Cancellation of blog

untitledHi Folks,

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written and a lot has changed.

We have a wonderful little boy named Dominic Alexander who is almost  1 year old soon. I absolutely love being his mom. He is the best thing that ever happened to me. Even though some days can be nerve wrecking, as he is finding his feet, so my heart goes in my mouth, sometimes, as I am almost always scared he might fall. If you are a mother, you have probably been here at some point.

Dominic is a joy to watch growing. He is a very happy little camper who loves to laugh and play. He also keeps me on my feet as he is busy.

I know that I could probably sit here and write a lot but I am going to keep it short. I have decided to cancel my blog because some things should remain private. Not all problems should be discussed on the world wide web. I know that in my situation, I could probably help more people by writing about living life with my illness, but for the moment, I prefer to live a more private life. I might change my mind in the future, but for now, I would like to concentrate more on my art work which I am happy to say is going really well. Yay… I am finally over my art block!

Peace & ❤





Waiting on our little guy…

Hi Folks, I know it’s been a while…so I’m going to give you an update of what it’s been like so far. Pregnancy brain is real so please forgive me if my writing seems a little off par or hey, maybe that’s just me off meds 🙂 haha.

Okay, so what’s pregnancy been like for me. Well, it hasn’t been bad… The vomiting stopped at about 18-19 weeks after I took some good advice from some good people who’ve been through it before. Warning, the following is a bit grotesque… You see, I would drink lactulose syrup for plights that I’ve mentioned before that have been exacerbated in pregnancy i.e. constipation. I increased the dose from 5 ml to between 30 and 60 ml per day. The taste of this has been known to just make me have projectile vomiting episodes. I thought it was pretty funny when I drank it and would just vomit all over the kitchen floor right away though my husband didn’t think it was too funny. Anyways, what stopped this projectile vomiting is that I now mix it in my tea in the morning and juice at night so that I don’t taste the heavy syrup. It works like a charm.

Besides these plights, I have been feeling great except for a little tiredness. I guess that’s normal because your body is working overtime growing a little human. It’s been a few months since  I’ve been off the medication and I feel like I am getting back to my old self which is great. Though, I now feel like I’ve got more energy than when I was on medication, I have my limitations. For example, this weekend I did 3 loads of laundry and hung it up to dry and did other house hold chores on Saturday, I felt like I could keep going and get the baby clothes washed already on Sunday but that didn’t happen. By the time Sunday rolled around, I needed my rest and just slept extra and relaxed. Sometimes, this can be annoying for me, in my head, because I feel like I can accomplish more.

Let’s see what else is new since the last time I wrote on my blog… We went to the United States on a little road trip vacation. I got to attend my graduation ceremony in Orange Beach, Alabama and felt a real sense of accomplishment. The Key Note Speaker, Mr. John Quiñones gave such an inspirational speech about his background and where he started out as a Spanish speaking kid from a low income family and how he got to where he is today as a famous news anchor on a major English television network that it made you feel like any goal that you set your heart on is possible if you work at it.

The vacation also did me good because it made me realize that my fears are only fears and you can’t let what scares you keep you from doing things that you enjoy. For example, I was very nervous about driving in the United States, although I know that my husband is a responsible and good driver, I was scared we might get into an accident. Where I am from, we don’t have highways with all those cars. We have a one lane road and that’s it. When, I got to the US and we were actually driving on the highways, I saw that there was nothing to be scared of and I enjoyed our road trip.

Going on vacation and coming back home always gives you something to learn whenever you travel outside of your daily surroundings – it gives you a different perspective. So, I live in a small community with about 2,000 people so “everyone” knows if you are having a bad day etc. I enjoyed being away and just being another anonymous person in the crowd. What I am trying to say, I guess, is that after suffering with psychosis the last time and being off medication now, I have learned a few things about myself to make it easier living with my illness while also living in a small community.  I’ve learned to be a lot more relaxed now and not take things personally while before I got sick I think I always used to take things to heart which helped to contribute to me getting ill. Maybe, it’s the pregnancy hormones that’s got me so relaxed or it’s the fact that I changed jobs and my environment is more relaxed. It’s like before, I was worried about what all could go wrong with Baby Janssens and now I know that he will come out just the way he is meant to be so I accept life the way it comes because there is nothing you can do to control it.

