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22 January 2008 @ 08:00 pm
Why I spent my winter vacation...  

…in Chicago and Minneapolis rather than in Chicago and Detroit.

First I guess I need to sketch in a little background. I believe most of you know I'm taking meds for clinical depression. Back in mid-July I told my meds-doc it seemed perhaps that my current SSRI was losing efficacy, but we decided to hang in there and see how things went. Well, for the past couple of months, things have been … less good. Yes, I'm sure a part of that is the seasonal thing, but it's likely that another part of it is I'm having less-good living through chemistry. So I went to see her again last Tuesday afternoon, the day before I hit the road, to discuss matters and to consider how to proceed.

Well. Hurum. Er. It turns out that even though paroxetine no longer seems to be quite doing the job for me it's probably best if we don't try to change to something else at the moment, since titrating off right now would take about five weeks and leave me rather high-and-dry and potentially maximally crazy-depressed right when things will be getting to their zaniest at work (the annual SEC filing deadlines coming up, as they do, in February through early April). She suggested that we could see if adding a mood stabilizer to the mix might help (apparently it sometimes does), although it will take me, interestingly enough, about five weeks (!) to ramp up to a potentially effective dosage. Further, since the fluoxetine seemed to have pooped out on me a number of years ago, while it sometimes works when one tries to revisit, it sometimes doesn't. Finally, it seems I've tried (some successfully, others not) every SSRI out there except one that won't have a generic until 2012 or so, which could be extra expensive. Blah blah blah woof woof. Drug neep-neep.

So. The drug and mood summary is that perhaps, if I'm lucky, maybe in five or six weeks I'll start to see some improvement, and in April or May I'll go back and confer more. And for now … well … I just gotta hang in there.

Well then. As you may remember, I ended up leaving Minneapolis not at dawn, which was my original plan, not around 8 a.m. after dropping Gavi at school, which was my final plan, but around the crack of noon. It … you know … took me a while extra to get it together and be on my way. In retrospect, it was probably the best I could have expected given, you know, my state of mind. State of mood. Whatever.

Had a reasonably pleasant, music-filled and law-abiding drive down to Chicago, stopping only in Janesville for gas and a Wendy's [more gas (Joke, Moshe)]. Aside: Was shocked (shocked! I tell you) to discover the tolls in Illinois were now in the $1 to $2 range instead of the 35¢ I so well remember.

Ran into the most amazingly bad traffic snarl at the next tollbooth after the junction with Highway 53 and bailed at the next (?) exit. Whereupon I discovered that I was less well-prepared than I'd thought, as some of the maps I had with me didn't extend to where I was and the others lacked sufficient detail—when Higgins Road funneled me into Milwaukee Avenue instead of turning into Touhy Avenue I figured out I was … Not Where I Wanted To Be. Rather south of where I wanted to be. Ah well. All's well that ends well, and I eventually arrived.

Then … well … you know the bit about discovering that my camera was non-functional. (And I appreciate the suggestions, indeed I do, but, well, that's not how it worked out.) What I later ended up doing for photos was to use the_leewit's point-and-shoot digital camera. More on that topic later, although I'll say now that it turned out to be a Growth Opportunity rather than a Bad Omen.

The story continues…

I phoned lollardfish, thinking I might get together with him, buttonlass, and buttonfish, but the logistics of that were somehow beyond what my wee little brain was capable of pulling together. And I realized that I somehow had forgotten to jot down docstrange and tezliana's phone number. Or unclevlad's. Or that of dr_whuh. Or … well, you get the idea. I just gotta plan better next time.

So, anyway, things turned out such that I ended up spending quite a bit of time left to my own devices. Turned out that spending that time gave me the luxury/opportunity to observe how I was spending a period of time in which there were few or no demands on me. And the fact is, I was finding it easier to sleep, or to roll over and go back to sleep, than it was to read or listen to music on my iPod or, you know, do much of anything. And it became apparent there was a very good chance that if I had gone to ConFusion, I would have spent much of the weekend in my room in bed trying to figure out a way to gather enough motivation to somehow make it out of bed and get myself dressed and out into the public areas to socialize or make music or whatever. (I have indeed spent more than one convention in this sort of state, and it is, shall we say, a suboptimal way to spend my resources.)

By mid-morning on Friday, I finally realized that the trip down had been pleasant and relaxing and had satisfied a lot of my "road jones." And even though I spent a lot of it sleeping, the time just vegging turned out to be some of what I'd been wanting out of a vacation/holiday. I was feeling happy and optimistic about the photos we'd done. So, considering the drive home as a kind of "frosting," I'd really already had as much vacation as I had been wanting out of my time off, and I figured some time at home with Susan and Gavi over the weekend would probably be much more rewarding that anything I could have hoped to pull myself together to do at this year's ConFusion. And so it was.

Current Mood: okayokay
Geri Sullivangerisullivan on January 23rd, 2008 02:44 am (UTC)
Many thanks for the 4-part harmony.

Y'know, it all seems entirely rational. Remarkably so, given your current drug and mood summary.

Good luck getting through the next 5 weeks...and the 5 weeks after that. And congratulations on the photo session. I look forward to your film at 11 on that.

