You! Stop It RIGHT NOW: ADHD meds and Psychosis

Alright, everyone STOP.

I found something to rag on already? Damn, it must be a divine plan for me to come back to this blog.

I need to stop this shit before it gets out of hand. I can’t even get through ten posts on my reader on WordPress without seeing: “ADHD medication may increase the risk of psychosis”. And I can’t read one fucking article related to that without getting this bullshit statistic of “rates of ADHD have increased by *enter bullshit number* within the last year”.

Let’s tackle this one stupid point at a time.

First of all, let’s review: The ADHD medications which are being talked about are stimulants. They are not, and let me repeat this, THEY ARE NOT CLEARED FOR NOR RESEARCHED FOR CHILDREN CONSUMPTION, and yet they are given to toddlers, pre-teens, teenagers, and people under 25. What do all those age brackets have in common? Their brains are still developing.

Some idiot doctor is quoted in this article saying “We compared amphetamines [Adderall and Vyvanse] to people who were prescribed methylphenidates [Ritalin and Concerta]. We found that the Adderall type drugs had an increased risk of psychosis”.

Wow, you guys! Really? Is that what you found? And did something similar happen when you asked people to mainline some meth? Bump some cocaine twice a day? And moreover, did you ask a thirteen year old to do it?

Someone please just take a bat to my fucking head so I don’t have to read this nonsense anymore. No one should be surprised that a type of amphetamine that has a very similar chemical structure to illegal amphetamines is causing something illegal amphetamines cause in otherwise healthy people quite fucking often.

If anything they need to take this opportunity to learn from this. They already fucked up multitudes of people’s lives. So do us all a favor. Do something you should have been doing from the beginning. Scan the brains of your patients before you put them on this shitty medication and scan their brains afterwards, when they decent into brutal, prescription induced psychosis, and publish the results. And tell us exactly what these psychiatric medications are changing in our brains.

But you won’t do that. That would harm your fucking business.

Now, obviously, not everyone experiences this side-effect. Don’t get fooled–that does not mean the structure of your brain doesn’t change. Let me share an article I posted on my job’s facebook page. And let’s really, really talk about this.

This article here is posted on Mad In America. It’s essentially an interview with a man who was on psychiatric medication, anti-depressants, and has his doctorate now, in medicine, and doing research on behalf of medication withdrawal. It was found in some studies that as much as 1/40th of a general starting dose of an antidepressant immediately effects every serotonin synapse, 70% of which are in your gut.

So let’s think about that. I was started out on 10mg on my antidepressant back in the day. 1/40th of that is .25. .25mg of that antidepressant would have had an immediate effect on me. Would I feel it? Probably not. But your body and your cells and your synapses would. And over time, eventually you would too.

Adderall is an amphetamine and therefore directly effects serotonin levels. The recommended starting dose of Adderall for adults is 30mg. Not quite sure how they came up with starting dose for anyone other than adults considering it’s never been researched on children.

.75mg of Adderall will have an immediate effect on your system. Think about that.

We have absolutely ZERO clue as to what any of these psychotropic medications do to our brains. That’s not me hating on the system, that, my friends, is simply a fact. The research is biased, often perpetrated by bribed researchers, and the media is so inept at reporting truth half of what the studies actually say are never reported. Don’t believe me? If you’re in college, take your university library card, get on the database, and go read some real journals. Trust me, if you understand statistics a lot of these studies will ultimately disappoint you.

On a child, on an underdeveloped brain, even half of 30mg is going to have a lasting effect on them.

This idea that ADHD is rising is also bullshit. Why? Firstly, doctors get paid to prescribe these medications. They get little kick backs from pharmaceutical companies. So, if you come in with your child who has a few tantrums a day and has trouble sitting in school, that doctor isn’t going to ask you what the nature of the classroom is or the nature of the household (i.e, whether or not the child is being stimulated in school, whether or not there’s enough physical activity, whether or not the child’s diet is overdosed with sugar, whether or not the child is glued to electronic devices, whether or not your parenting just sucks ass).

