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Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Evaporation of the Spirit
Medication is so unpredictable. I'm often struck by how deeply even supposedly mild over-the-counter pharmaceuticals can affect me. A few weeks ago, the rapid onset of Tucson's prime allergy season and my decision to stop taking the nasal steroids I'd used the past two years led me to seek a new means of relief. Seemingly everywhere I turned people were recommending Zyrtec, saying that it achieved results where other antihistamines had failed. So I tried it. A full dose made me feel dreadful, simultaneously wired and semi-comatose. So I tried a half dose, which was a little easier on my soul, but still pretty burdensome. Sure, my allergy symptoms diminished markedly. Since Benadryl works even better for those, however, and Claritin affects me less negatively, I decided I'd put the Zyrtec away.

This morning, though, when I woke up with what turned out to be a cold on top of allergies, but initially felt like the worst allergy symptoms ever, I opened the cabinet and saw the almost-full bottle of Zyrtec staring me in the face. "Maybe the last time I took it was an anomaly," I thought to myself, deciding to give the medicine another shot. So I took another half dose. And, boy, do I ever feel. . . like taking a swan dive off the Tower Bridge. That's a Craig Ferguson reference for barca_k, who brightened my day with the comedian's monologue on treating alcoholism. Unfortunately, the clouds returned almost immediately.

I actually sat down here to write that I've never felt less capable of real writing than I do at present. But then I remembered that it was only two days ago that I was flush with good ideas and the enthusiasm to realize them. Clearly, my self-assessment was the product of Zyrtec more than any kind of existential crisis. Or, rather, the Zyrtec amplified my ongoing existential crisis -- everybody has one, right? -- to such a degree that I felt like I was living inside The Cure's Pornography album, which makes a lot of sense, since I decided to listen to that one today, with Disintegration as a chaser, round about the time that the Zyrtec started to turn my spirit into vapor. Don't get me wrong. I like nothing better when I'm feeling bad than to climb inside a Cure song and shut the door to the outside world. It's just that I'd rather do that on my own initiative rather than that of a drug. The worst aspect of today's doldrums is that, because I actually have a cold, the Zyrtec did absolutely nothing to control the symptoms -- scratchy throat, runny nose -- that were bothering me the most. Think of it as the anti-Valium.

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3 comments or Leave a comment
barca_k From: barca_k Date: March 24th, 2009 01:31 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Most other rants upon the notion of existential angst ring hollow compared to this one. I don't think anyone could ever top the "I took the prescription drug which everyone said would cure me except it turned out it didn't & also made me feel like my heart was going to explode as I fell asleep & then died" thing.

Thank God Kierkegaard never had access to Zyrtec.

But I meant to reply to the bit about writing. So fickle it is. I still don't understand how I feel I'm doing really well only to feel I can't do it at all ten minutes later except that later I read the thing I did fifteen minutes after that & it makes the stuff I originally thought was brilliant look like schlock. I don't understand.

Sorry to go on so.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 24th, 2009 03:23 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That sure is how writing goes. Sometimes, if I wait long enough, I can get past the denigration of what I recently wrote to grudging admiration of what I less recently wrote.

And, yes, thank god all those existential types had no access to Zyrtec!
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: March 24th, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'm sorry you're sick. Sick is terrible. I hope you have a chance to rest and hydrate--and hide from that Zyrtec!
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