I left work at two-thirty today. Right, the middle of the afternoon. Seems slack, at least to me. I’m an early bird, up at five every morning. In the summertime, I catch a ride to work with Susan so the kids can have a car all day. This gets me in at seven, long before anyone else. During the school year, my routine is to drive Eli to school and then I head straight into my office. I arrive at work at a relaxed seven-thirty. The guy in the next office didn’t come in today until eleven.
I never thought I’d be this guy. Most of my life I delayed going to bed as long as possible, often up past one o’clock on work-nights watching movies or imprisoned by OCD-fueled projects. When my kids were young, I started getting up early to write. I don’t write in the morning anymore. I mostly poke at the internet and drink coffee—poke, slurp, poke, slurp. The only useful thing I do during those two pre-work hours is twenty minutes of weightlifting. Now I write when I blow out of work in the middle of the day.
I write to solve problems. That’s what I always say when someone asks my motivation. Truthfully, I also write because it relaxes me, and engages my brain during the time of day when I used to sit around and drink wine. Plus, I’m addicted to page hits and likes and I enter withdrawal when the action on my most recent blog post dwindles away. But mostly I write to solve problems. Staring at a blank screen, searching for the exact words to describe whatever is bugging me gives me clarity and understanding. Often by the time I’m done writing, I’ve solved my problem.
Lately, I’ve been writing from prompts. I’ve joined a group of writers blogging about song lyrics on a weekly theme. I don’t really play the game right. I’m supposed to write a backstory of the song or the band gleaned from Wikipedia or maybe a band website. Instead, I write about how the song interacts with my life. Who cares if Erroll Garner crawled under his DeSoto when he wrote his classic, Misty—he didn’t, I don’t think, I made that up. Instead, I write how I was too young and immature when I watched Clint Eastwood’s very adult Play Misty for Me to really understand the plot.
Why am I writing about song lyrics instead of my problems? By and large, I have no problems. Sure, I’ve written about Tourette once or twice recently, how irritating that stupid disorder can be, and I’ve touched on anxiety twice over the past couple of months, but generally I’m pretty content. This is the part of the post where I should list all the positive things happening in my life, but Susan is superstitious. She’ll chastise me for jinxing us. Suffice it to say, all good.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post call Tourette where I talked about anxiety fueling my symptoms. I mentioned an upcoming appointment with a psychiatrist—who actually isn’t a psychiatrist but a psychiatric nurse practitioner named Nicole. In my post, I worried she would increase my medications and turn me into a zombie. She didn’t. She simply changed when I take them.
I love my Tourette medicine, Risperidone. When I first started taking it, I immediately felt a shift. Yes, my tics, my unwanted movements and vocalizations, got moderately better, but something else changed. It took me months to realize my obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions had mostly disappeared. I felt so normal, I couldn’t figure out what was different. Risperidone is truly a life changing medication for me. Another benefit: I took my dose at night before bed. Risperidone lengthens brain waves, it relaxes my brain. I immediately fall asleep and don’t wake up until my alarm… every night.
Nicole told me to split my dose. Take half at bedtime and half in the morning. I worried this would disrupt my sleep and zonk me out during the day, but HOLY CRAP, what a week. My tics mostly disappeared. My anxiety evaporated. And strangely, in my chemically relaxed state, my productivity went through the roof. I obliterated my to do list, it’s blank now. I even dove into a couple of tasks that I previously wrote off as too difficult. Now my biggest problem is not enough work to do.
So no problems in my life to write about. Will this last? I hope so. The only downside I anticipate is struggling to come up with blog topics. It’s a fair trade. Plus, I always have the song lyric prompts to fall back on. Can you stand another one of those?