What this is doing is invalidating the people who really do have deficits in their attention. You could go in a doctor’s office and say you’re having trouble focusing and walk out with a fucking Adderall prescription.

Recesses are being taken out of schools or the time outside is being shortened. You think that’s not going to affect a child? Even though I was silent throughout my school years, when it was raining and we weren’t allowed to go outside I got fucking restless. Why? Because I was a fucking kid. That’s why.

I feel bad for the children who really can’t focus, who literally spend every day and every night fighting their brains, trying to finish a paragraph in a book they’re assigned to read. While their classmates talk out of turn one time and are suddenly given a prescription.

Then everyone wonders why, when that child turns 13, she has a psychotic break.

For example, I have attention problems. I start things and I don’t finish them. I space out when people are talking and then randomly blurt something. I’m either very interested in one thing, or interested in nothing. But I function like every other person. I love school, and learning, and my attention issues have never been a problem for me, even as a child. I didn’t grow up with the t.v on every second, with a smart phone in my hand, eating freaking Frosted Flakes with extra sugar. Whenever a psychiatrist asks me if I have attention problems I always say no because I’m not going get punched with a label I don’t need when there are people out there who literally have breakdowns because they can’t focus.

Everyone STOP this MASS HYSTERIA. And think CRITICALLY. Please don’t believe everything you read–including me. Go research for yourself.

And stop trying to find quick fixes for every little hiccup in your life. Because quick fixes don’t exist.

The Night I Tried to Kill Myself

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.”

How Sick Are You, Pt 2

Another long stretch since I’ve written. I spent some days adjusting to medication, some days hating myself for taking medication, and other days deciding to come off of medication.

Experiment number 2984719374:

Hypothesis: I will have a burst of energy and feel-good neurotransmitters flooding the gates of my synaptic terminals, followed by an immediate and harrowing decline which will, therefore, push me inevitably towards reuniting with the medication I so despise.

Methods: I will stop both the Abilify and Trintellix and monitor my moods and/or whatever aspects of psychosis that may rear its ugly head.

Results: TBD

Discussion: TBD.

Now that we have that settled, let’s talk a bit about mental health and awareness. There are so many great people out there doing great advocacy online and in person. There are so many great Non-Profit organizations doing the same. There are even clubs dedicated to such a thing at my college campus. And yet, there are still people wary and ashamed of their mental health. Let me give an example of how this thought process is still prevalent.

Today, while sitting in my Cognitive Psychology class, we were going over, for the umpteenth time in my life, neurotransmission, synaptic terminals, receptors, antagonists and agonists, Dopamine, Gaba, Norepinephrine, and Serotonin, some of the main receptors you learn in an introduction class. It follows that we should then speak about the dis-regulation of some of those neurotransmitters, and discuss the THEORY of chemical imbalances: regarding primarily dopamine and schizophrenia, serotonin and anxiety/depression.

Again, the idea of a chemical imbalance is a (repeat after me kids):

situation-clipart-theory-5

which means it can never be proven, only dis-proven.

Anyway, that brought up the topic of SSRI’s, their side effects, and their withdrawal symptoms.

One young woman, who was probably younger than I am, raised her hand and said this:

“I was wondering about the withdrawal symptoms, because I take an SSRI, and I noticed that–well, I don’t have depression, it’s for some nerve problems–but I noticed that when I didn’t take it even for just a couple days, I was sleeping a lot, I couldn’t focus in this class . . .” and yada yada yada, personal life bullshit.

But what struck me is that she immediately discounted the experience of depression. She wouldn’t want her classmates thinking she’s “mentally ill” now would she?

And this is why I advocate for changing the culture around this term “mentally ill”. Because people are ashamed of that, of “being ill”. But what if we weren’t “ill”? What if we were perfectly well humans with a variation of neurons (a very, very, very large variation of neurons) that just so happened to result in different experiences? What if believing we are “ill” is keeping us, well, “ill-er”?

