The withdrawal effects of reducing escitalopram continue

2 am. Drunk on bourbon. In bed. The television is loud. I feel disoriented and strange. 2 am. 20°C. Summer. I am in limbo. I don’t know what to feel. How to feel.

I can hear the clouds moving across the night sky. Obscuring the stars. Obscuring the planets. Passing under satellites and other astronomical objects. I can feel their movement it comes in through the window and moves across my exposed face. It is cooling and soothing.

The television voice is loud. I don’t like it.

Thunder rolls. The sky is the colour of slate with a band of white where it meets the distant houses and trees.

When the rain has stopped I walk to the shop and buy a bottle of wine. On the way back the sun shines on the wet roads and pavements. My trainers shine so brightly they look like that ’80s music video. Each time I pass a puddle the reflection of the sun dazzles me. Clear sky above me now.

I have been cutting the escitalopram dose down for 5 days now. I would like to be able to function on the lowest dose by the time I restart university in September. I hope the reduced dose will combat a lot of cognitive difficulties I suffer with. Furthermore, the escitalopramic fog. Trouble is I am experiencing some mild side-effects from reducing the dose, sometimes, I feel a little disconnected and I’m getting brain shivers.

1.26 am. The whistling in my ears is unbearably loud.

11.01 am. Doctor’s surgery waiting room. The bus took ages. My head feels fuzzy. I have a dull headache. The world feels off today. The waiting room is warm and close. A man is debating with his toddler daughter whether seaweed is edible or not. She insists it’s not. But he explains it is and full of iron. She’s not convinced. She thinks daddy is being silly.

I feel strange: distant and disconnected. The flooring glitters, I’m not sure what the material is, something hard-wearing I suppose. My head thuds without much spirit.

The children in the waiting room all seem at ease. When I was young I always sat very still feeling very anxious. It all seemed very clinical, the tubal metal and wood chairs, the white tiled walls; my memory of it is a vast space of whiteness with rows of chairs laid out facing four doors which led to the doctors’ treatment rooms with a window-fronted reception between them. The receptionist would slide a glass panel (often brusquely) open to deal with patients. I think that this clinic has been demolished now. There was a pharmacy across the road with a large green tiled cross on the side, in the 1960s style. There were also public toilets near the entrance of the clinic and I hated passing them as they always reeked of urine, disinfectant and strange men.

11.32 am. Still waiting. The receptionist and a patient discuss the weather. It’s raining.

Drizzly grey Wednesday. Back from the doctors. I have just told you about my dream of being shot in the head so I won’t repeat it here.

The withdrawal effects of reducing escitalopram continue. Blankness and fog. My GP suggested I might be withdrawing too quickly, I think he is probably right.

The weather is depressing. Everything is fucking depressing. Grey. Grey. Grey.

Afternoons in the rain.

This is a boring letter. It just moves the story forward.

Grey day.
Advertisements

I just need the sound of a washing machine

It is raining. Night rain. The best rain. Not morning rain when you are sitting on the sofa eating your breakfast looking out at the grey pouring rain knowing you’ve got to go out in it and it’s going to be coming down all day.
Often I don’t mind being out in the night rain. I think usually it’s because I am going home, so getting wet doesn’t matter, it is something you can just experience instead of enduring. Also, there is less traffic. So little competes with the sound of the rain.

About 13 years ago, I remember walking home in pouring rain, it was around 2 am. The rain fell heavily and steadily the whole journey. I arrived home, around 3.30 am, drenched. There was a strange comfort in drying off, brushing on wet hair back off my face and putting on dry clothes. I fed the cats while my cup of tea brewed then sat at the kitchen table with the silence and the rain. Then, I went to bed, hair still damp, and fell asleep to Eno’s Music for Films.

No rain this morning. Bright sunshine through the curtains. I have a headache and don’t want to get up. But I keep falling asleep and having unpleasant dreams.

Sometimes the words come easily. Sometimes they are lost in the fog. Some words get so lost that my escitalopram brain decides I must no longer need them severs the path to my tongue. It is starting to do this with memories too. Is that a good or bad thing? Will these missing memories be restored when the escitalopramic fog has cleared?

Numb.

I am lying in bed. I always seem to be lying in bed. The brown cat is lying with me. I can feel her warmth through the candlewick bedspread. I hear the tumble dryer, one of my comfort sounds. I remember at Oakbrook Road, before I had therapy, when I was anxious I would put the washing machine on and go and lie in the bath. The sound, the normal everyday sound, of the washer would comfort me. When things felt out of control as they often did back then those normal sounds would ground me. Other people need physical contact, I just need the sound of a washing machine.

It is early evening now. Outside it is still raining. The sound of car tyres on wet tarmac. The damp cool air coming in through the window. It smells fresh. Strangely, it smells like Sundays.

