Birds Of A Feather Flock Together

Many of my friends have mental illness, but not all mental illness is created equal!

And, how/why do I have so many friends?

Before I became full-blown ill, I maintained some connections with people, that stood by me.

And over time, is how I learned that some of these friends have some form of mental illness, and can go for periods of time when the extent of their suffering is hidden.

And, some friends’ suffering never gets mentioned. Ever.

So, behind all of this is the “spectrum” of mental illness, some of which debilitates.

At the risk of saying Dale isn’t all that bad, I will defer you to what Dale deals with.

Dale thinks he has bipolar disorder, and I am his only friend.

(I know, never self-diagnose.)

Of course, Dale doesn’t take meds, but he does work at a job, and is responsible with his money. He also tends to quit his jobs every time the throes of his “bipolar disorder” are in full-effect.

Mark deals with whatever troubles he has, and has been able to maintain employment throughout. Mark has never been diagnosed with anything to my knowledge either.

He does have a close relative with schizophrenia though, and he and I’s friendship is often strained because of one thing or another. And since I am not a doctor, I can’t tell you why that is.

Not all of my friends have mental illness, and some of them are only seasonally depressed.

The idea of my companions in life being depressed gets discussed privately (among a few of us), but again, there are those who don’t ever discuss having troubles.

As I am an open person (at times, too open), I do talk about what I experience mental health-wise.

But, the reason for this post is mainly my friend, Dale.

As I mentioned, I am his only friend and he is not being treated for his “bipolar disorder.”

And, it took me the better part of 25 years to see that he and I are a lot alike!

What I, being fairly educated in mental health, failed to properly see, are some of our similarities, revealed in different ways.

So, Dale confided in me and said, “I have manic depression.”

But, was it the first time he said this?

I can be pretty self-involved, and quite frankly, hard on some of my friends.

And, that is a tough pill for me to swallow, as I admit that here with you.

So, Dale and I were just chatting and having fun, when he shared this information with me.

Does it matter, though, when I treat Dale like I want to be treated?

I don’t think so ultimately.

And, does having mental illness mean that we are all the same fundamentally?

Not really. As I’ve said here today, mental health is a “spectrum,” and this spectrum varies widely.

Dale maintains a job with only one friend and has virtually no socialization.

Thus, what I want to do more than anything is honor Dale’s character. Because, to me, that counts more than how someone’s brain is working (or not working).

The two of us are good friends because we have things in common (aside from having mental health troubles), and I treasure those things and Dale.

Do you have in-person friends who struggle with their mental health? What are your thoughts about mental health and these friends?

This Is Treatment Resistant Schizoaffective Disorder II

It’s quite likely that the medications I am taking for my psychosis are providing me with some protection, but not a great amount.

Right now, I am anxious and I want to die, but I know that you only get one life.

Thus, taking it away, even though I am struggling immensely, seems like a bad idea.

What needs to happen is that I need to get on a good medication regimen.

One of my problems is that I already weigh 400 lbs., so any additional medication changes need to be carefully thought out.

I have been on my current antipsychotic medication for around 15 years, give or take.

So, I guess it’s just time to find something new.

None of this is easy. My brain worsening is what is happening, and I don’t take that very lightly.

I am just frantic.

What To Do When You’re Treatment Resistant To Psychiatric Medications

In my experience, you take the medications anyway.

I am still very symptomatic, and life is quite a challenge for me.

I won’t get into a lot of detail regarding my symptoms, but I can tell you that many of my symptoms are classic schizophrenia symptoms.

There isn’t much left to the imagination where my mental health is concerned.

I only wish, that after trying a half dozen medications, I had greater relief.

And, while it’s true that I haven’t gone to a second line of defense medication (i.e. clozapine), I have been doing all I can at present, to make things manageable as they are.

What are some of your experiences with trying numerous psychiatric medications?

The Prospect Of Taking Clozapine

Earlier today, I wrote about possibly having treatment resistant schizoaffective disorder.

I already have schizoaffective disorder, but things seem to have taken a turn for the worse.

What’s getting at me a lot right now is a belief that I’ve held that I am doing “so well,” in spite of being severely mentally ill.

I feel my transparency is causing me mental anguish, in that I am educated, well-spoken, and a fucking delight most days!

And, this causes me problems believe it or not! 🙂

I’d likely do better to get out of my head more.

The only problem with that is that I don’t have enough close family history to try clozapine, which those with a psych background will understand.

With clozapine, you need to not die basically, which of course, is a good thing.

You’re monitored a LOT when you take clozapine!

