It’s been a bit of a challenging week here so far, so you’ll have to forgive me for being a little forgetful about keeping everyone in blog-world updated. I had the misfortune to, a few days ago, run out of my prescription Valium about a week before the next prescription was to be filled. This is completely my fault; rather than being on the suggested dose of 5mg per day, I’ve been steadily using 7.5 mg per day for the past few months, the “set point” at which the desired effect of the drug sets in.

For anyone who hasn’t experience with this type of drug, Valium, and all the drugs in the benzo family (Xanax, Klonopin, and Librium, to name a few) are frequently prescribed—and over-prescribed—for anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, and as one of many drugs in the cocktail used to successfully treat bi-polar depression. My experience with benzos started after my first admission to the ER in July, returning from a trip to the beach where I’d gotten heatstroke and 2nd degree burns, and started to experience lightheadedness, chronic vertigo, intolerance to light, and worst of all, these never-ending moments where I felt as if I were having a heart attack. Finally, three weeks after my symptoms began, I started hearing a “wooshing” sound in my ear that drowned out everything, and intense spasms under my ear. I thought I had an aneurysm, so I went to the ER.

After a lot of tests, they found nothing was wrong with me except “sinus tachycardia” (an exceptionally high pulse rate) and an elevated BP, probably due to the chronic panic attacks I’d been having. (I didn’t know they were panic attacks, as I’d never had one before. I legitimately thought I was dying.) They put me on Ativan (another benxo) and antibiotics for a supposed ear infection. Although the Ativan let me sleep, the vertigo and light intolerance never let up, and as soon as I was out of Ativan, the panic attacks returned. 3 trips to the ER later, they’ve put me on a beta-blocker to keep my pulse rate from elevating and a long-term anxiety drug called BuSpar.

From my perspective, BuSpar is evil. From the second day I was on it, I was sitting in the dark (because I couldn’t stand light) with vertigo too bad to ride in the car, and a serious fear of leaving my room. I cried for hours at a time. I wrote suicide notes and burned personal letters and diary entries I didn’t want anyone to find when I was gone. I seriously needed help. I didn’t get it. The doctor told my boyfriend that it took 10 days or so for the body to get used to the drug. By day 7, I was on the phone with 911. I couldn’t stand the movement of the ambulance, and I thought my head was going to explode. The right side of my face was paralyzed. In the ambulance, they told me I was exhibiting signs of “aura” (associated with migraines and seizures) and my pulse was 180, high enough to indicate a trans-ischemic-attack, rare in a previously healthy 30-year-old.

That’s when I met Valium. After a CAT scan, MRI, and tons of blood work, nobody could find a thing wrong with me. My scary symptoms were caused by a negative reaction to BuSpar, which works by blocking your dopamine levels. Oooops. If being on BuSpar was bad, the three days I spent detoxing from it were worse. They prescribed me Valium to help me through withdrawals, at 20 mg a day, a very high dosage for a petite woman with limited tolerance to prescription drugs. I still had horrible BuSpar withdrawals; “brain zap” that felt like electric shocks going through my brain, shaking, constant headaches, the inability to sleep or leave bed for days. I immediately made an appointment with a neurologist, given a history of epilepsy in my family, and arrived in a wheelchair, wearing sunglasses, unable to stand without assistance. Thanks, BuSpar.

Many doctors and many tests later, what they discovered is nobody knows what’s wrong with me. I’m off caffeine, limit chocolate and alcohol, and don’t put any drugs in my system that don’t come from the doctor. The result was always the same: I have a generalized anxiety disorder. I’m not coping with life. Take your benzos and see a psychiatrist. They tried me on Xanax and Klonopin, as well as Antivert for the vertigo. Nothing worked.

Nothing, that is, except Valium. Although I’ve inconveniently gained 20 pounds as the result of Valium + beta-blocker (my heart rate no longer rises high enough to burn calories, and beta-blockers are notorious culprits of a 7-10 pound weight gain due to water weight, while Valium makes you want to sleep instead of exercise.); I am actually functional. I self-adjusted my dose over time, finding out that at about 7.5 mg of Valium, I don’t have vertigo. I don’t have panic attacks (although, ironically, I do sometimes panic about having panic attacks, which manifests as a form of social anxiety. Two drinks with vodka, and it’s gone, which tells me it’s an anxiety issue.). I sleep more than I ever have in my entire life:;9-10 hours uninterrupted.

