Anonymous asked: Are you addicted to caffeine? How many cups of tea/coffee a day do you have?
Perhaps… I drink a lot of diet fizzy drinks.
Anonymous asked: Are you addicted to caffeine? How many cups of tea/coffee a day do you have?
Perhaps… I drink a lot of diet fizzy drinks.
Anonymous asked: Hi there Skye! I must congratulate you on your fearless and true writing. I am Agatha Katsia (you can look me up on Linkedin or facebook) and I am a nurse, getting my master's in psycosocial rehabilitation. My thesis is about how young people suffering with mental helath problems use the social networks,and generally interact on the Internet. I would love if you could answer a couple of my questions, anonymosly, of course, and be part of my study. let me know if you are up to that...
HI there :) thank you very much for the compliments on my blog. Of course, I’m happy to answer some questions. Let me know how. Thanks again :)
Okay so this might be an obvious post, because if you’ve been on anti-psychotics you’ll know all this already. But this is for those who haven’t been on them or might be about to start them. I don’t mean to worry anyone, but just say it how it is. This is how I have felt on anti-psychotics. I will do it under headings to make it easier to follow.
Weight gain and hunger
This has been my most troublesome side effect. I was put on a drug called olanzapine almost 5 years ago now, when I had just turned 18 years old. I must say that before I took this drug, I was a very slender 8 stone and had a great metabolism. I could eat rubbish every day and not put on weight at all. However, adding the olanzapine had an instant effect. I became really hungry. Of course, I thought this didn’t matter because I knew I wouldn’t put on weight. I was so wrong. I put on a stone a month, finally plateuing at 10ish stone. This was extremely embarrassing for me, for example I worked in a supermarket and my skirt no longer fitted me, so I had to undo the zip and walk around with my skirt higher than it should have been. My supervisors asked me the reason for my short skirt and I had to admit that I had put on a lot of weight recently. But the worst thing was that I couldn’t say why, for fear of stigma. It was embarrassing because they obviously thought I’d been pigging out. I cannot describe though, the absolutely ravenous hunger I felt on that drug. Imagine being starving… but all day. I luckily don’t have as severe a problem as the clozapine I’m on now does make me hungry but strangely only in the evening. It’s horrible having food on your mind all the time and you feel like a pig.
This is another big problem with the meds I’ve been on. Going back to the olanzapine, I was actually in 6th form college when I started these, trying to finish my A Levels. Work and going into college became horrible as I was so sedated that I was literally dragging myself around campus, feeling like a zombie. I couldn’t concentrate in class and I found myself almost falling asleep. When I went on another drug called quetiapine I found that I was so exhausted after taking it (at night) that I felt like I couldn’t breathe, or that I was going to stop breathing. Very scary for anyone but being at uni on this with no one there to shout out to was terrifying for me. The other thing I find is that I am constantly a bit tired. Climbing stairs is the worst for me. It physically aches. I also find I get tired so much easier than others and have to limit my days and make sure I get enough sleep. I actually take my meds a lot earlier in the evening if I know I have an early start.
Luckily I only have this problem with the medication I am on now, clozapine, but this continues to be a disgusting problem for me. I don’t just drool slightly… I wake up soggy right down to my shoulders. I use towels on my pillow but my saliva still goes through. This I find repulsive and it is a great worry for me for when I get a boyfriend.
Luckily I have only got this side effect on abilify, but I can’t describe the frustrating side effect that this is. If you’ve ever had restless legs, you will know. No matter how hard you shake your limbs, the inner tickling and restlessness goes on. Some people have this so severely that they are up all night. I’m grateful that mine wasn’t too bad.
These are the main problems I have experienced. A lot of people go through a lot more than this, and even a lot worse. Just thought I’d do a post on it to let people know how it is and how it feels.
Take care, Skye.
Okay so I’ve been thinking recently a lot about labels and what I think about them. When I say labels in this context I mean in terms of any illness, rather than a social stereotype like ‘goth’, ‘emo’ etc. I mean words such as ‘diabetic’ or ‘bipolar’.
Usually in the greater scheme of physical illness, labels are very useful because you know what you have and how it can be dealt with. Some of these labels are transient, like a broken leg or burst appendix. Others may be long term, like diabetes or asthma. These are useful because you can research these illnesses to find the best treatment and find those in similar position. Generally, there is nothing that people feel ashamed of since the illness is either natural or an accident. People say that physical illnesses are easier to talk about and more widely accepted. But I feel that this isn’t always the case.
What if you had HIV/Aids? This is a label that is good in a medical circle or a safe group of professionals, because it can help you get the right treatment. But in the outside world this label is very stigmatised and not at all useful for the individual who suffering. Similarly, but less stigmatised and more embarrassing, could be labels to do with your bladder or bowels. It would be considered embarrassing to go into work and talk about your farts or poo all day. In this case, a label is probably best for you personally, or your medical team, rather than for others not involved in your medical care. Of course, we shouldn’t be ashamed of our bodily functions; but we are. In this sense labels are probably good for your private life.
When it comes to mental health, I think people see labels in much the same way as mentioned in the paragraph above. Instead of being open about your diagnosis like I mentioned in paragraph two, people hide away and keep their diagnosis an absolute secret, often only telling few people about the truth. Just like the bladder or bowel problem, people can be embarrassed or ashamed about their problem.
However, if you look at the bladder and bowel problem, at the end of the day people shouldn’t be ashamed. We all have to go to the toilet; it’s a natural part of life. We can’t control this problem on our own. In the same way people shouldn’t be ashamed of what’s going on in their head. We all have to think and we can’t always control the way we think. It’s not something that you have forced upon yourself - it has happened and is happening.
