The Fifth Cup of Coffee

“Sometimes, you can drink four cups of coffee,” my doctor says. “But if you drink the fifth, well, that’s when the trouble starts.” He looks at me while I’m sitting on the examination table. My husband sits in a chair on my right.

“So-o-o, I-I-I-I drrrank the fifth cup of co-o-ffee?” I stumble over my words, my speech feeling like it’s coming out about a hundred times slower than usual. I have to think about pushing the words out. The words hurt my brain. Last week I sat in this same room, the doctor telling me that because my anxiety had been getting worse over the past few months that we just  needed to “tweak” the dosage of my antidepressant. Sometime just a little “tweak” is all it takes to make all the difference in the world. That, and more fresh air. Oh, and no more naps. I’m really not happy about the no more naps thing.

top view photo of ceramic mugs filled with coffees

But, the little tweak, turned into the fifth cup of coffee. And loss of control of all of my emotions. And the feeling like a man in heavy rubber boots was mashing up my frontal lobe. And a trip to the emergency room. And a now, a return to the doctor’s office.

I’d been taking the new dose for two days. Nothing much changed. A bit of a headache (pretty standard) a slight stomach upset (OK, fine), but then day three happened. A half hour after taking my pills, which I take in the evening with my dinner, because it says on the label I should take with food (I’m very good at following instructions), I became giddy. It was fun at first, I was flying high. It was like I was at a party. I made castanets out of empty pill bottles. I sang, I shouted, I laughed, and laughed, and laughed. I don’t like the word hysterical because it implies that because women have a uterus (from the Greek Hysterika meaning uterus) that we are unable to function or process emotions, but I was hysterical. I was at a party, and I drank all the margaritas, all by myself. Only, inside, it was not fun. For one thing, I’ve never drank more than three glasses of wine at any given time. I get tipsy, and it normally wears off fairly quickly. Feeling like this has never happened in my life. I felt like I was on a Ferris wheel, only it’s going too fast, and I can’t stop spinning. I can see the ground, I can see people holding out their hands to help me, but I can’t grab hold. I’m on the verge of tears, while I can barely breathe from how hard I’m laughing. I’ve lost complete control of what I say and do. It’s terrifying.

This feeling lasts for hours. Eventually I go to bed, but I barely sleep because my brain is chattering away. I discuss things with my family, how this reaction was really weird. We decide to give it one more try the next day to see if it was just a fluke. I tend to react strongly to things. My body is sensitive. I trust that everyone around me is guiding me in the right direction, something I’ve had to learn throughout this recovery from anxiety and depression journey. You can read about it here.

Anyway, onto the next day’s dose (day 4, if you’re keeping count). This time, half an hour after I take my pills, I can barely speak. I can’t keep my eyes open, I feel like I’m underwater. My brain hurts. I am down. Down deep. Crying, sobbing, I’m never getting up kinda down.

My family is scared. My husband phones Telehealth. Unfortunately, he tells the nurse that I’m slurring my speech. She thinks I’m having a stroke and insists on talking to me. I appreciate the work these nurses do, but she really got fixated on the whole slurring thing. After I answered (with great difficulty) all of her questions, she told me I needed to go to the hospital right away.

Off we went. I didn’t want to go. Luckily, we have a hospital in town only five minutes from home. When I arrived, there were no people waiting to be triaged. I was seen right away, and taken in. My heart rate was very high. My anxiety was even higher.

There is a thing you can get when you take antidepressants. It’s called Serotonin Syndrome, or Serotonin Toxicity. We were afraid that this is what was happening to me. The shift in my behaviour, especially not being able to speak, was terrifying.

I quickly saw a doctor who assured me I was not being poisoned by my medication. That most likely the dosage was just too strong and I should see my family doctor again as soon as possible.  He gave me an Ativan to calm me down, and some pain killers for the headache I also had. I was home again in an hour and a half.

When I returned the next day to my doctor, he did’t necessarily agree with the diagnosis I received. The “fifth cup of coffee”, as he put it, was possibly an indication that I had been poisoned. I had had, at least, a very negative reaction to the increase in dosage. I had been overdosed, I guess.

