Self-Medicating through happiness

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As some of you may know, I haven’t took antipsychotic medication in over a year now. The initial reason for cessation was an overdose of Aripiprazole (Abilify) combined with Vodka and Paracetamol, and after being revived two things happened.

a) I felt a disgust and loathing-feeling for the tablets. Much like after being pissed out of your head all night, waking up the next day, and not wanting to drink for a week. I guess it is the body’s way of telling your mind to avoid the ‘poison’, as a safety/survival mechanism.

b) I simply was scared I had such a lot in me already, that taking anymore would top that already-huge amount in me up. The doctors and hospital staff didn’t advise me to continue taking it, nor to stop, either.

After a while I just ‘forgot’ I used to take medication. No one knew, but I wasn’t keeping it a secret – it was almost a non-issue. When I visited my psychiatrist for a 4-monthly appointment (that’s one every four months, not four times a month) he asked how the medication was going. I responded that I no longer took it – and the look of horror on his face was memorable. He couldn’t understand how dropping from 30mg daily of Aripiprazole (top dosage, I believe) to 0mg hadn’t induced psychotic symptoms as if they were going out of fashion.

I explained to him, that whilst I appreciated and respected his 9 year degree, the stance that medication is a one-size-fits-all solution is direly misjudged and ignorant. In the same way medication helps some people and not others, no medication has the same outcome, by definition. He then went on, with a slight hesitation as if to say ‘Do I really want to know?’, to ask me how I had kept myself in check.

I explained to him my process of analysing my situation, picking out patterns in my behaviour and the topics and themes within delusions / hallucinations / paranoia. Now, as a psychiatrist (as opposed to psychologist), I was dearly expecting his confusion and questionableness about ‘natural’ or ‘humanistic‘ approaches to treatment.

Without sidetracking, I also noted to him my view of what he calls ‘Schizophrenia’ actually is. I envisage the situation as someone who is not wearing a coat, and when the wind blows, they get a bit chilly. Most other people are wearing coats, but if they give their coat to the cold bloke, they themselves become cold and require a coat too.

My theory was to look at where I lost my coat, retrace my steps, and find it again – thus making me warm and cosy. He found it idealistic at the time, I found it exciting.

Returning to my analysis of themes in my positive symptoms, I could see many of them referenced the feeling of being ‘out of control’, or more specifically, someone else being ‘in control of me’. I took a look at things in my life, and saw how subconsciously I was protecting myself from being controlled. These ranged from own my own company (as opposed to being employed and at the whim of someone else), and boosting myself to the top of the food chain within a social group – presenting myself as the expert in any given situation.

All I simply did, was in a moment of rationality, looked at why I felt I needed control, and looked at how important ‘control’ was anyway. Then began my new process of control, which was handing the power to others. In this way, ironically, I still was in control – yet the baggage that comes with it disappeared.

I still suffer bouts of symptoms yes, but I now look at things in order of importance. I look at things in a relative light, assessing them against a mental list of rational thoughts.

As a side-note, after hearing a much more in-depth explanation than is written here, the doctor concluded I had Low Latent Inhibition, and called me a creative genius. Probably one step too far – but generous none the less!

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