So someone reached out to me after reading my blog post years ago about Post Interferon Headaches, and I simply wish I had more to give them. The sad truth is that I do not. Myself and the one other person I know that went through Interferon both suffer with VERY consistent and painful headaches. We both take different medications from time to time, Prodrin, Sudafed seems to knock them out sometimes, the real kind, with pseudophedrine, not the fake shit they try to peddle on us, the real deal they make meth out of, haha, but frankly even that only works about half the time, and I hate the way it makes me feel these days.

I wrote more about this years back, but having someone reach out, made me realize I’m still struggling with the same issue. My current, as in right now, strategy, is to take topomax and see if this helps, but it takes a few weeks to get up to the proper dosage. As I type I have a headache and the topomax feels like what the immitrex, celexa, wellbutrin and everything else did, a poor mask and substitute.

I sure as hell wish we could find a damn attorney willing to take on a class action lawsuit, but I guess the fact that it saved our lives makes us looks ungrateful and therefore not a fantastic court case, but they phased out our form of medication for a new shorter version, because the version we took created, haha, flu like symptoms, which is like calling Chemotherapy, PMS.

Look – I’m grateful, I am, I’d be dead otherwise, but it’s been almost ten years, and me and everyone I know that has ever taken Interferon with Ribavirin is still suffering, and that is some bullshit.

That said, again I’m alive, I’m cured of Hepatitis C, and I’m grateful, truly.

I’m also very successful in software sales, and able to power through with different kinds of medication, it can be done. I’m not doctor, and had I been, I think I’d have lost the ability to focus that effectively. My concentration is lacking, and my number skills, which used to be in the 99th percentile are definitely no longer in that range. I know interferon caused permanent damage to the way i think feel and compute, but you know, I compensate in other ways. is right around the corner with a relaunch, the book too is being revamped, thanks for reading. If you still trudge  or stumbled on this site, keep on trucking, maybe they’ll create something soon that clears it up. They cured Hep C didn’t they!!


I paid a professional editor a SIGNIFICANT amount of money, though she managed to still leave several noticeable errors in the manuscript, I went ahead and moved forward anyway. Well lo and behold, I go to publish and she not only has a panic attack via email, but also threatens to sue me for using her name, as the editor.

Man, I can not begin to tell you how frustrating this was, considering how much I had paid her, and also just how prideful of her it is, to make me go back and change the whole book, the amazon entry, the Lightning Source manuscript, everything, back to the drawing board.

Well, I supposed nobody died, and as Robert Frost, in all his intricate wisdom stated of what he knew of life for certain, “It goes on.”

This is true. I have learned from that mistake, I must always ask, and get permission to use ANYONE’s name on anything I publish and write about. I always want to yell, “but nobody reads my book!” What are you getting so worked up about.

The ISBN system, copyright, copy editing, full editing, man it gets tiresome. Some days i wish I’d picked a different pet project.

That said, I think I’m closer than I’ve ever been. I’m more prepared now, than I was before.

And if I can bring traffic to the site, via free books, then I can give publishers visibility, and even if creating a studio in my home, and doing freelance audio-book readings is the next step, well then so be it, I can read. And I have a nice voice, hell that is my day job.

So I’ll press forward, and try to bring help to other rookie writers like myself, that didn’t get official schooling, or were otherwise preoccupied with bills and survival, to get published, noticed, and create some revenue stream from their work. It’s only been 20 years , whats a few more on this journey.

-Jared Bryan Smith

Sigh Amazon./ Jeff Bezo’s couldn’t look more like the bald bad guy in Austin Powers if he tried. Whose going to get Mars first, you or Musk, my money is literally on Musk (in stock) , because Amazon sucks ass. Case in point: Megan Kelly’s negative book reviews removed because they were politically motivated. Oh, isn’t that inconvenient for her, meanwhile the rest of us peasants plebes and philistines, just have to SUCK IT when our ex’s get online and write a terrible review. At least Megan can have her hand picked reviews left at the top though, I don’t even think I can delete my book from Amazon, much less the one shiite review, that cmon is at least a little politically motivated. I mean cmon Amazon can you just give us like a few aces up our sleeve, like a wildcard option, please just don’t let these three or so ex’s leave reviews, because I mean cmon it just isn’t fair.

I digress, the one bad review shall remain I guess, unless they have a change of heart, which three years into its presence does not seem likely. Sigh. Acceptance is the key to all life’s problems I guess.

