And, apparently, forgot to take my fucking Effexor.
That doesn't happen very often, but I can always tell when I've gotten distracted and forgotten the Anti-Brain-Scurvy meds. I had a dream that the entire ICU crew had to walk from Dallas to the Gaza Strip, climb 300-story skyscrapers, and be catapulted across huge crevasses in a sort of Survivor-meets-Amazing-Race-meets-Python challenge. (Just for the record, I've never seen either reality show, so I don't know how accurate the catapult thing is, but there you are.)
If the crazy-ass dreams aren't enough to clue me in, the electrical shocks up my neck and down my arms will remind me. And if *those* aren't enough, the feeling that my brain has the flu will be, for sure. (Note to those who are saying "brain flu? WTF?": Yes, it really is like my brain has the flu: mentally achy, exhausted, and foggy as hell. It's bizarre and unpleasant.)
Thankfully, my brain is jacked up enough that one dose of Effexor XR is enough to set me straight again in terms of norepi and serotonin within about eight hours, so now I feel fine.
Thus, a public service announcement: I've gotten six emails in the last two weeks from readers who are dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression. I've told all of them this individually, but I want to make it public: If you are having problems with mental fitness, *please* see a doctor. Specifically, see a psychiatrist rather than a family practitioner.
General practitioners are fantastic, but they don't have the intensive training that a shrink does when it comes to both the mind and the brain. I went to see a family guy, a generalist, when I discovered that I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning, and I ended up on a drug that is difficult to dose, hideous if not impossible to stop taking, and the psych drug equivalent of swatting a fly with an atom bomb.
My shrink, the first time I saw him, raised his eyebrows both at the drug I was taking (in light of my personal history) and the dose I was on. In his words, "If that other guy thought you were really depressed and possibly bipolar [see archives as to why the GP was mistaken], he did everything exactly wrong." Turns out Effexor is best used for people whose depression and anxiety has been refractive to other treatments.
This drug saved my life. Period. I would've either drunk myself to death like the women in my family did generations ago, or I would've simply died of lack of mental stimulation and ennui. That life-saving, though, came at the cost of knowing that if I miss a dose of my Brain Vitamins, I'm screwed for the next eight hours, *and* that there's a very good chance that I will never ever ever be able to stop taking this particular drug.
Which, as long as an asteroid doesn't hit and the zombies don't invade Medco, isn't too bad a future to contemplate......but it would've been nice to work up to the Strontium 90 of brain meds rather than start out on them, if you know what I mean.
Here endeth the Public Service Announcement. You may all go back to your homes, your beer, and your regularly-scheduled Nurse Blogging now.