Of Dreams and Nightmares and Waking Life

It’s supposed to be a pretty day today (59 and partially cloudy beats all the snow and rain and cold any day.)  I have stuff to do today, which includes shelter work and (hopefully) finally taking that injured stray with me that’s been wandering around the apartment complex.

But I have a pretty good headache, which started yesterday around noon and was nicely exacerbated by laying practically upside down, mouth open for an hour, having a cavity filled.  When the Novocaine wore off, I was in less than optimal shape.  I went to bed at 8 last night, hoping to ward off the impending migraine.

But then I had nightmares most of the night.   Dreams fraught with tension, but some sort of epic adventure… * Dreams of wanting but never quite being able to reach…  Dreams of confused desire… Dreams of frustration, where my every attempt to affect some sort of change is thwarted or ignored.

Dreams of needing to be onstage but forgetting my lines.  David Lynch-esque dreams where the events and the characters change but are the same.

And dreams of yearning sadness.  I had a dream last night about a friend of mine who OD’d a few months ago. He was alive and I kept trying to tell him I loved him and he could smoke all the weed he wanted, but for God’s sake, stay away from the heroin!  When I awoke and remembered he was already gone, I was struck by the usual feeling of quiet despair at not being able to change things.

Once, I woke up screaming.  I woke my kid too.  My husband slept on peacefully, so I guess it’s a good thing it was a nightmare and not a masked murderer in my bedroom.  I know myself enough by now to know that when I awaken screaming from nightmares, it’s often because I am so stressed out in my waking life that it spills over into my sleep.  Once, when I was still with a particularly troublesome ex, I awoke screaming every night for about a week.  I still lived with my parents at the time, and by the third night or so, my mom and stopped coming in to check on me when it happened. (Ironically, for the short but extremely stressful four months my husband and I had to live with my mother and step-father while I was pregnant, it was my husband who had the night terrors almost every night, often kicking out– and kicking me– in the middle of the night.)

And then this morning I get on Facebook and am greeted immediately with the sad but not unexpected news that my friend’s cat has passed away.  I kind of got attached to this cat because for some reason, even though they did not really look alike at all, she reminded me of my own girl who passed away 2 years ago.

Anyway, I’m not writing all this looking for sympathy or anything.  It’s just life…how things are.  But, since this is my blog, every once in a while I indulge in a post that has no real point except catharsis for me.  Thanks for coming along with me, readers.

Peace.

 

 

Rest In Peace, Plutarch

I love all the people slinging shit around Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death. Yes, he was a junkie! Yes, he had small children that needed him. But I all these people judging him like, “He should have just stayed clean…” (really?) are just showing how ignorant they are about the struggle of addiction.
I read in an article recently that, when asked how bad his problem was, he claimed he knew he would die soon if he couldn’t get clean. He tried to get clean, going to AA and rehab more than once. He actually remained cleaned for quite a while, a stretch of (I think) around 20 years. And he clearly was no longer using for the “fun of it.” He was suffering with his addiction, and his story, right up to his “death prediction,” reminds me once again of Layne Staley– another brilliant artist who suffered and lost his battle with addiction.
So I wish people would stop being so damn high and mighty, especially about things I’m betting most of them have never battled themselves. At the very least, if they have nothing “nice” to say, they should just refrain from commenting at all.
The air must be really nice up on that high horse. ~smh

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Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee

Things Will Never Be The Same

Sorry to be all doomy and gloomy, but that’s how I feel right now.  I know I’ve written before about how time passes and things change.  Especially from childhood to adulthood.  We can never get back our childish naivety or carefreeness.

There are so many beautiful things in life, but there are also times when life feels like nothing but watching the people around you die.

We moved out here several years ago.  There are many friends I fell out of contact with.  A few months ago I found out that one of them, someone with whom I had once been very close (and had since tried in vain to get back in touch with) had passed away.  Technically liver disease, but he wasn’t in the best health when I knew him, and he had some…bad habits.  Ever since, I’ve felt this sense of loss that goes not only with losing a friend, but with feeling like I never got to tell him how much he meant to me.

Tonight, I found out his son, also my friend, has died of an overdose.  I knew they both been in some trouble off and on the past few years.  I had asked after them, trying to get phone numbers from some of our mutual friends, from time to time.

