I have been constantly going for the better part of three weeks, a slow and deliberate cognizance of my condition. Making notes of the differences between then and now, as familiar as newfound sobriety, and just as scary.
I have looked back at the timing of the medication starting, the dates are more a part of a glob than a precise rundown of times and conditions. The need, and the desire to find that part of my detour into the “isms” of my condition. I am clean and sober and yet I have just left a portion of my life that reads like a drunk trying to bounce from day to day. I had found myself in the worst kind of alcoholistic mannerisms and behaviors, the worst part about this was, I didn’t see it happen, or happening. As someone who takes an inventory of personal choices and behaviors of himself as a nature, to have that part of myself peeled away left me lost and confused as I have ever been.
It was as if I was working on a different life, I went back to the mindset of that confused and anxious alcoholic. I could not put enough things together though to see the real cause of my condition, it was all excused away as something else, something normal. There wasn’t anything normal about this though, it either attacked so quickly or so slowly that I did not feel it take ahold of my psyche. I was still here, somewhere and working hard to figure out why everything was so much harder than it used to be? I took the headaches and frustration out as just being challenged in school. Personal ups and downs didn’t help me see the whole picture either. I stopped writing, which is as much a part of me as the air, it allows me to feel my freedom. The excuse was that I had done so much writing for school, I didn’t feel it necessary to voice my opinions and outlooks.
I crawled back into that bubble of self doubt and loathing again and lost the desire to do many of those things I truly enjoy. I stopped creating almost completely, My squirrel moments, which were usually filled with thoughts and ideas, nothing more than shutdown moments, nada…nothing going on in there. Raw and chafed by my own angst and crunchy with disappointment I thought I just needed to snap out of it, snap out of what though? The answers started coming too late to save my Summer college quarter, it was a complete mess because of this and now I knew why. Elation and complete disappointment at the same time, the TA in my class sparked the thoughts that lead to the truth. An email to an old teacher and friend, telling him of my horrible news and my Summer, was what made the hammer go boom. What a freaking idiot! Has been a mantra in my head since this became apparent. The old phrase that I like to say that when things become apparent, that means it is meant to guide you.
What this all boils down to is simple, the dosage on my antidepressants was too high, much too high during the Summer, and looking back, had been for much longer. The complexities of this go even deeper than I can put together as of yet though. Deep thinking is my given gift/curse, as I have noted several times. I was nowhere near going deep into any kind of thinking though, very much like a rock skipping over the water trying to get to the other side of the ocean. The carelessness and apathy that came about has left quite a wake, one that has yet to get me wet, but I am strapping on the life vest. I was, for the most part, well on my way towards a bright future at the local Community College, I had scored well enough to go into the sciences that capture my imagination like nothing else does. This condition, known more commonly as Serotonin Syndrome, made the task of going to school again more than taxing, it ate away at my esteem and trust that everything is just how it should be.
I once again became that teenager that did not cope well with my expectations. People were irritating me to no end and my frustration was through the roof. For someone who is in the recovery community it never even occurred to me that my state of mind(s) were not normal, or even the way they were supposed to be, but very much familiar on another level. Without even knowing it, I went full alcoholickly. The symptoms of one malady was pure camouflage for the other, I was a dry drunk and getting crunchier by the day. I didn’t notice the mental changes, the trauma’s that happened and the turning off of that part of my grey matter. I did notice the physical parts, the heart problems, the angiogram results that didn’t match up with the other pieces. The constipation and sweats were part of my chronic gut issues, I was toxic, I knew that much, I didn’t realize until a few weeks ago, just how toxic I really was.
What had hit me when I wrote that email to my instructor friend, was that I had asked the doctor if I could take more of my neuropathy medication because it was getting worse as of late. That neuropathy medicine is also an antidepressant, I have a sinus and weight gain medication that is also a powerful antidepressant. Between the two I was on a dosage that was over twice the level for serotonin toxicity. Now, this conflict with my body functions was probably the reason for the angiogram in April. It wasn’t just an angiogram, there was the very real possibility that I could wake up to a double bypass or more, that’s always fun to hear. The angiogram went well except the preparation in the below freezing room caused quite a bit of shock and trauma I later found out. I come out of the procedure to a young doctor telling me how lucky I am, good strong heart. Two days later I am in the ER of another hospital having the arterial clot in my arm discovered. They were not going to let me go home either, I had to get an ambulance ride to another hospital in downtown Seattle to have it looked at immediately. More freaking out about it all, but I was assured that aspirin will take it down and it will be fine after a few more weeks, it took a month.
So when the side effects of the serotonin toxicity were happening, I had enough of a background medical excuse in those areas that I made the wrong excuses for them. Just the same way that I got sick in the first place, I said to myself that this was because of this, and this was that. Just false equivalencies, applied to more than my general health, but to my mental health too. I could not see that I was having trouble with my thinking because I thought it was for reasons of taxing my brain for the first time in years. I was also working through childhood trauma’s and difficulties I had, and rewriting my past with what I know now. I believed again that I was a big dummy and a failure and that college would be too hard and I made it so. That isn’t me though, that isn’t me now, and it really wasn’t ever me. The horrible thinking shook me in July after my wife’s lifelong friend committed suicide; The ripple effects rocking our boat for weeks. In that time, with all of my difficulties in school and life and all of my made up demons, I had thoughts of the very same thing again. That comfort place I went to where I would be forced to find solace in those dark and plainly wrong existential thoughts.
I failed to see all of that, and in doing so forfeited my opportunity at a college education. I am about to go into a Fall quarter without financial aid, without the right prerequisites for the classes I am signed up for. I am waitlisted for the class that I took during Summer quarter when I flamed out huge. I have no money for the materials I will need, and I have just slipped through the cracks enough to see that climbing back up is impossible right now. I had a very different experience with school this year, and I didn’t know how deep I was digging my hole. So, with all of the above and more going on, I will show up and see what happens. I am not hopeful and folks just don’t seem to have the time to get the whole picture enough to understand my difficulties. The shattering is over and the congealed mess wants to pick up the pieces and try again, with a real chance. It also wants to crawl away into oblivion, ashamed of the messes that it has become. I don’t know if the college book is over, or another chapter is about to be told? I certainly feels as if it is a hopeless situation. Not the best way to enter into anything, but that’s my only choice.