Tag Archives: atheism

Medzzzzzzz…

I had like 3 fucking meltdowns over Christmas weekend which is sorta normal for me but this year was probably worse than previous years ‘n I don’t really wanna talk about it right now, not because I don’t wanna revisit that shit but because I’m sleepy as fuuuuuck…..

My doc and I decided to halve my Welbutrin dose ’cause I think neither of us is 100% sure that I still need it. I tried it a long time ago, pre-bipolar diagnosis as a treatment for depression and that didn’t really work out, obviously (see LBD: antidepressants). Then a couple years ago, while on mood stabilizers, my doc prescribed it again to help me quit smoking because I have like zero willpower and I get upset a lot and it’s super easy for me to rationalize breaking my tobacco fast if I’m really, really, really upset (so, like, often). Welbutrin makes smoking really uncomfortable (I frequently liken it to trying to inhale a large marshmallow I picked out of bag of wet garbage) and also disrupts your brain’s ability to enjoy nicotine so you may as well just be smoking the paper for all the good it’ll do in terms of calming you down.

The other reason we went with Welbutrin is that it’s kind of an upper – not in the same way that speed or even caffeine is, but among its peers, Welbutrin is the most likely to give you a little boost. All my other meds are sedating so the intention was to sort of counteract that problem with more meds (I’ve written about medicating my medication before, but probably not thoroughly enough, remind me to get back to it).

This time around, I don’t think I’ve been prescribed Welbutrin specifically to combat depression, but if it happened to do that, then yay? So last week, my prescription ran out and I was talking to my doctor about it and we thought maybe cutting to dose in half might be fun (ahem: a medically sound choice that is reversible if it happens not to work out). I didn’t start taking the smaller dose until after my Xmas meltdowns because I fucking hate the holidays and I didn’t wanna start experimenting until they were over. Which turned out to be, probably, a really good idea.

This is either day 2 or 3 of the halved dose and I’ve been a fairly drowsy. Which, I mean, is unsurprising considering the drug’s invigorating properties. I suspect I’d feel similarly if I switched from coffee to tea or something – which will never fucking happen, when I die, I wanna be ground up like coffee beans and served, hot or iced, to all my mourners (no I don’t, that’s gross, Laura). 

So, like, I spent the day fucking around with my roommate’s mandolin and working on some poems just for fun, and I think I paid off the balance on my Target card. Like, I got some shit done. I taught myself this song on mando:

Don’t get impressed or anything, it’s not a super complicated song, just a really good song and a fun one to sing and play. But now my fingers hurt ’cause mandolin strings are a little more ouchy than guitar or banjo strings ‘n I’m not really used to them yet. But I did like, at least one or two things today and I didn’t actually have to do anything today, so good for me. Fine.

But it’s me, so I worry a lot about these specters of things that are pretty unlikely, chiefly here: I’ll be sleepy forever. Before my various Christmas freakouts, I had been doing really well. Depakote seems not to have given me the stupids like I worried it would. My moods were pretty even, almost predictable (!!!) and I was feeling good about myself and having all these neat ideas for creative projects which, at this point, I haven’t been neglecting as severely as I usually do when I have good ideas. Good. Cool.

But I wanna take as little medicine as I can get away with and Welbutrin, among my other meds, is the easiest to play around with, so here we are. Slightly less medicated, but markedly more sleepy. This should go away. I mean, if I were taking Welbutrin and nothing else, I’d be about 100% sure the drowsiness would wane after the physical withdrawal was over, but that’s not the case ’cause, like I said, I’m on other meds, 3 others exactly, and they all sometimes make me very tired. More specifically, they shorten my battery life. It’s not that I’m evenly sedated throughout the day, it’s more like I only have energy for one or maybe two activities in a day and I don’t like to stay out late anymore.

So right now it’s a little after 4 p.m. It’s rain-snowing like the goddamned apocalypse outside and I’m legit afraid my power will go out. I’ve run out of shit to do except take a shower which is only necessary because it’s my habit to shower daily, I’m not actually dirty enough right now to warrant bathing. After that, it’s very likely that I’ll get high and watch cartoons or something. Maybe reread my poems a few hundred more times. They are part in Italian and I’m like real stoked on that point. But that’s about it. I don’t have energy for much else. I could:

Clean something, like my desk maybe (nah…)

Investigate the meaning behind the text I just got from my sister which simply reads: “Butt fun?”

