The First Step

What’s the saddest part about having schizophrenia, is that while you’re in the midst of your own little reality, which is considered by others as delusional, is the fact that you yourself are totally unaware that you are delusional. There is a term for that called:

Anosognosia

For more information, see wikipedia on this term…This is the reason why so many people with scizophrenia are determined not to take their medications. They simply do not feel like anything is wrong with them or their way of thinking…for when you’re in the throes of a psychotic state, everything you feel, think, and believe feels SO real that no matter how hard a friend or doctor may try to tell you that you need medication, you are quite bitter and angry at the possible suggestion that what you believe is false.

So, the first step in getting better is to simply take medication. At first, you are like the “lab rat” in that every person has a different brain chemistry and that what medication works for one, may not work for the other. What I’m so thankful for is the fact that under the circumstances of being criminally insane, my Judge ordered that I have to take medications. So early on, when I refused my medications, the nurse and security guards would simply come, hold me down on a bed, reveal my ass to everyone and give me a shot. Eventually, I accepted the pills.

For example, the very first anti-psychotic I was placed on was haldol. Back in the 1970s, the doctors called this drug a “tranquilizer.” Truth is, that’s exactly what it did to me…it slowed my speech down so much that even though my thoughts were racing ninety miles an hour, I could only speak or communicate in a slow manner. After a while, I started having other side effects, with the primary one being called “tongue thrusting.” I literally would slowly stick my tongue out, repeatedly.

This first medication did absolutely nothing for my delusions or paranoid ideas. Now granted, some people take it and it helps them; however, I am not one of these people. So after about a month, another patient at the hospital, (yes, the workers didn’t seem to notice my odd behaviors) told me I needed to be on a side-effect medication called cogentin.

The next time I approached the psychiatrist and asked for it, she took me off haldol and put me on risperdol. I literally was doing cartwheel three days later out in the yard, for my muscular system was no longer “tranquilized.” I was also put on valporic acid, a mood stabilizer for I had extreme mood swings of laughter one minute to crying the next.

Once I received my “insanity diploma,” I went back to the institution and further adjustments were made. The medications changed through out the years as I had one minor relapse during I want to say my third or fourth year in the institution: I thought my parents were sexually abusing my daughter as they had done me as a child…(They [my parents and doctors] claim it to be a persecutory delusion; however, it feels more like a repressed memory that floated to the surface. Either way, I have learned to live with the knowledge that I may never know the truth in regards to that type of abuse…I have forgiven and moved on).

As a result of my relapse, I refused to talk to my parents for three months and the doctors increased my anti-psychotic medication to the point that I’m now on two different ones, one in the morning and one at night. But enough about all that, my point is, the first step to recovery is finding the right combinations of medications and then learning to accept the fact that no matter how much you hate taking them, they are a necessity for the continuation of sanity.

To conclude: the first step is to find the right medications and to become aware of your illness instead of taking the “denial trip.”

12 Responses to The First Step

  1. Your blog hits on many issues that I am also involved in, namely taking medications or not taking medications. I have dissociative identity disorder/multiple personality disorder. I am a christian and I have been going to a spirit filled church for two years. A few weeks ago I discovered that they believe that Jesus can heal our mental problems and that we no longer need to take our medications. I trust the Lord, but was upset by this idea. I need my meds everyday or I become terribly depressed, and I would never, ever suggest to anyone with mental illness to quit taking theirs. What is your opinion about this?

    Like

  2. I’ve heard from many different beliefs/theories/philosophies that I “don’t need the medication”, “it’s of the Devil” once I get free, I can “get off those meds.” And I get depressed especially when I hear it from loved ones. My father is a preacher that went to ORU during the early evangelistic movement. When I first got sick, my parents believed I had been “possessed by a demon.” To this day, they still believe God could heal me, but since I don’t attend church like they do or believe like they do, I’m never gonna get “healed.” The father of my girl is Native American and they believe they could “heal” me; however, my boyfriend, who was raised on a Cherokee reservation, he went to a medicine man when he first started hearing voices and the man said he couldn’t help him.

    This is what the psychiatrist said when I first got put in for competency evaluation at the forensic hospital: 30% with schizophrenia NEVER get better

    Like

  3. sorry hit a wrong button. she also said 30% will be on medications the rest of their lives and do well and another 30% can and do eventually get well and no longer needed the medications. So my opinion is, if you want to cut back on your meds, do it under the supervision of a doctor and know your early warning signs well for I met one lady in the institution that was in the middle of a medicine change and she drowned her baby in a river because she became actively psychotic again.

