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.”

Sudoku and Neurotransmission

There’s nothing that can convince me that this life is meant to be as complicated as we make it. There’s nothing that can convince me that we will ever find all of the answers, and to think that we have some already is naive and wishful. These are the things I think about as I backtrack in my Sudoku game, something I used to hate doing as a child because I could never get it right the first time. I have once in my life, but that was in a bout of mania. As much as I like to think it was my own brain power, it was really just a flood of neurotransmitters doing all the work.

250px-sudoku_puzzle_by_l2g-20050714_solution_standardized_layout-svgI was thinking about this the other day, about neurotransmission and Sudoku, and how they both have algorithms to describe their process. We have more neural connections in our brain than we have estimated stars in our galaxy. 1000 times more, to be exact. Sudoku has a bunch of different number possibilities, but only one answer. I fear neurotransmission is not as simple.

We have an algorithm for the probability of neural transmission: when certain neurons will fire and the chance of that happening, essentially. I believe if we do wish to describe the processes that happen in our brain, math will be the catalyst for success in that field. There are too many connections, too many variables, to settle on an explanation as simple as, say, a chemical imbalance.

I came across an essay in PLOS medicine titled “Serotonin and depression: a disconnect between the advertisements and the Scientific Literature.” This is a big deal. Although published in 2005, their words are still very relevent today. I’m sure you have heard in commercials about psychiatric medication that “so and so disorder is a chemical imbalance, and [insert drug] works to correct that balance”. Notice they will never explain how or why, because they simply don’t know. We don’t know.

And that’s where my area of study will be, once I do graduate: let’s explore this idea of chemical imbalance and what it may mean. My ultimate goal? Disprove the theory.

That’s a long way off, and it may only be a pipe dream, but I believe I can catalyst a different type of thought in the mental health community by proving, scientifically, mathematically, whatever you want to call it, that something like a chemical imbalance cannot possibly exist. Why?

As the essay says:

Attempts were also made to induce depression by depleting serotonin levels, but these experiments reaped no consistent results [9]. Likewise, researchers found that huge increases in brain serotonin, arrived at by administering high-dose L-tryptophan, were ineffective at relieving depression.

As it also says:

Contemporary neuroscience research has failed to confirm any serotonergic lesion in any mental disorder, and has in fact provided significant counterevidence to the explanation of a simple neurotransmitter deficiency. Modern neuroscience has instead shown that the brain is vastly complex and poorly understood.

And of course, let’s not forget:

There is no scientifically established ideal “chemical balance” of serotonin, let alone an identifiable pathological imbalance. To equate the impressive recent achievements of neuroscience with support for the serotonin hypothesis is a mistake.

comic-bubble-hmm_1609021If there is no established balance, there, logically, cannot be an imbalance. This article focuses purely on serotonin and depression, but this in fact relates as well to the dopamine hypothesis of schizophrenia and any other neurotransmitter they claim causes certain mental health issues. These studies are indeed correlational and not experiments. What does this mean for us that struggle mentally?

It means the door is open again. It means we can find a different explanation. It means we can focus on genes. We can focus on environment. We can focus on the way society structures thought–how we’re taught to think about ourselves in the first place. We can focus on things we can change, rather than this pipe dream that a little pill that may or may not cause more harm to our bodies/brains than good, can cure anything at all.

To deny that there is a biological component would be ignorant of me. To accept the propaganda that pharmaceutical companies place in front of my eyes would be even more ignorant of me.

There could be a chance that neurotransmission is just like Sudoku, and that perhaps there is one single answer and we just have to back track and back track and back track until we find the right numerical composition. But more than likely that isn’t the case. This isn’t a pattern devised by a computer. This is a pattern devised by universal chaos and quantum processes. What is there to correct? What’s created by nature is created by nature, and for us to label that right or wrong, normal or abnormal, is rather selfish and egotistical.

