Friday, December 28, 2007

Quitting Paxil

I take Paxil and it's nasty. It helped when I needed it to--during a time when I was suffering serious anxiety attacks that were leading to other health issues, such as nearly daily migraines and a rash that I would get in the sunshine (am I the only person you know who has been misdiagnosed with porphyria cutanea tardae?).
Over the last couple years I have felt that I am ready to move past this drug which can leave me kind of flat and lifeless from time to time.
But it's been too damn hard so far.
When I was given this prescription my doctor likely didn't know about the withdrawal that Paxil can often cause. I certainly didn't. The manufacturers don't call it 'withdrawal,' they call it 'discontinuation syndrome' because they figure they can sell more pills that way.
Watch this video:
Or just skip to about 4:50, and you can see a page from the packet given to pharmaceutical representatives trying to push this drug. We see under a heading 'Discontinuation: Why this is an issue' a big sack of money with a '$' a la old cartoons.
So anyway, some people are getting pretty rich shoving pills down people's throats while I am suffering electric shock sensations, dizziness, headaches, moments of profound stupidity and confusion, terrifying unending--uncontrollable streams of thoughts running around my brain, horrible lucid dreams that make sleep worthless (leaving me sleeping an awful lot and still tired), and an altogether, overall worthlessness: I can't function while trying to quit this drug.
I don't have 8 weeks to just lie in bed while this drug works its way out of my body. Shortly after I received my prescription giant pharmaceutical Glaxo Smith Kline changed the literature provided to patients and doctors to include the serious number of incidents of 'discontinuance.' I didn't get in on the lawsuit against GSK, and I don't want their money. But I'd love to kick someone in the crotch about it.
America is one of only two Western western countries that allows mass marketing of pharmaceuticals.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hey everyone or anyone. I want to wish you a Merry Christmas. I got the help of some of my friends. Perhaps they struggle with remembering the words, but the sincerity is there.

As for a gift, here is an idea for a movie you could write:

Steven Segal has 3 days to learn to sculpt busts at a professional level or his son will be drafted to the front lines of Iraq. The only problem is Segal is slowly turning into a vegetable... or a fruit--either is fine.

That should make you a couple mil easy.

Everything is good here in Nam.
I love (some of) You

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy Helmet Day!

Yesterday maybe 3 out of 100 motorbike drivers I saw was wearing a helmet. Today it was more like 97 out of 100. Pretty crazy. I knew that a helmet law was coming about, I just thought no one was actually going to follow through.
It was a bit surreal really. It's like going to the mall and seeing the herds all wearing mittens for some reason. My theory is that people will just drive more dangerously to compensate for the added safety of the helmet. The most reassuring thing is that the children and babies are wearing helmets now too. When people ride with toddlers, the kids often just stand on the seat between mom and dad... at least they're in helmets now.

Monday, December 3, 2007

December 3

Here's a tip for traveling in Vietnam. Bring a couple dozen wallet-sized photos of yourself. You don't have to go far out of the city center to get to where there just aren't any foreigners. The Vietnamese people are very friendly and curious. Some of them will say hello and practice their English with you. Others will stare without mercy. I will be stopped on my motorbike and someone will pull right next to me--just inches away--and stare like a duck's giving birth to a pig. It's a little unsettling. So I figure, if I just carry a bunch of wallet sized photos of myself, I can just give them a photo.

Maybe you didn't know this or wouldn't suspect it, but avocado milkshakes are delicious. I drink them as much as possible, but I think maybe the avocado is going out of season. Like I said, the people here are very friendly. At the cafes I talk to them in their little English and/or my little Vietnamese. It's very fun and it's how I'm learning the language. A lot of the cafes have beautiful young women serving the refreshments, so my vocabulary consists basically of knowing how to ask if you have a boyfriend. Do you?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Go ahead and complain about American traffic

Here is a little video I made of the traffic in Saigon. It is horrible.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Hey everyone. Ryan here. I have been meaning to start a blog for a while but here in Vietnam I could not get the setup pages to display in English so I had to get some help.
Here in Vietnam I have seen the genesis of the 'Asians are bad drivers' stereotype, and believe me, I will have trouble arguing against that blatant generalization. There will be more written about this topic.
Above is a picture of some of my first graders. Maybe they appear cute to you, but they are cut like squirrels; they are ridden with diseases. I can't remember a time my nose wasn't running in Vietnam. I teach 1st graders and 4th graders and I usually enjoy it a lot. I especially enjoy the 1st graders. All you have to do is sing 'head, shoulders, knees and toes' and they're yours forever.
I really enjoy Vietnam. It's fun to be traveling, meeting people and experiencing a new culture. And besides, solid bowel movements are extremely overrated. Actually the food is really good and agreeable. It's also dirt cheap.
Another thing I like about Vietnam is that the girls here are attracted to me. In America girls always made me feel hideously disfigured and worthless--if they were attracted to me in any way it was a 'What the hell is that thing?' can't take my eyes off the trainwreck sort of thing. Yes, American girls, I hate you all. I will be home soon enough for you to commence ripping my heart out, throwing it on the ground and urinating on it before transplanting it in my body, resecetating me and repeating the process again and again.
I do struggle with bitterness, believe it or not (see previous paragraph). But the truth is I am very happy here. Everyday is an adventure. I truly believe my bitterness and natural tendency to be ungrateful are wearing down here. The perspective I am gaining here is a blessing to me. However, American girls, there will always be enough hate for you in my heart.