Saturday, August 26, 2006

Day 6.1

This whole sorting out your head business is like modifying an antique, hand embroidered tapestry that took years to make; one possibly started by your mother or grandmother for your hope chest. You don’t want to unravel too much, too fast incase it all comes apart too quickly, but you also want to be able to take out the parts that you don’t like without destroying the beauty of what is already there. It involves painstaking control, trying not to get ahead of yourself and taking away too much – remembering to leave the parts that although you might not like too much now, you might find you miss later if you remove them.

About two weeks ago I realized that none of the external people involved in my case were going to give me the answers I needed to get well again. The people I am involved with, my GP’s, my Psychiatrist, my CPN – they are all there to hold me in place, to stop me from going backwards, trying to adjust my medication levels, add in new ones and take away ones we don’t need anymore - all to keep me from self harming and the obvious one, killing myself. I am considered ‘at risk’ and more than a little untrustworthy when it comes to looking after my life.

In my mind, I can’t understand why, if I am taking all these drugs, am I still self-harming, still deep in this depression and still wanting not to be here? The side effect of the massive weight gain that started last year when I initially began taking the drugs, (it piled on faster than rugby players in a scrum – on average about 7lbs a week) combined with the previously mentioned daily 'adversaries' lead me to the conclusion that maybe all these drugs weren’t working for me and maybe they were holding me back - and as some cynics might say, making all of this a little bit worse. Ultimately, the medication and the routine visits keep me stuck in the same place, permanently. No moving forward. No passing go and no collecting £200. My concoction of drugs, for someone who has never taken any long-term medication other the than the oral contraceptive pill, freaks me out and I have begun to resent taking them. A lot.

Up until a few weeks ago I was taking the following: 60mg Citalopram, 20mg Olanzapine, 10mg Diazepam and 7.5mg Zopiclone – daily. The Citalopram is the anti depressant - an elective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI); Citalopram is used to treat depression and is also useful in treating people suffering from panic attacks. Olanzapine is the antipsychotic and is used to treat schitzophrenics; Olanzapine is effective in helping symptoms such as hearing voices, loss of energy, thought disturbances, difficulties communicating with others, worry, depression and overcoming feelings of wanting to be alone as well as other symptoms of schizophrenia. Diazepam is part of a group of medicines called benzodiazepines. Diazepam works by affecting activity in the part of the brain that controls emotion and also by relaxing muscles. Zopiclone belongs to a group of medicines called hypnotics. Zopiclone decreases the time taken to fall asleep and increases the length of time spent sleeping (www.patient.co.uk). Previously to this final combination - I was on Seroxat and Prozac.

With guarded consent, my psychiatrist agreed that I could start to wean myself off my medication. He would however like to move me onto a tricyclic anti depressant called Lofepramine as he feels I should be taking some form of medication. We have agreed that we will hold the Lofepramine as a back up - if all this taking things into my own hands goes tits up.

Two weeks ago I came off the antipsychotic, last week I halved my intake of my anti depressant, and this week I should be halving the dosage of Citalopram again. In a weeks time I should be free of antidepressants and antipsychotics. I still have my sleeping tablets daily because sleeping is now a huge problem for me - a surreal blow for someone who could previously have slept on the head of a pin; and good old Diazepam when things get a little bendy. The latter are the two bad boys that are hardest to come off from. I can understand why. Prescriptions of Zopiclone are only supposed to be administered for 28 days in any 6 months one GP has told me. I have had them most nights for the past year. I am dreading coming off them as without sleep I feel like I am dying. Without them I get a couple of hours sleep at best. With them I get about 5 hours – on a good night.

Bring it on I say. Oh, I changed my mind...

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