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.
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.
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!!
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.
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!
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.
In the food world, they say ‘You are what you eat’
In the mind world it is similar! Feed your mind with good and interesting thoughts….
Im not a huge reader, at least I didn’t used to be. I would pick up a book on every 12th cycle of the moon and bring it on holiday and forget to unpack it, or fall asleep rapidly or lose interest.
Why I like books….
Recently, I have begun to marvel at books. Not only are they depicting a story, a narrative, speech and action. They also give you the inner mechanisms of the authors mind and thus the characters thoughts.
Films and images give a lot of information but they are focused on behaviour and what people say.
Books have something films do not, books have the subtext of what a character is thinking and for that reason it’s interesting.
Ive struggled with sub-text a lot with Bipolar; around sometimes what is not said, often jumping to conclusions in how others think. Resorting to having paranoid thoughts and assuming the worst.
Since i’ve made a habit of reading every day, i’m picking up on more and more nuisances in conversation and instead of assuming the worst, I think…., ah that’s interesting….
And it helps start a conversation when you ask ‘Why’.
Books are your friends; especially if you spend a lot of time in your own company. You are not only not lonely you are living in another world or character and seeing things through other people’s eyes.
No matter the genre you can experience other characters struggles without having to go through it yourself. This may give you perspective with your own struggles; in that you are not alone.
Someone, somewhere has had similar thoughts on topics which are similar to your own….
Have you discovered the joy of cooking? You may like cooking but do you like clearing and washing up and doing this every day?
Well there is an answer- Tupperware!
With kitchen plastic Tupperware boxes you can mass cook a dish that is suitable to go in the freezer. This simplifies cooking. You can get away with mass cooking once every 2 weeks and dishes go in to the freezer.
This way you only have to worry about cooking or making breakfast over the two week period. Lunch and supper are already sorted.
Sounds good, well there is another good reason for doing this. You may find cooking every day that you would struggle to use all the vegetables and things would go off on you.
With mass cooking- not nessesarily to a cook book recipe (be a bit creative) it’s easier to use all the vegetables and put them in stews or macaroni cheese or Bolognese or curries, ect.
And you know the ready meals you create are packed full of goodness from all those vegetables that actually get used. No GI numbers or preservatives. And diet is very important for mental health.
You have to carefully find the right Tupperware that are suitable for freezing.
I make sure I use ones that are big enough for lunch and dinner (split the contents in half when you defrost)
They can be re-heated on a plate in the microwave or small saucepan.
There is minimal washing up and the fridge is clearer.