I am not one for New Year’s resolutions. Never made them. However, recently I have been quite unhappy with how some aspects of my life have been going. So I decided to make some changes. And now seems like a good time to start as any. So here are my New Year’s Resolutions for 2023. Nothing too ambitious
I will try my best to cut down on my Anxiety medication. No set targets, no time bindings, will just do my best without being miserable and see how it goes.
I will stop wasting money this year. I will spend money as much as I want, within my means, but will stop wasting like here and here. I have made a comprehensive list of the mistakes and lessons learnt from last year. I will also try to start saving some money. No set goals.
I will not consume alcohol except when the occasion calls for it. Not mindlessly when I am getting bored and have nothing else to do.
I will listen to music more. Will give new music a chance.
I will shave my head for good once I get a SIM card replacement and spend 0 effort or money on my hair. Finished.
I will take less sick leaves.
I will be more grateful for what I have in life.
I will cut toxic people out of my life.
I will start reading books again. Again, no set target. Will read as much as I enjoy.
I will lower my time on Social Networks – especially Quora and Reddit. Will replace the time mindlessly scrolling these apps with book reading. Will lower my screen time.
I will close the rings on my watch at least 6 days a week. Will run at least 4 days a week.
I will call my parents, especially my father more.
Let’s see how many I can actually go through with.
Continuing my series about my battle with anxiety, this is a new year special. My latest medication withdrawal fail and third in a year.
So I planned a vacation to Hua Hin for new years. I am anyways not completely at ease while travelling, but this time I topped it by forgetting to take my medication with me. Epic fail! when I realized this, I considered scouring the local pharmacies, begging for prescription medication like a junkie. But since it was only 2 days, I decided to swallow the pill.
Night 1/Day 1
I had a decent amount of alcohol to numb me down and delayed my sleep as much as possible. Once I was really sleepy, I went to sleep. Luckily I fell asleep relatively easy. However, I woke up after a few hours drenched in sweat with my heart trying to escape my chest. I tried going back to sleep but the rest of the night I was in an out of sleep. While being acutely aware of my heartbeat.
Woke up the next day tired. The day was better than the night but was jittery throughout. Sometime during late morning, my hands started shaking. After having some Coca Cola and chilling at the beach, I felt much better. By evening I was almost normal.
At night we went to a New Years Eve party on the beach and I consumed alcohol to distract myself from the impending time I have to go to sleep.
Night 2/Day 2
I went to sleep at 11. Luckily, I fell asleep without much issues, but the fireworks at midnight woke me up. I spent the first few hours of 2023 tossing and turning in bed. I was tired and I was sleepy. But I just couldn’t fall asleep. It was like a brick wall. Eventually I fell asleep but most of the night I was in and out of sleep.
Next morning I woke up tired but otherwise OK. Drove back home and went for a run to clear my head as soon as I came back. Feet felt like bricks while running. Resisted the temptation to pounce on my medication immediately.
In the evening, I figured that I am likely already past the worst phase of the withdrawal so why even go back on my earlier full dose? I had half a dose (0.5mg, compared to 1mg original dose) and went to sleep very tired.
One thing I noticed is that my sleep had turned very light, especially in the second half of the night. I was able to fall asleep and sleep well for the first few hours, but for the second half, I was in a strange state. It felt as if I am awake, but I am not because time passes too fast. But I have awareness of things around me, daylight etc. I was miserable, but decided to stick to it to avoid another medication withdrawal fail.
The days also started seeming gloomier and sadder in general. I even gave up alcohol temporarily.
On day 6, I decided to chalk this up as a medication withdrawal fail and upped my dose to 0.75mg, which is still lower than 1mg, my original dose. With 0.75mg, I am doing more or less okay, something I can live with.
Overall, not a complete withdrawal fail, as I was able to reduce my dosage, by a bit. Baby steps, baby steps.
Another Roland Emmerichdisaster movie. When I saw the trailer for Moonfall a few years ago, I just burst out laughing at the premise. I didn’t think I would ever see it. But another boring Sunday at home changed my mind.
Although the premise of Moonfal is new, the rest of the movie is the same as any other Roland Emmerich movie.
The movie starts with the protagonist, an astronaut who comes in contact with extraterrestrial technology while in space, but no one believes him. Fast forward a few years, he is now washed up and has separated from his wife. Surprisingly similar to David from Independence Day.
The other main character is an anxiety-ridden, IBS rocking conspiracy theorist one step away from a panic attack. He is always trying to convince people about his theories. He, too, ends up like David, running around with some computer printouts with data needed to convince people. The conspiracy theorist is also a fanboy of Space X and keeps saying “I love Elon”.
Same Tired Formula
The rest of the movie is entirely predictable. Same scenes of chaos and looting. People trying to get out of cities, while the moon falls to earth. The government orders mass evacuation. To where? All this talk about getting to safety. Which place on earth will save you from the moon colliding with earth?
When the government finds out that the moon is out of orbit what do they do? Go to the moon to investigate. A mission is organised and launched within days. Laughable.
Another scene of government retrieving someone to help them with “We need you to come with us, now”.
