I'm trying lithium carbonate as of yesterday.

It seemed to be going well then, but today I find:

  • Pronounced irritability
  • Tightness in and across chest (very uncomfortable, it's like my rib cage shrunk a few sizes, and all my insides are compressing)
  • Arrhythmia (I have this periodically as a matter of course, but this makes it CONTINUAL)
  • Elevated pulse (~70-80 bpm (usually ~50-60))
  • Increased depression and anxiety
  • Feeling shaky, trembly
  • HEADACHE (fucking fuckity fuck it hurts)
  • Feeling of being extremely cold, even when perfectly warm (tested by taking while I felt comfortable. 20 minutes later I was shivering and "cold", despite nothing changing environmentally)
  • Fatigue (to the point I seriously just want to get in bed and say "fuck every possible day, including this one")
  • Inability to control what I say (seriously, I'm being a horrible person to everyone I encounter, and I LITERALLY CANNOT STOP. It's like my mouth/brain filter is just... gone. And that's something I spent A LOT OF FUCKING TIME perfecting over the years, so I'm understandably quite upset and frustrated. And terrified of myself.)
  • Prone to feeling attacked, even when people are just speaking to me normally (I almost cried because a woman at work said something I misread as being "mean", when she was just stating facts)
  • The same mother fucking stanza from this one song I heard days ago in my head, on repeat, it literally will not stop. This is not unusual for me, but it's SO LOUD today. Like, I can't turn it down or off at all. It's starting to frustrate me, and make me feel a little mad.
  • Unable to control my cussing, apparently. You fuck-tank of shitgiblets.

I have no idea if any of this is even related to the lithium, though. Frustratingly, I'm always a-mental-break-down-away-from-crazytown, more so at this point in the week (Thurs through weekend).

I should also point out that almost IMMEDIATELY after taking a dose, I feel a warm and giddy happiness that seems to kind of wash over me like a snuggly blanket? Only, that doesn't last, as I get mean when it wears off, and that's... apparently within about 20 minutes? I just... why.

Gosh I am sick of my head and being trapped in it... I want out of here really badly.

Categories mental health, depression


Aside from Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft, which I tried decades ago as a teenager, I have now tried five more. Here they are, with the worst of their accompanying side-effects (which made most of them unbearable).

  • 1990s: Prozac

No observed effect of any kind whatsoever. May as well have been placebo.

  • 1990s: Paxil

Did not improve anxiety, made sleep and emotions impossibly problematic (took six months to taper off of due to withdrawal symptoms)

  • 1990s: Zoloft

This was the worst I tried as a teen. I couldn't sleep, couldn't invest in anything emotionally, and was basically a mental zombie for a month or so until I simply stopped taking it. (The very first dose I took made me feel wonderful. Euphoric, excited, energetic... Too bad that didn't last more than half an hour, and too bad it was otherwise a complete disaster.)

  • 2016: Buspirone hydrochloride (Buspar), 5 mg x3, 3 times per day (yep, nine tablets per day)

A non-standard anxiety medication. It did not have any appreciable affect on my anxiety, though it did turn out to be unbearable to take. I started out taking barely any, and at the height of my trial, which lasted for half a year, I was taking the maximum allowable dose.

Side effects:

  1. Disorienting dizziness (mostly caused by eye or head movement. Driving was an exercise in futility, as it caused so much disorientation I may as well have been just under the legal limit of blood alcohol. Very bad news.)
  2. Issues with memory and memory retention
  3. Focus issues, and general inattention to detail

  • April 2017: Escitalopram oxalate (Lexapro), 10 mg per day

My first experience with how dangerous these blasted things can be. I only took this for four days on my first try. It almost killed me.

This one doubled my heart rate and blood pressure (200/100, pulse 90+), caused extreme emotional outbursts and irritability, and generally made me act entirely bipolar type 1. (Complete with severe mania and depressive episodes! I did try it again later at a half dose, and while it improved my depression mildly, it was not at all effective at improving my anxiety, so was abandoned as unsuitable.)

Side effects:

  1. Mania followed by major depression and the worst panic attacks I have ever had
  2. Severe diarrhea
  3. Hypertension & arrhythmia
  4. Chills/tremors (uncontrollable shivering/shaking/jerking)
  5. Talking too much, or at length about minutia (mania)
  6. Lowered temperature and chills
  7. Restlessness
  8. Anxiety and debilitating panic attacks
  9. Muscle spasms
  10. Bouts of uncontrolled sobbing or hysteria (only when depressive, not manic)

  • May 2017: Bupropion (Wellbutrin) 200 mg per day (2× 100 mg), which wasn't even a full dose...

