10 Months Off Meds And Loving It?

I was in the middle of writing another post on a similar subject when I realized it’s almost been a year off of psychiatric medication and then I had to double check because that seemed like a lot of months to me considering I’ve spent the last 8 years going on and off medication at least three times a year. The most months I’ve stayed on medication was about nine. And that was 7 years ago. Let’s just say I’ve been as consistent with medications as I have been with this blog.

Throwing shade at myself.

I stopped my medication in the first place because I was sick of being tired, I was angry, hurt, and frustrated over a break-up and I just wanted something to alter my state of mind. Now that I look back on it, I can see that was my intention: distract myself from reality by overloading myself with a different type of reality.

I was on Abilify and Trintellix this time, with a psychiatrist ready to switch me from Abilify onto Vraylar. I think I ripped up his prescription though.

The Abilify I’d been on many times before. It’s the only antipsychotic that my body would tolerate. I have a theory about why, but I won’t go into that. Trintellix however, was very new. Not just new to me, but new to the market, and I agreed to try it because I’ve tried the majority of other SSRI’s and SNRI’s and hated each one. Psychiatrists liked to tell me SSRI’s were supposed to help with anxiety but that shit ain’t ever do shit. Straight up.

I figured the only way to get a real anxiety medication, like a Benzo, would be to prove I wasn’t an addict and the way to prove that was to be compliant with their plans first.

I’ve stopped every SSRI, SNRI, mood stabilizer, and antipsychotic I’ve ever been on abruptly. And by abruptly, I mean cutting my dose in half every week for about a month. There are studies coming out now that show you should reduce medication by about .25mg or less every few months in order to safely come down. I was cutting miligrams by the fives and tens (if applicable). Quickly. And I’ve never had an adverse reaction from it, even if I was on them for 6+ months.

*I do not recommend anyone do what I’ve done, or come off of medication without the watchful eye of a medical doctor who can pinpoint physical consequences easier*

But with a new, and very under-tested SSRI, I should have been a little more logical. I didn’t spiral immediately, it took about another month to feel the effects. I woke up depressed, more depressed than I’d ever been (and that’s saying something) and I remember a lot of dissociating and voices. Mind you, I stopped both medications simultaneously. I laid on the couch eating chocolate cake and chocolate chip pancakes during the days and spent the evenings drinking whiskey and heading into downtown. Oh, I also went to work. How? WHO KNOWS.

But eventually something had to give and I ended up in a bathtub with my clothes on arguing with my voices about killing myself. Good times. I didn’t pull myself out of that situation, in case you’re wondering.

But, I also didn’t end up in the hospital. And I’m glad I didn’t.

For the next few fuzzy months I went into an outpatient program, stayed at the mental health program I currently work at (little bit of conflict of interest there, but it worked out) and for a couple weeks was back on the medication. Then, I stopped it again and discarded of them.

What resulted from that was strange. A lot of depression, even the depression I experienced before I stopped my medication, lifted. I felt great. Not manic great, not even hypo-manic great. Just . . . content. That continued steadily and increased once I completely changed my diet and exercised (I’ve lost 35 pounds over the last four months).

It was only a couple weeks ago did I notice my mood become a little wobbly. I started noticing things, strange things again. People kept knocking on my room door and my walls, breathing through them, talking through them, and I could never catch them. I started distracting myself more often, which I didn’t notice until a few days ago. If I wasn’t listening to music, I was watching YouTube or television or playing video games–loudly. Sometimes I’d do all of it simultaneously. Sleeping has become more difficult and I went from getting 8 solid hours to 5, and more recently, 2. I started feeling touches on my arm and legs at night and when I spoke to people I misheard them. I mean, really misheard them. It’s not like when someone says something and they stumble over their words so you think they said cat when they said car. This was people saying full sentences and me hearing “you don’t know what you’re doing at all” when they really said “how have you been today?”

The mumbles have come back too, the hearing a crowd of people talking but not really catching what they’re saying, and so have some familiar voices, particularly one of the softer deep ones who has generally been kind. While I was struggling to get to sleep the other night listening to all the other shit, he told me “I’m proud of you” and for whatever reason, that helped. Me and him, we’re on the same page.

