Daily Archives: March 22, 2014

Food for thought…

Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA:

From 22 going on 33, via Kat at Looking for the Missing Me…..this is Brilliant!

Originally posted on 22 going on 33:

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The Zyprexa Made Me Eat It

Somewhere in the U.S., a company called CafePress is selling womens’ T-shirts that proclaim, in essence, that the wearer is overweight because she takes a certain medication: “The Zyprexa Made Me Eat It”. I’m not kidding. I’ve seen them advertised on Facebook. And as if for emphasis, they don’t even make ‘em in small sizes—they start at 16-18 and go up to a 5 XL.

I love it. I probably wouldn’t wear it, simply because I’m not interested in explaining to the world what Zyprexa is and why I take it. But I think the shirt is hilarious because the message is spelled out in tablets and capsules, and because it’s so true that I wish every frail little old person who doesn’t want to eat could be put on the drug. That’d solve THAT problem in a hurry!

As usual, I’m having difficulty not stealing the dog’s rawhide bone or chowing down on the upholstery, and for once I’m grateful that I took a vow of sugar-free chastity for Lent because I’m not snarfing cookies and candy. Maybe that’ll keep the weight gain down to a minimum……if I’m lucky. Last night I had a healthy but very large dinner, and by bedtime I was hungry again, although I managed to avoid eating by going to sleep. I don’t have any crackers or other snack-y things in the house, which is also helpful; if it’s not here, I can’t eat it, right?

Unfortunately, even eating reasonably healthy food isn’t enough to avoid weight gain when one eats too much, and of course I haven’t been getting much exercise with my broken toe, so I’m basically screwed if I stay on Zyprexa for more than a couple of weeks. Which I’m sure I will, because even if all is well when I call in report on the 31st, Dr. A won’t just yank me off of it, but taper the dose and then take me off.

I once took care of a fellow with schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder who gained sixty pounds in three months after he was started on Z. I remember how dismayed he was at piling on the pounds; at first he had no idea that it was the med that was causing it, and I didn’t want to tell him because I knew he’d refuse to take it forever after. But it would have been unethical to withhold this information, so when he finally asked me about side effects—apparently the hospital psychiatrist hadn’t listed them—I had to let him know that weight gain was indeed one of them.

“Then I shouldn’t take it?” he wanted to know.

It took all my powers of persuasion to convince him that it was in his best interests to continue with the medication, because it had performed its usual miracles and shut up the voices in his head that told him to start fires and burn holes in his skin with cigarettes. Suprisingly, he did stay on it for awhile longer, but eventually it stopped working and the last I saw of him, he was in a police car on his way to the psych ER.

So here it is a few years later, and I’m on the same drug that I used to administer to someone I considered to be ”crazy”. Funny how karma comes back to bite one in the butt.

And speaking of bites, I think I just heard the leftover pizza call my name……..

 


A Fear of Being Well

It was my first psychiatrist, who told me I had a “fear of being well” and honestly, I thought that was absurd.  But to some extent, looking back I can see I was clinging to bipolar disorder as my identity. It was all I knew, and who was I with out it?

Unfortunately, I didn’t know who I was with it either.  It sounds kind of gross to me. And kind of ridiculous for me to cling to such mayhem and dysfunction!  However, it’s common (I know that, now) and it was definitely true for me, even though I didn’t know it at the time.

He was right. But, instead of clinging to the “fear of wellness,” how amazing it is to cling to the desire of stability?  To cling to the hard work of obtaining stability and to eventually cling to stability?

Easier said than done?  Yes.  Perhaps so.

Worth the work?  YES!

These are three of the top practical things to cling to:

1. Communicating with your doctor.  I cannot express this enough.  I say it all the time.  I feel very strongly about it.  Be you own advocate!

2. Healthy relationships. Out with the old, in with the healthy. It’s true that other people, negative, and abusive people will bring you down.  Don’t let them do it.  Change your phone number.  Do what it takes.

diagnosisquote

3. Taking your meds, and taking them as prescribed.  ‘Nuff said.  Ok, actually, I have more to say.  Take your meds as they’re intended to be taken.  If you don’t like something, tell your doctor immediately.  (See #1). If you’re not taking them properly they’re basically useless, so take ’em right! Do it. And do it right.

Don’t let fear of anything, especially a fear of wellness, get a grip on you!

Hang in there friends, it’s worth it,

Mrs Bipolarity

A Fear of Being Well

It was my first psychiatrist, who told me I had a “fear of being well” and honestly, I thought that was absurd.  But to some extent, looking back I can see I was clinging to bipolar disorder as my identity. It was all I knew, and who was I with out it?

Unfortunately, I didn’t know who I was with it either.  It sounds kind of gross to me. And kind of ridiculous for me to cling to such mayhem and dysfunction!  However, it’s common (I know that, now) and it was definitely true for me, even though I didn’t know it at the time.

He was right. But, instead of clinging to the “fear of wellness,” how amazing it is to cling to the desire of stability?  To cling to the hard work of obtaining stability and to eventually cling to stability?

Easier said than done?  Yes.  Perhaps so.

Worth the work?  YES!

These are three of the top practical things to cling to:

1. Communicating with your doctor.  I cannot express this enough.  I say it all the time.  I feel very strongly about it.  Be you own advocate!

