Posts Tagged ‘medication’

Writer’s Block

February 2, 2017

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I face a blank sheet of paper – ice-white and treacherous. A No Man’s Land I cannot cross. My thoughts are imprisoned in my head and I do not have the key needed to release them. My head is a wasteland. My brain is teflon like. I wonder what the medication is doing to my mind. Abilify is known to cause atrophy of the brain. Some might say this began happening to me a long time ago. Now it seems to be accelerating. And I am terrified. So forgive me if entries are sparse and disjointed.

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Aktion T4

September 15, 2014


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Giving Up

July 13, 2013

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I Know An Old Lady

I know an old lady who swallowed a fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps shell die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps shell die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a bird,
How absurd to swallow a bird!
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps shell die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a cat,
Imagine that, to swallow a cat!
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps shell die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a dog,
My, what a hog, to swallow a dog!
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps shell die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a goat,
Just opened her throat and swallowed a goat!
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps shell die..

I know an old lady who swallowed a cow,
I wonder how she swallowed a cow?!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps shell die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a horse,
She’s dead, of course!!

http://www.timmyabell.com/music/lyrics/ol/oldlady.htm

NB: Across the Big Pond they say I guess she’ll die.

During the Christmas holidays I did something – one of the most heart-stoppingly, mind-blowingly stupid things I have ever done and, believe me, there’s a lot of competition. I decided to do what so-called Junkies and other assorted addicts (of both legal and illegal sort) call ‘going cold turkey’. My own drug of choice isn’t a ‘drug of choice’ at all. It was prescribed for me when I was an inpatient in the local psychiatric hospital by an attractive older lady who called herself a ‘doctor’. She was highly plausible. She looked like a doctor, acted like a doctor, wrote prescriptions like a doctor. The only things she lacked were a stethoscope and a white coat. The absence of these things should have given me a clue. Well, all that proves is that I am no Miss Marple.

Some of you may be aware that my ‘diagnonsense’ (hat tip to ‘Girl Interrupted’, both book and film) is schizoaffective disorder (a word that is a fully paid up member of the English language. I know this because my usually efficient spell-checker did not attempt to correct it.) My diagnosis has not changed over the years and given the unfortunate experiences of many (for example Seaneen from The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive) I consider myself fortunate. It dates back to the year of our Lord: nineteen hundred and ninety four. Throughout the nineties (aside from the odd brief spells in hospital) I was well and truly ‘pushing the envelope’ as our good friends across The Big Pond would say. I was taking just one type of medication: a relatively low potent ‘typical neurotic’ called Melleril. I give away my age when I tell you that on my second admission to hospital I was prescribed the drug Chlorpromazine (known by their trade names in the US as ‘Thorazine’ and in the UK as ‘Largactil’), the oldest neuroleptic on the planet. (Details of its long and, some would say: ignoble, history can be found here).

Then one day (circa 1998) it was revealed that Melleril was capable of causing sudden cardiac arrest (it has something in common with life then). I remember being vaguely amused at the GP’s receptionist’s panicked tones on my answering machine: “This is an urgent matter. It requires your immediate attention. It is imperative that you contact the surgery straightaway.’ (Don’t you just adore italics?) Given that I had been on this particular medication for almost half a decade without incident, frankly I was prepared to take my chances. To my mind their concern, grateful though I was for it, was a little excessive. Still, it had been taken off the market so I had no choice in the matter so I strolled on down to my GP’s surgery and was prescribed an alternative low potency antipsychotic. Unfortunately they got the dose wrong and forgot to prescribe Procyclidine, a drug designed to combat the side effects of neuroleptics which include…(It’s like the old lady who swallowed the fly but more on that later.) The result was that I had what medics call ‘a bad reaction’

(understatement of the millennium) and lost control of my own body.

Later, it transpired that I had been experiencing ‘dystonia’, a neurological disorder that causes twisting and repetitive ‘motor-side-effects’ and ‘spasmodic’ (don’t be childish, now) ‘Torticollis’ which causes the head to pull down towards the neck or back. I felt as though my limbs were being wrenched part, as though I were a puppet caught up in a war of two rival puppeteers who seemed determined to pull me in two. (the elderly get this frequently but because they are elderly no one, including, it would seem, the majority of the medical profession really gives a toss.) On top of this I was also encountering ‘’Oromandibular Dystonia’ which involves mouth and tongue spasms. In short, my own body had become my adversary.

I lay down on my bed still writhing. I figured that I could sleep for just a while the side effects of this daemon drug would have worn off upon waking. Even metaphorical puppet masters drop their guard eventually. But it was not to be. Five minutes passed. then ten and finally the quarter hour. At this point I realized that my condition was not improving. It was getting worse. I would have to get help.

