1st week clozapine

Thought symptoms

Paranoia gone, delusion gone, anxiety lower, obsessive thoughts lower, overthinking/over analysing lower, no trauma memories, have not got stuck in mind maze, my insight however has also been lower as not so aware of my consciousness, time slowed down, I feel I’ve overslept each morning but up at 8am, sense of humour intact, filtering out more stimulus not so sensitive, seems like I have a force field or thinker skin.

Mood symptons

Taken me out of a high/mania, slows chemistry down, easier to chat and empathise with others without having mood contagion, my thoughts seem more private, can’t read minds or others can’t read mine

Side effects

Extreme tiredness, feeling slightly sick, giddiness, sensation of spinning, strange headaches, pins and needles, odd legs aches, feinting, acid reflux for 2 days, spacey, hungry, excess saliva, heart palpitations, racing heart, worry about heart attacks, knocked out

Clozapine

This drug is serious stuff. 1st week on it I’ve noticed I’m not manic or depressed and very little thought problems.

Socialising is in a way easier. Seriously knocks me out in the evening and very groggy.

But it’s working!

Only worry is if my system can tolerate the drug!

Lots of health checks and monitoring in hospital.

So far so good but white blood cell count arrives tomorrow. Fingers crossed there is no abnormalities.

In hospital flashbacks

Memories flood back with familiar sights and smells. The sadness and loss comes in waves.

Yet I’m open minded and doors that were once closed can open.

17 years ago this illness started me on a journey. A colourful journey but a hard journey all the same.

But the future is not yet written and the past doesn’t have to effect the present!!

Today I am starting Clozapine.

It could be the start of a new life or an acceptance of limitations if I have to continue with the old meds that have partly stopped working!

Blood tests, monitoring and patience.

I’m praying for a good outcome.

Infatuations

When first in mania falling in love was intense. Are you really in love with her or the idea of what you see.

Infatuations is looking at people with romantic notions with rose tinted glasses.

There is a very nice side to this but if not reciprocated its not good.

Everyone wants something different, be it friendship, love, sex. If you match great. If you don’t is it healthy?

And should you not save your good feelings for somebody else that can reciprocate rather than spend it on a friendship?

Infactuations is like a dopamine circuit board where wishes and dreams and hope are mixed together. It’s like a gambling slot machine where you feed the machine but it rarely if ever cashes out.

Again, if your expectations are different you don’t get caught in this trap but maybe also you lose interest because you may be getting what you need else where?

And then is it a friendship but more on an aquientences level where you don’t really care?

If only life was like a Disney.

Just got to match is the key…

Out of frying pan and into a pleasant bath or a raging fire??

Next week I turn over a new leaf. My current medication is Olanzapine 10mg daily. Ive been on Risperdone (didn’t work), quientipine (made me manic and psychosis), araperazol (wasn’t great).

Everyone is different but Olanzapine has worked the best over the years. Kind of a sledge hammer to crack a nut though. Works for lots of different mental problems but not amazing and has side effects such as excessive eating and water retention. After my second psychosis at 25 years old Olanzapine hasn’t been working as well. Im now 34 and I still have symptoms on Olanzapine.

Too much Olanzapine has given me OCD symptoms too in the past.

Ive tried Prozac as an antidepressant to having some benefits including stoping OCD stuff.

Mood stabbers made me feel like a zombie.

The new leaf and change is going on Clozapine. It has been rated by 70% of users as 10/10 for effectiveness compared with Olanzapine 5/10.

For many people Clozapine can be a miracle or so they say but it has serious side effects.

One of which is attacking your white blood cells. There is a 2-5% chance of this happening. So I will have to have blood monitoring tests every few days for several months.

Im actually nervously excited to see how it effects me.

Every anti-psychotic medication is like a marriage. It changes your biochemistry.

I have found that on different ones I am prone to enjoying different things- some I get really sporty on and some I have a new found interest in art or creative things.

Starting next week!!

Wish me luck!….

Charting/Journaling

Its been my third month of this system in place.

I have noticed the following things.

Im fitter, healthier, tidier, better socially and more stable.

Ive been finding on the bad days charting moods has been really effective.

The moods include anger, sadness, fear, trust, disgust, excitement, paranoia and hatred, and I’ve added one more happiness.

Im finding that as long as these moods are at level 1-4 everything is okay, happiness and trust can be higher scores as consider them good ones!

You need some anger and sadness and all the bad moods- just a lot healthier if they are at lower levels.

When I have good times I sometimes forget to fill in the charts but that signifies they are good days. I fill them in anyway days later to give perspective.

Last 5 weeks I’ve noticed that on the exercise/sleep and chart that includes being tidy I have successfully done 1-3 hours sport a day, almost every day. Lost 4 kg. Also I have kept on top of washing, washing up, tidying and cleaning place, shower and teeth regularly without fail.

This may seem really basic but in some periods of life I wasn’t even doing this.

Because of the charts I am getting into better habits and it’s starting to become automatic.

I also have read 5 books in 3 weeks doing the chart -that means I read at least a chapter a day.

The CbT diary was used a lot in conjunction with the trigger chart but as I’m writing down the triggers in the cbt journal and sorting/ solving the problems- the triggers are going down and there is less entries in the cbt diary.

In this third month period I have also been taking vitamins every day. And I have noticed it helps improve emotional wellbeing.

This all has resulted in less Bipolar symptoms and schziophrenic symptoms and longer and longer periods of normal functioning.

One thing I have not tackled is money yet and eating into my savings.

But started doing part time work…

Lastly been recording what I eat daily to track good and bad diet days and see if I can break unhealthy food habits.

I also given up smoking for 1.5 years but on electronic vaporiser. I started on 18mg and now down to 6mg strength. Lower nicotine has been making me less racy but worried a lot stopping completely.

Medication has been steady at 10mg Olanzapine daily and sleep patterns have been normal.

January’s charts all filled in and can be graphed and stuck into Scientific journal.

Ever thought of learning music?

Its an endless form of learning, it’s absorbing, creative and lots of directions to take. I started in late 2017 and it has definitely helped me overcome depression and is an awesome distraction!

You don’t need a lot of money to start- well maybe a bit! I would recommend starting with the guitar and learning all the basic chords. I started by buying a few Justin Guitar books, he’s a really good teacher and has an online youtube channel.

My starter kit was an acoustic/electric guitar. You learn more with an acoustic but I wanted half and half- hence the electric bit. My Acoustic/electric guitar (a fender) was under £200 and an Roland Cube amp approx £150. Im trying to do it all, guitar and singing, maybe it’s a bit over ambitious but its what I wanted to do, so picked up a mic for under £100.

In the last year Ive started learning recording programs such as pro tools first and Abelton. Im a bit lost at the moment in the direction to go but the next stage is to get a drum machine and start mixing tunes. The drum machines and mixing is a bit like being a DJ and lots of computer skills. You can make the bones of a tune without the lyrics and add them in later.

Ive found that I quite enjoy making up songs. Not only is it a mega distraction from the Bipolar type stuff- I actually find with some of life problems that come up and mood swings theres actually a bit of raw mood material to make songs.

Im in no delusion that I’m still not a great musician or music editor but I always find the learning and the journey to be more fun than the destination.

Check out my music page on the blog as examples of the stuff I’m working on, hope it may inspire you to give it a go. Its the journey not the destination. Rome wasn’t built in a day!!

System meltdown

Central processor overload

Psychosis can fry the connections in your brain. The logical processing part that keeps you in a safe place can break down.

I call it dinosaur brain; where you are prone to experiencing all manner of terrors. The code (stimulus cannot be processed) and the result is a havoc on your soul. Speaking, listening, talking; or any kind of stimulus becomes like knives attacking your psyche. It’s emotionally and psychologically painful existing. It becomes like a puzzle how to fix it.

My go to method is increasing the antipsychotic slightly or finding a quiet room to find peace.

The reality is upping the medication doesn’t always work. Sometimes issues that have overloaded the frontal part need to be worked through with someone who can help you- professional or otherwise.

I believe that the damage is in the central processing part of the brain and I believe exercises to do with learning can strengthen the connections.

I also believe when the brain is tired there are temporary short circuits and medication (anti-psychotics) at these times is vital for me.

Do you find this to be true. Would love some feedback from people who go through this and your coping strategies for getting out of the nightmare.

Over exposure/ Impulsivity

I don’t know if others have the similar difficulties with impulsiveness but it can be a real problem.

Being spontaneous has it’s good side. A spur of the moment thing can be creative, endearing, thoughtful and above all fun!

However, it has it’s dark side, especially with tools such as the internet. Posting or saying the first thing that enters your head can be dangerous. ‘Loose lips sink ships’.

In the moment when excitement and connectivity take over you- nothing seems like it is off limits, especially with comedy. Except of course when you go over the limit!

You can get into all manner of embarrassing and sometimes funny situations but you could find yourself very over-exposed. This is true for all people not just with a mood disorder. There is practically unlimited ways the internet can make you lose face and respect. It could be a drunken video last night, now online with a traffic cone on your head that gets shared thousands of times. It could be a karoke where you regret it later.

Whatever, the impulsive action is, with modern technology it’s a good idea to count to ten before you act and imagine the consequences and reaction afterwards. People with mood disorders I think experience it harder, especially with social media and when you lose track of your social filter.

Have fun but protect yourself.

Reputations can take lifetime to make and seconds to destroy!

Problem solving activities

Chess is a fantastic example of a problem solving activity. A game of strategy! Almost unlimited possible moves.

Playing chess or cards can help focus your mind; it has the ability to promote calmness and clear thinking.

They are constructive games that have some relevance in real life skills. Being able to think out of the box and decide on favourable outcomes is useful in the social world and work world.

Chess is a high strategy game- like a battle where you are the general and you decide how the fight plays out. Even pawns can be as useful as queens in the right setting.

Cards has a level of skill involved but there is also an element of chance. Not unlike life! There is the excitement when you play your cards right and out play the opponents. Its also a great social game where you can have company but not get too involved in socialising if you don’t want to.

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