Feb. 22nd, 2014

petronia: (Default)
My grandmother passed away Thursday night. We learnt she had terminal cancer in January, which is a story in and of itself, and after that her decline was shockingly rapid. Insofar as I can reconstruct the timeline, I was halfway through an 8-hour session of straight whiskey drinking and hashing out of emotional topics with an old friend (including but not limited to major family death). Went to bed at 5:30am, got up at 8:30am, got on the bus to work, received my mother's email informing me about my grandma, cried, got off the bus, got a coffee and croissant egg sandwich, took two Tylenols, and went into six straight conference calls before 2pm. Actually, the entire week has been straight conference calls 9-5, which is pretty impressive; a normal week for me is 25 hours of meetings, not 35. 35 means I have to write emails and review documents *while* on conference calls. Friday was the MEGA drop-deadline we'd been working toward since the start of the year, and there were the usual last-minute switcheroos and wrenches in gears, punctuated by background screaming whenever Canada scored a goal in Olympics hockey. By the afternoon it was mostly out of my hands, but there are people on the project who worked into the night and, I suspect, are working over the weekend to get tweaks in. The team is good; it probably did me more good to be in meetings with them all day than sit alone moping.

Other things that happened this week: my sister had to go in for two four-hour plasma transfusions for an autoimmune disorder diagnosed in early February. I started taking gingko biloba, St John's wort, and all my vitamins, because 1) I really cannot be sick right now, see above and 2) although $BIGTELCO's whole charitable endeavour *thing* is mental health and the insurance policy is accordingly generous, ironically I don't have time to set myself up with a therapist. I mean, nothing serious: the list of no-duh Sherlock causes for anxiety spikes, irritation, mental fatigue and general existential malaise is high. [livejournal.com profile] flemmings has done great with gingko, it seems like, and you can teach yourself to soothe yourself. (One of the best things you can do for a strongly metacognitive child is to teach them about Vulcan mind discipline, frankly. Not the shallow idea of the thing, but the way the books delve into it.)

Spoiler: it worked. It worked immediately and freakily well. The standard dosage for St John's wort is 300mg three times a day, and I basically just stuck to the minimum HIGHLY EFFECTIVE dose of one pill in the morning because o_O. The gingko also worked, in that thinking is generally easier, brain fog was setting in around 3pm and has been pushed back to 10-11pm where it belongs. I've lost all need for caffeine, which is probably the greatest thing because coffee and anxiety form a vicious cycle. (St John's wort, it turns out, is a dopamine reuptake inhibitor as well as serotonin - as I discovered when I drank that one coffee very slowly Friday morning. It gave me heart palpitations.) I've fallen back to one or two cups of tea a day; ten years of encroaching caffeine addiction erased at a swoop.

I feel much more like my normal self, which is to say I don't really have negative emotions. Which is worrisome for a couple of different reasons, to be honest.

I don't know what would happen if I take this combo for an extended period. Herbal remedies have always worked on me. Effectively, reliably, and with no side effects, once proper dosage is established; it's actual pharmaceuticals (including antibiotics, steroids, whatever) where I can't tell half the time if they're working or if I'm experiencing a placebo effect.

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