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The Goddess of battle, strife, and destruction explains it all for you

Public Service Announcement


May 19, 2008

This is a Public Service Announcement and Iím going to insist Natalie posts it.

A bit of background.

A few days ago, I was in London for a job interview and to find an apartment.For some time prior to that, Iíd been having breakthrough moments on my seizure drugs Ė little zappy ďoh my God, Iím going to have a grand malĒ episodes.Theyíre scary:really scary.

But so far, this drug had been working for me, so I went anyway.

And I had a bunch of seizures.The first during the interview.

I managed to get back to Toronto, though I was convinced that it was curtains.I scrambled to get my affairs in order Ė I gave Natalie instructions with respect to my will and my powers of attorney and ran around this apartment, desperately trying to get everything sorted so I could go into hospital and die.

Because I was entirely convinced that was what was going to happen.Iíve never felt so ill in my life.

Once I got there, the initial concern was a bleed in my brain.Because Iím on blood thinners and Iíd fallen and hit my head, this was a reasonable and even probable diagnosis.

But the hospital I went to Ė Sunnybrook, in Toronto -- is a regional trauma centre for the Golden Horseshoe, and this was the first long weekend of the summer:what the medical profession calls the first day of ďtrauma seasonĒ Ė the first day when everyone goes out and gets drunk and stupid and proves Darwin right.People were being airlifted in from as far away from Niagara Falls with hideous life-threatening injuries.A lot of them didnít make it.

Even though I was prioritized the moment I walked in, I still waited nearly 6 hours before I was seen.And then another 7 before I got in for a CT scan.They ruled out the bleed, doubled my anticonvulsant dose and told me that Iíd have to come back for the rest of the neurological tests Iíd require Ė sitting around was pointless.It wouldnít make it happen any faster, there were no beds, the ER was stuffed to the rafters (one guy had died while waiting to be seen) and I was in no immediate danger of dying as far as they could tell.Theyíd call me to follow up.

They think that in addition to the grand mals, Iíve been having partial seizures but theyíre not sure why.Part of it was because my drug levels were sub-therapeutic.More tests need to be done to see if thereís any other cause.

Thatís the preamble.Hereís the public service announcement.

These are really shitty drugs with HORRIBLE side effects, especially when they bombard you with a huge hit of them all at once.The physical ones Ė like hallucinations, shortness of breath, loss of balance, fainting, insomnia Ė I can handle.The psychiatric ones Ė like uncontrollable rage and suicidal ideation Ė are tougher to deal with.

Iíve never been on a dose this high of any anticonvulsant and boy, Iím having a rough time.And itís going to continue to be bad until I get used to it Ė I can expect another few days of this at least.

The suicidal thoughts are relentless.I know itís the drugs talking but theyíre not telling me anything thatís not true and that makes it so much harder to resist.ďThis is the best you can expect out of life.Itís only going to get worse.Do you really want to spend another day like this?This isnít life Ė this is just keeping the animal alive.Thereís no quality to your life.And it wonít get better. Your life and your health are only going to deteriorate from here. Youíll never work again:nobody will ever hire you Ė that career you love?Itís gone, along with everything you worked so hard for.Ē

Ooh, itís seductive and so insidious.These drugs are EVIL.The thoughts sneak up on you and it all seems to make perfect sense; killing myself really does seem to be an entirely reasonable solution.Itís actually pretty difficult to find a reason NOT to do it.It would be such a relief.

Did I mention the crying jags?Lots of them and boy, what fun.

Then there are the rages:unlike any Iíve ever experienced before, even on the Keppra.Itís so bad that Iím considering boarding the cats at the vet because Iím so close to snapping.I want to kill them every time they come near me (Iím overfeeding them instead so theyíll leave me alone).†† Iíve warned my family to stay away from me until I call them.I am ENTIRELY capable of violence at the moment and my control over my temper is shaky.Hence my self-imposed isolation until this all passes.

I donít dare go out and I donít dare actually see anyone until the weekend just to be safe.I keep telling myself to ride it out and I keep repeating ďitís only the drugs, itís only the drugsĒ over and over like a mantra.

In addition, thereís a little voice saying ďIf you stop taking the drugs, then all of this stops too.Ē

Now, Iím not going to do any of those things:Iím not going to kill myself or anyone else and Iím not going to hurt the cats or stop taking my meds.But I cannot stress sufficiently what a struggle it is.

Sometime yesterday afternoon, the neurology resident called me to check on me and advise that the other tests were set up for next week.I told him of the distress I was in and his comment was ďAt that dose, I would expect you to be experiencing those symptoms. It should pass in a few days, a week at the most. If you get to the point where you feel youíre going to hurt yourself or anyone else, come back to the hospital.Ē

Ya think?! Would that be before or after I go on my killing spree?

Now, is it just me or does it seem a trifle irresponsible, maybe even criminally negligent, to put someone on meds you KNOW are going to render them not only profoundly suicidal but possibly dangerous to others and then pat them on the head and send them home?Donít you think it might be a plan to add a huge dose of sedation to the mix?Just until blood levels are established and I get used to this?Doesnít it seem preferable to have me drooling and stupefied in some corner for a week rather than freaking out and throwing dishes around my kitchen and screaming because I couldnít get the coffee maker to work?

God, Iím angry and this time I donít think itís just the drugs.This seems like malpractice to me.

Iíve got an edge here:Iím smart, Iíve been through this before (though never to this degree) and intellectually, I understand whatís happening to me.I know itís just the drugs.It WILL pass.

That doesnít make it one iota less terrifying.It only means that I am able Ė barely Ė to talk myself down off the ledge.

But maybe other people arenít quite so lucky or experienced or insightful.And what happens to them?

We have so many readers:odds are Iím not the only one out there on these meds:all anticonvulsants can cause these side effects and many other drugs will as well.They are designed to fundamentally alter your brain chemistry and they will fuck with your brain and thought patterns, at least until your body adjusts.Yes, itís absolutely terrifying.Yes, these thoughts are next to impossible to resist.But ITíS JUST THE DRUGS.

YOU are still in there somewhere.Donít go off your meds:youíll seize.And depending on the severity of your seizures, that could have dire consequences.I know if I pay any attention to that little voice and stop taking these awful meds, I WILL die.Iíll seize, hit my head and bleed out.

If you are one of those people and you are experiencing these feelings, please go to your doctor or the nearest hospital.Hopefully youíll get better care than I got.

If you canít or if care or support is unavailable and you find yourself at the mercy of these side effects, call 911 or a suicide hotline if you get too overwhelmed to cope.

This isnít real -- itís a dirty trick being played on you by the very pharmaceuticals that are keeping you alive.This is between your brain and the drugs Ė itís not reality.It may feel like it Ė oh, nothing may have ever felt more authentic before Ė but take a deep breath.

It wonít last forever, I promise.Iíve still got at least another 3 or 4 days of it ahead of me and thatís a chilling thought, but I know itíll be better after that.

Hang on (without the rope, please).

Till next time (and there WILL be one, I promise).


Copyright© the Morrigan & Heartless Bitches International ( 2008
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