All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


3 Comments

Nauseousness, camping and paranoia…oh my!

I have been feeling absolutely shocking this weekend. Constantly nauseous, hot/cold flushes, aching limbs and smelling strange odours that I cannot place. I’ve also been feeling obscenely paranoid, from firmly believing that I was being followed/about to be arrested by police officers, to thinking my house is on the verge of being invaded by a swarm of marauding maggots. I can’t relax. I can’t settle. I can’t concentrate and no matter how much I want to, can’t sleep.

Normally I would be grotesquely – verging on mental breakdown – worried over such an array of physical and mental symptoms, but as it stands my worry has been displaced by the weekly sessions I’ve had with my GP over the last few weeks; who informs me that all of the above is to be expected, given the recent change I’ve undergone in my medication.

In the first major change of my medication since my initial diagnoses in 2007/08, I have dropped from taking 12.5mg of olanzapine to only 2.5mg daily, replacing this most hated of drugs with 200mg solian daily. I have also changed antidepressants, from citalopram to fluoxetine. I’m told that this change will have a positive effect on my mental state, once the drugs start to have an effect in 3-4 weeks time, but until then have to ‘ride out’ the side-effects of stopping the drugs I’m used to and moving onto the new ones.

Normally, in the face of such crippling side-effects, I would stock up on DVDs from the library and hide away from the world until I start to feel vaguely normal. But alas, I cannot, for tomorrow I embark on a five-day long camping excursion that’s been organised by the mental health organisation I frequent. So instead of a week of chilling at home trying to convince myself I’m not dying (I suffer occasional bouts of hypochondria) I will be indulging in a week of badminton, boating, drawing, more boating, trivia nights and yet more boating. All whilst sleeping in a tent. All whilst feeling like I’m about to throw up.

If I wasn’t feeling so horribly unwell, I would be looking forward to the camp. I enjoy being outdoors. I enjoy some of the activities we’ll be doing. I enjoy being in a tent. But not when I feel sick. And not when my meds are going through such a period of upheaval.

All I can hope is that the symptoms I’ve been feeling this weekend will mysteriously vanish by the time I get up tomorrow morning, because I’m seriously starting to think that it’s not side effects from meds at all. I’m starting to think that I’m coming down with a virus. And who likes camping when they’re full on, properly unwell?

However the week goes I will be sure to update you all upon my return (no internet access in the bush, I’m afraid).

Hope everyone is having a better (more healthy) weekend than I! And that everyone has a wonderful week ahead of them! :)


14 Comments

Day 22: My (not very high) opinion of psychiatric medication!

For anyone who is interested, my current medication regime is:

Sodium Valproate (Mood Stabiliser): 1000mg Daily
Citalopram (Anti-Depressant): 20mg Daily
Olanzapine (Anti-Psychotic): 10mg Evening, 2.5mg Morning
Oxazepam (To aid with sleep): 7.5mg Nightly
Phernergan (To aid with sleep): 25mg Nightly
and
Vitamin B12 (Supplement): 100mg Daily
Vitamin D (Supplement): 2000IU Daily

I’ve been taking this regime of medication for the last two months, and I have to say, my hatred of psychiatric medication is as strong as ever. I hate what it does to me, I hate the side-effects and I hate how it makes me feel nothing like ‘me‘.

Six reasons I hate psychiatric medication…

url

1. Weight Gain

For someone with body dysmorphic issues, even the slightest weight gain can cause chaos in their minds. Over the last two months I have gained nearly five kilograms. The fact I’ve been going to the gym three times a week, eating healthily, banning soft drinks and cycling in excess of 100km a week doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to my weight. In fact, right now, I have begun to believe I will be a blimp for the remainder of my life.

Seriously, I hate how I see my body almost as much as the social anxiety that eats away at my soul!

2. Side Effects

Since I’ve been on this medication I’ve noticed an escalation of my self-harm urges and suicidal ideation. I’ve experienced a plethora of physical symptoms (including diarrhea, nausea, dry mouth, trembling limbs and unquenchable thirst) and, as previously mentioned, the somewhat odd incidents of sleepwalking that have never happened to me before.

3. Sex

Granted, I’m not fortunate enough to have anyone in my life who wishes to take a tumble betwixt the sheets, but I am a thirty-something male who, on occasion, does enjoy partaking in some ‘private time’ to assist with stress, happiness and general nurture.

However, since I’ve been on this medication, I’ve been unable to reach or maintain an erection, thus rendering another source of pleasure obsolete.

4. They’re not “happy pills”

I hate when people refer to anti-depressants as ‘happy pills’, because they’re not. If they were, I would feel happy after taking one. I don’t. In fact…I feel nothing!

It’s one thing stabilizing moods so that I’m not oscillating between mania and depression, but it’s another thing entirely to render me so zombified I feel nothing. For the last two months I’ve felt no sadness, no happiness, no excitement, no joy. Nothing. It’s just been me, feeling nothing like “me“, every day for every week for the last two months. It’s soul-destroying.

And wholly unpleasant.

5. My people hate medication more than I do

This is a major issue for my people. They hate me being medicated as they believe I’m trying to medicate them out of existence. This causes an increase in the abusive and negative content of all of them. In fact, they would be much happier if I wasn’t taking any medication and believe I would be too.

6. Financial burden

I’m not a rich man. In fact, I’ve shared numerous times in the past that I basically live in abject poverty and, once rent and bills have been factored out of the equation, it’s a challenge to feed myself properly from week to week let alone afford anything ‘fun’. So the added burden of the cost of my medication has had a massive impact on my already frustrating life.

This has been Day twenty-two of the 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge. Apologies for two ‘six of the best’ posts in a row, but I wanted to write a list of the reasons why I dislike psychiatric medication and I like things occuring in sixes! :p