I am really enjoying this period in my life right now. I am starting to get excited about Baby Janssens’ impending arrival and setting up his nursery. I am so lucky to have supportive in-laws to help us out. My mother-in-law travelled to our Island for a week just to help us paint Baby Janssens’ nursery and it looks fabulous. My hubby is very busy at the moment with the restaurant and all that comes along with that so he wasn’t able to do it. That part of our lives has also taken me sometime to get adjusted to the change with him working nights and almost all weekends while before we both had the same working schedule. I always have a hard time dealing with changes. For example, my husband demolished a 33 year old clothing closet that was in Baby Janssens’ nursery and we didn’t discuss getting rid of it before so when I came home it was just gone. I was a little annoyed at first but I am happy that it’s gone because it looks a lot better.

There was also a little discussion about what colour the ceiling in Baby Janssens’ nursery was going to be. I came home from work and the ceiling was sanded and then I really freaked out because my husband and my mother-in-law wanted to paint the ceiling white which I was totally against doing because it was a ceiling that was previously varnished and you can see the grain of the wood which I thought did not need to be changed. I won this discussion thankfully 🙂 so my mother-in-law re-varnished the ceiling.

It’s also my favourite time of year – Christmas time. After having been sick twice around this time of year in the past 3 years, I am looking forward to spending a nice Christmas in good health so I am getting a real Christmas tree because I’ve had an artificial one for the past two years and I miss the smell of a real Christmas tree. Though, these trees can be a pain in the arse when you have to sweep up the falling needles all the time. I also look forward to eating all that good Christmas food like ham and turkey although I don’t know who’s cooking it this year, lol. I have been missing our traditional family dinners from before my paternal grandfather passed away and a special lady’s cooking, especially now that I’m pregnant. Every year my grandfather used to take out the extended family meaning my father, his sisters and their families out to eat for Christmas and I enjoyed this very much.

Okay, I think that’s it for now, folks. I’ll update you guys soon and if it’s not before Christmas, I hope everyone will enjoy their holidays together with their families and loved ones.

Peace, Angelita







Yes, it’s true…

I am pregnant that is… I am sorry that I haven’t been around to write my blog lately but I guess I’ve been busy 😉 puking and feeling tired etc.. and all that fun stuff that comes along with it… So, you might be asking yourself, if I am still taking my medication now that I am pregnant? The answer is no, I am off my meds. Scary, right?… No, not so scary…let me explain, although for the record, I don’t think I owe anyone any explanations.

But after sharing my joyful news in the grocery store with someone yesterday, I got the question nearly immediately afterwards “so, I am off my medication, right?” and the strange pause after I told them, that “yes, indeed I am off my meds” made me feel like I had to explain that the doctor was going to take me off the meds in December anyway, so it’s just 6 months earlier. Had I been thinking on my feet I would’ve given a sarcastic answer like ” oh, and am I doing anything strange, now that I am off meds? ” but then they might’ve thought that I was being impolite and might think that that was my “bi-polar-ness” talking.  Oh yes, the sarcastic bitch is back…. but no, I am not having bipolar mood swings… my true personality is shining true and I’m cranky due to pregnancy hormones which is quite normal.

Why isn’t it scary that I am off meds? Pregnancy hormones tend to protect one from going off the deep end, that is psychosis. I have done my research because I knew that one day I wanted a child and together with my care team, it was discussed. I choose Abilify because out of all the medications available, this one seemed to be the better out of the lot with pregnancy outcomes, even though it is pregnancy category risk C which means risks are unknown or cannot be ruled out because there are insufficient studies done.Initially, I  asked to be placed on Latuda because that medication is pregnancy category risk B which means that there are no known risks however, I was told that there was insufficient evidence for this medication meaning that it had not been on the market long enough for my doctor to feel comfortable with putting me on it.

