Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Coolest, Ever!

I just watched the movie - Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.
Oh my! If you are a Final Fantasy fan, this is the coolest thing I
have ever seen. Everything one wanted to bring those characters
to the screen. It was a Final Fantasy wet dream! It was an
astonishingly beautiful film, what Square should have done in
the first place.

Who says fantasy isn't better than reality? I hate coming back,
sometimes. Leave me to my dreams.... reality can't compete.

Just In Time

It appears that "life" likes my show.

I've thought of quitting the interview show many times when I don't
have any volunteers - I worry that people are tired of it, and no one
wants to do the show. Every time I start thinking about doing
something else, there is the next email!

The last time I thought I was done, I suddenly had 3 more irresistible
shows to do. I posted the last of them yesterday, and email from
another fascinating volunteer shows up, right on time. These people
are so interesting, I can't NOT interview them! I enjoyed the heck
out of the interviews and made a couple of new friends.

Money is like that for me too. I never saved a dime, and every time
I think I've really screwed it up this time, there is the next batch
of money, often unexpected. It's not enough to live wildly
extravagantly, but enough to deal with the next thing.

Jobs were like that also. When I HAD to have a new job - there one
was. Even in times when no one else could get a job.
It is kind of strange, how many things often just come along, when
you have to have it.

It is almost enough to believe in a helping force, but then I obsess on
why passion and love never came my way. Why I had to be so horribly
depressed. Why so many of my friends died or disappeared. Those
needs were huge and consuming, and made me so sad.
Where was my Fairy Godmother then?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Creative Exhaustion

I love being creative, but man is it exhausting! I have 2 new shows
up on the web today! Guess what I was doing ALL day today!

Get the new Uncomfortable Questions interview show:
"The Manly Geek Interview". It is an amazing interview with an
amazing guy! Manly Geek is one of 3 Webmasters for the Marine
Corps and started The Manly Geek Show (where he teaches geeks
to be men, and men to be geeks!) A charming guy with a great sense
of humor. Check him out.

And a new Channel Surfing Wipeout Video show is up. This is
probably the most bizarre episode ever. Our senses of humor took a
diagonal turn somewhere. I like it a lot! It is much closer to our
real sense of humor around the house. When the three of us in the
comedy troupe lived together, it was like that all of the time!

I'll be on the New England road trip in less than 2 weeks! I'm so
excited, I'm finally getting a vacation! Cay took the car in for an oil
change, and we at least contemplated cleaning it out for the trip.
But it was raining all day - so we easily ignored that task :)

We're bringing a laptop, ipods, digital and video cameras, and
recording equipment on the trip (the perfect geek packing method)
so I should be able to post pictures of trip to this blog as it
happens. Also might record some stuff for the podcasts as we go.
I suppose that will mean I have to look for hotels with Web access.
(so much for cheap motels!). Or I suppose finding a coffee shop
with access will work, too.

Otherwise, still feeling good in the brain department, I did stop
losing weight after the 4 pounds, I guess I'll have to work for it
now, but it should come off with enough diet and exercise, whereas
on the drugs it just went up - even starving and exercising my head
off.

So for now, things are good.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Free Shirt

Rainy, gloomy day. I worked way too late, and just got home. I was
working on Linux, of course, which always turns out to be an
adventure (or comedy of errors?) Can an operating system take a
personal dislike to a person like me? I volunteered to check out
a bunch of Linux systems, just to force myself to get better at it.

Thinking about how memory works. Towards the end of my last job,
I was so stressed out, and was sleeping maybe 4 hours a night. My
memory, which used to be incredibly good, became malleable and
fluid. I couldn't remember shit, and what I did remember may or may
not have been true. It seems to be a side effect of extreme stress.
I found that caused me even more stress. If you always trusted
your brain, and it was fooling you, what did you have to hang on
to as real? Mostly I try not to dwell on it too much. It's creepy.

Very interesting, the mechanisms of stress. What purpose does it
serve to lose your memory? I lost an entire year once, in the
middle of about 5 stressful years. I would refer to things that
happened just last year, and people would point out to me that
stuff was over two years ago. It became clear that I couldn't
remember an entire year. I really don't know what I did during
that year, except work all the time, and it all collapsed together.

Now that I am not stressed much at all, my memory has gotten good
again. My mentor at work only has to tell me things once, and I
have it. Most teachers will say that you have to "tell them 3 times"
to make something stick.

Otherwise, thinking about things. A LOT. Wondering where I am
going or where I want to be going? I wish I had more answers than
questions.

Oh well, I got a free shirt from work. A really nice long sleeved
shirt with the company name, and the name of my customer account
embroidered on it. My partner got it for me because everybody has
ton's of shirts and I've been there 10 months, and hadn't got a
single shirt. Really rather sweet of him :)
Maybe that is the meaning of life.
Free stuff!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Imposing Meaning

Woo-hoo! Lost 4 pounds in 4 days! Still keeping up the pound a day
loss since going off the drugs (but remember, kids - Lexapro
absolutely doesn't cause weight gain - my doctors all told me so!!
I just can't resist rubbing that in. Though who am I rubbing it in
too? My doctors don't read my blog.....) I have so many empty
victories.