This one was almost as frightening as the Lexapro. Maybe worse, in some ways. I couldn't take it longer than two days without discontinuing due to the mental distress it caused. (Also, I believe it frightened my parents just how violent and impulsive it made me. I was dangerously out of character, threw things, and yelled quite a lot.)

Side effects:

  1. Violent irritability
  2. Violent, suicidal, or harmful ideation
  3. Pronounced dry mouth
  4. Major depression (depression more pronounced than before taking)
  5. Variable headache (sometimes so distracting as to be unbearable)
  6. Insomnia
  7. Recurring disturbing nightmares (some violent)
  8. Drowsiness, even after rest
  9. Poor or no impulse control (throwing things, yelling outbursts, slamming doors, etc)
  10. Bouts of uncontrollable sobbing or hysteria
  11. Attention deficit, carelessness, inattention
  12. Memory loss, inability to remember every day events in any detail
  13. Chills
  14. Tremor
  15. Restlessness
  16. Joint pain
  17. Arrhythmia
  18. Disinterest in eating or drinking

  • November 2017: Citalopram hydrobromide (Celexa) 10 mg per day

Took this one for longer than I should have. Never again. What a nightmare. (I still to this day have muscle contractions/jerks that come on randomly due to this horrific excuse for a drug. It is pure, unadulterated rubbish.)

Side effects:

  1. Diarrhea (severe and persistent)
  2. Chills
  3. Insomnia
  4. Anorgasmia
  5. Unusual tiredness
  6. Sore throat
  7. Agitation/restlessness (akathisia)
  8. Poor concentration
  9. Increased hunger
  10. Increased thirst
  11. Lack of energy
  12. Poor coordination
  13. Tender/burning skin (hand washing in particular causes very bad inflammation with moderate discomfort and redness)
  14. Trembling or jerking of muscles/limbs
  15. Drowsiness
  16. Quickened respiration (unable to catch my breath at times)
  17. Breast tenderness/soreness
  18. Muscle tightness or pain (mostly in upper body/neck)
  19. Tightness in the chest (feels like precursor to panic attack)
  20. Frequent urination, and feeling of being unable to fully void bladder

  • January 2018: Venlafexine (Effexor) 25 mg per day (with one trial day at 50 mg, which was... a mistake)

I only stuck this one out for a week. I swear, getting 0-4 hours of sleep per night is a good way to make me think I'm going insane. And at times I'm pretty sure I did... and that thinking I'm back to normal now is just a figment of my imagination, or something... (Seriously, I am still somewhat concerned I never stopped taking this and I'm only dreaming that I did.)

This is definitely the drug I took where I decided this whole endeavour was a waste of time, and that I was done even trying any more. I only have so much energy, and unfortunately it's now depleted. I don't know when or if I'll get it back again, but I am still waiting for this to be entirely out of my system, so I can't even say I'm "completely done" with it yet...

Though I certainly wish I was...

Side effects:

  1. Extremely high blood pressure and pulse (mostly in the morning -- ranged from normal, 100/60 P60, to highly dangerous, 180/80 P130)
  2. Elevated anxiety
  3. Hypertonia (ranging from slightly discomfiting to incredibly painful)
  4. Pronounced insomnia (I am so sleep deprived at the moment I keep finding more typos in this text that need fixing...)
  5. Restlessness
  6. Anorgasmia
  7. Tiredness/weariness (above and beyond the sleep deprivation)
  8. Increased thirst
  9. Diminished interest in food
  10. Frequent urination, and feeling of being unable to fully void bladder

  • Other stuff that was equally worthless

Just some other random nothingness that I was recommended to try. None of them helped, and some made things worse (though thankfully nothing like the scale of the lunacy contained above).

  1. St. John's Wort
  2. GABA (no effect whatsoever)
  3. 5-HTP (nada)
  4. Valerian root
  5. Various probiotics
  6. N-Acetyl L-Cystine (dreadful headaches)
  7. L-Theanine (frustratingly, increased anxiety dramatically at high enough doses to have any effect at all)
  8. Probably five to ten others I can't even remember that were nothing but a blip on the radar (until I dropped them)

If you ever wonder why some people despair of the medical community being of any help to anyone, I have been trying to figure out what will help me since I was in my teens. I'm now 40 years old, and while I know myself a little better, I still don't even have a damn diagnosis of a possible issue that could explain my anxiety, depression, or malaise.

