South Park Self

well, I'm back

I've been on anti-depressants since just after the Great DVT Experience (so nearly four years, in fact, gawsh), and I got lucky: Welbutrin was a good match first off. It kicked my energy up out of its chronically fatigued depths quite handily, and also smoothed out the wild moodiness which was plunging me into fits of homicidal rage or utter despair more or less randomly. (Possibly life-threatening illness after-effects, possibly hormones, possibly my not-career, possibly the residual effects of the unrelieved horribleness of my father's death and associated miseries. Possibly just me and my brain chemistry.) Welbutrin was a tiny chemical god. It made it possible to live something not unlike an actual facsimile of life.

Unfortunately, it turns out that it has long-term side effects. The smoothing effect on jagged emotion spikes settles in for the long haul, and slowly, inexorably disconnects you from actual feeling. I ended up breaking up with my therapist a couple of months back, for various reasons which are a long introspective post in themselves, but partially because therapy was becoming this soul-rotting succession of interactions in which I groped unavailingly for actual feelings with which to connect. Sadness? Nope. Self-hatred? Nope. Anger? Definitely nope, I've never been good at anger at the best of times. I was trying to come to terms with things through a thick glass wall, and getting nowhere. I have a lot of respect for the therapy process, and got a lot of good out of it, but it does need some sort of grist to its analytic mill.

So I consulted my lovely GP, who confirmed that the emotional muffling is a known anti-depressant side-effect, and a month ago I madly downsized my dosage by half. Immediate effects have been to slightly up my shouting-at-the-cats quotient, and materially up my shouting-at-stupid-videogame-AIs quotient, but primarily it's revealed that the Welbutrin, sneaky bastard, has been suppressing my dreams. I'd vaguely attributed the gradual slide into a quotidian dullness of nightly landscape to, I dunno, increasing age, or the humdrum nature of academic admin, but apparently halving the anti-depressant dose unfettered my subconscious from an unsuspected level of hideous chemical thrall. Which is delightful, because I was missing my vivid dream-life something 'orrible.

The moment of realisation came when I woke up on Saturday morning having just dreamed a Baroque pillared mansion in which I was for some reason running a major corporation. The dream-mansion was further enlivened by the presence, sitting on the steps outside, of a judicious mix of several of my male friends with most of the more obscure male cast members of Sherlock, singing exquisite four-part a capella harmonies in serenade to Ashley Williams. Ashley is a Mass Effect squad member who's always annoyed me (she's religious and anti-alien) and who I only managed to retain in my latest game by dint of having played through the trilogy twice in quick succession, which means my residual annoyance at being dumped by Kaidan on the first playthrough was recent enough the second time round that I summoned up the resolution necessary to sacrifice him rather than Ashley on Virmire for the first time ever. (Non ME-players can ignore that bit, it'll make no sense). At any rate, I have no idea why they were serenading Ashley, I've never romanced her and never plan to. But it was a quality rendition; as I rocketed past in heels, bent on unspecified corporate shenanigans and trailed by a phalanx of secretaries, I recollect being highly impressed.

Last night I dreamed an arrival via horse-drawn carriage at a mansion in the woods; given the unspecified older male companion who was wafting around somewhere, it's remotely possible I was Jane Eyre. I spent most of the dream being alarmed and scurrying for cover as the mad woman with the shotgun crawled up the outside walls to get at the second-floor windows, and eventually woke myself up with my heart pounding, which I haven't done in years. As drawbacks go, I'll take it. Fear of dying horribly means at least you're alive.
I cannot tell a lie, your Nice Husband, TM, was one of the barbershop quartetters. Along with Bumpycat. I suspect the connecting factor is that neither one of them actually sings...

I seem to remember recommending Mass Effect to you, did you guys ever give it a try?
I've just gone back on Wellbutrin, after a year off - I'll keep a wary eye out for that side effect. I've been avoiding adding the citalopram to the mix (which was the cocktail I was on until a year ago) mostly because it renders one, um, unable to achieve certain natural highs, shall we say?

Last night I dreamt I was showing Benedict Cumberbatch around the University Library; he was doing the full dimply, eye wrinkly smile thing, and confessing that he really enjoyed making sushi. Doubt I can blame the Wellbutrin for that one!

Tricyclics ftw
Although they have many horrible side-effects, tricyclics give one amazing dreams. I've always been a great dreamer of intricate bizarre dreams, and the TCAs have amplified that :-)

They did make me a bit robotic for a year or so (wearing off now thankfully) but I'd rather have no emotions than ALL THE EMOTIONS ALL THE TIME :-P