Reality checks

Well it has been almost a week since my dosage of Latuda (which I posted again down below) was cut down to 40 mg and I feel fine.  Perhaps I am a little more antisocial or maybe I am just choosy with who I hang out with.  My rules are: no drama, no drama, no drama.  If there is drama I avoid people at all costs.

Knowing that some of the delusions may come back cause me to constantly doing reality checks.  That is not normal but I really am the best one to assess my condition.  I have a rare form of Schizophrena in that I diagnosed myself and am able to recognize when things aren’t quite right.  My psychiatrist agrees with this so I am not just being delusional.

This is how my reality checks go:

As I perceive the world around me I think, am I putting meaning to things outside of me.  One example is that when I was actively delusional, I thought the gas prices had to do with how well I was doing.  If they were high, I thought it meant that I was needing help.  If they were low I thought I was doing better.  The weird thing one day was that when I was hospitalized gas prices were at their all time high (at least back then) and then the day I got out of the hospital they had dropped back down below their previous level.  Things like this don’t help me when they happen.  I even had my psychiatrist thinking.  But now I see the impossibility of it, now that I am not delusional.  So as I look at the world I think am I beginning to feel like things are directly affecting that don’t have anything to do with me, like an accident or something like the war.

That is one way I decide.  Another way is by my social interactions.  Are they awkward and I am struggling to find the right words to say?  Am I on topic or just talking in a way that doesn’t make much sense?  I also gage it by how I feel about reaching out to others and to make sure I am not delusional currently I am keeping up my social engagements with immediate family but I must be honest I don’t really feel much like seeing people outside my immediate family right now so I have to watch this one.

Another way I do a reality check is by deciding if my thoughts are not my own.  Do I feel like something or someone else is providing my thoughts for me, sending me messages or inserting thoughts?  Right now I feel like all my thoughts are my own, but this is one area that can really creep up on me so I will be watchful.

With all that being written, I do not believe I am delusional right now….

I’ll keep this blog up to date as things progress.

Pax

Victoria

An interesting experience in the hospital…

I remember my time in the hospital like it was yesterday. It was 6 years ago this January.  

My delusions included my believing I had special healing powers.  Because of this, the hospital staff encouraged me to stay in my room during group times.  Usually they want the patients to participate fully, but I believed I was an instrument of God and could help others so they allowed me to be antisocial.  I would pray and read in my room and basically wait for the medicine to work.

But I had to eat!  Once when I was in the cafeteria with another patient I will call him Phil, he was in excruciating pain in his back.  I knew I had to help so I asked him if I could lay hands on him.  He readily agreed.  He was wearing a thick leather jacket.  I laid my hands on him over the jacket and the warmth from my hands was so warm while I prayed that he expressed feeling the heat through the leather jacket.  He was healed and proceeded to not only worhip me but to tell all the other patients and staff.  Needless to say I got in major trouble from the staff and was asked not touch other patients.  They didn’t know what to do with me!

Yesterday, I had a revelation.  I do not believe that I had special powers but through the power of intent I was able to heal this young man.  If we truly believe in something it may come to be through the power of intention. 

I still remember all of this and still wonder at many things about my disorder.  I no longer lay hands on people and do not believe I have healing powers anymore.  But perhaps it is because I don’t believe that I have lost this gift.  

Comments are welcome!

Pax

Victoria

Stopping Latuda

I saw my psychiatrist today and he is allowing me to try to stop the Latuda and see if I really need to be on 2 antipsychotics or not.

After my relapse he put me on 80 mg to stop some delusional thinking that had resurfaced after my traumatic experience at work.  It did the trick but I am alway wanting to be on the least medicine possible so I think I need to try it without it.  I never do anything with my medicine without my psychiatrist, though.  I want him to guide everything although it was my suggestion.  He agreed to try because I am doing so well right now.

It is a very expensive medication and my with my insurance it is still around a hundred dollars.  I figure I better be sure I really need it at that steep price.

There are no side effects I have noticed on this medication.  It handled the delusions but I still need to be on Risperdal to counter some of the negative symptoms of Schizophrenia.

Anway, time will tell.  He has cut me down to 40mg for a month and after that I can stop.

Pax,

Victoria

Sobriety

When I was newly diagnosed with Schizophrenia, getting used to the medicine was really hard.  It left me emotionless and unable to feel anything.  After a year on the medicaiton I started drinking.  Drinking helped me to laugh and cry and feel again.  But I am an addict so of course it didn’t take long before I started to drink in the mornings and all day, hiding my liquor and planning my next drink from early in the mornings.  I became an alcoholic at some point.  But I knew where there was help.  I started going to AA meetings and found sobriety.  Recovery was another thing though.  I am now in recovery and with the exception of one slip I have been sober for 4 years.  Tomorrow is my AA birthday since my slip and I am appreciating my sobriety to its fullness.  I have found support with people who are positive for the most part, people who want to improve themselves and people who share their experience, strength and hope with me at the group level and individually.  It has made all the difference for my life now and even though the medication still leaves me emotionless compared to before my diagnosis of Schizophrenia, it is better now having support.  If drugs and alcohol are a struggle for you I suggest you try the twelve step rooms.  People aren’t perfect but for those who can be totally honest, recovery is not only possible but unbelievably rewarding.

Pax

Victoria

I still struggle

From the outside I look good.  I have a full time job, manage a household and keep myself fit, pretty much.  But every day is still a struggle.  Sometimes it is just getting up in the morning.  Getting out of bed is rough.  I am not sure if it is the medication I take from the night before or if I am just lazy but it is hard.