Learn more mandolin chords and maybe develop some muscle memory and build tougher calluses

Mulch Arturo more thoroughly (Arturo is my pet blueberry bush. He lives on my patio and should be able to withstand a northern Midwest winter storm but he almost died this summer so I worry about him a lot)

Play some solitaire chess. Gotta stay sharp ‘n whatever.

But I totally won’t do any of these things (except maybe find out what the deal is with “Butt fun?” ’cause there is zero context for that text and it’s fucking funny). I’m probably just gonna return my roommate’s mando to his room, take my evening meds (including the ones I prescribed to myself), move from the office to the couch, watch some Jaclyn Glenn youtube videos, lazily entertain sexual thoughts about this woman who I only know through her Etsy shop but who seems like my kinda people even if I can’t quite see what she looks like or tell how old she is from her tiny picture, and maybe see which of the cats is more amenable to being used as a pillow today ’cause one of them will usually let me do that, but it’s not always the same one. All eminently slothful pursuits.

Anyhowl, getting back to things, I’m gonna give it maybe another 7-10 days of grogginess before I decide if the new Welbutrin dosage is right for me. Like, fingers crossed real hard, I guess, ’cause, like I said, the less medicine I can get by on, the better. In the meantime, jammies ‘n couches ‘n…”Butt fun?”

-LB

Live! From An Implausible Afterlife!

Yeah, fuck it, I don’t have a fully formed post in me today. But I’ve been missing. Kinda. Sorta. I’m not dead. I mean, I’m pretty sure I’m not dead. I posed a hypothetical to a philosophy buddy of mine (never do this) where I asked, What if when we die, we don’t know we’re dead, we just keep on trucking like normal, but, over time, things get incrementally better and better in ways too small to feel implausible, into infinity, each day getting slightly better than the one before but not so much that we legitimately wonder if we’re actually dead and in heaven?

Which is just bananas, let’s be serious. But wouldn’t that be kinda cool? I think so. But not grounded in reason, as are not most (all) conceptions of a human afterlife. Feel welcome to disagree, but, after having given it like a decade of thought, the notion that human consciousness survives the death of the body strikes me as wishful thinking in the best cases and a manipulative threat in the worst (Hell). But I’m an atheist, and I will see your Pascal’s Wager and raise you a Russell’s Teapot every time, up unto the point where doing so is illogical, but that has yet to happen, not to me, at least. When I die, I’ll be dead. Like, I’m pretty sure I’ll be dead after I die. But I can’t prove that so much as ponder it deeply, so I welcome any arguments to the contrary. I like to be proven wrong when I’m wrong, but only when there’s actual proof (see: necessary truth and my further abuse of Wikipedia’s watery philosophy articles today).

ANYway, you can close your textbooks ’cause I mostly came here to tack up the following stray thoughts in a lazy, disorganized manner because I’m fucking depressed and my motivation’s in the can, and words, more words, larger words, showoff words, curse words, edited words, reedited words, precisely selected words, words I don’t mean, words I do mean but not as much as I’m making it seem, words I mean more than I’m making it seem, and then close with a curtsy.

AHEM:

– The Welbutrin dosage increase is fucking with my already fucked appetite and it is SUCH A GODDAMNED PAIN IN THE ASS. I want my protein pills, Bowie. Will supply own helmet. Don’t let me down, dude. I’m hungry.

– I started journaling again. It seemed like a good idea. Plus the journal I bought is really pretty and accommodates my stupid, gigantic handwriting nicely. But the best thing is that it’s intended to be completely private, so I don’t need to edit anything or spellcheck anything and I can write down the things I probably won’t ever say to anyone but which do weigh on me uncomfortably enough. You guys, I’m totally cheating on you.

– I’ve been having panic attacks and then getting mad at my Klonopin for making me feel better – erm…mad at my Klonopin because I sorta need it to make me feel better. Which, I mean, that just further underscores the reality that I probably can’t have a real life without my meds which makes me even more depressed. There are like a dozen reasons why we bipolar folk are hard to medicate. This is one of them, for me anyways.

– I’m pretty busy being a bigger pothead than usual, but I semi-promised my psychiatrist that I’d stop getting stoned so much once I ran out of weed, so it’s gonna be a few minutes.

