All shot in HD video by yours truly. Even while unemployed, my horizons keep expanding.
So! It’s been awhile. And what have I been up to, except not taking drugs at the Underworld show in Montreal last week? Well, I’ve been taking drugs, actually, the drugs that are prescribed to me by my doctors. I’m up to my full dose of Effexor now, and it gives me a weird energy that begs for some kind of physical release… so yoga and a lot of walking.
And not a whole lot of anything else.
I’ve been working on some projects in development, which sounds really cool to say, and doing some painting and collaging and laundry, I went to Tom’s wedding last Saturday (congratulations!!) but missed the morning after brunch in an ill-fated attempt to see Sabominator finish first in her triathalon. I biked over the Mass Ave bridge for the first time ever, which would have been awesome if I hadn’t spent the whole time waiting for my heart to explode, and yesterday I spent the day with my mom – another first.
Trying to fill my days with meaningful things, basically. I’m taking submissions.
I’ve never been one to refuse a good pill. Be it Advil, Omega-3, Percoset, or certain other remedies not approved by the FDA; if you’re giving, I, generally, will be taking. In a move somewhat out of character for one so devoted to “better living through chemistry”, to date I’ve been very reticent about taking drugs to treat my depression. I felt, somehow, that I should be stronger. I wanted to work things out with words and the brute force of my own determinate will.
But, you know, things change, sometimes faster than we want them to, and after the events of Friday September 5, I am officially on-board with the psychopharm.
When I met my first meddidoctor at McLean’s, he broached the subject with some caution. Would you be open to…? YES, I replied, before he even finished his question. I was promptly furnished with a blister pack of Celexa, 20 mg per. Also a blister pack of Lorazepam 0.5 (my depression, it seems, comes packaged with a bonus prize of intense anxiety,) also doses of 25mg Seroquel (to pave my way to dreamland), then Trazodone (to help me stay there,) 25mg with a 25 bumper.
Then I changed wards and got a new psychiatrist. She raised me to 40mg Celexa, 1mg Lorazepam and, after a particularly nasty episode of rage and frustration, 5mg Abilify. I accepted it all with the simpering gratefulness of a dog brought into a loving home. Everything seems to be working, finally, after 3 weeks of lingering misery. Except…
The Abilify. OH MAN. That Abilify is a killer. Taking it feels eerily similar to coming up on ecstasy, that restless itchy anxious feeling where you can’t figure out whether to get a soda, chew some gum, play with a ball, or lay down and look at the stars. It’s not cool. So I’m being titrated up to 15mg by Friday – paradoxixally, this side effect lessens at higher doses – but in the meantime, I’m composing this blog post, working on my safety plan, doing a crafty art-book thing, making phone calls, smoking cigarettes, and coloring in a picture of an Aztec castle while drinking iced coffee, Diet Coke, water and green tea. The ladies here are planning to watch a movie soon, but I’m not at all sure I can sit still for the duration. And yes, in fact, I HAVE taken my last PRN Ativan.
So it hasn’t been a publicized thing, but I’ve spent the last while trying to improve my life and mental state by challenging myself, daily. Some days I visit a new boutique (as much as I love them, I have a deep fear of small retail establishments) (you’re the only one in the store, and the salesclerk is all starey, and only then do you realize that their entire inventory is way, WAY above your price point), some days I harness myself into Costa Rican skycoasters, some days I eat strange food or drink curious libations. Then, some days, I just try to do mundane shit that I’ve been putting off for years. Like caring for my oral health.
I was never one of those people who was scared of the dentist. I liked the fluoride, as a kid, I liked getting a sticker and a toothbrush, and even though I have about 18,000 fillings and had all four wisdom teeth pulled at once and spent four years in braces, I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid any major psychic wounds at the hands of dental professionals. So I wasn’t worried, on Tuesday, when I set out to complete my daily challenge with a long-overdue appointment at one of our local east boston dentistry centers.
I *became* worried, however, when I noticed that the entire interior of my chosen dentistry center was paneled in knotty pine.
I became more worried when I used the restroom in the waiting area and realized it probably hadn’t been updated since my grandparents bought their house in the 50s. The complete lack of hand soap was also unnerving.
After some time, I was escorted into an ad hoc “panoramic” Xray room (a closet, really), where my mouth was imaged in full 360 splendor and the technician didn’t so much “close the door” or “cloak me in lead” as “dash away from the machine at the last minute, leaving me to the ravages of radiation”.
She took four more traditional Xrays in the examination chair, again making a swift dash for the door after hitting the “scan” button, and then left me to sit and contemplate my fate. I only wish I’d had the wherewithal to take out my iPhone and snap a photo.
Just before the mammoth Sicilian dentist shredded my gums to crepe, I turned to my left and saw a poster that had, literally, been there since 1985. This was not a framed archival piece by any stretch, and featured, in the center, a ragtag group of children advertising some type of dental hygiene while wearing acid-fade jeans and bandanas. For a moment, I was engulfed by a visceral flashback: some faceless trainee moonwalking around the spittoon chair with a roll of scotch tape, haphazardly adhering said PSA artwork to the knotty pine paneling while listening to “Thriller” on his Sony Walkman, and the 2.5 decades of staff that have since, daily, looked at the poster and considering removing it (or, at the very least, tacking up that one saggy edge)… every one of them eventually deciding “Nah, fuck it. I don’t get paid enough for that shit”.
And that’s how, in the here-and-now, at 29 years old, I finally became afraid of the dentist.
Unfortunately, I have six cavities, so I’ll have to be going back.