Thinking about a lost friend a lot today. I view the whole thing
much differently now (supposedly because I am struck with so much
sanity, these days). I wish I had known him when I was more sane,
but then again, I'm not sorry for anything I did. There was no way
to have done things differently at the time. Anyways, I truly hope
he is happy and doing well. I suppose I should learn how to get
really angry at people, when things go badly - but anger takes a
LOT of energy. I have always been far too lazy to be an angry or
unforgiving person. Much easier, that way :) O.K. so that one
wasn't a victory - meaningless or otherwise.

Working a lot these days. The problem with catching on to a new job,
is you start taking on too much. There is never enough time in a day
to get it all done. I'm staying 'til around 7 pm every night. I just
am toooooooo responsible for my own good. But I wouldn't do it, if
the work wasn't fun. (I learned some lessons at my last job. If it
isn't fun, go do something else!) Thank goodness I am under the
impression that work is a good time. Another self-imposed victory?

So human, to make a big deal out of pretty meaningless things.
To impose our own order on the chaos.
And think we have done good :)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Possibility Abounds

Doing fine. Loosing a pound a day! (ok, it's only been 3 days) - but it
amazes me that I struggled so hard to keep off the weight while on
the drugs, and ultimately gained 19 1/2 lbs. The minute I stopped the
drugs, off it comes, without changing my diet. So fast, in fact, I
think I'm startling my body. I'm not that hungry, but the body
vaguely reminds me to eat, to prevent disappearance. That would
take quite some time! (even at a pound a day).

Work remains excellent, I'm having lots of fun working with a few
people I'm very much enjoying being around. It has just become more
fun in general, and people are really pulling together, as a group.
They are not acting at all like the same group I started with. I'm not
sure why they changed so much. Or did I change?
I don't think so......??

Got the 75 gallon water heater put in yesterday - wow is it HUGE!!!
Seems to have solved the constant shortage of hot water problem :)
Coming off the drugs, I am having some problems sleeping, and last
night just couldn't get to sleep. Got up at 2:30 am and took a hot
bath. Lovely! Put me right out. (Reminder to self - do NOT weightlift
at 10 pm at night, even if that is the only time you can fit it in.
It is far too energizing....)

Life seems to be warming up with possibilities again - with luck, it
will all lead somewhere good. I'm still waiting for Santa to deliver
my Christmas present :) Man, is he slow! But maybe?......

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Grand Adventure

Another fine day. I'm doing very well off the drugs. I'm feeling great,
and enjoying things quite a bit. The brain shocks stopped, and
except for a couple of moments today, when I suddenly felt a little
"unreal" there are no other side effects. I'm not sleeping quite as
well, and my dreams are disappointingly boring. On the drugs, I had
8 months of bizarre and vastly entertaining dreams! I'll miss those.

I wonder if my brain was trying to compensate for being suppressed?
It worked out all that creativity and emotional nature in my dream
life. I guess it will not be denied.

The weight has started sliding off, as I suspected it would. Still,
it may take a couple of months just to get back to where I was.
I'm not happy about that, but it at least is possible, now.

Am I angry about what I've been through? Not really, except that I
could have put that year to better use. As my friend David says,
"I'm on a grand adventure". I suppose that is the only way to look
at it, and just chalk up all experiences - good and bad - to being
part of the adventure. Real adventures are often rather unpleasant,
frightening and uncomfortable when you are going through it.
But, oh! The fine stories you can tell, afterwards.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Hot Water and Brain Shocks

I think my house smelled my tax money. My hot water heater broke,
and I don't know how long until I can get a new one. They are coming
out tomorrow to look at it. I don't know what they are going to look
at, it has a big crack in it. I want them to bring another one! Last
time I got a chunk of money, everything in the old house broke
(including the hot water heater in that house). Hot water heaters
seem to be very prone to knowing when you have money, and
promptly explode...

I'm told there are showers at work, there had better be! I may not
have hot water for awhile.... I'll go into work early and bring my
towel:) A strange way to live. At least I have a back up for
getting clean!

Completely off the anti-depressant drugs today, and feel just fine.
Except the "brain shocks". This morning, every now and then it felt
like I could feel something firing off in my brain - like a little
shock. Very weird. I looked it up, and sure enough, it is one of the
withdrawal symptoms. I like to think of it as my brain firing back
up, after being suppressed for so long :) Everything had a "depth"
it hasn't had for awhile.

I suppose it is that very depth of my brain that gets me in trouble
when things go seriously wrong, I feel everything so deeply and
hugely. However, when the depth was applied to appreciating the
beauty of all the trees bursting into leaf on the drive into work,
it is a fine thing.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Don't try this at home....