– My aforementioned stoniness is not helping my aforementioned appetite problem as much as I’d like it to. So, the only logical step here is to smoke more weed? Uh…

– I’ve gotten even better at rationalizing my vices and I was already really good at that. Depression will absolutely do that to you. I feel a twinge. I shouldn’t walk on this leg, I really shouldn’t. I did plenty of standing and walking and bathing and speaking yesterday, better nurse this mystery twinge. I taught my husband how to use the French press. The coffee I’ll badger him into making me will not be as good as if I’d made it myself. Sub-par coffee is the second or third worst thing human beings do to each other, now I’m doubly wounded. Go on without me, just go. I’ll make sure to turn myself periodically to avoid bedsores.

– I recently bought body lotion that’s supposed to smell like a mojito, so it’s probably good that I don’t drive.

– I told my psychiatrist that I’ve been having problems feeling secure in my identity, or that I feel like I jettisoned my identity five or six years ago and have been basically a nobody for several years. She recommended that I read Oliver Sacks ’cause she says that he discusses ideas of personal identity a lot in his work. Anyone wanna back her up on this? I’ve had him recommended to me before but that was when I was still on lithium and couldn’t read very well because of it.

– I wanted to jump rope today. Jump roping is fucking hard. I have to do it for 5 minutes at the beginning of each of my MMA classes, so I thought I’d do it at home some so I wouldn’t tire out so easily in class. I’m not gonna jump rope today. My belly hurts. And I’m sad. And twinge. There’s always tomorrow. Unless I am dead.

Words, curtsy, shut up, bed.

-LB

God God Damnit Damnit

Well, there went June. I mean I was in California for half of it, and I’ve been pretty sad for the rest. My grandma died the evening following the previous post, so, like 5 weeks ago at this point. It got really ugly. The last few days she was in hospice, we were all kind of hoping she would just go. Watching her struggle to catch her breath and then feeling my stomach drop in between breaths as the pauses got longer and longer and I thought, this is it, she stopped breathing was pretty brutal. The last 2ish days she was really loaded on morphine and lorazepam so she wasn’t really even there, but there was a really brief window when she was still lucid and I got to say goodbye to her.

Fuck saying goodbye to your loved ones forever so hard. It’s the roughest thing I’ll ever be grateful for. At this point, I’ve lost 2 really important people in two different ways. My dad died without warning and the shock was unbelievable…and the regret and the guilt and the wondering if I had a hand in it and the accusing other people of having a hand in it, but not to their face because: You’re a fucking backbreaker who worked your husband into the ground (I’d say “literally” but my dad’s not buried in the ground, he’s in a mausoleum with mostly strangers and now my grandma)…is like maybe the quickest way destroy a relationship with someone. Probably. Not that it was great to begin with, but at the end of the day, we were all shellshocked and miserable and shitty to each other. I had to watch my grandma die. I saw her shut down piece by piece. I saw her fingers turn blue as she got less and less oxygen with each breath, I watched her chest heave reflexively in a morphine twilight, I saw tears of pain gather at the corners of her eyes that she didn’t even know were there.

I heard her whisper in Sicilian: Mama, I’m coming to be with you.

God god damnit damnit.

I’ve been ignoring how unsteady I’ve been since she died. I went back down to my normal dosage of meds because the extra olanzapine was making me really tired. I had a panic attack in San Diego. I cry when I think about this, so I don’t think about it a lot. I’m motivated to shower and drink gin and impulse buy shit off Etsy. I made a Pinterest board of things I wanna put on my back deck. I won’t ever actually put them there, but in my mind (and on the Internet), I have a killer back deck. I haven’t picked up a guitar since I borrowed one in Carmel like over 2 weeks ago. Sometimes, without provocation, my heart pounds real hard for several minutes and then goes back to normal. The last thing my grandma ever ate was a pancake and they had to stop feeding her when she started to choke on a piece. When I think about pancakes, I cry. That reality is 100% not workable.

I missed 3 MMA classes in a row, but the third time was to see Serengeti at one of my city’s myriad summer street festivals/glorified block parties with sponsors, which, at the time I decided was worth it, but I’m gonna be like, cursing his name at the gym on Sunday when I barf on the floor after 90 seconds of jump roping. I’ve been trying to work out at home. I’m not a self-motivator. I need my class. For many reasons. But live music is also a tonic, so it wasn’t a loss, really.

