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?