Anyway, this bittersweet re launching of the book, with the revamped site right around the corner is about as lackluster as publicity can possibly go, probably because after spending another 10 grand , hiring a professional editor, and spending hours with an internet guru in India it just hardly seems worth it, man I need a better publicist, this is the worst advertising ever.

The book needed a new name though because as much as I liked the name Hippopotamus Sea, it’s marketing value in the Amazon, Google Bing Yahoo search indexes of the world was next to nothing. Now at least there is something applicable in the title to the actual subject, and despite it being VERY imperfect, it has been professionally edited and combed over for the grammatical errors the original was plagued with. That being said, I still found a few, but frankly wasn’t worth  me resubmitting the PDF to LightingSource to reset the ole Gutenberg Press…. which is a joke, that is not how they do it anymore, but you get the point, it’s a pain in the ass, and close enough is about how I feel about this book. I really wanted it to be perfect, but books are not perfect things this journey has taught me. Nor is life. People leave bad reviews and don’t like you, it’s just life, nothing is perfect.

Anyway, the new book should be up on Amazon in the next few days, in paperback. So if you left a review, positive ones anyway, would be greatly appreciated if you would go leave another. If you left a negative one, I’m literally at your mercy, apologize profusely for whatever wrongs I ever committed and beg you not to leave a negative one moving forward. I actually have been told the book helps people from a lot of different people from all over the world and it really is the ONLY reason I wrote the embarrassing book to begin with. It’s helpful to see that others, and there are millions of people yearly, that find out they have Hep C and need to get sober as well, can find someone who has done so. I’m now 7 years or so Hep C free, with all the side effects finally gone, headaches, aches and pains and what have you, and on Xmas Eve I’ll have 10 years sober.

That is a real deal miracle right there, and even better, there is now a MUCH easier medication to defeat Hep C, and even though it’s expensive HAVE HOPE, mine was 50k a year also and Roche Diagnostics put me in a program that made the medication 100% free. God is good and I am thankful.


So after nine years of sobriety, and four solid years at the career, and what now, five years since the original release of Hippopotamus Sea: My Viral Sobriety, I have finally had a professional editor take a look at, and work on the book, and it is finished. Well everything but the title.

It will be fun to re-release and see if the more simplified title gets any better traction, and will also be therapeutic to be able to say, OK, this is now finally done.

Life is good, and just as promised, had I wished for everything I currently have in early sobriety, I would have sold myself short. I am the top software salesman in a half a billion dollar company and I travel the perfect amount of time, about once every two months to major cities, New York, LA, Vegas, Chicago and I do software presentations for an industry I enjoy, commercial construction.

My health scare of last year, the imminent Aortic heart valve leak, and 4 aneurysms, turns out to be manageable, and only prevents me from lifting weights, which is fine, tho I do miss it slightly, and gives me a pool as the next goal on the new house I bought. They really did scare me though, last year told me open heart surgery  was imminent, but I guess the issues didn’t grow in a years time so I just have large heart valves, sort of like my 17.5 inch neck, guess I’m just short and stocky, and it messes with their measurements. Whatever, I’m glad I’m not getting a new titanium heart valve that is all I know. Guess I quit cocaine and drinking and smoking not a moment too soon!

The house, has been a challenge, but one I’m almost embarrassed to talk about because it is such a first world privilege problem.  First of all I didn’t want to buy a suburban house, and so my sister turned me on to a Mid-Century Modern neighborhood in Atlanta, and I absolutely love it. The flat roofs accentuates the sound of rain and you can even hear the sound of leaves and flotsam from the trees falling. The architecture is clean lines and interior wood ceilings, tongue and groove, and to match those, I just spent a week off of work building out a cedar tongue and groove closet, and my carpentry skills aren’t quite what they used to be but again, quality problems, and in the big scheme of things, they turned out great.

I know everyone will laugh at my modern toilets, square, that I had installed, peoples first reaction is always, “Are those comfortable? Does the square hurt your ass?” This is hilarious to me because of course the actual seat you sit on isn’t square, but people are programmed to see their cookie cutter toilet, and anything outside the norm is considered weird, but I absolutely love it. The new custom bathroom has been an enormous task, and has been fraught with challenges at every turn, but we’re almost finished with it, and its all going to turn out splendidly I believe. Modern clean lines, with porcelain tile throughout the customized shower, with body spray, marble bench and a nice marble modern vanity, with clean horizontal and vertical lines on the modern lighting as well. the first attempt at cutting the marble vanity was a fail, they  split the marble piece in my driveway on Wednesday. Oh well! Shit happens, and again such a luxurious problem it’s petty even bitching about, except that I took the whole week off working on the closet, and managing the process, but such is life.