Sometimes I feel like it would be easier to give up and stop trying. Because that's what it feels like everyone else has done: given up on me ever being a real person.

And that seriously hurts.

Categories anxiety, depression


These were titled "hella cute questions". They seem more run-of-the-mill to me, but hey, I'm basically a 15 year old right now, so they're fitting.

  • Who's the last person you held hands with?

Whoa, I can't even remember. That's pretty sad, and mildly upsetting... Probably my last girlfriend, who I dated for a whole three months or something incredibly serious like that. For context, this was in the 90s.

  • Are you outgoing or shy?

I am so shy I make introverts nervous.

  • Who are you looking forward to seeing?

I don't... I don't think I can answer that in the way it was intended. I am looking forward with all my heart to seeing the real me in the mirror when I get up some day. If that sounds weird or silly, you aren't trans.

  • Are you easy to get along with?

No. I mean, maybe, but I seriously doubt it.

I have both physical and mental health issues.

I was hit by a careless driver while walking to work in October of 2010, and have had serious back and neck issues ever since. We're talking pinched nerves, muscle spasms, terrible headaches and joint issues... It just goes on.

I can't even sleep on my right side any more, because it causes my shoulder to separate, which then has to be forcibly replaced, or all those fun symptoms are tenfold worse. I can usually do this myself, but sometimes I'm too weak, and then I'm just stuck being in horrific pain until I can get help (or gather the strength to finally manage it myself). This makes me really cranky sometimes, and I've missed a lot of work because of it. I suspect my current place of employment is about as sick of seeing "I can't come in today, my neck is bad" emails as they can get.

I am also hypersensitive in pretty much every sense imaginable. Bright sunlight, crazy textures (on skin and tongue), electronics beeping, sharp odors, animal cries, loud engines, diesel smoke, headlights at night... almost anything above and beyond the drab every-day can drain me lightning fast. In seriously bad situations, these can set off panic attacks or complete melt-downs. Even being forced to use the telephone can pitch me into the throes of panic attacks and aversion. Holding my hands over my ears while crying is a common occurrence, as selective mutism is a common symptom of a melt-down. It's really tough to ask for help when you aren't able to even articulate what the problem is...

I have major depressive disorder, and social anxiety. I am high-functioning autistic to top everything else off. Fun fact, though, literally no professionals I have ever seen would admit to me it was possible. This despite a laundry list of related symptoms, matching DSM-V diagnostic criteria perfectly and generally being awkward and uncomfortable around other people. If you ever wonder about yourself, compare notes with your autistic friends who have been diagnosed. You may be surprised.

As much as I try to be easy-going and pleasant, sometimes I struggle harder than seems fair just to leave the house for errands.

To be fair, though these things are a terrible drain on my sanity in bad situations, they can also be very helpful in other cases. For instance, I'm the "sniffer & taster" in the family: when food is suspected of being off or spoiled, I am the one chosen to smell or sample it. If I say it's bad, no one else will touch it. They've learned from hard experience that I'm almost always right.

I once tasted mold in marinara sauce cooked extremely sparingly into home-made pizza, and alerted everyone else to the fact that something had spoiled. Turned out the entire jar of spaghetti sauce was teaming with critters, and it was completely awful. We had to throw away two entire pizzas my dad slaved to make for my birthday because Mario Batalli's quality control is a disaster. Hilariously, no one believed me until they examined the nearly empty sauce jar, and realised I was correct. (It was horrible, and they kept eating it until I insisted we sort out what was bad!)

My hearing is also so acute I used to be able to tell when people had tube televisions turned on, even from outside their homes. When someone in my family would ask if the TV had been powered off for the night I could listen for that high-pitched, high-frequency hum, and be able to discern the set's state from almost anywhere in the house. And I won't lie, being able to hear what people are saying about me from other rooms is incredibly useful -- if a bit heartbreaking at times.

  • If you were drunk would the person you like take care of you?

"The person I like?" I don't even... I don't generally "like" people that way. I get crushes and that's pretty much it?

I don't drink alcohol any more, so despite the fact that I'm probably ace (I think?), this question is fairly unanswerable. Or at least irrelevant?

I would like to hope that if I had a crush on someone and told them, they would be kind enough not to be cruel about it.

I am rather sad I'll likely never need someone to hold my hair for me while I puke. But that's a curious thing to be considered a "loss", isn't it?

  • What kind of people are you attracted to?

Kind. Clever. Soft-spoken, but willing to raise their voice to stand up for someone else. Gentle. Slow to smile, but easy to laugh. Respectful of others, and intolerant of intolerance.

