Is mental illness real ?

Hello hope your well it is lovely weather here in Ireland. I am just relaxing enjoying the weekend.

I tried to have a conversation with work college about the mental illness not being a biological disease. It went terribly they popped a fuse and I think they said something unpleasant not sure as my brain did it’s usual trick of blacking out for a few seconds. Also on group online and people mentioned they can have had the same reaction from others. I can be bad at explaining my point of view but the article below explains it perfectly. It’s worth a read if you have time. I would be interested to hear peoples point of view. I did not realize people get so emotional about this.

Is mental illness real ? Link

Also watched interesting YouTube short on service users point of view of medications. It doesn’t take one side or the other on the subject just the view points of people who use medication. I found it bit of an eye opener. As usually these things are people promoting one point of view over the other , which this does not, it’s about 25min. Long.

You tube link to general views on medication

I continue to slowly taper my medication doing fine. As mentioned before did have bit of dizziness but it has cleared up. Also noticed patterns moving more than I would have than previously noticed. It’s hard to describe it’s like an image on the actual image of itself which moves around. Like something you would see in a movie of someone being high. This also has more or less cleared up as well. Voices are their usual selves. Noticed I was making up stories in my head a bit more so just stuck a time limit on this so as not to get to carried away with it. I can have unusual beliefs but no more than usual, I have learned long time ago to keep these to myself and just get on with life. I get my usual body sensations but the medication never really stopped these anyway. My stomach did feel iffy and I felt like throwing up few times over last few weeks. Not sure if side effect of meds or my stomach just sick. My stomach is usually fine as I eat well and do not drink anymore, hard to say for sure what this is.

I am still not watching any horrors or violent type films. I don’t believe these help the mind which I am trying to take particular care of while tapering, will mostly stick to stand up comedy’s for now.

Went for my first run in months last week. It went well did about 3 miles or so. Will start doing a little more running . Don’t really plan to do big milage or races any time soon.

Finished another module of my online course this morning and submitted my assignment for marking, it should be fine. Got 100% in the quiz. Started the next module on schizophrenia. Found must of the stuff personally insulting as it’s based on DSM and bio model but I intend to get my money’s worth and finish the course. Will be looking for better trauma informed style courses in future.

Work is going fine there is overtime on the go but mostly doing course in the mornings instead of overtime. I got a 6% rise which will come in handy, boss still seems happy with my work. This makes me chuckle as on module I started this morning it mentions people like me who have been given label chronic schizophrenia really recover or work again. When I heard this on my text reader I politely told it to f**k itself. So this module should be colorful and fun😡.

Till next time,

Keep up the good fight 👊🏾

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Tapering

Hello hope your well currently a nice blustery day here. Just back from morning walk with dog. Have not posted in a while as did not feel the need also felt like I was repeating stuff.

I have decided to stop running for a while but have increased my yoga practice. Doing 45min class on Sarah Beth yoga app most mornings. I am slowly improving but still quite bad at some poses. The breathing is very tricky to get hang of but It helps me set an intention of calm each morning which can be useful during the day when dealing with people.

I try to meditate most days which I can be bad at but I still find it useful. I used to practise before I went to sleep but now I fall asleep 5mins after I start to practise. I have taken a liking to meditate in the evenings instead of watching tv. Finding stuff on tv and Netflix just unpleasant to watch.

Did short video on my phone about my mental health might be part of internet thing for mental health awareness month. Hopefully they will use a bit of it.

Been doing course online on introduction to psychology. Its interesting but lot of material to cover. I have 4 modules of 7 done. Might be tight for time on last few modules. Will rush them to get them done if need there of.

I got a pack of information of hearing voices wales it has workbooks etc to get through for people who hear voices. It’s interesting but most spare time tied up with online course at the moment.

Still working away but it’s quite in work at moment but there is work coming up so hopefully be ok. Plus lot of work around cork at moment so not to worried.

The complaint I made about my GP did not come to much. But I went to a psychiatrist who I explained what I experience and how I deal with it. She agreed I was not getting much from current medication I am on. She would recommend to GP I taper off it slowly. I was left baffled by this I genuinely thought she would just ignore me but she was open to how I dealt with things. Reading stuff on site the withdrawal project and made 2 connections with people who have done or are doing the same thing. So just have to see how I go with tapering meds. Wish me luck.😉

In post I made a while ago I mentioned I got very angry at work around the time I last reduced my meds year and half ago. I thought it had to do with stuff I was going through but I have since read and spoke to someone about intense anger can be side effect of reducing meds to fast. When I think of reduction my GP made it was way to much plus he said there are no side effects. I have read there can be many. I really am starting to think my GP is a twit.

