Northward Midget Pole to Pole


MAOI Update and the Syndrome With the Funny Name

No new MAOI dosage, no more late-night milk-spilling slapstick, and no better feelings.  To be fair to the meds, the past month has been a stressful one.  The wife thinks I have Asperger Syndrome.  (Henceforth "AS" for brevity and to avoid the "ass-burger" images.) It fits my career, lifestyle, and personality, and I've suspected it myself.

Unfortunately, if it's AS and not "just" depression and anxiety, the behavior that causes us so much domestic strife is not so much a symptom of those mental diseases as it is a part of who I am and will always be -- more like Tourette Syndrome.  I cannot relate to other "normal" (neurotypical or "NT" in the AS lingo) people.  There's no pill to make me do so.  (Although I know a certain liquid that helps tremendously.)

Thus, my condition is no longer something I can overcome through therapy and medication, but something that is just part of who I am.  Hell, AS people seem to embrace it almost as much as the radical fringe of the deaf community embrace their lack of hearing.

That's not to say therapy can't help me deal with others, but now it's entirely a matter of therapy (and my willingness to make that effort) and not medication and therapy in conjunction dealing with the underlying problem and the symptoms going away.  I'll still need the medication for the comorbid bedfellows of severe depression and anxiety, but it's not going to make me into the man she wants me to be.

Is that the man I want to be?  I want to be happy, I want to sympathetic if not empathetic towards my loved ones.  I want to be a "good" husband and father.  However, before all this, before my attachments, I never wanted any attachments.  Yet, I was lonely -- but was it lonely for relationships, or lonely for physical intimacy, for sex?

When I was a kid, a lonely dateless high-school kid, I dreamt of just skipping ahead in time with some girl to the family and the white-picket fence.  Towards the end of high school and into college, as I became more depressed, well, I don't know what I wanted then.  I was still lonely, God wasn't returning my messages, and I became an atheist.  Once I found the Internet and started actually interacting with girls(!), at least virtually, I became vehemently against marriage and kids and the rest.

But, it happened.  Maybe, knowing who I was, I should have objected, but who I was (and still am) is also someone who avoids conflict (and change, to a degree) at all costs.

Anyway, what was this about?  The title says an MAOI update.  I see my psychiatrist tomorrow and I'll ask him about AS.  I'll also give my 1-10 "how do you feel" scale and downgrade it from last time's six to a four or less.  I don't know how he'll react to that.  MAOI is kind of the end of the line for me on the medication train.  I don't want to switch to something new, primarily because it means being off everything for two weeks, then allowing the new stuff another month or so to start working.  Nevertheless, 40MG a day is still a pretty low dose, he says, so maybe he'll try something higher before giving up.

As for AS, I mentioned it to my therapist and she said that people with AS usually can't function as well as I do.  That threw me, because AS is on the "high-functioning" spectrum of autism and plenty of people live successful and fulfilling(?) lives with it.  She didn't think my psychiatrist would agree with the wife's "diagnosis."  In any case, she said she'd mention it to him and look into any local therapists or psychologists who have experience with it.  We'll see.

Back to the MAOI for a moment before closing.  I've done remarkably well with it, physically.  The dietary restrictions aren't really so bad, and I haven't made any big slips or had any hypertensive crises.  Plus, last night, I took the kids across the street to their friend's house for a bonfire his parents were having.  I wrote about one of those nights before, and this one was similarly satisfying -- and booze-infused.  The upside of that side is that I had two beers and at least three cocktails and the only effect was my feeling relaxed and socially comfortable.

Plus, the kids had a great time.  We didn't go home until 10:30PM.  They played hide-and-seek with flashlights, and the girls put on a couple of their unique plays, with an encore of "The Mummy."  The eldest is one demanding director, nay -- auteur.  Her younger sister gets the parts of the vampire, the mummy, the ghost, the ghoul, the ... hunchback.  And, of course, all the male roles.

So, that's life right now as we enter the summer season.  Things will probably be a lot different when the girls start school in the fall.  The anxiety is about whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, and the unknown encounters on the path from here to there.


Posted by Quinn

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  1. Thanks for these notes, and the diet log.

    Happy you haven’t had any hypertensive issues.

    With high-dose emsam (18 mg), I’ve had a few BP blips (20-30 mmHg) with easily identifiable causes: a bunch of (non-caffeinated) diet soda (phenylalanine, I take it); old-ish yet unspoiled bread(!) & bacon (tyramine?); a few fresh soy-bean pods (l-dopa?).

    I’m married, and couldn’t fathom having children without being in remission, but time will run out…

  2. Wow, bread? I’ve heard of the soda, and bacon is definitely a no-no, and something about “broad beans”, like fava. That’s an interesting bit of trivia, actually: Hannibal Lecter suggests eating someone’s liver with fava beans and a nice chianti, all three of which are forbidden for MAOI takers.

  3. I read all of your blog entries this week, Quinn. Twice. Thank you for this honest, reflective, and courageous glimpse into your struggle with depression and anxiety. My yougest son, John, is 29 and this been his struggle, too, for 15 years. Reading your blog has given me some understanding and insight into my son’s life. I cannot find the words to express my gratitude to you for this. So, I’ll just thanks again. Please don’t stop blogging.


    • Thanks so much, Patricia. I was wondering if anyone actually read this. I have an update (mostly marriage-related, but thus related to depression), but haven’t had the time nor inclination to write it. Will try to do so soon. Best of luck to you and your family.

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