Nov 30, 2008

Thanksgiving at Dennys & Creepy Christmas Toys

Living 3,000 miles from home presents a problem at holidays. We can't afford to fly home for every single one so we have to pick and choose. Thanksgiving is low on my priority list because I'm a vegetarian. Here's Jeremy and I at the "Rock 'n' Roll" Denny's for our big fancy Thanksgiving dinner.


And Jeremy looking rather disturbed at his menu...


In case you're wondering what I had, well, I ate pancakes for Thanksgiving dinner!

Pancake Donut

It looks like a donut, I know. Waitresses (almost) always comment on it and I have to give my requisite response, "It's so the syrup doesn't spread all over everything." Get it? Like a cup! I'm a genius, I know... LMAO.

But why talk about Thanksgiving when according to every store on the planet it's already Christmas.

In fact, just today, I discovered the creepiest Christmas gift ever. So, I videotaped it for you.


Nov 20, 2008

Seasons Change And So Do I (I friggin’ hope!)

So, as you all know, I've had a wicked rough year. After losing my mind on bad meds, I lost my two favorite cats, and this past month I've had bad insomnia. I don't mean to be so down. I try really hard to stay positive, but sometimes merely trying isn't enough.

Today I sat down with my therapist and talked about my mood. Lately I've just been in a rut that I can't shake. Even doing menial tasks has been hard. So, he's putting me back on meds. Nothing scary, just run of the mill antidepressants. And not permanently, just for "seasonal depression."

But here's the thing. I'm scared. I don't want to be reliant on any chemicals... Ok, I'm a caffeine fiend, so maybe that's not the best way to put it...

I totally detoxed off all meds and I kept waiting to feel better. I never did. I thought maybe it was just still trauma from what happened to me, then I thought maybe it was just mourning from losing my pets, then I thought maybe it was our country's financial crisis (including our own)... I kept trying to attribute my foul mood to circumstantial things, but no matter what I did, or what I experienced, I couldn't help but feel negative. I don't want to be negative. I want to be happy. I want to feel joy by my experiences, not look at the all the things others have or have accomplished and then dwell on what I don't have or haven't accomplished. I want to be inspired by what others do, not feel bad because I'm not doing the same thing, which is precisely what's been going on.

And it's driving me crazy.

Also, I got Jury Duty and completely freaked out. I think that started my whole not sleeping well thing. I kept having visions of horrible crime in my head and having to see terrible photographs of rape or murder. I mean, ok, not everyone who gets jury duty serves and even if they do, not everyone gets some nasty case, but, see, this is the problem, my head just kept going to the worst possible scenario.

Soooooo, here I am again with a pocketful of antidepressants coupled with sleeping pills. I am not stoked. I even tried to argue my case, but I really had no ground to stand on because I haven't been exactly functioning well.

Why am I so sad? Why can't I sleep? My therapist offered me some good anecdotes and I felt a little better, but I can't help but feel weak or like something is wicked wrong with me that I need meds just to cope with life -- something everybody does every day.

At least this time I have a psychiatrist looking out for me and not just a regular doctor tossing the latest fast tracked pills my way with a pat on the head and a "call me if you're suicidal." At least I have someone to help track my moods and make sure the meds are doing what they're supposed to do and really be there if they're not.

But I also can't help but feel like I'll be letting down all those who supported me in quitting meds. I'm wondering if I should even be blogging such personal stuff. Like I'm exposed. But I'm a natural born writer. That's how I express myself... Yes, I've been scribbling away in my journal, but blogging feels better because there's feedback... And you never know, someone else might be going through a similar thing or already have gone through a similar thing so it becomes a shared experience and not just something tucked away and private. I know a lot of people who prefer the privacy but I'm just not like that. I speak my mind whether people will like it or not... Often times causing a sort of foot in mouth situation, but, well, I like having things out in the open, y'know?

I don't know, maybe it's because I'm an only child and have no siblings to bounce things off of... The whole world is my family. Or maybe it's because I like the attention... Because I do. I love attention! Which is kinda hard on a writer since most of the time I'm on my own scribbling away or pondering new concepts. Just today I came up with an idea for a muppet musical inspired by a project I worked on over the weekend.


I dunno... End all be all, I just want to be happy and productive and right now I'm not so if the meds get me to that place, I guess it's a good thing.

