Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Drugs Are Bad....Mmmmmkay?

I'm back. Have you noticed?

Maybe you didn't notice that I was ever gone, but believe me, I was. B.A. had left the building. Checked out. Skedaddled. Tally Ho'd the Fox. Vamoosed. Abandoned ship.

I couldn't think, I couldn't write, and increasingly, I couldn't get up out of bed. I would wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat with my heart pounding...and have no idea why.

I'm always in a bit of a funk when we return from a visit to my family. I miss them desperately, and I miss my hometown. So at first I didn't make too much of the fact that I was unusually melancholy. But when I began spending more time asleep than awake, I realized I was deeply depressed. But I couldn't figure out why.

At first, the side effects were mildly disconcerting and annoying. Tingling in my lips and face, (parathesisa) the inability to retrieve a word or articulate a thought, (aphasia) lethargy, somnolence, indigestion.

The literature stated that most people see a decrease in symptoms after three weeks. So I decided to just grin and bear it. They did seem to get better, and for a while, I was very encouraged. In fact, I was happy because when I increased my dosage to 50 mg at night, I began sleeping well and deeply for the first time in years.

But as I continued to increase my dosage, some really funky stuff started happening. And by the time I reached 100mg, which was my target dosage, I was a drastically changed person.

My lower lip and chin started to twitch constantly. Sometimes, my tongue would spasm, giving me a temporary, but nonetheless frightening sensation that I could not speak or swallow. I began to hear a buzzing sound in my head. My lips, cheeks and chin tingled continually. And my intellectual capacity was so drastically reduced that I think I all but drooled as I sat there stupefied by life.

Like this:

I was walking around in a fog all the time, and doing very strange things, such as putting the milk away in the cabinet and boxes of cereal in the refrigerator. Oh, I know, everybody does that once in a while, but I was doing stuff like that constantly.

Diminutive One was taking theatre lessons prior to Christmas and half the time, I forgot to take him to class. And then...I just forgot to take him to the final performance.

Forgot. To take my kid. To his theatre performance.

I guess I can kiss that mother of the year award good-bye.

And of course, you know, that I couldn't write. I did write, but it became a very plodding, laborious process for me, whereas before, my brain would often get ahead of my fingers as words and thoughts poured forth from me in a torrent.

I can't tell you how many pieces I started but never finished. Some of them were only one or two sentneces. The fact that I couldn't write bothered me more than anything. I kept trying, but...I don't think I could have kept it up indefinitely. It was too demoralizing. I would have simply given up.

My writing is all I have. Without it, I don't even know what I am or who I am except in relation to what I am to somebody else; Mother, wife, daughter.

It was deeply disturbing.

And then, a comment from dear Flutter on a post about my writer's block hit me over the head like a sledge hammer.

Dopamax, I mean, Topamax. Curses.

My brain was so addled by this stuff that it never even occurred to me that it might be responsible for the haze and the depression.

Shortly after Flutter left her comment, I ran across this article.

Lightbulb, on.

And here's the real kicker: I was still having migraines. They were, perhaps, marginally less severe, but I still took to my bed. I lost 24 hours with my family to a migraine while visiting over the holidays. So where's the benefit?

I decided it just wasn't worth it. I'd rather suffer a migraine or two every month than to be so profoundly handicapped on a daily basis.

I called my doctor to ask about discontinuing the medication and began the process of reversing the dosage. You see, if you stop taking this medication abruptly, it can cause seizures, even if the patient is not taking the medication for epilepsy.

Yet another reason to get it the flock out of my body. I don't want anything that powerful swimming around my bloodstream, giving my brains a scramble.

This is the third migraine medication I've tried and I've decided I'm done. They all make me feel subhuman, and I'm tired of suffering from chemically induced idiocy. And I'm tired of paying out the nose for the privilege of losing my marbles.

Pink Floyd makes much of being comfortably numb. For me, there is nothing comfortable about it.

So I'm off the medication now. I was so paranoid about precipitating a seizure that I went so far as to cut my tablets into halves, then quarters before stopping altogether.

It would be very uncool to foam at the mouth in front of fourth graders.

And sweet merciful Jesus I can think again. I can write again. Now, when I look at my bed, the only urge that overwhelms me is that to make it up. The inertia is fading, the apathy is lifting. Things are becoming sharp and clear once more as the cobwebs in my brain are swept away by fresh, clean, untainted blood.

I feel normal again. Well, you know, insomuch as normal can be quantified.

If you are a migraine sufferer considering prophylaxis, consider this a little PSA from me. This stuff is bbaaaaaaaaad mojo. Bad, bad mojo. Evil. Sinister.

Just say no.

In other news:

I have been given two awards, by two very cool and relatively new readers here at Blog Are Stupid.

The Barroness Von Bloggenschtern (how much do you love that name?) has given me this one:

And Maddy at Whitterer on Autism has awarded me this one:

She is a cheeky bugger, isn't she? I adore cheeky. So much more sophisticated than Sassy.