I’ve been smoking cigarettes kinda. I quit 2 years ago, but watching my grandma suffocate slowly warranted a number of cigarette breaks in the hospital parking lot with my sister. The cognitive dissonance was not lost on me. But I really needed some timeouts, so whatever. I have an e-cig. I have more than enough vanity to keep me from using it in public. Nobody looks cool smoking a e-cig. It’s not really the same anyway. I had intended to go home after the Serengeti set last weekend because I had no other reason to be at the festival. I hadn’t slept much so I wasn’t drinking because I didn’t wanna fall asleep in the grass. But I hung out for like an extra hour just to bum cigs off dudes which is really easy so I made the most of it. I bought a few packs in California – which were unnervingly inexpensive compared to here – but I purposely left them behind places so I would only smoke like 2 or maybe 3…which I guess means they were sorta, kinda way more expensive than they are here cause I wasn’t getting my money’s worth. I’m not real worried about it. What I am worried about is that I made my husband promise not to let my buy any more cigarettes but I very frequently want one. Like right now would be one of those times. I just feel like smoking a lot, which is generally indicative of: a) I’m drunk b) I’m anxious or c) I don’t know what to do with my hands right that sec. Thanks to all the weed in my life, I can have orgasms again and my husband has been out of the house a lot the last few evenings which are the only times I watch porn ’cause we don’t like the same kind of porn so “c” is not really a problem. (Trying super hard not to think too much about that last sentence, ’cause it’s just depressing.) So I’m sitting here puffing on my e-cig. I am unwashed and I do not look cool.

So, here’s something that’s fucked up and terrifying and one of the gifts you get when you come from a line of mildly inbred Italian hill people: my grandma died because her lungs shut down. She never smoked in her life and she never let my grandpa smoke in the house. She was rarely sedentary and spent a lot of time outdoors. She ate really well. She took care of herself. But she got a cold or something sometime this past spring and it triggered an autoimmune response that resulted in her lungs overproducing heavy mucus and basically strangling her from the inside out. The reason this is so scary to me is because so many people in my family are carriers of autoimmune disorders, including my mom who’s a type 1 diabetic. There’s actually this freaky subset of couplings among my grandma’s cousins wherein the children of those couples have a 1 in 4 chance of developing an autoimmune disease. 4 kids came out of that batch, one got diabetes, one got MS and one got scleroderma. I wanna say the 4th one is safe, but my grandma probably thought she was too until a fucking cold turned her lungs into rocks at 89, which is exactly my point: this shit could happen to me too. And, as with my grandma, I might not know until I have 2 weeks left to live. So from now on, I’m gonna be massively paranoid every time I get the sniffles ’cause they may be my last. Or something. I’m not a doctor. I could be wrong about all this. Paranoia is part of how I grieve.

I’ve been subject to this weird glut of deaths in the last 8 years and the thing we all keep telling each other is that there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. It doesn’t matter how well I understand this concept or how threadbare that platitude has become by this point, I always think I’m fucking it up. My grandma lived a good life. She was happy and virtuous by her own measure. Unlike me, she was a person of faith, so she probably felt a brand of comfort and homecoming in her last days that I’ll never know. She was industrious, humble, sweet and nurturing. She always put herself last. When relatives came to the hospital to say their last goodbyes, they’d say, “I’m gonna pray for you.” My grandma would respond, “No, I’ll pray for you.” And she did. When she died, she was the most beautiful person at her funeral. She was buried in the dress she wore to my wedding. She was stunning.

I’m bothered that I’ve been able to keep as much together as I have, which isn’t to say I’ve been keeping it 100% together, obviously, as evidenced by the panic attacks and low motivation and nicotine cravings. But I still feel like I’m not giving my grandma the reverence she deserves. I asked my therapist what’s the weeping equivalent of a standing ovation. She said she didn’t know. But I hope I figure that one out because my grandma earned it.

-LB

I Talk About Poop On This Blog Way More Than I Thought I Would

So I do have irritable bowel syndrome (actually the way my doctor put it was, “you have an irritable bowel” which I normally would have found pretty funny, but I was having a lot of belly pain and nothing about that moment seemed especially humorous).