Also laughable is how they take a graffiti-ed space shuttle from a museum, prep it within days and launch with the crew being decided at the last minute.
The movie is also full of shameless advertisement of Kaspersky. Even the space shuttle systems have Kaspersky antivirus installed.
The only thing good about the movie is the VFX. The scenes of destruction are impressive. The shots from inside the moon are breath taking. Halle Berry’s acting is piss-poor.
Overall, I don’t understand why producers keep financing Roland Emmerich when he has nothing new to offer.
To continue the series of posts about my battle with anxiety, I bring the latest medication withdrawal fail story.
As I wrote here, after my last misadventure with SSRIs, I stopped taking them altogether. Since I felt fine for the next few weeks, I assumed that I don’t really need them and forgot all about them since.
However, ever so slowly, my anxiety started to creep up back on me. There weren’t any drastic symptoms. Just things like worrying too much about work, thinking about work at night or during weekends. Also, the ever present feeling of dread that something will eventually go wrong.
I was very proud of myself for having successfully(?) given up this medication and wanted to prevent another medication withdrawal fails. So I decided to continue without it.
After I spent 3 successive weekends obsessing over work and dreading Monday, I decided I would keep my mind open about resuming the medicine and gave myself 1 month to decide, till my next doctor appointment. I didn’t last 1 month.
Last weekend, after dreading work all Saturday and most of Sunday, I decided to give up and go back on the medication there and then. I called the hospital & requested to see the doctor the same day. Thankfully they were able to put me on the waiting list and I saw the doctor within the hour. He took pity on me and put me back on Lexapro.
After bagging the medication, I immediately felt better. The world looked brighter and life seemed more beautiful. Of course this was a placebo effect as the medication takes up to 2 weeks to work. Over the next day or so, the placebo effect wore off, but a week since starting the medication, I already feel better.
Second reminder to myself, to not mess with medication that work well.
Also, it’s not worth avoiding medication (and for what?) if it works for you and makes you feel better
Recently, I had a misadventure with my serotonin levels. As I posted earlier, I have been on Neuris 1mg- An Antipsychotic & Lexapro 5mg- An SSRI for my Generalized Anxiety Disorder since I moved to Thailand.
Now, the Lexapro, in Thailand costs 15 times what it cost in India. Always one trying to cheap out, on my last doctor’s visit, I asked him if he could prescribe me a cheaper alternative. He prescribed me Fluoxetine 20mg instead and I happily went on my way chalking this up as a win.
After a few days, I started noticing signs of heart palpitations and sweats through the day. I had recently joined a gym so I chalked this up to the workouts. However, the palpitations became worse with time.
It was not until my family left for vacation leaving me alone with my dog at home that the symptoms hit hard.
I was in a state of constant anxiety. My heart felt it was going to burst out of my chest. To make matters worse, I took a Lexapro, too. It really pushed me over the edge and after suffering all day from a constant state of agitation I dumped my dog with the neighbours and went to the ER.
They said I have Serotonin Syndrome, from an overdose of SSRIs. They shot me up with a sedative and sent me home with a few pills of Ativan. Ah! Bliss!
I slept for 11 hours and woke up the next day feeling much better. Things didn’t go back to normal immediately, but I could feel the improvements over the next few days; all I had to do was not take the SSRIs.
Lesson Learnt : Don’t mess with medication that work, just to cheap out.
PS: On SSRIs, I used to have vivid movie-like dreams. After stopping the SSRIs, the dreams stopped, too.
As an atheist, I do not believe in God & I believe that religion is the the biggest handicap for humanity. I believe religion is preventing humans from reaching full potential and living in peace with each other.
These are just some recent news articles I came across in the last few weeks, actual examples are many more. Most wars & conflicts in history have been because of religion (or women). Each religion preaches that theirs is the only true god and that people following all other gods are fools. How can religions co-exist peacefully with each other when the basic tenet of each religion is that all other religions are fake?
Religion is also a very powerful tool and a weapon. We have already seen many countries elect incompetent assholes as their leaders because of religious manipulation.
On the other hand, I do believe that religion serves a purpose other than handicap for humans. Research has proven that people who believe in God are happier on average than atheists. I can understand and agree with this research. If I believed that an imaginary being in the sky would automatically solve all my problems, I would be less stressed in life, too. Maybe belief in God evolved as an anti-stress and anti-anxiety mechanism in Humans? It is a good way to offload your worries on something else.
I just wish all this did not involve waging war on fellow humans.
Seepage is when there’s a leak in a water supply or drain pipe in your home and the water gets into the walls. Seepage has given me much grief and anxiety over the years. Just last night I had a nightmare where I discovered seepage in my flat and woke up covered in sweat.
I lived in a house with a basement when I was young. One thing I remember vividly is that the basement was always damp and smelt funny. I assumed this was normal at that time.
Seepage Woes Part-1
I remember living in a rented apartment in 2015-2017. They had recently painted it and we were the first family to live in it. Within weeks, however, the bedroom wall became damp & the paint began to flake off. This would be the beginning of our long struggle with seepage. We informed our landlady who spoke with the building maintenance who fixed something on the outside drainage pipes, but nothing changed. We continue to press our landlord and she continue to hound the maintenance team but not much happened.
