The Problem Solved Problem

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?

20 thoughts on “The Problem Solved Problem

  1. Fantastic news!! NPs are usually less arrogant than MDs, and splitting the dose is smart!
    I wish Ben could take Risperdal. They tried him on it, and of course he was one of the rare cases of gynecomastia🤦🏼‍♀️ His sleep is a major issue. Poor kid is on 4 different meds throughout the day with like 7 pills at night including melatonin (per his doctor’s advice) with his prescription meds and is STILL awake half the night at times.

    And of course I want you to participate in Song Lyric Sunday!! The whole point is to share music. Whether you share stories of your life, or obscure facts about the song doesn’t matter. I don’t think there’s a “wrong” way to do it.

    I don’t really remember the movie Play Misty For Me, though I watched it during my senior year of high school. “Film Studies” was the class… good for an English credit🤷🏼‍♀️ We did “Giant”, “Grapes of Wrath” and “Martian Chronicals” too. Cool class!

    See ya Sunday!

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    • In my YS facebook group, risperidone is a hated med. I’m one of the few people who have a good experience on it. Seemingly everyone else has tried it and really struggled. My dose is tiny, but I’m really susceptible to meds, so a little goes a long way. I’m on five meds, but three of those are old-person meds (blood pressure and cholesterol). I call it my cocktail.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aw. I’m both cheering for you and slightly jealous at your 2nd to last paragraph (but mostly cheering for you.) Sounds like the ideal outcome. But poke, slurp, poke, slurp that’s practically my whole day when it’s not busy at work – and even then I’m constantly fighting the urge!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Poking at the internet is another thing I feel less compelled to do this week. Imagine if this new regime continued to work (and isn’t just a placebo effect). Risperidone will once again be life changing for me. Weird.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad to hear the meds are so beneficial, and that you have reached a point where you feel like you are in a good routine. Getting things done, and feeling content.

    now if you’re looking for things to do…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s good to reflect on what’s working out. The song posts are interesting keep them up. I have more interest in how music impacts people than biographies of the artists as well.

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  5. Well, that’s fascinating, that a drug that was already so beneficial for you became even more so by splitting the dose. I hope you continue to feel great; I’m envious of your productivity!

    I’m going to tuck this little tidbit about dose splitting away; one never knows when it might come in handy.

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    • This medicine is invaluable to me. Most people I’ve talked with who have Tourette absolutely hate it. It zonks them out and they put on tons of weight. Not sure why I got so lucky but I’m forever thankful.

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  6. I think it is good to share the positives when struggling with a diagnosis and finding a correct prescription to treat the symptoms of said condition. I’m currently going through a struggle with one such issue myself. I won’t list it–suffice it to say, it has been a roller coaster of emotions since I went on a certain post-cancer drug.) Off of it, I feel more myself. On it, I increase my odds of not getting cancer again. Decisions…decisions.

    But I am glad for you. Very glad. It gives the rest of us hope that we too can find a magic pill that makes us feel normal. To being human!

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    • It’s sometimes tough to decide what’s better, it’s a tough trade off. So the obvious question is is there a different drug that does the same thing? Probably not. I hope you find the drug/dose that’s perfect for you. Pretty much a week later, I can report that my tics are a bit more frequent & intense than I initially thought, but my anxiety has stayed low.

      Liked by 1 person

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