The Lutheran Geek

The life and times of a WoW-playing, Java-programming dude in Chicago

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Screw you, Paxil

Strictly speaking, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are not addictive, but trying to discontinue its use can result in a condition known as “discontinuation syndrome“. Of all the SSRIs, Paxil, or paroxetine hydrochloride, is the most potent, and leads to the most severe cases of this syndrome. I know this first-hand since I’ve taken it for over seven years to combat social anxiety disorder as well as mild depressive symptoms. When I started experiencing more depressive thoughts in the past month, I decided it was time to up my prescription to 40 mg from the previous low 20 mg dose I was taking before. Last night, as I went to take my dose, I discovered that the night before, I had used up the last of the Paxil I had on-hand. I knew this would probably mean bad things for me today… and I was right.

For me, even going 36 hours without a dose of Paxil can result in a great deal of extra depression and hyper-sensitivity to emotions. Just this afternoon, a simple thing caused me to spin out of control and to the point of tears. It was not a negative thing at all, not hardly, but it brought up some terrible memories, and caused me to spend an hour or so just staring blankly into space. It is incredibly frustrating to deal with these negative feelings creeping back into my life. Noone deserves this sort of mental torture I put myself through… and yet I do it.

One thing I talk to my therapist about is how I put most of the negative aspects of a relationship on myself. That is, I don’t spend a whole lot of time stewing over what others have done to me, but rather I tend to spend the time thinking of what wrong I have done to others. Even the act of apologizing doesn’t help – when it’s not received well, or outright ignored, I find myself simply befuddled and upset at myself. If only I hadn’t blown up that one time! If only I knew what to say to make it up to them. If only I wasn’t such a jerk. If only I wasn’t such an idiot. If only I wasn’t bad…

And so it goes, leaving me feeling like the worst person on earth. I’m self-centered, lazy, thoughtless, jerky. I’m terrible with people. I will always be alone.

I find that these thoughts just refuse to go away altogether, and they get amplified when I am low on my drugs. It’s just flat-out frustrating. Others have gotten through much worse thoughts and situations than me, and yet I continue to wallow and tell myself how awful I am. Others have attempted suicide, some succeeded. I have had my share of thoughts, but never had the guts to act on them. I’ve never been quite depressed enough to really be truly “depressed”, so instead, I just feel lazy. I get scared, I feel unable to interact with anyone. I am a failure of a human being.

…see, but I’m not. I cognitively know that my struggles are the same ones everyone goes through, from the shyest guy on the block to alpha-males like Donald Trump – everyone has doubts, fears, that sort of thing. Days like today, though, make it feel like I’m the worst person on earth.

posted by Peter at 3:13 pm  

Friday, December 8, 2006

An … odd … experience

Work was going fairly smoothly today – I was getting a lot done and was feeling pretty happy. I brought some nice clothes with me to work, which is a bit unusual – normally I just wear jeans and a T-shirt to work (though I was also wearing a sweatshirt since the temperature was 6 above zero this morning…) – but tonight we were having our holiday party at Orbitz! I was pretty jazzed up and feeling pretty good about the day. It all started to get a little weird in the middle of the afternoon, though…

About 3:15, as I was coding away finishing up some last-minute changes for the little product I’m working on, I started hearing a bunch of sirens. Unusual, I thought – must be a fire or something around here or in the Loop. (I work just a couple blocks west of the Loop proper – an area usually called the “West Loop”.) A few minutes later, I see a strobe light go off. Now, close by me sit the IT people who are kind of wild and like to be a bit crazy, so I thought maybe at first it was just a desk toy. I glanced up, and saw that the strobe light was actually the fire alarm system. I started to get up to prepare to evacuate when I heard a voice over the intercom: “We have an emergency situation. Please stay on your floor, lock the doors, and do not leave your suite.” Uh-oh – this sounds dangerous. My boss, when she heard that, immediately commented “Someone’s gone postal.” Unfortunately, we didn’t have the slightest clue what was going on. People started milling about, looking outside as we saw the emergency vehicles (whose sirens I had heard earlier) congregate outside the front of our building on Madison St.

Still, we had no clue what was happening. Around 4 PM, I got a message from my friend “Kavel” in Panda Attack (and like a noob, I’ve forgotten his real-life name…). He linked me to a story on NBC 5’s web site that said there had been a shooting on one of the upper floors of our very building! Details at the time were sketchy, but it seemed my boss was right. There was a report that the gunman was still at large, making us all a bit more nervous. I spent the rest of the afternoon checking the Chicago Tribune web site, which had a running story with details as they came in – some people shot, taken out on stretchers from the building to Rush, one guy shot in the head… yipe.

Finally, about 5:00, we got the all-clear that everything was under control. The party still went on, but I was kind of out of it at that point, plus, I’ve been pretty tired this week. I grabbed a beer, and kind of nursed it while walking around looking at a whole lot of people I didn’t know. I grabbed a few things to nibble on, but ultimately I just wasn’t in the partying mood, and so I slipped out at about 6 PM to grab the next train home (by that time, the Metra trains had started running again – my building is also a terminal for three of the Metra lines).

So an odd day, to say the least. Glad it’s over – I just need to relax now.

posted by Peter at 9:28 pm  

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