I was sent home with plans to rest, get fresh air, see my therapist, and take regular doses of Ativan to calm myself down. Also, to go back to my old dosage of my antidepressant.

It has been a week since all of this happened, and I am finally, sort of, starting to come around to feeling like myself. My therapist told I had experienced a manic/ depressive episode. My brain, which I had become acutely aware of as of late, told me I felt terrible.

Every time my anxiety increased, I began to stutter. It was so difficult to talk, and to form the simplest of sentences. My tremors, that I have on a normal basis, caused by my anxiety, became extreme. I couldn’t even hold a glass to take a drink.

This experience has been terrible, frightening, and one of the worst feelings I have ever been through

Mental health recovery is no joke. Antidepressants are serious. I hope I am able to fully recover soon. Until then, I hope you’ll understand if I’m away from life for a little bit longer.

Until later, this fat lady is, recovering. Still.







Photo by on





Please leave me a message.

stack of love wooden blocks

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on

Or, you can connect with me via social media.


Instagram: @whitneysweet_writes

“Find” by Eloise Typewriter


Find the person
who takes all
of your words
for ransom and agrees
to hold your dripping
ice cream cone
of a heart for as long
as you will have him.
Find the person
who turns sadness
into sunflowers
at your feet…


Artist Bio: Eloise is a 20-something poet that believes words can heal the wounds of the world. She received her M.A. in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University. Her work often focuses on mental illness and unique love narratives. Eloise has been published in several poetry anthologies, including Splintered Souls by A.B. Baird Publishing and North Carolina’s Best Emerging Poets by Z Publishing. When not sipping coffee or collecting typewriters in Charlotte, North Carolina, you can find Eloise on Instagram at eloise_the_typewriter.

#poetryprompts Days 9 & 10 “I Love” and “Doctor! Doctor!” The End of the Challenge

Poetry Prompts Days 9 & 10



We have reached the final day of the challenge,

and I have to say I’m happy with how things turned out. While I didn’t manage to post every day, I did create 10 new poems, without worrying if

they are perfect or even good. It was fun to just create, something, no strings attached. I hope you have had fun reading along and possibly creating your own poetry from the prompts. I’ll probably do this again some time. I’ll see if I can find a new prompting method to experiment with on the next round of the challenge.


Day 9

Topic: My Romantic Life

Inspiration Words: Your, Gentle, Gorgeous


I Love

                                                                                  I Love                                                                                    Your gorgeous,
gentle hands
on my body.

Day 10

Topic: A Desire For

Inspiration Words: Desperate, Ouch, Doctor


Doctor! Doctor!

                                                                           Doctor! Doctor!                                                                           you are so eagerly
wrapped up in your desire for
me to feel
you ignore it
when I scream
at your touch







#poetryprompts Days 7&8 “Minnows” and “as a group, we are the worst”

Poetry Prompts 7&8Well, I have returned from a sick day yesterday, eager to share my new poems! I hope you will enjoy.

Day 7


Topic: My Childhood

Inspiration Words: Quickly, Swimming, Shines.


Minnows. The lake is clear and cold with warm pockets near the surface and it’s dark blue from up the hill but here in the water it is just the colour of sand below me beige and rippled and soft past the smooth stones which are just at the shore in the shallow water I put my bum on the sandbar leaning on my elbows with my toes floating which look paler than my pale skin outside the water where the minnows live and they come to quickly nibble my toes tickling as the sun bounces off the bottom of the lake and makes the little fish shine and I count twenty before swimming is done and we go back inside to get out of the hot burning afternoon sun. Image by: Ramon Fernandez F. 

Day 8


Topic: Our World

Inspiration Words: Whispers, Embraced, Muck

There is so much that we cannot see. So many living things we cannot hear when they whisper from the muck beneath our boots How is it that humans became the dominant species when we are simultaneously the most se

                                                                  as a group, we are the worst                                                                     there is so much that we cannot see.
so many living things we cannot hear when they whisper
from the muck beneath our boots
how is it that humans became
the dominant species
when we are simultaneously the most selfish and lazy creatures?
How can we embrace
when we have created such a cushy throne upon which to kill
and everything else?