Since then, it’s been discovered by visits to specialists that I may be dealing with a vestibular (inner ear) issue that causes the vertigo, which in turn caused panic attacks, which in turn caused high blood pressure and pulse. So, possibly, I have a physical disorder that shouldn’t be treated with psychiatric drugs, or heart medication. Unfortunately, until a diagnosis and cure is established, the only thing that keeps my vertigo and panic attacks at bay seems to be Valium.

Valium is highly addictive. The Prozac of the 1960′s, it was called “Mother’s Little Helper”, because it was given as the cure-all for stressed out, disenchanted housewives who needed jobs and a nanny instead. Nowadays, doctors dislike prescribing it, because you can get addicted to it in as little as a week. If you abruptly stop using it, you can expect detox symptoms ranging from shaking, vomiting, and the inability to function as a human being to seizures, coma, and even death. (Amy Winehouse was on the benzo Librium when she died, though she obviously disregarded the “Do not mix with alcohol” warning.)

I’ve been using Valium for well over 4 months. I am on a very low dosage, but two separate times I’ve tried to discontinue use, I’ve had severe side effects. Quitting Valium is apparently a long-term plan; one that involves your doctors lowering your dose every 3-4 weeks until you’re basically done with it. My doctors aren’t aware of this, which is information out there at every rehab center and on every medical advice website. They simply want me to stop taking it, so they’re not going to prescribe it anymore.

Never mind that they haven’t fixed the primary reason I’m using it in the first place: my vertigo and panic attacks leave me alone and help me function. For a time, I was on the brink of losing my job and not able to leave my house. Now, life is often normal for weeks at a time, courtesy of the “not messing with my drugs program”.

I now basically have 3 weeks to see the ear doctor and hope for some sort of diagnosis that will help me get past all this, and a psychiatrist or GP that sees the value in either keeping me on Valium or doing a safe detox plan. On top of it all, I’m broke and my insurance doesn’t want to pay…they’re dubbing everything a “pre-existing condition”, although no one knows what condition I have.

So, I spent the past few days going through physical and emotional hell because I dropped my Valium dosage from 7.5 to 2-2.5 mg a day. I couldn’t cope. I finally got a refill, with the caveat that there would be no more Valium for me, so I need to find a qualified doctor to handle this problem.

As if I weren’t stressed and broke enough…now it’s back to hunting for doctors, solutions, and finding more guesses and experiments than actual answers. And I have a limited time frame to accomplish it, if I don’t want to spend the holiday season in my bed, detoxing from Valium.

Don’t mean to sound whiny, because I know plenty of people have it worse. But when life decides it hates you, it really throws some crappy shit your way, and says “Let’s see you get out of this one”, while laughing hysterically.

During this rather depressing period, I’ve been reading a biography of Sylvia Plath (there’s something for every mood, I guess). Interesting character; one it’s a little to easy for me to identify with, with her oversensitivity, attraction to older and accomplished men, perfectionistic and ultimately masochistic nature, and high level of intuition. I mentioned to a friend that, as far as the Jungian/Meyers-Briggs types go, Intuitive Feelers seem to have the most difficult road in life, either becoming so disenchanted with themselves and the world that they commit suicide or get involved in self-destructive situations, or try to save the world, only to become disillusioned and depressed when they cannot. Just as there’s been much written about the link between creative genius and insanity, or at least eccentricity, there also seems to be a link between NF personalities and the ability to live a long, quiet, understated life.

Plath’s story is sad, but the sadder one belongs to her husband, Ted Hughes. A poet who is also a narcissist, sadistic, and likely meets many of the markers for being labeled a psychopath, he not only pushed his manic-depressive wife to stick her head in the oven, denying us years of literary genius—but years later, the woman he had an affair with while married to Plath would also commit suicide, killing his child along with her.

Sylvia Plath is an understandable tragedy. She lived a lifetime suffering from inherited bi-polar depression, in a time when nobody knew what bi-polar depression was. The story of Ted Hughes makes far less sense. From a psychological standpoint, at least, it’s interesting how one person can have the power to destroy without ever lifting a finger.

