Wolf who fills himself with all who die and will swallow the heavenly bodies

Dear Internet,
Sometimes there are no words to express what is going on in my head, so I’ve made the executive decision to use animated gifs instead.
David Tennant Crying in the Rain
The last few weeks have been a shit hole of catastrophe in my brain.
When I started back to work after my lay up, Dr. H. was of the mind that since Concerta only seemed to work some time, I needed to try something else to find something that worked all the time. The following Monday, I went up to two Adderall XR in the morning, with no effect. Spoke with Dr. H. that evening and he moved me back to Concerta 36mg. Tuesday was fine. Wednesday, I was an idiot and accidentally took double my Concerta dosage in the morning, so instead of 36mg, I was high as a kite on 72mg. I immediately dosed myself with Klonopin to keep me more even and brought the bottle with me to work.
By mid-day Wednesday, I was quietly having a meltdown in my office. I was reading something about something and got so intensely frustrated, I wanted to start punching holes in the brick walls. I kept myself together by duct tape and string. Thursday, my dosage was normal but I was so tired, I broke my no-caffeine rule and drank a Coke that evening to just get over the hump. Friday was much the same as Thursday. Saturday, I was heading to MSU as a panelist at the MSU Comics Forum.
Even after taking my regular dosage and my lithium early on Saturday morning, I could not function. I had to drink a Coke to keep awake to drive to Lansing and by the time our panel came up, I was manic in my head. Kristin and I were supposed to head to Gizzard City for dinner but I felt so whacked out, I didn’t know if I could make the 1/2 hour drive to the restaurant  eat, and then drive home. So I bailed and drove home on a wing and a prayer.
Sunday was glorious. I felt like my body had finally been reset. Monday, I spoke to Dr. H. and he was concerned about Concerta’s effects during the week so we’re going to try Adderall XR again except this time, we’re going to split the dose: half in early morning, second half later part of the morning. Makes sense. I’m on spring break, let’s give it a try.
Didn’t work.
Not only did the Adderall XR do nothing for me, but it turned me into this moody, depressed, state of an animal. I didn’t want to leave the house, I didn’t want to hang out with friends, I didn’t want to do things with my husband. I just wanted to wallow in bed and watch terrible TV.  So the long ago set plans to do something on spring break week were all mostly broken. When I was feeling up to doing something, it was mostly writing and working on my cadre of websites. Except, there were massive problems on my host providers end and my website couldn’t stabilized all fucking week. 504 and 502 errors all over the place. Which wasn’t super helpful when this happened:
TheHusband wanted me to stop taking the Adderall XR and I refused. I had to see if I could finally metabolize the drug AND I had a phone appointment with Dr. H. on Friday (yesterday). I’ll be fine.
Except, I wasn’t.
During my phone consult on Friday evening, I was nearly hysterical. Dr. H. had no idea why this was happening because chemically, Adderall XR isn’t supposed to effect serotonin levels. But obviously something was happening because it was fucking mess in my brain.
Here is how it is supposed to work:
I take Lithium (1200 mg, half in the morning, half at night) as a mood stabilizer.  With my mood stabilized (and I get blood drawn to check my Lithium levels every couple of weeks), the ADHD drugs work better. If I feel too amped up or I can’t sleep, I take Klonopin as needed. When the ADHD drugs don’t feel like they are working, then we ramp up the Lithium. Except now I’m at the therapeutic levels of Lithium (known via the blood tests) so I can’t amp that up, so we have to work on the ADHD drugs.
Or go on anti-depressants for more stabilization to make the ADHD drugs work better.
Which I’m rejecting.
A decade or so ago, I was seeing a medicating therapist when I lived in DC area, who decided to cycle me through almost all known (to her) permutations of various SSRIs/Anti-$whatevers in her drug book. So if X combination did not work, then, we’ll try something else! Then try something else! Then try something else!
The hitch in this giddy up is I metabolize drugs fairly quickly. For SSRIs, if it takes 14-21 days before the drug stabilizes  on me, it could take as little as 7. Rather than up/down the dosage, she just changed me to something else. I was cycled through so much, over the course of six months, my life fell apart. Granted, the relationship I was in then was already on the rocks, but everything else that may have been okay such as job, professional and personal relationships were all hit hard by this. It was fucking terrible and a fucking nightmare
The other hitch is I’m one of the rare cases of people who get suicidal thoughts on anti-depressants.  I’ve been on varying doses of:

  • Wellabutrin
  • Effexor
  • Celexa
  • Prozac
  • Paxil
  • Zoloft

XR or not, doesn’t matter. On or off Lithium, doesn’t matter. I start taking an anti-depressant, I want to kill myself.
When I went off the drugs a decade ago, I swore I would do whatever was necessary to stay OFF the drugs. Change diet, living, jobs, whatever, I’d do it. But DBT and yoga  can only do so much; I recognized I needed to be more proactive in my mental health. But this last few weeks has shown me glimpses of what that life was like a decade ago, and it is NOT one I want to repeat. I have too much at stake to lose all of it due to my fucking terrible brain chemistry.
There was no fucking way I was going back on an anti-depressant.
So there I am, nearly hysterical on the phone with Dr. H, very emphatically without a goddamned moving an inch to my voice, that I will not get on anti-depressants. We agreed to keep me on the 1200mg of  Lithium and go back to the Concerta 36mg, since I can tolerate that and it works somewhat. The rest is up for discussion when I see him in a few weeks.
My hysteria got worse when I got off the phone and was talking to TheHusband about the whole phone call ordeal, then my mood shifted in to self-protective mode where I did not want to be touched, stroked, talked to, or anything. I remember wrapping my arms around myself while TheHusband tried to sooth me during this depressive spike. I cried. A lot.
After I made the decision in October to start seeing Dr. P. again, he collated in later sessions the depression I was experiencing was more than likely stemming from the untreated ADHD which was creating a vicious circle of frustration and all the life changes that had happened in the last few years and were not dealt with. So, more normal life stuff rather than chemical.
This is how I knew what happened this week was different, even despite the chemical incredulousness of it, the mood shift down this week was caused by Adderall XR. This WAS chemical, and it was crippling, and it was debilitating.  How fast I shifted during the day, before the phone, while on the phone, and then after the call was huge.
Today, I started the morning with half of my Lithium dose (the remaining dose will be later) and Concerta. I’m still feeling prickly, my eyes ache as if I had been crying for hours (though I haven’t), and I am still in my pajamas. But for the first time in a few weeks, that I feel okay.
And this is how I absolutely do know, it will be sunny one day.