Now that it’s been ten months off medications, I understand why this is happening again. I think the real test begins now. Most of the medications are the lowest they’ve ever been in my system in 8 years and this will basically be me bare-assing my mind around.

My brain has a big ass and the meds were pants three sizes too small.

I’ll have to find new ways to deal with all this, and not get caught up in paranoid thoughts. Constant music and videos has helped keep my mind less focused on all the chatter, but I can’t live life like that all the time. It’s why I haven’t been able to read or write or stay motivated in general.

I recently got a new therapist. She hasn’t known me for longer than a month and a half. In our first session I told her I hadn’t heard voices consistently for a few months, so we’ll see what her reaction is tomorrow when I tell her

Conclusion: meds aren’t always the answer. Not taking meds isn’t always the answer. What works is what works. Will this work? Who knows. But I’d rather try and find out than never try and wish I had.

Two Years of What-The-Fuck

It’s pretty ironic that a few weeks ago I made a post on here saying I wouldn’t be on here for a while and instead of leaving I’ve been pulled back towards this site.

It’s been a long road. I was skimming through some of my older posts and having a laugh at not only the content, my aggressive nature which quite obviously came through in biting satirical wit, but also the comments and the beautiful souls I’ve met through this blog.

One person commented: “Are you mentally stable?”

If you have to ask that question, the answer is probably no. And I saw how many posts I wrote at 3am, 4am, 5am, and then came back the next day with either no sleep or two hours of sleep. I was busting my ass in Calculus and trying to find a job that wasn’t complete ass while simultaneously losing my mind. I’m pretty sure this blog helped me keep some kind of attachment to reality.

Then I ripped Alex Gorsky a new one (here) because there is no way in hell that man should have any kind of award in any kind of “humankindness” category. He’s a straight monster, and if I ever get the chance to meet him in person it’s going to take all of my strength not to spit in his fucking face. He hasn’t done anything that any other C.E.O of a major pharmaceutical company hasn’t done. The difference is he got caught. And I read about it. And that’s where the real danger for him is.

People ate that post up back in the day before I disabled the like button and couldn’t figure out how to get it back up, and it launched me into the blogsphere at a tremendous velocity. I became known for not only tearing apart pharmaceutical companies, but tearing apart anything and anyone who seemed to throw ethics out the window. And people who park in the red zone outside of my apartment. Fuck those people.

Where is this blog now? I have no fucking idea you guys. I basically recorded my decent into madness (I said that in some post a couple years ago) and the large gaps in between posts are indicative of me either being comatose in bed, in the hospital, or running the streets all hours of the night.

Those times consisted of a lot of weird shit. Like, weird shit. Like . . .like this:

Cat-Fish.

That isn’t even weird enough to really explain all the weirdness. I remember a lot of horrible dreams, traumatic dreams, all of which were caused by some unseen forces, dark forces, demons, which followed me around during the day, crowded my bed at night, whispered in my ears, fucked up my thoughts, intercepted them really, possessed people around me, and somehow I went to class and took notes and took exams and went to work and I guess I just sort of let my body work from muscle memory while my mind drifted into a different dimension.

At one point I remember being in hell, literal hell, and I was strapped to a torture board where some demons–I finally saw their true form, rather than the disguises they use here on Earth–turned their dial and stretched my limbs, trying to rip them from my body. That part was a dream, I’m pretty sure, but when I woke up they were still screaming at me, hissing at me, and I don’t remember much after that, just a lot of them screaming and cursing me, and they promised I would die.

One of these fucking things

Eventually I couldn’t keep up with the classes. Eventually I wasn’t picking up shifts at work, and inevitably, I stopped writing on this blog. The last hospital visit I had followed the Las Vegas shooting. Because those demons were after me, (and still are in all truth, that hasn’t gone away) they were hell bent on—

God it’s so much to explain. It’s so much to explain mini explosions detonate across my cortex when I think about it.

I believed I was here for a reason, on earth I mean, and I still believe I am. I believe everyone is. But for whatever reason this was heightened during this time, and I believed the safety of the human race essentially depended on me, and that was why so many dark forces had surrounded me–they knew what I knew, and they had to stop me.