At the end of the day I am blessed beyond belief. My sobriety, and journey from Hep C to being cured has been all worth the fight and then some. I know sobriety is all about spirituality, but money in the bank, real money, also changes a lot of things for you as well, and I could have never gotten to this level of success while still drinking and drugging, or worse, while dying of Hepatitis C. Sure, the treatments are easier, less expensive and less time consuming as Interferon was 8 years ago even, but it doesn’t make my story any less poignant.

Coming from living in a rat infested shack with no health insurance, to  getting sober, beating Hep C, writing a book, launching a successful software sales career and moving into the house of my dreams, and working on it slowly but surely, is all worth telling people about. There is no lack of come backs stories in the United States, and in the world, but God’s greatness is always worth discussing, so I’ll relaunch the book here shortly, with a better, well less subtle title, and perhaps get a little more traction than last time.

And even if not, at least with a professional editor behind it this time, I’ll feel like I can go on to write the next thing, hopefully some Science Fiction I can turn into a successful series! And also under my real name.

-Jared Bryan Smith



I remember being four years old and thinking all these people are nuts.

It’s one of my first memories in fact, sitting in a church bathroom, out in Norcross, corralled with the other preschoolers and some janitor going off, I mean just really laying into us about using too much toilet paper. And I remember even as a kid thinking “Go fly a kite” this is not a real issue people. The faces of the pre-k teachers, so stern, all the other kids scared, and me just thinking, all these people are idiots.

My own dad would later lecture me and my brother and sister on the virtue of using just one toilet paper square per wipe, and again I remember vividly thinking, you are a fucking idiot. I still think that. This from the man who blew 50k on a sound recording studio he never used, and the guy who spent a hundred bucks a week on liquor, legitimately worried, and strategizing on how to make his kids use less TP. Maybe this is where my “Go Fuck Yourself” attitude comes from, because I am a born rebel still through and through.

Maybe all alcoholics are. I don’t know. But even coming up on 9 years I am still rebellious to the core.  To the point I almost got a DUI and 8.4 years sober, lol.

It started with significant chest/abdominal pains waking me up about 5 AM Friday evening. 99% of the time this happened to me in my life I’ve been able to knock them out with a simple dose or two of Pepto, right? But this was different. I could feel my pulse in my belly, and when you’ve got 4 aneurysms and one of them abdominal, this is worrisome. And being a bachelor still, having never quite bounced back from my only recovery relationship years back, I didn’t want to drop dead. Especially after the record setting sales month I’ve had, lol, I want to live to spend or invest that cash baby! So, in fear of being found rotting in my bachelor pad in a few weeks, I drove myself to the emergency room.

By the time I got to the emergency room and all IV’d up they asked if I wanted and pain medication and having been suffering an hour plus at this point I said sure. They asked if I drove myself and I said yes, but no worries, I can uber it home. So they give me what I would call a mild dose of Dilaudid, I say mild because I stayed conscious, and the room didn’t flip and put me on the ceiling which is what happened last time I took some (albeit self administered in my using days) but still, I was fine. So hours go by, blood tests, cat scans, they talk to my Vascular surgeon, they find my heart and 4 aneurysms are not yet leaking or burst, so I’m safe, probably just food poisoning. I’m not bleeding out, this is good.

But then they take an hour or so to release me, and I’m just getting more and more impatient. I am a huge asshole, so I just rip the IV out, and sneak out the door. I’m paid up, I’m insured, it’s all good I think, they can sort the paperwork later. I walk through the hospital barely able to find the entrance, and walk out to see a cop sitting there in the parking lot. Perfect I say to myself, and like an asshole ask him to cut my medical band off my wrist, he looks at me oddly, and I compliment his machoism by saying, “You look like the kind of guy that has a knife” to which he smiles and cuts the band.

I’m homefree I think, get to the beamer, open her up hop in and get to the parking attendant Arab waiting for me and he asks for 5 bucks cash. It’s 2015 and I’m leaving the emergecny room I tell him, nobody has cash these days. So he asks for my discharge papers. Discharge papers I think to myself? Man these people are assholes. I can feel a toilet paper lecture coming on. Fortunately he has opened the gate at this point, so I smile and haul ass right through the parking lot, squeeling tires and all, hit the highway and head home.

It’s not till I’m home that I put together that all that rule breaking could potentially, if they really wanted to land my ass in jail with some charges. I mean yes it would be a stretch, but now I have a terrible withdrawal headache and I’m paranoid to boot, but still technically I guess they could put it all together, and see they adminstered a narcotic at a specific time, and have the Arabs testimony I drove, not to mention the cop I HAD to talk to on the way out, and I’d be busted.