I mean it! What I'm about to do, I don't recommend anyone do. I'm
going off the anti-depressant drugs. I am used to experimenting on
myself - and I've been researching the drugs, herbs, vitamins, and
Chinese medicine for as long as I can remember. I've always been my
own Guinea Pig. But don't you guys do it unless you do the research,
and are willing to live with the consequences. My doctors hate it that
I do this, but they haven't done any better for me.

It was my willingness to experiment, and ignore much of their
methods, that brought my diabetes under extreme tight control -
better than a person who doesn't have it can do. With luck, that
may save my life. Almost no one achieves tight control, and the
theory is, if you do, you wont suffer most of the complications of
diabetes: amputation, kidney failure, blindness, and 6 times more
likely to die of heart failure - to name a few fun facts.

I took 1/2 a pill this morning of the Wellbutrin, that's only 50 mg
(1/6 of a normal dose) and the dizziness and weird head feeling came
back. And a headache too. At this point I'm taking so little of the
drug, it can't be what is making my mood good, and the fact that my
body doesn't like it, probably means it doesn't need it or want it.

Yes, I did crash for many weeks in late February and March, but I
talked it over with a friend, and considering the causes of that
depression, my reactions were pretty appropriate to the situation.
It was a heartbreaking thing to go through and watch, and it would
screw up anyone. But I bounced back very quickly, for me.

I suspect that I am fine on my own now, that I healed up from all
the bad shit from the last year while on the drugs - it gave me the
space I needed, and stopped my brain from torturing me. I guess I'll
find out! I'm not taking any more Wellbutrin, and the Lexapro is
now entirely out of my system. I'm going to see what happens.

I guess you'll be the first to know if I fail in this experiment.
I'm sure to write about it! :)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Back, at Last

Finally, the Lexapro is probably out of my system and I got the
Wellbutrin down to 100mg and achieved perfection, Nirvana - ok
not that good. But I'm not wired, I feel great, I'm not sleepy
anymore, I have real energy for the first time in 8 months.
I bought stuff, did yard work, planted bulbs, moved stuff around
in the garage (so it would stop falling over on my car) and just
enjoyed the outdoors.

I haven't been this functional in almost a year. It was a long,
long road, but I declare that I have arrived! It is about bloody
time. The last year exceeded all others in "suckage" factor,
well except maybe the year just previous to it, but that year
had some interesting high points. This one just blew.

But I'm back.
Hopefully for good.

And the next long road of now dealing with everything I ignored
for a year, begins.....
I hate losing years like that. It's not the first one that I've
misplaced. I wish I had them all back. Can you tack them on the end?
I hope so, I'm going to run out of "the end" soon enough.

Friday, April 21, 2006

HyperSpeed

Waaaay too wired. I'm going to have to cut the drug dose again. I
think I may get hopped up from this drug just by smelling it! I'm
going to have to cut what they said I should take, down to 1/3.

Met up with some of the old crowd from my previous job tonight. We
ate and talked for about 4 hours. We couldn't get together last
month, so this was the first time I've seen them in 2 months. It
was really good to see them and talk with them again. What a great
bunch of people!

I didn't want to drink tonight because of the new drugs, so I drank
iced tea. We were talking so much, I didn't pay attention to how
many refills the waitress brought. I sort of forgot there is
caffeine in iced tea. So now I'm REALLY WIRED!!!!!!

It's actually rather uncomfortable.... I just want to go to sleep,
and I'm not sure that will be physically possible. Here's hoping
the homoeopathy "Coffea Cruda" will do it's magic. It is what I've
taken in that past when having trouble sleeping. It is so named,
for that jittery feeling you get when you've had too much coffee.
It usually works.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

End of the Rainbow

The problem with working, is during the week that is most of your
day, so what else do you have to talk about but work? I'm really
getting into a lot of projects, and doing a lot of interesting and
varied things. Days just blaze by and I'm keeping my mind very
busy and entertained. I'm almost reluctant to come home, I love
learning new things so much. I'm also wired to the gills on
Wellbutrin, so working gives me something to do with all that
energy buzz.

I cut the dose back to 150mg (from 300mg) and I can tolerate that
amount. 300mg is a "normal" adult dose. Who are those people?
That much would raise the dead, it would allow you to fly, with
or without a plane. If my heart didn't go so fast, it would be
fun to be that wired, I could get an awful lot done! I wonder if
being on speed feels like that?

I saw the most beautiful rainbow on my drive home (which was good
because the highway way stop and go for miles, and it gave me
something nice to look at all the way home!) It was huge, and
really bright - I could see every color band in it. One end looked
like it was coming out of a field next to the road and I so
wanted to stop and walk up to it, and see what it would look like
from the point where it came out of the ground. Could you still
see it if you were that close? I've never seen the endpoint of a
rainbow before. Of course I did think about that "pot of gold".
But then again, a big pot of gold would be awfully heavy. Could
I get it into the car? Would the leprechaun beat me up? Could I
take him? Are leprechauns strong? Long commutes on a wired brain
are an entertaining thing....

