I have a psychological disorder with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and a touch of paranoia. Do I know distinctly what I have? No, I do not. Three psychiatrists gave me three different diagnoses - paranoid schizophrenia, manic depression, and schizoid affective disorder - and so I lost faith in the solidity of labels.
So, I have a disordered brain for which I take a particular pill, which I will call Fabulon. I love Fabulon. It has done wonders for me. Last January it dug me out of a particularly nasty spell of anxiety that had me hiding under blankets on the couch for a week and spiking fevers every time I even thought about leaving the apartment, and since then, it has managed to keep me pretty even keel without any nasty side effects. Every other drug I have tried has dried out my mouth, turned my pee green, made me too nervous, made me too tired, given me migraines, caused sexual dysfunction, and generally has not alleviated my poor self of the burden of The Crazy. Fabulon does, though, and I love it.
Of course, my love of Fabulon comes from its effects once I have already adjusted to a new dosage and am on the sanity straightaway. Starting a new dosage is a strange, dreamy journey in which nothing seems to stick to me. Time fritters away from me, seeming both long and short, while I float in a permanent present. I lose track of the quantity of things, so it is easy to drink too much, completely overestimate how much money I have, and talk so loudly to the Palinode that his head hurts.
I am now in the midst of my third such trip. I experienced this at my first 10 mg dose, and then again at 20 mg, and now again at 30 mg, so it is familiar territory for me at this point, but it has not stopped me from behaving a little dottier than usual.
On Saturday afternoon, the Palinode explained to me something that he was going to do. What? I said. He went over it again. I have no idea what you are talking about, I said. He looked at me like I must be kidding him, and I could tell that whatever he had been talking about was not difficult to comprehend. That thing you are talking about? I said. You just go ahead with whatever it is, because I can't understand a thing you're saying. I still do not know what he was talking about. My brain recalls him sounding like the adults in animated Peanuts cartoons: wah wah wah wah wah, like a muffled trumpet.
On Sunday morning, I looked high and low for my purse and became convinced that I had lost it at the pub the night before. It wasn't in the car we rode home in, it had not been turned in to the pub staff, and it was nowhere to be found in our apartment. I looked in the closet, behind the furniture, and even under the bathroom sink. Just when I was sure that my favourite bag of all time was lost forever, I pulled open the bottom drawer of my night table, and there it was jammed tightly in between balls of yarn, some bandaids, and an old cat toy. It was obvious that I had used some force to wedge it in there, but I have no recollection of doing so.
Last night, the Palinode put me in charge of ordering in some asian food for supper. I remember feeling quite confused in between consulting the menu in the yellow pages and talking to the lady on the telephone. I even had her read my order back to me, because something just seemed terribly off with what I was doing. I could not figure out what might be wrong, so I just went with it and hoped for the best. When the food arrived, I was stunned. I had ordered twice as much food as we ever order to the tune of $56. FIFTY-SIX DOLLARS OF ASIAN FOOD FOR TWO PEOPLE. It was ridiculous. By the end of the week, we will be so sick of noodles and bean sauces that baked potatoes are going to look pretty terrific.
The past two times that I have had to deal with a Fabulon dosage change, the more major effects lasted about a week, so I only have to contend with another three days of this brainless wonderment at the world's turning. Until then, I plan on doing nothing more difficult than watching the world go by while I chug coffee to maintain wakefulness and work at remembering that one thing at a time that I can manage to hold in my head.
Of course, now that I have mentioned that I am supposed to remember one thing, I have lost it. Hopefully, it was not something important like having to pee or feed our cats. I guess I will find out soon enough if my chair suddenly becomes too warm or the cats are dragging their spindly bodies across the floor when I get home.
Wish me luck with the whole not wandering out into traffic thing.
(Also posted at RealMental.org)