Tag Archives: antipsychotics

I don’t quite know how to put this experience into words. I haven’t written for some time again, due to feelings of inadequacy, depression, and general brain fog. I can’t seem to form coherent sentences as quickly as I used to, nor can I focus for long periods of time on something that I have a deep love for.

Thursday, 10.25.18 I remember walking into the outpatient center I attend for a therapy session. I remember the feelings of utter hopelessness attending with me, like a sack lunch I was carrying to school. I had made the decision to give up. I was tired of fighting, I was tired of trying to fight, and I was tired of the only option being fighting. I was tired of fighting myself, I was tired of, for the millionth time in my mental health career, coming off of medication, and I was tired of hearing I needed medication to thrive.

I was taking 10 milligrams of Abilify and 10 milligrams of Trintellix and I couldn’t find the energy to finish homework, or get out of bed, and I didn’t have the luxury of feeling any emotion at all: happiness, sadness, inquisitiveness, passion–nothing. And so I did what I always do: stopped the medication.

This usually happens without consequence. For the most part, I’ll stop cold turkey after a couple of months, struggle through a few physical withdrawal symptoms, and get on with my lifestyle. The last time I stopped these two meds, I regained my energy quickly, breezed through four classes, and managed happiness until the opinions of those I care about convinced me to try the medication again.

So I tried again, For maybe two and a half weeks. Then I stopped. I stopped and I noticed my energy did not come back. My mood was stable until it wasn’t. It plummeted. I focused a lot on what was wrong with me, the disappointment of my relationship ending (yes, I’m still stuck on that), and the worries of the future regarding my education, where I’m going to live after December, and the simple fact that I struggle taking care of myself. Those are the surface issues. There are deeper issues I don’t think I’m in touch with yet.

I’ve struggled with depression since I was ten years old. A low mood was nothing new to me, in fact I welcomed it because the darkness was comforting. It was an old friend, a sinister reminder that life is suffering and suffering reminds us that we’re alive. I was thankful for this friend to return because on the medication I didn’t feel alive.

I started planning fun things to do to keep me from falling further: A concert, an overnight trip to San Francisco, Halloween plans and costumes. I got excited: the week of the 21st would be marvelous.

But I started separating from myself.  I don’t remember when, and I don’t remember how, but part of me blacked out. I know I was around and talking to people because I went to work, had laughs, made plans. I don’t remember much of it, but I know I was there.

By Thursday, the 25th, I was moving slowly, not comprehending where I was, no hope or vision for the future, and I’d even lost interest in Halloween, my favorite holiday. I confessed to the therapist that I didn’t have energy to care much about my life, nor could I answer her questions. I didn’t tell her I’d made a plan to (somehow) kill myself after Halloween. It wasn’t fully developed yet, an undercooked chicken in the oven.

I don’t remember much about the session other than the ending: a mindful meditation seeking to locate my inner child. I remember a lot of pain resurfacing, so deep and profound I had never felt it before, and I snapped. I was gone. She asked me how I felt, and I told her dissociated, separated from myself. I remember that. She made me do some grounding activities to bring me back into my body. I don’t think they worked.
That night I went to a concert. It put me in a seemingly better mood.

Friday and Saturday I spent the days in San Francisco at the Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, Six Flags, and around town. Saturday evening, on the drive back, a sinister part of me reminded me of my plan.

I’m not a stranger to hearing voices. I don’t hear them every day, and I haven’t had a bad episode in a while, not since my last hospitalization last year, but this time was different. This time I heard nothing external, and everything internal.

We all have an inner voice that reads to us, thinks for us, and we are in control of that voice, we dictate it. I’m dictating it now as I read back what I wrote, and as I write. But what I listened to that Saturday evening was not of my own doing. A different voice, a male voice, one inside of my head that I had no control of, which directly told me I needed to kill myself. He instructed me to open the door of the car and jump out in traffic–on the highway–and end it. He addressed me as “you” and I addressed me as “I”. That’s the only difference I can pinpoint right now. When I had a thought of my own, I said to myself “I need to calm down”. When I didn’t, he said “you need to do this. There’s no reason for you to live, you don’t deserve life.”

