Being Dead

I woke up this morning in a really weird mood. Actually, that makes it sound much less bizarre than it was, but I don’t know how else to put it; it was completely unquantifiable.

The first thing of odd note was the fact that I was wide-awake despite it being 5.30am. This never happens to me; even on those never-ending and hideous nights of insomnia, by 5.30am I am feeling drowsy and deflated. Not so today. I was mystified by my awakeness, and utterly failed to either return to slumber or even to relax.

I got up and drank loads of water. I was in a hotel (I’m in Newcastle-upon-Tyne to see the footie), so the water was pretty rank, but I was thirsty so I consumed it anyway. Half an hour later, I started feeling hideously ill. I advised the now-also-awake A that I had drunk so much water that I had, in fact, poisoned myself with it and that my death was imminent (for the record, it is possible to poison oneself with hydrogen oxide, but it isn’t exactly easy).

At that juncture, upon my utterance of the word ‘death’, a thought occurred to me and I was heard to murmur, “but perhaps I’m already dead..?” Thus commenced an hour of my babbling that I was dead, or perhaps that I had never existed in the first place.

When A advised that I was not dead, and that I did exist, I responded by saying that I was a figment of my own imagination. Nevertheless, I then bollocksed on for a bit about what a hateful, despicable whore I am (something of an achievement for someone who doesn’t and has never existed), and ended up under the duvet muttering, trance-like, the word “disgusting” over and over and over again.

I’ve also bruised myself from punching myself in the face quite a number of times. I actually find this amusing, but I don’t suppose that’s an appropriate response.

I was utterly convinced that I was dead/a fictional character inside my own self-contradictory mind, but I got up again, pretty much overdosed on caffeine (which will no doubt fatally poison me also), had breakfast and went out and got a brief breath of fresh air. I then set about analysing my odd beliefs and behaviour.

Rationally, I reckoned that it was unlikely that I was dead/non-existent (after all, I don’t believe in an afterlife, nor do I believe in a beforelife ((there’s a new word for you)), reincarnation, or anything of that ilk), but it still felt so fucking real. My mind ever seeking logic, not that I normally really believe my such explanations, I wondered briefly had I developed Cotard’s Syndrome somehow. But no, apparently it was more likely really that I was actually dead.

For a dead person, I felt (feel) rather sick – the old IBS is up to its old tricks but I’ve also been undergoing strange tingling sensations across my skin, an odd sort of nausea and a sense of depersonalisation that is physical – like I’m leaving my own body. Yuk yuk yuk.

I went to the tablet section of my handbag (yes, I have a compartment specifically devoted to the billion pharmaceutical goods that I perpetually have on my person), simply to seek out anti-IBS medication. Dead people still get diarrhoea, don’t you know. And there, out of the corner of my eye, I saw it.

The ‘Saturday’ compartment of my daily pill box was full. An anti-histamine, a contraceptive pill, a multi-vitamin – and 225mg of Venlafaxine, 600mg of Quetiapine.

A and I looked at each other, the penny dropping with a large dose of “for fuck’s sake”. I hadn’t taken any of my nightly tablets.

My apparent reliance on these things is horrifying. I will always maintain that Seroquel has saved my life, but the anti-psychiatry lobby are certainly not mistaken in finding it really rather sinister. If missing one solitary dose of it and Venlafaxine can cause such extreme reactions, then I am well and truly fucked if I ever want to come off them altogether.

Still. Despite being dead (for I still think that I am, despite knowing rationally that I’m not), I’m in a remarkably good mood now. I awoke to some hilarious news (though the circumstances of same mean that I can’t discuss it, sorry), but I don’t think it’s that. A and I just got on the bus into town, only for him to realise he didn’t have his ticket to the match we’re attending today, meaning he had to run back to the hotel. Normally I’d be enraged by this; instead, I walked down the Great North Road openly smiling at random cars and singing The Blaydon Races. Perhaps my differential diagnosis of bipolar II was more accurate than I thought? Perhaps missing Seroquel has, after the initial disaster, induced hypomania? Who knows. Who cares? I’ll try and make the most of it.

Now, just let’s hope that the Toon are going to stuff the Mackems πŸ™‚ (Google the terms if you don’t follow football). If they don’t, I’ll come home and throw all the bloody Seroquel I have down my throat!

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26 thoughts on “Being Dead

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  4. Some Random:

    – And then you enter the hologram of existence, the eternal paradox of the suicidal – “I wonder what it’d be like to be dead”, as if ‘being dead’ was a state of consciousness.
    – Punching yourslef in the face may give you the experience of being alive, but I can think of lots of much better ways of ariving at that conclusion!
    – Maybe the experience of death is something associated with hanging out in the North East? NfN = Normal for Newcastle
    – I’d be astonished if one missed bellyful of meds would impact so severely
    – I hope you have a great day now you have accepted being alive.