What if the perception of those experiences changed from unpleasant to being perceived as unique, variable, malleable, valuable, curious, and wonderful?

That’s not to say the struggle isn’t hard, because it’s very hard. But the harder we believe it is, the harder it will get.

Now, this could all be the feel-good neurotransmitters talking, because I started my little experiment about two weeks ago, and that is about the amount of time it takes for this poison to slowly remove itself from my body. Although, if you know anything about half-lifes, it never really goes away.

But whether or not this is me being euphoric and grandiose, I think we need to expand the discussion around neurotransmitters, and inform the public of just how wrong it is to think that the pathway of ONE SINGLE neurotransmitter leads to something as complex as what we call schizophrenia or what we call anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, any of it.

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You’ll read in a lot of studies released to the public–or at least glorified in the media–that they’ve found another link of dopamine to this, another one of serotonin to that, and it’s just not feasible that with 30-100 different molecule versions of neurotransmitters (granted there are a few that do a lot of the work) and 100 Trillion estimated neural connections plus constant variation of cell death/growth, neural connection death/growth, as well as environmental and genetic influences that dictate those neural connection and sell growths and deaths, that ONE neurotransmitter is going to be responsible for making or breaking our mental health.

Now, we can say that they are correlated. We can say we see increased dopamine in people who experience what we label as schizophrenia. But you cannot, and I repeat, CANNOT use that as CAUSATION.

Fuck I can’t stress it ENOUGH.

Psychology 101 folks: CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION. 

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Dopamine may be high during what we call psychosis, but that does not mean that the high dopamine CAUSED the psychosis, or that the psychosis CAUSED the high dopamine. We haven’t learned what “causes” mental health struggles yet, that’s why chemical imbalance is a THEORY.

See how much you’ve learned already today.

And that’s what happens in a lot of these articles that are debriefed by media or science magazines online with writers who don’t know a single thing about psychology. They get hung up on correlations.

It’s also a result of research publications being manipulated to suit the needs of pharmaceutical companies.

It’s a fact that if you give someone a drug that decreases dopamine, you’ll likely see a decrease in what we call psychosis. You’ll see a decrease in a lot of other things too, and those are what we cal side-effects. But are those drugs really doing anything to the thing we call psychosis, or is it just blunting some aspects of the self? Because often “psychotic symptoms” continue during the usage of said drug.

These are all questions I can’t answer, and neither can the magazines that publish articles on published research. It’s important to read these things carefully and really take a moment to look inside of yourself and ask yourself if you want to consider yourself broken, sick, ill, and helpless.

And that’s today’s Mental Truth.

 

Who’s In Your Driver’s Seat?

It feels good to be back. And by being back I mean reading articles that really have meaning to them, reading tweets that aren’t just about the memearific Kim K shoot. It feels good to be reading and reporting on articles that support and disapprove of my stance. I read one this morning called “The Corruption of Evidence Based Medicine–Killing for Profit” by a Doctor Jason Fung, a Nephrologist. You can read it here.

I mostly report on the corruption within the medicine of psychiatry, but the same happens in the sector of physical health.

This isn’t surprising. As I’ve said many times, medicine is a business. It shouldn’t be, but it is. It’s the same sort of business Tobacco is: it feeds off of people’s weaknesses. That’s not to say at least medicine has the quality of “helping” some people. Without my dad’s blood pressure medicine, his pressure rises into the 200’s easy. They’ve already seen he’s had a few mini strokes none of us knew about. So I’m not here to say we need to abolish the current system. I’m here saying we need to take a closer look.

It’s not your physicians necessarily that are in on this, it’s the researchers, the pharmaceutical companies, and if you live in the United States, the insurance companies. It’s a shame the only research that gets published is the research that very obviously supports the pharmaceutical or the procedure.

Fung quotes Doctor Marcia Angell when she stated the mean truth:

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to reply on the judgement of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor.”

