Archive for the ‘Philisophical’ Category

I Like Calm and Happy

I never thought this moment would happen. When I started out on this journey (I bloody HATE that word!!) of life (I hate that vague, meaningless-but-everyone -knows-what-you-mean phrase even more!!), I never believed for one moment, that I would be inspired and changed by such a film as Meet The Fockers.

Yes, I am sorry. Both for watching it so late after release, and to cover the embarrassment of finding such a ‘loosely-emotional’ so life-alterating. But hey! Different strokes.

I realised that I wanted out of life. I want a life of smiles and freedom. I want a beautiful lady to rub noses with until I’m two beats from cold. I want communal smiling, I want laughter, and I want success that isn’t just in a financial context.

Let’s rephrase that paragraph to be more definite! I am going to, from now, this moment, have a life of smiles and freedom. I am going to find a beautiful lady to rub noses with ’til I pop it. I am going to have people around me smiling and laughing and I am going to be creative everyday of my life, come what may!

A lot of people perceive mental illness as the decree absolute in terms of a happy life. I happen to disagree – find the smiles that hide behind the mask and coax them out to fruition. Nothing is impossible, nothing can stop the determination of a man who wants to stand up from the floor when he believes in it’s happening.

Life’s out there. Go get it.


Self-Medicating through happiness


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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Sources of Inspiration

Firstly, I must apologise for the dire lack of posting of late, this will hopefully change from now on. I’ve bought MarsEdit (the best blog editor for OSX ever) and so should feel inclined to get past writer’s block more often. Sorry once again, thanks for staying with me if you did!

These past few weeks, well months really, things have been changing quite dramatically. The forefront of those, is most probably a question of misdiagnosis. Several psychiatrists have pondered on the idea of mistaking a personality disorder such as BPD for (Paranoid) Schizophrenia.

This theory came about after I myself expressed concern. I have, and for as long as I can remember have always had, a feeling of things being ‘discrete secrets’, which I will try my best to explain.

I had an inkling I had made it all up. Not a startling claim to hear from a Schizophrenia ‘sufferer’, but nonetheless was an honest admission. I began to feel quite confused over what I thought/felt about the external world, and what I thought/felt about my internal world. I would ponder for hours on whether there really was an ‘external world’. I would ponder for hours on whether there really was an ‘internal world’. I would ponder for hours on whether there really was a ‘world’.

This feeling of ‘I made it all up’, seems to me now, a way of dealing with the ‘reality’ of ‘unreality’. At the time I felt huge guilt over whether I had put everyone through hell purposefully, or I had been passively watching my actions and words and thoughts evolve and unfold, unable to lend a hand to stop them from happening. Constantly thinking about this was beginning to send me mad, again.

I then reached the point where I shouted at myself. I shouted that I needed to find a way, however temporary, to rationalise between what was real and what wasn’t – even if there was no distinction between the two in ‘reality’. I began to model my decisions on my best friend, asking myself ‘would this happen to him?’. We are similar in personality, although allowing myself for someone else to effectively control my decisions was a huge step of trust for me.

So, consequently, I am quite confused in thought at the moment. I have no idea if this post makes much sense at all, either. But to me, it makes no difference, as it doesn’t feel real anyway.

I hope everyone has been well? Please do let me know in the comments!


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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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Medication (and the Lilly Story)

As you may be aware, yesterday it was reported that Lilly, the company behind the anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa (Olanzapine) had been actively promoting it for uses other than treating ‘psychotic disorders’.

I was once prescribed Olanzapine. In fact, it was the first anti-psychotic I was given. The timeline was like so:

  • First ever appointment with a Psychiatrist – 5mg / day prescribed.
  • Second appointment, one week later – 10mg / day prescribed.
  • Third appointment, 3 days later – 15mg / day prescribed.
  • Fourth appointment, 5 days later – 20mg / day prescribed (this is the maximum dose, for anyone.)
  • Fifth appointment, 1 day later – admission to the Priory North London.

