20 August 2008

Eric, v4.51

I went to the doctor several months ago, the beginning of April, to talk about getting older, allergies, and depression. It was an interesting conversation, and it didn't go anything like I thought it might. It turned out that I had begun to get some low level hypertension, and this meant that there needed to be a change in my treatment medications that I have been on for years, in particular my anti-depressants and my allergy meds (and we'll just leave the allergy medicine discussion for another time).

I went on anti-depressants in November of 1996, shortly after my divorce, the reasons should be fairly obvious, and after some initial fooling around with the dosage, and one 45 day period I quit, I was on the same medication and dosage for 11 years. My doctor and I discussed on at least a couple of occasions changing dosage or getting off of it, but she had very sound, scientifically backed, reasons for wanting me to stay where I was.

This time there would have to be a change, because the medicine I was taking was not, according to my doctor, as hypertension friendly as another ... she put it in different words, but you get the idea. So she prescribed for me a different anti-depressant. Which I dutifully began taking.

I didn't like the results, which amongst other issues, I almost immediately put on fifteen pounds (weight gain is a common side effect of this medication). So the patient, me, decided that he knew best for himself, and took himself off all his meds. It's been about 15 weeks now, and I am going to stick with this decision.

This is not, and has not been an easy transition for me, the first three weeks were brutal, and the following weeks and months have also been filled with uncomfortable emotional experiences. Once the physical part of quitting my medicine was done with, I noticed that there were some feelings that I hadn't been having over the last ten years. I have really been struggling with anger and intolerance, preferably combined evidently.

Basically what this means to me is I am struggling much more with things that are unjust, mean, and social lies. Since I have been aware that all of a sudden I am angry and intolerant, and not wanting to make an donkey of myself, and wanting to preserve my friendships, and not wanting a repeat of last years Lindy in the Park incident, I have decided to go quiet route, and keep my mouth shut. Of course this has been only a partially effective strategy... I process best when I can talk and write things out, but I didn't want to do so for not wanting to stupidly say anything that would be difficult to unsay. Sometimes keeping quiet also just didn't work, for those of you who have been on the wrong end of a not well thought through tirade, I apologize.

Okay, so that's the negative part of this change, but it has for the most part been overwhelmingly positive. Venche and I were discussing this a couple weeks back and she said "you are more like you." That is precisely how I feel, like I was living my life under a veil, and everything was restrained and muted. Now I feel more active, more appreciative, more responsible, more outgoing, more empowered, and able to handle things better than I have in the last decade. I am planning, I am doing, whereas I have spent the last decade having a job, I want a career now. I feel great! I am discovering things I used to like, but haven't bothered with, like art, and roast beef.

The turning point in this change came just a little over a week ago, when I noticed a bug in the v4.5 Eric ... all of my lamenting about the unfairness of the world carried with it one thing that didn't need to be there ... me. I am getting out of my own head, and into the service of others, which has always been the key to my happiness.

I think I will look back on this (if not already) as a life changing moment and decision, much more so than losing my house earlier this year. So let me introduce to you Eric v4.51, with new features, more efficient ... an upgrade.