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Nothing Much

Feeling a little weird. I cant tell if it is withdrawal from the old
drug or the new drug being too strong. My mood is great, but my
head feels strange - sort of like dizziness, only different. I can't
describe it - it isn't like anything I've ever felt. I'm still getting
tons of work done, so my brain is working fine, I just feel odd.

What else is going on.... not much. Studying Japanese again, and I'm
enjoying that. There is a podcast called "JapanesePod101.com" -
it has been quite the aid in coming back up to speed. I've
forgotten so much. Its the best audio teaching aid I've heard, and
it's all free and online. I remember spending $70-100 for video or
audio tapes during classes, to help learn the Japanese. Podcasting
is an amazingly good thing. (Even if I am biased about that!)

My own shows are doing alright. "Uncomfortable Questions" has
settled down to an audience of about 450 downloads per show in the
first 2 weeks it is up, but eventually each show goes to 500 or more.
"Channel Surfing Wipeout" is often breaking 1000 downloads over a
month. Putting those shows up every 2 weeks, instead of every week
was the right decision. Doing them both, every week, pretty much
took over my life. Now I have a lot more free time.

If only I felt better, so I could make better use of it!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

All that psychiatric stuff....

Well, I am indeed done with the therapy experiment. I went to tell
her today, and it turns out she was trying to figure out how to tell
me that she was leaving the agency. So we left each other :)

She asked me if I wanted another therapist, and I said no. She didn't
push me, since I am doing to extraordinarily well on the current
drugs. I don't think she thought the therapy was helping me either.
We never did really talk about any solutions. She was just too
determined to find some hidden early abuse or trauma that made me
so depressive, and seemed sure I was hiding it from her.

She can't accept that some people are just like that or it really
could be just chemical. I had a really, really boring childhood.
Not the stuff that great traumas are made of.... I got here on
my own :)

However I did talk her into reading the book "The Chemistry of Joy".
The book helped me more than anything she had me read, and she
got intrigued by it :) Do you know that therapists cost $175 and
Psychiatrists get $250? I saw the insurance bill and I couldn't
believe it. I wouldn't pay that much for not getting any help.

The drug is working too well. I was really wired today. It seems the
dose is a bit strong. I was ready to conquer Minneapolis, work
through the night, and then consider tackling Mt. Everest. I had to
keep slowing down and breathing deep calming breaths. I skipped one
of my pills and came back down to a more reasonable level.

It was kind of fun, but my heart was going too fast, so I thought
I should deal with it. I'm going to try 200 mg a day (instead of
300 mg). If I stabilize, then I'm supposed to try the timed released
version, so I don't get a jolt of the stuff, every time I take a
pill. The last drug just made me tired all the time, and this one
is like rocket fuel! It's like being bi-polar through chemistry.

Monday, April 17, 2006

No Fanfare?

I didn't get around to taking my Lexapro today, so I guess I'm finally
off of it. So far, I feel fine. The Wellbutrin is working very well.
So we'll go off in this direction for awhile and see what happens.

Worked a looong day today, I got interested in something, and didn't
get around to coming home until after 7 pm. I'm also trying to learn
some test tools well enough to give a presentation on Monday. Still
having fun at work. I guess this is turning out rather well.

I'm going to my therapy tomorrow, and tell her I'm not going to
continue with it. I'm just getting nothing from it at all. I feel
like I'll have to make up some problems for her soon, just to make
her happy. Oh well, it was an experiment, I didn't really expect it
to do anything. But experimenting is good, sometimes you find
good things. It appears the depressions were chemical, after all.
When I found the right balancing agent, I was fine. I'm pretty much
where I want to be, right now.

How strange. I'd expected trumpets and fanfares when I finally got
to a better place in life. It just kind of eased into it, and then
I was there.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Lazy Easter

The Phil T. Interview show is finally up. I spent a good part of
this afternoon, still editing away. I am probably too picky about how
good the show sounds, that it takes me far to long to edit. But I am
always proud of the final product.

I'm still accelerating the medicine changeover. I left the Lexapro
at 5mg, and put the Wellbutrin up to the full 300 mg dose today.
Still feel quite good. Only weird thing, is I've started having
bouts with car sickness, if I am not driving. I used to get really
car sick as a teenager, but still traveled all over the country -
so I guess this won't impact the road trip. I have to find some
of those car sickness pills.

Otherwise, it was a relaxing day. Everything was closed for Easter,
so shopping was right out. Our power went out for a couple of hours
around dinner, so we had to "toast" frozen bagels in a frying pan.
That was pretty entertaining. (Must have been a really slow day...)

Took a walk, and played the video game "Hot Shots Golf 4".
I hadn't played #4 and just barely came in at one over par. I was
pretty good at Hot Shots Golf #1, 2 and 3. What a wonderfully
useless talent to have. I'm a killer putter in those games :)
Probably couldn't play "real" golf to save my life. Especially
since you can't do it from your couch....

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Discipline??