Because of my recent undiagnosed illness, and the difficulty with irregular blood pressure and pulse rate, I am supposed to keep my anxiety and activity levels low for the time being. Not only does this mean I’m on medicine that makes me want to sleep 12 hours a day (which I don’t have the luxury of doing, because the dog has to get walked, and rarely will my roommate think to do it so I can sleep in, even when he’s up.), and I’ve gained 20 pounds between retaining water and not being able to exercise, and I have no money because my job put me on “probation” for the entire month of October and effectively cut my workload by 2/3rds, it also means my social outings last less than three hours and frequently involve some level of panic attack or social anxiety getting there. The fact that I have not been diagnosed or treated means I still have symptoms of anxiety, need to be careful monitoring my blood pressure, and am on Valium every waking moment for vertigo, and still get 2 to 3 “migraines with aura” each month.

The condition they think I might have is a complex one, one that requires a $1200 test my insurance won’t cover just to get a diagnosis. The traditional treatment for this problem is 6 months of bed rest to see if it heals on its own, benzos (in my case, Valium, the only one I can tolerate.) for vertigo and anxiety, and treatment for depression or other associated issues. If the problem does not heal itself, surgery on the inside of the ear is needed.

You’d think all this would be the breaking point for me: the 12 doctors, the insurance company that isn’t convinced I don’t have a “pre-existing condition” and won’t pay for anything, the lack of funds to get the diagnosis and subsequent treatment I need, the constant calls from creditors, the potential Valium addiction, and the fact that my mother just had her 5th stroke and won’t leave the house, and my father is in a nursing home facing the loss of his legs. You’d think this would be the breaking point for someone they DON’T repeatedly point at and say “You have an anxiety disorder”, much less me.

But it’s not. Somehow, I’ve been surviving. The breaking point is the lack of understanding from those in my life.

My roommate has been stressed; he has depression and anxiety and is working 50 hours a week. So, he doesn’t do things around the house, leaves a dirty panini maker with smelly chicken grease on it for days, dishes piled up in the sink, and is constantly leaving me notes or calling me during my work day so I can do favours for him.

Today, he sends me an e-mail telling me I need to cut him some slack because he spends all his time working. (I complained about the panini maker). Then he asked if I could load and unload the dishwasher, walk the dog when he normally does, and etc. He said “You’re the one that’s home, and you’re doing it with medication”.

Never mind that, yes, I’m trying to do everything on a combo of medication that would keep most people my size asleep for the past three months. Never mind that I don’t exactly get slack: he has friends over to watch TV (and not a single one of them, or the TV is quiet), knowing I get migraines from lights and noise and am supposed to be RESTING. He doesn’t do me the favour of walking the dog before work so I can get some extra sleep, knowing that with my meds, I need it…even when he’s up. I don’t get a free pass for being sick; if I don’t do stuff, nobody else will. If I don’t do my work, I get fired. And everything he asks me to do, I do…I don’t complain about how stressed I am and how much I work. Prior to getting sick, I’d easily work 50 hours a week, every week, and have the stress of deadlines and other people working for me to manage. It didn’t mean anyone cut me any slack.

And by the way, I am not AT HOME. I am WORKING AT HOME. There is a difference.

And then there’s the Guy I Am Currently Dating, who, on one hand, tries to help me out through this difficult time as much as possible, supports me when I can’t leave the house, runs errands for me, reads the stupid crap I write, loves me even when I doubt my ability to succeed at something as basic as monogamy and committment, and has even offered to help me pay for the cost of the expensive test I need. On the other hand, when I forget to do something on my to-do list, he lectures and pushes about it, reminding me of how the situation is only going to get worse and worse and worse, not a great technique for someone with anxiety that’s prone to feeling unable to handle the weight of the world on her shoulders. When I asked him to stop because I couldn’t handle the anxiety he was creating, he then got withdrawn and “Fine. Whatever. You don’t want me to talk”. On a good day, someone shutting down and just being unwilling to communicate because they don’t like what you have to say is a tactic that raises my blood pressure through the roof, and hurts me intensely. I had to hang up the phone on him, because I couldn’t handle the arguing and the way he was upsetting me.

All this after he pointed out how physically and practically difficult it was going to be for me to get home for Christmas…which I already know…but that the alternative is missing out on what might be the last Christmas my family is ever able to spend together. And instead, I’d be alone in my sad little apartment on Christmas, eating my TV dinner, because he’ll be with his mom, the woman who lovingly referred to me as the ugliest piece of shit ever, Casey Anthony, and when I was out of the hospital for a day, told me three times she hoped I’d die.