What else could it be, if not a chemical imbalance then? We could brainstorm ideas for hours. Genetics–if your mother has what we label as schizophrenia, there’s a greater chance you will too. But stop. It also depends on: Environment. There’s a striking number of people who receive this label who have been through some type of sexual abuse, physical abuse, severe emotional abuse, and often voices and delusions reflect this pain. What does that tell us? That deep pain that isn’t processed properly leaves a lasting stamp on our neural connections, and turns something on and off in our genetics. Socio-economic status plays a role: think of all the homeless people you see wandering the street talking to themselves. Assume they are not on drugs, and you’re dealing with a mental health issue. You think it’s easy to get well in poverty? You think there isn’t trauma in poverty? What effect does trauma have on the brain? There are studies on this, but what does it mean for neural connections? What does any of the things I just mentioned mean?

That’s what I plan to study in my life. I’ve given up the fight against these pharmaceutical people. I can’t fight a corporation. But I can fight their bullshit research with real research.

Ironic, considering Research Methods is my LEAST favorite class.

And that’s today’s Mental Truth.

 

 

Mainstream Psychology & Psychiatry

Alright, let’s talk about this. Some of you probably already know my stance on psychology, psychiatry, and the way the system is set up. If you’re new to this blog, and haven’t been through the ringer with me, check out the quotes at the bottom of the home page and you’ll probably get the jist really quickly.

But there’s a trend on social media that I kind of want to address. It’s this cliche thing of naming what people like to call “mental illness”. I’ll use the term here because they do, but know I don’t believe in it, and never will I call myself mentally ill.

twitter_512I came across a Tweet (yes, I use twitter: @Ipenned) today stating “Social Anxiety disorder is not to be confused with introversion–which is true. It went on to state that people who are extroverted can also have social anxiety, which is certainly true. But then they had to ruin that truth with “Social Anxiety Disorder is a mental illness and can affect anyone”.

Why does that ruin the truth? Well, as someone who has struggled with social anxiety since I was a toddler (4 years old), and we’re talking severe social anxiety, I used to faint if I got called to the front of the class, and once spoke in tongues in front of a whole class because a substitute teacher called on me and my brain stopped working. I’ve made two whole friends in my life by myself. But as someone who has struggled with this, the last thing I want to be called is ill.

I’d rather be told I experience life differently. I’d rather be told not only is it okay to be anxious, but it’s okay to not need, want, or feel pressured to make or be involved in friendships. A lot of my anxiety abated when I went off on my own. Not because I’m some sick loner that needs to get my shit together, but because I actually enjoy time to myself, and the anxiety tires me out if I’m around people too long. That’s not a problem. That’s not something that’s wrong with me. That’s me. And if other people have a problem with it, that’s on them. They don’t have the right to call that part of me an illness.

I don’t consider my psychosis an illness. I interpret things differently, I think about things differently, my perspective is often through a lens of trauma, which becomes a lens of delusion, and once I was helped to understand that, a lot of clarity ensued.

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I don’t consider my depression an illness. I’ve been through a lot in my life, including homelessness, growing up around a lot of alcohol and drugs, domestic violence, violence–that changes the way you think, the way you see things, and the way you feel. Your neurons develop different connections. That’s not an illness. That’s an environmental change, an evolution. That’s called plasticity. Depression has opened up so much beauty in the world to me, I wouldn’t be as grateful, thankful, or happy as I am today without depression. And that’s not me glorifying the situation, that’s me finding the good in what everyone says is bad.

So it frustrates me when I see people on social media promoting this idea of illness. Why are you insulting yourself? Why are you feeding into the labels? I’m so confused.

I’m confused on why people think injections of medication is a good thing. I’m confused on why that’s not seen as a trap. I get that a lot of people have trouble taking their medication, I’m one of those people, but are once-monthly injections necessary? What if the person wishes to get off and their doctor doesn’t agree? Their power is taken away. And I understand that people really wholly believe their doctor knows what’s best for them. But I’m come across many psychiatrists who instead push their own agenda and don’t listen to a word I say. How is that knowing best? How is not listening to your “patient” knowing what’s best?

I guess I’m just confused in general. I’m sick of being seen as the enemy. I’m sick of people thinking that because I refuse to feed into the hype of pop psychology that I’m in denial of my own issues. If you want to consider yourself disordered and sick and ill and put all these negative connotations on yourself, and then turn around and say you’re not your illness, you go ahead and play around with it, try to make that logically sound. I, however, refuse to play into bullshit and refuse to play into the hype.

And that’s today’s Mental Truth.