Sunday evening, alone in your room, outside it is raining, the light is strange, you sit at your window, bored, the KLF are playing on your tape player. A summer Sunday in the rain. You watch the cars, they are all distinct from each other, you can name each one, the make and model; if you were to see a photograph of these cars now they would all look very dated.

The light in your room is fading. You turn the light on and you watch your reflection in the window as you walk over to the bed, despite your young age, you are vain. You lie on the bed on top of the duvet you left on a bus in a dream the other night and you wonder what to do.

The setting sun is shining brightly through the curtains now, somewhere there will be a rainbow.

I have just eaten a soft boiled egg

We have swapped sides on the bed. I now have the window which the cool air comes in through. But I also have the traffic noise, which I hate. I hate the sound of cars, of loud machinery, the whine of garden equipment.

The ambient hum, that’s OK. I remember when I would walk home from my ex-lover’s house I would cross a large field, a former airfield, which separated suburbia from industry. I would stop some nights on a rec and listen to the night: the hum and drone from the factory. The occasional clang of metal muffled by the hum. The sound of night creatures: birds, owls and foxes. I didn’t mind those night sounds. I enjoyed them.

David Lynch captured those sounds perfectly in Eraserhead.

3.06 pm. I have an earache. I’m lying in bed. My ears are protected by a pillow on one side and the duvet on the other. Before lying in bed I tried to listen to Chrysta Bell’s This Train but whatever is going wrong hearing is creating a filter where certain frequencies aren’t registering and bass notes buzz in my lower ear like a broken speaker; it was like listening through cheap earphones, a frustrating experience.

2.26 am. I’m in bed, the fan is on creating suitable white noise. I can hear imaginary cars driving past. My hearing is still off. The whistling is so loud it makes me feel nauseous. I’ll ask my GP about it next week.

It is now the next day, Saturday. And I am still writing this to you. I have just eaten a soft boiled egg and I am listening to Chrysta Bell’s This Train again. My hearing has improved but it is still strange. The whistling is still there, as loud as ever. I have the window open fully to cool the room but it is dripping rain water onto a tissue on my desk.

It’s 16.16 and it feels like it is going to rain. The sky, which is all I can see through my window, looks angry: many shades of grey, oil-painting style, across the heavens.

Today, I am flat. I am empty. A featureless blank sky would suit me better. There is distant hammering and even further away there is a cricket going on, I hear the crack of the ball hitting the bat and the occasional cheer. The wind is picking up and Chrysta Bell is singing “Somewhere in the Nowhere”.

I am going to go to the shop shortly to buy wine and beer. My head feels muffled, foggy. I hate this feeling. The room is cooling quickly.

They fuck you up, they may not mean to, but they do.

And you have to live with it every day. Whether they meant to or not, you still have to live with it.

Chrysta Bell sings “Kiss me again, I’m yours”.

When this record finishes I’ll go to the shop.

So low.

I am sitting on the edge of the bed in the inky dark

As human beings, we need pillows to support our necks. In the evening the sun shines. In the day the sky is grey.

I am the person at the window. I am the one watching. I only watch. I cannot keep them from trouble. I only watch.

The warmth rises. It fills the space. It blocks your nose. It blocks your ears. It disorientates your senses. Where am I? Where is this? What are those flashing lights?

Trouble is, we forget. Who is bad. You see. We forget.

So I have been asleep for a few hours since I started writing to you. It is now almost midnight. I don’t know what I have written before this. (What I write as I am falling asleep is usually nonsense!) I only know what I am writing now.

The room is dark. Except for the light from my phone and the display on the tower fan which says 22°C. The world is still. Right now. I think the window is closed. You are in the bathroom.

I dreamt of the same house twice. First, last night then again tonight. But I can’t remember my dream from tonight, except I was back in that house.

A car drives past breaking the silence.

Now, it is just the ringing in my ears again. The constant high-pitched ringing. Ringing is wrong. It sounds like a continuous flow of sound. Whistling. Yes, whistling is better.

Midnight. 12.00 am. Zero hour.

It is now tomorrow. It is now today.

The sound in my ears is making me feel nauseous.

I am sitting on the edge of the bed in the inky dark. My sinuses are blocked. My face is lit by my phone I can see it out of the corner of my eye reflected in the mirror.

I am sitting in the living room now. You have headphones over your ears and you are playing a game. The hum in the living room competes with the whistling in my ears.

It’s now after two. You are brushing your teeth and I am lying on top of the candlewick bedspread with the red cat. The light is on. It is very late. No sounds outside just the constant whistling in my ears.

2.30 am. Upstairs with a glass of Laphroaig. I have to go to the doctor’s surgery first thing tomorrow to pick up the letter from my GP. I am going to be very tired.