They couldn’t physically touch me because I had the protection of my ancestors–that’s what I believed and still believe. So instead, they entered others around me. Strangers, friends, coworkers, and everywhere I went I felt attacked and unwelcome. I couldn’t tell anyone because 1) they’d think I was crazy and 2) they were all fucking in on it anyway.

So when the Vegas shooting happened, I immediately knew it happened because of me. I waited and waited and watched videos and theories and news stories, waiting for a motive to come out, and when nothing was found that only confirmed my belief: he’d been possessed and the shooting was a message to me, specifically, that they were coming for me. And that’s when they attacked my thoughts and I remember always feeling confused and drained of energy and I couldn’t sleep and I just wanted to die. I wanted to die and happened to mention my plan (I guess I didn’t really want to die anyway) and got the sheriffs called on me yet again.

I wasn’t in the hospital as long as people would expect. I have this problem. It’s called functionality.

She seems functional, albeit stressed.

Through all of this–and this built up over the course of a year, at least, maybe even two, of being out of my mind–I was still functional. I went to classes even though I had to drop them eventually. I went to work, some fucking how, and I wasn’t speaking strange or obviously disconnected from reality. I wasn’t walking down the street talking to myself or accusing people of things or anything. I was just . . . existing. A shell. My body moved, I responded to people when they spoke to me, and that was that–I was okay by mental health system standards.

And so the hospital just wanted to help me sleep. And that’s what they did. They gave me some Seroquel so I would sleep, waited for about a week, diagnosed me with Bipolar 1 this time, and tossed me to the county mental health system back in my town which gave other optional diagnoses (PTSD–which I’d already been diagnosed with, Schizoaffective–there’s a newbie, Psychosis NOS–okay?) no one ever came to a conclusion on, and then they outright rejected me. I didn’t last long enough in their system for them to conclude anything, really.

Now, the wonderful thing about all this is somehow it’s all worked out.

And the weird thing is now that I quit my medication in the worst fucking way possible, a way that almost cost me my life, I feel so much better. I still get confused by my thoughts often, but a lot of the time I feel wonderful, sparkly, like I’m connected to every inanimate and animate object on earth; sometimes I know what people are thinking, sometimes I know that they know that I’m connected to them.

I haven’t heard any voices since I abruptly stopped my medication–it’s been five months. That’s fucking unprecedented. I’ve been a conundrum in the mental health system since I was 5.

I’m back writing, and that’s a good fucking sign. Welcome to whatever the fuck this blog is now!

Perhaps I’ll find another C.E.O to drag through the dirt and hang by his/her ankles.

What Are You Worth?

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I hate to be the one to beat the horse with the dead stick , err . . .

That doesn’t sound right. Beat a dead horse with a stick?

Stab a dead horse?

Stabbing? I don’t know.

I hate to be the one to beat this subject over the head (that’s better, right?) but because it is mental health related and because I’ve some how become a regular, contributing blogger of such savory issues, I must speak.

*Breathes*

If you don’t have experience with mental disorders, if you don’t have something to say that progresses the path of those of us with mental disorders, don’t write about it.

It’s a simple concept, it’s like 2 + 2 = 4.

It’s like learning to raise your hand when you want to talk in Kindergarten.

It’s like swallowing after you chew your food.

baby-boy-eating-healthy-food-isolated-19606475There are people in the world who don’t know what 2 + 2 is, there are children who never really understand the concept of “taking turns” to speak in Kindergarten. But I have never met a human being on this planet who doesn’t understand that after you chew the food that you’ve just shoved in your face hole, you’re suppose to swallow. If you have, let me know in the comments.

I’m talking, of course, about that hideous article written by Amanda Lauren. Now I’ve seen a few of you have written on the topics all ready, the majority of whom I agree with, so I’ll do my best not to repeat the same opinion for those of you who also agree with those bloggers.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking and are about to click that exit button because you just realized my intro is a quick inner dialogue on stabbing dead animals and that makes you wary, Amanda Lauren is some kind of blogger who wrote an article for the website xoJane.com on how her former friend’s suicide was a blessing (Xojane has since removed the article and sent out a formal apology).

Amanda’s reasoning was that “some people are so sick, they are beyond help”.