I wasn’t sure whether my condition was ‘999-worthy’ so I decided to take the fifteen minute walk to my GP’s surgery. I barely made it across the grass. An elderly ex soldier came walking towards me. He could see that there was clearly something wrong. He said later that I looked like I had experienced a stroke. And he should know because as well as being a war veteran he is also an ex paramedic. He took me by the arm and led me into his ground floor flat. There he insisted on calling an ambulance.

Ten minutes later an ambulance pulled up outside. The driver and the paramedic disembarked. My ‘Good Samaritan’ neighbour rose to let them in. The driver hovered hear the living room door while his colleague sat beside me on the sofa clutching his clipboard and pen. He seemed strangely hostile. At the time I attributed this to my imagination but later my neighbour said that he had picked up on it too. He was certainly supercilious.

My tongue had swollen in my mouth by then and my jaw felt as though it had locked but I did my best to accurately answer the ten minutes worth of questions he was compelled to ask me. I told him that the antidote to ‘my condition’ was Procyclidine. He had never heard of it. But then he had never heard of the drug that caused it either.

Eventually I was bundled into the ambulance, strapped in and driven to the local general hospital. The paramedic climbed in after me and sat beside me. He maintained his air of sneering hostility. Later Nobby told me that he had asked if he could accompany me on my journey to Addenbrookes. Our friendly paramedic said that this would not be possible citing ‘health and safety’ and ‘insurance issues’. Nobby described his attitude as ‘dismissive’, uninterested in the dear old chap’s own experiences as a paramedic (or ‘ambulance man as he was called in those much less enlightened times).  His driver, however, was spellbound.  Just before he climbed into the vehicle and drove off he said something to Nobby that cast recent events in an entirely different light.  Referring to the paramedic he said “Take no notice of him.  He’s only been on the job five minutes and already he thinks he knows everything.’  It would seem that Nobby and I had walked in on a ‘domestic’.

(To Be Continued)

Time Passes

October 12, 2011

Heavily medicated, on the edge of sleep. I have no particular desire to wake up. A passing thought: ‘IE’ used to be the sound that witches made when they were being burnt at the stake.  Now it is an Internet Browser.  How far we have come.

RIP Steve Jobs. Nothing much else to say. Well, there is but now is not the time.

Au Revoir, mes amis.

The Miracles of Medication

October 2, 2011

Re: coming off (most of) my medication. I am currently on a cocktail of psychopharmacological medication: zyprexa (an anti-psychotic medication), velafaxine (an anti-depressant medication) , lorazepam (a minor tranquilliser), and zopiclone (an hypnotic). I don’t know how it came to this but the pharmaceutical companies make an awful lot of money out of me. I will document my efforts to wean myself off (with a little help from the medical profession who got me into this situation in the first place (with more than a little help from me. I did, after all, embrace the sick role.)I never got any great pleasure from the benzodiazepine. The public thinks these drugs are used sparingly.

The public, as always are wrong. During my last hospital I was switched, without explanation from one minor tranquilliser to another. From valium to lorazepam. Theodore Dalrymple doesn’t have much faith in this class of drugs, they dull the mind, they empty in of thought. is this how people think? Is this why they ask me to take their thoughts away? No, Doctor Daniels, they ask you to take their thoughts away because they are psychotic and you are a psychiatrist and that is your job. Intrusive thoughts are a primary feature of psychosis. I hope you are enjoying your handsome NHS salary along with your ten years worth of extra retirement. Psychiatrists get ten years over and above other medical specialisms).

So it seems that although they have been discredited, they are still, widely prescribed. Although they are recommended for short term use only, they are often prescribed on a long term basis,

Lorazepam is a little blue pill that in hospital the nurses seemed to be handing out like smarties. Every one was on them. (I’m surprised you are unaware of this as it has been pretty extensively covered in the press.) I was ‘written up’ for them as soon as I arrived there and have been on them ever since. I have come to rely upon them. I hesitate to use the word ‘addicted’. It sounds so melodramatic and is often used inappropriately. but then I remember what happens when I tried to withdraw on my own (against medical advice) night sweats. hot flushes so intense they made me think I that I might be experiencing early menopause. Skin prickling, burning up. Those withdrawal symptoms pursued me even in sleep for I had the most horrific nightmares. I don’t think I can face what is coming. I am certainly physically dependent on them. Are they my lifeline, my only link to sanity? Anxiety a deliberate understatement. A friend of mine in hospital not given to hyperbole or melodrama called it ‘grade 1 terror’I am afraid of everything, the world itself terrifies me and we all know there is only one cure for that.