It didn’t take me two decades to reach that conclusion, and I wasn’t reluctant about it. As soon as I read anti-psychotics were given to three year old’s for tantrums, I knew something was screwy. It doesn’t take a rocket scientists to see the profit within that.

Some psychiatrists and physicians aren’t even aware of what they’re doing half the time. My last psychiatrist wanted to raise me to 15mg of Abilify even though the research says anything about 10mg shows no real efficacy. And yet, how high up do they go in miligrams? 30. Think about that. 2mg of Abilify is 939 dollars a prescription without insurance. Abilify is one of the top-selling Antipsychotics in the U.S. Think about it. It took me digging through a lot of papers and research to even find the truth about the efficacy.

Soon all the rage will be these injections. The easiest way to trap someone on a medication is to give them one they can’t refuse. They are, of course, for the more “difficult” patients. So not only are you a patient with no rights, you’re also a patient with no rights who knows they have no rights, so you stand up to that, and that makes you difficult. Or, your experience of psychosis hasn’t been properly approached yet, and therefore you are left to sizzle in your own mind with only the fleeting hope an injection will change things. Maybe for some it does. But at what cost?

Fung makes a good point: “Evidence based medicine is completely worthless if the evidence base is false or corrupted.” 

Doctor Relman makes another good point:

“The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.”

It’s very disgraceful. This is why I have such a strong moral stance against taking medication, this is why I hate to admit that sometimes, yes, a low dosage of a medication does even out my mood. Yes, a low dosage of a medication does help me better understand and better dictate what thoughts I listen to and what thoughts I don’t.

It’s when doctors push up your milligrams because your voices haven’t gone that is the problem. Maybe the voices will never go away: if you haven’t accepted or made peace with that, that’s not a problem medication will solve. Maybe the delusional thoughts will always be there. The depression. The anxiety. If you haven’t accepted any of that, again, that’s not a problem medication will solve. 

It’s also not a problem to be solved. It’s an experience to learn from. It’s an experience to learn how to experience it in a way where you can still live the life you want to. Everyone has some kind of struggle that holds them back at some point in life. You are no different. And to sit back and say “Well, this is my ‘sickness’, I guess I’m doomed to a life of nothingness” is called giving up. That’s not acceptance.

That’s one thing that I struggle with in accepting this “mental health awareness” campaign everyone has going. They’re making awareness for the sickness, the illness, for this idea of helplessness because “your mental illness will never go away”. We should be empowering each other. We should be introducing each other to new perspectives, new ways of hearing voices, new ways of interpreting delusions, new ways of tackling anxiety, new ways of coping with depressions, new ways of experiencing mood swings. The only way we will avoid the corruption of ourselves is to keep ourselves. We can’t lose ourselves within this idea of being ill, of being sick, of needing this, needing that, being disabled.

And that’s today’s Mental Truth.

 

Two Little Pills

I have a poem for you all today about something I’ve been struggling with on an astronomical level. It’s something that’s been hounding me since I first started on this journey when I was 16 or 17. Take a read.

Take it, they say, and I do.

It’s for the better, they say, and I pretend

to believe them.

But there’s no better medicine than human connection,

than walks in nature

where the fireflies conjure

and the Cougars roar.

There’s no better medicine than a domestic cat’s purr,

than a puppy’s head rub,

or the bloom of a rose.

But take it, they said, and I do,

for I understand the consequences of moods

that are self destructive,

that cause more pain than happiness,

that force me to believe

everyone is against me,

even as the evidence proves otherwise.

Two little pills will not dictate my life

but they hound my moral conscience mercilessly:

“You’re feeding the demon, Big Pharma,

going against what you believe in,

what Karma

will that produce at the end of your life span

here on Earth?

You’re hurting your liver, your kidneys, your organs.

How will your heart feel after 21 years of torture

by two little pills?

Don’t you remember Prolonged QT,

or have you forgotten you’re getting a science degree?