So I got a scrip for Bentyl which is just fucking fantastic because I totally want to take another pill. 3 times a day. I don’t even know if it’s working yet, I’ve only had 2 doses. My belly still hurts and pooping is still way less satisfying than it should be. I really, really just want to take a magnificently satisfying, gigantic dump and I totally can’t. Bentyl, you better be made of magic.

Comorbidity exists somewhat commonly between IBS and mental illness (see LBD: comorbidity). There’s also a link between IBS and migraines and IBS and a history of child abuse. I’m a fucking textbook. I have bipolar, I was abused a kid, I get migraines several times a month and now I have a misfiring gut (well, I always had it, but now I can curse its very name from the toilet while I’m pooping uncomfortably and know that I’m calling out the right demon). So great.

This is not a pity party, though. I have some really strong feelings about people who try one up another person’s suffering by detailing their own; more specifically, don’t fucking do that. Managing your suffering is at least 50% perspective. Yes, there are starving kids and mistreated dogs and people plagued by war and lifelong degradation. I read the damned news (which is depressing in its own right if for no other reason than the fact that most journalists have become consistently terrible at their job, I don’t know why I have a degree in this shit). Knowing that somebody (or most people) have it worse than I do does not actually work on a therapeutic level. That being said, perspective is still important and, for me at least, it’s sometimes helpful for me to take stock of my relatively good fortune, all things considered.

But screw perspective for a sec because I really need to bitch about this: What the actual fuck, Universe? Having a mental illness sucks on it’s own. So does having migraines. So does the party that’s happening in my intestines right now (like a really shitty party – yes, pun intended – where beer pong outlasts college and you need to take a bathmat nap because you drank the suicide juice while some total genius decided that life is not worth living unless it’s soundtracked by Jefferson Starship). But I get all 3 of these maladies – chronic illnesses that will never leave me alone.

I don’t believe in god(s) or destiny or even colluding, malevolent ether entities that have any sway over my fate. If it’s supernatural or superstitious, I don’t believe in it. However; if I believed that there was a god (any god, our species invented almost 3,000 deities over the last few millennia, look it up) I would have words with that dude(ette) for mashing 3 chronic conditions – all of which are very uncomfortable, one of which is hypothetically deadly because I think about killing myself more than most people probably do – into a single person. Great. Thanks, non-god. Thanks for designing a human that’s physically faulty to the point of requiring several medications to fix the bugs you left. Y’know, me.

But like I said, I don’t believe in god or creation, which really sucks in this instance because I have nobody to blame. And I’m pissed about my various conditions so I really wanna blame somebody for this bullshit, because, while I realize on an intellectual level that my issues were not inflicted on me by anyone or anything, I would appreciate the opportunity to tell god(s) that he’s being an asshole right now and needs to knock it off. I got shit to do. I literally have shit to do.

This isn’t even the whole picture. I also have remarkably bad eyesight and chronic shoulder pain from some accident or another. I mean, Ok, shit happens. Accidents happen and people are born with malfunctioning eyes. Fine. But, body, can you please just try to work with me? I’m pretty nice to you. I quit smoking and I masturbate plenty. What else do you want from me? A multivitamin? A nicer vibrator? Goulash? Goulash is delicious. I’ll get you some. Just fucking chill until I’m at least out of my 20’s.

Oh yeah, and the medicine I’m taking for IBS can potentially hinder the absorption of my Zyprexa (see LBD: antipsychotics) which could put me at a greater risk for hypomania, but my doctors think the benefits outweigh the risks and at this point I’ll just take the damned pills because my tummy hurts and my poops are bad.

I am both grateful and cranky when it comes to taking meds because, while successfully treating an illness with modern medicine is supremely great, popping a baker’s dozen of pills all throughout the day requires actual effort. I have to time things properly and I’m so bad at that.

But here we are at the triangulated malice of my illnesses. Best case scenario: the Bentyl works and I don’t become hypomanic and I can start wearing formfitting clothes again if the bloating goes away. I really should wear tight clothes. The form they’d be fitting is pretty excellent. I mean, I look great naked. If I wasn’t me, I’d try to get me naked. I’m glorious.

So send me your best toilet tidings and keep your fingers crossed that I might expel the greatest shit that ever shat tomorrow morning. I want this to be epic.

-LB