It feels like I could blather for a lifetime and a day about depression, but doing so now would be just one more in a steady stream of procrastination behaviors on my part, so I'll resist the impulse and see if I can't get on with the work awaiting me here.

Much love. Always.
Fred A Levy Haskell: Fredcritter eyes onlyfredcritter on January 25th, 2008 12:20 am (UTC)

You're most welcome. I reckoned if I was going to drag everyone into the details of my comings and goings, I owed it to y'all to explain when everything veered off at a strange angle…

Rational? Hm. How very odd. Seemed confusing and somewhat non-linear at the time; I guess putting it down in words served to make it all seem more regular and normal-like. Thanks for your good wishes for the future. Photo chat and evidence should be along reasonably soon.

Yup, putting off procrastinating can sometimes lead to depression-fending accomplishments. But sometimes we really do need to blather about depression. The trick is remembering to do a bunch of the former and to only do the latter when it's really, really necessary. Yah shurr, youbetcha.

et in Arcadia egoboo: Barnabyapostle_of_eris on January 23rd, 2008 03:01 am (UTC)
It did sound like there was more emotional stuff going on than I knew, so a secondary reaction is feeling good that I was right, but phooey in general anyway.
Best of luck with the new faster acting double strength Placebo(tm)! (I was just looking for the Steve Martin placebo routine a couple of days ago, but it doesn't seem to be online.)
Fred A Levy Haskell: Fredcritter eyes onlyfredcritter on January 25th, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)

Good ear there, Neil. Hey, it appears there was more emotional stuff going on than I knew. Except maybe in retrospect. Sometimes not even then—objects in the mirror and all like that…

Drugs? Well, I did roll up my arm and bend over. We'll see, we'll see.

dd-bdd_b on January 23rd, 2008 05:23 am (UTC)
I must say, that sounds better than many of the things I was able to imagine when I saw that you'd come back from Chicago rather than going on to Confusion. So...sorry you decided your original plans weren't workable (or would have been insufficient fun for the work, at least), but it sounds like you then proceeded to roll with the punch pretty darned well.
Fred A Levy Haskell: Fredcritter eyes onlyfredcritter on January 25th, 2008 12:33 am (UTC)

Whoo. I guess I should be glad I don't have your imagination then. Or something like that. You know, now that you mention it, you're right—I did end up mostly going with the current and putting my oar in enough to steer a bit and keep off the rocks rather than paddling franticly and fruitlessly in an unfortunate direction. Wow. Good for me. <pats self on back>

Peter Hentges: chillin sealjbru on January 23rd, 2008 05:58 am (UTC)
There you are then. Seems like a lot of good thinking around some difficult decisions and sometimes, you know, just getting out of one's normal routine is quite enough. So here's hoping the next five weeks see steady improvement in the weather inside your head.
Fred A Levy Haskell: Fredcritter eyes onlyfredcritter on January 25th, 2008 12:39 am (UTC)

Indeed. There I are. As mentioned above, not all of my thinking was with words or at a conscious level, but it's comforting to know that, depressed or not, at least some of my life experience is beginning to pay off in the occasional burst of found wisdom. Or something like that. Thanks for the hopes & best wishes for my brain-weather extended outlook; probably won't be as cold inside as outside, but perhaps it'll be no more turbulent.

arkuat: lake-superior 2007arkuat on January 23rd, 2008 08:52 am (UTC)
Believe me or don't, this sounds like a good time to me.
Fred A Levy Haskell: Fredcritter eyes onlyfredcritter on January 25th, 2008 12:42 am (UTC)

And why wouldn't I believe you? You've always seemed perfectly believable to me. Besides, it managed to turn out to be a reasonably good time by me, too. Sometimes the low-key really is better than the frenetic. Maybe even more often than sometimes, now that I think about it…

Lianatezliana on January 23rd, 2008 10:42 am (UTC)
Glad you ended up having a good time despite best laid plans. Good luck with the new med configuration - I hope it works for as long as you need it to.

Our phone number wouldn't have done you much good. We've moved away from the land of preserving disorder.
Fred A Levy Haskell: Fredcritter eyes onlyfredcritter on January 25th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)

Thankee, thankee. For all and everything.

Nu? Gone to far-off lands? To somewhere the police are there to create disorder, perhaps? I sure hope not. I hope to somewhere wonderful, some place where you're having the time of your lives in bliss and happiness.


Liana: Percy w/gogglestezliana on January 25th, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
Home is now in the land of granite hills and primary primaries. An area where there is lower population density, less pollution, and where people still say "good morning" and hold the door for total strangers.

We're liking it a whole lot so far.
Stephen Leighsleigh on January 23rd, 2008 12:55 pm (UTC)
That all makes sense to me, given the circumstances.

Hope the new meds do everything you want them to do!
Fred A Levy Haskell: Fredcritter eyes onlyfredcritter on January 25th, 2008 12:48 am (UTC)

Cool. So it made some sort of sense to us all. After it managed to sort itself out, that is, since it seemed to be making little or no sense at the time. But I guess sense is where you find it. Or where I find it. Where it waits to be found. Erm. Thanks for the hope & me too.