Update: I have since learned I was misdiagnosed and the symptoms were blood sugar level related not mental. Thanks, Western Medicine! I only lost about 8 years of my life.

Nov 18, 2008

Chronicles of Insomnia

Ever since I was a child I have battled insomnia. There's nothing worse than being so tried you're crying in bed tossing and turning without the sweet reprieve of sleep.

I've had this bout of insomnia for exactly one month now. I haven't slept more than 3 hours at a time... Mostly only catching an hour here or there.

I miss dreaming.

And I dislike how fatigued I am during the day.

This past weekend presented me a real challenge. I was on my first set in 8 years and had to maintain a level of stamina and endurance. Thankfully I absolutely loved the project and that was probably the only thing driving me -- having a great cast & crew to work with also helped immensely.

Thing is, after working one 12 hour day and then one 15.5 hour day, you'd think I'd sleep like a baby. I hoped. No. Instead I only got 3 hours of no dream sleep after the first day and a total of 5 hours with two dreams after the second day and those 5 hours were broken up in to 3 shifts.

Needless to say, I am beat!

So I broke down and called my therapist. He prescribed Lunestra. I took it at 9 pm. You're supposed to give yourself an hour to take it before you want to be asleep. It's been 3 hours and I'm still awake.

My thoughts have slowed, so that's good -- a step in the right direction, but still... wtf? Why am I not sleeping?

I know it's part of the process of detoxing off all the meds I was on, but, I mean, come on, this totally blows!

I would give anything for one sweet stretch of 8 hours of uninterrupted dream-filled sleep. Anything.


I've tried working out, Yoga, hard work for long hours, walking, writing, reading, watching TV, movies, reading news, hot baths, vitamins, supplements... Tea, I haven't tried tea yet. Maybe I should brew myself some now and see if Tension Tamer tea will make any effect, but if a prescribed sleep aid does nothing, will tea?

Suggestions most welcome!

Nov 7, 2008

Cymbalta Memories Bubbling Up

I wrote the following yesterday while out getting coffee... Events I had forgotten in my drug induced haze are returning with the aid of friends recalling them to me and it's bugging the heck out of me so I had to write my thoughts down in an effort to lay them to rest.

Plagued by twisted memories born from drug induced delirium, I try to focus my attention on anything else to no avail. I sit sucking down my Black Forest at Coffee Bean watching the lights change and briefly ponder synchronization: can we make LA like NYC? But the memories come creeping back overriding the thought process. So I try reading my latest Chuck Palahniuk installment Rant, but every other paragraph my brain clicks off allowing these fool memories to seep back in like a coffee stain on a white shirt. I glance over to the Wiltern trying to trick myself into thinking I care who's playing there as if I'd buy tickets for a show, any show. I know I won't. I can't hide from myself. Why do these memories haunt me?

My psychiatrist says to just let them go, I wasn't myself. It's ok. However, others in my life want to hold me accountable for all my past actions, even ones I don't remember, as if some small part of me really believed the nonsense I sputtered while tripping on Cymbalta. It wasn't me. My psychiatrist told me a story of an accomplished doctor who shoplifted while on Cymbalta equivalent Effexor – something he would never normally do. He assures me that I was in a state of delirium. To let go. But I can't because others around me can't.

I'm so embarrassed by my actions on that drug that I fear running into people who spent time with me. I fear the accounts they tell me, the things I said or did. I don't want to hear it. I try telling them, "Please, stop. I don't want to hear anymore, " but they keep talking, keep recalling all these things I said, crazy things, while also reminding me that I am crazy.

My husband tells me to just say, "So what." So what if I am crazy. So what if I was crazy. Let go. Don't mind so much what other people think.

His advice would be easier to swallow if other folks in my life would be more like him. If they would allow my past actions to stay in the past, but some won't let go what happened.

So I write these words to beg and plead with anyone affected by my drug induced months of 2008 to stop. Please, stop. Consider what you may have heard me say or watch me do and remember no matter what you think or believe I truly was not myself.

In my right mind I would not be talking to deceased humans and delivering messages. In my right mind I would not be thinking I could see into the future. In my right mind I would not believe my husband died in 9/11 and that I've been living a twisted double life with a ghost.

While I was on Cymbalta, I recall one phone conversation where someone said, "So this is the real you." No. No it was not! I was hallucinating. My true self does not talk to invisible spirits or carry on conversations out loud with myself.

