Does Anyone Blog Anymore?
Friday, January 3, 2014 at 04:38AM

I was thinking last night, during the interminable wait to fall asleep, about the bloggers I knew and met when I first started this journey in 2005 - hard coding in html so I could speak to myself. Are any of us still blogging? I know I stopped because everything I wrote read badly to me and I wondered if the army had destroyed an ability I'd had for all of my life. Over the last five years I've written nothing of any value, maybe parts of the last trip to Aus, but even those petered out before the trip was even over. I don't even write on paper, to myself, and I began doing that on a regular basis close to 30 years ago.

I find myself pathetically happy that I printed out many of (which of course are in storage at the moment) PornyBoy Curtis' posts. That boy was brilliant. I miss him. It's a bit crazy to miss someone so deeply whom you've never even met but those of you who read him agree with me, I'm sure.

I also find myself unreasonably angry at Katerina (Kaetlan Cares Not) who took her blog down before she passed away. I find that I NEED her words, for that's all I have left, and it's crushing that I don't have them anymore and never will again.

Fishboy, Pob, Eroica, Vanessa. I know we're still HERE, scattered across the globe and I've had the pleasure of continued friendship with most of you. But, are we writing?

I very briefly met a writer/photographer, Dave, who has been living on the Island for a few months and spent time, for the first time in a long time, actually reading someone's blog. Of course, I didn't know the site until yesterday and he's headed back to Wyoming today. "Too comfortable, too warm, the people are too nice - I need turmoil and chaos to write." (I paraphrase slightly there, but you get the drift.)

I understand exactly what he means and that made me think a little about whether, for me, TOO much turmoil destroyed my writing. It's hard to write when all you have is pain and depression. And cats. It gets tired. My niece (who stalks me) has called me the "cat lady of Facebook."

Did Facebook give us 'just enough' of a voice to silence our real ones? Is that what's happened?

I'm not angry about the pain, not really, not anymore. But, Christ, I resent the shit out of it. I resent the lost opportunities to meet new and interesting people, like Dave. I resent that during the rare times I've been able to socialize, I don't hear much over the pain. If I looked like I was enjoying myself, I wasn't.

"Fake it till you make it" is kind of ... bullshit. I've been faking my way through social interaction for 7 years and it's only gotten worse, because that's what chronic pain does. It destroys so much of the self and it's effects accumulate, rather than dissipate.

Sometime during the last 24 hours, I suddenly wanted to write again.

I spent some time wondering if it's because I'm lowering the dosage on a drug I never should have been on. Five years ago, my GP decided to switch my antidepressants (which were working quite well, TYVM) to Cymbalta because he'd decided that I had fibromyalgia. Absent any clinical evidence. However, he thought it would help with the pain. I get that. However, it didn't and the problem with Cymbalta is that the discontinuation syndrome is so fucking horrifying, no one EVER wants to take you off of it.

So, here I am, three weeks into a dosage drop of 50% and suddenly, my voice is muttering away in the back of my mind. Not in a bad brain cootie way - but in the way it always had all my life.

The next few weeks are going to be tough, I'm including an email below I wrote yesterday to a few friends that may explain a bit better - but I think, I feel, at least for today, that I may come back here and chat with myself. And maybe with you.

After all, sleep deprivation or not, when you spend 12 hours a day asleep and suddenly someone 'takes away' your drugs, yet you have no more ability or mobility to amuse yourself, one must find something to fill the extra time. 

You're getting a group email because I'm not super up to chatting, texting, facebooking or emailing and I wanted to let you know I won't be down to visit this month, as well as what is happening these days.

Although Veteran's has been great, I am still on the rehab plan so these next 6-12 months are a final push to determine if things that haven't been tried yet will help me before they make a decision on what will be my permanent status. Currently, my official disability percentage is 55%.

I think you all know I've been withdrawing from the Cymbalta and have just survived the first three weeks of a dosage drop. Cymbalta is one of the worst anti-depressants for discontinuation syndrome and I've been relatively lucky in that my symptoms have only been moderate. However, I ate only peanut butter and tuna on crackers for the first 17 days or so, and vomited a lot.

The biggest issue I'm having is a loss of ability to connect to my feelings. In really honest terms, that means that although, intellectually, I know how much I care about and for you all, it's JUST intellectual at this point and only slightly better in regards to the cats. It's even worse than that when I consider how I feel about the rest of the world in general. As you know, social relationships and the need for community are a driving force in all our lives and have been important to me, although I have been fighting, moving forward and looking ahead for the last few years, right now I have totally lost access and find it extremely hard to care whether I move forward or not. That does not mean that I've lost the ability to maintain and that needs to be a focus right now.

I had a long talk with the doctor this morning and we are hoping that this is a part of the discontinuation syndrome and are going another two weeks at the current dosage. His philosophy on depression is that I shouldn't need to be medicated for life and after 12 years, regardless of the added issues of the last 7 years, we should be giving it a go to see how it pans out. This may sound slightly dangerous (and frankly, freaks the shit out of me) and although I'm not sure I agree with him, I've made huge progress in the last two years with lots of pre and post-army issues so I'm willing (and, thanks to VAC, able to take the time) to give it a shot.

Do not worry! I have my team here keeping me on track, I see at least two of them every week, and monitoring me and although there are risks around suicidal things, I think you can be pretty confident that I'm not leaving the cats - the last time things were bad for me, please remember that I called 911 rather than do anything to harm myself.

Dr. H is a good doctor and he's been fantastic. He also believes that I'm suffering from sleep deprivation issues, which sadly and counter productively in a lot of cases can be exacerbated by sleeping pills, so we are going to try and cut down on those over the next few weeks as well.

The first three months I was here were really bad exhaustion-wise so we've made some gains around the possibility of sleep apnea that's been made worse by the change in climate and surroundings.

I've got the most awe-inspiring RMT and for the first time in seven years, have been actually making small gains with treatment. I'm currently also meeting with a physio who, so far, has been incredible as well. I'll be starting a course with the pain clinic at Nanaimo Regional in the next couple weeks - seminars and such, as well as some one-on-one in a pool, although it will be six months or more before I meet with the doctors. I'm still seeing Dr. Brian (Veteran's has actually now approved my Skype sessions with him, how progressive!) but I am meeting with a mental health nurse here in Parksville in early February so that she can make recommendations to Dr. H on who may be a good fit for me to transition to over here.

So, lots of reading and very basic life maintenance at this point, I leave the yurt only to go to appointments, fill my basic needs and have a coffee or shop with MaJen once or twice a week.

Chronic pain and depression is a terrible thing and an extremely difficult thing to live with and although I try hard to keep the worst of it private - I believe, at this point, we have to do some hard things to determine whether the drugs are hurting me or helping me and, as well, how much my psychological state impacts the pain and whether or not there is anything we can do about it. I know you're all aware of my anger, even if you haven't experienced it directly, since I got hurt but, although there is a bit of relief that I can't access that right now either, it still needs to be figured out.

I have had a couple of very close friends in the past who, once they went off their meds (for whatever reason), destroyed friendships and caused irreparable hurt to those around them without meaning to or even understanding that they were doing it and I'm trying to be mindful of that by curtailing my exposure during this time of transition.

It's important that I go through this phase and push things but unfortunately, it's probably going to be one of those things I do alone.

So, 2014, so far so good. I'll check in once in a while, otherwise, I'll see you on the other side of the drugs. :)

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