I’ve been having trouble sleeping. Ironically, I think the culprit is my anti-depressant. The medicine that is supposed to make me less depressed is keeping me from sleeping which is making me more depressed.
I decided that I needed to cut back on my caffeine. I like my Diet Coke, though. So, I started chugging Caffeine-Free Diet Coke. The problem is that most restaurants don’t carry that. So, I was thrilled to see that several of my favorite restaurants carry Coke Zero.
Now, I’m not sure what possessed me to think that Coke Zero would be helpful. For some reason, I got the insane idea that the “Zero” meant there would be zero calories, zero caffeine, and zero aspartame. Healthy, right?
I did not connect the fact that I was completely wired at 2:00 AM every night to the fact that I was ingesting Coke Zero like it was water.
One day, I was getting a can from the machine at school, and someone passing said, “Need a caffeine hit for the afternoon?”
“No. As a matter of fact, I’m trying to avoid caffeine,” I said.
“Oh, that doesn’t have caffeine?”
“Of course not. That’s why it’s called Coke Zero.”
That got me thinking…
So, I consulted my friend Google later that afternoon. Here is what I found regarding the comparative caffeine levels:
O.K. Then why the heck is it called “Coke ZERO”?!!!!!!
Because there is zero sugar in it.
Of course, there is zero sugar in Diet Coke as well. Apparently, the difference between the two is that the Coke Zero is supposed to taste more like Regular Coke due to a “different flavor base” from Diet Coke. Hence, the “Zero”. That makes sense, right?
From now on, just call me “Beyonce Zero”. We’re practically the same except for every part of us that’s not the same.
Works for me.
So, I finally seem to have found a great anti-depressant that allows me to feel somewhat sane and fairly happy. The only problem is that it seem to have the side-effect of making every other adult I know completely despondent. And, you know, it’s not really any fun being happy when you’re the only one smiling.
I can’t find any warnings about this on the paperwork provided by the pharmacy. But it’s clear to me that, while my medication is helping me, it is slowly depleting the jubilance levels of the rest of society. Before I started taking this medicine, everyone was way happier than me. Now, suddenly, these same people are cheerless and glum – and peering at me very suspiciously. It’s enough to make me go back to being depressed.
Even my dog, Wonderbutt, glares at me like I’m insane for experiencing any kind of joy.
I feel like a Tigger in a world of Eeyores.
Except Tigger wouldn’t care.
So, maybe a better analogy would be that I’m a Piglet who took one sip too many of Tigger’s 5 Hour Energy Drink. Now, instead of being debilitatingly anxious about everything, I am anxious that I am debilitatingly happy about everything that no one else seems to find remotely joyful.
I am depressed that I am not depressed.
Quick recap: Our bulldog, Wonderbutt is on a diet. He does not like the new food. So, now he is texting me his displeasure.
He is Not Satiated – And May Soon (Well, Maybe One Day) Be Emaciated – Meaning I Have Definitely Not Ingratiated Myself to Wonderbutt
Wonderbutt is not pleased with me right now. It’s quite possible our leather furniture, which has lasted over a year according to our countdown widget, may be in jeopardy.
We recently took him to the vet, and he weighed a whopping 77 pounds. Technically, he is supposed to be around 50 pounds. So, he is now on new food that is, ironically, called, “Satiety.” And he DOES. NOT. LIKE. IT.
My first clue was when I woke up this morning, and he was waiting forlornly in the hall for me. Cap’n Firepants gets up long before me on the weekends, and was already out and about. I went into the kitchen to get some breakfast, and Wonderbutt tagged along. He walked straight to his food dish, and nosed around it.
I heard food moving, and looked at the dish. If the Cap’n had already fed him, then the food should have been long gone. Wonderbutt never leaves food in his dish.
He looked up at me, as if to say, “Look what that idiot fed me this morning. Can you give me some real food now?”
I tried mixing some of his old food in with the new.
Nothing doing. Of course, there are other things I could add to the food to make it more palatable, but that would kind of defeat the calorie reduction purpose of this whole enterprise.
The Cap’n seems to think Wonderbutt can stand a couple of days without eating, and that he will eat the food when he gets hungry.
I am absolutely certain Wonderbutt will eat when he gets hungry. The problem is – I don’t think it will be the food.
It’s pretty bad when a dog who has no problem eating a carpet padding, books, hair barrettes, dead geckoes, and the foam of several sofa cushions refuses to eat his kibble.
It takes a lot of work to sit down at your computer, open up your browser, and Google a bunch of symptoms. Then, we are required to expend our remaining energy on focusing on the list of results so we can narrow it down to the exact fatal disease that is killing us this week. This requires a single-minded commitment that most of us do not possess. So, we often end up finding all kinds of infirmities that don’t precisely fit our conditions, but have great potential for afflicting us in the future. I don’t know how you deal with this plethora of plagues, but I used to save them all in bookmarks on my browser. Just in case. I mean, just because you don’t have Elephantiasis now doesn’t mean you won’t be swollen up by Christmas. It’s important to be prepared.
