Sunday, June 25, 2006

Reflections of a Nutjob

It has come to my attention that I am a nutjob. Not a hard-core nutjob (meaning, I take only one medication, and the lowest effective dosage of that one), nor an unmedicated nutjob, but a nutjob nonetheless.

Please. I am not "depressed" or "differently serotonined". Euphemisms are for the differently brained. I am nutso. A whackjob, if you prefer that terminology. A crazy. Whoo-whoo-whoo, a la Moe of the Three Stooges. I have a shopping list of things that gets me through the day, most of them mind-altering substances of varying availability (Caffeine, Effexor, Caffeine, Simple Carbohydrates, Norepinephrine, Effexor, Scotch, and venlafexine for dessert). I have been known to have anxiety attacks for no particular reason, and in fact had one today.

So. In the spirit of past Things To Do lists, here's:

What To Do If You Know A Whackjob, Version One-point-Zero

1. Do not, under any circumstances, indulge their desire to talk about nuclear holocaust or other forms of apolcalypse. See, whackjobs get anxiety in weird ways, and this is one of them. Steer them away from the David Brin and onto the Spider Robinson, where everything turns out okay.

2. Do indulge their desires for simple carbohydrates and alcohol, within reason. Carbs raise serotonin levels while alcohol in moderation can keep the garden-variety nutcase from jumping off a bridge. Make sure it tastes good, and you'll have accomplished another goal: showing the loonie in question that tomorrow is indeed another day.

4. Crazymeds dot org (thanks, Anon, for the correction!) is an excellent resource website for both the interestingly-brained and their friends and relations. True, there are some postings on the site what will make you say "Wooo. Buh?", but overall, it's a nutjob presenting what it's like to be a candidate for the whackshack with grace and humor.

5. If your crazy pal needs a warm body around, be that warm body. I cannot tell you what a difference it makes from the loonie perspective to have somebody around who can quote Bloom County and make coffee. It's invaluable.

6. If you work with even one other person, do not make denigrating comments about crazy folk at work. That one other person might be me, and I might be on a short leash due to my antidepressants not working all that well, and then there might be a lot of mess to clean up. Crazy people *are* different from you, yes: we're often smarter and more creative. We're certainly posessed of a well of nastiness that you can't even conceive of. So be nice.

7. Answer the phone at 3 am.

8. Don't pressure the nutcase in question to go out in public with you. Often, nutcases such as myself can't muster the energy to go to the bar or a restaurant. It's simply too overwhelming. Bring by a clamshell of Chinese instead if you really want to see me.

9. Make sure the nutcase keeps their doctor's appointments. This is not such a problem with the minorly-medicated, but can be a real issue with those of the brotherhood who take multiple meds or meds in major doses.

10. If in doubt, call 911. I am not saying here that this has ever been an issue for me. I have been blessed up to this point with having not had any serious thoughts of self harm....but I can certainly see how some people might.

If you work with, live with, or love a moderately- to severely-depressed person, or a person who deals with bipolar disorder, keep in mind that calling the fuzz in might someday be necessary. This does not mean that you or the other person has failed; it's a modern response to an age-old problem that used to drag the median lifespan down. Think of it as your way of boosting our national life expectancy.

Tomorrow I see my Muppet-like doctor. We'll talk about how to regulate this pinkish lump of neural tissue behind my eyes. I'll certainly, since everything is fair game here, keep things updated.


Anonymous said...

Jo, thanks for the post. As someone who has recently come to the realization that things may not be 100% in tune upstairs, I appreciate your willingness to put it out there and discuss it.

Thank you also for the crazymeds link. However, your readers will want to go to crazymeds dot org. Dot com was vacant domain registration site.

I also have an appointment tomorrow for my pinkish lump. Hopefully we'll both get ours humming along smoothly soon.

Best of luck.

overactive-imagination said...

I loved this post, it cracked me up. Sorry if wasn't supposed to.

Jill said...

Great post, Jo! One thing Todd could never "get" was what to do with me when I had my own version of the crazies; he just sorta left me alone. :-(

Anonymous said...

Hi Jo. If you take a look around these days and you're OK with it all and don't consider yourself to be a Nutjob then you should be worried. I'd guess nursing requires a certain level of Nutjobbedness just to keep sane, if that makes any sense.

I'm not aggressive enough to be a convincing Moe and not extraverted enough for Curly. Larry is my Stooge-e-type.

If you consider yourself a Shemp then seek medical attention immediately.

Jo said...

Aine, your Blogger profile doesn't link to anything. Could you email me through the Yahoo link above with a valid email address? Thanx a million.

Judy said...

I have a 3 sisters and one very good friend who will forever be on antidepressants. The quality of your shrink certainly makes a big difference. 3 of the 4 are fully functional most of the time (who doesn't have a bad day?).

I hear dark chocolate potentiates psychoactive medications. No, really. I keep trying to convince myself it will work with my diabetic meds too, but my doc isn't buying it.

Anonymous said...

Honey, I've been on antidepressants for years. It's chemical - one day I'll write a story about "Paxil Rage" - what happens when you wean off it.

And as far as the Three Stooges go, I AM extraverted enough to be Curly.

I felt better when I came to the realization that one does not have to have a "reason" to be depressed and got over the guilt of "Oh gee, my life is so blessed, I am wrong for feeling depressed".

Now my motto is: better living through Chemistry.

For me, Zoloft at 100mg is the key. I am not ashamed of my depression and I just thank goodness there are better meds out there to deal with it.

I wonder if the Nutjob gene goes with the I-want-to-be-a-nurse gene.

And I intend to check out that dark chocolate potentiation!

Anonymous said...

I am a lpn and an aspie. Too long. Abuse takes it's tole. Is there help for someone like me?