Anyway, I humbly thank them for their kindness. I will happily pass the awards on, just as soon as I narrow down the possibilities. There are so many excellent bloggers, but I like to give these kinds of things to noobs whenever possible.

When I was a neophyte blogger, several high profile bloggers were kind enough to recognize me, and it thrilled me to no end to see my statcounter go through the roof and to garner some of my first non-acquaintance comments. teensy other little technical thing. There aren't enough hours in the day for me to read and comment all the fabulous blogs out there, or even all the blogs on my blogroll, as much as I would like to. Nor can I always reciprocate with comments. But what I can do is show my appreciation for the comments you have left here by adding you to my blogroll. (I know, big whoop. Who do I think I am...Dooce?)

So I've been trying to add some of the newer commenters, and it seems that some of you are not publishing a feed, in which case, I can't add you to my blogroll, because it is generated by bloglines. If you don't publish a feed, please consider doing so, so I can add you.



  • At 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Kind of like my experience with Lyrica, though I could tell right away that Lyrica got a nice buzz on and was downright addictive for me.

    So. I'm glad to know you (a) recognized it, and (b) have gotten off it, and (c) are back to your normal self.

  • At 8:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well I hope they find something to help you soon without all these horrid side effects. My best friend has migraines and they put her down too. When I have one, I can take three advil, lay down until all the nausea and other sensitivities are gone and be fine.

    I honestly have no idea what I would do in your situation. Have you tried alternative methods? Something herbal?

  • At 9:01 PM, Blogger Rositta said…

    Geesh girl, I am glad to hear your off the drugs. My doctor has been wanting me for years to take daily pills to prevent migraines but I always resist. There is a migraine drug called Maxalt RPD, 10 mg. It disolves on the tongue so no vomitting it up and it works within two hours most of the time. It is a pretty pricey drug about 20 bucks or so a tablet. I personally am not allowed to take it any more because of my heart arrythmia but for you it's worth talking to your doctor about. Failing that I guess just pain pills and a dark room until it's over. I have had migrained for over 40 years and for me even stuff like Fioronal and Percocet no longer works so I don't even both any more. Good luck...ciao

  • At 10:02 PM, Blogger Girlplustwo said…

    ah sister. i've been wondering about you, it was quiet over here in a way i couldn't quite put a finger on and now makes sense.

    love flutter for the nudge and you for listening. and glad you are moving forward. xo

  • At 10:11 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    I am so glad you are back, I had noticed.

    ((you)) Now, have you considered chiropractic?

  • At 10:24 PM, Blogger said…

    Scary stuff... Glad to hear you're coming back around. You definitely were down for a while...

  • At 10:51 PM, Blogger Bea said…

    I spent a year of my life in a pill that made me crazy - slightly nauseous all the time and MOODY. But it was subtle and gradual enough that I never really felt quite convinced that the pill was what was causing it. Then, after a YEAR of this, I switched to a different pill and - bam - returned to my old self again. So glad that you're doing the same.

  • At 4:42 AM, Blogger Polgara said…

    Glad you're feeling better!

  • At 6:18 AM, Blogger KP said…

    I've only taken over the counter meds for migraines. They work fine, almost too good in fact, that I can't function properly without a steady stream of caffeine, and now I'm trying to wean myself off. (My stomach lining can't tolerate aspirin anymore, and I fear what the acetaminophen is doing to my liver.) I know that doesn't compare to the hell that you're going through, but I understand that feeling of "losing your intellectual capacity" too well. I have those days where I can't form a coherent thought (like right now), plus I'm sure everyone around me knows it, and just thinks I'm an idiot.

    I'm glad you're doing better. I'd say something like "just hang in there," but I hate when people tell me that. So can I offer a sympathetic "ugh?"

  • At 6:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That is fascinating. I am lucky enough not to have migraines, so I cannot speak to them, but I will say that I think all the medication we take is probably not always in our best interest.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  • At 8:33 AM, Blogger Avalon said…

    Yikes!!! I do believe that's what my Princess was prescribed for her Migraines, although she hasn't had another one since she was diagnosed!

    If she starts acting wonkier than usual, I'll know why.

    So glad you are feeling better.

  • At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was in pharma sales for over 15 years, and I hate that people are using anti-seizure meds for migraines. You were actually pretty lucky - I sold a competitor to Dopamax, and we had people commit suicide. I have migraines as well - but would never consider taking anything stronger than aspirin for them...

  • At 10:38 AM, Blogger sltbee69 said…

    I noticed that you weren't posting. I was checking for new posts several times a day.

    I used to suffer from migraines all the time when I was younger. The severity and frequency has lessened as I've aged. I've never went as far as taking an RX for them - just OTC meds, darkened room, ice pack, and sleep. I've only hit the ER twice for the pain and even then drugs they give you there didn't take the pain completely away.