2. Healthy relationships. Out with the old, in with the healthy. It’s true that other people, negative, and abusive people will bring you down.  Don’t let them do it.  Change your phone number.  Do what it takes.

diagnosisquote

3. Taking your meds, and taking them as prescribed.  ‘Nuff said.  Ok, actually, I have more to say.  Take your meds as they’re intended to be taken.  If you don’t like something, tell your doctor immediately.  (See #1). If you’re not taking them properly they’re basically useless, so take ’em right! Do it. And do it right.

Don’t let fear of anything, especially a fear of wellness, get a grip on you!

Hang in there friends, it’s worth it,

Mrs Bipolarity

A Fear of Being Well

It was my first psychiatrist, who told me I had a “fear of being well” and honestly, I thought that was absurd.  But to some extent, looking back I can see I was clinging to bipolar disorder as my identity. It was all I knew, and who was I with out it?

Unfortunately, I didn’t know who I was with it either.  It sounds kind of gross to me. And kind of ridiculous for me to cling to such mayhem and dysfunction!  However, it’s common (I know that, now) and it was definitely true for me, even though I didn’t know it at the time.

He was right. But, instead of clinging to the “fear of wellness,” how amazing it is to cling to the desire of stability?  To cling to the hard work of obtaining stability and to eventually cling to stability?

Easier said than done?  Yes.  Perhaps so.

Worth the work?  YES!

These are three of the top practical things to cling to:

1. Communicating with your doctor.  I cannot express this enough.  I say it all the time.  I feel very strongly about it.  Be you own advocate!

2. Healthy relationships. Out with the old, in with the healthy. It’s true that other people, negative, and abusive people will bring you down.  Don’t let them do it.  Change your phone number.  Do what it takes.

diagnosisquote

3. Taking your meds, and taking them as prescribed.  ‘Nuff said.  Ok, actually, I have more to say.  Take your meds as they’re intended to be taken.  If you don’t like something, tell your doctor immediately.  (See #1). If you’re not taking them properly they’re basically useless, so take ‘em right! Do it. And do it right.

Don’t let fear of anything, especially a fear of wellness, get a grip on you!

Hang in there friends, it’s worth it,

Mrs Bipolarity

I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham

or feeling flattened, like I am.

In the most literal sense, I’m doing a lot better since I started my new drug “cocktail”. I’m calm, cool, and collected, and I sleep like the dead. I drift through my days feeling neither elated nor depressed, and nothing really bothers me except my disappointment with my job. But even that doesn’t call for drastic measures, despite the fact that I was ready to pack up and flee the state a week ago; in fact, I’ve turned my attention toward learning as much as I can while I’m still at it.

There’s just one teeny, tiny. naggy little detail: I don’t feel much of anything.

You’d think that would make me happy. All my life I’ve wished to be less emotional, less impassioned, less “out there”. I’ve even tried to imagine what it would be like to lack fire and intensity and all the other stuff that gets me into trouble, but I never grasped the concept until now…..and I don’t like it.

I knew something was very definitely ‘off’ today when I was alone in the office and listening to my iPod, and a song came on that has never failed to make me cry (“My Immortal” by Evanescence). I may have sniffled once, but didn’t even come close to tears. So I tried another one, a Josh Groban song that gives me goosebumps every time I hear it, and that didn’t happen either. WhaFUCK?!

I know I haven’t really given this new regimen a fair chance yet. But I’m already wishing I could stop the Zyprexa. Yes, it was necessary to bring that mixed mood episode under control, and I’m really glad Dr. Awesomesauce was so decisive about it, because I didn’t know which way was up and it wasn’t getting any better. Still, I’m not used to being so sluggish and slow, and I’ve got the stupids again—today I forgot how to do a simple maneuver with the computer program I’m learning, even though I’ve done it a hundred times before. But I couldn’t even manage to work up my usual frustration over that……yes, boys and girls, there’s definitely something rotten in Denmark.

It’s almost like I’m overmedicated, even though I know that’s not really the case. I’m not falling asleep on the john or slurring my words; I have enough energy to get through the day, and I can even focus on things for a little while. But like I said the other night, it just feels like I’m wading through a river of peanut butter. I’m quiet, reserved (how often does THAT happen?) and more or less resigned to the fact that this isn’t the best time of my life. That would distress me under normal circumstances, but somehow I can’t find the wherewithal to get upset.

Which is, I suspect, the way it’s supposed to be. I’m certainly not on five psychoactive medications because my doctor likes to prescribe them (he doesn’t); I’m on them because four weren’t enough. It happens. I’ve pretty much given up on ever getting off antipsychotics—or anything ELSE for that matter—but I don’t imagine I’ll be on two of them for very long. I’m trying not to get too hung up on this issue because it really doesn’t matter; I need to get well and stay that way, and if that means taking another AP or other drugs to tame the beast, then that’s what I have to do.

But every so often, I’m tempted to chuck it all and see if these pills are really doing what they’re supposed to. I think sometimes that I wouldn’t be any worse off…..after all, I got along without them for fifty-three years, and I certainly didn’t become bipolar overnight. Would I just go back to being the way I was before? Or would I end up totally psychotic and need to be put away? It’s like the choice between the lady or the tiger: guess wrong, and you’re screwed.

I am, of course, not giving myself that option, and not just because there would be people lined up to the California border to gang-slap me if I did. On some level, I know perfectly well that those pills saved my ass and the results of not taking them would likely be catastrophic. And I’m not willing to risk my life on the presumption that my illness would be polite enough to return to its once-dormant state.

I know better. I still don’t like the way I feel—or more accurately, DON’T feel—but I’d rather be a little ‘blah’ than a hot mess like I was the past few weeks. I think.