I'm sick and tired of being plagued with these memories. It's bad enough they haunt me at night keeping me from much needed sleep; I do not need folks recalling them to me in great detail by day. My self confidence was shattered by my experience and reliving it does me no good.

In order for me to let go, everyone else I know must do the same, but they do not. I find myself increasingly more alone and yet feeling a longing for social time. However, I'm limited to people who knew me while I was out of my mind. People in my building stare at me in horror and cautious anticipation as they walk past me, almost hurrying. I want to move to avoid them.

I'm sick of hearing "welcome back" or comments to my husband "she looks healthy again" as if I'm not standing right there. I'm sick of people telling me "you did those things so you must take responsibility for them" or "you took the drugs so it's your fault."

Listen, folks, I trusted my doctor. No one knew how I'd be affected. If I blame anyone, it's the pharmaceutical companies for fast tracking drugs that alter brain chemistry and allowing general practitioners to dole out antidepressants like candy. Is it a cancer patient's fault for getting ill on chemotherapy? Then why should it be my fault for taking medicine I was told I needed?

As I write these words my system is clean as a whistle. I haven't even had Valium for weeks. My mind is sharp and clear. I may struggle with sleeping too much or too little. I may struggle with loss or mourning. I may struggle with memories I'd rather suppress, but they are my memories. I understand friends and family were deeply troubled and concerned for my well being while I was "gone" (my Mother could tell I wasn't myself just over the phone!) but I'm back. I am myself once more. My new challenge is re-finding myself without the aid of medicine and I ask you allow me to do so without the weight of past indiscretions or craziness. Everything takes time. I cannot snap my fingers and just be ok with what happened. It traumatized me! A part of me is still afraid it'll happen again – as if lingering meds will seep back into my brain and take over my personality again. Another part of me is angry it happened at all. Being constantly reminded of the incident – or incidents – does not help. Being told I'm crazy does not help. I'm trying to rebuild my confidence and all some folks seem to want to do is dwell on the past and keep me in lost moments of delirium claiming that was the real me. Please help me to let go by you letting go. It's over! It wasn't me! It was the Cymbalta altering my brain, altering my personality. When a teenager takes acid for the first time and sees a purple cow talking to him, do you think that he's finally revealing his true self? No! He's tripping his face off induced by drug delirium. The only difference is that I was prescribed the drug by a doctor! And had I known, had I had any inclination of what Cymbalta would do to me, I would not have taken it. I hated acid when I took it in college, for crying out loud.

One day I will learn to not let others affect me so much, but right now the wounds are still fresh. Please cease to pour lemon juice on them. Save it for some iced tea and let's talk politics or weather instead of me.

Nov 6, 2008

Yes We Did! *updated with video*

Yesterday I decided I had to be out and about with other folks on such a potentially momentous day. For better or worse I needed the comfort of community, so I joined one of my friends at the Obama Phone Bank at Sunset Gower Studios.

Obama Phone Bank Sunset Gower

The energy was amazing. So many people came out to help on election day. As electoral results came in, folks cheered, jumped up and down, clapped, and chanted YES WE CAN while watching MSNBC projected on the wall.

After the polls closed and victory was certain, the remaining few crowded around a computer monitor to watch McCain give his concession speech. As much as I hate McCain, this was the best speech ever by him!

Obama Phone Bank Sunset Gower

Later we headed over to the Hyatt for the Obama Victory Celebration. At first, it did not look promising that we would get in. Crowds gathered, mingled, and periodically broke out in cheers and chants as the LA Fire Department pleaded with everyone to just go home, but how could we?

Barack Obama Victory Party @ Hyatt Century Plaza November 4, 2008

Thankfully, fellow Phone Bankers had secured a room, so we were in!

We crowded around TVs watching results pour in whilst pouring champagne in celebration.

Barack Obama Victory Party @ Hyatt Century Plaza November 4, 2008

Eventually, we made our way down to the big party. So many drunk, dancing Democrats!

Barack Obama Victory Party @ Hyatt Century Plaza November 4, 2008

What a night! What an election! What a race!

I couldn't help but camp it up for this shot...

Barack Obama Victory Party @ Hyatt Century Plaza November 4, 2008

At one point a whole slew of people climbed up on the stage in crazy celebration.

Barack Obama Victory Party @ Hyatt Century Plaza November 4, 2008

A night to remember forever!!!

The Obamanators: