Wednesday, October 07, 2009

When what you're doing isn't working...

Recently, I wrote a bit about a recent legal case in New York: Disability Advocates Inc. versus Paterson, and the topic of whether or not people should be forced to get treatment or not. The author of a new blog I like, The Devil and the Schizophrenic , wrote this post where he discusses my musings and his own thoughts on the matter. After I read his interesting post, I realized that my point of view may come across as being really "pro-medication" to other people, to the point that it seems I think people should be forcibly medicated. As I wrote here, it was my experience that only medication led to the ceasing of my hallucinations and voices, and that, in my case, I had to be forced to take the stuff for a while before it was able to work for me.

I just want to clarify something, that perhaps I didn't make clear before. I really don't think people should be tied down to a bed and injected with Risperdal (as I did state before), or that people should be forced to live in group homes if they are able to live on their own in the community without assistance, or that people should be forced into hospitals if they don't need to be. It has been my experience, however, that Schizoaffective Disorder, and Schizophrenia, are life-threatening illnesses. It has also been my experience that the disorder I have led to me nearly dying on multiple occasions. When you are driving cars over 150 bridges (or trying to), buying guns and practicing at shooting ranges for when you shoot yourself in the head, and following command hallucinations demanding that you kill yourself, which you hear, all day, every day for an extended period of time, well, then I don't think there is anything that helps but medications.

I do realize, however, that not all medications work for all people, and that for some, no medications work at all. I have taken plenty of them that did not work, and I have only been really successful with injections of Risperdal, whereas many other meds do not get rid of my psychosis even though they are heavily marketed and well-known as being supposedly effective. I understand that medication isn't the only answer, too. There are people who are helped by cognitive behavioral therapy, support groups, and individual regular talk-therapy. It's just that, from what I have read and what I have experienced, the only thing that got rid of my psychosis was medication, and I do not believe I would be alive right now without that medication in my daily life. So because it saved my life, or, rather, my ability to understand I needed to take it saved my life, I do credit medication with a lot. I just wanted to explain why, however, because my intention was not to offend anyone who medications have not helped, or who chooses for whatever reason to never take medication.

I have yet to meet a person with persistent psychosis who got better without medication, but I'm not saying no such people exist. Just that I haven't met any or heard of too many. As Schizophrenia is a chronic disease, a frequently fatal disease, and as recent research shows it can shorten a person's lifespan by 25 years, I think people who have the illness need to take the treatment of it very, very seriously. And personally, because it worked for me and because I've researched what works for others too, I believe medication is usually needed. I am not a fan of big Pharma. The pharmaceutical company leeches make me sick, and there advertisements that market every drug they develop as if it were the cure-all to everything that ails you are absurd and offensive. I am not a fan of these companies that make billions of dollars from the fact that someone found a drug that worked for something and they bought it. In the U.S., which is where I live, medications are so expensive that many people cannot even afford to get them whether they need them or not. This leads to horrible suffering and death for many individuals, and I am well aware of that problem, as I have lived through it and watched many other people live through it too.

So, I just wanted to clear that up.

The other reason for this post is that I am currently experiencing an episode of depression that is worse than any depression I've had in the past year. I normally get through my days without a lot of trouble from thoughts or from horrible fatigue or from apathy and wretched despair. Such is not the case right now. These things are bothering me a great deal, and the only positive part of the situation is that I know it will end, because it always does, eventually. It might not end for a while, but it will sometime end. I know that. I've had trouble with depression from the age of 12, and I've learned how to deal with it.

Right now I'm exercising regularly at a gym, despite the depression, and also because the exercise helps me with the depression and with my weight loss goal. I've been in this weight loss program of mine since April, and I've lost 43 pounds so far, so that is good. I'm also going to see my therapist again, though she can't see me on a regular basis because of Medicare issues, anymore, she is going to fit me in next week, and that is helpful. I continue to take all my medications as always, despite that the antidepressants do not appear to be working right now, and if this continues, I'll definitely be addressing it with my ARNP who prescribes them.

So, there is hope. All is not lost. I understand that the stress in my life, largely due to family problems, has led me into this hole of despair, and I'm hoping to dig my way out of it soon.

This depression has reminded me of something. Meds don't always work. And I just wanted to write this post so you who have tried them and not had relief understand that you are definitely not alone. There are many people who are not helped by the meds that exist. There are many of us who have suffered horrible side effects that lead to other major health problems, because of the medications that do work for us. There are many of us who gain tons of weight because of medications. I am one of those people. So, if you are in that boat, trust me, I understand.

3 comments:

Jen said...

Congratulations on dragging yourself to the gym. It can be the best medication for depression, at times and the most difficult thing to motivate yourself to do. My husband is just coming out of a relapse of paranoia and the depression has started to sink in. I drag him to the gym along with me. Even if for only 20 minutes, his attitude improves from a quick workout. Hang in there.

Lady_Amanda said...

Thank you for your post. You are truly honest. I know people who aren't on medicine and they aren't doing to well. Here in the state of New York, they don't force you to take your medicine unless the court finds that you are a danger to yourself or someone else. It's very sad. However, I don't think people should be tied up either.

I know how you feel with your own medicine, though. I have gained a lot of weight because of the medicine strictly for my schizophernia. It's caused major health problems. However, I have tried other medicine and it just doesn't work. And I don't know what to do.

I will pray for your depression to ease up. Going out and doing stuff helps tons, though. So good job.

Hugs,
LA

Angie said...

Our son is 15 and does not want to take medicine. I feel conflicted often giving him the medicine when I know that he says he would rather have the psychosis. We have now had a month without him having hallucinations and I am happy for this. Thank you for your blog.

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