So with the doctor’s permission, I am off my medication. Obviously, I had to be at the lowest dose of medication before we even tried to get pregnant so that I could come off the medication easily. The worst risks of using anti-psychotics are in the 1st trimester which I am nearly done with thankfully because I am nearly 1/3 of the way there. There are also risks in the 3rd trimester,  because there have been cases where babies have withdrawal  effects from anti-psychotics after being born. Usually, doctors tend to stick with the first generation of anti-psychotics, like Haldol, when it comes to pregnancies because of the known outcomes while the newer anti-psychotics, known as atypical anti-psychotics are usually avoided, though there are some studies out there on there usage during pregnancy. Abilify is an atypical anti-psychotic but from my research, I would prefer to use this anti-psychotic if anything were to happen because of the outcomes so far.

What I am scared of? Well, for starters, I have the fears of any new mommy-to-be like, will our child be healthy, going into labour and giving birth and the sleepless nights to come. On top of that, I am scared of the Zika virus. Unfortunately, there have been two cases confirmed on our Island. Even though, we’ve already seen the heart beat and so far everything is good, I can’t wait until our next appointment to make sure everything is still going good.

What it’s like being off medication? Well, I’ll tell you this… I thought I was tired on medication but pregnancy tiredness trumps medication tiredness. Most days, I feel like a freight train has ran over me so I am not much help around the house but thankfully I have a wonderful husband who picks up the slack. I am told that this tiredness usually goes away during the 2nd trimester but comes back during the 3rd trimester. Other than my tiredness getting worse, I haven’t noticed much difference being off of medication. A family member did tell me that they thought I was speaking better off of the medication.

Before, I bore you with all this pregnancy and medication talk, I will finish on another note. I finally finished my Associate of Science in Business degree and my husband and I are hoping to attend the graduation ceremony in Orange Beach, Alabama at the end of October. My husband also bought a restaurant together with his buddy. I am very excited for him but at the same time I am scared because it is a big change in our lives and not a steady form of income. At least one of us still has a steady job …

I’ll try to keep you updated on how my pregnancy progresses and on my pregnancy crankiness ;-).

Peace, Angelita



Scrap that…

EMDR therapy blog post that is. Honestly, I have been finding it difficult to write about EMDR therapy so I am going to write about what’s happening in my life at the moment. I will get back to EMDR therapy at a later time. I wasn’t going to blog about anything work related but since one spends a good majority of their time at work, that is for me… 40 hours per week, 8AM until 5 PM, with a 1 hour lunch break in-between, I can’t avoid talking about it.

Who I was at work before I got sick was a lot different to who I am now and sometimes it’s really hard. Let me begin by explaining who I was and then I will explain what is happening now. I was a very motivated worker with career goals in mind, or thought I could at least work my way up the ladder. I still think that is possible for me but my motivation has lessened and this is part of my illness. I also think that I will have less opportunity, given my illness because of the stigma associated with mental illness, which is unfortunate because I believe that obstacles can be turned into opportunities.

I started out in local Government as a secretary to the Commissioner of Finance and did that for 4 years and then moved up, working as a Personnel Affairs assistant in the Human Resources department for Government. I was quickly given the responsibility of running the salary administration for the entire Government along with many other tasks after receiving training for this. I loved it because I was able to perform complex tasks and I love anything that gives me a challenge.

So, when I got sick the second time I was only on medication for 3 months, and it was easier to transition back to my old job which was salary administration with certain human resources responsibilities. Of course, first, I worked part-time, then eventually full time and then I was reintegrated through working at another job first.

This time around I still have not returned to my old job and it just hasn’t worked out the way I want it to, but I am still grateful that I do have a job because it could be a lot worse. This time I was sick from October 2014 until February 2015 when I started back to work part-time in the afternoon at the Government Archives. After having seen the occupational physician who approves whether or not you can start back to work, I started to work full-time on May 13th, 2015 in the Civil Registry Office but at a rate of 75% of my capacity. It has been a rough road because I could not get up on time so some days I came to work late at 10AM. This was due to the medication.

Now, even though, it is still hard to get up sometimes, I force myself to get up at 7AM and get to work on time because it’s important. Getting up on time has to do with motivation and I think my motivation has improved somewhat over time. Lacking motivation is a negative symptom of schizophrenia. My care team, that is my case worker and team of psychiatrists think I have no negative symptoms, however, I think differently; I feel that I am less motivated and I know how motivated I was before I got sick and what a hard worker I was. Today, I am half the worker I was but I can feel myself slowly recovering my motivation and that is good news.

