Saturday, December 09, 2006

"Common people don’t know what exquisite agony is suffered by gentle people like me!" - Queen Aggravaine, "Once upon A Mattress"

EVERYTHING is making me nuts today.

My socks are bugging me – I push them up, then I push them down, and still I can feel every single annoying little sticky-outy thread on them. They are making my feet sweat, and the seam is pinching my toes.
My hair is in my mouth, and it feels tangled and oily, my glasses keep sliding off my nose.
I have an itchy spot about the size of a half dollar on my back that I have been scratching till it bleeds.

I'm hungry and I finally work up enough energy to venture into the kitchen and get something to eat. The scrape of the knife in the mayonnaise jar, the texture of the bread slices, the chicken fat on my hands is making me bonkers. I wash my hands several times, with hot water and dish soap, and then with lemon hand soap. My skin still feels greasy to me. And now I have breadcrumbs down my shirt from my sandwich, and I can feel every single, solitary, stinking one of them.

The baby absentmindedly pinches my neck while nursing. I want to explode. “Stop pinching me!” I half-yell, half-whine at my thirteen-month-old. (He grins at me and replies, “Hoom bah!”)

The two older boys giggle and bounce in their beds while I try to read bedtime stories to them. Why should I have to try to talk over them? And why must they be so LOUD? “Shut UP!” I hiss at them.
Car doors open and close, and open and close, outside. My shoulders tense as I wait for the next door slam. Then the rumble of the engine idling goes on for what seems forever.

My nightstand’s legs are uneven and it wobbles, thumping rhythmically on the floor every time I pick up my mug of tea; I want to throw the mug across the room (I won’t because it’s my favorite, and irreplaceable, but that is about the only fact that stays my hand. That and the fact that I would then be compelled to not only clean up the tea and broken mug, but every dust bunny on the floor, and straighten out all the books, and possibly refold every item of clothing in every dresser drawer. It would take me all night.)

The cats thumping through the house chasing each other are driving me further insane.

I can’t get my glasses clean enough; no matter how many times I whip them off and swish them clean, I see spots and glare and shadows. For that matter, my lamp is too bright, but the overhead fixture is too dim. Who the fuck bought these useless lamps and fixtures, there’s not a single one that works properly in the whole goddamn house!?

I just barely stop myself from scraping perceived gunk out from between the tiles of the kitchen table with the tip of a butter knife; the only thing preventing me from scrubbing down the kitchen cabinets RIGHT. NOW. - because of course they are greasy and spotted - is the fact that I KNOW I am acting insanely.

I anxiously reckon back the past few days – did I take every dose of Zoloft I was supposed to? I am pretty sure I did. And besides, its efficacy results from maintenance of a therapeutic level, which means that missing one dose should not really affect me as long as I remember to take the next dose as directed.

The last time I had a prescription filled, the pharmacy gave me generic Zoloft, sertraline. Is it really the same? Is it maybe not as strong, not as effective? Is that why I am experiencing this upswing in my obsessive-compulsive tendencies? I poke around at work in the pharmaceutical databases, and they all swear it’s identical. Which makes sense. But why oh why am I so on edge? Why are all my filters turned off, why is my super-bat-hearing turned on? Why am I sure that even were I lying naked, in a cloud of pillows, in a dark and silent-as-the-tomb room, that every single sense would still be twinging and raging and straining?

This kind of episode doesn’t happen often anymore but when it does, I am reminded that every single day used to be some variant of this, that I lived close to twenty-eight years like this before my therapist and psychiatrist soothed, recommended, and cajoled me into trying prescription drugs to ease my symptoms and calm my frantic, scrabbling brain cells.
“If you had diabetes, you would not think twice about taking insulin,” they told me.
And they were right. But because my symptoms were mental, I was convinced that if I were only strong enough, I could control them, just by sheer brain- and willpower.
I could be calm, and gentle, and easy in my own skin.
Oh, how very wrong I was.
And now I live in fear of the day when the meds stop working; I am already at the maximum dosage and have been for about two years – my shrink tells me that people on the same dosage who feel it doesn’t do what it’s meant to wind up hospitalized.

And I try not to think about my poor besieged liver. My mother died of liver disease, possibly from years and years of powerful migraine medications taken almost daily. I take migraine meds as well (the only benefit of pregnancy - other than the actual baby - was that I never once got a migraine the entire twenty-seven months total I was gestating), and now Zoloft – to calm my obsessive-compulsive tendencies, to alleviate the otherwise-constant low-lying hum of anxiety, to make function properly my fucked-up brain synapses.

I used to take Serzone, but it was pulled off the market several years ago when it was discovered that its use could cause acute liver failure. And yet given the choice between the spectre of acute liver failure or the re-manifestation of my OCD symptoms, I pick liver failure. As I once told my therapist, I’d rather live years less, the (slightly more sane) way I am now, than go off the drugs and live till I was ninety.

My beloved and wonderful boys are the only reason I would second-guess that decision - but what would be the point of being around longer for my children if they hated me and couldn’t stand to be around me because, frankly, I was NUTS?

Although it is worth keeping in mind that I look lousy in yellow.


hungry in LA said...

Yellow? No, you'll be the one in the orange jumpsuit my dear.

Hang in there, and remember there are others who cleaned their entire kitchen floor with a toothbrush after discovering that the linoleum pattern was actually green - not dark grey.

I'd start with changing the socks...

lazy cow said...

At the beginning of the post I was just thinking "hmmm, sounds like me on a bad PMS day". Maybe not.
My mum had severe, have-to-have-an-injection-to-stop vomiting migraines all her life, until she went through menopause. Hasn't had one since - maybe a little bit of hope?
I agree with Hungry, change the socks. One step at a time...

Caro said...

If the symptoms don't go away, I would ask for the non-generic on the next refill. Good luck.

Katy said...

Hang in there dear BabelBabe! I have nothing else to say except that you are in my thoughts and I'm very sorry that your symptoms are there.

What about taking your socks off and putting on slippers?

Bec said...

Oh dear, my eldest daughter and I had almost half your symptoms each yesterday. it was not pretty. In her case it was tiredness (although she comes very close to OCD on the clothing issues) and in mine it was almost certainly tired PMT. I can't imagine how awful it is to have ALL those things going on at once.

Hope today is better. My husband is a Type 1 diabetic and recently switched away from his generic insulin back to a branded one and has noticed a BIG improvement. It might be worth a try, no matter what they say?

Gina said...

If you didn't get migraines when you were pregnant, would going on The Pill prevent them?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you're feeling lousy. I wish I could do something to make you feel better.

Can you get some non-generics now instead of waiting for the next refill to see if they make a difference?

Sarah Louise said...

As a fellow Zoloft/sertraline user, I doubt it's the generic thing, although, some people ARE that sensitive.

I think it could be that the holidays make everyone just a little MORE of whatever they are.


(insert here soothing words)

Suse said...

Hugs, dearest.