just assume I'm swearing a lot right now

As the medical establishment has yet to be any help with this round, I am left once more to my own devices.

Just to be clear, I have no issues with the idea of having to have medication on hand for the rest of my life. Better living through chemistry, and so forth. If something's broken, something's broken. If your pancreas is falling down on the job, you take insulin. My autonomic nervous system is busted, so I need sedatives. I am cool with this. Other people may not be, but they can go fuck themselves.

What I am not cool with is being beholden to someone who can arbitrarily decide I'm not doing my therapy homework right and retaliate by taking away my access to something I plainly need in order to function. The treatment they keep wanting to give me is cognitive behavioral therapy, which solves a problem I do not have. Don't get me wrong; CBT is great stuff and helped me immensely in figuring out how to deal with my mother, and then later in figuring out how to not deal with my mother anymore. When applied to anxiety disorders, the idea is that it helps you not ruminate yourself into a panic, and since that's not what I'm doing, it does fuck-all for fixing what is wrong with me. My ability to legally get hold of a substance that corrects one of the actual chemical imbalances they keep wittering on about in advertisements depends on me upholding someone else's delusion that their pet psychiatric technique is magically alleviating a thing to which it is completely irrelevant.

I'm good at blarney, but this is ridiculous. Especially when they expect me to pay for it.

In an effort to keep on truckin' as long as possible, I'm now treating mydamnself, with the help of a surprisingly respectable chemical lab somewhere in eastern Europe, and a mail order company that appears to be headquartered somewhere in Chicago. Current attempt is some stuff called phenibut, a Russian anxiolytic that has been in wide use over there for about fifty years. I have no problem telling you all this in a public blog post, because it has gone unnoticed in the US -- it's ancient and was developed by the commies, and is therefore unpatentable, so no one cares -- and is consequently completely unregulated. It probably shouldn't be, but at the moment, that is not my fucking problem. 

They send it to you as a small plastic container of fine powder. It comes with a tiny measuring scoop, an assay certificate, and absolutely no dosing instructions whatsoever, because they would not want you laboring under the unfortunate misapprehension that they are selling you drugs.

This is not a miracle substance. It carries the same general warnings as benzodiazepines: You can't use too much or too often or it'll stop working, and you'll be in misery when you run out. I was once sent home unsupervised with a 90ct bottle of Xanax tablets and I still managed to be a responsible adult with it, so I doubt that'll be a problem. Phenibut is not a proper benzo and hits a slightly different set of receptors, so it's substantially less sedating than Xanax is, but the tradeoff on that is that it takes a lot longer to kick in (2-3 hours versus 15-20 minutes) and takes fucking forever to wear off. I can function through it as I cannot function through Xanax -- I'm slower but I don't do things like stare into space so intently I miss my T stop -- but my count was about forty hours between dosing and getting full fizzy-awareness back. 

It also mixes rather poorly with other sedating drugs. Or well, I suppose, depending on your point of view. I knocked back some diphenhydramine last night to stop my eyes from itching and sixteen hours later, I have slept through my alarm by a lot and dozed off twice while trying to get dressed enough to go into town. Half a gram of caffeine is not enough to counteract the sedative hangover. Lesson learned -- no more of that unless I'm desperate and willing to lose a weekend to napping.

(Note that I was mixing sedating drugs with two completely different mechanisms of action there. Phenibut hits GABAB receptors, à la Baclofen. Diphenhydramine is an anticholinergic, which induces sleep by just suppressing acetylcholine, which is a generic multi-purpose neurotransmitter. If you figure your brain sorts incoming stimuli like a company mailroom sorts the post for delivery, then phenibut boosts the system that determines what mail is junk. Your brain gets better at sifting out all the Publishers Clearing House notices and hoodia ads and poorly-written missives from Nigerian princes before delivering the relevant mail. Anticholinergics are more like sending the chief clerk on vacation and putting a teenage temp worker in charge while he's gone. Shit just gets thrown away at random and ends up piled in a corner somewhere. It's helpful sometimes in a pinch, because it reduces the amount of stuff that gets through the gatekeeping, but it's completely indiscriminate in what it discards, and it makes me very stupid.

Mixing drugs with similar mechanisms of action is an indescribably terrible idea. Phenibut is not to be taken with benzodiazepines, any of the Z-drugs popularly used for insomnia, alcohol, Rohypnol, or GHB. It's probably technically safe to mix with NMDA antagonists like DXM and ketamine, but I don't know why you'd want to. There are much easier ways to knock yourself unconscious.)

You're supposed to test medications like this by taking them the night before a day where you don't have to do anything, just in case you get temporary narcolepsy like I evidently have. One, I don't have any of those. Two, I can't not sleep until I manage to schedule one, or I'll go insane. The stuff has given me my appetite back, which is wonderful, particularly as I just tried on my costume for the PMRP show this summer and discovered that I have accidentally lost a lot of weight since I wore that skirt last year, and now have to figure out how you take in the neck of a tuxedo blouse without disassembling it completely.

I can also crack my entire back and neck again. Everything hurts, which is actually a good sign. It means the knots are coming out.