You will see from my LinkedIn profile found here, AngelitaJanssens that my tasks at work have been reduced. This does not mean to say that I cannot do the tasks that I previously did before getting sick. I am sure that with training  I can reach the level I worked at before I got sick. It is just like starting my career over. It sucks to have to be able to start from scratch again but that’s just the reality of my situation now. Sometimes, I wonder if I am committing career suicide by putting myself out there on the world wide web but to those who stigmatize persons with mental illness, I say I am a shining example of what it’s like to be “sticking it to stigma” though it might be a slow process to recovery.

I think what is helping to recover my motivation is the fact that I take a nootropics supplement which is a natural supplement that enhances your cognitive abilities. The name of the product is Profrontal. It is Sarcosine combined with N-Acetyl Cysteine or NAC for short. In short  it is thought that NMDA receptor abnormalities contribute to cognitive and psychological deficits.”Greater understanding of NMDA function and dysfunction is raising the possibility that sarcosine and glycine, essential cofactor molecules for NMDA receptors, may improve the function of these receptors in the brains of schizophrenia patients”(Hawkes, n.d.,para 3).

I am just one class away from graduating with an Associate of Science in Business degree. This has been a long journey, while getting sick, not once, but twice on that journey, so if I may, I am tooting my own horn. I am proud of myself for how far I’ve come. Of course, the journey is not over but I’m more than halfway there and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Until next time. Peace.


Hawkes. E. (n.d.). Sarcosine Therapy – A New Complementary Direction for Schizophrenia Treatment? Retrieved from


Behind bars

That’s what it felt like when I was institutionalized in November and December of 2014. I felt like I had been imprisoned behind bars. My first assumption was that this is what it must feel like to be in jail. I spent just about 7 weeks at the Mental Health Foundation St.Maarten.  I was released on December 19th 2014. Though, my whole experience there was not completely negative.

First of all, I had to be taken to Sint Maarten from Saba on a helicopter. You can imagine, that while being delusional, I had fears of flying on a helicopter, though, I had already flown in a helicopter once before. This time it was not at all a fun experience, though in hind sight it was not a bad experience. All I could think of at that time , over and over in my head was, “will this helicopter go down because there is no way they can glide a helicopter if it has engine trouble” for the whole 20 minute helicopter ride.

The first day I was put in a room by myself. This room was akin to a solitary confinement cell, in my mind. It had a bed in it, a video camera mounted from the ceiling and a huge metal door with a small window on the metal door. After a while, being in this room by myself, the doctor came to check on me. I was allowed to sleep outside the “solitary confinement” room on the first night. I got up the next morning and I showered. I had a cold shower so then I thought I was in the army barracks or at least that’s how I felt at that time.

Later on, I was moved to a room that I shared with other female mental health patients. Every morning, we were woken up at 7 AM to check our blood pressure. At times, I felt so bad that I could hardly stand up. I would lay back down on the bed because my blood pressure was so low because of the heavy medication that I was on. After the nurses checked our blood pressure, I usually went back to sleep until after 10 AM. Some days I tried to get up to have breakfast because this was at a set time but this was very difficult for me because I was so drugged at the time.

Some days we would have an exercise class together and I would look forward to moments like this when I could be outside the confines of the Mental Health Foundation. There was a television and a computer room inside which also had books that you could read. Unfortunately, I did not make use of this room so often because I couldn’t concentrate through the time it took to watch a movie. I only used this room, mostly when I had visitors which thankfully I did have.

Structure and routine throughout the day are very important to mental health patients and this was established at the Mental Health Foundation. We would have lunch always at 12 PM and would join in prayer before we sat down to our lunchtime meal. Lunch was always a warm meal.

After 10 AM, when I woke up, I would try to make it to the crafts room which was filled with Arts & Crafts materials. This room was only open in the mornings which I thought was a pity because I was so drowsy in the mornings that I was almost incapable of doing anything. Though, when the medicine had not quite began to work, I felt like I was back in my childhood as a Scout making arts and crafts. I did do some small paintings but I didn’t have quite the patience to make the painting the way I wanted it to turn out in my mind though this seems to be a consistent problem of mine when I am painting.