The question isn’t why doesn’t anyone cut me some slack, or why am I having a hard time coping. The question is why don’t I spend more days feeling suicidal, because not being here would make life so much easier to deal with.

I’m tired of being alone. I’m tired of nobody understanding what I’m going through. I’m tired of being the one it’s OK to treat like shit and dump all of your crap on because your life is hard.

NO. It is NOT OKAY.

Meanwhile, I still have to work and maintain a semblance of a normal life and can’t sleep the 12 hours a day the drugs I’m on want me to because I still need to work, and there’s never enough time or money or energy.

Many of the doctors I’ve seen have suggested all of my symptoms are psychiatric, and there’s not a single thing physically wrong with me. While I don’t agree with that, and there’s enough evidence to support the idea that I, in fact, have an inner ear disorder that was the trigger for my anxiety and panic problems, I’ve come to see that I do in fact have some form of anxiety disorder.

I resisted everyone telling me that because I’ve been through tough situations and always been able to cope. So, to all of the sudden, experience debilitating panic attacks, extreme social anxiety (an irony for a person who’s never been happy being less than the centre of attention, and couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t like large groups of people), and an emotional feeling of “If you push me one step further, I am going to snap and go postal” that it’s hard to control…it doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve always been stronger than that.

For the first time, I see why I might have developed an anxiety disorder that reached a breaking point after 30 years. It is because inside, I am sad. I am angry. I am totally pissed at being marginalised, put down, unappreciated, or the one who is always there to take the brunt of a negative situation or pick up the slack because I’m a good daughter, a good friend, a good co-worker, a good Meetup organizer, a good roommate. I’m angry that, when I’m the one who needs help, most people are focused on themselves, or look at me helplessly saying “I don’t know what to do.”

I’m pissed off because I don’t want to be the strong one, the fixer, the one who constantly gets kicked around by life, but dusts herself off and smiles and goes out for drinks. I don’t want to be the one who gets treated horribly and is required to hear horrible things about herself or is just ignored because I’m empathetic and compassionate and understand you have problems.

Know who has problems? ME.

I’m angry because I don’t deserve to be the one you always want to change and think love is about pointing out “Here’s what’s wrong with you”; the one you care about but won’t leave your wife and family for; the soulmate you wouldn’t choose over money and stability; the one you loved but cheated on and lied to for years until you married someone else; the one you hook up with and never call back, or tell all your friends about it later; the one you try to drive out of town with rumours and gossip and are cruel to because you don’t approve of her choices and lifestyle; the one you pretend to be friends with but bash behind her back; the one you have to pretend you don’t have history with or feelings for because it doesn’t fit in how our lives work today; the one you love now but won’t leave your overly clingy mother to start a life with somewhere as independent adults; the one you get close to and then push away because you “just can’t deal with it”; the one you turn to when life is rough for you but don’t really need the rest of the time; the one that’s just not worth noticing despite being a largely fucking amazing human being.

Know who else just can’t handle it? ME.

And maybe now that I’m sufficiently pissed off I won’t have anxiety anymore. That would be awesome,if it turned out that my anxiety was just 30 years of repressed desire to punch other people in the face, instead of being nice and smiling and hoping everyone still likes me.

Know who just doesn’t care anymore if you like her? ME.

It’s time to start taking care of me and putting me first, because apparently not doing that makes you one amazingly pissed off human being, but since anger, rage, frustration, and punching others in the face are not kind and ladylike ways to respond to situations, you have a martini and smile and call your best friend to vent.

It’s not enough. It doesn’t work. And that’s why I know so many people in their 20′s and 30′s on anxiety medications or mistakenly told they’re “depressed” or “bi-polar”, and put on a pill or two that makes them feel that way if they didn’t already. That’s why it’s easy enough to eat tons of junk food or just not eat anything at all, in an attempt to make the stress go away. That’s why it’s easy enough to start drinking as soon as the office shuts down. That’s why we’re a society of broke, pissed off people with tons of responsibilities that are addicted to one thing or another and often define “happy” as the point in time when other people leave you alone and let you sleep.

Plenty of people work 50 hours a week, so clean up the freaking panini maker.