PFT Book Club: An introduction and a Review (#3): Vile Bodies

vilebodies [Maintenance: Still tweaking the blog and still a bit rough, hopefully the tweaking will be done in a day or two.]
Many moons ago, when Justin and I were dating, we got on this kick to read the entirety of the Modern Library’s Top 100 Novels, of which we completed a scant few. Somewhere in my packing is the original list that I printed out nearly a decade ago. And over the years and many hours of classtime later, I am no closer to finishing the list now then I was then. So when Justin and I got back into contact a few months ago, we struck up our original deal to do a bookclub, but this time, the rules were going to be different. We decided to call ourselves the “Pretentious Fuck Twit Book Club” or PFT Book Club for short.
Each month1, one of us would make a selection from our bookshelves, the other would have to buy/loan a copy out and we’d read and discuss the works. The point of this bookclub was several fold:

  1.  To expand our reading tastes into things we may not normally read
  2. To plow through our bookshelves and read the books that we’ve been meaning to read for ages
  3. To find the most pretentious work available as our selections2

The first selection, for the months of June/July was Tom Jones by Henry Fielding. This I selected because of it’s relationship to Jane Austen (supposedly) and its relevancy to British literature (debauchery at its finest!). Justin finished the book, I only got 200 pages in and was subsequently bored to tears, so we called this one good.
Justin’s selection, which we finished in under a few weeks (which was to be August’s selection) was God Knows by Joseph Heller. This one I adored — funny, satirical, sexy, and clearly Heller was a huge influence on Christopher Moore for his book, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. Reading God Knows has piqued my interest in reading more Heller, primarily Catch-22, which I’ve never read.
Now, I have a B.A. in English, a M.A. in Humanities, I work in a bookstore and I’m going to be starting my M.L.I.S. degree in a few weeks — so one could reasonably say that I’m well read. One could say that and one, for the most part, could be awfully wrong. Despite my training and my interests, for an English major, there is scads of classic and contemporary authors that I have not read: Hesse, Dostoevsky, Pynchon, Vonnegut, Steinbeck, Faulkner, Wodehouse to name but a few, and for the next selection of PFT Book Club, Evelyn Waugh.
Waugh is one of those authors whom I keep coming to again and again as someone I should be reading and just never got around to actually doing so. I choose Vile Bodies because it is one of his lesser known but vaguely famous works, there is an awesome movie adaptation of the novel by Stephen Fry and the premise sounded right up my alley.
Vile Bodies, written in 1930, is Waugh’s tribute and satire of the London smart set near the end of the Roaring ’20s, of a generation that was glimpsed so briefly and yet was so influential on so many other works that were penned during the period and after. The story revolves around Adam Fenwick-Symes (a penniless writer) and Nina Blount (daughter of an eccentric aristocrat) as they become engaged and un-engaged depending on the status of Adam’s fortune, which literally changes by the minute.
Rousing out the cast are the friends and acquaintances of Adam and Nina, whose own lives change and upheaval are all taken with sighs of disinterest and complete boredom. But the twist in the book is the facade of their lives and the breaking down on their door by sheer reality — they have become spinning tops of a generation that could (and would not) last only to have the reality of the real world come crashing in upon them. As the characters begin to die off, literally almost one by one, and as others go on to other perhaps more grown-up lifestyles, Adam and Nina find themselves almost stranded, alone, in a world that they were once ruled as king and queen.
When their own world starts to impolde, so the the outside world when another world war calls Adam up to action. The story starts and ends in medias res, and it is for that reason alone that the novel feels incomplete. You get a sense of the period and the culture of the time, of the reality verses the inner workings of the world that beholdens Nina and Adam but I didn’t feel like the story was actually resolved.
However, in lieu of that, Waugh was a master as creating secondary (and tertiary) characters that were fleshed out and held their own in terms of personality and lifestyles, and could have stood alone outside of Nina and Adam, on their own terms. You want to believe that there is more to their lives than just parties, drinking, gossip and debauchery and even when there isn’t – you don’t seemingly care, just as they don’t seemingly care. You’re intrigued by the type of world they inhibit, you want what they want but you seemed aghast to realise that what they want seems so very shallow, but because of who they are and what they do (nothing), that seemingly justifies their very existance. But it’s more about money and standing, peer relations and marriages, it’s a way of life.
The public then was just as fascinated then with the hobnobbings of the upper crust as we are today of the goings and comings of royalty and celebs. Waugh was not the first to lampoon the social set he grew up and mingled with, nor will he be the last. But if you’re looking for something that became the defacto standard of that lampooning that would influence generations after him, he is your man.
Would also recommend the following if your interest in Waugh is piqued: Freddy and Fredericka by Mark Helprin and Snobs by Julian Fellows.

1. We said “month,” but after Tom Jones, we’ve been plowing through our selection every week or so, so we’re are incredibly ahead of schedule.
2. Most of my stuff is still packed and at the rate we’ve been going, we’re pulling future selections from stuff that neither of us own and want to tackle.