Monday, September 7, 2009


Thanks everybody for the love, support, and suggestions. It helps a lot to know that all y'all are out there, caring and sending me healing thoughts and prayers.

In answer to a couple of comments: I take a multivitamin with a B-complex every day, but it's not a "high" dose. 25 mg of each of the Big B's. It would be a good idea to add a little extra. Next time I'm out shopping I'll see if I can find an additional B complex take on top of the multi for the time being.

I have a couple of options if I'm desperate to sleep and not having any luck. I can take a herbal helper, or sometimes I'll go find Ken, who stays up late, and he'll mix me up a medicinal drink. I'm not even a social drinker, so it doesn't take much to unwind me. Booze works better and faster than the herbs, but for obvious reasons I don't want to overdo that route. Either option usually leaves me feeling much more drowsy than usual in the morning. Neither is much help if the insomnia comes at 3:30 am. I can't take a pill or a drink if I'm supposed to wake up and go to work in 3 hours.

As for other pharmaceutical options, I'm taking a "wait and see" approach. If there were such a thing as a short-term anti-depressant, I'd be thrilled to take it. The thing is, most of them take 4 - 6 months to kick in, and then they're hard to stop. I'm hoping that I can at least count on feeling better by 3 months from now! If I don't, well, whatever, I'd let them stick horse tranquilizers into my veins by that point.

I want to make it clear that while I have my dark moments, especially in the wee hours of the morning, I'm not just flopping down on the floor and giving myself over to despair. The horrible anxiety episodes tend to come at night. In the daytime, as long as I'm not ridiculously tired I can get myself dressed, put on makeup, and be almost normal.

Yesterday I went to church, which, while I have complained bitterly about some of the church politics here lately, was an uplifting, comforting experience. What I think about the church and what I feel in my heart while I'm there are often two very different stories.

Ken and I went for lunch at a favourite restaurant downtown. It's casual, cheap, healthy, and has a good view of a major intersection out the front and side windows, making for excellent people-watching. The University of Toronto Engineering frosh were up to some shenanigans on the street corner, making a lot of noise and hassling passers-by for donations to the Sick Children's hospital as part of their orientation/hazing. On our way out I dropped a Toonie into their collection hard-hat. All 12 or so students in the group pointed at me and chanted "This lady rocks! This lady rocks! This lady rocks!" which was the silliest thing that's happened to me in a long time. I mean that in a good way.

The weather was perfect. Blue skies, not too warm, the epitome of a lovely summer day. We were close enough to the Canadian National Exhibition fairgrounds that the jet planes from the air show flew over us as they looped back from their demonstration runs. For the next hour or so as we strolled along Queen St., at intervals the air would begin to tremble, then shake, then rip apart as yet another specimen of Canadian or American Air Force muscle burned a streak across the high, blue sky. Sometimes the planes were so close that we could see the details of their paint jobs as they tore overhead. Other times the entire world would fill with their vibrations, echoing off tall buildings and all around, but the planes themselves would be out of view behind a stand of trees or something, and the noise seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere at once.

The air show is an end-of-summer ritual that always cheers me up. It's fun, it's predictable, and yet always exciting. I have been to see it from down at the fairgrounds, where you can hear announcements over a wobbly P.A. system describing what type of planes are being flown and by whom, but it's actually more fun to be out somewhere random in the city when suddenly nine Snowbirds shoot past overhead in tight formation, and you're clenching your jaws to keep all the fillings from vibrating out of your teeth.

I hear they have a special clean-up crew at the CNE for after they air show. They go around with soft brooms and micro-accurate vacuum cleaners, collecting the shreds of blown-out eardrums that collect in drifts against the bleacher supports thanks to the breeze off the lake.

We stopped in a bakery for treats, and then window-shopped, swigging Perrier out of small, green-glass bottles.

We strolled through the lushly green grounds of Trinity-Bellwoods park amongst young people working on their tans and/or showing off their ink.

Despite being a little more tired than "normal" (whatever "normal" is - it's getting difficult to remember at this stage), I relaxed and enjoyed the day.

Of course I still couldn't fall asleep at night. After tossing and turning for two hours with frustrated adrenaline building up to toxic levels in my bloodstream, I went back out into the living room and let Ken get me tipsy on orange juice mixed with vodka and Disaronno. We watched Ghost World, or at least Ken watched the whole thing and I watched until my drunky eyelids started drooping and I got back into my bed and passed out. At least I got to sleep in this morning.