I rode out the withdrawal side effects and I've lost a pound and
a half since Wednesday. It's working! (and I'm not totally off the
drug yet.) I just have to keep from eating, I woke up at 4 am this
morning, starving.

I had to get up and eat some cereal so I could sleep. I have never
woken up and had to eat in the night, ever! I like sleeping more
than eating, and resent having to wake up :) The side effects were
gone by this morning. I should be off of Lexapro this coming week.
From what I've read, I'm having an easy transition.

Worked all day on editing the "Phil T. Interview". My gosh, we
talked so much, I don't think I will ever finish the edit! It
should go up today, but it will take me until tomorrow to finish
it. I have one more show recorded, and then I don't know if I
will continue the show or not. I'm thinking of some alternate types
of shows I could do, if no more interviews come up. With the next
one, I will have done 37 interview shows since I started in mid-
July. At about an hour apiece, that is quite a body of work,
and I'm pretty proud of it.

I finished the book "The Chemistry of Joy". The Buddhist Psychology
section hit me right between the eyes. For the first time I
recognized myself in one of these books. Great, my therapist doesn't
get me at all, but the Buddhists do. I just have to decide what
parts I want to address. Some I don't want to, I like those parts,
even if they bring me grief. I'm not willing to let go of those
parts of myself.

The "mindful meditations" suggested look good, might help a bit.
I've always been horrible at meditation, but these give you something
to do, while you are doing it. A more "active" meditation. That I
might be able to deal with.

I managed to do a little of the meditation for "opening the heart"
I felt something happening. The one I really need, is to be able
to "calmly watch my thoughts going by and let them happen without
judgment and let them pass". If I could do this with the worried
and anguished thoughts that I can get caught up in, I would be
much more able to cope with the hard times.

This is going to take some practice, and (shudder) "discipline".
Not one of my strengths. It is right there behind "patience".

Friday, April 14, 2006

Side Effects, ahoy!

"Life is so hard, how can we be anything but kind?"
from The Chemistry of Joy.

I made the transition so easily from 20mg of Lexapro to 15 to 10,
that I got cocky, and dropped it to 5mg after 2 days. Perhaps not
the best decision. The withdrawal side effects kicked in. A lot of
dizziness, head feels weird, a little anxiety.

So, of course, it was "to the web" to get the real scoop. I get
much from www.crazymeds.org - one of my favorite sites. It's a lot of
people describing what the drugs "really" do. It seems that getting
off these drugs can be pretty nasty. It seems Effexor is the clear
winner in "the most horrible drug to get off of", so I'm really
glad I chose the Wellbutrin, Effexor was the other choice.

I'm tempted to ride out the side effects. It will take a week
after I stop taking it for it to completely clear out of my system.
I would really like to lose some of this weight back before my trip.
I don't think road food is going to be really conducive to weight loss!

Otherwise, another good day at work, and pleasant warm weather.
This has been the best beginning of April ever. 60's, 70's and 80's
every day! That is more like middle to late May weather for us.
There are a ton of flowers coming up in the front yard. Very nice.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Worries and Butterflies

Today was another good day. It isn't right that I have to report on
days that are good, like it is something unusual. Actually the last
2 weeks have been pretty good. I think I've hit a new level of comfort
with things. Enough time has passed from all the bad things that it
seems normal healing has taken place.

I still have twinges of worry during the day, "I'm sure my friend hates
me and doesn't want to be my friend anymore", "I'm positive I'm not
working hard enough at work, and I'll get a lousy raise", etc., etc.
They come and go pretty quickly though. I hope they are not true, I
have no evidence that they are true, so I finally decide it is a waste
of time to worry about them. Besides, "oh look at this new program
I get to learn how to use. Cool." (Easily distractable....Butterflies!)

Only a month to the road trip. I'm starting to study the maps and
figure out the best routes. In addition to Cay stopping to see his
family in New York, we called a friend in Rhode Island, and he got
so excited he is going to take the day off and show us around the
state.

There is another friend in Massachusetts that we are trying to
arrange to see. We'll be all over New England trying to visit
everyone and see everything in 5 days. Might be a little tight!
I'm still going to get to Maine though, at least as far as Acadia.
I have some rock sitting and staring at the ocean to do.
It's been too long.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Drug Report - Connections they don't mention....

I just read an interesting article about how diabetics often have
"bio-chemical" depressions. Could be why therapy isn't making sense
to me. It really might be mostly chemical. Therapists say that is a
cop-out, saying it is just chemical is like saying I'm fat because
I have big bones. But why am I totally fine, content and well
adjusted when the medicine works? What if it is "just" chemical?

Also I read about a connection between Lexapro and blood sugar.
Could explain why my glucose readings jumped so high awhile back
and I couldn't get it under control. It was about the same time I
started the Lexapro. I wonder why I didn't notice that? I guess
because it isn't "supposed" to have that side effect.