#OccupyAlaynasApartment

I am determined that once I successfully withdraws from (prescription) Valium in a non-dangerous way that a *knowledgeable* doctor recommends, I am not taking any drugs, period. The culture of prescribing one drug because another drug made you feel bad, and then the one that works for you is one you’re not allowed to use long term is making doctors and pharm companies rich, but causing people harm. :( I feel a great disillusionment with the medical system, the insurance companies, and the pill pushing society in which we live.

Earlier this week, I went to a doctor highly recommended by a friend. After being ill for months for reasons undetermined, and accruing $30,000 in medical bills and tests, the results show I’m perfectly healthy except for a high pulse rate and unstable blood pressure, and some sinus issues. About 8 doctors have told me that my problems stem from anxiety, and so I have plans to be evaluated by a psychiatrist soon.

In the meantime, they’ve prescribed meds. Lots of meds. They gave two rounds of antibiotics for an ear infection I never had, vertigo meds for vertigo I don’t have, and started me on Ativan for anxiety and Atenolol (a beta-blocker) for my heart. Ativan was wonderful but addictive, so they switched me to BuSpar (apparently a form of Wellbutrin). Within a day, I was experiencing excruciating migraines, crying for 3 hours a day, feeling suicidal, and a host of other unpleasant symptoms. One morning, I woke up with a pulse rate of 188 (while also on the beta-blocker; I’d possibly not be here if I hadn’t been taking that.), uncontrollable shaking, and a feeling of numbness, paralysis, and loss of vision on the right side of my head. That earned me a trip in an ambulance, and a whole day of tests.

All my tests were negative, so they said I was having a particularly negative reaction to BuSpar. I had an MRI, a CT scan, lots of blood work…all showed I’m a normal healthy girl. I’ve been to the neurologist, cardiologist, and allergist, all to find everything about me is healthy.

Except, of course, I’ve been sick to the point where I can’t participate normally in my own life…so, of course, it’s possible that anxiety or another psychiatric illness is to blame. In order to alleviate my withdrawal symptoms from BuSpar, I got put on Valium.

And that’s when life got better….not all at once, but better. The ENT got me off nasal spray and over-the-counter decongestants, and the feelings of migraines and vertigo disappeared. I stopped wearing my sunglasses indoors. I made it out to social events again. I was exhausted, courtesy of the drugs, but spent a few weeks feeling almost normal.

Then, on Monday, I saw this doctor highly recommended by a friend…I mean HIGHLY, as in the girl credits this doctor with helping to save her life. The doctor was nice and all, but since I felt relatively well, I thought the worst was behind me. I asked her about cutting back on my heart medication. Unfortunately, she thought to take me off of Valium, and put me on Xanax.

I was succeeding with tapering off the Valium on my own. They started me on 20mg, and I reduced it to 5. Once I realised I wasn’t getting any more, I cut back to 2.5, where I started to have symptoms of anxiety and ear spasms again, but still manageable. Today, my first day with no Valium, I felt great.

Then, out of nowhere, BOOM! I’m on the floor, dizzy, my heart is racing, and everything feels out of control. So, I decided to give in and take half a Xanax, assuming I was having a panic attack. Almost immediately, my heart rate shot up, I became extremely anxious, started crying, and then got depressed….the kind where killing yourself seems like a viable option. My fingers and toes went numb. My pulse went from almost 100 to in the low 60′s. I started feeling hostility, as if I hated the whole world and wanted everyone to die. I’m again sensitive to light, afraid to sleep, overly sensitive to touch, headachy, and depressed. Pretty much the same symptoms I had on BuSpar.

My research shows that this doctor made a huge mistake in addressing my use of Valium. In fact, many of my symptoms are on the list of common withdrawal symptoms from Valium, and it suggests that Valium be tapered off over 4-6 weeks to avoid these potentially serious withdrawal symptoms. On top of it, it seems I can’t tolerate any type of anti-anxiety/anti-depressant med so far, with the exception of Ativan and Valium. For all I know, I don’t even HAVE anxiety, and I still have a physical illness that Valium helps reduce the symptoms of.

Either way, all I know is that this has been the worst summer of my life, and these doctors are going to have me in the psych ward by playing Russian Roulette with drugs, simply because I’m having scary symptoms that can’t be explained. And the thing that helps is the thing that’s now potentially caused me a drug addiction problem.

It kind of sucks to be me lately. I’d much rather be anyone else.