It’s a stretch, but man when something gets up someones ass there is no limit to the worlds stupidity and what people can choose to become advocates about. Still, I think the hospital knowing I need a million dollars worth of surgery will override their sense of injustice and my bolting on a 5 tab.

And incidentally, they are charging a few hundred bucks an advil in the emergency room these days, you really need an extra five bucks from a patient whose parked during his visit.

I guess someones got to cover the toilet paper cost increases. Idiots.

Thus far the swat team hasn’t come for me though. It’s only been a day though, the investigation may take a bit.

In other news, the professional editor has the book and we should be finding a good forward writer soon.

JB Smith

I have always considered myself a writer, since I was very young, had always dreamed of being one. My first attempt was when I wrote a novel at 19 or 20 or so and sent it to every publisher in the United States, and found they were polite enough to send rejection letters. That was kind, I had no idea. I lost that book in my divorce, it was probably trash. I remember feeling resentful when “Left Behind” became successful, as mine was a similar idea, however I’d attempted to create a scientific explanation for every Biblical prophecy, so the “Rapture” as it were, was going to be something quite different in my book.

I’d not intended my first book to be on Recovery, that is for sure. I’d never published anything other than an editorial about walking around ground zero after 9/11, and it was a hell of an effort. I lost my job writing it.

Publishing it pissed people off. Writing about other people, no matter how trivial or unread a writer you may be has an intense emotional effect on the other people, I truly did not know this  and continue to be amazed by it. I’m a complete unknown, the book sales are so low they almost cost me money, and yet ex’s and oh’s will get upset to this day from time to time about this books contents, of which were written 5 years ago, about the 30 years previous. We are all very sensitive though and I guess one thing it has taught me is to have more empathy for others feelings, and privacy. Thank God I published with a pen name.

I’d really hoped my autobiography work was done with the book, (and I could get to writing sci-fi) but it looks like life is going to be throwing me a few more challenges. In 8 years of sobriety I have accomplished a lot and have been more successful in my business career than I would have ever imagined, so I’m grateful, but I’d hoped to put the ever so personal and painful memoir business behind me.

The Good Book says to let your light shine, and we all shine in different ways, I’m better at writing than being one on one with people, so we all use our gifts, or we should try I believe. I had hoped I was done writing about my challenges because frankly I didn’t want anymore.

I’d thought of going back and adding the financial amends and accomplishments I’d attained but thought it would be too tacky, but this will simply be worth adding I suppose.

I have to have open heart surgery. I don’t know when, six months a year, maybe longer, but I currently have four aneurysms and they are steadily growing. Fortunately I have amazing health insurance and one of the top Cardiologists in the nation, so I will be fine in the long run, but it will be no fun.

I will be put to the test, I will be cut open, all my ribs cracked in two  places, and moved out of the way for a man’s hands to cut out my aortic valve and replace it with a mechanical one, and then have four stints shoved up my groin artery to strengthen the vascular walls. I will be on serious pain medication for some time, (my drug of choice incidentally) and I will have to enjoy, and then withdraw from them all without drinking or cheating on the medications, which is a challenge. Now I’ve already done this several times with more minor procedures, but this will be a bit more amplified and accentuated than just having a few screws removed from my ankle.

So you see, much against my will, I will have more to add to my story.

And despite the one poisonous review on my Amazon page , it really is a good story, and I have overcome quite a bit, without drinking. Furthermore, in response to said review, I’m not Hep C positive, Interferon cures it these days thank God. It’s sort of the entire point of the book, making that review especially hurtful. Additionally, while I wish this person would remove that review on Amazon and she accuses me of writing about people I have dated, A) I’ve never used even my own name, and B) I have never used another’s either. C) I have learned a lesson and will never mention, even in the abstract, another person on my blog without their explicit permission beforehand. I have removed every single instance of mentioning another person on my blog and will continue to adhere to this etiquette, and I do apologize for having hurt, however accidental, anyone I may have by writing about my own life, and those that were in it. I’ll not repeat the mistake, however subtle or anonymous.

I’m simply too tired to battle the world on this, and I’m not a tabloid journalist, but a simple writer, and this book has helped people, I know because they write me, and surely there will be additional heart patients in sobriety that could be helped as well reading about the pain I’ve endured, and still stayed sober through.

I never intended to hurt anyone with this blog or my book at all, in fact quite the opposite, and it’s still the biggest lesson I’ve learned in dipping my toe into the waters of writing and publishing, is that people’s feelings are very easily hurt, and it doesn’t matter if I intended to or not.

