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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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Buckets of fun!

As you may know, I am currently weaning off of Effexor. I am doing so because I have no more problems, and I am 100 percent sane. All you people still on drugs? Y’all are nuts. I alone perceive the world correctly.

(That is the first and last time I will ever use “y’all” in my blog. Indeed, I don’t know why I did it in the first place, but there it is, and I’m keeping it there.)

Yes! So! I am now down to 15 granulinos. (That’s a technical term. Shut up.) Fifteen! That’s, like, less than no milligrams of Effexor. Given the frighteningly brief half-life of Effexor, I don’t know how that dosage doesn’t catapult me into withdrawal within an hour of taking it. Or maybe it does, and I’m too addled to notice.

What, you may ask, is life like on fifteen sprinkles of Effexor? First of all, it’s colder. And grayer. There is no more candy, and no one is wearing costumes. The good part is that weaning down to fifteen means that your child will find the Stormtrooper he has been tearily demanding for the past week. And when he finds it, his joy is so immense that your heart will swell and your eyes immediately begin exuding liquids.

The gnome is still back there, although he’s less kicky than he’s been in the past few weeks. (A few days ago my husband raised his voice a half-decibel and I immediately burst into tears. In his clumsy attempt to be sympathetic, he asked, “Is Grumpy Buckets making an appearance?” and I was all, “His name is Sloppy Buckets and you are not allowed to talk about him.”). Overall, I am not the sopping mess of last week. I love you, number fifteen!

This morning I was complaining to my husband about the leg pain I am now suffering. It began, hmm, a few weeks ago, right about the time I began my weaning. My legs are intensely achy and crampy and sometimes they spastically jerk and flail, usually as I’m trying to sleep. (And not, luckily, when I’m walking down the street.) While I whined and carried on and he tried to pretend he was paying attention, a little voice in my head astutely pointed out, “Effexor withdrawal, you jerk. GOD, you’re such a jerk. God!” So I went online, where all the most credible medical advice can be found. I mean, yes, most of the people writing about their leg pain when they started going off Effexor seem to be unhinged, but that many crazy people can’t all be wrong, right? And many other people recommended magnesium for it, and apparently magnesium can’t hurt you overly, although it can cause unpleasant digestive troubles. And then I remembered that a nice commenter here had told me to take magnesium. Thanks! Wish I had listened to you, when you tried to help!

Okay, that’s all. Get back to work! Or, wait, it’s Saturday. Go back to whatever it is you do.

Reader Comments (44)

"y'all" can be singular or plural. but to refer to a bunch of people, it's gotta be "all y'all". :)
November 13, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterthatgrrrl
Hang in there Alice!! Nothing about withdrawal is ever any fun.

As a side note-magnesium & potassium are more easily absorbed with a healthy dose of vitamin D. This also helps to process calcium (which helps to stop muscle cramps), so in lieu of drinking ten gallons of milk-Perhaps a good multi-vitamin.

November 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterErin
I think Mr. Grumpy Buckets lives at my house. Just so you know...
November 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterEm
Erin #1, are my attempts at irony that inept?
November 13, 2005 | Unregistered Commenteralice
Aha! Yes, Vitamin D! I was waiting to post until I remembered what it was I had heard, long ago, about taking magnesium with something else. I am having a Google fast, so was unable to look it up but as Erin said, vitamin D aids in the absorbtion of Magnesium and will prevent the "unpleasant digestive troubles" you speak of.
November 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAlexa
Your commentors (is that right? sounds like a nerdy Big Brother/ Big Sister program) are so extra smart!And I think the leg problem has an actual non-scientific-sounding scientific name: Restless Leg. Pregnant women get it often (I had it with my last) and there's a real-live medication for it, although even toe-fungus has a medication...Anyway, my OB said a good multi-vitamin (with Mg and Pot) would help, and it did.Mostly just take care of yourself!
November 13, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermignon
Wow, you'll soon be able to use just one capsule for like, a year.

You rock the wean, Alice.
November 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMir
I love your blog. Reading it makes me feel like I need to go on meds though, you know, so I don't feel left out. Because apparently there's a lot of funny in the meds taking and well, I love to laugh.

November 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterTracy1cg
My childrenn really like me on the Effexor so if you want me to quit it, you will have to pry it from our cold, dead fingers!
November 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterShelli
Apparently I have the spastic finger from it because I really meant to type "children" and not "childrenn". Sorry.
November 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterShelli
Wow! I am proud of you! You just reminded me to take my Effexor. In fact, I think I took it before and now have a double dose in me.

When I went off the Zoloft, I had the brain zaps. Still do and that was years ago!

You inspire me!
November 13, 2005 | Unregistered Commenteraithne
Um, Shelli, I am not advocating that anyone else go off of effexor. My weaning is my personal choice and is not a condemnation in any way of people who are on Effexor or of the drug itself.

November 13, 2005 | Unregistered Commenteralice
Oh, finslippy, thanks so much for sharing your story with us. i've been a lurker until now, and--discovered only recently--your blog has given me many smiles and much consolation. i'm a mom on lexapro, and i have no intention of getting off right now because it helps me SO MUCH. much good luck to you as you ween off effexor. may the force be with you! (forgive me for that :))
November 13, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJen
I went on Effexor last winter when Zoloft, Prozac, and Wellbutrin didn't work for me. It is an amazing drug. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I do quite enjoy your blog.
November 14, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMaRy
Woman, stop glamorizing Effexor withdrawal! You make it sound so pleasant and fun that I'm afraid the children will get the wrong idea. My God. You'll see the error of your ways when the jerky-leg violence gang of Effexor Addict Teenagers visit your house, corrupted by your message. They'll take your drugs, and your stormtroopers. Won't you think of the children?
November 14, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAbigail
Alice, I know, I was just making a "sort of" joke. Just my odd sense of humor. I am inspired, too, by the fact that you can go off your effexor and still I know that I probably will never be off meds, which is fine for me.
November 14, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterShelli
Eat a banana or two. Cures leg cramps!
November 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterbecky
heroin would help that crash. i've kicked like every anti-depressant cold turkey and what's funny is i always feel the same whether i am dosed up or clean. as far as i can tell, depression is merely the absolutely correct apprehension of the world -- don't all the smartest people in history prove that to be true?
November 23, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterla_depressionada
I don’t know if you see this comment as I’m coming into this entry a bit late, but I’ve been taking Paxil now for almost 8 years, and I tired to come off of it at a really bad time. I had just cut down from my 20mg dosage to 10mg a day. I was supposed to then start taking 10mg every other day when I got diagnosed with a case of pneumonia. The effects of coming off of the Paxil, mixed with the antibiotics and the hycodin syurp for the cough and the Salbutamol inhaler. . . Man! I was a total basket case. Still am. With the cough, I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in about a month.

My wife has been sleeping in the guest bedroom. I’ll try finishing coming off the Paxil when I’m better.

BTW, I found your blog via a link from Dooce. I think that you are a fantastic writer. Your entry about your son’s happy dance was one of the most brilliant little gems that I have read in a while. And while I know that it is absolute verity, only a real writer could bring it to the page like you did. My blog is a total disaster as I don’t have the time to keep it up, and I only get to a new entry about once every other month or two, and my writing is mediocre at best.

I’m really glad the people like you and Heather have the courage to write truthfully about your families and your mental illness. So many people do everything that they can to hide the truth away. For God’s sake, if you had cancer, wouldn’t you want everyone to know about it? But God forbid anyone knows that something might be wrong in your brain!

Thank you for your truth.

December 1, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterCharles R. Kaiser

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