Chemical Vampires

Yesterday morning I had to drag myself out of bed to escape a nightmare that just would not stop playing in my dreams.

My doctor has been on holidays so I ran out of my antidepressants a week or so ago and I have been having withdrawal symptoms.

Headaches, heartburn, nothing too bad but this dream was awful.

In the dream some people, including me, were “normal” and others were vampires feeding on any “normals” they caught outside after dark.

I don’t have nightmares very often any more and, when I do, I can usually wake myself up which puts an end to the dream.

Not this time. I woke up as soon as someone was attacked in front of me and the blood began to flow in the dream.  I registered the fact it was only a dream and was comforted then I rolled over and went back to sleep.  I fully expected the dream to be gone but it started up again.

This time I saw a group of people outside having a meal and talking about how, in the old days, there were so many vampires and they were so bold it would not have been safe to eat outside after dark.

One of the people in the group grabbed another one and said to come inside.  I was inside and saw them come in.  They were the only two people in the group that I “knew”.  As they ran inside I looked outside and saw a group of shadows run past.  The two people went back to the table and began screaming.  Suddenly I was standing beside them seeing gaping wounds in the necks of the other diners and lots of blood so I made myself wake up again.

I was a bit more distressed this time because I had seen more gore and I am not used to seeing such things.  I am very careful about what I will allow into my mind and I refuse to watch movies or TV shows that contain lots of blood, violence, horror or gratuitous sex scenes.  I think my refusal to watch such things has primed my mind to refuse to watch them even when they are presented to me in my dreams and that is why I can always wake up.

As soon as I saw the gore I did wake up.  This time I was resistant to going back to sleep despite how tired I was so it took a little longer to fall asleep again.

It was hard to keep my eyes open though so I found myself back in the land of nod and back in the dream!  This time the dream took a different approach and one of the vampires was in distress.

It had been lured to a stairwell and followed a “victim” up it to find itself on a landing with three exit points – up the stairs, down the stairs or down a passageway.  All three directions had a wall at the end of them.  The stairs took a turn going up and another turn going down and the passage took a turn too.  For some reason the vampire could not cope with this.  It whooshed up the stairs, hit the wall and turned back.  It whooshed down the stairs, hit the wall and turned back and the same with the passageway.  It acted as if it was trapped and condemned to race back and forth banging into those three walls forever.  It was screeching and clearly suffering and I do not like to see people suffer, even evil “people”, so I made myself wake up again.

This time I resisted sleep completely and decided to just lie there for a while but, every time I let my eyes close, the dream tried to continue even though I was still awake.

I decided enough was enough so I dragged myself out of bed and waited for the doctors office to open so I could get a repeat prescription of my antidepressant medication.

I’m pretty sure the dream was caused by withdrawal.  I’m sure the symptoms would pass, in time, but things are going better for me than they ever have in my entire life and I don’t want to mess with that.

I’m no longer suffering from anxiety or depression and I am sure it is, at least partially, because the chemistry of my brain has been set right by the antidepressant I have been taking for over a year.

Clearly my brain does not intend to supply me with nice stuff if I go off the medication so I will stay on it until the doctor tells me to come off it!

I needed to see the doctor anyway.  There is a lump just below where my ribs join and I wanted to find out if the x-rays showed any problems.

So, after a delay of about two months, I finally went and saw her.  She said she thinks the lump is just part of my ribs but she was concerned about the x-rays.  She said it looks like there could be some damage to my right lung and she wants me to go for additional testing.

I told her I was on a diet and she was very pleased.  She told me to aim for a weight 10 kilos heavier than the one I thought would be a healthy weight for me.  She weighed me and I was pleased to see I have lost another kilo since I last weighed myself.  I have been cheating on the diet and didn’t want to weigh in case I had put on weight.  I have now lost a total of 11 kilos in nine weeks.

I’m very happy with that because I pigged out for a week during the Christmas and new year season and have cheated since then several times with pizza, ice creams, pancakes and meals out.

The other good news was she said she is going to start taking me off the antidepressant in a couple of months.  As soon as this new prescription runs out she says we will look at weaning me off them.

I came home, took my pill, went gambling and lost 70 dollars then went to bed.

I woke up this morning in agony!

I’ve heard about migraine headaches.  I have never had one before but I think I had one this morning!  The pain was excruciating and wouldn’t go away even when I took pain killers!  Everything, even just opening my eyes, made the pain worse.

I thought it was something to do with having gone cold turkey off the antidepressant then suddenly taking a full dose again.  In a flash of insanity caused by being in agony I took todays dose in the hopes it would fix things and the headache got worse because I developed heartburn and nausea to go with it!

I was absolutely beside myself with the pain but nothing helped it.

I took another couple of pain killers and an antacid then called in sick and suffered for about two hours.  The pain has gone now but it digs at me as if to remind me to be careful whenever I shake my head or cough etc.

There is no doubt at all that the side-effects of antidepressants can be horrid.  I have had headaches, gagging, yawning, nausea and so on but those things stopped once my body adjusted to the drug and now I only suffer when I go off the medication because I forgot to get the prescription refilled.

I will, however, be glad to come off them there is no doubt about that.  Provided the depression and anxiety do not return!  I am fully prepared to take medication for the rest of my life if that is what it takes to stay feeling as good as I have been feeling lately.

Anxiety is more than just a word.  It is a lifelong companion!  It sits in the back of your mind ruining every single minute of every single day with fear.

You can’t name what it is you are afraid of because you are afraid of everything.  You are afraid of what will happen if you do and equally afraid of what will happen if you don’t and it paralyzes you.  It’s not surprising to find most people who have anxiety also suffer from depression.  Being in a state of constant fear would depress anyone!

I’d rather have a two hour migraine once a month than live with my anxiety again!  It has gone and I am loving life without it!  I will do whatever I have to, including take pills for the rest of my life, to stay free of it.

Those are the real vampires if you ask me.  Depression and anxiety are vampires that suck the joy of living out of anyone they reside with and I am glad to be rid of them.

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