But they had mostly gone their separate ways too.

Our little band of misfits grew apart a bit at a time a few years ago, I think.   I guess life got in the way…and lifestyle choices.  No more movies at the Senator. No more Halloween parties.  No more camping out and car shows together.

And now I guess there never will be.

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Caution: Stimulants and Psychosis

Weight loss is something I’d wager many people think about at some point in their lives, and according to a 2011 Huffington Post article, obesity rates are continuing to rise.  And although a majority of the Americans who want to lose weight are not seriously trying to lose said weight, a significant portion of people are always engaged in some form of weight loss endeavor.  If you are not one of those people, you likely know someone who is.  I myself am trying to lose ten or fifteen pounds to get back to my ideal body-type.

That said, obviously there are many different approaches to weight loss.  Some are effective, many are not.  Some are practical, some not so much, depending on your lifestyle (raw food diet, carb restriction?  No, thank you.  I love pasta and I have a two year old.  I need to cook normal food.)  Some are safe, some are not.

Today I want to discuss diet pills.  Doubtless you already know that many diet pills contain stimulants like amphetamines, ephedrine, and caffeine.  Even pills without caffeine can contain one or more herbal stimulants.  Supposedly, these stimulants aid in weight loss by kicking metabolism into high gear for a while, as well as often giving the user a temporary feeling of energy and euphoria.

I personally cannot handle stimulants.  I have an anxiety disorder to begin with, and stimulants don’t agree with me.  I have one cup of coffee in the morning (and if it’s a big cup you’ll likely see me shaking like a junkie for a couple hours afterwards.)  If I drink anything with too much caffeine, even in the afternoon, I sometimes can’t sleep at night.  I can’t take decongestants with pseudo-ephedrine because they make me jittery.

But some people tolerate stimulants just fine.  For these people, diet pills may be an acceptable choice (subjectively speaking, because I am by no means an expert.)  Regardless of their efficacy in aiding actual weight loss, many people can use them with little to no ill-effect.

BUT, I wonder how many people have used these pills, simply adding them to their regimen, with no thought to to the other seemingly benign stimulants they may put into their body everyday; nicotine, inhalers for asthma, caffeine from coffee, soda, and energy drinks such as Five Hour Energy or Red Bull.  A lot of people do not think of these products as drugs but by definition, they are:

drug

Noun:
A substance that has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body, in particular.

Any of these items alone have the potential to cause anxiety and nervousness.  Mix them and guess what happens.  Some people are aware of the possible effects and may intentionally double up on or combine stimulants in an effort to rush or maximize weight loss.  I have no idea if this actually works, but I do know what can happen if you do it and your body has a bad reaction:

drug-induced psychosis (aka stimulant psychosis)

I know, it sounds fancy, maybe like something only “junkies” using illegal drugs would get.

An acquaintance of mine just had to have her husband temporarily committed.  He’d suddenly started acting strangely, speaking bizarrely, and doing rash things like writing several bad checks and making impulsive and expensive buys.  He was nervous and agitated.  The first night the doctors had yet to discover what was wrong with him, and of course they ran tests.  The facts as they were told to me were these; he was on Paxil and taking some diet pills… he was also drinking Five Hour energy and using an herbal supplement called Rhodiola Rosea.  My hypothesis, especially after doing some research, was the the guy (who is a rather large fella) wanted to lose weight fast and he thought he could accomplish that by taking multiple stimulants at once (although I doubt he thought of it precisely in those terms.)  I think he suffered a bout of stimulant psychosis.  Though he recovered for the most part, he is still not 100% “right” in the head.

But I’m not a doctor, and you don’t have to take my word for it.  Here is another example, as told by the sufferer, of a psychotic episode induced by stimulants.

http://www.erowid.org/experiences/exp.php?ID=35612

My intention here is merely to spread awareness.  In rare cases, some people react poorly to small amounts of even a single stimulant.  When mixed, you run the risk of not only physical harm (think of how your blood-pressure would sky-rocket), but physiological damage as well, possibly even death.  When making decisions based on what to put into your body, think things through, do your research.  It’s the only body you have.

source (brain diagram) :     http://www.pharmacy-and-drugs.com/Mental_Health_and_Depression/Psychosis.html