It can cause a fatal Arrhythmia after prolonged use of anti-psychotics

and who knows this but you?

A psychiatrist won’t tell you,

a physician won’t tell you

and yet you take those two little pills

against your very own will.

This is all the voice in my head

the one that used to constantly want me dead.

Now he begs for me to save my life

by throwing away those two little pills

that cause me so much moral strife.

 

Check out this poem and more on my Booksie account here.

I Wonder . . .

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One of humankind’s greatest assets: our ability to wonder.

The best thing about wonderment is that it’s free. It’s free and anyone can utilize it. All you need is a little curiosity, a little motivation. The best thing about curiosity is you don’t have to be the brightest mind in the history of bright minds to embrace it.

There’s this odd phenomena across the globe causing people to think intelligence is truly quantifiable. It’s leaking into neuroscience as well, as they attempt to quantify consciousness.

How do you see yourself, anyway? Do you see yourself as someone who is curious? Who is playful? Who is open-minded? Smart? Unfortunate? Disturbed? Dumb? How much of how you see yourself does the world see?

I didn’t know I was smart until I knew I was smart. And I knew I was smart when I gave myself a chance to show myself what I could do.

shutterstock_56110372It’s a shame, I think, that we often get caught up in the idea of competition. It fuels our ego when we win and (for some) motivates better from us when we lose. Sometimes it motivates us to the point of self destruction. Sometimes we get so busy scrambling up a ladder that we don’t realize the top disappears into the clouds. And then we pause our thoughts and see the others climbing up their ladders ahead of us, all around us, and we see their success as a reflection of our failure. Then we start climbing down and we hide. We hide and we look up at the others and we remind ourselves we’re not them.

We get the sense that our struggle is also a reflection of failure. We get the sense that because we can’t compete with them, we have no right to compete at all. We miss the fact that we haven’t been competing with anyone but ourselves.

I speak on this as a smart person, formally labeled dumb. I speak on this as a person with so many ideas, so much curiosity, who wasted so much time ignoring both of those things trying to find a logical reason for why I failed in so many areas of life. Putting an algorithm on life is like trying to capture a wasp in flight on the tip of a sewing needle.

About 50 people, online and in the real world, have asked me over these last few months why in the peanuts-lucy-psychiatristworld I would ever want to go into something like Psychiatry. Some people call it a pseudoscience, some people call it corruption, some people say it kills, some people say it saves, some people call it medicine. I disagree with no one and I agree with no one. It’s whatever you want it to be.

It’s man attempting to fix what doesn’t need to be fixed.

It’s, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s words, “the sad confession, and continual exemplification of the short-comings of the composite man–the spirit burthened with clay and working in matter–and of the despair that assails the higher nature, at finding itself so miserably thwarted by the earthly part”.

It’s this consistent belief that we can one day have a power over nature that nature could never fathom to have over us. It’s the idea that because we have this incredible gift to wonder, to be curious, to create, to calculate, to consider, that we should separate ourselves from something as simple as natural simplicity. It’s a portion of the arrogance of man.

If anyone was wondering, that’s my definition of Psychiatry.

You don’t have to be smart to be a psychiatrist. It would help, but it’s not necessary. Hell, you don’t even have to know anything about neuroscience or psychology to be a psychiatrist.

We have this weird impression in society that because someone obtains something like a medical degree, they are smart. Because we have this impression of them, we trust their advice more often than we would trust the advice of someone off the street. Sometimes we even refrain from asking questions because we might feel stupid, or because we’re not sure if it’s the “right” thing to ask.

That disturbs me. It disturbs me because that’s squandering curiosity. And to squander curiosity, especially when it involves your own health, your own body, your own mind, and your own future, should be a hate crime.