I would like to point out I was 15 years of age, and these drugs have never been officially tested on under-18’s.

Looking at that in bullet-point form, it disgusts me. The medication was given next to zero time to ‘kick in’ before it was upped. And upped. And upped again. And once more. These types of drugs can take a long time to have any positive effect, but the side-effects are almost instant.

I was taken off Olanzapine after I complained of ‘zombiness’, i.e. constant tiredness, lack of motivation, and continuous hunger. I am now prescribed Abilify (Aripiprazole).

But I do not take it. I have took Abilify once since March 2006, and that dropped my blood pressure down to such a level that I passed out on a railway platform. Surprisingly to the doctors, and unsurprisingly to me, my ‘symptoms’ have reduced greatly since I stopped taking them, and I live a much happier life. I don’t, necessarily, suggest anyone else not taking their medication. I do not have enough knowledge about the subject, nor am I a trained professional, to give that advice.

I’ve always always allllways seen my ‘condition’ as something which is only treatable through self-determination, and changing cognitive patterns within my mind. Talking to anyone, psychologist or not, helps me. More than any tablets have, ever.

There is a tendency among doctors in the UK to feel that prescribing meds will ‘sort the problem out’. A one-stop-fix, if you like. The eagerness of professionals in this country to give out extremely strong medication to under-18’s, or to anyone for that matter, scares me.

I do like Lorazepam though, but that’s a different story 😀

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Putting it into words

I have always been a great believer in writing. Words open up such potential and possibility for creativity and expression. Something which is only matched by art.

I guess this is one of the reasons I am writing the book. It’s a personal journey aswell as helping others on a journey they wish to take. Words make things… real. They can inspire or they can hurt. They can illicit smiles or frowns. Love, or hate.

As an update, the book is coming along swimmingly.. hopefully, just hopefully, we should all be ready to go green-lighted by March 07. No promises though!

I would like to share with you a poem I found today, which inspired this post.. the transference of Feelings to Words is obvious. Thanks to Caitlin for letting me post!

I lost my mind.
I cannot find
my heart after you stole it.
My tears run dry
as I cry.
I fall to the bottomless pit.

Down below,
I cry out my soul,
hoping I will soon heal,
but as he goes,
my heart truly knows
that I’m too hurt to feel.

They try to help me
’cause they can see
that something is terribly wrong,
but down below,
I truly know
I can no longer sing my song.

I pick up the blade.
My fate is made,
for I can’t go on anymore.
The blood falls to the ground
as the voices go ’round,
and the rain begins to pour.

~by: Caitlin – [Gir] – Blue_Dragon~

Cognitive Dissonance

I just got to thinking about the cognitive dissonance in us ‘mentals’. I think that the CD in each individual will have different criteria and different perspectives but I would like to focus on one perspective I struggle with quite a bit.

Just to make sure we’re all on the same hymn sheet:

cognitive dissonance

–noun Psychology.

anxiety that results from simultaneously holding contradictory or otherwise incompatible attitudes, beliefs, or the like, as when one likes a person but disapproves strongly of one of his or her habits.

My major ‘mind contradiction’ is between voices trying to conduct my actions and words, and my moral-based, human compassion. To explain further, the ‘voices’ often instruct me to bring some kind of emotional (never physical.. probably because the ‘voices’ know I won’t ever do that) pain, and me as a person would never purposefully cause that.

And so the battle of the thoughts begins. This starts to bring a cycle of worry, because the past has told me worrying never helps. So I’m worrying that I’m worrying. The cycle goes round until I either collapse from mental exhaustion, or scream so loud I forget what is happening.

I wasn’t tought much about Cognitive Dissonance in CBT, even though I can see I experience a lot of it. Does anyone have any ideas, thoughts or ‘solutions’ to thought contradiction? Please do use the comments system =)