Thanks for reading, have a good day

Keep up the good fight✊🏾

Rant about mental institutions

I just need a little rant about mental institutions.

I requested a copy of my records in St. Pats in Dublin a place where nutters like me go when where ill. In them they said I was not engaging with staff in conversion. What it does not say is I tried to engage with staff in previous mental institution St. Michaels and I know subject matter was difficult but I was having severe episode. This members of  staff acted shocked and one treated me like something he would scrap off the end of his shoe and wanted nothing to do with me. Given I am a paranoid schizophrenic it was no surprise I did not trust or try to engage with staff much after that.

It also read that I had a positive youth with no history of being sexually abused in my files from St. Pats, not sure whose youth they where talking about but it was not mine. In the file it had a letter from St. Michaels to St. Pats stating I had been sexually abused which if they had read it they would have known. I might have started to deal with this issue than rather than trying to face it 8 years later.

Ok rant over .

If you are in Ireland and in your mental health is giving trouble, all said and done I would recommend St. Pats the staff are friendly and it is a nice environment. Given my state of mind I don’t think they could have helped more than they did.

Keep on trucking

My Coping Strategies

I wanted to write a post about how I have tried to deal with schizophrenia over the years. Also what advice I would have give to myself in the past so I could give it to myself now. Hope that makes sense.

This post is more for myself than anyone else. I am not  a professional and every thing here should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Sleep: 

This is so so important. This is something I have struggled with to this day. My mind seems to get very busy when I try to go to sleep, I like to imagine story’s where I have special abilities and can do cool things. I could literally stay up all hours of the morning imagining these things. At one stage I had a iPod with hypnotherapy recorded on to it that used to play all night. I would usually relax and listen to it and fall asleep. I also had some heavy metal music on it. I once was woken up by a voice in my mind giving out about it and to turn off the music, odd experience to say the least.

In an effort to deal with my busy mind I started blanking my mind, sort of pretending to be asleep. I have gotten good at this and can fall asleep easily enough, unfortunately my dreams and nightmares wake me up very easily or any sound around the place. Not sure how to fix this and would welcome any advice, trying meditation on and off at the moment. I also like to play some sounds of the jungle, I let my mind wonder for the length of this then do my best to go to sleep as soon as it is finished. Its like I made a deal with my mind think about anything while sounds play then straight to sleep.

When my illness was very bad I would wake up to some very strange scenes usually about witches and the like I never figured out how to deal with these. Other than acknowledge they are not real and I might need to change my meds.(edit 23/07/17 Noticed people reading these older posts with out looking at newer ones. So I just wanted to note my first therapist suggested giving suggestions to my dream self like I will have good positive dreams etc. I do a little meditation and give these suggestions to myself and they work a treat about 90 odd percent of my dreams are good and I generally sleep fine but still wake up early and have vivid dreams there just not nightmares anymore that said any noise outside etc. Will wake me up. Seriously would recommend meditation, just 20 mins in morning and evening can really help me through tough patchs).

I think I have gotten used to getting less sleep. I go to bed early enough to try to make up for the fact I will wake a few times a night. Unfortunately I can wake around 4 or 5 in the morning sometimes I can go back to sleep but usually wake quickly as my mind gets very busy when I sleep. Sometimes trying to function on less sleep can be very challenging, and a tired mind does not help with anyone’s mental health.

They gave me sleeping pills for a while but these where like taking smarties and had no effect after a while. When I really struggle to sleep I find meditation usually gets me to doze off.

In summery sleep is very important you should do what you can to get a good nights sleep.

Asking For Help is fine:

When I was really suffering I did not ask for help and was in a really bad state. I left it really late to get help and then ended up on the institutionalized by choice in the public care system in Ireland, as I thought I was a danger to those around me, ( In truth the only person I was a danger to was myself ). I found the public system in Ireland terrible I came out worse than I went in. No one explained to me what I was going through. I digress if you ask for help and do not get it keep looking in different places, I got some better advice in the private health care system but still found this to be lacking again no one really sat me down and explained to me what was going on but to be fair I was very quite and internalized everything so did not help myself.

I started looking online myself at first did not find anything interesting but eventually did start to find useful information, Like what Counselling service locally deal with my illness, I am trying to make an effort to meet this person once a month, I have found it useful to talk about my condition, and have found some of the things I go through are not that unusual, and what I would consider normal people can experience these as well to some extent.

I also found it somewhat useful to discuss some of my symptoms with family members, but they have there own problems so I do not use this avenue to much but again it can be useful.

I found a local support group online and went for a while and stopped but plan to go again, People should be aware that you can hear some heavy stuff at these meet ups, which can be a trigger for your own problems, but it can be useful to meet people going through similar things.