In the afternoons, between 1PM and 3PM, we were put to rest. Sometimes, I would go online, on my phone, to check  Facebook. I missed home (the island of Saba) so much during this time. I missed my husband and my dog. From 3PM onwards, it was trying to find things to do, which usually meant I was playing dominoes or I was pacing up and down, experiencing a little akathisia, that is restlessness, outside the ward, but still in an enclosed area, behind bars, metal doors,  an alarm system and video cameras; At one point I became so frustrated that I actually pushed in the heavy metal door and set off the alarm system . For me, inside the institution was all about killing time until I could see my husband the next time, who came to visit me quite often,  under the circumstances, usually on the weekends.

While, I was institutionalized, I had EMDR therapy, which I will explain more about in a month as I am going to write a monthly blog from now on.










“The good, the bad and the ugly”

So back to Zyprexa (Olanzapine) – my friend in getting me stabilized but whilst still my worst enemy…this antipsychotic caused constipation. To combat this side effect, I got smart the second time I was put on Zyprexa,  I drank prune juice and ate lots of apples for its fiber content to help my digestive system along. Nowadays, I use 5 mg lactulose syrup, nightly, to help me stay regular because Abilify also tends to slow down the digestive tract. Yes, I just did discuss “shit!” But only in an effort to help those who may have similar problems to mine. So, stay healthy by eating your fruits.

Zyprexa, also had the tendency to knock me out meaning that I slept from around 9PM until 9AM the next morning and that was only on 5 mg. The only good thing I can say about Zyprexa, is that it did not seem to affect my cognitive functioning much as I was able to pass Astronomy on it, and that was a pretty difficult class. I am working on my Associate’s degree in Science of Business, online, with Columbia Southern University.

Haldol, another drug that is infamous in the treatment of psychotic disorders, depending on whose perspective you take, the doctors’ or the patient, is a drug that works great in treating and preventing psychosis, but for the patient, well at least me in this case, it made me feel like a zombie. Haldol is one of the older antipsychotics, so doctors prefer to use it because it is evidenced that it works. I wasn’t much aware of the side effects of this drug when I was put on it because I was still experiencing psychosis; During my third psychotic episode, I was experiencing delusions, a symptom of schizophrenia.

So while I was institutionalized, a nurse whispered in my ear that “I would get out of there (St.Maarten Mental Health Foundation) a lot faster if I took an injection form of the drugs”. Though, I hate injections, I decided to go with the advice and get a needle clapped in my buttocks with Clopixol (zuclopenthixol). This was while I was still on Zyprexa and Promethazine. Eventually, I came off Zyprexa in April of 2015 without gaining anymore weight because I exercised and ate healthy after learning from my previous experience on this medication. I came off Promethazine too, after having gotten sick in October of 2014. Promethazine is an antihistamine drug used as a counteractive drug to the extrapyramidal side effects of antipsychotics. As far as I knew, I didn’t have any allergies at the moment, I was only “allergic” to antipsychotics…so why was I on an antihistamine drug? It’s also used as a weak antipsychotic.

So you can imagine that I felt over drugged at that time.  I was on 200mg of Clopixol injections, every 4 weeks for 7 months and the remainder of the year 2015, I was switched to Fluanxol (flupentixol), which is purportedly less sedative than Clopixol, though I couldn’t tell much difference between the two. Clopixol, just like Fluanxol, is a typical antipsychotic from the thioxanthene class, therefore from the older generation of antipsychotic medications which blocks dopamine – the happy chemical in your brains which, when you’ve got too much of it,  it causes psychosis :-(.

I am now on Abilify, since August 2015 and will have to be on it for another year, minimally, if I don’t relapse, according to my psychiatrist. So it will be another year of fighting the fatigue that comes along with this medication, although, this medication is the better of the lot. It is an antipsychotic from the atypical class of antipsychotics, meaning the second generation of antipsychotics. And, the fun thing  about this medication is that, according to Steve Balt (n.d. ),

it doesn’t block dopamine (specifically, dopamine D2) or serotonin (specifically, 5-HT1A) receptors.  Rather, it’s a partial agonist at those receptors.  It can activate those receptors, but not to the full biological effect.  In lay terms, then, it can both enhance dopamine and serotonin signaling where those transmitters are deficient, and inhibit signaling where they’re in excess. (para 4)

Steve Balt is a Medical Doctor in the field of psychiatry, who writes a blog, but has also suffered and is in recovery from severe mental illness. So you see, there are those of us that can function, and function on a  high level in main stream society. Therefore, I say, there are those “sticking it to stigma” on a daily basis, so there is hope.


