Like most people, I am constantly growing, learning new things. For instance, I (along with my Girl Scout Troop) learned some basics about watercolor painting that I didn't previously know. Nothing earth-shattering, but I just heard a new perspective from someone who knows more about art than I do. Which isn't saying much, but still-I learned something new.
Also, I recently learned a lot about psychotic episodes.
That was a lesson I could have skipped.
Remember, if you will, that I am on Cymbalta. It's an antidepressant, but also helps with Fibromyalgia pain. It helps TREMENDOUSLY. But, like all medications, there are potential side effects. For instance, it makes my mouth dry. My solution is that I carry water almost everywhere I go, and I am persistently hydrated. Not a huge problem for me.
The insert that comes with the pills warns against using with alcohol. I figured it was more like a pain pill, where alcohol just kind of gives it a boost. Like a little kick, if you will.
This is NOT the case. And I have learned it twice.
I know, you are probably shaking you head, all, "what a dipshit, she drinks with all the problems she has? What an idiot.". Hell, I drink BECAUSE of the problems I have. It's called self-medication. It's a nice way to take the edge off a rough day. Or to forget my body hurts ALL THE TIME. Judge me if you want, I don't really give a two shits.
So anyway. About a year ago, I had a social engagement with a few other couples. It was my turn to not be the driver. And Sky King used to give me grief if I didn't use my "Passenger Pass" to its fullest extent.
So this particular night, I used my pass. I used, abused, and annihilated my pass. Fun Aimee got down with the pass, and boogied til her feet were as sore and red and chafed as the my thighs at a Weight Watchers Marathon.
I didn't sleep well. Which made sense somewhat, because alcohol is a depressant and actually disrupts sleep,....blah blah blah.
The next day, I was exhausted, and most of the previous night was a big black blur. As in, "Honey, call those people and apologize on my behalf because I'm sure I was embarrassing". And I typically don't get this hammered. Tipsy, yes. Drunk even. Not obliterated. Not that I didn't go to college or anything, just that drinking in massive excess isn't really my thing. Not often, anyway. Anymore. Stop judging.
So, I tried to nap. I was exhausted, and just didn't feel quite right.
As I lay in bed, I noticed that I was twitchy. I could not lay still more than 20 seconds without a limb moving involuntarily. And I could not sleep. What I was able to do was lay there, twitching, partially unconscious, while crazy shit went through my head. CRAZY crazy shit. Things I can't even admit to my husband. It scared the absolute shit out of me, and only after I Googled "alcohol and Cymbalta" did I calm down enough to not insist on being taken to the ER.
Then a friend came by, that new a lot about my health situation. I told her what I was feeling, and she looked appropriately horrified. Not as in, "holy shit, I'm backing away slowly", but more like, "Wow. I feel incredibly bad for you". Turns out, she tried the same medication, and had the same reaction to a couple margaritas.
Since that time, I have slowly been able to enjoy a glass of wine again. Sometimes two. But that is about it.
Old dogs, new tricks? I got this.
About a few months ago, Sky King and I went out, for a much-needed Adult Night. We went to a bar to see a friend play in a band. We stayed out late, enjoyed some much-needed freedom. And I sipped 2-and-a-half Seabreezes (cranberry, grapefruit, and vodka).
They were strong. But I was dancing, chatting, socializing. And they snuck up on me. They were some stealthy mother fuckers. By the time I realized I was in the danger zone, it was too late. And the next day we were having people over to swim and BBQ.
Once again, no sleep. And during the night, my brain heard horrible things---dogs snarling and ripping at each other, children crying for help. Over and over and over. I even checked on Princess several times because I had envisioned her entrapped in some sort of rope-y contraption, and I was sure I would find her lifeless body hanging from her bunk. Each time, she was fine, sleepy breathing sounds coming from her nest.
Two things got me through: 1) the understanding that my brain was playing tricks on me, and 2) Sky King would hang with me if it got too much to bear.
I made it through the night, told him in the morning. He took good care of me as I twitched and shook my way through the next day.
I told my mom, and she said, "Oh. Sounds like a psychotic episode." Yep. Specifically, substance-induced psychotic disorder. A real treat, I assure you.
Now let me just be real for a moment. I have definitely gained a certain amount of respect for people suffering from mental illness in the past year and a half. Depression is no fucking joke. I'm working through it. And as far as the psychotic episodes? Yes, I brought them on myself. I didn't follow directions. I fucked up. But wow.
I can't imagine how things would have played out had it been worse. Had I been home alone. Had I listened to my own brain, that thing that usually steers me right. Okay, right-ish.
The What-ifs are hard to process.
Hopefully, I have learned. Only time will tell.