So for that I apologize, and I have removed, and will continue to not write about, even in anonymity, anyone I meet or is in my life on this blog. This blog is about recovery and overcoming addiction and other obstacles life throws our way.

I’ll also be creating a new blog, for a Science Fiction venture I’m going to take on, and I can assure you, having learned the lessons I have on this anonymous blog, I will damn sure not write about anyone using my real name, God only knows this has been painful enough for me.

Still I think its been worth it, no, it’s not a best seller, or a massive deluge of people who write me about my book helping them but more than one has, and while yes, it’s embarrassing having strangers know the intricate details of my life, and eccentricities, I think it’s been good for a select few, and I don’t think the work stands as an embarrassment, I think it’s overall a good, maybe unfinished effort.

I did what I could with what I had at the time, and now I have a bit more, I’m going to invest a bit more into it, and of course add the heart surgery, and be successful with that (God willing, 5% mortality rate is pretty good odds though) and apply the lessons I’ve learned.

The man who makes no mistakes never tried anything.

I appreciate the followers I have here, and more is to come, in the not too near future.

Additionally, I will relaunch later on with a new title so as to not be so subtle, Hippopotamus Sea, simply doesn’t pick up the SEO strategy something more obvious with Hepatitis C in the title would,  or something to that affect would, as much as fucking HATE that name, if it ends up getting to more people who actually need the book, well then I guess its worth the artistic sacrifice. Furthermore, it will be professionally edited, and paired down to a more palatable version and a cheaper paperback version and I’ll make an effort to get it into AA approved literature, though I don’t have any big hopes or expectations on that. Another slight complication is that people with Hep C no longer even have to do the 12  months of Interferon, I think the masses are down to  months with a much lighter load of the more harmful side effects, so that is good for humanity, but odd timing for a book about Interferon survival, lol, oh well, I’d rather they cure it with a pill than make my book a success, haha.

Seriously though, if you have Hep C and are in recovery, keep on keeping on, it gets better, and you CAN be cured, to imply that you can not, by saying I did not, which is a lie, is just cruel, no matter where it is coming from, ignore that and keep your head up, you can stay sober, and be cured of Hep C and get your amazing blessed life back!

Life is good, God is good, keep on keeping on, and write me anytime!


Jared Bryan Smith

Since I was about 12 years old I’d suffered from intermittent headaches in my right temple, however after the hell that was a year-long bout with Interferon, my recovery from the Interferon, or Post Interferon seemed to be even fucking worse. I suffered heavy headaches in my temple that felt like a golf ball lodged right into my temple and varying in intensity but ALWAYS present for no kidding the first 3-4 years. I went to a Neurologist and was then diagnosed with Hemicrania Continua , which basically means a chronic headache in your temple. I was prescribed Indomethacin or Indocet and let me tell you, it works, however makes you groggy and slow, as well as ruins your stomach in turn. And I mean if you don’t eat a ton in the morning you’re going to shit blood, hurt your stomach, which was terrible. Even when you ate a ton of food you may still end up just nauseous as hell and just plain miserable. A case of the cure being worse than the disease.

In the last year, my 5th year  Post Interferon, I was back at a corporate gig selling software, and deftly afraid the headaches would make me incapable of really giving it 100% so I got back on Interferon after getting off a few years before due to losing insurance and of course the awful side effects. However the headaches persisted, and I’d been unemployed so I just dealt with them. Going back to work in 2012 I decided I would get back on the meds, and then also flirt with and attempt to take multiple different meds to see what might balance out the side effects of the interferon. Well, at first we tried Celexa. Outside of gaining 20 lbs I’m still trying to get rid of it worked great… for about 5 months or so. And then the temple headaches returned as well as a general heavy brain fog headaches that had persisted on and off on top of the temple headache, since Post Interferon. The brain fog headache had never existed until after Interferon and is intense, prevents clear thinking and hurts even worse than the pressure type headache of the temple pain. So I quit Celexa. Moving forward from that point thru 2012 and into early 2013 I tried every single combination of Anti Depressant / Anti Anxiety on Earth and they all sucked. And my headaches persisted. And then something happened. My Neurologist, Dr. Leslie Kelman, retired. At first I panicked, but since I was getting such lousy results to begin with, I went ahead and just got off of all the meds again.

And lo and behold I was scared. I googled and found someone with the same type of headaches  Hemicrania Continua | Cure and sure enough I tried the method he talked about. The Valsalva method actually fucking worked and while not curing it entirely as it had done for him, definitely relieved a lot of the pain and pressure.