Quicker answer: strong women make me weak in the knees. I'm still figuring out how I feel about men. (So far the jury is completely out on that one...)

  • Do you think you'll be in a relationship two months from now?

Hard no.

I'd be happy to be mistaken. I'm not adverse to the idea, just extremely dubious.

  • Who's on your mind?

Me, generally. How screwed up my life is. Worries about whether or not it will ever improve. Wondering if my face is ever going to feminise in the slightest, or if I'm stuck looking androgynous for the rest of my life. (Not that I have a problem with that, it just isn't really what I was hoping for. It's tough to be remotely femme when one looks more like a guy than a woman.)

  • Does talking about sex make you uncomfortable?

Yes. I enjoy the act alone, but being intimate with others is incredibly difficult for me. Maybe due to being a-spec (?!), maybe past trauma (harassment, bullying, rape). I don't know. This one's just always rough no matter how I approach it.

Maybe having a caring and patient significant other who was sensitive and well-meaning would help. But I don't know, as I've never had one remotely matching that description. (In fact, as weird as it sounds, I've been set up to be used for sex more than been in healthy relationships, which is probably a lot more common for trans folks than anyone suspects. And that was before I even came out...)

  • Who was the last person you had a deep conversation with?

If I had to guess, it was probably my mother. We talk about life quite a bit.

  • What does the most recent text that you sent say?

SMS: "You should have the password via the email thread. If not, do let me know."

Telegram: "I am SO ready for summer to come back..."

Yup, I work a lot. The SMS was to one of my seemingly endless supply of bosses who all vie for my time and attention, wanting just that. The Telegram message was to my sister. A caption on an image I sent to her of me wearing shorts and a nice tank-top.

  • What are your 5 favourite songs right now?

FIVE?! I struggle to find one favourite song at any given time. I like music, but that's a bit of an ask.

Okay, here is an attempt... Go easy on me, I'm not a huge music person, and the really raw acoustic stuff upsets me for some reason:

  1. Emma Louise -- Boy
  2. Luminary -- Amsterdam [Smith & Pledger Remix]
  3. Ferry Corsten Feat. Betsie Larkin -- Stars [Alex O'Rion Bigger Room Mix]
  4. Mat Zo feat. Eyes That Lie -- Hurricane
  5. Major Lazer -- Night Riders [feat Travis Scott, 2 Chainz, Pusha T & Mad Cobra]

All of these aside, I mostly like anything musical. I just... I don't know why I struggle with acoustic stuff. Something about imperfections in recordings just irks me, you know?

I also cannot listen to Depeche Mode without crying due to a very awkward and ultimately disastrous relationship which ended poorly (and robbed me of my best friend in the process).

  • Do you like it when people play with your hair?


This is actually one of my most intimate things, because... well, you probably read above, so yeah. Cuddles and closeness of proximity are incredibly special to me, as they are not something I get to enjoy very often.

  • Do you believe in luck and miracles?

Not particularly. I still use the term "lucky" when something I didn't expect to occur happens, like most people presumably do. But I don't believe in astrology, tarot, Ouija boards, or any of that hoopla. Superstition is the germ that grows religion, and I take strong umbrage with theology.

Personally, I rely on myself to change my life, no one else. Sometimes we all need help to get where we're going, but no one is going to hold my hand and help me through the rough patches unless I'm willing to get myself into them in the first place. As far as I'm concerned, superstition, luck, and religion are all different names for the same kind of foolish external reliance that causes people to stew in mediocrity for most of their lives.

I'll pass, thanks.

  • What good things happened this summer?




Um, I guess I got in better physical shape last summer? I've since mostly let my unreachable fitness goals go, and stopped worrying about it so much. (I already went from 190 lbs to about 135 in the span of a year!) Exercise makes my depression and other health issues much worse for some reason. I don't know if my brain doesn't like making dopamine, or if my brain chemistry is just horribly awry, but there it is. If I work out hard enough to sweat for 30 minutes I can almost guarantee I'll be so severely depressed for the next 2-6 days I may as well be virulently ill. I spend a lot of that time in bed, wishing I could expire, and honestly, I'm just done with that kind of wallowing.

  • Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?

Sure, my aunt loves it when her sweet trans niece gives her a peck on the cheek. :)

Okay, fine, I know what is actually being asked here, and no. I would not kiss her again. The woman I'm thinking of was a summer thing, and she moved off to New York to attend Brown once summer was over. I never heard from her again. She has since married, has several kids, and owns/runs a successful local printing business. I only know this because a friend of mine who has a Facebook account looked her up (no, I didn't ask them to do this, I'm not even remotely a stalker).