I have cut my Lexapro from 20mg to 10mg over the last week. My
blood sugar numbers dropped to normal the last 2 days. I even had
to drop a diabetic pill. Hmmm. I was getting frustrated that my
diabetes was getting worse, and I had to double my diabetic pills.
But now it is going back to normal for me - the same numbers I've
had for the last 7 years. I may be back down to my normal 2 pills
in another week. I'm not getting worse!

I also read many reports from individuals that they gained up to 50
lbs. on Lexapro, and when they switched to Wellbutrin, the weight
started pouring off. I have my fingers crossed for that one. I'm
up to 200mg of Wellbutrin now. 2 more weeks and I will be on just
300 mg of Wellbutrin (no Lexapro). Hear that weight? Get moving!!
Your days are numbered....

The Wellbutrin is really helping my mood, also. I'm pretty much
fine again. I'm still unable to get to sleep for 2-3 hours at night,
but hey, I stopped sleeping so darned much! And I'm not so sleepy
during the day. This is an improvement. I also read that Wellbutrin
doesn't cause the sex problems of the other anti-depressants. If
anything it increases your sex drive. I'm not sure I need more of
that. I have plenty! But I think I'm heading in the right direction.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Love and Taxes

Well, I didn't have to drink after seeing my tax accountant. I'm
getting $4200 back!!!! I can now pay for my road trip in May, get
the car its 60,000 mile(expensive) maintenance, AND still pay
down the credit cards about $2000. I am very pleased.

Then I saw my therapist. I don't know. I think I'll give it one
more try, and then probably bail. I like her, but she isn't coming
up with anything I haven't thought of 100 times. She asked me
what I wanted to be - and I said "more than human". Just being
human wasn't good enough. I want more. When she made me come
up with real things that would make me content, I said LOTS of
money, attention, praise, affection, love, being needed, and lots
of sex. I wasn't kidding - I think that would do for starters.

She looked at this list of improbable things that I would never get,
and flailed around a bit. (I knew they weren't going to ever happen,
why do you think I am depressed? That is what I want!). She said,
rather weakly, "Do you think having children would help?" I almost
ran away screaming at this point. I never, ever wanted children.
(How would that help me get sex and money? - Certainly not love
and affection - even my dogs ignore me!)

I am not co-dependent, I haven't been abused, and I don't want
children to make my life "better". She wants me to be all those
things, because then she can categorize me. I don't fit in any of
her boxes, and I'm a pretty "far out there" person. I don't think
like most others. She doesn't know what to do with me. I am no one
thing, I am a thousand different things, often extremes of the same
things at the same time. She wants me to live in a gray reality,
and I can't think of any reason I would want to do so. I suspected
therapy would go like this, and it seems to be bearing it out. I think
I would get more "help" from a "self-help" book.

Let me just end with a quote from a book I am reading on
depression - "The Noonday Demon" by Andrew Solomon:

"Depression is the flaw in love. To be creatures who love, we must
be creatures who can despair at what we lose, and depression is
the mechanism of that despair........Love, though it is no
prophylactic against depression, is what cushions the mind and
protects it from itself."

Monday, April 10, 2006

I'm going to Jupiter!

The new Channel Surfing Wipeout is finally up! Hurray!
This one was a long time coming, and it is our shortest show ever,
only about 3 minutes. The special effects to make the darned skull
float took about a day and half. The skull was supposed to be
'flaming' also, but we haven't figured that effect out yet.

We can now do real "blue screen" techniques, so in theory we can go
anywhere now by dropping ourselves into any background. I expect
the show to get really bizarre! We can go to Jupiter, the jungle, the
Eiffel tower, deep space, cartoon worlds. No limits for sets or our
imaginations. Can't wait!

Tomorrow morning I have to go see my accountant to do my taxes.
I'm starting to get pretty nervous about it. I had to sell off a lot of
stock options when I left my last job, so I have no idea where I'm at.
I'm usually quite good with money, but I was not in very rational
shape when I left. Just surviving was about all I could handle. I could
owe a bunch of money I don't have. I'm not sure what I will do then.
Probably drink. A lot.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

I Need Flowers


The lilys from the front yard, last summer. I need to see flowers!

and more

and more

Spring Brain

A day of filming for the Channel Surfing Wipeout show and moving
furniture. Even worked throwing away the old couch into a sketch.
Hopefully it will be up tomorrow. This is the "special effects"
show that we filmed most of, a month ago and then couldn't get the
effects program to work. It was a month of email to England and
they said no one but us had this problem. Then they released a new
update and it fixed the problem :)

It was sunny and 60 degrees today, so spent a lot of it out in the
back, watching the dogs run around like idiots. I think they have
spring fever too. A pretty low key day, which is fine. I really
don't relax enough. Strangely enough, I'm not even thinking about
much today. The brain is pretty quiet. A little worried now and then
about a friend who isn't doing so well, but not even much of that.
So I guess its a low key day for my brain too. It never takes time
off!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Stronger?