In bed. 4.10 am. Not tired. Headache. Escitalopram yawns. It is very quiet and still. Very pleasant. Just your breathing and the whistling. There is cool air coming in through the window. I can feel it on the back of my neck. I keep clenching my jaw, another escitalopram side-effect. Why am I suddenly getting side-effects after a year?

The brown cat is somewhere in the room I can hear her bell. A car passes heading towards town. The world will be waking up soon but I don’t want to think that. Because I want to sleep.

I am clenching my jaw again. It is making my headache worse. I hope it’s sunny in the morning when I walk over to the doctors. Nice dry heat and the sun on my face.

I ought to try and fall asleep. Maybe I’ll read for a while. My moon is upstairs, charging. I put the potatoes away in the fridge if you are looking for them.

Cath can’t sleep. She is sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of milky tea. Outside the window, she can hear the papers being delivered to the local shop. She swallows the last of her tea. The papers have been the delivered and the van has driven away. The world is still again. She goes to the bathroom, urinates, washes her hands and swallows an Ambien with a handful of water from the tap. She goes back to the kitchen eats a biscuit from the tin. Turns out the lights and goes to bed.

The light is dull this afternoon

The light is dull this afternoon. The right side of my face is still congested and my hearing is still wrong. When I close my eyes I can see my face as it would be in an advert for a decongestant formula. Sounds are muffled. I have a headache.

It is humid. Overcast. The low pressure is affecting my mood. Both cats are lying with me on the bed.

Ever since I can remember I have never liked loud sounds. Sounds that I don’t just hear but also feel. One of my autistic traits.

These are the summer days we forget. Dull flat light. Grey. Overcast. Humid. Low pressure that you can feel in your sinuses, dulling your senses. Brain fog. Lethargy. You can feel days such as these all over you, like stale sweat which won’t evaporate in the humidity.

Shadowless summers.

I don’t mind the heat. Once I am acclimatised. It’s these days of uninteresting light. Of lethargy. Muffled flat sounds which travel lazily through the windows to my ears, like even sound waves can’t be bothered to move through the humid air. Where nothing seems to lift my mood and my head feels foggy.

Yesterday I felt empty. Today I feel full.

I have moved to other side of the flat. Here there is cool air coming in through the window. There is distant bird song punctuated by the drone and whine of garden machinery.

The red cat has joined me and he is sprawled out messily, as is his style, on the sewing box next to my chair.

My head throbs.

The wind picks up. The curtains blow. The cool air circulates the room. The ceiling light moves back and forth. The red cat stirs and mews. The distant sound of children leaving school. Hans-Joachim Roedelius’s Wenn Der Südwind Weht plays quietly.

The sky is grey.

My hearing is still strange.

I need to finish writing an e-mail. But the words won’t come. They are jumbled and distant. Always just out of reach. When I do manage to send them to my fingertips they either disappear or they all want to be typed at once.

Syntax error.

Syntax error.

The squeal from the gate next door splits my brain in two.

The sky is white.

Put some fucking water displacement 40th formula on your fucking gate! Jesus!

My head lies on my desk in two pieces. The cool air blows over my exposed brain split perfectly through the corpus callosum. Eno’s Thursday Afternoon plays.

Everything is suddenly uninteresting

Late afternoon, Tuesday. Today has been a bad day. I am lying down. There is a distant drone coming from the dental surgery at the end of the road. And of course the sound of traffic which is beginning to build. It is 25°C.

My ears feel blocked and senses feel muffled. I have taken two antihistamines. All the sounds surrounding me are irritating. Today has been a bad day. My ECs were not approved for being late. I am now capped at 40% for the year. The muffled drones are passing through my ears like metal wire and turning my brain to mush.

My head is beginning to ache.

Lorraine is in Chelmsford now, staying with sister. Yesterday she brought a new phone after smashing her old one before leaving Colchester a few days earlier. She travelled to Brightlingsea and threw its remains in the Colne. She was tired of Dom’s calls. Her final message was clear so he had no reason to contact her. Despite studying for two years at the Colchester Institute before moving north she’d never been to Brightlingsea. She took in the sights, ate lunch in a small café then caught the train to Chelmsford.

The pressure is dropping I can feel it pressing on my eyes and sinuses. It is pushing my mood down with it. I think the extra antihistamine has caused my headache. I should have gone to the pharmacy and got some pseudoephedrine to clear my sinuses. My right ear feels slightly more blocked which makes me feel off-kilter.

This is boring. I apologise. I feel empty. Everything is suddenly uninteresting. All I want to do is sleep.

I’ll put on my trainers and help you outside. Then I’ll drink a rum eat some chocolate and go from there.

Low.

Low.

Low.