Not One Word

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SSRIs, the wonder drugs of this and the previous century. They can make all your troubles go away. But what they don’t tell you is what the cost is upon withdrawal.

Part of my anxiety approaches OCD proportions, and when it comes to medications, I wander the internet for hours to find everything I can. And in all my searches over the last several years as I’ve toyed on and off with these things, I never found THIS. (Who would’ve thought I’d have to put in “SSRI withdrawal” specifically?)

Officially, they call it SSRI antidepressant discontinuation syndrome (because it has to be addictive to cause withdrawal), and it can manifest in all sorts of ways. For me I started having problems even before I “withdrew.” My body could no longer regulate its internal temperature. Which means I run fevers. All the time.

I’m taking Tylenol and/or ibuprofen on a very regular basis to control it, but it means I’m breaking a fever every 5 or 6 hours. Sweating and all. Every place flesh meets flesh. And I smell. I’m hoping that once the weather goes into full autumn, I’ll be doing better, but my research when I finally did look for SSRI withdrawal tells me this could go on for months.

Why didn’t my psychiatrist tell me about this? Why didn’t my previous psychiatrist tell me about this? Why doesn’t the information sheet you get with every prescription include this? They say talk to your doctor before you stop taking it, but I’ve stopped multiple times (I have a high sensitivity to SSRIs to begin with), and I’ve heard nothing of this. Not a word.

NOT.

ONE.

FUCKING.

WORD.

Mine is cautionary tale. Now that I’m pissed as shit and not going to take it anymore (it’s my body, damn it), I feel much better, thank you. And if you find anything I’ve said here offensive, please understand that I’m feeling raped by the complexity that calls itself the pharmaceutical industry. They lied by omission, along with my doctors and my own pharmacy. Be aware. Be afraid. I know they’re a godsend for some people, but be prepared for the new horrors that may enter your life. (And sweating isn’t the only one; it just happens to be my personal cross to bear.)

The Build–Writing a Worthy Ending

I am not a Led Zeppelin fan. In the 70s and 80s, whenever a radio station would present the top 300 or 500 of the entire history of rock-and-roll on Memorial Day or Labor Day weekend, I’d cringe as they approached #1. It was always, inexorably, inexplicably, inevitably “Stairway to Heaven.” I hate “Stairway to Heaven.” I do, however, have a Led Zeppelin guilty pleasure. “Kashmir.” I crank it up on my car radio when it comes on. I’ve even downloaded it from iTunes and am listening to it right now as loud as my Walkman will allow me.

What, you may ask, intrigues me about this song? The build. The slow build of drums  and bass into brass and other orchestral wonders. And that relentless beat. My body moves with no conscious participation on my part.  And then the lyrical pauses with the taste of Eastern  delights.

As writers, we can learn from “Kashmir.” At the moment, I am in the middle of what could be a powerful ending to my latest novel, but that power, I realized last night, lies in the build. Don’t go too fast. I’m tempted to just rush in and then leave myself with nowhere to go because I’ve already crescendoed to the peak. I know where we’re going, and I want so badly to get there because it’s going to blow the reader’s mind. But I must slow down, allow fate to tickle at the reader’s heart but leave as little trace as possible until the fullness is revealed. This is a delicate balance which must be respected. Nuance is everything. I’ll let you know how it turns out.