I've been trying to get stronger today. Lately, everything hurts so
much that I don't want to exercise. I'm trying to break it up during
the day, and just do a little at a time, and add some stretching.
I did arm strengthening earlier in the day, and took a walk tonight.
It wasn't as painful or hard. I think the old meds are doing something
to my muscles too, like letting the lactic acid build up too much.
I'm quite anxious to get off of it.

The weight is still a wash. I did eat my shrimp last night (not even
the fried kind) and I gained a pound. I thought if you gave your
body what it wants, it can make you lose weight. Grrrr.

Mood was o.k. today, not as happy, but mildly productive. Got caught
up on a lot of things, paying bills, washing and shaving the dog
for summer (that's a several hour fight with the dog), budgeting
out the money for the next 2 weeks, writing some email (I'm still
behind a few), and reading a friend's entire blog that I had wanted
to get to. I guess none of that was really exciting - kind of low
key, so not feeling overjoyed is probably about right.

Still thinking about the future a lot, and what I want out of it.
A friend and I have been writing back and forth about how what we
think we want is to "help people". I've always tried to do that,
but I'm wondering if there is more I could be doing? Where do I
apply my talents to do this?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Good Days and Shrimp

I had another very good day today. That is 3 in a row since I added
the Wellbutrin on Wednesday! It is so nice to enjoy things and have
good days again. No weight loss, though. I guess until I get entirely
off the Lexapro, I won't know. That will be in about 3 weeks.

It is much harder to get to sleep, though. It take me 2-3 hours in
bed before my brain slows down enough to sleep. The dreams have
gotten way more wild and numerous.

Otherwise, I am craving fried shrimp like you wouldn't believe! I
can't think of anything else. What the heck is in fried shrimp that
my body needs so much? I usually don't crave something this bad
unless I have a nutrition deficiency of some kind. So realize I'm
on the web, and I just looked it up:
------------------------------
Shrimp Nutritional Values:
The Good: This food is low in Saturated Fat. It is also a good
source of Niacin, Iron, Phosphorus and Zinc, and a very good
source of Protein, Vitamin B12 and Selenium.

The Bad: This food is very high in Cholesterol.
------------------------------

It must be the cholesterol I'm craving. :-)
Who cares? I'm going to buy some shrimp now.....

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Job Contentedness - at last....

I ended up working on 4 different projects at work today. Every hour
I had to constantly change gears, read something, go to a meeting,
test something, install something, set something up - on each of the
4 different projects. I really had to concentrate to remember which
one I was working on at the moment. I found I was enjoying the
challenge, and decided I totally like the new place.

Especially since my teammate on 2 of the projects is really fun and
we keep trying to get each other to cause trouble. I told him about
my arsenal of nerf guns at the last job, and he so wanted me to bring
them in. Ahhhhh, a fellow troublemaker, at last. Actually there is a
new guy from India across from me that seems to have what it takes
to raise heck. He has that sparkle in his eye. I bet we can talk him
into doing silly things along side us :) The guy from India and I
threatened to hold "high tea" in our aisle, since it was too quiet,
and invite everyone by for "tea" and socializing.

I'm doing very well at the new job, its been 9 1/2 months and I am
hitting my full stride, getting involved in everything, getting
lots done, and consistently hitting my schedules. I'm good at
juggling a lot of different things. No time to get bored, and the
day goes very fast. I finally feel totally comfortable and like
I belong there.

I believe work is quite happy with me, at least I hope so! They keep
giving me more projects, so they trust me to get them done. I also
volunteer to help out on other projects any time I have a spare
moment. I really do hate being bored.... So, all-in-all, this was the
right job choice and I'm glad I can finally settle in and enjoy it.
I have to like what I am doing, and like my workplace to feel some
balance in my life.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Day 1 - Crossover Drugs

I cut back on the Lexapro and started the Wellbutrin today. It was
very interesting. At first my head felt a little unfocused, but
then o.k. The drug peaks in your blood at about 7 hours. At that
point I realized my mouth was very, very dry - one of the top 3
side effects. A diet soda took care of that. Then that bubbly good
feeling I had about 6 weeks ago, right before events caused me to
crash, came back. I realized I was smiling, at nothing, as I drove
home. I hadn't expected to notice anything on the first day!

I think the Wellbutrin "reactivated" the Lexapro. I started feeling
really good again. The rest of the day was very nice. I feel alert,
upbeat, did some weight lifting, went through 2 weeks of mail,
balanced my checkbook, and wrote email. I feel almost productive.

I also did automatically cut down on my nicotine gum, as the doctor
suspected. I went from 12 pieces to 10 pieces, without even trying.
Not bad for day 1! It would only be made better if I've lost some
weight in the morning, though I'm still on a lot of the Lexapro.
That will be interesting to see if there is a direct correlation,
as I drop out the Lexapro.

My only worry is this very good day is due to the combination of the
2 drugs, not the new one alone. I would not like to have to stay on
both. I'll never get rid of this weight!

But it is wonderful to feel good again. I will mourn the loss of this
content, if the drugs fail again after a couple of months.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

New Drug Adventures - Commence!