And, since I don’t know my close family history well enough to say that my father who died suddenly (when he was fairly young), didn’t have a cardiac arrest while passing, I am scared.

I guess the next time my doctor and I meet up, we will weigh the pros and cons of being on the medication.

I really don’t want to die at 47.

Abilify has given me just enough get up and go to not feel totally stuck!

And now, that could all be changing, along with the potentiality of dropping dead.

I hope your life is going better. :/

This is not drama. This is real life and real pain.

And, while I’ll get through this stage of my life eventually… things are not the greatest right now.

Tell me something that’s going well for you if you will.

I Don’t Mind Being Wrong

In fact, I sometimes welcome it!

For me, it’s always been about the journey… about the search for truth!

This blog has done (and continues to do) wonders for me!

Early this morning, I got a call from my psychiatrist who I had recently seen.

He thinks right now, that I quite likely have treatment resistant schizoaffective disorder.

And, I don’t think he’s far off with that assertion.

As I’ve stated many times before, I enjoy working on myself!

And for today, I’ll leave things right there.

I hope everyone is well, and is getting through May alright!

“Overcoming” Needs To Be Discussed More Frequently

There’s a lot of people who don’t feel what I feel day in and day out. Maybe 99.5% do not, according to the research.

And, it’s not like there’s a scale for schizophrenia!

Schizophrenia is an illness that you clearly have or you clearly don’t.

You either are (or have been symptomatic) or you’re not. You’ve had a psychotic episode or two or three etc., or you have not!

I guess I’m sharing this because I have come to meet people over the years who don’t deal with severe mental illness in the way that I do.

Oh well! Life definitely sucks more than I want it to!

Still, I choose to dwell on how much I’ve overcome along the way! That’s the only thing that gives me peace and/or satisfaction anymore.

I can’t do it all the time, but remembering my illness-related accomplishments does seem to help!

How about you? What kinds of things have you overcome while being ill?

The Medication Adjustment

What I strongly dislike about my situation:

I didn’t do anything to create it, I have to live with it, and it cannot be fixed!

Now, I am sure we all have things to bitch about… but, a mind that never heals? How does one remedy that?

It’s not the same as having a condition that gets better with time.

And, I am making progress. The so-called “getting better,” for me, takes a lot of self-effort. But, things are not anywhere near where I’d like them to be!

I know I just need to practice better patience.

Also, we all work pretty hard, don’t we?

I am going through a medication adjustment right now, and I suppose that makes my bitching a lot more pronounced!

What being on the proper dose of medication does for me:

It keeps me progressing (even if I am taking baby steps) and keeps me out of the hospital!

What I do best:

Contain the “crazy.”

An Update On My Mental Health

I am currently dealing with my schizoaffective disorder by taking 33% less of my antipsychotic.

My doctor and I are working together on this medication reduction, and I do feel a hint of more energy – 33% more – which means that I can do 1-2 more things a day on a ‘good’ day.

It’s still pretty pathetic… not being able to have good personal hygiene, as well as, do my chores!

It also remains difficult to find clarity, but I have found a bit more.

I think I was over medicated prior to this change!

And, all that I can do is put that behind me now, knowing that I am no longer over medicated.

So, as always, I’m taking my life a day at a time!

As well, I am experiencing psychosis in a slightly increased fashion, which is to be expected.

My job now is to learn optimal ways of coping!

Have you had any recent changes to your treatment plan, and how are you dealing with them?

I Still Want To Live

I would like to feel vibrant again!

I would like to know that I am living my life!

I don’t get anything resembling a feeling that I am vibrant, though, nor that I am living my life!

I really don’t want to sound like I am complaining. But, maybe I am…

I’ve come a long ways!

I just want to keep going and see things differently!

And, maybe I am wrong. Maybe I will be able to feel vibrant again, as well as, live my life!

What are your thoughts on the subject? Do you think that you will ever be able to be vibrant and live your life (again or for the first time)?

How Well Does Taking Medication Work For Those Dealing With Mental Illness?

Is medication something that you personally take and can vouch for?

Is medication the be all, end all solution for people who deal with mental illness?

I personally have struggled immensely to get to where I can take the meds and stay out of the hospital.

But, that about it and that comes with a side effect…

I am basically overmedicated!

What can I do? What can be done?

Well, if I could tolerate the symptoms without the high dosages of medication, I’d be doing better…

In a real world sense, much better!

But, right now, I need my high dosages… and, that’s a tough pill to swallow (pun intended).

What are your medication-related experiences?

Feel free to share as much or as little about this subject matter, as you’d like.