In the meantime, I discovered that seepage always comes in pairs. Our downstairs neighbour started to show up and complain about water leaking into his bedroom from our bathroom. Building maintenance broke our bathroom floor twice and repaired some pipes, but the leak continued. Meanwhile, our bedroom was perpetually covered in flaking paint and PoP. Anyways, this wasn’t my apartment, so I was not too concerned.
Seepage Woes Part-2
In 2017, we bought and moved into our own apartment. We spent a lot of time, thought and effort in designing and decorating it as per our tastes. Once we moved in, to great horror, we started to notice dampness in 2 of the bedroom walls and on 2 of the bathroom ceilings.
One of the wall problems was relatively easy to repair. It was caused by a misaligned awning outside the wall which was trapping water. Fixing it fixed the problem. Within weeks, the wall was dry and I plastered and painted over it myself.
For the ceilings, we contacted the maintenance team who went to our upstairs neighbour. We would soon come to know that our upstairs neighbour (Henceforth referred to as Bihari Bastard) was the biggest un-co-operative piece of shit ever. At first he wouldn’t even allow the maintenance people to look inside his bathroom. After much coaxing and cajoling, when he did, he wouldn’t allow them to make repairs. After much requests/threats they allowed some repairs but it didn’t solve the problem.
Meanwhile, the paint continue to flake off the bedroom walls & plaster continue to fall from the bathroom ceilings. It was heartbreaking to see our new apartment in such a state. Eventually, I reached the end of my tether and offered Bihari Bastard to destroy and re-build his entire bathrooms for him. I would pay for the repair and building and he would pay for the new tiles. Bihari Bastard agreed.
I found a contractor and got 2 of his bathrooms destroyed and old pipes pulled out. The old pipes were in poor shape.
After that, the contractor put in new pipes
After this, the bathroom was re-built and tiles added. All through this process, Bihari Bastard continued complaining what a great source of inconvenience this was for him, completely ignoring the fact that repairing his bathrooms was not my job at all.
Eventually, the job was finished, my walls and ceilings were dry and we painted them over. We thought the process was finally over and heaved a sigh of relief.
Seepage Woes Part-3
We soon found out that our sense of relief was misplaced. One day our downstairs neighbour came up and complained about our bathrooms leaking water into his bedroom. This time we already knew what we had to do.
We called the same contractor and repeated the same process all over again. Tore open 2 of our bathrooms and re-built them from scratch. Eventually, the work was over and there was no more seepage “to” us or “from” us.
I thought our building was especially shitty, but later found out that all buildings (At least in the Delhi/NCR area) have this problem; even expensive/posh DLF ones. Turns out, the builders sub-contract the piping/water work to smaller contractors and not having any liability, they always do shitty jobs.
In Thailand, I see that the bathroom pipes are setup differently. All bathrooms have false ceilings and the pipes of the apartment above are easily accessible by removing panels. In India, all pipes are buried 3/4 feet deep in concrete and the only way to access them is to dig open the floors/walls.
I always advice potential buyers of new apartments to check 2 things:
Check very carefully (over a time of a few weeks) whether there’s any seepage in that apartment.
Go and meet the downstairs neighbour & enquire whether there’s any seepage in his flat from above.
Obsession & Burnout are back to haunt me. I have blogged about it before, but this time, things are a bit worse.
So, the background is, that after months of doing very light-level work, I have been handed a challenging project. Not an impossible project, not an easy one, moderately challenging. Others would be excited for this opportunity (actually were). However, I have already started obsessing about it all the time. My free time everyday, weekends and sleep time has been taken over by obsessively thinking about this project.
Some of this thinking is productive; that is I do accomplish some positive outcome, but most of it is irrational fear. Haven’t slept much last few nights.
I believe the reasons for this are
Lack of useful distractions away from work because of the lockdown (more apparent during the weekend). Examples of this includes going out to spend time with family, friends & family friends. I have not much to look forward to, all week.
Lack of physical boundaries between work and leisure. Earlier, work happened in the office (mostly) and leisure happened elsewhere. Now there’s only one place for both (home), so it has become difficult to switch off from work mode when the day or week is over.
My usual hang ups about obsession, that were always a part of me.
Uncertainty about future events, some of which are beyond my control.
Fear of failure, which is more or less irrational.
Hectic schedule with both parents working and trying to handle a kid.
Guilt of not spending enough time with family, forcing that to happen and being absent emotionally even then and not doing work either.
Thinking about all the above amplifies the condition.
I plan to follow the steps below to deal with this situation
Practice mindfulness everyday, and make it a part of daily life and log mood daily.
Use organisation hacks like making lists for everything, tracking all To Dos etc.
Writing down things that cross my mind at the end of the work day and when not working and can be done later.
Establish chronological boundaries when it comes to work.
Establish physical boundaries within the house when it comes to work (This might prove a bit difficult)
Finding an engaging hobby (TV generally doesn’t help) to take my mind off such thoughts during leisure time.
Wait for this to blow over, as such phases don’t last more than a few weeks.
For now, I just want one night of good sleep, to recharge my health and sanity, for which I will use a friend’s help.