Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Sleepless Night

There is an eerie quiet that befalls the city, a completely sleepless night, in the dim of adjacent office building lights; that all too familiar feeling, in Toronto, memories of past.

How much we all change over time.
Some days are harder than others, battle wounds difficult to mend.  But you pick up the shattered pieces, reminding ourselves that time will heal, and the sun will rise again in the morning.



Thursday, July 2, 2015

FIGHT FOR THE LIFE YOU WANT: Pharmaceutical Withdrawal

I am going to share this as I believe the process I am going through will help those in similar situations and may gain some insight, comfort and support in knowing that they are not alone.  This maybe a bit lengthy, I apologise, but it is important that I accurately and honestly describe.

We all have our personal journeys, experiences explored, a life full of challenges; wether it be a one time excruciating blip, or a recurring pattern of hardship. They are the myriad of life's adventures, that walk along side the beautiful joys and exuberance of what is life.  In a post prior I believe I mentioned that I'd refocus my attention on reasons I moved countries in the first place, and so I've proceeded to do just that.

I knew what I was facing and getting into, I was scared (and there isn't much that ever stops me in life, but this took A LOT more guts than I had imagined).  But a decision making process of over many months in Tokyo, to leave wonderful opportunities and career prospects/offers, amazing individuals, and a piece of my heart were made; not only physical, and emotional implications of leaving and making life changing choices, but the financial implications of such a move/decision is fear at its worst, and the uncertainty, completely unsettling.  

June 18th I 'jumped' and started this gruelling process that if ever experienced, those can relate, and others I can only try to explain and beg for understanding, respect, and patience.  But there is only so much you can do to describe to those who are not in your intimate inner circle or are not yet comfortable divulging your personal mission; ultimately life is often a lonely path as we are all independently traversing our unpaved paths.  We have our own individual battles and fights to fight.  And in my weakness (or so society has conditioned us to believe) I can't tell you how much I miss having a significant other in my life whom I can trust completely, to rely and lean on while going through this, but that is where true friends come into play, and just knowing that they are there, wherever they are in the world, has offered more support and strength than they would ever know.  Sometimes a word or two are all you need to get through the moments.  Pure gratitude, and that 'knowing look' without words is all you need.  And those you've only recently met or gotten to know; try to explain and tell them: 
"Please know that I am usually much more outgoing, and not this out of it or exhausted, appearance or otherwise", "I am just doing battle with life's hiccups, and it's only temporary", "if you are indeed someone who is worth my time and have a warm heart, please don't stigmatise or judge me too harshly, and stick around" (well, I dunno if you'd say that out loud, but don't we all silently think and would like to scream that at times).            

What is your Fidozac?  Going through medical files with the professionals here in Toronto, I've been on mine for over twelve years.  I have my opinions about pharmaceutical companies; both favourable and extremely unfavourable, but don't we all.  They can save your life, but there is also much they don't disclose; especially the younger medications without solid research or evidence needed over time.  Definitely what they don't tell you about is the hell you will endure trying to get off of them (IF you do ever try); WITHDRAWAL when your body has been on a high dosage of powerful pharmaceuticals for over a decade is REAL.

No, this is a completely different process than getting off or ending your cough meds, as many often associate, but a lengthy process of a complete reshuffling of brain chemistry.  This affects the core of your physiology, psychology, emotionality, mentality, strategy and life style (social or otherwise), through months and maybe even years.  But my life is one I don't squander lightly and as I succeed in tapering off these medications, other opportunities will open in my life; the length of the rest of my life, my future, and who knows, 'if' I do decide to have kids, first, I would be able to, and second, another generation.  But for me the ease of being able to travel or relocate without the worry, strategic planning, or hassle of a hoard of prescription medications are the simple joys I hold on to.

PMS on crack; check.  Drug addict going cold turkey; check.  A sweaty hairless cat outside in minus 30 degree Canadian weather; check.  A defective firecracker; check. A weepy three year old kid; check.  A three day all nighter; check.  Chronic insomniac; check.  A flat 'carbonated' drink; check.  Check, check, check~  These are some metaphors that reflect a few of the completely unpredictable effects and scary uncertain situations I can find myself.  So yes, I am being EXTREMELY GENTLE with myself, and not being so available is more due to 'self preservation'.  I am doing everything in my power to make this process as least sucky as possible.

This means; going about my day as normal as possible, finding a job that is satisfactory and can keep me afloat, going out despite my anxieties around the uncertainties I can't control, utilising ALL of the resources I have available within myself to cope and deal with the onslaught of unstable emotional/psychological states, keep speaking, expressing, creating, sharing, staying connected with especially those I feel comfortable and can trust wherever they are in the world, and not giving into my usual nature to 'be strong' and not reach out when in need, living as healthy a life as possible, allowing myself to be in this completely vulnerable and helpless state and being forced to be OK with it as I don't have much choice.

Every day, every moment is a new or different state of being.  Hyper awareness of all levels of condition(s) at all times, keeping a detailed document of symptoms; physical, psychological, emotional, etc. being in very close touch with medical professional support networks is top priority (in person, through Skype, any means necessary, esp if you have histories such as mine).  Then hold on to your social support networks for dear life when things get impossible, and breathe through the sensations and situations.     

To those who are going through similar struggles, know that you are not alone (although it may at times feel convincingly so), and literally one moment at a time.  BE EXTREMELY GENTLE WITH YOURSELF, lean on the goodness/positives of humanity, and when it gets really downright sucky, just focus on the breath, or try distractions such as music, candle light, bath, or even South Park... (*wink*), an alternate option is to dive into the discomfort and allow yourself to ride the waves; all are appropriate depending on each and every circumstance.

(note: I have purposefully kept out specifics of medication or condition for which I am on the medications, as to not deter from objectifying or diffusing the importance of that very human gift of empathy and understanding; we can all relate to experiences like these, whatever our struggle or medical condition.  Free of borders, wearing blinders, or discrimination).