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.
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