Amanda had reconnected with this friend of hers in Los Angeles and got her a job. When her friend quit the job, their friendship fell apart again. Later Amanda looked her up on trusty old Facebook (Facebook: finding the friends you sorta, kinda, never really cared about since February 4, 2004) and quotes her posts as being “like the diary of a fourteen-year-old girl with an eating disorder from a Lifetime movie circa 1993.She talked about seeing doctors, specific meds, and being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.”

A mutual friend then mentioned the girl had committed suicide.

How ironic, a day after I get done talking about stigma and misunderstanding against schizophrenia spectrum disorders, this author comes out and slaps me across the face with the exact type of disordered thinking I slam on a daily basis.

Why do I say that? Well, because her friend suffered with this disorder, Amanda claims she is better off dead. She says her friends death isn’t a tragedy, her life was. She said “schizoaffective disorder robbed her of her potential” and “she was alone and terribly unhappy when she died”. She said there was no chance for her recovery without family or support.

Head in Hands

She wrote: “There was just no way she would have survived on her own. Drowning to death was relatively painless compared to what she had to endure in life.”

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Now.

I will go at this gently no matter how hard I feel like ripping the hair out of my head.

The fact that someone who has obviously had no struggle with mental illness, someone who has obviously let a little internet success wipe away her common sense (she blogs for many websites, and has been on Psychology Today, check her website here.), someone who probably couldn’t even spell schizoaffective without the help of Google had the audacity to indicate to the mental health community that there are some people who are too far gone, that a disorder tarnishes the worth of your life, has to be about the dumbest person who isn’t Trump.

If you don’t have experience with it, shut up about it. 

No one can deny schizoaffective disorder is a serious disorder. No one can deny it impacts functionality severely with or without treatment. No one can deny that’s not a hard life. But if everyone who experienced hardships of that level and greater had no worth to their life, 90% of the population would have no reason to live. I would have been dead a long time ago.

Since when do our struggles, and the hiccups within our struggles, define our worth as a human being? Since when are those of us with mental disorders hopeless?

Now, what really pins the tail on the donkey of this story is that Amanda admitted, in the “essay” about falling outs with her friend and that her former friend had “blatantly tried to hook up” with some guy Amanda had a damn crush on.

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Well, if you really care about something like that to the extent you feel the need to mention it in an essay you’re writing about a former friend from years past who committed suicide, than you really have a personal,  vindictive agenda here, don’t you? You like creating drama, don’t you? You’re subscribed to Nicole Arbour’s YouTube channel, aren’t you?

If this woman wrote an article for the sake of a “last laugh”, or a “ha, you had problems” than I believe I’ve now gathered enough evidence to prove there are some so-called “neurotypicals” who are more disordered than those of us considered disordered.

But I digress as usual. You should all be used to this by now. 

The fact is, whether the woman wrote this article out of spite/high school drama or out of pure ignorance or because she doesn’t have a filter, this is a rampant issue in the mental health community. 

I’m not talking about stigmatized behavior/words (which is still a major issue), I’m talking about people getting involved in mental health services without a real understanding of it. I’m talking about people with no experience speaking for us. That’s what I’m talking about.

thumb_colourbox10510942Psychiatrists make good money. Many of them switched during medical school and have no background in psychology and no personal background in mental health. Does that mean they don’t care? Not necessarily. But it does mean they can only sympathize or pity, and never empathize. And that’s a problem.

I’m proud to not be one of those.

In fact, I’m proud of the mental struggles I deal with every second I’m awake. I’m proud I see the world differently: that gives me absolute certainty I will never think like Amanda Lauren or ever be associated with people who do.

Don’t let idiots with skulls as thick as kevlar is strong speak for us, because some of those idiots will see you as a liability. They’ll see you as lazy, pathetic, and worthless. And they’ll tell you. They’ll tell you so much you’ll believe it. We don’t need to lose someone else, we need you, all of us. So share you story and be proud of it, even the darkest moments or the most twisted psychosis.

The real tragedy here is that Amanda’s friend didn’t get the chance to see how much worth she really had. 

*P.S Do not, I repeat DO NOT click on the link to Amanda’s website I provided and spam her with hate or opinions. That’s childish and petty.*