Zopiclone

February 22, 2010

They warned me repeatedly: that the euphoric effects of zopiclone would not last forever. No matter how much I take the drug does nothing for me any more. Where has that feeling of being swept away by a benevolent tide gone? Is there a combination of drugs that would mimic the effects of zopiclone? Or maybe I should just stop altogether. Am I destroying myself? Do I want to destroy myself? Should I just accept that the effortless creativity produced within me by zopiclone had gone and will never return?

When Did it All Begin?

January 27, 2010

When did it all begin? When I went crazy for the first time? Or when I decided to stop resisting? When I decided to absorb and implement all the advice the medical profession had to offer?

They made me take their poison. They made me take a drug that is no longer in widespread use: Chlorpromazine (aka: largactil and, in the good old US of A Thorazine) I was made to endure the humiliation of being forcibly medicated. They drag you to your bedspace and close the curtains. Then they push you down onto your bed and four nurses hold you down. One of them kneels on your shoulders. They press you down into the bed. They lift your skirt and then you feel the needle go in and chemicals mingle with blood. An alien substance courses through your veins and there is nothing you can do to stop it. You are in a room on your own. As soon as the nurses have done their work they leave.

No one remains with you to help you make sense of what just happened.

Going to See GP

October 20, 2009

…today.  Feel guilty about taking up so much of his time but how much more time and money would I take up if I were permanently institutionalised as certain people probably think I should be?  Self esteem bottomed out.  Am thinking of raising money for plastic surgery.  It is 5.21 am and I feel as though I am the only person left in the universe.  There’s a voice in my head telling me to ‘end it.  end it now because it will only get worse.’  and my medication, like the postal service, seems to have stopped working and there are no union leaders to negotiate with.  what’s going on with me isn’t fear, it isn’t anxiety; it is abject terror.

Currently browsing this site.  And this site.  What equipment would I need for DIY liposuction?  Pretty heavy duty painkillers that don’t knock you out, a chainsaw?  This makes me terrified about how I am going to be treated by the mental health professionals if I gain any more weight (I am already a heffalump and that’s not an exaggeration.  I feel myself moving, displacing air, occupying too much space.  Heavy.  I’d rather die than be fat, I used to say.  Well, I’m fat now.).

A little bird told me
That jumping is easy
That falling is fun
Right until you hit the sidewalk
Shivering and stunned

Swan Dive, Ani Difranco

For a minute there it must feel like flying.

They used to say, ‘Anorexics are pitied, binge-eaters are scorned, bulimics are simply ignored.’

Guess that’s still a truism even after all these years.

‘You say I’m really an ugly girl.’

Tori Amos

Black-Edged and Borderless: Assignment

September 7, 2009
Black Edged and Borderless

Black Edged and Borderless

I was supposed to write about my mental illness last week but procrastination is my middle name and I didn’t get around to it. Another problem is that I am so ambivalent about it. I have a truly weird diagnosis – or rather, diagnoses – schizoaffective disorder and bulimia nervosa although like many bulimics I started out with anorexia – at least that’s what it says on my medical notes. I actually started out with binge eating disorder and ‘progressed’ to anorexia when others commented unfavourably on my weight. So I am like Churchill’s Soviet Union: A enigma within an enigma within an enigma. Basically, I am plain weird. I do weird things, say weird things, think weird things and for all of those weird things I take a bucketful of weird medication. And I hate it. Even those bucketfuls of medication don’t make me ‘like everybody else’. But then as a CPN once said to me ‘You will never be normal because there really is no such thing as normal.’

That made me feel better for about a quarter of an hour.

Pills of Prussian Blue

July 3, 2009

3691350312_d65454905aThey stuffed me full of multicoloured pills: coral, violet, Prussian blue and then they told me that I was ‘medication resistant’ and so they gave me more.  When I protested they called me ‘non-compliant’ and ‘unreasonable’.  They dulled the passing days.  I was beginning to see the attraction.  They lulled me into temporary oblivion.  They gave me a doped-up, saccharine view of the bleak region I inhabited.  It was an escape from the perpetually chaotic atmosphere of the ward, from the screaming and the shouting, from the fighting and the crying.  They made me forget, if only momentarily, that I existed without possibility of solitude in a transparent anteroom.  They called it permanent observation.  To me without the aid of medication it was hell on earth but I reflected that The Ward Attention Seeker had thrived on it. But I remained uneasy.  Each tablet drew me further into the backstreets of a world of declining aspirations and diminishing horizons.


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