Passion

I’m curious what you all think. I mean really lay it on me, tell me all of your thoughts and wishes. Tell me your self-hate speech and what that little voice is like inside of your head. Tell me your positive self speech and what that little voice is like inside of your head. Tell me if you don’t have one or don’t have the other. I’d like to know.

selftalk

I’d also like to know what you think about your therapist, briefly, sharing a struggle they’ve had in order to relate to something you’re saying. I know some people don’t like their professionals to “get personal” with them, but I’m curious why this is. I’m curious why you wouldn’t want someone who is there to help with your mental health prove to you that everyone struggles in one way or another at some point in their lives? I thought the whole point wasn’t to feel alone?

I salivate over the idea of mental health peers being counselors, therapists, psychiatrist, psychologists, people who really understand and can share their successes with you and how they got to where they are: that to me is inspiration, not a sign of a bad therapist. I don’t think they should sit there and tell you everything about their life, I don’t want to know about the star shaped mole on their husband’s nether regions, but telling me about a coping mechanism they’ve used for anxiety would be helpful.

Maybe this is just me. That’s why I’m sending it out to all of you, what’s left of you at least, since I’ve taken so many hiatus’ from this blog that I don’t know who actually reads me anymore or who doesn’t.

Since I will be giving a speech on peer supportive opportunities tomorrow, I’m in the spirit of talking about it.

How useful would it be that your therapist knew exactly what severe anxiety felt like.

How useful would it be that your psychiatrist remembers what their psychotic break was like.

How useful would it be that your counselor knew exactly how low your energy got during a depression because they’d been there before.

I think there’s a lot of compassion and empathy missing from the system sometimes, and I think a lot of that has to do with not really, truly, understanding what we go through. I think it also has to do with this “just do your job” mentality that happens from working a career too long–at least for some.

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I know there was a big difference between the physician’s assistant my dad saw in the emergency room versus the doctors that had been practicing for years. You could tell the P.A remembered all of his motivational interviewing skills. He knew how to connect, he knew how to negotiate, and he did it all with some serious humor. Maybe he’ll just be a great doctor one day. Or maybe it’s because he was new.

Somehow we have to keep that passion up. How should we do that? Should we, as patients, clients, residents, guests, members, whatever you refer to yourself as–should we start a ruckus? Should we remind our doctors why they became doctors in the first place?

Then there are the nice doctors who you do connect with who make simple mistakes. But it’s how they handle those simple mistakes that tells me whether or not they are decent at what they do.

For example, the nurse practitioner who handles my psychiatric medications (yes I am once again back on meds) told me that Abilify’s starting dose is 15mg.

It most certainly is not. How can it be if the first “therapeutic” dose is 10mg? I have yet to mention to her that the physician’s desk reference tells us that anything above 10mg hasn’t really shown any true efficacy in all the studies its been through, that will be a conversation for when she decides to try to take me to 15mg.

When I told her that I wanted to start at 5mg because my body is sensitive to this bullshit (I didn’t say bullshit, but I wanted to), she said oh, okay, we’ll do that–and didn’t argue with me. She trusted that I knew what was best for my body and I respect that. Not every psychiatrist or doctor will do that. Some of them pretend to know everything. Throw some Calculus at them, I bet they forgot how to do it. So they don’t know everything. Ha.

I think this also speaks to be able to speak up for yourself. It’s taken me a lot of years to learn that skill when it comes to doctors, because you want to trust what they have to say, you want to trust what they say is best for you, but the truth is only you know what’s best for you. Sometimes that means no medication, sometimes that means swallowing your pride and your arrogance and quelling your hatred for pharmaceutical systems and taking some form of medication until you can better handle yourself.

I don’t believe anyone is doomed to medication for eternity. Including myself. But I also recognize now that it’s an essential aide sometimes in life.

The point is, speak up for yourself. Don’t let someone, especially a professional, tell you that you don’t know yourself.

tipoftheday

Kanye, Toss Me 50 Mill, Let’s Change The World Together

d39146bc8bc845478890583accb3f0bf*Ahem*

I’ve been writing on this blog since July 2015, periodically at best, fragmented at best, turned it into a domain I could own, lost the domain because I couldn’t afford it, and now here I am, back to square one, reintroducing myself to the world of rants, vents, and sarcastic musings.