So after talking to the psychiatrist about meds for an hour, he came
to exactly the same conclusion I had. Get off the Lexapro, go on
Wellbutrin.(I should go into medicine!) Unfortunately there is a
complicated 3 week schedule - phase down the Lexapro by 5 mg a
week, and increase the Wellbutrin by 100 mg a week. The crossover
should be interesting. I start tomorrow. I may not know for some
time, if drug #3 does the job.

If it doesn't work, I think I'll give up on the meds. This is about
the only one that has a chance of not making me gain weight, and
might even help me lose. This is the one that anorexics can't take
because of the potential weight loss side effect. It is also the same
chemical as Zyban (the stuff they give you to help you quit smoking).
The doc says it might also get me off the nicotine gum. I'm hooked
on it still, 6 years after quitting smoking. It would be nice to not
spend the $90 a month on the gum!

So my hopes are up again - "this time for sure!" Unless it doesn't
work. I've been through this twice before, and each time, I thought
I was going to finally going to be able to be happy. I don't know
if being disappointed again will be better this time because I half
expect it not to work, or worse because I'll be out of acceptable
options. Stay tuned for another exciting 3 or 4 months! Why couldn't
I just have zits, or something.....

Monday, April 03, 2006

I Feel Like Complaining - so....

Why is it that today was one of my better days in weeks, right before
I'm going in tomorrow to demand different meds because these aren't
working? It's like when you decide to cut your hair, and the day before
you go in, your hair looks absolutely perfect. It proves that the
universe is very contrary.

I still will ask for new anti-depressants. There is the weight gain
problem - I've made no headway in 3 weeks of stringent diet and
exercise. There is the difficulty in achieving orgasm (though the
sex drive is still quite good, the Lexapro is known for messing up
your libido). Did I mention the night sweats? Every morning around
4 a.m. I wake up entirely soaked in sweat. I have to get up and dry
off. About 17% of people have that problem with the drug. If I was
really happy, I think I would put up with it all (except the weight),
but I'm not happy either! Not worth it.

It seems that planning a fun trip did improve my mood. I finally
have something, however small to look forward to. So does this mean
I have to go on a major vacation every 2 months to keep my balance?
Somehow I don't think my vacation time, or D* will hold up to that
schedule. D* had some free time during recovery and is moving into
our house for 9 days to watch the 2 dogs, 2 cats and 1 turtle.
That is why this vacation is even possible for once. Thanks D*! :)
I felt good enough to study 2 Japanese lessons, catch up on 2
web casts. Haven't been keeping up with anything.

Otherwise wondering what the heck is wrong with my muscles? I was
so stiff I could barely move this weekend and in so much agony
that I couldn't sleep last night. I hadn't worked out in 4 days
and every muscle in my body hurt like a mother-f***er. It rained
all weekend, I don't know why that would do it. I still worry
about the medicine. Unexplained muscle pain could be the sign or
a 50% fatal "side-effect" of Lexapro. Or maybe I'm just old.
I couldn't even manage a walk or much exercise tonight. I just
stretched out, did a few weights, and called it good.

There, I've complained. I feel better.... :)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Hide the Children, it's Road Trip time!

Looks like I'm going on vacation for the first time in years!
ROAD TRIP!

Cay and I took 2 road trips in the mid-90's to the northwest and
the southwest, and our next trip was going to be New England. Then
life got in the way, moved to California, moved back, and I worked
way too much after that.

Things finally fell in place and it looks like mid-May, its going to
finally happen. Only a 9 day road trip, but we're excited. We will
stop in New York (Staten Island) to see his mom and family. I've
never met them in the 15 years we've hung out together! Then we'll
drive up the East Coast and see New England and Maine (Yay! I'll get
to see Acadia State park again!) Probably stop in Massachusetts to
see a mutual friend on the way back. Got so excited ran out and
got a road atlas and a New England guide today.

I love road trips. 9 days of glorious unfettered freedom, and no
real plans. Stop and gawk at whatever you like. Eat really awful
food. Agonize over where the next rest stop might be. What fun!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Life is a Bus Terminal

I just posted the new Uncomfortable Questions podcast show:
Interview with Rose. It was a delight to hear again while
I was editing. We ended up with some very similar views on life,
even though she is an African American woman from the mountains,
and grew up in a family of 11 kids. We are all more similar than
we think. And yet, all strangely unique.

I had the 2nd therapy session today. We talked about limits, control
and vulnerability. She thinks being spanked with a board as a kid
on a regular basis is considered abuse. Back then, it wasn't. But
she did ask me to think about how that formed my views on life.

I often said that our life on Earth is just Kindergarten, and
hopefully next is 1st grade. Cay had a better insight today. He
said, what if this is just a bus terminal? (So many people have
said they didn't feel like they belonged here. I often thought
I got off on the wrong planet.)

Cay says, that's why we are all so annoyed and so pissed off
and don't think we are from around here. We're all just stuck here
until the next bus shows up.

Good an explanation as any I've heard. :)