    How scary it is knowing that something that is supposed to help can cause such awful side effects. I'm glad you figured it out and are feeling better.

    Looking forward to more posts from you on a regular basis again.

  • At 10:39 AM, Blogger KT said…

    So glad you are feeling like yourself again.

    Now for the stupid question: how do you publish a feed?

  • At 10:47 AM, Blogger JChevais said…

    ooooohhh... the mindnumbing induced by drugs... I fried a computer while under its influences... I was so fried that I didn't even care that I had fried a computer!

  • At 10:48 AM, Blogger Namito said…

    Hey there,

    You did a hell of a job describing your "funk".

    Been feeling kind of funky myself this new year. Not in a good way.

    Here's to the light at the end of the tunnel.

  • At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well you are probably tired of the armchairs doctoring, but.....

    My wife suffers from migraines and uses Zomig when she feels one coming on. It gives her the sweats, but it has been successful at stopping them when they start.

  • At 1:10 PM, Blogger we_be_toys said…

    So glad you're feeling better - that Flutter - she's the best, isn't she?!

  • At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm so glad that you've found yourself again. I love your writing.

  • At 1:46 PM, Blogger Life As I Know It said…

    Blech...what an ordeal you've been through. Glad you are feeling back to normal again.

    I've only suffered two migraines (knock on wood) and they were both pretty debilitating for a good part of a day. Not fun.

  • At 2:09 PM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    I'm glad you are feeling more you again.

  • At 2:14 PM, Blogger Kelly said…

    I get migraines too. January was a record month with three of them. (And a yeast infection for added torture, wheee!)

    I've never taken the preventive meds for migraines, but I've been having good luck with generic Midrin. It's to be taken when aura comes on, if you have them, or whenever the tell-tale signs appear that you're about to be in a world of hurt. The last full migraine I had, following two full days of moderate to excruciating pain, the Midrin made it bearable within three hours, and gone by the evening with an additional dose.

    Anyway, I feel your pain, trying to manage something chronic in a way that doesn't mess up the rest of your life.

  • At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've taken topomax for migraines myself.......I had the SAME problem. You start to think you're crazy - feeling all of these strange tingling sensations all over. I couldn't quit that stuff fast enough! Glad to hear you're feeling better. LOVE YOUR BLOG!!

  • At 8:50 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    Gosh, I'm so glad you are off of that stuff. Scary! I was almost going to take an anti-depressant for a while (my hormones were all over the place), but the 'warnings' scared the crap out of me.

  • At 3:54 AM, Blogger Lara said…

    i think a lot of people i've known have had problems with their medications because they're not actually monitoring how they feel. if you're expecting a pill to work like magic, you're likely to stay on it for way too long, just expecting it to do something wonderful. but hey, guess what? it's making you feel like shit! other folks keep pushing medication away and talking about getting off of it without realizing that it's actually helping a lot.

    for me, i just try to be aware of myself and what's going on in my body/mind. when i tried to quit my drugs (early and cold-turkey, neither of which were good ideas), i turned into another person completely and it was awful. it took other folks pointing it out for me to realize that maybe the meds were actually important for me for a while longer.

    all of this is really to say that i am very glad that you are getting away from something that was messing with your body and mind. so good to have the real B.A. back. :)

  • At 6:43 AM, Blogger S said…

    oh, BA. what a nightmare. so glad flutter brought it up.

    so glad you're off of the drug.


  • At 1:03 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    Have you tried accupunture? I don't know if it works for migraines or not, but it seems to work for everything else so maybe it's worth a shot?
    Anyway, glad you're back and hope you stay that way :)

  • At 1:10 PM, Blogger cath said…

    I've been reading your blog for a while but apparently not long enough because I had no idea you had migraines! I completely sympathize. And though I don't think there is a magic pill for every problem, and that we ARE overmedicated in general, I also think it's easier said than done to forego the meds, especially when one has children to care for and must actually be able to FUNCTION. Oh how I wish a simple aspirin would help, but migraines are migraines. Anyway, I did have luck with Topamax and the dulling effects decreased over time but I quit when I thought about getting pregnant again. I hope you find luck with something. And I wish there was something preventative FOR migraines, instead of something used secondarily that may help migraines - they have a pill for restless leg syndrome for crying out loud (though I'm sure that sucks too).

  • At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Life is clearly not always better through pharamaceuticals. Glad you came out the other side...

  • At 2:53 PM, Blogger merinz said…

    Ohh what a terrible experience - you are much better without the meds!

    I have heard that migraines can suddenly disappear - hope this happens to you.

  • At 7:28 AM, Blogger Jeana said…

    I had migraines for several years and finally figured out it was artificial sweeteners that were causing them.

    Just thought I would throw that out there, because I know that unsolicited medical advice from someone who doesn't know anything about you always goes over REALLY WELL with people.


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