I would hate to perpetuate fear and suspiciousness. But I would hate more so to perpetuate submissiveness. 

quantum_mechanicsLittle known fact: before I chose this career path, I had my eyes set on a doctorate in physics. Theoretical and particle physics blew my mind; they always will. I spent countless hours in high school reading books about entanglement, and dark matter, and light, and gravity, and multiverse theory, and string theory, and although I hadn’t the slightly clue what the math equations in the quantum mechanics books meant, I knew it was something generations of curious people had been working on for some time now and that, to me, was something to admire much more than Justin Beiber, Bieber, Beaver, whatever.

I recognized that much of the math was only proving what hundreds of Native and indigenous people all over the place, including China, had been saying since they had the ability to tell stories. That, to me, was something else to admire: the merge between spiritual and scientific.

There are so many things in this world and so many more things outside of this world. It’s a crime to lock yourself inside of a box in your mind and focus so much on hurt, and pain, and struggle, that you keep yourself from looking up at the sky at night. It’s a shame that we trap our minds on Earth with our bodies.

Wonder! Create! Be curious! If someone calls you crazy for it, take it as a compliment: it seems only the crazy ones find meaning in the meaningless, and that’s pretty impressive.

Why psychiatry then? To remind people there are so many things in life to wonder about, to worry about, to obsessive about, and your sanity shouldn’t be one of them. 

 

If Stars Could Talk

I’ve never been so happy not in school.

Sounds weird, considering I love learning.

Although there isn’t much learning in public school. I think I dropped out in elementary school. I lost interest.

I took this time off for my mental health and to rekindle my passion and I think it’s working. Plus it gives me time to nurture my other talents I felt were shoved off in the back shelf as unimportant compared to the stupid shit school systems these days think you need to memorize to be intelligent.

In their attempt to teach me what to think, I’ve learned how to think. I screwed up their master plan.

There’s a difference between intelligence and educated. I wrote an essay on it. My professor was impressed.

No shit she was; I’d be impressed if she wasn’t impressed.

I’m an arrogant prick.

Just kidding. Sort of.

She was impressed though, and couldn’t really find anything to critique so instead she mentioned I used an extra space at the beginning of one of my paragraphs. It was an accident.

It’s interesting to see the difference between the engineer majors and physics majors and chemistry and math majors compared to the English majors and philosophy majors and other humanities majors. I’ve been in the buildings filled with both–not at the same time of course; the conversations would be more like passive-aggressive-opinion-shouting.

I read . . . err, skimmed very quickly, through an article that claimed psychiatry needs its own Higgs Boson, something to propel it into the future and lay a foundation, a discovery that’s progressive. The problem with that is we can’t stick people in a giant particle collider, slam their heads together at speeds as fast as light, and expect something more spectacular than blood and brain matter splattered all over the place (assuming acceleration didn’t already rip them to shreds). It’s not going to give us a scene of the first neurons to ever pop into existence or give us a scene of what the first neurotransmitters did. It’s not going to tells us how much of our behavior we can attribute to chemicals and electrical signals, and it’s definitely not going to tell us if there is a separation between the mind and the brain.

Our best guess for how our brain works is based on mice and monkeys. We’re never going to have a psychiatric Higgs Boson, not with ethics breathing down our neck.

My chemistry professor really loved chemistry. You could just see it in his eyes. You could just tell he’d been convinced that everything he knew in science, everything we’ve discovered as a species, is definite. We have “laws” to prove it. You know, things like “matter can never be created or destroyed”.

But I feel like that’s narrow-minded. Perhaps on our world. Perhaps in our tiny, microscopic, pointless corner of the universe, we don’t have the knowledge of how matter can be created and I guess we don’t really have to think about the possibilities of being able to create it or destroy it in the future when we have the Big Bang Theory telling us there was an explosion and all matter in the universe was created.

