*DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, therapist, or health professional of any kind. I’m sharing things that I have been taught that have helped me (or not). This is my experience.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dropping Med Weight and Psychotic Symptoms

I know I haven't written in a little while.  I've been taking some time to start a new workout routine with yoga and walking on the treadmill.  For the most part I feel great after workouts and looking at some of my old pictures keeps me motivated.  I bought a wireless mp3 player headset that I listen to which helps keep me entertained while walking in place.  Today I bought hand weights to help tone my arms more while I walk.

I am using an app on my phone to count calories.  I can scan the barcode of things and it figures out the calories for me.  If I stick to the plan I should be back to a healthy weight by next year.  I bought a lot of fruits and vegetables and some low calorie dinners to help me stick with it.  I can definitely say it is a challenge because I love food.  For some time now I have been telling myself that I don't want to deprive myself, but in reality I can eat whatever I want as long as I stick to my calorie budget.

I've been doing a lot of online research about what is best for your body when it comes to exercise and diet.  I try to shop for good carbs and low fat and low calorie foods.  I started taking a multivitamin.  After my knees started giving me some trouble I looked into how much you actually should exercise.  The video I've been following in my yoga routine is a combination of power yoga and flow yoga so it incorporates muscle toning as a big part of the practice.  What I've read suggests that you should do cardio most days a week and that you can do yoga everyday, but you need to give your muscles a break when doing muscle toning.  It says you should do these toning exercises 3 to 4 times a week to be sure you don't hurt yourself and that your body doesn't break down muscle instead of fat.  I've decided to continue with yoga everyday and cardio most days, but to use less intense yoga videos every other day.  I'm also looking into ways to get more cardio in, like dance workouts.

Of course, if you haven't read my previous posts you probably don't know the history about my weight.  The heaviest I had ever gotten before taking antipsychotics was 120 lbs.  That is healthy for my height at 5'1".  I gained some weight switching from antipsychotic to antipsychotic, but when they put me on Seroquel things got out of control, especially when they really upped the dose.  Part of it was my fault, knowing that Seroquel can cause weight gain and refusing to limit what I ate.  I just didn't want to deprive myself.  I thought that with so many things I can't do because of my illness I wouldn't dare take something I really enjoyed away from myself.  Now I'm on a medication that is supposed to not cause weight gain and I was told I would go back to my original weight.  After making no changes and expecting the weight to fall off, and of course getting no result, I realized it was time for a change.  REMINDER:  All medications cause different side effects in different people because all of our bodies are different.  Never stop taking your medication without talking to your doctor.

I saw my new therapist for the first time the other day.  I wasn't sure we would be compatible because she met me at a church today.  That's where she'll be seeing me from now on.  We discussed my being atheist and she said it would not be a problem.  She didn't bring religion into any of our discussion, which was mostly me talking about my past and how I got here.  She seemed to appreciate my insight and told me she had never met anyone like me.  She said she had had many patients with chronic mental illness over her 30 year long career.  I think things will go fine, even if she is from Lutheran Family Services.  I go back to see her on Tuesday.

I have been having some issues with my mental health recently.  My psychotic symptoms seem to be a bigger issue than my mood symptoms.  Mood-wise things seemed to be going well.  I definitely have more energy and feel more upbeat on days that I exercise.  But it doesn't matter if I exercise or not, at night I am gripped by anxiety and paranoia.  My mind goes through all the possible scenarios of horrible things that could happen to me, no matter how unrealistic.  I check and double check the door to make sure it's locked and to see if anyone's in the house.  Eventually my bedtime medication takes over and I fall asleep, but I am afraid every moment until then.

I live in a small city with a very low crime rate, not to mention my house is kiddy corner from the home of a policemen.  My fears are irrational.  I sleep in my room in the basement where, even if there was a break in, no one would even know I was down there without really checking it out.  Besides that, Monty has never locked his door at night and usually forgets to close the garage doors and there has never been a problem.  A paranoid delusion.  Somehow my mind has convinced me there is a real danger when there is none.

The other half of my psychotic symptoms are the auditory hallucinations.  I mostly notice them when things are completely silent, like at night, or during other sounds, like the shower or air conditioning running.  Sometimes it's just people talking and sometimes it's someone screaming, and even sometimes yet it is music.  None of these sounds are really there, but my brain can sometimes make me believe they are.

I am dealing with the situation by listening to music a lot and a lot of self talk.  At night I repeat to myself that I am in a safe place and that there is no reason to be afraid.  I have tried to get into seeing my new psychiatrist sooner than my first appointment on August 1st.  There are no openings.  He cannot make any adjustments before my first appointment which will be an evaluation.  My plan of attack is to continue with my coping skills which will now include seeing my therapist weekly and the ones mentioned above. If things become more than I can handle I do have the number for my former psychiatric ARNP in Cedar Rapids that might make adjustments in a crisis.  Of course, if that doesn't work, I will be forced to go to the hospital even though I may end up back in a facility.  I hope it never gets that far, I don't know how I could handle being in one of those places again.  They shouldn't punish me for needing a med adjustment, but the doctors will do as they wish.

I found out from talking to my case manager that if I have to go back to the hospital they will most likely try to place me at Mary Greeley in Ames first, and then try Des Moines. My wishes of going back to St. Lukes to see Dr. Larsen will be totally disregarded.  It doesn't seem to matter that Dr. Larsen knows my case and me, not to mention my medications.  If I'm able, I will certainly drive to Cedar Rapids to attempt to be hospitalized there.

I am going to do everything I can to make it to my appointment date because they don't deserve to decide my future.

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