Then I finally get myself going but after breakfast I have to sit at my computer for a while and chill.  I wait until the last possible minute to get ready for work but I am almost always on time.  Once at work I take an anti-anxiety pill in case I run into difficulties.  Just being at work is stressful a little bit with all the demands of the day.

I drink coffee throughout the day which helps me to stay sharp, but I often miss important things, things that before I had Schizophrenia I don’t think I would have missed.  I have a very sophisticated job (that is what my psychiatrist says anyway) so there are important things I have to do each day.  For the most part I am doing very well.  For a while I really struggled when I was off on disability.  But now it is better.

I think a lot of why I am doing so well at work and life is because I constantly challenge my brain.  I don’t like puzzles but I read a lot, don’t watch much tv, exercise at class (just following the directions can really make my brain work), and I engage in as many conversations as I can with people , especially about my work.  I can see how just by watching tv all day and not engaging my brain I could easily be doing much worse.  But I am a perfectionist so I want to maximize my brain potential.

This is one reason why I put myself into the hospital.  The longer one is psychotic without medication the more the brain deteriorates.  I read this is several places and from my own experience I really believe it is true.  I take my medication every day and have accepted that I will be on it the rest of my life.

But I still struggle especially in social situations.  Again, though, I am getting better.  There was one group at my old work which I just sat there and never participated.  Now at my new work where I feel very supported, I do participate and feel like my contributions are an addition to the discussion.  Again, engaging the brain like this is very helpful.  I do better one-on-oneone I must admit.  The whole group thing scares me.  First you have to follow the discussion, then you have to think of something to say, then you have to find the right time to say it.  It can be very daunting!

These are some of my struggles.  For the most part like I said I think I pass as normal, but the Schizophrenia diagnosis is always right there making me unsure of myself.

Pax

Victoria

It’s funny now but not then…

So there I was at the store for a simple shopping expedition.  All of  a sudden I was at the spice aisle and I got the message from God.  To test my obedience he wanted me to purchase one of each spice packet.  There were over 50.  I fought it but it came stronger and stronger.  If I did not obey, I would melt to the ground in embarassment.  I hesitantly began to take one of each off the shelf.  I was fine until I stopped putting them in my basket, then I would begin to melt.  I had to buy one of each until the bottom row even though some of them were doubles.  I went to pay and embarassed by my purchase I muttered something like, “I am going to try some new recipes”.  The checker did not question my purchase.  It cost me over $200!

I told my friend who I believe suffered from shared psychotic disorder.  We laughed about the craziness of it.  Other things had happened continually but this was the craziest request from God.  I gave her half of them and kept the rest using them over the next year.

The point is that it was not God asking me to do this crazy thing.  It was the Schizophrenia and there is no denying it.  Things like this don’t happen anymore.  With medication I am able to go to the store and have a normal shopping experience.

When I hear about people who have Schizophrenia in the media who kill people I think I am very lucky that my craziest moments were about buying spice packets.  But I feel for them because when it hits there is no control over what I did when I was psychotic.  I definitely think people who get in trouble with the law should have some leniancy on their actions while delsuional.

Pax

Victoria

To be or not to be delusional

When I was psychotic I received many messages from heaven I believed.  I even had other people believe my messages, 2 people in particular.  When I entered the psychiatric ward it rocked their world.  Once I started on the medication the messages ceased entirely for the most part.

Then 2 years or so later something happened I would like to share.

It is a long story so bear with me.

I had a dear friend who let me go because I became Catholic.  She was an evangelical Christian and just couldn’t get past the fact that I was now Catholic.  I remember she called me one day at 6 in the morning because she had a dream that I had died in a terrible accident and had gone to hell and left behind my kids and husband.

We had another friend who she maintained the friendship although at one time the three of us had been best of friends.  This friend died in a terrible car accident about a year after my friend had the dream that I had died.  I went to the funeral but did not speak to my friend there who had the dream although I did call her to extend my symptathy.  The call was not well received.  This friend who died left behind a husband and children.

Fast forward 3 years and I received a call from the friend who had let me go.  She was sorry for letting me go and wanted to see me.  I had already forgiven her for I understood her position so I readily agreed.  Then I checked my calendar and realized she had called me on the anniversary of our friend’s death.  I asked her if she knew this.  She did not.

We met and picked up like no time had passed.  The next thing that happened was we were in my backyard with the kids and I was walking over to the side of the house to do something and I heard a message from God to tell her that God wanted her to become Catholic.  This was the first time since I had been on medicine that I heard from heaven.  It was very clear what God was asking but I did not want to do it because I knew it would not be well received.

As I approached my friend, she asked me point blank what message God had for her.  I said I didn’t care to say.  She insisted upon it.  So I did.  A few days later she called and told me that she felt it best not to be friends again.  I hold no anger toward her, but what I believe is that God does not want us to be friends- that It will interfere with what God wants me to do.  Isn’t that bizzare?

I had not heard from God again until 2 years later.  Once again God gave me a message for somebody else that did not go over well and once again a part of my life closed.  So I do feel that when God wants something he will intervene according to his purposes.

I feel better when I do not recieve these sorts of messages, but when they come I cannot deny them.  I share all of these thoughts with my psychiatrist and he never ups my dosage but believes that when other people are hearing some sort of message too that it may be real and it only happens every few years.

Do any of you ever wonder if you are delusional at times or not?

Pax

Victoria