And let me just tell you, I as a sober man in recovery, coming up on 7 years, feel so much better without the meds. I wish I could have the year back I was on them, except I wouldn’t have the extensive knowledge of how much better I feel without them. I still feel some pressure, and occasionally have a brain fog headache, but nothing like before, and hell, who knows maybe all the psych meds actually did remap or rework some of the synapses up there, and rewire shit to work a bit better, I really don’t know and I can promise you the Doctors don’t. I’m convinced, that since the Valsalva method, or in effect, blowing hard with your mouth closed to make your ears pop, works so well, that it must be something to do with pressure. I remember too, when the barometric pressure does change I seem to be more susceptible to headaches as well, but again, mostly guess work.

I’m just truly grateful I began to get some relief. I am successful at work again, for the first time since Interferon, 5 years out, and while I’m still not back to 100% of my previous mind, I do feel like it has started to come back and recover, and perhaps that’s all it is with the headaches. That maybe Interferon is so powerfully devastating that it just takes time to heal. I don’t know. But I feel better, and therefore I feel hopeful, and I’m grateful I’m not having to take any meds for it as well. Perhaps there is life after Interferon afterall.

I’m on track to have my best year financially in my adult life and I was a baller before Interferon so things are looking good. I’m able to work 60 hours a week and teach Sunday school every Sunday at my church, I’m back to hitting the gym 4 times a week and starting to cut the weight I’d gained after Celexa. I’ll, God willing, be buying my first place since I was 18 in a month or two and I just pray the headaches stay at bay. I don’t know the exact cure, but I know I’m grateful they’ve retreated.

Perhaps after I get in the new place, and get a new car, I’ll go back to the drawing board on the book Hippopotamus Sea, My Viral Sobriety, and get it edited out, maybe clean out the f bombs and make it more commercially viable, and perhaps give another facelift and make an attempt to get more recovery books on there… or maybe just go for what I love in Sci-Fi Fantasy books. I used to claim not to like fantasy but my sisters have definitely dragged me into the Game of Thrones series and I’ve spent the entire summer on those books. hell I may even go digital and get an e reader… but I doubt it.

Jared Bryan Smith

Man oh man how nice it was when Celexa worked for so long in keeping the Post Interferon headaches at bay. And how disheartening when it simply stopped working about 5 months into treatment. So with my Doctors counsel I tried to first double the Celexa from 20 mg to 40 mg only to have my headaches increase in intensity almost immediately. But, since the Celexa had taken two weeks to feel somewhat positive to begin with I held on for two weeks suffering through an intense basically constant headache through the first two weeks of June, and then finally gave up on that increased dosage strategy, and went back to the 20 mg for a week, then down to 10 mg and then off for about a week, before beginning the next step in this process, to try lamictal. I had used it once a few years back and had some good luck with it however I’d stopped when laid off from my recruiting job, and losing my health insurance. The experiment of course was to try several different meds until I found one that worked, while I have the good health insurance, and before I take any major entrepreneurial risks. I just want to be fully operational, or even just find something that makes me fully functional and for a while Celexa worked, until it just didn’t. When I stopped taking the Celexa though, I was reminded of the original headaches I’d been taking it for to treat in the firstplace. I was hoping that conditions and variables had changed, or rather that my quitting drinking coffee was going to make the headaches disappear entirely and therefore make the headaches disappear, however this wasn’t the case. It was weird though, getting off Celexa, about as weird as getting on it was. I was out of sort, dizzy sometimes, and just not myself.

So Lamictal, originally suggested by my Neurologist a few years back takes about 2-3 weeks to get up to its full dosage and I’m only about 4 days into it but so far so good. First of all I didn’t have, or haven’t had any of the skin rashes they warn you about which is apparently the main reason you have to ease into it, but also I woke up with one of my headaches this morning and it was the kind that usually stays with me all freaking day, however after taking a few tylenol and going to the gym it was gone, and I’ve felt pretty good all day.

I am hopefully for Lamictal , but if it doesn’t work I’ll just try for six months like I did Celexa, then try something else. In the long run, I’ve now quit smoking cigarettes, and a full month off caffeine trying to get rid of headaches and there must be light at the end of the tunnel. The Celexa was good for a while, but it ended up just causing another kind of headache and also some seriously weird stomach issues that I was very very tired of. So maybe Lamictal will be better.

