Welcome to my Parlour ...

On August 26th, 2010, my mother passed beyond the veil.
This event has become a catalyst for change in many and often profound ways in my life.
This is my way of chronicling those changes so that I may, at a later date, have the ability to review and reflect upon them.

~ Go dtugtar breith orainn dá réir ár ngníomhartha. ~
(Let us, by our actions, be judged)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

a case for caffeinated tea bags ...

So, I have had animals in my home for 30 years now (ever since moving out of my parents' house) and I know full well how much care each type (cats, dogs, lizards, fish, ferrets, mice, and hamsters) require to keep them happy and healthy.

Among the things that dogs need is a regular nail trimming as they rarely get enough outdoors time to keep their claws worn down. I also know how careful one much be when trimming said claws, as each has a nerve and blood supply that travels a fair way down it's length. To clip too short not only means a painful experience for the poor dog, but it also means a minute bleeding wound that is very difficult to staunch (can't apply effective pressure to nail/horn like you can to a tissue injury).

In my 30 years of having and caring for animals, I have never clipped a claw too short .. until last night *hangs head in shame*

I can make excuses for why it happened (tremor) but it doesn't change the fact that poor M'Lady suffered one and I was faced with stopping the bleeding (not a lot of blood all at once, the trouble is in how tough it is to get it to clot so it will stop .. even a slow bleed can be dangerous if it continues too long).

Styptic (anti-hemorrhage) powder is known to me but, alas, I had none on hand. Another good, homemade option is cornstarch and baking soda mixed together and then used as the styptic powder ... no cornstarch *d'oh!*

While I tended to her foot, Kara hopped onto the internet and did a quick search ... and came back with the wet tea bag solution. I happen to have some English Breakfast Tea bags in the kitchen so, swapping places, she minded the claw while I went and soaked one and then brought it back.

20 minutes with the tea bag pressed against the injured claw followed by another 20 minutes of pressure with a paper towel and the bleeding was stopped. I don't know why it worked ... possibly the tannins in the tea interacted with the clotting factor in the blood? But I'm bloody grateful it did.

Luckily for me, M'Lady is far more forgiving of my transgression than I am.
She was over it within minutes ... I still feel horrid about it.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Two Weeks On ...

Things are finally starting to resume a sense of balance, internally,

I am rediscovering my ability to regulate my mouth, if not quite my moods just yet. Allowing me to be increasingly fit company for other people to be around.

An internal/mental filter is a very good thing to have. There are people out there who wonder why I am always surprised when they refer to be as a good person .. or Kara reports back to me that so-and-so thinks I'm great. It's because those people do not get to hear what goes on inside my head 90% of the time.

I am not a nice person, though I do choose to strive for kindness in my dealings with myself and others. I am easily annoyed and frequently cranky and, without internal filters, those closest to me have an unfortunate tendency to be the recipients of the cutting edge of my tongue ... often without my even meaning to.

Were this an AD&D realm I could, at best, be described as a true neutral with  enlightened self-interest.

Essentially this means that I am selfish but have adopted the perspective that, in order for my life to be calm/peaceful/successful/happy, those closest to me need to be calm/peaceful/successful/happy and so I will do whatever I can to manipulate situations, under-currents, subtle energies and even people to guarantee that good happens to the folk who might otherwise disrupt my serenity.

I am grateful for those who put up with me but baffled by why-ever any of them would want to call me friend .. particularly when, in my naturally ultra-reclusive, introverted (and phobic and socially inept/anxious) state, I am blindingly craptastic at the day-to-day mundaneties that are involved in cultivating and maintaining friendship.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Life Without ...

Well, it's been almost two weeks since I weaned fully off the anti-depressants and I feel alive again.

The downside?

My even keel is gone ... there is a definite trade-off to life with and without the antidepressants and this is it.
I have to learn to moderate my own responses again.

I have feelings ... wonderful, glorious, amazingly powerful feelings of the positive and negative variety.

I'm crying a lot .. and I do mean A LOT. Not the feeling awful or unhappy kind of crying .. the 'a lovely piece of music came on' or 'the TV showed that sappy commercial again' or 'I remembered something (good or bad) from years past' and now the tears are rolling down my face and I can't make them stop variety.

I'm VERY irritable ... I catch myself snapping at K in a way that she definitely doesn't deserve (she should be given a medal for just putting up with me) but I can't seem to be able (yet) to moderate my tone before I hear myself doing it.

University is, well ... worse.
I don't think I had fully understood the extent to which the pills gave me a buffer from my own anxieties and inner turmoil both during and between classes.

My scholastic motivation is, well ... improved.
Since I am feeling the pressure to get my assignments done and achieve a high GPA, my assignments are not being left to the last minute ... where the pressure of the deadline would be my normal motivator.

The jury is still out on whether or not I am going to be staying off them ...
The realization that my reading ability was significantly impaired with the head injury back in 2006 has been quite the shock ... and a totally unpleasant one, at that.

Time will tell ...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

I'm taking my antidepressants daily and I feel depressed ...

The time has finally arrived to wean off the antidepressants. 

Since Cipralex has a short half-life, it has taken less than 24 hours for me to begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms:

   - nausea, dizziness (mild through severe at random points during the day), insomnia, headache, mood swings (mild through violent) and decreased ability to manage said swing, sweats, tremor, confusion, nightmares, and ... most 'interesting' of all ... something that can only be described as an intermittent and random zap or electrical shock sensation inside the skull/brain. 


The Drs never talk to you about withdrawal ... rarely, when initially prescribing SSRI's (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), will they even discuss a timeframe or mechanism for cessation. 

How's that for not ensuring a proper informed consent on the part of the patient? 

Heck ... They even changed the name of the experience to 'SSRI discontinuation syndrome' in 1996 in an effort to not scare the people affected because antidepressants aren't addictive, don't you know. 

The hell they aren't.

And the typical treatment for the syndrome? 

The prescription of a different antidepressant or assertion that one is obviously not ready to come off them so dosage is increased. 

Here's the thing ... 

Depression exists for a reason ...
Feeling bad happens because your subconscious/Superego is trying to get you to recognize and address the fact that something is wrong. 

When one has reached a point of being so utterly overwhelmed by the bad feelings (sadness, hopelessness, despair, melancholy, etc.) that life fades to a kind of numb state of grey, temporary use of antidepressants can serve a valuable role in aiding you to rediscover the colours, flavours, and range of emotion (positive and negative) that ought to be part of living. 

UNLESS you are one of the 1% of people who are what used to be called Clinically Depressed ... in which case the meds NEED to be a more major part of your life and more serious drugs are called for than a simple SSRI. 

Nothing, however, is a quick fix and the 'happy pill' really only ought to be one of the tactics used to deal with the problem and a temporary one at that. And the body adapts to the pills so, after time, their efficacity is reduced ... requiring increasing dosage to maintain the same effect. And, because they tinker with brain chemistry - specifically serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine - any reduction in dosage throws the brain into a state of withdrawal until such time as it is able to adapt to the change (which happens quite slowly). For this reason, it's also imperative to not 'cold turkey' off any pill that you might have been taking for any length of time. 

The antidepressants bought me time I needed to rebuild my internal resources for coping with stress and my environmental circumstances are improved versus what I faced when I went on the pills. So, I'm going to endure the withdrawal (and hopefully do it with enough grace that I don't make the folks around me want to kill me ^_~) and return to managing my issues. 

This isn't going to be fun 
But it is necessary.