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Friday, July 27, 2012

The Post-Zoloft Withdrawal, and Gut-Wrenching Psychosis (of Others)...

"Now you're time has come...I'm gonna cut you...Like I should've done...A long time ago........"

Penelope Houston's "Cut You" is a fabulous 90's record that went under the radar back in the day.  Great voice and wit.

Yes, this day is the day for me to fire off a missive about many different things.  I just left my doctor's office, where I reported my self-imposed takedown of the Big Z.  

Ten weeks without the compression drug.  Needless to say the first four weeks of withdrawal were enough to make me a wreck; there have been varied schools of thought about how long it would take to get 12 years' reside of the little blue pills out of my system.  The doc says it's definitely long gone.

It was not a fun period, at least the start of it.

"Criminal," the Pretenders, from that unplugged album of theirs.  Never been a huge fan of them, but it's pretty good.

How do I feel?  Well, I do feel much more like myself.  I have had friends say my color has returned, and that I seem more alive on varied levels.  I do feel that way, but the anxiety and stress levels are nowhere near what I thought they would be.

I still have issues that involve stress, which I'll get to in a second.  I wish to perhaps again pimp a new book, "Coming of Age on Zoloft," by Kathleen Sharpe; she writes for Psychology Today, and the book chronicles her being arbitrarily put on the Big Z while in college.  I think Sharpe suffered from some definite depression in her high school and college years, based on her very frank descriptions and assessments.  There I think was some OCD component, but beyond that I can't really say.

Her experience and that of the individuals she interviewed for the book show a cross-section of people who for as many different reasons ended up on Zoloft, Effexor or any of these other meds.  

The book is NOT an attack on the medical profession, nor is it a slur on the use of the meds...just a good report on the loss of the plot.

"Common Ground," Midnight Oil.  Superb song...Peter Garrett has gone on to represent Australia very very well in Parliament, but I miss him.  He's also a great interview and a really nice guy.

Doctors have admitted became far too easy to hand over the pills and send people on their way.  Moneywise, doctors admit in a number of cases they can bill and make more by handing out the drugs than actually doing therapy and treatment.

What's wrong with this picture, folks?

My physician said that the main aim has been to get people off stuff, if they can tolerate it.  In each person, it's very different.  It also has to do with the ingrained anxieties and issues.

As she said, paraphrasing, when you're crying nonstop and can't stop, or you are so anxious and freaked out that you can't function, treatment has to be looked at.

In answer to my question, she's seeing a lot more depression and anxiety cases.  Much of it is tied to the economy, and the loss of jobs, etc.  Logical; money makes shit like that come down.  I wondered if even before the downturn, were we seeing more of it.

If you for example feel really down, and really depressed, and there's no reason for it, why is that happening?  That is hard to say, again we're so different.  I went through nearly 35 years of it, nonstop.

"Why Did You," Sass Jordan.  Another of the female singers still with us that didn't get the attention she should have.

I do not believe the purists who bitch about how over-medicated we are, because they apparently are all so very happy in their unhappy, grumpy world.  It's true, though a lot of us may well be.

My specialist was the one who suggested Zoloft for me; I at that point in my life felt this was the first medical professional I could talk to about a very serious depression that was leading me to think about some heavy plans to get out of this world.  Not fun.

I don't regret any of it; it kept me together, smoothed out the moods for the most part, and let me live my life.  I've changed.

And we do change a lot.  I'm older, my body has changed and my mind has changed.  Right now, I feel healthier than I have in more than a decade.  That's due to my choices, most of them anyway.

I still do have issues.  Anxiety, guilt, stress, an occasional hyper-awareness.

"Ain't That a Lot of Love," Fabulous Thunderbirds...there we are.

Now, I do think a fair number of people out there do need a little help now and then, and there's no shame in that.

There are however people whose internal chemistry, and the circumstances of their lives where's it's different.  Some serious cases do need meds, plus monitoring.  We can't just decide one way is the only way.

I don't even know what my way is.  I think that changes, too.

I still have stress in certain areas.  Mechanical devices seem to not like me.  I don't think I can use a copier once without it jamming or having a malfunction.  Happened yesterday; making copies at WITF and I'm up to my elbows in trying to figure out how to get that piece of paper out of the top drawer mechanism when you can't physically touch it.

Exasperating; and it's bad form to just walk off and leave it.  Cary Burkett walked into the room for coffee while I was doing this, and we said hello and exchanged pleasantries.  I then muttered, "I hate these things."

He laughed.  We both did.

"Blue Harvest Blues," Mississippi John Hurt.  iTunes shuffle iz good.

Computers...there's another one.  My friend Alice points out that patience is not a good thing with me in certain areas.  True; I can be patient in some ways, not in others.

Now, how about the second half of my title?  The giant metal claws that pop out of some people's fingers and then reach within and start digging and twisting one's self inside and out keeps happening, and I'm watching the sometimes infantile activity take people out of the picture.

"Watching Over You," Mick Fleetwood Band.  I think Rick Vito is singing on this.

