`Once well underground,' he said, `you know exactly where you are. Nothing can happen to you, and nothing can get at you. You're entirely your own master, and you don't have to consult anybody or mind what they say. Things go on all the same overhead, and you let 'em, and don't bother about 'em. When you want to, up you go, and there the things are, waiting for you.' - from "The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame
I am a diagnosed, Paranoid/Delusional, Bipolar with ADD & OCD.
I'm also a guitar player, but that's not what I'm writing about today.
I've been completely off all medications since the end of July. Now I'm gonna tell you why. But I gotta explain some things first.
When I was "hospitalized" last May, I was taking Seroquel, Prozac & Adderall daily. My first psychiatrist was a grumpy old Polish woman. She did this one thing I used to hate. Either because she tried to help me with my tendency to ramble on and on or because she was just plain annoyed by me, she used to put a timer on her desk and whenever she asked me a question I had 30 seconds to answer it. I rarely ever got an answer in under the buzzer.
What a bitch.
I figured if after a year under her care, the best I could manage was to end up not being able to work in a year and ultimately in a mental institution then I should probably find another psychiatrist. So I did.
I found very nice doctor who told me that the reason I was getting all sorts of cardiograms in the hospital was because Seroquel and Prozac taken together can cause a rare condition where you heart can just suddenly stop. Nobody told me this, including the doctor that prescribed the shit to me.
What a bitch.
The solution, get me off Prozac, and Adderall, put me on something called Lamictal and double my dosage of Seroquel.
Let's talk about Seroquel for a little bit.
Seroquel is an anti-psychotic, mood stabilizer commonly used to treat schizophrenics and bipolars. In small doses like 50-75 milligrams, I hear people sometimes take it for insomnia, and I believe it because this shit will knock you the fuck out
I was taking 400mg/day and now I was being upped to 800/day.
I did notice an immediate effect on my mood. Despite the fact that at the time me and my wife were separated, the, fear, overwhelming sense of panic, dread and suspicion, the bad voices, all that shit went away. It was the equivalent of watching TV in color vs in black & white.
Or just maybe it was the massive amount of medication I was taking, but maybe it was because I didn't have a job, was living with my parents and spent 12-15 hours a day sleeping, and the rest of my waking hours watching TV or in the local library. I wasn't living in real life. I was living in my own protected little world where nothing could get to me. Guarded by medication and the seclusion of Queen Creek, AZ, I was virtually invulnerable. Who wouldn't be happy? or at least relatively unstressed, and content.
But then I found a job. A job I really enjoy doing, and one I still have today. When you sleep 15 hours a day its kind of hard to wake up at 5am so you can commute across town to go to work. Then expect to be alert and awake and productive while you're at work.
And as both my psychiatrists and the doctor in the mental hospital has said, being a Paranoid/Delusional, Bipolar with ADD & OCD is extremely hard to medicate. To get the right medications in the right mix is just very hard to do.
The sheer amount of medications needed to handle all the shit that's wrong with me is just enormous. It's possible of course, but it doesn't seem like it can be done without it resulting in me basically spending my life like some sort of ZOMBIE.
NO! NOT ROB ZOMBIE, DAMMIT!
I want to work and try to have a productive life that doesn't just involve sitting at home collecting disability and sleeping all day long. I also don't want to keep trying different medications and risking possibly dangerous side effects- like my heart possibly stopping. At least not before the next round of star wars movies come out.
So I live with the the highs and lows, and depression and dread, and suspicion, and the bad voices that try to convince me of all sorts of crazy shit. I go to work, I eat healthy and try to keep myself in shape. I rarely drink and don't do any other drugs. I try to keep my marriage intact and basically I just try really hard thru sheer willpower to keep my shit together and make sure that I'm always around people and in situations that are conducive to my mental health.
Its not perfect and not even entirely successful, but after almost 10 months off all medications, I'm still alive, I'm not in a mental institution, I'm still married and I have a job and I think that's a pretty good start.
I have gotten back into counseling too. Hopefully that will help me keep an even keel and stay off medication. But I'm not naive and I realize that medication may eventually be the only way to keep me healthy. But for now I'm doing ok.
But all the bad stuff never really goes away. It's always there, like some annoying kid yelling in your ear, fucking with you, doing everything they can to try to make you lose your cool.
But so far I haven't entirely lost it yet...
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