I have never actually been an addict of any kind (uhhhh… eating all the chocolate in the house so that there’s not any chocolate in the house to tempt me doesn’t count on that score, right?), so this may be completely off base, but I think the process of going off this stupid medication that never actually worked for me has been a lot like withdrawal. (Maybe. I have no idea, like I said, but hey, I’m a squeaky-clean, middle-aged, middle-class woman who saw Trainspotting once. Or something.)
Basically, you know, I’m fine, and it’s no big deal. Except that while I was taking this med, I was exhausted all the time and had a lot of trouble sleeping. Now that I’ve been weaning down, I’m a lot less tired than I was (though still tired, because hey, WHY NOT), but when I sleep, good lord, I have the most vivid, disturbing dreams. I wake up every morning and from every nap in a cold sweat, trying to discern reality from nightmare, as some horrible scenario gradually fades from my consciousness.
This, of course, means that my doctor said “Go down in dosage this much for one week, then this much for another week, then decrease by half” or somesuch, and after the first few days of heightened technicolor dreamscapes I took the proposed weaning schedule and tossed it in favor of being off the meds in about half the time.
[Do not bother telling me that this is probably making the side effects worse, because I’m pretty sure it’s making the side effects worse. On the other hand, it’s getting it all out of my system faster, hopefully, and all I want is to never be on this drug ever again, thank you and amen.]
The worst part—you know, aside from the exhaustion, weight gain, general blurriness, and the desire to stab my doctor in the face—is that these horrible nightmares often make no sense when I wake up, and so conveying how terrifying they were is impossible. What was bone-chillingly awful while in semi-drugged REM sometimes sounds stupid in the light of day. I’ve given up on subjecting Otto to every sordid tale, because half the time it makes no sense.
Notable exception: the time I dreamed I was pregnant, he was pretty much as horrified by that one as I was, turns out, and I don’t think it’s just because I don’t have a uterus. (“But how did that work, exactly, in the dream? Had you just not had a hysterectomy or what?” “I think it grew back? And that seemed perfectly normal? I TOLD YOU IT WAS A NIGHTMARE.”)
Two months of sleeping like crap can then be made up with a few weeks of tons of sleeping with bonus brain activity! I mean, I hope, anyway. Otherwise I may be in trouble. But either way, I’m now off the Dreadful Med and hoping that things return to normal (become normal?) very soon.
In the meantime, I FEEL very busy, but I realized this weekend that some of that is because of this extensive catalog of dream-activities which aren’t actually happening. I feel stupid writing that out, but it’s true.
Dream activity: Working undercover at a high school where a serial killer is attacking students! Trying to keep the teachers from discovering that I’m a cop and there are guns in my locker! Trailing the perp while trying to remember to turn in my chemistry homework so as not to blow my cover! Accidentally shooting the wrong person! (EXHAUSTING!)
Real activity: Making coffee and packing lunches in the morning. Also: Trying to shake off the lingering ick from the whole dream activity thing that didn’t actually happen. (EXHAUSTING!)
I did manage to take a little road trip with a fellow mom this weekend to watch our kids at an out-of-town event, and that was a much-needed respite on several levels. My favorite part was that for much of the travel time we got into one of those sorts of conversations where you realize that your kids are really a lot more okay (or everyone else’s kids are a lot less okay) than you assumed. You know how that goes, right? One of you says, “Oh, listen, my kid did blah blah blah last week and we were LIVID…” and then the response is something like, “Oh, honey, LISTEN. Let me tell you what MY kid did…” or “Oh, did you hear about this OTHER kid? Lemme tell you about THAT….” None of it is mean-spirited, mind you, more of a friendly “listen, teenagers are all insane” kind of thing.
Misery (or bewilderment, anyway) does love company now and then.
Other than the crazy sleeping stuff, there’s work and kids and laundry and life in general, and none of it actually involves guns or miracle babies, and it may or may not be exhausting, because I’m just exhausted in general.
Not all nightmares remain awful, though. I’ll just leave you with this bit of joy: My darling daughter recently shared that she had a dream (nightmare) in which, according to her, I had ordered “a large box of rats” off the Internet because she is so reluctant to get up in the morning. When I questioned how the rats figured into the morning routine, she told me that in this dream, every time she didn’t get up right when I told her to, I put a rat in her bed and told it to bite her on the nose. Now any time she doesn’t want to do something or is moving a little slowly, that smartass child o’ mine will offer, “You know what you should do? You should get a rat to bite me on the nose. I bet that would help.”
Naturally I am wary of the crossover between the nightmare world and the real one, so instead I settle for telling Licorice to bite Chickie on the nose. She’s having some trouble understanding that “bite” is not the same as “lick,” though. Still, having your sinuses excavated by a small dog with bad breath is pretty unpleasant, so I think it’s a good compromise.