January 15, 2019

this north carolina woman took sudafed and you won't believe what happened next

"So yesterday, I had this really amazing accomplishment that demonstrated personal progress, except that I didn't do that at all."

Therapist Gumby's face did not change expression as he listened.  He knows better than to change his expression because it just encourages me.

I continued.  "But I really wish it had.  See, what happened is, I got angry.  At P.J.  Because [thing that happened].  Really mad, the kind that usually means I'm checking my face the next morning for bruises.  The kind I always turn on myself because it's not safe to feel at the other person."

He asked, "Why didn't you self-injure?  What was different this time?"

I said, "I went to Target at lunch time and got some Sudafed.  The short-acting kind because, yeah, you read my blog post.  Don't want that to happen again.  Jesus.  I bought it and took some when I got back to work.  That's when I found out about [thing that happened] and got upset about it.  I sent some angry texts and felt that horrible pressure build up, and then texted that I needed to spend some time calming down so I could think rationally --"

"-- always a good idea --"

"-- and set the phone down.  I tried square breathing and I tried not thinking about it and I tried empathy and I tried framing things so I could view the actual harm done realistically, and of course, it wasn't a big deal, but when you're angry, it's a huge deal.  And then suddenly, I felt kind of peaceful and light and like I'd reached the other side of the anger.  It was resolution.  Somehow I had worked it out and I felt positive again, and I grabbed my phone because I knew P.J. was probably miserable and I wanted to make her feel better."

"So what is it that you did that you think worked so well?" he asked.

"Nothing I did worked," I said.

"But you felt better," he pointed out.

"Yeah, I did.  You want to know why?  I realized later that it's because I took the Sudafed when I did.  It kicked in.  I didn't deal with my anger at all, at all.  I should have been hiding in the women's bathroom on the third floor, pummeling myself in the face.  I should have had claw marks running down my arm and a Kleenex to mop up blood.  It was totally the Sudafed.  It makes me high now."

He shrugged.  "Well ... better living through chemistry?"

"I wanted so badly to believe that I'd gotten better at letting myself be angry.  Fucking Sudafed, Gumby.  I didn't do anything at all."


  1. Now that's an interesting dilemma -- use the Sudafed in a judicious way that helps you to not physically hurt yourself in those intense moments of stress while you continue looking for and working on better coping skills that will allow you to do the same thing without the drug -- or not take Sudafed -- because that's not what Sudafed is intended for and because it didn't solve your original issue. Is there a way to tease out the different parts of that situation in order to come to at least a temporary solution? Because I don't want you to become dependent on an Sudafed, but hurting yourself doesn't sound like that much fun either. Brain chemistry is so fucking frustrating. I hope you keep us updated on this new turn of events and how you work out this new info into your life. Call me if you ever want to talk. Mona

    1. I DO intend to call you one of these days soon - seriously. The Sudafed was more of a happy accident, honestly. It isn't something I intend to incorporate as a coping mechanism in my life. It was just so damned funny to me that I took credit for doing something well and then realized it was drugs doing it for me. Total wind out of sails moment. No, once this sinus thing has let go of my left jaw and teeth and headache-y thing and moved on, it's going back into the recesses of the cabinet. I don't like feeling loopy, and right now I'm as loopy as the Carolina Cycle. (Carowinds.)

  2. Ha. Who knew Sudafed was good for quelling rage?

    1. I'm surprised I haven't started taking it regularly as an anti-irritant. Why don't they make anti-irritants? Maybe you wouldn't take them yourself. Maybe you'd smear them on the people around you.