I realized how good of an outlet this place is, and I miss the interactions between new people, old people, and people in general. Fuck building an empire, fuck pleasing people, and fuck everything, in general. I think that’s a good way to start off this post.

In reading back a lot of my old posts, I laughed at my own jokes, humored myself with my own sarcasm, and cherished my vulnerable moments: essentially it was a huge ego trip. Isn’t that wonderful? How conceited can I sound? I could probably be worse if I tried. But what’s life without having a bit of an inflated self-esteem? What’s life without trying to convince the world you’re a god among men? Kanye knows what I’m talking about, right? No? No one? Okay.

Love Kanye. What he say in his new song, Yikes?

“Shit could get/menacing/frightening/find help/ sometimes / I scare/ myself.”

And

“I can feel the spirits all around me/ I think Prince and Mike is trynna to warn me/ they know they got demons all on me/ devil been trynna make an army/ they been strategizing to harm me/ they don’t know they dealin with a zombie. ”

I resonate with that on a spiritual level. That’s not sarcasm.

And, of course, the most influential line of his musical career:

“Scoopity Whoop.”

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That song took me to higher levels of consciousness. I sat at the computer listening to Lift Yourself, nodding to an average beat, but that next verse? That NEXT VERSE THOUGH? Damn, I just didn’t really realize, I guess. I don’t think I’ll ever find another set of bars that chills my veins like “Poopity Scoop, scoopty whoopty poop”. Or, whatever.

In 2015 I was twenty years old, barely out of the terrible teens, and in 7 days I will be twenty three, still barely out of the terrible teens I guess, and in my own apartment free of the reign of terror that has been my parents’ apartment. I have good memories and bad memories. The good memories are pretty good, the bad memories are pretty bad. Read previous posts for more info. I’ve basically put the last three to four years of my life in a chronological order on this blog.

I remember writing a post about my predictions for the 2016 election, and how if that base head neurosurgeon Ben Carson dropped out of the race, Trump would win. Well, what happened? Without Ben there to cancel out Trump’s stupidity with his own, nothing could stop Trump. Don’t agree with me? No one’s asking you to, but I basically predicted the future, so . . .

Now what I’m trying to predict is when I will find a competent psychiatrist. I’ve sort of come to the conclusion that it’s impossible. I had a good two months with a county-funded psychiatrist who listened to what I said and, for the first time in my life, found a set of medications that worked well with me, but when they kicked me out of the Mental Health building K because I didn’t want to actively kill myself anymore, because I still had a job, I got stuck with a regular county psychiatrist who, when I told her I’d stopped hearing voices, told me I was lying and sent out a prescription for a higher dose of my medication.

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If you’re wondering, I stopped seeing her.

If you’re reading this and are really confused, I’d suggest reading through a couple previous posts. I would also like to remind my audience that not everyone who hears voices hears them all the time, and not everyone who hears voices has/or identifies with schizophrenia–two common misconceptions. And not everyone with schizophrenia hears voices.

The fucking point is, if I tell you I’m not hearing voices, I’m not hearing voices. If I tell you I’m not seeing shit, I’m not seeing shit. If you don’t believe me, go to the back room, take your head out of your ass, and breathe the fresh air of reality, because you’ve been missing from it for too long.

If I don’t want my medication dosage raised, don’t fucking raise it. 

Now, here’s the tricky thing. In leaving that shitty psychiatrist and stopping all my medication, I not only put myself through some serious mental hell, I also lost the ability to find a psychiatrist or therapist at all.

*For global readers, insurance is what the United States scams it’s citizens with to get more money.*

With my propensity to freeze up talking to doctors, psychiatrists, and therapists, I often get help calling for new appointments because the anxiety paralyzes me. So I’ve pushed my family to help me call. We’ve been calling for two months now.

One psychiatrist has gotten back to us, after a week of him leaving voicemails, us leaving voicemails, and both of us missing each other. He asks how old I am, and what’s going on with me. My mother takes the call, and explains what I’ve described, and he suddenly has too many patients.

Liar rubber stamp. Part of a series of stamp concepts.