Then it occurred to me that this is the exact type of situation for which Pinterest was invented.
Who needs boards full of cutesy craft projects, ridiculously complicated recipes, and quippy quixotic quotes?
What I need is a board that shows me all of the different diseases I can get if I’m bitten by a tick in South America.
So, I set about creating my Pathophobic Pinterest Boards.
They include: Parasites That Live Inside Humans, Skin Gone Wrong, Infections Caused by Sea Snails Under Your Skin, Can I Die From Inhaling Dog Farts on a Regular Basis?, What to Do If You Suspect You Have Ebola, and What Does It Mean When Your Left Eye Keeps Twitching?
Note that I added the Sea Snail pin to two boards because it is obviously a matter of Skin Gone Wrong as well as a prime example of Infections Caused by Sea Snails Under Your Skin.
You may notice that I have not actually pinned anything on to the Diseases You Get from Being Bitten By a Tick in South America board. Google was very unhelpful on that subject. But I’m leaving the board there. Because I know that it’s only a matter of time.
The great thing about using Pinterest is that you are notified if someone else has pinned that exact same item on a board. This is gratifying because then you can be comforted by the fact that you are not the only obsessive compulsive hypochondriac collecting potential diseases.
I am sure I will be adding more boards and pins soon. In fact, I have been playing around with the idea of adding an Experimental Drugs That I Will Probably Need in the Future board because it’s really hard to keep track of those pesky trials and you never know when you’re going to need one. The problem with adding that one is that I’m afraid the drug companies will get wind of my interest and hike up their prices and/or fabricate the results.
It’s difficult being a paranoid hypochondriac with a social network.
As a mother, teacher, and wife I feel like I have spent my entire life repeating and/or explaining what I just said. Even when our family of three is sitting at the dinner table, and ostensibly paying attention, I find myself having to say things twice.
Even our dog, Wonderbutt, looks at me like I’m talking Whale whenever I call him.
Obviously, I have some kind of speech impediment that precludes anyone’s ability to hear me correctly.
So, when my friend told me the other day that she was going to get her hearing tested soon because she is having problems, I was flabbergasted.
“Are you kidding?” I asked.
“No. Hearing problems run in my family, and I’ve been having a lot of trouble hearing people lately.”
“That can’t be right,” I said.
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve spent 6 hours with you today, and not once have you made me repeat myself. You’ve never said, ‘What?’ or even ignored me.”
“Well, you have a voice that really projects,” she said.
How is this possible? THE ONLY PERSON THAT UNDERSTANDS EVERYTHING I SAY THE FIRST TIME I SAY IT IS SUFFERING A HEARING LOSS?!!!!
Maybe I need to adjust my frequency or something.
I was watching Roswell with my daughter the other night on Netflix (and no, I would not recommend it – not because it’s scary, because it definitely isn’t – but mostly because the guy who is supposed to be sexy just gives me the creeps, and I consider a television show a complete waste of time if I can’t have a crush on the lead actor) when it suddenly hit me that I am an alien.
It makes perfect sense when you think about it. And now that you are reading this, you are obviously thinking about it. But, you might have to think about it a bit longer than this to see the logic that led me to this conclusion. So, I guess I can’t say, “It makes perfect sense when you think about it.” Because that implies an immediacy to the sense-making that probably doesn’t really happen until you get a little more information. So, a better statement would be, “It makes perfect sense after you read the following paragraphs that give you the scientific reasoning that clearly leads to this conclusion, and no other.”
All my life I have been fearing that I would contract my mother’s hypochondria. The last few years, I have been consulting a few different doctors for various ailments that seem to elude any kind of definitive diagnosis. Thus, leading me to reluctantly admit that I, indeed, have developed full onset hypochondria with disturbingly realistic symptoms. I mean, if there is something really wrong with me, wouldn’t some doctor have figured it out by now?
Not. If. I. Have. An. Alien. Anatomy.
This would totally explain those times when I am positive than I have a raging fever, and the thermometer says my temp is 96.2. Well, for humans, that would be a bit low, but normal. But for an alien, that could very well be dangerously close to my brain exploding!
If I even have a brain.
My alien anatomy also completely supports my supposition that I am genuinely ill with some kind of real health issue and proves that my doctors’ implications that my pain is all in my head is just an indication that they are not well-versed in the physiology of other creatures who deserve to be treated without being accused of mental health problems.
I feel a bit sorry for my daughter because this all clearly means that she has some difficult times ahead of her. But, at least she will not have to worry about inheriting my hypochondria.
Whew. Dodged that bullet.
Some people take Valium before they speak in front of thousands of people or before they board a plane. I like to save my supply for the really anxiety-inducing occasions in my life – like going to the car wash or La Madeleine.