Balt, S. (n.d.). How Abilify Works and Why It Matters. Retrieved from


“Taste the rainbow”

of antipsychotics that is…

From the very beginning that I got introduced to antipsychotics, I had a strong dislike for them. Though, they are what keeps psychosis from rearing its ugly head. Risperdal was the first antipsychotic I was on. This produced muscle rigidity in me. So essentially muscle rigidity is when all your muscles become stiff and you are walking like a zombie, that is, in slow motion. It became so difficult for me when the Risperdal reached its therapeutic dose level, because it takes some time for these drugs to reach a certain level in your system, that I could not even wash my own hair because I had difficulty raising my arms. My body felt heavy to me. I had to rely on someone else to get my  hair washed and combed. This was like a month after my first psychotic episode happened.

I thought I could beat the side effects of the medication by drinking Lucozade, an energy drink made of glucose and caffeine but once the medication levelled out in my system, there was no way to fight its effects. Caffeine just doesn’t cut the side effects. Little did I know, at that time, that there was an antidote to the muscle rigidity side effect of the medication – an anti-Parkinson drug called Akineton. I was only put on Akineton when I came to Sint Maarten in October of 2004, after having seen a doctor at the Turning Point foundation, a drug rehabilitation center on Sint Maarten.

At that time, I was also on a mood stabilizer called Depakote so that I wouldn’t suffer from the highs and lows of bipolar disorder more commonly known as manic depression.  This was because the attending psychiatrist in Trinidad had thought it was a manic episode that I had experienced. Really, what’s the difference between a manic and a psychotic episode? Maybe, that’s a question I should ask in my next “shrink” session.

So, that was my first experience with antipsychotics. Muscle rigidity wasn’t the only side effect that I had to deal with while on Risperdal. I had to deal with weight gain and the fact that I looked like I had eaten a pumpkin because I had that tell-tale sign, that you’re on an anti-psychotic – the swollen look. That meant I had to deal with questions. Questions, I wasn’t ready to answer. The first question I encountered was at the airport in Sint Maarten upon my arrival from Trinidad:” what the hell  happened to you?” “Well, I had a nervous breakdown.” I answered. That’s the best I could explain it at that time. I was embarrassed that my own brain had a defect and would take me so far from reality into a world of fantasy.

From Risperdal, Seroquel, Haldol, Zyprexa, Clopixol, Fluanxol to Abilify, not forgetting the antihistamine Promethazine and the benzodiazepines like Valium and Klonopin and the anti-depressants like Paxil, Effexor and, the ever popular Prozac – these are the drugs I’ve tried and each one has its own set of side effects. The benzodiazepines are the holy grail of psychiatric drugs. If you aren’t sleeping well and suffering from anxiety, these drugs will do the trick. So, Klonopin was my best friend in my last psychotic episode. Did they have to reduce it? If only my insomnia could’ve been solved by Klonopin alone. That would’ve been ideal.

The second time I had a brief psychotic break was on November 21st 2013. That time I got to try Seroquel which knocked me out for a few days or maybe that was the added Valium. All I know, is that I was put on Zyprexa for a period of 3 months, after that initial dose of Seroquel… first 15 mg, then 10 mg, then 5 mg, each for a month. I didn’t think about what or when I was eating on Zyprexa so I ate any time that I felt hungry which was often. I didn’t eat fruits or healthy snacks… I ate sugary snacks because that’s what my body craved on Zyprexa. I remember it was around Christmas time and my neighbor brought over a pumpkin cake , well, I ate nearly the whole cake by myself. So you can imagine, that I gained weight. I went from a size 6 to a size 8 in less then 3 months. So, Zyprexa wasn’t for me either. I hated it! Because it messed with my body image. The sooner I could get off of it, the better. I made a full recovery in regards to cognitive functioning and after a brief work reintegration period, I returned to my normal work duties on February 24th 2014 until my nightmare started in October of 2014. I relapsed.

The picture is a selfie I took with the “swollen look” when I was institutionalized in November of 2014.

To be continued…

Peace. Angelita