For a little more than a year, I’ve been on a very high dose of SNRIs to help with chronic pain and depression from said chronic pain. It works very well, but there are some odd side effects, and one of them is silence.
I’ll never know, I suspect, if outside of chronic pain effects I was clinically depressed or anxious or what, but I do know that within a week of taking the drugs I had some significant personality shifts, the biggest being that I am able to let things lie with great peace. Prior to that I had to drop a lot of things because I couldn’t cope, but I felt bad about everything I wasn’t doing. I tended to do a lot until I ran out of energy/adrenaline, and then I’d collapse into a sort of walking coma. That was the first thing to change. The Effexor went in, the fibro fog collapsed with a snap, and suddenly I could see everything again. But I could see too something I’d never seen before: peaceful silence within myself.
I still note the things I don’t get done and “should” or need to make sure I remember. For example, today I owe two tarot readings, one edit, three novels, and a host of comments on blogs, Facebook pages, twitter, emails, loops, etc. I should be preparing a style sheet and blurb and cover art spec. I still haven’t put together the videos from GRL. Another day is going to pass where I fail to either get to the gym or do home exercises. The kitchen is a mess, my laundry is in baskets, and the bathroom is disgusting. We also need bread.
And yet, I’m going to finish this blog post and go write a scene in a story that isn’t due, because it’s what I want to do. I will tackle more of the mountain tomorrow.
It still blows my mind that three little capsules can lower my nerves’ reading of pain, help me deal with the sometimes passionate desire to start up smoking again, uncurl the snarls of thoughts and to do lists in my brain, and best of all, tell me it’s okay to sit down and take a rest, even if it’s a very long sit down. I can still feel the feeling of panic in my mind, lurking around behind the scenes worrying a hanky and murmuring that surely everything is about to go to hell in a handbasket if I don’t get to work. When the panic starts to whimper too hard, the NSAIDs drop by with a soothing tea and direct her to the rocking chair beside a radio playing soothing tunes. And on and on we go.
The thing I don’t like about this new ease, however, is that it’s not always possible for me to explain what I’m doing, and I worry that people might misconstrue. It has occurred to me also that after GRL, being up and about so much, I looked pretty normal. I felt normal then too! It was a fun vacation. But I was propped up on nicotine, alcohol, Vicodin, and a handful of other things. Plus I could literally feel myself tapping wells of adrenaline I hadn’t even known I was hoarding. Before GRL I was very sluggish and hard to get moving, almost as if I were instinctively putting away reserves. And after — well. As my husband put it, I was in a near-coma the first few days, and I’m still sick from the cold that began to claim me on Saturday of the con.
Was it worth it? Oh god, yes! Even I believed it for a few days. I remember reality starting to set in hard on Saturday, with aches and dizziness and coughing. At one point my knees began to get so bad I was, on top of full pain cache, drinking to dull it. But I was having so much fun. I was ready to pay the piper, because sometimes you have to.
I do that on the Internet too. I’ll save up for events or instances or have a really good day. And then I will crash. I hope I never seem unfriendly because of it, but I’m sure I do. I keep my contact lists on twitter and Facebook and elsewhere low, and you notice how poor I’ve become about blogging here. I always mean to change that, but sometimes I don’t get much of a choice. Or rather, the choice is burning myself out to do X or Y and giving up Z. I do my best to rotate through the alphabet, but I don’t always do as well as I should.
The thing is this: what both chronic pain and my beloved Effexor have taught me is that you cannot conquer the mountain, because it will always grow faster than you can climb it. Even if you manage to scale the peak, there will be another mountain past it, and when you run out it doesn’t mean you won, it means you’re dead. I sort of understood that as a concept, but for whatever reason post-pills I am able to embrace it and walk with greater ease. It’s not that my little pills cure me and make me super-person. It’s that they grant me the grace to accept that I can’t be a super-person, and that I will drop many, many shovel-fuls of mountain.
So when I am speechless, when I am silent or absent, on blog or email or chat or whatever — I know it’s hard, but try not to take it personally, because likely it’s not. If you met me in NOLA, hopefully you saw me happy and silly and having fun. That really is who I am. But I’m also dragging a lot of crap with me, and for that princess to get out, I have to spend a lot of time in the glass bed snoring.
Plus, I really do love writing, and I try as best as I can to put that first.
Anyway. This post is less formed than I’d like, but in lieu of ditching it or waiting until later (read: never) to fix it, I’m going to let it go up as an offbeat, slightly pointless little apology and self-explanation. And then I’m going to answer a few comments, refill my coffee and work on The Chicago Project, because Marie just sent me a scene and I’m inspired.
I’ll get after the mountain tomorrow with either a shovel or a teaspoon, whichever fits better in my hand.