Archive for the ‘My Story’ Category

Schizophrenia Blog Revived

I begin with an explanation. I had intended to move this blog to it’s own hosting – it seems for one reason or another it didn’t quite work out. So I’m back, here, now – and more ready than ever.

I follow with a plan. I now intend to create a compilation of chapters, a story if you will, of the experience of my first hospitalisation. The first post shall follow this one by about 10 minutes.

I sincerely hope you enjoy!

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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Opportunities and their influence

The title of this post is utterly and totally unrelated to it’s content, but ‘writer’s block’ took over. Firstly, a little update:

Weds 3rd January: I rang my ‘care’ team during the day requesting an emergency appointment with a consultant. I reported extreme anxiety, anxiety about anxiety (GAD, anyone?) and impulsive suicidal urges (for want of a better word). I also felt quite uncontrollably aggressive and was worried that something unpredictable may happen. I was at work (scared shitless, to be honest).

No less than 3 hours later, I received a call back saying ‘the consultant doesn’t feel this is an emergency, I advise you to go to Accident & Emergency at the local hospital if you feel it is necessary’. Leaving the utter irony of his statement aside, what would the situation have to entail to be classified as an emergency? What does it take? Does it have to be left until something happens and then they step in with medication and hospitalisation and look like heroes?

I went to A&E soon after. After a further 2 hour wait (this I expected, and fault no one for) I was seen by the most amazing Liaison consultant I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She listened to my concerns, relaxed me, and has now applied for fast-tracked therapy! I am over the moon at the kindness and sincerity of this angel.

Now (Sun 7th January): I have begun to ponder on the use of words, and ideologies, such as ‘truth’, ‘fact’, ‘real’ and ‘reality’. What is the baseline for these words? General consensus? But of which country, culture, group of people?

Thing is, I cannot say ‘facts can never proved, purely because no one knows what the world is, where it came from, or why’ simply because that is hypocritical. I cannot say facts are not facts, without intending that to be a fact.

No one can prove MI5 are not after me. But somehow, by saying this it ‘proves’ I am suffering from a chronic, incurable disease that my rights must be taken away because of it. Anyone else see the hypocrisy?

Bottom line – what is the difference between someone kidnapping a person off the street because they believe abortion is OK, and a person who believes secret agents follow him being placed in a building with people who believe similar things?

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Unbelievable. Astounded.

I have just returned from a meeting with a new care-coordinator, and my previous one. They informed me my dispute against the decision to refuse me psychotherapy was dismissed, again by a team that has no idea who I am. They have never seen my face. They have never ever talked to me on the telephone. They just decided against helping me live my life like a life instead of a cycle of anxiety and nightmare-filed sleep times.

I don’t normally use this argument, but I do now ask the question of why I pay national insurance contributions. If the Hippocratic Oath means nothing to them, surely the legislative Good Medical Practice Guide means something? Obviously not. The box of tissues I was passed in the meeting this afternoon held more symbolic meaning than normal, because I could see the front-line soldiers knew I am f’ed up, but sadly those in the safe and warm MOD head quarters cannot see the wood for the trees.

I am severely under the impression that these people cannot organise a piss up in a brewery. It has reached the point of this treatment being past a ridicule of my integrity. I am filled with rage but the disappointment and utter disbelief are firing louder. I am scared for the future for the simple reason that this was my last window of opportunity for a very long time.

I’ve even had to return to work now until 6pm after that meeting. Sickened, I cannot work unless there is a sherry involved.

PISS. TAKE.

Music Concerning Schizophrenia?

There is little in the world I could compare to the beauty I find in music. I often search for a song for particular states of mind.. and certain situations I have been in. I don’t think it’s the ‘relating to the words’ aspect as much as using them to express how you feel, when you don’t have the energy nor strength to compose the sentences yourself.

I found this list on wikipedia which is very exhaustive. But, the problem is, it’s too exhaustive! Whilst a perfect resource for many, I am particular about the ambiance of the music I listen to so to go through the list to find a match would take hours…

I would like to throw an open question out.. if I may 🙂 Do you have a favourite track concerning mental health? Is it on that list? (If not, add it!).

I would love to find a slow (ish) tune, about hope and positivity when you’ve been kicked down. Probably acoustic, I love just piano+voice or guitar+voice exclusively..

So, come on then! Whatcha-waitin’-for 😉

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Perceptions Of Schizophrenia

I had an alert in my inbox today, and this post on a forum was in the content of the alert. I would first like to same thank you to Melis16, the post’s author, for his/her (sorry!) attention to the ‘condition’ and helping to inform more people on it.

I would like to respond here, if I may.

Quote:

The cause for Schizophrenia has been widely studied and widely argued – in fact, it has been quite controversial at times. One widely held belief for the cause of Schizophrenia is that there is a genetic predisposition to the illness and certain environmental factors (e.g., severly neglectful/abusive parenting, trauma, etc.) can – in lay terms – “bring it out”. Usually, the biggest genetic link is from parent to child, so if it a relative outside of the bmom has Schizophrenia, it is a better situation.

My experiences, in my eyes, are a jumble of all of those. My grandmother, who died of Leukaemia in 1996, had been diagnosed since the 1940’s (she had been in the prison-like castles in Ireland that we know all too well). She was my biological relative and had only brief, i.e. 2 months long, periods of relief from the ‘illness’.

I was also sexually abused by her husband at age 7. When I say sexually abused, I mean raped in every room of the house in the same night. As you can imagine, I suffer the trauma still today (I suppressed and dissociated from reality as a safety mechanism) and he appears frequently in delusions and/or paranoia.

Quote:
Significant symptoms of Schizophrenia – the obvious ones meaning psychoses, which includes hallucinations and delusions – don’t usually show themselves until late in the teenage years (for boys) or sometimes later (for girls). However, there are often many “signs” we see earlier in childhood that can tell us if a child may suffer with Schizophrenia. Being aware of these, would help diagnose a child earlier and allow for more effective interventions.

My ‘symptoms’ / experiences arose at age 15, but I have always been ahead of my years both physically and mentally. I am not sure what you are referring to by ‘signs’ – if you mean clues to latent schizophrenia then I am not personally aware of specifics to watch out for. One of the main ‘gotchas’ in the illness is it’s unpredictability and the feeling of ‘creeping up on everyone’. I guess if you analyse the situations of a child at a young age, with their experiences and genetic position in mind, you could hazard a guess of it being ‘possible’ but certainly there are no bullet-points for spotting it in childhood to my knowledge. I would love you to expand on this if possible..

Thank you Melis16, you are a wonderful person for taking the effort to write such info.

By the way, I believe we’re about to hit 1000 views anytime soon 🙂

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No News is Good News

I have just took a break from working and gave the CMHT (Community Mental Health Team) a phonecall to check on the status of yesterday’s deliberations.

I was slightly disappointed I had not been contacted as soon as something was decided, as I had asked, but I expect nothing more. Consistant failures are part and parcel of a Local NHS Mental Health Trust.

The lady I spoke to informed me I had been appointed a new care co-0rdinator (what care there is to co-ordinate I am not exactly clear on). But that’s numero uno that I’m happy with!

I then asked whether my appeal against refusal of psychotherapy  had been taken into mind. The replies from then on in were ‘wait for a letter in the post’. The good part of this, I assume, is that they wouldn’t send a letter to inform me of an admission.

It looks like I’m spending Christmas outside a psych ward 😀 Which calls for a celebration I think.. next round is on me 😉