#poetryprompts Day 6 “Why Seeing Snow Doesn’t Mean that Climate Change and Global Warming Don’t Exist. (You Idiots)”

Poetry PromptsHello! I got an interesting bunch of words today. I’m particularly pleased how this poem turned out. It’s fun to do a bit of ranting now and then, especially when you’re feeling mostly helpless about a situation.



What’s your tirade about?IMG_4776

Topic: A Tirade About

Inspiration Words: Wet, Ugly, Precise

when the earth is ugly will you remember the precise location of the wet waves to rush onto land_

when the earth is dying and ugly
will you remember the precise
location you stood when wave after wet wave of
ocean water rushed onto your land?







#poetryprompts Day 5 “A Reflection on Falling Asleep”



come to the halfway point. How are your poems coming along?


Today’s creative inspiration is:

Topic: A Reflection On

Inspiration Words: Sleeping, Glorious, Limbs

Hope you find something in here that inspires you!

A Reflection on Falling Asleep

my husband tells me I twitch / my body not mine / lead limbs / as I climb a tree / sleeping limbs stretching / toward dark-leafed branches / one half of my brain watching myself / as I climb myself / gloriously upward toward a canopy of stars / paralyzed while cozy- / ily wrapped up snug / though my mind / keeps moving / ever forward / a comet with an icy hot sparkling tail


#poetryprompts Day 4 “Writer Life”

Day 4Today’s prompt was sort of too accurate for my liking. As I’ve been spending time focusing on trying to get my career as a writer off the ground, I have found that every Monday I struggle because it’s the start of a new work week and I have no idea if the work I produce is of value, is wanted, is going to succeed. A piece of good news here and there has been what’s kept me going for the past seven years. I was still in school for most of that and it seemed like a bonus to have something published. The past two years I have been really trying to consciously make becoming a writer my career. Sometimes I am full of hope, more often I wonder what the hell I’m doing? Should I just give up and try doing something else? What would that something else be? I think this poem reflects these feelings.

How do you feel about your career? day 4 words

Topic: My Work Life

Inspiration Words: Consume, Wild, Fathom.

Can you fathom a self loathing so serious you'd want to become a writer_ To consume yourself with wild notions of possible successes_ Fame_ Fortune_ Literary importance_ To change someone's life with your words_

Can you fathom / a self loathing so serious / you’d want to become a writer? / To consume yourself / with wild notions / of possible successes? / Fame?/ Fortune? /
Literary importance? / To change someone’s life with your words? / Such hubris can only belong to one / on the roller coaster of pain / twisting with an ego that keeps repeating, / “You can do it!”


#poetryprompts Day 3 “The Family Tree”

Bring your mats!

I didn’t think I was going to get this one done today! I’ve been sick in bed all day and figured I would just do double poems tomorrow. But, I rallied and here I am with today’s post.


One thing I couldn’t resist was the fact that one of the words I pulled was “Sweet” and my topic was “My Family”! How perfect is that?

Hope you enjoy and are inspired.

Day 3

Topic: My family

Inspiration Words: Sweet, Clever, Pluck.


My family tree a sight to see hewn short on one side with some grafting repair it is rare this clever tree

My family tree / a lopsided tree / hewn short on just one side / with some grafting repair / the tree did dare / to climb so very high. / If you be clever / you’ll pluck the fruit / the sweetest fruit / you might ever taste / take a glance / and just by chance / you could recognize your face.

#poetryprompt Day 2 “Pillow Face”

The Stationer


Not gunna lie! These words created something a bit creepy folks. It could also be partly the terrible wind storm they keep calling for on the news. It was a beautiful sunny day here today, so, I hope they are wrong!


Let me know what you come up with.


Topic: A Dream About

Inspiration Words: After, Mouthing, Slimyday 2


Pillow Face (1)

How can you sleep? / the wind is fearsome / scratching at the windows with wet / fingernails leaving / trails like after snails on the glass / thunder mouthing its dark warnings to the hills/ slimy-green in lightning flashes / Wake up / your pillow face and look death / in the eye / whose demon clouds are rolling / closer to your bed.