Quite honestly I know she never cared about me that much. She went out with me as a summer sex thing, and I was too oblivious to realise this until much, much later. (We never did the deed in case your salacious curiosity needs slaking. Sorry.)

  • Do you think there is life on other planets?

Not particularly. Space doesn't interest me that much, since I know I'll never get there. To be fair, I'd be too frightened even if I had the opportunity.

  • Do you still talk to your first crush?

Her name was Angie. We were about six years old. She was perfect. She shared Lifesavers candies with me on the regular, even though my parents didn't believe in my sister and I eating candy.

I don't even know where she lives now. First kiss, first crush, first friend to move away and break my heart...

I still love pineapple Lifesavers to this day.

  • Do you like bubble baths?

Not really... I'd rather just shower, get clean, and move on to other things I actually want to do. I am not particularly good at just sitting still and meditating, or "letting it all go". On the contrary, these quiet times to myself often cause me to worry on things I can't change, which is never healthy.

  • Do you like your neighbours?

They would technically be my parents' neighbours, but since I live here as well right now, they're also mine. Yeah, they're an okay lot. Mostly older retirees, like my folks. It's rural, so I talk to any of them somewhere on the order of twice per year, at most.

  • What are you bad habits?

I smoke a bit of herb, but other than that... I don't drink alcohol, I don't use tobacco, and I'm not into much in the way of hobbies. I am still looking for things I enjoy because all the activities I did before HRT were expensive, or things I did because they were stereotypically male, and they were expected of me. Once I realised this I lost interest in most of them, and haven't seriously looked back.

I guess my worst behaviour is probably putting things off for far too long. When one has anxiety as severe as mine, some days just leaving the house is an effort in futility.

  • Where would you like to travel?

Aside from the terror induced just by the thought of airports and trying to pass through TSA as a trans woman, my social anxiety won't allow this. Travel is not something I crave, nor look forward to by any stretch of the imagination. I am capable of doing it, especially so if I have others to back me up and watch out for me. I can be naive and am easily distracted (I get lost a fair amount). But on my own? Heck no, count me out, thanks.

  • Do you have trust issues?

Yes. NO! Is this a trick?...

It really depends on the context. I am extremely naive and trusting for the most part, but I have been burned because of it. I learn those lessons well, and mistrust when I feel it prudent.

  • Favourite part of your daily routine?

Going to bed. Seriously, being conscious is highly over-rated.

  • What part of your body are you most uncomfortable with?

As a trans woman, please understand you're asking me to choose what kind of crushing dysphoria is the worst. This is tantamount to asking someone who's drowning which droplets of water have been the most troubling to them in their situation. Good luck getting an answer there...

  • What do you do when you wake up?

Set out my many prescription medications, and the clothes/cosmetics I choose for the day, so I can shave and shower.

Oh, and contemplate the ever-present ennui which perpetually hungers to keep me prisoner in bed. (Ah, bed, the only safe refuge I seem to have.)

  • Do you wish your skin was lighter or darker?

Darker would be fine. I don't think it could physically be much lighter. I sunburn in the flipping winter if I stay outside too long.

I wish I was joking.

I do have to admit I love my freckles, though. I love cultivating them in the summer. I'm extremely proud of them, and I don't care what anyone else thinks.

  • Who are you most comfortable around?

Other transgender people.

  • Have any of your exes told you they regret breaking up?

Not a single one. I'm just that easy to get along with, I guess. (Note I do not have any exes from after I started HRT, so these relationships were all in the very, very distant past.)

  • Do you ever want to get married?

Yeah, cus I'm so charming and attractive, people can't keep their hands off of me! I need a partner to beat them off with a stick!

Seriously? Sure, maybe. I have never ruled it out. I blub like a cartoon character at weddings, though, so I need to remember to stuff some tissues in my pocket, I suppose.

  • Is your hair long enough for a ponytail?

Yes. I'm never sure if it makes me too femme (and thereby not butch enough) or just androgynous. Either way, long hair has been important to me for personal reasons I have not entirely sussed. So it's part of my presentation, and I'm not particularly willing to change it at the moment. Perhaps when I pass better?

Though you know, maybe not even then. It's kind of... me, y'know? c:

Categories web, trans


...and i'm off of lexapro and can take as much of it as i want...

because i feel like utter crap.

every time i get to work is a new cause to celebrate stress headaches, i guess. aren't they good and lovely?

Categories anxiety, trans