Week 64 – The Snowmageddon Retrospective!

I'm getting real tired of your shit, spring

Whatever happened to seasons being, y’know, seasonally? In the UK this week we’ve seen the return of snow, which for us is apocalyptic. Apparently we don’t do well with the white fluffy stuff. Unfortunately for me it serves as a reminder for the last time we had snow just a few short months ago when I lost my best friend. I’ve not been particularly down about it, but it just reminds me of what I’ve lost. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to see snow again and not think about that.

Aside from the chaos snow has wrought the last few days; this week has been generally upbeat-y. I’ve been able to wake a lot easier since beginning the Sertraline, but I’ve also noticed it has become more difficult to get to sleep. I’m trying to correct this by keeping a regular schedule, but with all this snow the last few days all I’ve really wanted to do is stay in bed.

College continues to run relatively smoothly. I begin filming an advert tomorrow (Monday) for an assignment. The assignment gave us the option to pick one of 3 products and to then produce a new advert that is different from existing adverts for that item. Suffice it to say if you want me to create a video that’s not been done in advertising I’ll find something in the social cloud/buzz that will be reflected in the video. So yes, the advert will be peas doing a Harlem Shake. Be very afraid.

Fake Shark

I realised the other day that contrary to last year, where I had a note written in my phone to look at to remind me, I don’t actually have a list of my goals. Now, I know I wrote them out at the end of last year and posted them on this blog, but I find it kind of ironic. You begin the year with the best of intentions on how you’re going to move forward with your life, but in the end you lose sight of those goals. For me (or maybe that’s for some of us reading this too) losing sight of goals could ultimately lead into a downward spiral. The funny thing is though, I found after reading them that I actually hadn’t lost sight of them. Somewhere in the back of my mind they were still driving me. Things like “stay in school” or “keep at the gym” are something that I’ve used to structure my life in the wake of the events of January. Then there was the message “Don’t let anything happen this year to stop you from achieving your goals”. I think this is the main one, buried deep in my subconscious, which has kept me moving these past few months.

I also decided that I needed to add another because, in light of recent events, I’ve not been a great friend. I’ve ignored or lost contact with a lot of people that I would prefer to remain in contact with, and I just prioritised (rightly so in some regards) my own needs above everyone elses. So my amendment to goals this year is to, “Keep in better contact with friends”. I’m not certain how I’m going to manage that, but I figure if I can call a friend I haven’t spoken to in a while once a week, or send an email, maybe that’ll go a long way to rebuilding some dilapidated bridges.

Stay classy, San Diego

Whatever doesn't kill me had better start running

Week 63

Stormtroopers read Playboy

Hello again!

It’s been a bit of a busy one this week. Between submitting and pitching work at college, I’ve also been coping with my first week introducing the drug Sertraline into my system. As I’ve mentioned in previous postings, Sertraline is being introduced into my system whilst reducing another drug, Mirtazapine. Again to recap, Mirtazapine has been a drug I’ve taken for nearly 2 years and have found it to make me quite lethargic – sleeping in excess of 12 hours, not being able to be woken up, and generally being very zombie like at various points in the day.

Since reducing Mirtazapine to 15mg this week and introducing 50mg of Sertraline I’ve immediately noticed I’ve become more alert, sleeping less, and generally being ready to start my day when I wake up. For essentially being comatose for the last 2 years it feels great to be able to wake up when I want to wake up. I’m not saying I’m exactly leaping out of bed, but at least the aches and general drowsiness has subsided.

Oxygen and Magnesium are going out OMg

What I’m also saying is that it’s not the Sertraline that’s doing this; it’s the reduction of Mirtazapine that’s alleviating my symptoms, in my opinion.

Handed the most dangerous weapon in the galaxy - immediately points at face

So what is the Sertraline doing? Well it’s doing what all new drugs do to my system when introduced: it’s fucking shit up. There’s usually a period I find where new medication has to adjust to my body, or for my body to adjust to… Yeah, that last one… So my body is trying to adjust to this new medication whilst also being weaned off Mirtazapine. Cognitively I feel the same – although my mood is up because I’m not sleeping in excess of 12 hours. Physiologically I’ve noticed a few issues. I won’t list them, but suffice it to say always read the warning labels so you know what to expect. I don’t anticipate some of these side effects to last long, but it is something to always keep an eye on.

Good, Good. Let the nerdiness flow through you

So retrospectively I think it might be worth addressing whether I’d recommend Mirtazapine as a course of medication for others in a similar situation. If you suffer from severe insomnia, then yes. Otherwise I’d say no. Sleeping for long periods and feeling drowsy for long portions of a day is not something I needed. Initially I did, I couldn’t sleep, I felt restless all the time. But to go from one extreme to another is not a solution. Medication needs to be reviewed all the time, and to be honest I probably should have come of Mirtazapine at some point last year. So that’s to also say if you feel your medication is causing some issues, raise them with your doctor.

Just because you’re medicated doesn’t mean it’s permanent. In my experience anti-depressants are just like antibiotics – eventually your body becomes too accustomed to the drug, and the infection becomes resistant to them. Depression is a lot of work to control, like any other disease, but just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Whilst there may be no ready cure, it can be managed. You’ve just got to be willing to work at it. Like a really bad marriage.