Was this a demonic entity interfering with my thoughts? I didn’t know. I sat paralyzed in the rental car my Ex drove, crying consistently for an hour and a half. The torment wouldn’t stop. “You don’t deserve to live. There’s nothing good about you. Jump out of the car. End it. When you get home, kill yourself. Hang yourself in the closet, no one will even find you.”

I had plans that evening with another friend, so I did not act on those commands. I did, however, drink quite a bit of whiskey and wander around the downtown city. When I got home, I drank more whiskey and fell asleep.

In the morning I awoke instantly crying. The day was Sunday, 10.28.18. I turned on Breaking Bad: I’ve never seen it before. I don’t remember much of the episodes because my head was so loud: “hang yourself in the closet. Take a knife, slit your wrists. You will never amount to anything. You don’t deserve to be on this earth, you don’t contribute to anything.” I joined in: “I can’t write anymore. I can’t enjoy things anymore. I don’t see this getting any better”.

It was 6pm that night when I finally stood up and searched my apartment for something, anything to hang myself with. I didn’t feel in control of my body, I was just going along with the motions.

“Fill up the tub, get in the water, slit your wrists.”

I grabbed a kitchen knife from the drawer and filled up the tub. I remember this part more clearly than other parts because my heart was beating out of my chest, my hands were clammy, and I couldn’t get a grip on myself, I felt like I was losing myself to someone else.

I got in the water with my clothes on and fought the noise in my head. I tried to give myself reasons to live–family, my cat, work–but it was always overpowered by that other voice. I spent a half an hour sawing at my wrists with a dull blade that could barely cut a tomato. I pressed as hard as I could and my skin barely broke. Eventually, I threw the knife. I remember a lot of crying and banging my head on the wall and hitting myself. The noise wouldn’t stop. I ripped out the string from my leggings I had on and wrapped it around my neck and pulled and pulled and pulled. Thinking back on it, I would probably pass out before I die, given my hands are the one pulling the strings, but in the moment I just needed to cause some sort of harm to myself. I kept trying the knife in between strangling myself and I sent one text message that I don’t remember.

It was a couple hours before I stopped. My neck was sore and I had stopped crying, but I wasn’t back in my body yet. The water was cold and I heard the front door open and footsteps running in.

We spent a couple hours talking, and I was gone completely. I don’t remember an ounce of the conversation. I remember seeing through my eyes my body stand up and go for the knife, go for the string, and my ex preventing me from doing so. I remember telling him I didn’t want to traumatize him.

There’s a block on my memory of the conversation, what I said, what he said. I remember being on the couch wrapped in blankets, soaking wet, distraught, eating pizza. I didn’t remember the last time I had food. It couldn’t have been too long. I took a Seroquel. I only had three or four left. It’s a shame I didn’t have a full bottle, or I would have just swallowed them all and called it a night.

The next day I didn’t awake until 1pm. I could barely move, my mind was paralyzingly loud, and I turned on more Breaking Bad. The urge to die was so strong. People took turns watching after me, texting me, calling me. I refused to let anyone call 911. The hospital is not a place to be when you’re in a crisis.

Today is Halloween. My head isn’t loud. I came back into my body and have trouble remembering what the depression felt like because I feel I wasn’t the one to feel it–this entity within me, whether it’s paranormal or just a fractured part of my self, is hell bent on destroying me.  I haven’t experienced a dissociative experience so destructive since high school.

Am I still depressed? I think. Mildly. Or it’s so severe that I’m incapable of comprehending the severity of it.

I didn’t learn to love life from this attempt. I didn’t learn to appreciate the little things or find new meaning or purpose. I still feel lost and confused. A hospital visit isn’t going to change that. What I did learn is that I’m more committed than ever to never taking psychiatric medication again in my life. After 7 years of being a guinea pig, I’m done.