If I didn't have to work, it might almost be fun to live like this: stay up late with Ken every night, sipping mixed drinks and watching indie films together. Ah well. Better luck tonight, perhaps. *fingers crossed*


Kate said...

I'm SURE YOU KNOW THIS. But I'm going to say it anyway. Drinking to get to sleep actually disrupts your sleep more than helps you sleep. Your body has to work hard to eliminate the toxins whether you're awake or not and that means your body itself is not resting.

And I only know this because I used to be a drunk. Ha!

powdergirl said...

Kate, you're right about that,I only know this because I'm still a drunk : D

Seriously sparkly glad you're willing to give it a try, I'm of the 'over-adrenalized' type myself, thank god, not mixed with any depression though! But it really helps, it also helps my youngest son sho is somewhat anxious. Good luck.

I have a painting a friend of mine found at a yard sale for me. Its a hand-painted wooden poster advertising the Great Canadian Air Show, /79/ Toronto. Its pretty cool, and really large!

I'll see if I can get a shot of it when I've replaced my camera batteries and send it over, I think you'd like it : )

Sparkling Red said...

Kate: I didn't know that, specifically. I just knew that drinking to get to sleep is not really such a great idea. Although I'd kind of rather not know, because it's such an easy "solution", thanks for telling me. I'll try to mostly stick to my herbal remedy and not get into the habit of boozing myself to sleep.
It only takes 1.5 drinks to put me out, but if everything's relative that's probably still not healthy for my body. :-p

powdergirl: It would be very cool to see that poster! Thanks for thinking of me. I was 7 years old back in 1979. I think my aunt had just started taking me to the CNE. It was a real dirty carnival back then. Much better than the sanitized mall it has become today.

darcknyt said...

Except for the anxiety part, it sounds like you've had a really great weekend so far. The airshow sounds like a lot of fun, too.

Good luck catching your sleep. I miss having a normal, human schedule, but I have to confess -- staying up all night with your spouse is a blast.

savia said...

Re: antidepressants that work quickly - Effexor could make you feel better within a week or two - it works quickly for some people. The side effects during those first two weeks suck donkey balls, but it's worth it. Works well for anxiety and sleep stuff. Though you're supposed to stay on it for at least 10 months, or so they say.

Good luck with everything - I hope you feel better soon. Many hugs :)

LL Cool Joe said...

I think I'm a drunk too! I find with booze, it knocks me out for a few hours and then I wake up at about 3.30am feeling all dehydrated and a bit rough.

I'm sorry I wasn't here to send you good wishes on your last post. I'm glad you are feeling a bit better.

I have a really bad sleep pattern too, so I can't give you much advice! Sorry.

DarcsFalcon said...

We all just want you to get well. :)

I love air shows! Haven't been to one in years, but I adore military planes, especially the newer ones.

Sounds like you've been having a good weekend over-all, so that's a good thing. Glad to hear you're enjoying it. :)

ghwace said...

nice to know your havin fun!

i just hate the head ache hang over part when waking up after some drinking sessions, i think one can before sleeping isnt bad.

Claire said...

I'm thinking of you, honey.


Sparkling Red said...

darcknyt: There's something about cozying up late at night that's special. I'm not normally a night owl, so even though I was feeling anxious there was an element of fun in being up late together, like two bad kids way past bedtime.

Savia: Thank you! I've just printed that tip to keep in my medical file. That's the irony: by the time I'm ready to well and truly consider medication, I'm usually so desperate that it seems pointless to start a course if it's going to take ages to kick in. I'll keep the info on Effexor in my back pocket in case I don't see a material improvement soon.

Joe: The 3:30 am wakeup sucks. Because I don't usually drink alcohol, I mostly run into that problem when I've eaten lots of Chinese food for dinner. It's so salty that I have to wake up every hour and drink a whole glass of water. Then there's the salt hangover.

DarcsFalcon: Summer is my saving grace. If this was happening in February, I'd be absolutely in the dumps. But if I can get myself out into the sun, amongst trees and friendly breezes, I can feel good, at least until night comes again.

ghwace: I'm such a lightweight in the drinking department that it's laughable. I've never had a hangover because I never drink more than 2 drinks in an evening. Some doctors even recommend that much to relax. So I don't know if it's really good for me, but at least I don't feel too guilty about it.

Claire: Thanks! All the good vibes help a lot.