Hello and happy very late evening! Or at least for me it’s extremely late…..
I want to wholeheartedly thank those who have supported me during this time and over the past bunch of years. I feel blessed. Wanna know why, specifically?
It may seem trivial to you, but to me, this is a big deal….
I used to have to write copious notes before I spoke in any official capacity. Even when I saw my psychiatrist years ago, I feared losing track of my thoughts or of forgetting what was most essential in our meeting. I usually had a written agenda, a list of side effects and various “symptoms.” I tried my best to report in an organized way.
At some point during 2010, I had to get off the drug Thorazine due to Tardive Dyskinesia. I was able to get off this drug without too much trouble. I was happy that Dr. Pearson was cautious and well aware that TD can worsen as the drug is reduced. These drugs are scary! Anyway, once off, I was delighted with a couple of things:
First of all, the sunburning from Thorazine had become a serious problem in my 50’s. I sunburned so easily that I had purchased special sun clothing, including the hat you see me wearing in the photo now displayed here on my blog in the sidebar. I even had to cover my hands. I couldn’t wear sandals and most clothing didn’t protect me adequately. The sun’s rays would penetrate a t-shirt, my socks, everything. So this clothing helped the parts of me that it protected. I found sunscreen too annoying to apply and reapply all day long. Fighting sunburn was a daily battle, in summer or winter or even cloudy days.
Once off Thorazine, I no longer had this difficulty. I was free to go outside without feeling like I was risking turning into a lobster or perhaps Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. This new freedom was a delight to me.
The other rather noticeable difference was in my speech. I was thrilled that the slur in my speech was suddenly gone. For years, I had been embarrassed that I sounded doped up over the phone and in person. I have sound files of myself speaking and it’s appalling to me now. I recall in retrospect so many times the slur was a dead giveaway that I was on drugs. I recall people assuming I was drunk or stoned. Now, with Thorazine off that cocktail list, my speech was becoming clearer. This was important to me because now that I had finished grad school, I was ambitious about giving readings of my written works. I knew that my voice was now clearer and that I could speak faster without verbally tripping over myself.
Dr. Pearson began to make the statement that my more rapid speech was “mania.” This of course wasn’t true. The problem was that she’d never heard me in my own voice before.
As it turned out, I spent a couple of years being quite angry. I know my speech reflected how I felt inside. I was having the Black Box Warning effect from the antidepressant I’d been given. I recall some ten days following the start of this drug I felt like I had a machine gun firing inside me. I did indeed report this to my psychiatrist, who said it was “nothing to worry about.”
Of course, I had a rather good reason to be concerned. I put off how I felt and tried to ignore it, as my shrink had instructed me. It was nothing, right? It’ll go away in a few days……….
Wrong-o. It sure didn’t. I was full of constant fury. I sometimes spoke nonstop. The more people stayed away (not that I blame them) the worse my nonstop speech became, because I never had anyone to talk to. This was an awful cycle that almost ended in my own self-destruction. I thought the way I felt would never end.
It’s been now roughly three years since the start of that drug. I’m happy to say that yes, it did end, and I’m glad I rode it out. The Black Box Warning effect (which I’ll be writing about in my current book) continued and in fact worsened when I was withdrawn from the drug way too fast. Seriously, no one wanted to be around me! I’d complain bitterly of loneliness, in response to the way folks avoided me.
It could have gotten so much worse. What bugs me is that at the time, I was meeting new people who assumed that the Black Box Warning me was the true me. Meanwhile, I’d try to say, “I’m usually not like this,” but hardly anyone believed me. I got so frustrated!
I guess I’d made a bad name for myself. A bad reputation. I couldn’t erase that history. The abuse in mid-2013 further sealed my inevitable potential demise. The scene became more and more oppressive as time went on. I needed to relocate or make a drastic change in my life. As you know, I did just that.
I’m amazed at my progress. I’m away from all that nonsense I had to deal with, and the effect of that drug has gradually worn off. At this point, I feel I am accelerating with my progress, developing increased confidence and strength. I am even feeling the effects of trauma lessen.
Yes, you can get better.
Every time I make a real effort at something constructive, I move forward. Tonight, I was on the Tenney show again. I didn’t have any script I was reading from, nor even notes. I was rather amazed that I was able to be far more organized than I was before, say, a couple of months ago when I was on the same show.
I don’t believe I rambled nor was I overly charged up. I was able to speak with conviction and passion, yet I felt I wasn’t repetitive or obsessive.
Dr. Pearson often complained of my repetitiveness. She said I spoke of nothing but the abuse. Um, maybe she should have listened, eh? Wasn’t she a mandatory reporter? Was she only in the business of making me look like a criminal for speaking out? I think she herself was rather obsessed with getting me forcibly drugged and silenced. I think instead, it was her responsibility to heed what I was saying and request an investigation, instead of assuming I was delusional. I recall her exact words, “Patient rights are trivial.”
I knew then, and of course now, that nothing could be farther from the truth. Patients so often believe they don’t deserve respect. They are the lowest of the low. Staff always know better, supposedly, and patients are assumed to be ignorant children.
I am proud of myself. I do not receive any Mental Health Disservices, nor do I take their drugs. I’m not against drugs alone but I am certainly not in favor of a person’s life being in the hands of a prescriber.
Is recovery possible? You folks know I shy away from that word. I feel what’s to recover from are those 30+ years that my freedoms were not only discouraged, but in the end, completely prohibited. I needed to learn that there’s a whole other world out there. I’m beginning to get that. Maybe you can call it Growing Up. Or Growing Away from the negative concepts driven into me by Mental Health Disservices. Perhaps this realization occurs when a person’s life is fully in her own hands. I am certainly on my way.