My outpatient group counselor asked me why I despised medication so much. I told her it’s poison. She asked in what way. I told everyone in that room that long term treatment results in heart issues, liver issues, physical ailments that permanently scar your internal body and shorten your life span.

She said okay,  well, then would you rather kill yourself now and not have a life to live, or have some little problems a little later?

I said that was a dumb question, and that heart arrhythmia’s aren’t little problems. I said I’d rather kill myself than subject my body to synthetic chemicals.

And through this experience, if it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the only two ways I will die is by my own hand or nature’s hand. I will not slowly die at the hands of greedy monsters making a profit off my death. If anyone is going to shorten my life span, it’s going to be me.

Should 911 have been called on me? Probably. I’m worried what I will do after Halloween–my original plan–and where my mindset will go. I’m worried I won’t be able to receive the support people are offering because I don’t know how. I’m convinced there is nothing left for me and that the only thing keeping me alive right now is fear of the unknown and a low threshold for pain. I’m worried this depression will slide past, unnoticed, and sky rocket into something more. I’m worried I’m not going to find a purpose again, that I’m not going to find a reason to live. I’m worried I’ll never feel passionate about anything again, or optimistic. I’m worried I’m shutting down, like the last stages of liver cancer. I’m worried I’ll pass as functional and be in misery for the rest of my life, however short or long that is. I’m worried someone will convince me to go back on medication. I’m worried that the only thought in my head right now is that I give up.

I’m worried that, recently, every time someone offers their help, my response now is “I don’t want it.”

Care For Some Drugs For Your Drugs?

The FDA had approved Fanapt and Saphris four or five years before I did a post on them two years ago. Let’s recap. Please. Let’s.

You should sense some tension in that first sentence. If you don’t, then I’ll just tell you: there’s tension in that first sentence. 

Fanapt: 

Treatment target: people labeled with schizophrenia.

Two clinical studies got this drug FDA approved. One was a six-week study, one was a four-week study.

In the six-week study (42 days) there were 706 people. Let’s keep in mind that the minimum amount of days for a clinical trial to be considered relevant is 30. Three long term efficacy trials were conducted at once (source). Each individual trial lasted ten weeks. That’s “long term”. I wonder how long those of you who have been put on Fanapt have been on it at this point. If my sarcasm hasn’t been evident yet, look harder.

Fanapt was concluded to have the same long term efficacy of HALOPERIDOL.

Fanapt is an atypical anti-psychotic, meant to have a lower risk of EPS and Tardive Dyskinesia (TD). Whether or not that’s true is up for debate. Haloperidol is a first generation anti-psychotic. It’s infamous for EPS and TD. Why? It’s been around longer.

Both are the same level of “effective” (whatever that means). How much between first-generation and second-generation has changed, then? 

The four week study had 604 guinea pigs. This study was 28 days. They must have done it in February. A loop-hole? “We can’t control the days in the month, this should be an acceptation to the rule, waa, waa, waa, cry, cry, whine, whine until we get our way”. That’s what they do. Remember Alex Gorskey?

Fanapt had similar efficacy to the control antipsychotic used in the study.

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Let’s move on.

Saphris (source):

Treatment target: People labeled with schizophrenia, in a manic episode, or a mixed bipolar 1 episode.

Oh this is rich.

This study agrees the effects are minimal, if they exist at all in terms of Saphris.

Three short-term studies got this approved for schizophrenia. Each 6 weeks. Listen . . . my laughter is making it impossible to type. Okay, okay listen to this:

  • Controls: Haloperidol (the 2nd chemical lobotomy), Olanzapine (Zyprexa; Atypical), risperidone (Risperdal; Atypical).

1st trial:

  • Placebo-Controlled.
  • 174 lab rats
  •  Conclusion: Saphris was superior to the placebo (i.e, sugar pill). I think this deserves a standing ovation. Or should we wait until the end? Let’s wait until the end.