If not, theres still Lexapro and Wellbutrin to try out and if I get real desperate I guess I could even try Prozac…. I had really hoped quitting drinking coffee would do it… but hell, at least my teeth are whiter! 🙂

In other news, work is going great, even though I had to work through a massive headache in June, I have still managed to be over 120% of quota every month and therefore making some great money. I head to Cabo in a few weeks so that should be a blast and I’ll be sure to hit up some AA meetings while I’m down there. It will sort of be dangerous, I’ll be hanging with old friends who all drink and party still but I figure I’ll just go from the airport to the clubhouse that supposedly speaks English and then head to the hotel so I have an escape route at anytime. I’ll also have my cell phone at all times so shouldn’t be too tough , and the place looks like a dream come true, Barcelo. I deserve it, I’ve worked hard the last few months and taken care of a lot of debts.

Maybe I’ll come up with some new book ideas, the beach always does that to me!

Jared Bryan Smith

Lets see, that has to be about right, maybe 60 days because I guess I started taking the Celexa at the end of January and now we are rounding mid april so probably 70 days or so. The great news is that I rarely have the major stop me from functioning headaches anymore, taking the pain level from an easy 8 or 9 to a most days nothing at all and when the headaches do return it is a mild 2 or 3, not the all encompassing pain I experience full well half my days for so many years Post TX. Is it the medicine, or perhaps just the amount of time now finally getting on close to 4 years post TX, I really can’t say but I’m too scared to try and stop taking the medicine. I’m much less manic, much more focused and consistent and I’ve been outperforming at work and doing well. Save a couple of emails from disgruntled cheap shot customers, lol, in one I called my VP of Sales the price Nazi and since he was out I could offer an incredible price and the stupid customer sent it to my boss, the little pain in my ass, I was called in and reprimanded. Since when is Nazi a bad word… Oh well, who cares, life goes on.

The major downside of Celexa I’ve noticed though is that I’m not as driven and or motivated if you will. I’ve written almost nothing, nothing in the blog, books, barely anything in my own personal journal. I do my job well enough, even put in the extra hours for fear of being laid off yet again in this fickle economy, but as far as extra curricular, the gym, the blog, the meetings, I have been barely getting by.. And the meetings. the thing that has literally held me together the last five years, well I will be honest, on Celexa, while I still go, I don’t really feel like I get as much out of the meetings as I used to, don’t feel as compelled to share, and don’t leave with the sense of accomplishment and well being that I used to… now it’s just a blah feeling… but no headaches. Hard to weigh the pros and cons. I mean I’m not going to stop taking Celexa, I simply can’t. But there is a lot to be said about losing the drive to write, work out, or go to meetings and be passionate….

Also peeing. Urinating and orgasms, now take effing forever. Sometimes I’ll have to pee really bad walk in the bathroom and sit there for five minutes just waiting and waiting… weird side effect. In addition my super regularity is gone, as you could have timed the stock market on my morning movement prior to Celexa, and now, who knows, sometimes its a few days, sometimes its daily, which is strange for me.

Are those symptoms things worth the headaches being gone? Hard to say. I guess I’ll keep on keeping on, grateful that I’m cured of Hep C and alcoholism, or daily reprieve or what have you, and just be glad that something, anything was able to treat the headaches at all… for if this thing treats them one way, perhaps Lexapro, or Wellbutrin will treat them another, and I owe it to myself to explore those ways as well. Hope is better than despair I suppose, and headaches for years was starting to get a bit desperate for sure.

I’m grateful I’ve found something, but am definitely open to the possibility that something else may treat them better, and this time at least it will be nice to know I can fall back on the Celexa, should the headaches return. Also I may as well use whats working for a while at least, or hell for economic reasons at least wait until Lexapro has a generic.