It seems like there’s a lot I’d like to sit down and write about, mostly stressful personal situations going on in my life. I’d like to update the world on the ongoing struggles with my health, and also an amazingly upsetting incident a few weeks ago that involved The Mother Of The Guy I Am Currently Dating leaving voicemails on my machine designed to tear me down, and ended with threats to do me harm if I didn’t leave Atlanta (for good measure); confusion about the future of my relationship (and specifically, if there is one there), and my ability to be independent and start all over again, should that need to happen; and the audacity of a girl in my Meetup that was not only incredibly rude to me when I interacted with her, but wrote to The Guy I Am Currently Dating to ask him out to dinner without running it by me first. I’d like to vent about the isolation that’s come with two months of illness, and the disappointment in friendships and infatuations that aren’t what you put into them, specifically when some people simply are the type you can’t get too close to, or they’ll pull a disappearing act.

Perhaps I could talk about Dragon*Con, and the anxiety I’m feeling over going, because my recent struggles with anxiety and medication have left me fighting with odd symptoms of social anxiety disorder, and because the medication I am on caused me to gain 8 pounds and feel less loving toward myself than ever before. (especially given some of the commentary delivered by The Mother Of The Guy I Am Currently Dating.) I could talk about how I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t believe anyone could find me attractive on any level; physically, emotionally, mentally, or just by virtue of being a “nice” person, and how I’m not sure how to interact with a world that doesn’t naturally emphasise my attractive qualities lately.

However, all those things seem stressful, so when I sit down to write, a blank screen stares at me, and I leave to do something else. Instead, I’ll share some of the things I’m infatuated with lately.


*Spotify. A new service that’s part ITunes, part Rhapsody, and one of the best ways I’ve found lately to discover new music, as well as share what I love with others. In theory, it can also help keep your music collection organised, but I’m afraid it takes a lot more to organise me.
*Christina Perri. A tattooed, long-haired native Philadelphian who channels a strange mix of Alanis Morrisette, Tori Amos, and Norah Jones, this girl is one of the more talented and unique voices to show up in the pop world in a long time. Her “Jar Of Hearts” caught my attention, as well as that of the radio stations, a few months ago, and immediately charted impressively on Billboard before Christina even signed with a label, or released a CD. Her first album is out in the UK right now, calledLovestrong, and is available on her website. Oh, and she’s a great supporter of To Write Love On Her Arms, one of my own favourite causes.


*Marie Antoinette One of the women in history that fascinates me to no end, I’m planning my own spin on a modern-day Marie Antoinette costume for Dragon*Con this year. And, just in time, I’m preparing to read Juliet Gray’s “Becoming Marie Antoinette”, the first book in the trilogy about this controversial coquette.

*Big Brother 13 Despite the fact I haven’t put any serious effort into campaigning to get myself on the show since making it to the final auditions way back in 2000, I still love the show just the same. And this year, I have Showtime, which means I can watch 3 hours a day (fortunately, while multitasking life.) It’s trashy, stupid, predictable, and I love it. Still cheering on the women America loves to hate, and waiting to see Rachel Reilly try to win the whole thing for her (and her cheating, controlling man.)

*Swap-Bot.Com I have always loved mail, and confess to an online shopping habit and missing the days when letters came in envelopes with stickers and handwritten love was usually involved. Today’s love letters to the world—and one another—are usually digital, and just not quite the same. (though, every once in a while, I’ll find myself getting excited when I see an e-mail from an old friend.) I also enjoy being crafty, unique, and sending little care packages to my friends…but the problem is, I don’t know many people like me. The last card I received from The Guy I Am Currently Dating basically signed his name, and the last present anyone gave me was tossed in a bag rather than gift-wrapped. Needless to say, I’m delighted to find a new hobby in Swap-Bot, where you can find like-minded pen pals and artsy folks, and even some writers and artists looking to get to know others. I highly recommend signing up and playing along!

I guess that’s all for me…ending on a positive note, so I can save my energy to recount some (if not all) of life’s dramas at a later date. See you over on Facebook! (do follow me if you’re a reader who’s not already a friend.I like to know who’s out there, but not enough to enable comments! ;P )

I had a number of different topics to write about recently, but I think the theme for the week is this: crazy people.

This particular post got moved to the front of the writing ideas queue because once again, my roommate had an out-of-town friend imposing on our hospitality, and staying with us. In the past, my roommate has had a friend whom I call The Most Obnoxious Man In The World stay with us. He eats our food, stays out at the clubs until 5 AM, wakes up the entire house by slamming doors and turning lights on, makes rude and demeaning comments to and in front of women, talks loudly on his cell phone while everyone else is sleeping, and is generally the most inconsiderate person I’ve ever met.