2nd trial:  

  • 448 enslaved
  • 5mg dosage twice a day was apparently superior to the placebo (let’s clap for this, fantasticgood job, amazing), but 10mg twice daily did not surpass the placebo. Something is weird about that.

3rd Trial:

  • The drug could not in any way be distinguished from the placebo. One of the active-controls (probably ‘the chemical lobotomy’ again) was superior in every way. Whatever superior even means to these people.

Let’s breathe and, as promised, stand and clap and whistle if you can. Why am I bringing all of this up? Why am I digging up old news like it was your childhood kitty cat who’s been buried under the rosebush by the fence? Well, let’s think about it.

They put so much effort into pushing out antipsychotic after antipsychotic (i.e, Invega) and recycling the same drug labeled with a new name (Haldol vs Fanapt/Saphris) that they have to start creating drugs to fix their first mistakes: the lifetime effects of TD. 

The FDA, this month, right now, approved the first drug for TD. It’s called : Ingrezza (valbenazine). I found this out, of all places, from NAMI’s twitter.

deep-breath

*Deep Breath*

Let’s do this one more time, shall we?

Ingrezza:

  • Side effects: So far, one: Somnolence (drowsiness). Let’s give it a few years.
  • 234 unfortunate souls with TD and “underlying schizophrenia”, whatever that means.
  • Six-weeks.
  • The group which took Ingrezza showed a “statistically significant change” in their TD symptoms versus the Placebo which is all they have to compare this to at this point.

I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again: it’s pretty much the motto of this website at this point; I’m not anti-medication. I’m not anti-psychiatry. I’m anti-stupidity. And this is stupid. It’s stupid because we all know very well when a drug is made to treat something, that drug–when coming off it–will exacerbate the something. That leaves you trapped, regardless of the side effects. And when you’re trapped, you feel helpless. And when you feel helpless, you’re reminded how sick you are even if you’re not sick. When you believe you’re sick, you limit yourself. When you limit yourself, these companies make billions and you make an indent in your couch.

You should be used to my bluntness by now. I shave it down for no one, and I never will.

If this drug does what it says it does, and it can “cure” the people who have been damaged by drugs like Haldol, wonderful. I’m going to count on that not being the case. I will count on it making a good 200 billion dollars though.

I’m looking for the logic here. So much effort into the production of antipsychotics, so little effort into the dynamics of the mental health system. I’m willing to take a huge, very educated guess and say that many people on anti-psychotics could, with proper support and belief and understanding of themselves, live without anti-psychotics as a daily ritual. Sometimes I don’t know how I do it, but I do. The more people who are able to do so, who are supported and not oppressed, the less TD there will be, the less need there will be for new TD drugs.

Neurocrine Biosciences, if you’d like a cure for TD, there you go. Need more information? Hit me up at 1-800-DELUDAMOL. I’m sure you’re familiar with the number.

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Deludin’ For 70 Years

Rambling . . . Rambles

They have smart watches for kids now? Is that cute or fucking weird? Anyone?

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Here, rather than monitoring our kid’s time on the tablet, let’s put a miniature one on their wrist so they never pay attention to anyone or anything in the outside world again, and then complain to a psychologist when our kid doesn’t pay attention in class! Yay! We’re SMART.

SmartWatches: Making Kids Smarterer. One watch at a time. 

ADHD is on the rise, remember? It’s not ever related to parents’ miscommunication with their children, or less activity in the day, or excessive technological usage, or complete and utter mis-diagnosis. Nope. These kids are SICK. Everyone panic! If they cough on you, you’ll get the ADHD!

Well, if anyone coughs on me I’ll punch them in their mouth because that’s called being rude. I don’t want your Ebola-ass, Polio-ass, non-vaccinated-ass, halitosis-stankin’-ass germs all over my skin. Makes me itchy just thinking about it.

