Morning, December 25th.
Everywhere on the Internet, everyone is filled with holiday cheer, about presents that were given, love that was received, and cheer for the entire world. My initial instinct was to respond to all those cheer filled posts with messages of hate and meanness. Instead, I closed out of Twitter/Facebook and started sobbing.
I feel like my world is crashing around me and I know this isn’t me, this is the Concerta speaking. If the trade off of focus and getting shit done is this mess of helplessness, crying, and thoughts that are beginning to border on the extreme, then I need to get off the drug.
TheHusband attempted to console me as my lower lip quivered and tears were streaming down my face. He wants me to vocalize, what we’ve come to call “The Sads,” but sometimes there is no reason for being sad, it just is. This past Saturday, I woke up with a plan to get shit done ™ and spent the day in my jim jams, in our dining room, cleaning out my multitude of an inbox (And for the record, I’m not even finished). The idea of seeing, talking, and interacting with anyone, even my husband, filled me with dread. By late afternoon, he coaxed me to play video games and eat a mediocre take-out we had delivered from a local Chinese restaurant. On Sunday, I did a 180 degree turn and felt mostly fine, as I did on Monday. On those days, showers were taken and long movies were seen. Now The Sads are back and there is nothing I can do but let it ride this out this time.
I never made it a secret that the holidays are terrible time of year for me, but since TheHusband and I got together four years ago, we’ve been trying hard to start new traditions by making ourselves happy and fuck convention. This year, beginning long before I started the drug experiment for my ADHD, I was giving no fucks about the holidays. I did not do a poll to solicit cards / send cards as I do every year, I did not bake cookies until the very last minute, and we didn’t get the tree up until the 23rd. Presents were bought at the very lasts of minutes and shipped as expensively as possible. Whether or not we celebrated seemed immaterial to me – it was just another goddamned day.
The three days of Ritalin, I was manic, but I was focused and I got shit done. As the mania started to subside, I felt something I had not felt in a very long time and that was hope. On the week I’ve been on Concerta, I’ve been up and down like a yo-yo, I don’t feel as laser in focus as I did on Ritalin (but there is much better focus), and I’ve broken down into uncontrollable sobs more than once. I found myself being way more surly than even remotely necessary to people, and everyone is a goddamned asshole – even the dog. When I sleep, I sleep for 8-10 hours (with or without Klonopin, doesn’t seem to matter).
The headaches have been a near constant all week, and they travel around my face. Sometimes I feel like my face is a mask about to be ripped off from the pressure behind it and other times, it’s concentrated in a temple or above the bridge of my nose. I’m cold all the time, even when sitting in the warmest room of the house, thermostat at 70, my hands are like ice and I am shivering. My appetite has diminished. I haven’t had caffeine for a week.
Concerta seems to amplify all the worst of what I was feeling without giving me a trade off in return.
Afternoon, December 25th.
TheHusband and I winged it on presents for the holidays this year. It’s hard to shop for someone when that person either doesn’t wants small things (TheHusband) or buys it themselves (me). As time was running short, I kept flip-flopping on how to celebrate. We want for nothing, and then, we want everything. My brother was slightly easier, he wanted gifts from the heart. So the cookies were made and a hat was knitted. A bottle of Hennessy and a few choice gift cards to round out his gift. He presented us with gift cards to a DIY place for TheHusband and a Coach bag for me. I feel like everyone wins in this scenario.
We flipped off tradition and TheHusband made Mexican, all from scratch. The only thing he didn’t do was take the cow, kill it, and process it. The cooking took all day, and we were finally able to eat in the early evening hours. My brother joined us, as did his girlfriend. Margaritas made the rounds (2 ounces Triple Sec, 6 ounces Tequila, can of limeade, and a few fistfuls of frozen ice. Blend until frothy), and we got good and tipsy. Or in TheHusband’s case, his teeth got tingly.
My mood stabilized a lot by the evening when presents were exchanged and alcohol had been drunk, but I was still feeling emotionally overwrought. Once the kitchen got a first pass through on cleaning, the dog had been walked, we were in bed early and I was asleep before midnight.
Morning, December 26th.
I was up early to take Jeeves in for his yearly oil change and detail, and home by 7:45AM. I’ve switched to decaf coffee because I can only apparently take so much herbal tea, and discovering I craved the coffee taste, not necessarily the buzz. I met up with Karen who was home for holidays at Wolfgang’s before heading back to the house. I was yawning through our mid-morning breakfast date, but I haven’t been feeling tired, just drained emotionally.
The rest of the day became a blur.
Early evening, December 26th.
The rest of our presents to the other showed up today and we were both most pleased. I have not left the house since coming home from breakfast this morning, TheHusband has not left at all. The impossible task of sorting out my digital life over took most of my day, as I continue to unsubscribe and delete accounts no longer used across the Internets. I feel like I’m always doing this housekeeping and it never seems to get any easier or lighter. It becomes one of those tasks that needs to be done, but I choose to do this instead of something else that has pressing value.
TheHusband commented I seemed more stable today, and I agreed, except for the lingering headache that I try to forget and find I cannot. No crying jags, no yo-yo, but whatever focus this drug is supposed to give me is not here. I find myself all over the place today as I sort and clean and sort some more. Zero focus. Zero concentration. I have been known to metabolize drugs too fast for the effect to take over, so this is what may be happening, but I really do not know. Against TheHusband’s request, I’ll continue taking the drug until I see the medicating doctor on Friday so that I can come off the drug safely or ramp up to another dose or switch to something else. I do not see my therapist for another few weeks (holidays), and that seems so far and yet I know it’s not.
When I made the decision to document this experience, it was to provide an outlet for my own voice that often feels strangled, to give voice to those who cannot speak, and to have some tangible proof of what goes on inside my brain (drugged or not). I have very clear goals of things I want to do in the upcoming months, years, and I keep looking at crazed brain syndrome as hindering me in obtaining those goals. I honestly do not know how I made it this far without having some sort of breakdown. The prescribing doc talks about Concerta, Ritalin and like drugs like their snake oil, and I am still desperate to believe him. I need to believe him.
This is where the frustration comes in, knowing that I can have the ability to do certain things, find that that ability to be stunted in some way, and then as I reach out for relief, find that it is almost always out of grasp.
And that, perhaps, is what breaks my heart most of all.