    So as long as you are very insightful to your own illness, delusions, mood swings, etc. would I even say you could talk to your doctor about decreasing the meds slowly; otherwise, people like me who’ve committed bad crimes, I’m going to be on them for life.

    Like

  4. Pingback: My Schizophrenia Battle: Early Recovery | The Rebirth of Sanity

  5. Matt Marinello says:

    Wow…… In 2009 I was deemed “potential for harm” and sent to a place. I escaped but they got me. I know exactly what you are talking about……… The delusional world. I thought I was immortal (well that I some old age gene got switched due to my spiritual strength and I’d age slow and live to be 200.) I thought hackers were editing the newspaper and sending me messages in code to mess with me. I thought times on the clock meant something. I was paranoid about satellites world war 3 and a nuclear war. I thought other countries were worried about me. Telepathy was messing with me. I thought hackers were sending me messages with popular youtube videos. And even with medication since 09 till like last year it finally went away. Eventually things got worse and more crazy and weird. It switched from hackers to “there’s no way they can do this it must be some intelligence possibly the universe itself.” So I started seeing code every where. I thought my family was in on the mundane plot but the spiritual thing was what was with me the most. I thought it was the universe changing events in the newspaper and speaking to me into a code. At times it got frustrating cracking the code……. But I had to solve all the puzzles and figure it out. The tv one day in the middle of commercials for no reason had this Nietzche quote on it on a black screen “Be careful when hunting monster’s lest you turn into one. For when you gaze into the abyss the abyss gazes right back into you.” It was trippy and I was convinced the universe was helping me out. I mean I’ve been near death all my life but something was protecting me. Some of the things I even now don’t know if they were delusions or real crazy presently unexplained things in the universe. Most of that shit I believe was false and just a delusion. Haldol? I called that helldol. It was the WORST of all of them. I still haven’t found out one. But I’m one of the more lucid schizos out there. Most doctors say I’m bipolar and not schizophrenic till they see my history. I read up on it and there is this new subtype where you have ocd and schizophrenia and they are more lucid but still really disabled. That must be why the antipsychotics don’t have to be in high doses and I’ve been off of em for a year without symptoms till stress caused me to go delusional again. Why? OCD is a doubter’s disease. Schizophrenia is a disease of certainty. So my guess is they cancel shit out. Honestly I think I have it residually. It’s still there but its way in the background and I don’t believe it. Glad I read your story. You had it bad. Things were worse back then then now. For someone with schizophrenia you are very lucid and make a lot of sense. Glad you recovered.

    Like

    • Thank you very much…like it says in my website, it didn’t happen overnight…took years to find the right meds and then what happened when I got out? Medicaid said they wouldn’t cover the abilify or seroquel my two anti-psychotics! I’m like you’ve got to be joking right? They put me on respiradol in the am and thorazine at night. I kept a daily journal on my laptop on how much sleep I was or mainly wasn’t getting and after a month and my journal complete, the doctor wrote a prior authorization letter to put me back on seroquel at night. I was simply in tears when they told me I would have to go to thorazine. I’d never been on it before and was scared I’d wind back up in the institution…thank God an angel was watching…

      Like

      • Matt Marinello says:

        Yeah. Really zyprexa and seroquel were the ones that worked but zyprexa worked the best. Zyprexa gave me convulsions and I was hospitalized because I had a five minute seizure because of it. I should try seroquel. I’ve heard clozapine is good. There is also one I don’t know how to spell or pronounce after some research that is one of the top three and also doesn’t get you unhealthy and doesn’t sedate you that much. It ends with the letters p-r-i-d-e is all I remember. My mom hears voices every few seconds and I’m worried she’ll end up in a ward so I did some research. I think I want seroquel or that pride shit. Clozapine is too much like zyprexa. I’m normally skinny but zyprexa made me gain 50 pounds in like 6 months and I was exercising and only eating a meal a day. I normally have a fast metabolism and don’t have to exercise and can eat whatever I want. Just type in google “best antipsychotics for schizophrenia” until you find the one that says they did a huge study. they say which ones are the worst delusions/hallucinations or best and eps and health and all that. the pride one stood out as top for most of the categories. I’d suggest seroquel or zyprexa or clozapine for you because they sedate you but they are all the new ones. sedation for sleep mostly.

        Like

      • Matt Marinello says:

        oh I forgot. On every antipsychotic paper with side effects in warns against putting people on two antipsychotics because it can lead to neuroleptic malignant syndrome (nms) which can lead to death.

        Like

      • I was on zyprexa for a while and it made me gain a lot of weight. I was switched to seroquel after that. It’s been very good in helping me sleep.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s