I feel like verbally ripping some people to shreds. I wish Alex Gorsky were back in the news again, I would love ripping him a new one again. I could get political, but honestly I don’t care one ounce anymore about who wins this election. The only proposition I even feel like voting for is the one about making porn companies provide and require porn stars wear condoms. That’s literally all I care about this election year.

I spent another night in mental turmoil in my dreams with disembodied voices and then a bunch of arguing. If I have to go through this shit again tonight I’m probably going to go to work tomorrow slightly off my rocker. My eyelids will be twitching, my eyebrows will be different colors, my clothes won’t match, and I’ll speak in tongues and tell everyone the devil has control over me.

Yeah, that’s great. Go into a house where people feel the devil steals words from their head and claim you’re the devil. That’s helping the community. Great job. Much support. Wow.

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My head is also throbbing and I’m being a class A procrastinator. I told myself after this blog post I will begin the horror that is the mountain of homework I’ve let build up because today I have a bit more energy and that’s a good thing. But these headaches have to go. I have a feeling these are related to the Effexor. If so, this shit is going to have to go. I feel I’ve had headaches steady every day for the last week .

What I don’t want is another SSRI. I don’t mind SNRI’s, this has actually been a much more pleasant experience; it’s even tamed my appetite. However, this one side effect of the headaches–Christ. I can’t take it. I can’t focus still, and with my head pounding I can’t focus even harder.

I also think I’ve been eating less. That might contribute as well. I just don’t find myself interested in that kind of activity unless it’s the end of the day and my stomach rumbles and I realize, well, shit. I’d rather kick ass in Syndicate than eat food.

Another dissatisfying side effect: twitches and teeth clenching. My boyfriend informed me the other night what when I sleep I’m twitching excessively. That could be due to fatigue, but it’s also a known side effect of Effexor. He said it was freaking him out a little. I wasn’t full on convulsing according to him, so it probably wasn’t some kind of freakish sleep seizure, but it might contribute to my restlessness during the night. If it continues to that extent, I should probably get a sleep study.

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The teeth clenching bullshit started with Lexapro. It has not ended, even though I haven’t touched an SSRI for four years. But an SNRI is essentially a Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor, so serotonin is involved. I’ve noticed my teeth clenching has gotten significantly worse than usual. My gums are throbbing and my teeth are screaming and it takes my mouth and jaw being in pain for me to realize I’m clenching them. Then I have to open my mouth consciously and keep it open until I forget about it again and the teeth clench once more. Mouth guards are about forty to fifty dollars here. I don’t think so.

She gave me the option of antipsychotics but my reservations are strong. They are incredibly strong. They’re stronger than the bond between the world’s strongest magnet and the worlds smallest piece of metal.

She has reservations too. I could see them. She has reservations about what actually goes on in my brain. I felt myself rambling last month and I heard the things coming out of my mouth and I saw the look on her face, the look I once caught myself giving to people at work when I first started. It’s the look of clinical concern all psychologists and psychiatrist are trained to give when someone starts talking about unrealities.

Clinical concern versus genuine concern are two different things. With genuine concern you’re focused on the person. With clinical concern you’re flipping through the DSM in your head. I’ve experienced both. I lean more towards genuine concern after working at Second Story for the last five months. It helps build a connection much easier. Clinical concern gets you nowhere.

That being said, I could see her judging whether she should chalk up what I spoke about to anxiety or something else. She tried slipping the antipsychotics into my prescription print out for a reason, though. She TRIED. Very HARD. I’m not falling for it. The thing about someone who is always suspicious is that when it comes to people trying to control us, our automatic reaction is to push away. Sometimes that saves us.

I’ve been rambling and procrastinating for too long. In conclusion: smart watches for kids is fucking stupid, headaches hurt my brain, and anyone else who suggests antipsychotics can take a big load of Thorazine right up their ass.

I said something similar before I went to my last psychiatrist appointment, and somehow I walked out with three diagnoses and a prescription. This time I’ll probably walk out with a max dose of Haldol, a lobotomy and four more diagnoses’.

Much optimism. Great Positivity. Wow.