– Jared Bryan Smith

So I made the move back to civilization from the mountain house, and I’m loving the new apartment and the new job. More than anything, all the fear wrapped up into not being able to perform at the new job is beginning to dissipate as the Post Interferon Syndrome headaches have been so diminished with the new meds. After Interferon I was so shocked to have that brain fog penetrate through and destroy my quality of life for many years after I stopped Interferon. I mean it sucks even worse because the doctors won’t admit it’s happening, blame it on other things, and tell you such idiotic things as, “Just take a multivitamin” or when you tell them about your symptoms kind of look down their nose at you and state “Well, if you say so.” I mean it’s quite remarkable really, how online you can find multiple people suffering from an almost universal diagnosis, and then go to three educated doctors in a metropolis like Atlanta, and have your General Doctor, your Gastroenterologist and your Neurologist, all basically say Interferon has no lasting side effects, so this must be an anomaly or just in your head, or even that you’re being a hypochondriac to the point you almost question it yourself. But I wrote about it, I journalled and I was even able to stop working for a while, move out of the city and see if it was allergies, pollution or something I hadn’t thought of, and the headaches persisted. I was still, 3.5 years later suffering from brain fog type headaches at least 66% of the time, which made selling, or making cold calls very tough if not impossible. So in 2012, facing a new job, a highly micro managed job, I was really scared I wouldn’t be able to perform because of the headaches. Two or three weeks into it, I was still suffering 2-3 days during the week, so almost out of hope, I decided to take a scientific practical objective look at what meds might possibly do for me. This is despite my being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and opposed to being on any mood altering substances. I had tried anti depressant while I was beginning Interferon and I had been so early in sobriety, I felt like it made me more squirrely and even so uncomfortable that it made me think of drinking more often, and trust me at one year sobriety, I wasn’t in a position to be flirting with that possibility. Especially as I was just starting my battle against Hep C, the disease which attacks the very organ my liver uses to process alcohol. So my attempt at mood altering substances, or anti depressants had gone so bad I just was afraid they would make me want to drink again, but at 5 years sober, the headaches practically making me an invalid, I finally decided, hell or high water, I would give several different substances, 90 days or so, give them a fair shake and see how much better or worse I felt, just so longed as I didn’t drink or drug, it was worth the experiment. I’m glad I did.

It’s mind boggling how well Celexa works in combating my constant headaches. I mean it just doesn’t make sense it’s so effective. The first week or two was weird as I was adjusting but after I got over the hump, I mean to tell you the brain fog headaches I would rate as an 8 or so, fell down to around a 2, and the frequency of around 66% of the time or 2/3rds of the time walking around trying to function in pain has been reduced to around 1/10th of the time. They also gave me Prodrin to combat the migraines, the other kind of headache that actually significantly went away when I quit smoking 2 years ago, and it’s basically caffeine and a ton of Tylenol, but that too does the trick on that particular kind of headache. I am just so grateful I held out and waited, and found something that finally worked. I will give this another 90 days or so, or maybe even after that explore other ones to see which one I function the most highly on, but this is like a minor miracle to me, because I was suffering for so long, in so much frustration and pain, and I thought it would never end. I still don’t understand it. Could it be I was so depressed, or so chemically imbalanced it actually caused physical pain to my brain. I mean that looks like the case but seems far fetched and unlikely, however, I am not a chemist, a doctor or even educated about such things. All I know is it killed my headaches, made my life functional again and I am grateful.

I was written too by someone recently stated they had to go back on oxys because of their post interferon pain, and let me tell you man, I can relate. I was an opiate addict for a long time, and I write about that part of my life significantly in my book Hippopotamus Sea, however, I am not going back to that shit, ever again. Not saying I haven’t been tempted over the last 3.5 years though, I thought about it at least once a week for sure. It just isn’t an option for me anymore, I’d sooner eat a bullet. Just like any drug, I need more and more, for less and less effect, and it’s what caused all this bullshit to begin with. I’m not ever going back to that, and if you’re suffering I beg of you to quit the opiates and try Celexa, for some reason it really helped me with my post interferon symptoms. Opiates and drinking, relapse in general is not a viable option, period the end. Other than catastrophic surgery and taking the meds with sponsor supervision, we with the disease of addiction can not flirt with pain meds or drugs effectively, and even with the Celexa, I was in constant contact with my sponsor and letting him know exactly what I was trying, and he was aware of every decision I was making. Accountability is key in sobriety, and no matter the pain, there is no excuse to going back to opiates, drinking or any kind of narcotic. With us to use or drink is to die.

That being said, I do still feel a bit anxious from time to time on Celexa which makes me want to try Lexapro because I hear that it has an anti anxiety portion, and now my mind is much more open about the capabilities of these meds, whereas before I thought it was a block to your higher power, and the sunlight of the spirit, now I’m glad my headaches are gone regardless. Actually the Doctor had suggested Lexapro, but they didn’t have it in generic, and therefore the insurance company changed my prescription, or rather made me call and get the Doctor to change the prescription, which in itself is news worthy. Who the fuck gives the insurance company of none doctors the ability and power to change my medications, solely based on cost. I mean, it’s really an outrage. They say Lexapro will have a generic within the year though, so I’ll just continue on Celexa, record the symptoms, and then compare once I switch over later on.

I am still glad I found a baseline before using them, but I mean, Post Interferon, meetings and step work just wasn’t killing the headaches like it killed the urge to drink early on for me. Everything happens for a reason I suppose.

– Jared Bryan Smith