We sure do have an affinity for believing everything originated from one thing. Science and religion: stop fighting–stop it! Hey, science, hit religion one more time and you’re going to go in the calm down corner because I have something to tell the both of you. You’re not that different. What makes the Eurocentric God, the Christian God, any different than the big bang theory? Both say everything originated from one instance. Both say they’re infinite.

wpid-heic1408a.jpgPersonally, when I started learning about the big bang theory in elementary school it didn’t make any sense to me. It makes more sense that the universe always was and always will be and we’re stuck in an infinite loop so infinite we’ll never be able to understand the infinity of it. We might as well just appreciate what we have, where we are, and investigate the universe around us for pure knowledge and not for the sake of being a smart-ass trying to discover where all life originated. How in the hell are you going to do that? We’re the only life we know of!

In other words, if life wants you to know something, it’ll tell you about it. Otherwise, you might as well just keep digging because it’s going to send you in so many circles your dizziness will get dizzy.

I’ve always been the inquisitive type. When I found my teeth hidden in a little “tooth fairy box” on my parents shelf, I was devastated–the tooth fairy was a lie. If the tooth fairy was a lie, than what about the Easter Bunny? What about Santa Claus? My whole world fell apart that day and I set the little box back and told no one. When my next tooth fell out I decided to run an experiment and tell no one. I wrapped my tooth up and put it under my pillow, wrote some obscure “thank you” note like I always did, and told myself if I didn’t get money than it was a given my parents were the tooth fairy.

You’d be surprised I was still disappointed to feel my tooth under my pillow the next morning. I concluded the tooth fairy was a lie and lost faith in humanity.

Well maybe not in humanity (that came a couple years later), but in magic and the supernatural, in mystery. That’s what started my obsession with thinking, with meta-cognition, with science. And that’s what we do in this society; we systematically train our students to think in a straight line, live in a straight line, and think that every ounce of beauty in life can be defined by mathematics.

I love math. But I feel I can only truly appreciate it because I also appreciate the mystery of life. I question the stars, the universe, the planets, and extraterrestrial life not to prove some theory but because I’m just curious. What’s wrong with simple curiosity these days? Why does it have to be so hardlined, so structured?

This is part of the reason why it’s so easy to convince people they’re crazy and why it’s so easy for us to convince ourselves we’re hopeless.  And why American public education is in the shits.

So the next time you decide to conclude without question there’s something wrong with you, why not also consider the possibility that there’s not?

Your body isn’t there for your disposal, it lives and breathes with you. That’s why Cancer patients who move on with their life the best they can, who somehow keep strong, positive attitudes, tend to have a better success rate in beating the disease (that’s a disease, by the way, not anxiety, not depression). If you feel depressed in your mind, your body is going to feel depressed right with you. If you listen closely, it helps you through life. If you choose not to listen, well, your life probably sucks right now.

I have my issues, obviously. I hate sounding like I never struggle; I’m always struggling. And I’m always finding new ways to help me not struggle. Not ways to fight the struggle (why fight yourself? That’s illogical), but ways to just not struggle. When I learned the day before I had to go to an event I’d never been to and never knew anything about, I immediately thought oh shit . . . so many people, with so many kids; I’m not good around either one, I got to find a way out of this, I have to, I have to, I have to. 

Well I didn’t find a way out of it. But I did notice that whenever I thought about the event, I was making up scenarios of what could happen. I’m always making up little worlds in my head, I always have been, so it comes as second nature whether my anxiety exists or not. But in this case it causes me a lot of stress. So I went to sleep that night thinking about my thinking, but in a healthy way. I pictured a cluttered room. A room so packed with stuff and boxes and creepy ass dolls I would rather burn than play with. All of the stuff crowded to the ceiling of the room and the only uncluttered space was the door in front of me. I labeled the door as the present and my stuff as my thoughts. Whenever I felt myself sinking into the clutter, I pictured the door and brought myself into the present. For once, I slept well before an event.

At the event I was nervous yes, I was critical of myself and constantly questioning if I did something or said something stupid, but I wasn’t tired from having been anxious all night because I wasn’t anxious all night.

One step at a time.

It took me years to get this way, years of feeling unsafe, unheard, and alone, and it’s going to take years to unlearn this behavior.

Life is a learning process.