I get my car washed about once a year. Notice I said, “get.” There are other, infrequent times, that I actually wash it myself. But every once in awhile, I feel entitled to give someone else the opportunity to try to scrape the bird poop off my roof.
My anxiety begins at the “Entrance” that is never quite clearly defined. If I make it onto the property unscathed, I am suddenly faced with 5 different choices of lines to head toward. I have been known to make a line decision that gets abruptly waved off by someone who appears to be absolutely appalled that I made such a terrible decision, and how could I not know that was the line I was NOT supposed to pull into?
Then I sit in the line and look at the choices for “packages” on the billboard above, noting that the least expensive package, which was listed online, appears nowhere on the billboard. And does that mean they don’t really offer it, or just that they don’t really advertise it, and do I really want to have this conversation with the guy who writes the code on my car, and where the heck is that guy anyway?
Everyone else has a code on their car except me. As I pull closer to the vacuuming area, I begin to panic. How will anyone know what I want done to my car if I DON”T HAVE A CODE ON MY CAR?
I am waved up to the vacuum and I try to focus on not running the vacuuming guy down because that would make for an embarrassing newspaper headline, while I prepare my speech about the package that I want that isn’t on the billboard and dig in my purse for my black Sharpie so I can write my own code on the window.
I can’t find the Sharpie, and they are telling me to get out of the car.
Code Guy magically appears and asks me what I want.
I mumble, “The Manager’s Special,” which was not the lowest package, but it offers an air freshener, and I figure that’s worth the extra $100.
Then I have to leave. The arrow to the waiting area does not point me to the waiting area, so I wander around stupidly while everyone in the car line watches the poor mentally challenged lady who probably should not be driving a car in the first place. I finally stumble into the building.
From previous experience, I recall that I must pay for my car wash at this point. I am not distracted by the many delightful objects being offered in the car wash “boutique” because I must pay before I can pick up my car. And even though there are at least 30 cars ahead of mine, I am compelled to get in the line of three people because it would be a disaster if my car was done before I finished my transaction.
Then I face the next challenge. If I sit inside, I will be told when my car is finished. Someone will yell out the make and model of my car, and I will march outside and hand over my ticket which I did not lose inside my purse this time.
But there is no room in the waiting area. So, I must sit outside, and then I must watch like a hawk for the special secret hand gesture that will be made when they are finished drying my car.
As usual, I misinterpret the hand gesture and try to Collect my Car Prematurely. They have finished drying my car, but now someone is supposed to inspect my car. And I feel like an idiot once again as I stand there for another 5 minutes because it’s too late for me to go back to the waiting section.
And the $5 bill I am holding in my hand gets all sweaty, especially as I realize that there are 3 people in charge of this last phase of the cleansing of my car, and I only have one $5 bill with which to tip them.
I finally thrust my money upon a surprised young woman who walks past me (it’s possible she wasn’t even an employee), assure the Inspector that my car is perfect, and get into my car to drive off out the Entrance as fast as I can get away from this traumatizing experience.
And then I realize there is no. air freshener. in my car.
My anxiety-inducing questions at La Madeleine are exactly the same – which line do I stand in? (oh, that’s for baked goods only?) what can I order? (you have 3 different menus and you don’t carry the item I’ve been ordering for 6 months any more?) how do I know when my food is done? (well, sometimes we give it to you while you are in line, and sometimes we bring it to your table) who do I tip? and WHY DOES MY CAR STILL SMELL LIKE WET DOG?
To be fair, I don’t really think anyone can answer that last question.
My antidepressant does not work in Houston or its suburbs. I would like to know why the commercial for it did not warn me of this unfortunate side-effect. “Can cause weight gain and completely lose its effectiveness if you are anywhere in the vicinity of the 4th biggest city in the United States.” That’s what they should say.
Don’t ask me why it would work in the rest of Texas, but not in Houston. All I know is that it was working fine when I left San Antonio last Friday, but as soon as we hit the Houston metropolitan area I was wondering why I hadn’t drowned myself in the toilet at the Cracker Barrel where we stopped for lunch.
I’m sure this had nothing to do with the fact that my husband questioned any and all navigation suggestions that I offered for three hours straight.
And it seems highly doubtful that the stress of my daughter’s synchronized swimming tournament would make me want to stick a bobby pin through my eye.
There was nothing remotely depressing about being accused of breaking our zillion dollar camera, “but not on purpose”, by my husband, either. Because that made me want to stick a bobby pin in his eye – and that doesn’t really count as depression, does it?
I’m absolutely convinced that there is some kind of GPS embedded in my pills that launches a self-destruct sequence as soon as I get within 30 miles of NASA.
Wait a second. What exactly are those guys at NASA doing right now since we no longer have a space program?
Messing with my pills, that’s what.