That is, until I met Ted. Of course, the visitor’s name is not really Ted, but he kind of looks like a Ted, so it’ll do for descriptive purposes.

On first glance, Ted seemed nice and hospitable. Despite the fact that I’ve been seriously ill for 6 weeks, behind on work, and need peace, quiet, and non-stressful situations in my life as much as possible, my roommate thought it was a good idea to let Ted stay here, AND have two of his guy friends over to cook dinner. Said guy friends are very nice and polite…one actually did cook dinner for all of us, and cleaned up, despite my objections…..but we live in a 1300 square foot apartment with a tiny kitchen, and AC that doesn’t work properly. There’s very little room, and when people are over, talking and watching TV, it is not restful. It is not a low-stress environment. It is not conducive to work, and this is why I rarely have anyone over, outside of The Guy I Am Currently Dating.

We also have 2 bedrooms, and four couches, and none of them are well-suited for visitors, in that they don’t pull out into sofa beds, or provide any level of comfort. In short, we’re well-equipped for having people over to watch a movie or hang out, but when all is said and done, they need to go home.

That being said, it’s a little annoying that my roommate keeps having out-of-town visitors we don’t have space for, but it would be the tolerable inconvenience if said visitors were polite and respectful. Last night, after dinner was eaten and cleaned up and my roommate’s two guy friends went home for the evening (it was 11 PM on a Sunday, so that seemed an appropriate time to call it an evening.), my roommate took Ted out to his favourite local bar for some drinks.

All seemed well and good until my roommate returns at 2 AM, extremely anxious, without Ted. Ted apparently wanted to drink more and more at the bar, and the next thing you know, Ted is attempting to score cocaine from guys who appear to be dealers at the bar. On a side note: Seriously, how do you know who is a coke dealer at a bar you’ve never been to, in a city that’s brand new to you? I’d like to point out that, probably because I’m not into drugs,I’ve only met drug dealers at bars/restaurants a handful of times, and in all those experiences, the offending individuals were owners/management of the venue. (and offers were declined. Don’t do drugs.:P )I would have no idea how to go to a bar and find a drug dealer. But, apparently, Ted does.

My roommate, sensing trouble on the way, told the bouncer that Ted was being a little unruly, and it was time for him to get cut off. The bouncer told Ted to close out his tab and leave, and that should have been the end of it. Instead, Ted gives his wallet, keys, cash, cell phone, and other items to my roommate, and proceeds to leave the bar in a car with the aforementioned strangers/potential-drug-dealers.

At this point, the only thing my roommate knows Ted has is my roommate’s cell number, since it seemed ill-advised to give our address to a guy riding around the area with sketchy strangers, drunk, possibly high, and very likely to attract police attention. However, the problem turned into “Where did Ted go?” and “How is he going to find his way home?”.

Finally at 5 AM, there’s a loud knock on the door, and voices. Lights go on and off, doors slam open and shut, and I have no idea who is in the house…whether it’s Ted, police, or angry drug dealers. All I know is I’m scared shitless, despite taking my evening Valium (prescription drugs are OK. :P ), and pretending not to be in the house. Finally after 6, it seemed that everyone was back in the house, and we all went to sleep…which would be great if I didn’t have to work, being Monday morning and all.

I wake up, and my roommate is on the couch, and Ted is passed out in my roommate’s bed. 2 PM, and he’s still here, sleeping it off. I find that Ted had been doing shots from my bar, and left the sticky shot glass sitting on the counter, so it was covered with ants, and the cheese I had bought to make grilled cheese this week was opened and used by not me.

I don’t understand. I’ve been a Couchsurfer for years, and have met many interesting people, and felt welcome at many different places. But I’d never dream of any of this behaviour that seems to characterise my roommate’s friends. I’d never abuse hospitality of a stranger, but especially not a friend.

I do like my roommate, especially since he’s been working on getting his life together, and has become a more considerate individual with whom to live—and because he adores my dog. But experiences like today’s make me believe I really need my own space, my own calm, and my own anxiety-free living situation. Perhaps some people are just “alone” types, while others are less bothered and feel less infringed-upon by rude visitors. I think I’m the first.