Always ask for help when your in trouble either your GP or family member, and remember if they do not give you a good response just look elsewhere.

General Tips:

Don’t be afraid to take medication  it has definitely helped me a lot it. To offset some off the main symptoms but don’t expect it to fix everything I would definitely recommend finding someone to talk to regularly that you are comfortable with to help put things in perspective.

I find eating healthy and exercise helps with your mental health a lot, I find running great but find what works for you. I would definitely recommend something in the fresh air – I started out just walking with my dog . Also given the effects of anti psychotics on the body I would definitely recommend it as I gained a lot of weight at first with them and took best part of a year to work it off. I guess I can live with being heavy but given a choice I would chose to be lighter makes my running a lot easier. Also setting small goals along the way is useful, helps keep you focused when you exercise. There is a link to a sight I find useful below, I think you click on text and then the link that pops up, not sure have not done this before.

Click Here for sight on nutrition and exercise

I have started policing my thoughts a lot and just making myself  let things go. Its like taking note of a thought and seeing if this thought helps with your mental health or not. If I find a thought goes down a negative road I do my best to put it out off my head, This can be a difficult exercise but well worth the effort. I find singing songs in my head a useful exercise to achieve this but again find what works for you.

I have started trying to engage with the voices in a positive way. To mimic what I saw in a ted talk I saw somewhere on word press. The link below express this idea much better than I can. I found this woman very interesting and articulate.

Ted Talks Very Interesting Person

OK nearly finished, seriously impressed if your still reading to this point.

I find the music and radio very useful but there can be a lot of negative stuff on the radio so I find spotify extremely useful as my music taste various on my mood and if you are willing to pay for it you get no adds, And playlists for various moods are again very useful. I listen to music in the background for just about everything. As I imagine most people know its a great pick me up.

I also find having a routine very useful work at certain times, run at certain times and same with eating and life in general, but I still have days when I struggle to make it through the day, When this happens to me I just set my sights at certain times during the day 11:00 , 1:00  and 3:00 and don’t think past these times what so ever just focus on making it to these times.

Also jotting down your thoughts at the end of the day can be useful.

Well that all I can think of for know and again I am not a professional so take everything in this with a pinch of salt and what works for me may not work for some one else.

Hope this post finds you well.

Keep up the good fight.

 

 

 

 

Me and my schizophrenia

I turned 40 last year and in the  last ten years there has been a lot of drama. I suffered with problems with my mental health since I was a child. I remember lots of strange memories of things that I now realise never happened.

These usually involved interacting with spirits and people around me freaking out but usually were not negative. I have many memories which seem as real as anything else I remember. I guess this gave me an odd sense of reality.

Other than being quiet and shy as a child I never was questioned on my mental health and continued in my odd little world.

As I grew up and went to college I did not change much. I grew to hate interacting with people and went to a lot of trouble to avoid them. I don’t have much to say and interacting with people causes me a lot of stress. In college I grew very depressed, rarely showed up and no clue how I scraped through 3 years of it. The hallucination’s grew a lot worse during college. The way I lived at the time did not help cutting myself of from people. I was also trying to deal with being sexually abused as a child which really did not help the situation. I just kept to myself and drank a lot and ate a lot of bad food.

My first memory of hearing voices was when I was a about 25. Can’t remember this happening before this . They copied the voices of people around me which was confusing.

I continued on in life avoiding people, drinking and eating poorly. In my early 30’s things got very bad, I was hearing voices regularly and some visual hallucinations. My paranoia was very bad and my sense of reality was not good. I went through a bad couple of years which I might go into in a different post. In and out of hospitals and a few suicide attempts.

They eventually ended up injecting my once every 2 weeks with medication which eventually helped with some of the symptoms but I have heard voices for last 10 years or so every day.

I had been out of work a few years and had put on a lot of weight. I was watching tv one day and decided there must be more to life than this. I started walking every day and eating healthy food. I lost around 7 stone and eventually got lucky and got a job.

I took up running and have 3 marathons to my name. I still hear voices every day telling me I am evil but I think I have got used to them, I still have bad days like everybody else but I get by.

I read books about people surviving schizophrenia, from what I have read most people suffering from it just want to get by and get a job, not axe welding nutters (seriously I don’t even have an axe).

I don’t tell anyone about it because of the stigma and I am a bit of a coward. It would be nice some day to be able to talk openly about it but I don’t see it happening in my life time.

I intend to blog about stuff relevant to my mental health and my love of running. I hope this post finds you well. Saw another blog  like this and thought I would give it a go.

All The best.