for the homeostatic neurotransmitters they needed were being cut off from the drug that helped them along their way. The physical symptoms from that brought huge amounts of panic, and I became unable to get across a room without wanting to go back where I came from because I was going to fall down otherwise. I couldn’t do the shower for more than two minutes. My only safe spot was downstairs at the computer chair. And even there anxiety threatened constantly. I couldn’t get up to get the mail because I didn’t think I was going to make it back and no one would be around to notice that I was knocked out in my driveway. I became very concerned for my wife because everything had come undone so quickly. She’s been a champ putting up with me.

I decided enough was enough. I was out, and told my shrink I was done. He listened and is going to put me back on Zyprexa, which I had some success with in the past. It didn’t always put a damper on my daily bipolar struggles, but I didn’t feel like shit when I took it. Again, I think I’d rather that than be in some quasi-vegetative state.

In order to get through the gauntlet of getting off Clozapine, I am employing several natural remedies. I started off using Charlotte’s Web CBD gummies and that’s been a game changer, real good for calming down. I am also using L-theanine, an amino acid with proven results to tamp down stress levels. Also, lemon balm seems to be somewhat helpful. But the hero so far has been my old Klonopin prescription, which I abandoned over the summer because it can be dangerous with Clozapine. But I kept the bottle. I was desperate and wanted to try anything and everything to not feel bad, so I popped one.

Wow. I’m almost alive again!

I wouldn’t be writing this if it weren’t for that discarded prescription. I haven’t informed the doctor yet but I will soon. It’s good news because now I can step down further and have plenty of backstops to combat the withdrawal. I have enough Klonopin to get me through a month.

Bottom line, things have been looking up after being so nightmarish.

Oooh. I forgot I was doing a list! Let’s see, what else has got my shit fucked up?

#2: Donald Motherfucking Trump. I’m having trouble finding non-four letter words for some of his antics. I’m struck dumb. At this point I am just trying to keep my head screwed on straight until it is time for me to vote. I can’t keep up with the outrages, which may be by design.

#3: Twitter. Once upon a time, not long ago I moved to Twitter because I was hooked on Facebook. Hah! Turns out that’s like going from fentanyl to heroin. I’m now a full blown social media junkie again and I don’t know how to turn that around. I miss the blog days where I could get my news from them, but so many of my favorite bloggers now eschew the medium and have Twitter accounts instead. Is there any way out from using social media to get my news fix?

I’d love to hear about your struggles with any of the three phenomena above. We, so often atomized by the cult of individualism, need each other more than ever.

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