Mr. Sensitive

June 30, 2010

Withdrawal War – Hello Darkness

Filed under: Withdrawal War — lbej @ 06:18

Another 4:30 wake-up this morning, courtesy of ongoing systemic recalibration.  There’s only so much sweat I can accumulate in bed before it feels enough like a bad shower that I give up trying to sleep so I can take a good one.  I’ve been trying to figure out what was the damn problem with the upstairs air conditioning that I was so uncomfortable all night.  Diagnostics say the a/c is working but it’s not working for me.  I had this exchange with the Empress last night:

  • Me:  Why is it so hot every night?  It should be cooler at night.
  • Katie:  It is cooler.
  • Me:  Tell that to me.
  • Katie:  (Confused, under the impression that’s what she was doing already.)  You were like a sweating oven in your sleep last night again, so I checked the thermometer up here and it was 68.
  • Me:  I think the air’s not circulating in the bedroom like it should.  If it’s the right temperature in the hall (where the thermostat is) then there’s something wrong with the air flow in here.
  • Katie:  Lexapro.
  • Me:  Huh?
  • Katie:  It’s the Lexapro, coming off it like you have been.  Real bad night sweats, insomnia.  Those are things it does.
  • Me:  Night sweats and insomnia.  Along with the headaches and the dizziness and the fatigue and the complete lack of emotional stability.
  • Katie:  Yep.
  • Me:  Son of a bitch.

A friend of ours who’s a nurse told Katie sometimes patients just “turn evil for a little while” when they quit Lexapro, so it could be worse.  This feels just as serious as all my other hyperbolic wars now, and I hope to be able to derive the same perverse satisfaction from its prosecution as I have in the past.  It’s amazing to me that it can be the case, but the actual physical withdrawal I’m experiencing now is much worse than what I went through in the weeks after I got sober, and I did most of that in the hospital and all of it under medical supervision.  Of course the overall process of recovering from late-stage alcoholism was far longer, more intensive, and much, much more perilous.  I had to learn how to live without a death wish.  You would think that wouldn’t be so hard because who wants to drive themselves relentlessly to ruin and death (in that order, unfortunately)?  It’s one of those things–and I hate those things–where if you don’t get it, you won’t get it, and good for you.  The point is that I certainly don’t think Lexapro is worse than alcohol.  That would be ridiculous.  But this withdrawal is blowing my mind right now.  Just days after the alcohol was out of my bloodstream I felt better physically; I know that doesn’t happen for all alcoholics, especially those that stay soused 24/7 up until they quit, but that wasn’t me.  This junk, though.  The professional and patient community consensus appears to be that this will pass after a few weeks, in which case I should be about halfway through.  In retrospect, I was put on the Lexapro to help stabilize my mental state while I got sober, and I did, so even though I can’t be sure it worked (at least not at the level of a direct cause), I suppose I can be sure that it didn’t not work.  Here I am, straight as an arrow for 16 months, so I would have to rate the mission a success.  I would say to anyone whose doctor recommends that you go on Lexapro: make sure she can also explain how you will be able to go off Lexapro when the time comes.  If she says you’ll be on the lowest dose so don’t worry, worry.  I was on the lowest dose.  Anything more and I’d have been tapering for months and going bonkers anyway.  Still, my experience leads me to criticize, but not to condemn.  If you press your doctor for an exit strategy before you need one it may just work out.


  1. I love you. I admire your determination and strength, and I’m just so happy to have you back. I hope this withdrawal ends when it should.

    Comment by Charlotte — June 30, 2010 @ 10:55 | Reply

    • It means a lot that you think I’m back. I think so, too, but I’m understandably biased. You’re going to make me cry saying such nice things. You and Lady Gaga.

      Comment by lbej — June 30, 2010 @ 11:34 | Reply

  2. I love you, too, and I’m sorry you’ve been having the most trouble sleeping, but I think it should all get better soon. (We are having fun, but I’m just sitting while the girls get their faces painted. Also good news, they have silly bands here.)

    Comment by Katie — June 30, 2010 @ 12:44 | Reply

  3. I was thinking that I didn’t know you before you were back, but I love this guy. When I think about how stubborn and dismissive people can be about themselves (not to mention how their behavior effects other people), it gives me great hope to see that you actually wanted to make a turn around and become a better person. It’s so cool. You’re so cool. I’ve watched people work harder to stay in bad situations because it seemed to take less work at the time. The truth is that you do what you have to do for the people you love and the family you’ve created.
    I love you, Lee and I respect you so much.

    Comment by nicole — June 30, 2010 @ 22:50 | Reply

  4. You’ve got this thing. You’re as strong as they come and you’ve slain greater demons.
    Charlotte’s right. You’re back and in effect. I don’t think we need much more evidence than the sense of humor and awareness you exhibit on this blog, but if we did it wouldn’t be hard to find.
    Incidentally, Operation Lilypad is a go right around the corner.

    Comment by Justin — July 1, 2010 @ 18:54 | Reply

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