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.
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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.

I felt embarrassed that this would be shown on television

This morning I dreamed we were house hunting in London as part of group. Sometimes we were being filmed for television, other times we were watching the footage back.

Near the end of the dream I was stood in a yard with a group other people waiting for the rest to finish their viewing. Dexter Fletcher showed up. He had a pistol and fired shots at us, deliberately missing each time. I asked him what he would do if I’d fallen to the ground. He said they were blanks and besides he was aiming to side. I said but imagine I moved or you miscued, he just kept smiling and laughing, shaking my hand. I walked alone to the top of a steep street, where there was a high street. I went into a Greek takeaway and ate marinated baby courgettes and chips fried in olive oil. I washed it down it a pint of beer.

Overall I enjoyed the dream. I didn’t enjoy the parts where we were watching the footage back and I realised I hadn’t interacted with the others as smoothly as I thought. They looked awkward and liked they were being polite. I felt embarrassed that this would be shown on television.

This morning it is much cooler. It is raining heavily outside, I can hear it hitting the window. I have just fallen asleep for a second, the phone slipped and woke me. In that time I dreamed something so brief now I can’t remember it. Yes, this morning it is much cooler.

The cars outside are noisy as they drive on the wet roads. I have a slight headache and I feel sick. Silence. Broken by rain pitter-pattering on the window, a nice sound; then a car speeds by, not a nice sound.

Wet day.

The red cat is snoring. You are snoring. The brown cat is sleeping silently. I feel sick. Acid reflux.

The room is filled with grey light. You are sighing next to me. Rain on the windows. The high pitched pip from the fire alarm, I assume its battery is going. At 8.30 am I’ll get up and begin my day. Pip. It cuts through my head like electricity. Pip. A dog barks outside. The world is awake. The world is moving. Pip. We need the fire brigade to come out and do their checks and sort that fucking alarm out. Pip. It hasn’t worked properly for ages. Pip. The door below the flat opens and closes. My mood is dropping rapidly. All these little things are beginning to annoy me. Pip. Pip.

Pip.

Pip.

Pitter patter.

Pip.

Grey morning.

Pip.

Tyres on wet tarmac. Pip.

Low mood. Again.

Grey.

Rain. Wet grey morning.

Pip.

Those distant specks of light sitting in a vacuum

The night is hot again after the brief coolness of this morning. There are thunderstorms on the way as the heat from the earth meets cool air blowing in from the Atlantic. It’s strange, when you’re awake thunderstorms are very exciting but when they wake you in the dead of night they’re terrifying unearthly things. The most unnerving ones I’ve experienced have been on holiday, abroad, on the Iberian Peninsula, with cracks of thunder so loud they seem as though they have been sent from hell, like Thor is out by the swimming pool cracking skulls with his hammer.

But right now the room is just hot and the air is still.

It’s just after midnight, this midsummer’s night.

Today has been the longest day of the year here in the northern hemisphere. What have I accomplished, well I finished writing up my notes on enols and enolates. Began to memorise the aldol reaction, the Claisen condensation, the mixed Claisen. The Michael reaction and noble prize winning Wittig reaction. The last one is peculiar and the most interesting but I like the name – Claisen.

I’m starting to get a headache. My jaw is tense. I might get up and take some pain relief medication. The air feels hot and heavy all around me. It is becoming prickly on my skin. Somewhere in the darkness a cat is cleaning itself, red or brown, I’m unsure right now.

OK, I’m back, I have been to kitchen and taken an ibuprofen. I hope it works. My eyes are hot.

There is a distant drone of a low flying small aircraft. It has just taken off from Manchester and is flying to Köln.

I’m going to read, I think, a short story. I want to start a new book but I’m too tired and too hot and too lethargic to choose one.

Sleep tight starlight moon bright. Let stardust, the dust that gave us everything, life, the earth, space, fill your eyes with sleep. We came from stars, stars made the simplest elements, hydrogen and helium, and the rest were born from them. It is astounding that we are literally stardust. Who needs magic, God, and all that other bullshit when we are made from stars – those distant specks of light sitting in a vacuum.

Stars.

Good word.

I prefer it to the German: sterne.

The French is nice to say: étoiles

Sêr in Welsh, not as good as stars. Though, sêren, meaning star, is nice to say with a Welsh accent.
My headache seems to be easing and there is a slight, very slight, cool breeze in the room. The very hot room.

I won’t bore you with the details

I have been in bed for nearly 12 hours. I got up this morning with what some people might refer to as a ‘bad’ headache. Anyway, it was very painful, borderline migraine in terms of pain levels. So took some co-codamol which eased it greatly. But, alas, I fell asleep. I dreamed I was on a trip with university staying at a hotel near where I grew up. I won’t bore you with the details but it was a coherent, vivid and often unpleasant dream. I woke up soaked in sweat. I was dressed as I hadn’t intended to fall asleep, just wait for my headache to pass.