Every other mental health professional we’ve called and who has called us back and left a voicemail always, always said “I’m sorry, I’ve got too many patients right now” without needing to know any information about me.

This motherfucker said that after he learned what I was going through. What does that make me think? That he can’t take on a challenge. And, if that’s the case, at least have the balls to tell it to my face. Tell me you don’t want to deal with me. Tell me you can’t handle it. If you can’t admit that, fuck you, you’re a coward.

And most importantly, don’t ever waste my fucking time again.

If you’re wondering, most recently I’ve breezed through 5 new diagnoses (not counting the ones I had as a teenager) after seeing 4 psychiatrists and a few therapists since December 2017 (six months total) , and I only found out the most recent one because I sat in my psychiatrist’s seat and read her notes on her computer while she went to go talk to a colleague. If they won’t tell you what they write, read it yourself–a tip for anyone new to the mental health system. Just don’t get caught.

The diagnoses have been: GAD, PTSD, Depression, Bipolar 1, Psychosis NOS from oldest to newest.

Some psychiatrists haven’t agreed with the PTSD–how is that something to refute, anyway? They ruled out schizophrenia and depression with psychotic features. The psychiatrists in the hospital were bent on Bipolar 1 even though I’ve never been manic in my life, the one I saw immediately after my hospitalization wasn’t sure at all what I was dealing with (finally, an honest fucking response). The last one is hell bent on psychosis NOS. They all agree on the depression and the anxiety.

So, what have I learned over these last six months besides the fact that if I’m not actively suicidal and/or psychotic I won’t be taken seriously as a candidate for steam-lined mental health care? Other than, if I’m still working I don’t actually need any real help?

Absolutely nothing.

If I didn’t love my job, I would have quit just to add the dramatics they obviously want.

I welcome myself back into the blogsphere.

Clinical Arrogance: A Disease

The following will be an account of an appointment I had today, from my perspective, which is the perspective of a student of psychiatry in the hands of, and at the mercy of, a psychiatrist of 15+ years.

Disclaimer/ThingsYouShouldn’tBitchAtMeAbout: 1) If you feel any of the following medications actually help you, wonderful; what I say in regards to them has no reflection on you, so don’t act like I should take them just because you do. 2) If you feel any of the following diagnoses actually revolutionized your life, I am genuinely happy for you; what I say in regards to them has no reflection on you, so don’t act like I should accept them just because you do. And last but not least, 3) Do not waste your typing breath telling me “all psychiatrists aren’t like that” because I’m very, very aware of this. This will be an account of one who is not so keen on her own arrogance.

Disclaimer Part 2: If you feel offended by anything I said above, for God’s sake, you probably will have trouble getting through my blog.

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*Brushes off hands* Alright. We’re all on the same page? Deep breath. Let’s take a mindfulness observation moment together: pick a natural object around you. That could be a flower, an insect, the clouds, e.t.c and focus only on that object. Watch it for a minute or two, noticing only the object and not the environment around it, as if you’re watching it for the first time. Let yourself be fully immersed in the visual stimulus of that object, connect with its energy, and breathe.

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Wonderful.

Now that you’re calm, I’m calm, and everything is alright, let’s together explore the very question I find myself plagued with on a daily basis: why do some people exist at all? Why? To fuck with you? To feed their ego? To sit back in their chair, roll in the dough, and not give two shits who they affect? Is that it? Is that what it is?

I’m going to need a lot of mindfulness moments today.

This new psychiatrist I see gave me weird vibes from the moment she placed a diagnostic PTSD code (among two others) on my invoice sheet within ten minutes of meeting me. This was my second visit with her today, and I’m done. Yep, you heard me. I’m done.

Her ears have bricks in them. They’re filled with cement. She hears her own thoughts very, very clearly, and values her opinion like any confident person does. Unlike what other confident people do, she does not seem to value other’s opinions very well.

First of all, let’s talk about the service codes.

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E.t.c, E.t.c, you get the point.

Let’s talk about the fact that, one, I got charged with the 99213: basically, a level three office visit. For those of you with insurance in the U.S, you probably don’t see these things. I don’t have insurance and pay out of pocket, so I do. I’m okay with getting charged as an outpatient office visit; that was 125 dollars in itself.