This has been on my mind for some months...consider this:  

When you write an email, or post a message/reply on Twitter or Facebook, etc., do you catch the meaning behind the words?  The intent?

I don't always.  Neither do others.

Words are such an interesting and fun thing; we can do so much with them, but as George Carlin used to say, we also use them to hurt.  Not always with bad intent, but we do it.

We also use them for opinions, and those opinions I find become incendiary.  I know I'm guilty of this, as much as the next person:  we over-react.

Then, as Jim Rome likes to say about certain relief pitchers, out comes the gas can and the blue tips.  


We argue over the dumbest things, don't we?  Politics, religion, whether the sky is really blue, and like that.

Opinions are like assholes, we all got 'em.  Why is it when someone actually has an opinion and someone counters it, do one side (or both) go mad?

Then it gets, accusations, more and more arguing.  We're fighting over an opinion, folks.

Oh but that' right it's also the battle for supremacy, and righteousness.  You get pulled into the game; you must get the last word or you have lost.

Actually, I don't think so.  It is at times best to do nothing at all.

"How Long Blues," Eric Clapton version.

Of course someone's gonna tub thump and proclaim victory by saying they were right all along because they got the last word or wasted hours by dissembling every word to prove they were right.

Time to get a life...I have one, and I'm not being arrogant about it.  I write this blog not to make people mad, but because I like to.  I like to write about the things that interest me, and if you actually can think about this, then good.  I didn't say you had to agree with me.

"You and Me," Mick Ronson...sad loss to rock n' roll.

I suppose living as I do; barely employed, working to keep my sanity, keeping the projects running this way leaves me somewhere.  I don't know where.

The point I make is:  each day of my life, I have do SOMETHING.  I have to do something positive; it can be working out, editing or writing one of my works, cleaning my house, whatever.  As long as I did something of value this day, either for me or for another, then I have done my job.

There are days I don't.  I try not to worry too much about that.  I am more aware that more than half my life has passed.  What have I left behind?

To borrow a phrase, "What indeed?"

"Hangdog Hotel Room," Gordon Lightfoot.

I do feel remorse if I have wronged someone, and I wish to make right those things I've fucked up.  Often, I feel forgiveness is impossible to attain no matter what I do.

I can't back down from what I know is true, but the pull of the other makes me think.  From some I feel, nothing I do will ever be enough.  I will go from what I once was to them, to someone beneath contempt.

I have to live with that; and realize that if they're going to decide I'm a terrible, awful person, then that's their perception.

Maybe they need a bit of mood stabilization.

Now and then, I find I ask myself:  "Am I this horrible person?  Am I really so unapproachable?"


Definitely not.  I'm a person.  If people are put off by my hair, my spiritual leanings, my politics or whatever, then too bad.  I'm not arrogant, just realistic.

"When Somebody Thinks You're Wonderful," Clapton.  Skipping...not one of Eric's better efforts.

"Milk Train," Graham Parker.  Much better!

We do tend to destroy one another, though; we shit on and tear people down because it suits us in the moment.  We make a point, we think we win.

I make jokes all the time about stuff, but do you think I hate people?  Not at all.  Hate is a useless emotion; I see too many people use it.  Just look at the comment section of any website.

People have nothing better to do than spew it, just to start a fight.  

Collective madness, perhaps?  

I'm not sure where this is all going, but we need to again think a little.  I'm sorry if people don't get it, or this, or whatever, but this is where I'm at right now.

Crossroads, maybe?

Could be...we all have one.  I for one do NOT believe 2012 is the end of the world or any of that.  I do not think we're headed for a full meltdown of the entire world, but if something does happen, we survive.  We adapt.  Or you hope we do.

Gotta go...more to do.  In future, we may be transferring the blog over to Wordpress, so I'll let you know where it goes.  

"This is no social crisis, this is you havin' fun..."


  1. I for one love reading your blog! I am really proud of you and congratulate you on cutting out the zoloft. I am in one of those categories where I can't do that with my meds, as much as I wish I could, but my brain chemistry is just not willing to cooperate. My therapist says I have "Busy Brain" which cracks me up because that sounds like a Richard Scarry kid's book! Lowly Worm is eating my brain no doubt. I digress.
    I've been down that lonely road of heavy plans many times. I can joke about it sometimes, but I know it's really not funny. I'm sorry you found yourself on that road too, but moreso, glad you turned off at the nearest exit, no matter how you had to do it! :)
    Apparently busy brain is overriding the meds today as it often does, as I find myself rambling here. So I'll go, but I just want you to know I feel for you my friend and again, I am very happy for you! :)

  2. Thank you, Julia...there is no shame in needing such help. The stigma needs to be removed, and I don't think that has been done yet.

    If you can find it on Youtube (the DVD is only avail. in Region 2, so you'd have to run it on your computer), "Stephen Fry: the Secret Life of the Manic Depressive" is a amazing and has really helped me out.

    That's part one, I think...all the best!