If you are reading this you have survived, you go motherfucker

Week 62

She Wants The D-Drive

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was changing medication. The crux of this is I need to reduce my current medication until I am at a low enough dose to introduce the new medication.

What this seems to have done is throw my current medication, mirtazapine, into death throes. Anxiety levels increased, sleep has been erratic, and night time hallucinations have occurred.  Now, this is not a piece to say “medication is bad, m’kay”, but I kind of wanted to share what can happen if you come off your meds, even when supervised. I kind of wonder if this is what happens to people being weaned off them experience, what do people who suddenly stop experience?

This is essentially what is possibly the closest I’ll ever get to understanding withdrawal from illegal substances.

Adventures brought to you by Tequilla

On the plus side, since the introduction of the new drug (or perhaps the coincidence of the smallest dose in 2 years of mirtazapine) I’ve felt slightly more awake in the last few days. Less drowsy in the mornings, which is what I was really hoping for.

Hopefully the next few days will provide some better insight as to whether this is a permanent change I can actually look forward to.

In other notable news: I’ve finally caught back up with my college work – nearly 8 weeks later. HUZZAH! I laugh now, but it’s been exceptionally hard work, especially to keep going in. Through the death of my friend and now the changes in my medication it would have been easy to lay down and die, but I now have the Goonie mantra – Never say die.

Dirt Harry Potter

I write this a lot about fighting through depression. There are only really 2 ways to think about it if we’re honest, it is fight or die. I’ve wanted to die a lot over the years and none more so than these past few months. I’ve really wanted to crawl into a hole somewhere and just die. “Fuck the world, and fuck this!” I kept thinking, “I don’t belong here, I shouldn’t be here.” I’ve had a lot of inner demons trying to convince me I’m a worthless sack of meat, but the only person who’s the boss of me is, well, me.

So I guess what I’m really trying to say is, life sucks. Life is a struggle. Life is struggle. I found myself using a quote from a favourite TV show of mine recently. It was a kind of philosophical thing that will run around my head from time to time, and maybe it’s something that has been said more eloquently by actual philosophers, but unfortunately my Google-Fu isn’t strong enough to yield results.

The quote is this, albeit paraphrased, “Life is a great wheel. Sometimes it grinds you down into the mud, and other times it lifts you up into the light.” The point is, life has its ups and downs. Yes it can be really shitty, but when it’s good it can be good. You’ve just got to wait for the wheel.

See, I knew I could get another Farscape quote in this blog at some point, but that shouldn’t detract from the meaning. El Oh El. ROTFLCOPTER.

So with this piece deteriorating, I’m going to beam out of here and leave you with a great quote from another nerd, Gene Roddenberry. Thanks for stopping by, and never say die. Live long and may the force be with you, always.

Gene Roddenberry Quote

Week 61

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to exist in today’s society. Yup, this one’s going to get deep. No, that is not what she said.

Pics 011

Recently, I met up with an old friend of mine. We only really live around the corner from each other, but due to the nature of our personalities we generally only speak maybe once or twice a month. He had also returned to college with me, but had classes that were out of sync with my own. He’s always struggled with education, but he’s always been a great thinker. This week he told me that he was done with education. He said he couldn’t hack it and would never be able to hack it. He says he wants to get out of this city, but without something to get you out you’re pretty much stuck here (see James Joyce’s Dubliners).

The problems we’ve both experienced is that society today is structured very different from society as recently as 100 years ago. Today you go through compulsory education and you’re told all the way through that you can be anything you want to be, but how do you choose? There’s simply too much choice. I’ve had these thoughts myself for years, and this week he said them aloud back to me. How can you choose what to do with your life when there is so much out there to do?

I think this is why I’ve travelled and dabbled. I’ve never been at ease with settling into one role, I’m not even sure I am happy with life become stagnant and routine. I’ve thought about this a lot over the past few months, about what I’d do with my college education. Would I do nothing with it, like so many people I’ve met, or would I do something that would mean I could potentially travel with the job for the rest of my life?

Life being the way it is today I don’t think I would have any problem with moving around. Sure, I’d want somewhere to call home, where I can come back to and take stock, but I don’t think I’d be entirely happy living in one place for the rest of my life.

An undeveloped country

I think that there’s something unique about society today, and I’m not just talking about British society, I’m talking about the world society. Now, more than ever, we’re all linked together. This generation is more alike across the world than any other time in human history, and we are spoilt for choice. Years ago we’d have grown up to become farmers, or blacksmiths, or dressmakers – now we’re growing up to become office workers or supermarket assistants.

So whilst we may be spoilt for choice with education at universities or vocational jobs, those of us who can’t handle education are forced into menial work that leaves you with barely 2 pennies to rub together after pay day. Yup, minimum wage jobs that barely pay you enough to live minimumly.

We Blame Society, but we are Society

Society today is completely broken; we’ve got young people entering into education without any clue of how they’re going to get work afterwards, whilst those who are going into work are finding that they can barely afford to live. It reminds me of that dire Bond film “The World is Not Enough” where the token Bond girl has a line, “There’s no point in living if you can’t feel alive.” Today, right now, I feel like there is no point in living if I’m going to wind up in a dead end job working for bullshit pay that’ll let me live a little be longer to only die a poor old homeless man.

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