She charged 25 dollars under a 90836. It’s an add on code under the 90834 code. Essentially, the 90836 is for is individual “psychotherapy” that occurred during the visit that was “insight orientated, behavior modifying, and/or supportive” if the visit is 38-45 minutes.

I paid a doctor 25 dollars to be supportive towards me for 30 minutes. The kicker? She wasn’t even that supportive. In fact, half the time she didn’t know what to say. In fact, half the time she just spewed useless information at me. Rather than taking a moment to relate or acknowledge some difficulties in my house hold, she told me my father could easily be put in a nursing home if he has insurance.

Why “psychotherapy” or “insight” or “support” isn’t included in the fucking OFFICE VISIT of a PSYCHIATRIST, I will never know. I understand they are technically “doctors”. I understand their main gig is (but shouldn’t be) medication. However, I’ve gotten better support/empathy talks from a general practitioner and they didn’t charge me shit.

20662857-greedy-rich-doctor-with-stethoscope-switchblade-money-and-glasseSeems like a good money grabbing scheme to me. No wonder she kept me fucking talk. She needed to hit that time limit. I see the game, bitch.

Which, technically, she didn’t even hit the time limit. My appointment was at three. I was at my car door at three-thirty-seven. That’s 37 minutes bitch, not 38, I want my fucking 25 dollars back. 

Like I don’t know diagnostic codes. Like I don’t know service codes. Give me a break. The more diagnoses you get and the more service codes listed on your invoice, the higher your price is going to be (if you pay out of pocket), and the better your insurance company loves you (if you have insurance), and the more regular your visits will be with your psychiatrist. I received three diagnoses in about ten or fifteen minutes in my first visit with her a few weeks ago, none of which she told me about. She just kind of wrote the diagnostic codes and said nothing on them.

Clinical arrogance is a disease. 

Alright. Still breathing? Take a mindfulness moment if you need one, I won’t mind. Go ahead. Go right ahead.

I’ll wait.

. . .

. .

.

Oh good, you’re back, I was getting worried.

As you remember, last time she tried placing me under the restraint of five different medications within about twenty to thirty minutes: Seroquel, Effexor, Praoxin, Propranolol, and Ativan. I took the Effexor which helps greatly with my energy and apathy issues. I told her no on everything else.

She has it stuck in her head I have performance anxiety. I kept saying I didn’t. None of what I describe is ever related to that. I reiterated myself today. I, once again, rejected all the medications and yet as I look down on my prescription list, I see very evidently the Propranolol prescription underneath the Effexor dosage raise.

She said she was going to give it to me anyway. And she put it on the list.

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At this point, I was done.

There were some things I wanted to ask her opinion on but the moment the medication pushing came, and the moment she completely invalidated every word I said, I knew I would either get five more diagnoses and six more medications, or I wouldn’t be heard, so I decided to keep my mouth shut.

I will say this once more: Clinical arrogance is a disease.  

I spoke a bit about my sensory issues. I couldn’t explain what I really experienced with them (how overwhelmingly strong they are, and how they keep me from functioning sometimes) before she interrupted me and asked if I ever thought I had ADHD. I said very flatly, NO. She asked me if I had trouble focusing and concentrating. I said yes–when I’m being overstimulated, yes, when I live in a hostile environment at home, yes, when I’m fatigued and exhausted all the time, YES. I gave her environmental reasons for two things she tried pinning on biology. 

She said nothing after that. She said nothing until she got on her computer, went through my files, noticed that I have a lot of fatigue issues, and said “well, stimulants also help with energy sometimes. People also sometimes feel more relaxed with them. Would you like to try Ritalin?”

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NO BITCH, would you like to try my FIST in your MOUTH? Because it’s fucking HEADING THERE. 

I said, once again, NO. 

And that was the end of that.

Don’t ever let a health professional run you. You run yourself. You know what bothers you and what doesn’t. You know how your environment contributes to your mental health and how it doesn’t. If you let someone ELSE start giving you reasons for your behavior, without you first reflecting on yourself, THAT’S when you’re no longer in control of your own treatment.

The funny thing is, the two major things that have really been bothering me, my anxiety/thoughts and my paranoia, are the very two things I didn’t get one moment to speak about in between her ramblings. 

I’m not going back.