    • Hi,

      On the point of missing meds: actually, a huge swathe of people actually do react to missing just one day’s load of them. But although these things do change your brain chemistry and do cause withdrawal and side-effects, I don’t believe that it is impossible to reduce and come off them. The problem is that the safety studies carried out by the pharmaceutical companies are deliberately designed to minimise the reading of terminology that might lead physicians feeling uncomfortable about how to prescribe or reduce patients’ meds. And sadly most practitioners do not know how to advise patients to titrate off meds in a way that cheats the brain into “overlooking” the small incremental reduction of milligrammage that is often needed to minimise withdrawal effects…

      I think GPs should sample the meds they give their patients from time to time…

  5. For future reference, Venlafaxine is a bitch to come off. It is possible, but quite hideous. You have to slower the dose really, really slowly, and it still makes you feel like shit. I hope you have a good time at the football match. It is years since I have been to one – stupid bloody anxiety stops me. xxxxx

    • Yeah, I understand that Venlafaxine is probably the worst of the anti-depressants from which to withdraw. I wish I’d never encountered the horrible stuff, I don’t even think it works that well. I only started to feel remotely better when I started to take Seroquel.

      Seroquel being the worst anti-psychotic from which to withdraw too!

      And thanks πŸ™‚ I have no idea how I cope with football matches; it’s the only crowd situation in which I cope at all. I suppose it’s the camaraderie and community of it.

      Lots of hugs xxxxx

      • Hope the enjoy the match.

        I managed to withdraw from venlafaxine and quetiapine at the same time, but I did so when I was already pretty much at the bottom – so things couldn’t get any worse!

        Missing a dose of Venlafaxine was always a grim experience though – Reboxetine is awful too.

        At least you have an explanation for the weirdness though – that is probably a little reassuring.

  6. Scary, isn’t it – a whole world of possibilities open-up when you stop putting shit in your body! Yet, your first reaction, apart from the water, was to put even more unnatural substances into it – and she complains of IBS!

    There are all sorts of normal but different, natural states of consciousness we can live-in and flip between throughout the day and enjoy if we don’t panic ourselves into a never ending cycle of chasing rational explanations. Become more aware of your body by putting less in it, and just let the conscious mind go where the hell it likes.

    (You know why you consume all that stuff? Because you seek external solutions to problems within yourself).

    Love N

    • But putting my searches from rationality aside, I don’t want to ever experience that again. Shortly after this post, I found myself in a toilet shaking like someone with hypothermia and throwing up uncontrollably. Being convinced I was dead wasn’t much fun either.

      This episode certainly demonstrates that medications have a dark side, but it is also ample proof that they work. If they were placebos as so many allege, not taking them (at least before you realised you’d not taken them) would make no difference.

      So do I take your points, as always, but I still hold to the view that Quetiapine has saved my life. I’ll just be careful not to miss a dose of it again!

      xxx

  7. I get how that feels, I lose track of whether or not I’m actually still living here and there. Trust me, hon. You are very very much alive and alert. For which I am
    Everso grateful. πŸ˜‰ xxx

  8. Strikes me as kinda ironic that the day you wake up dead is 1. All Souls 2. Halloween 3. Our wedding anniversary. Yep, we got hitched on Halloween. Anyway, we have a special church service this afternoon for remembering the dead, so I’ll light a candle for you, lovely, dead or alive. Now stop beating yourself up and enjoy the match! *big hugs* as always xx

    Oh, and if you are a figment of your own imagination, don’t worry: I’ve been there too; welcome to the figmented world of my imagination…

  9. I used to 225mg of Effexor as well, and I totally identify with your story. Missing that dose has immediate reprecussions due it’s very short half-life. I usually found my mood kind of amusing in its absurdity; unfortunately it looks like yours went the other way… 😦
    (BTW, I have successfully weaned off it…it’s a bitch, but it can be done).

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  15. *hugs*
    I saw the title of this post and had a brief, horrible fear that it was a time-delayed “I’ve topped myself” post. Glad it’s not.

  16. I miss Newcastle. Although I have to admit I don’t miss the football matches (I used to live near st james’ park and the crowds always made me late home from work).

    I’m on desvenlafaxine (it’s basically the same thing as effexor) and missing even one tiny dose turns me into a physical wreck. However, it stops me killing myself, so I guess I’ll just have to live with all that ‘shit’ I’m pumping into my system. It may be an external solution to a problem within me, but, um, SO ARE MY FUCKING GLASSES.

    Ahem. Got a bit carried away there.

    Anyway, I hope your good mood lasts! I have bipolar II, and my hypomania can usually be relied upon to last anywhere between 5 days to 2 weeks before it turns into something less pleasant.

  17. missing one day of meds sends me crazy. it is freaking frightening to think that, but hey-oh its true.

    I had a similar experience once I seriously though I was dead/ didn’t exist, in which by the end of it I ended up in my ex’s bed under the covers pretty much unresponsive…. it is kinda hilarious to note that my “nickname” with my group of friends was joking and completely unrelated to that incident ” I just exist”

    Similar thing also happened to a friend of mine… however my friend was higher than the proverbial kite on booze, pot, and a lot of mushrooms. She was laying on the floor at someone’s house just telling everyone she was dead, she kept going in and out of awakeness and eventually somebody (annoyingly b/c it was unnecessary— as I was going to take her home but I couldn’t until she came round a bit b/c she was dead weight) called the paramedics and they took her and me to the hospital. The doctors were PISSED at her and I sat beside her while she claimed to be dead over and over…. being at a hospital probably didn’t help. Anyways eventually she started to sober up and I walked her home and stayed up all night with her while she came down. yay! lol wonderful story.

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