“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.

 References

Balt, S. (n.d.). How Abilify Works and Why It Matters. Retrieved from http://thoughtbroadcast.com/2011/09/13/how-abilify-works-and-why-it-matters/

 

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Coming out of the crazy closet…

I experienced my first psychotic episode in 2004 when I was just twenty-one. I had nine years free of psychosis without medication until my second psychotic episode happened in 2013 when I was thirty years old and my third psychotic episode happened when I was thirty-one in 2014. My original diagnosis when I experienced my first psychotic episode was bipolar disorder. After my second psychotic episode, and subsequent relapse thereafter or third psychotic episode, I was officially diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.

Many people don’t know what schizoaffective disorder is and even I am still confused but the best explanation of it that I can give is that it is schizophrenia with bipolar disorder. I don’t just have one or the other, I’ve got both. Scary diagnosis right? Well psychosis is pretty scary… but on a positive note persons diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder tend to do better than persons with schizophrenia or at least that’s what I’ve read.

This blog is about my personal story living with schizoaffective disorder. I hope to inspire others who live with anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses and be an advocate against the stigmatization of mental illnesses in general.

The picture above shows my nightly pill regimen. I take fish oil, calcium, magnesium, zinc, 5mg Abilify (an antipsychotic), Vitamin D3, Vitamin B, a multivitamin, Sarcosine and N Acetyl – Cysteine.