…life on the synaptic firing range

Location: Los Angeles, United States

Bent but unbroken Southern California native seeks understanding, companionship, and resonance along and off the beaten path. Teresa plays well with others and makes every effort to perform to her potential. Usually. *processed in a facility that processes nuts and nut products

Saturday, January 21, 2006


My migraine meds are beginning to kick in. My brain is starting to feel fizzy and high rather than swollen and searching madly for the exits. The fizziness feels preorgasmic, which makes perfect sense since the meds are vascular constrictors, and the high will last for several hours. That should give you some indication why this particular pharmaceutical carries a warning that it may be habit-forming. To discourage such a habit, I am to use them no more than three times a week.

That presents a problem, not because I want to feel preorgasmic all the time—I mean, I do, but I recognize that's not a very productive way to live—but because migraines are like cluster bombs, with the arrival of one promising the presence of reinforcements. So I've taken this one down, but I'm already feeling outflanked by its brethren fighting this war of attrition. It's the fourth soldier I have to worry about, since there I'll be, my head and cervical spine throbbing, every sense bombarded with stimuli, and I'll have the weapon to fight it, but I'll have spent my ammunition on the three that came before.

I'm stingy with myself regarding addictive medications. On top of the pills I take every day to regulate the ol' brain chems, I have the aforementioned vascular constrictors as well as some antianxiety pills of the benzodiazepine variety. And just as my head must threaten to explode before I'll start taking the migraine meds—not only due to their habit-forming qualities but because their high is followed by a powerful fit of somnolence and a mild hangover—I'll walk myself to the end of the plank before I'll pop a benzo. I can tell myself I'm just being responsible, but even my psychiatrist thinks I underuse the benzos. I guess I'm trying to prove to myself that I'm in control, that the meds don't own me—a fear that sets in once your doctors have to spend more than a few seconds thinking about potential interactions before they prescribe a new pill.

I have a complicated relationship with pharmaceuticals. I think they've saved my life, and I'm awfully glad not to have experienced the hell of mental illness in the premodern era. On the other hand, I know what it's like to be overmedicated, and how easy it was to get there, and I don't ever again want to slip into that stream of pseudoconsciousness in which there is no pain but also no joy, no beauty, no ambition. One stops hearing music and following the narratives of books and movies, and yet it feels strangely OK…until that moment when it is unbearable to think that this is what life has become. So, here's to our unending quest for the perfect cocktail, the one that lends us confidence and quells our demons, the one that enriches our lives rather than sending us to bed for all tomorrows' hangovers.


Blogger sporksforall said...

If your psychia think you underuse a pill, use it more. Seems reasonable to me. Much love and balance... sporks

1:03 PM  
Blogger treecup said...

There's a cozy intimacy suggested by having nicknames for your meds like "the benzos." I think I shall call mine "tweety."

10:21 PM  

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