Mental illness is much like physical illness, but people don’t treat it so. We need to get to a point in society where mental illness is considered with the same respect as physical illness. But even then, some physical illnesses need to be treated with respect too. Someone with HIV/AIDs is as much a human as the person with diabetes. Someone with Bipolar Disorder is as much a human as the person with diabetes. No matter what the label, we are all human.
If you have a label, I’m not suggesting that you share it with everyone. We all have a personal line that we know when we feel comfortable to cross. What I’m trying to say is that if you have that label, you needn’t be ashamed. If you can’t seem to shake the label or you agree with it and know it is long term, it could help. Labels equal information and information that could benefit you.
Of course, I’m sure a lot of people reading this disagree with label-giving. That’s fine and your opinion. I personally believe that labels can be useful but I can see the other side.
Just some thoughts.
Take care, Skye.
Okay, so I said on my twitter that I was not going to watch “Bedlam” on TV because I believed it would upset me greatly; but I ended up watching both of the episodes, the first on anxiety/OCD and the second on Crisis. I have to say that I was not triggered as much as I thought I would, but please don’t take that to mean that you won’t as everyone’s different. Anyway, I thought I would post some of my thoughts on the programs.
Firstly it’s interesting how much you can relate to people, even if you aren’t suffering from exactly the same illness. I don’t have OCD and have never had any symptoms related to it; but I could sense the utter frustration of those people on the program with the disorder. Whilst their problems were obsessions and fears, something they couldn’t shake; I can relate from my own experiences of beliefs that I cannot shake. Whilst mine are not due to OCD, but a disorder shaped by delusions, I also find my thoughts difficult to rationalise and get rid of. Sometimes I could be obsessed all day with research or ideas, not being able to concentrate on anything. However, I believe that OCD must be more furstrating since with some obsessions you can understand they are irrational, but still not be able to get rid of them. That must be awful. When I am at my worst, things aren’t so frustrating because I think they are real and cannot think otherwise - it is not so frustrating. It is more frustrating trying to make others relate than having the thoughts themselves.
Being so obsessed by something that it overtakes your life and you end up in hospital is just awful. I was wondering too - was their time in hospital enough, for their OCD? I couldn’t help feeling that the time limit for their treatment was a little short. I felt sorry for those who had to leave and face the big wide world on their own again, lost inside their own mind. However, I do understand that there must be a limit to treatment as at the end of the day you would have to cope in the community yourself and gain your own coping mechanisms. You don’t want someone to become institutionalised. But there bodes the question: how long is enough?
In the second program on ‘Crisis’ the first thing that hit me was how all the wards I’ve seen on TV and in reality are so similar. Very clinical, very neutral and bordering on looking like a prison. Everything is as safe as possible to prevent people harming themselves. Designing a psychiatric ward has to consider all aspects of potential human behaviour, which is why people find them so dull. They have to be dull because if you had too many colours, too much ‘stuff’, it could completely overwhelm someone who is overwhelmed anyway. So much as psych wards seem and look like prisons, there is a reason. This is also what makes staying there so awful, as you feel like you are being punished and prevented joy.
I could also very much understand the ward in terms of patients. I met young people and older people who could be very erratic. You never know who you will meet, but at the end of the day you respect everyone because no matter their behaviour you know at the end of the day they cannot help it. I couldn’t help warming to the young girl on the ward, as they re-visited her later in the program and she expressed how pleased she was that she was treated young and had the rest of her life to explore life however she wished. I could really relate to this, as whilst I hate my illness; I am pleased it has been caught early as I know a lot of older people with my illness had suffered for years in silence, making their treatment now harder to be successful.
I said that I wasn’t particularly triggered by this program, but I’m afraid the action of the German lady being rounded on by many staff and injected brought back some painful feelings for me. I almost turned it off at this point, as I could feel myself physically reacting to the program with panic and dread, and my own memories. However I went back to it as I wanted to see what happened next. The poor woman was given an ultimatum: pills or injection. I have been asked this question myself several times and it fills you with fear. You may not want either, but have to choose. I can’t convey how horrible this is.
What was so great though about the two programs, was that when they revisited the patients, they all seemed to have improved. Of course, and I hope this doesn’t sound too pessimistic, this may not have been the case long term. But it surely gave hope to everyone watching it that recovery was possible.
Anyway, I’m going to shut up now because I’ve talked a lot about this. I hope anyone who watched it wasn’t too triggered. There is hope.
Take care, Skye.
Anonymous asked: Just wanted to express my admiration. Undertaking a college course if not easy even if one doesn't have to cope around a medical condition, and the whole stigma thing going on, to boot. Your condition should not have to be secret, and it is a indictment of our society that in this day and age it still is. I wish you very great success, and please accept a big hug from a stranger. X
Thank you so much, your words mean so much to me. I aim to achieve as much as I can even though I have all these things to put up with. I would rather my diagnoses not be secret, but as you said there is a lot of stigma and society is not accepting. Thank you for the big hug, stranger! Sending a big one back at you too. Take care.
Anonymous asked: Thanks for the ask, the thing is that I know they are delusions because my family don't stop making fun of me and they call me crazy so... They have to be, no?. About other stuff, I keep hearing this voice that is nice to me and that keep me company when I'm low, at first I thought that was my mind but then it start to act without me calling it or thinking about it, I don't know, it's a nice person and its always making me feel less alone, sorry for taking your time...
Ah okay, that’s horrible that they call you crazy. I think when things like this happen to someone, other people don’t understand it and make rash remarks. I know my family were very confused when I first became unwell, but through time they learn to understand as best they can. As for the voice, that’s similar to how I heard it. But I’m glad it’s a nice person. Don’t worry you are not taking my time, I like to help people if I can. :)
Anonymous asked: Hello, I want to ask, if I have delusions about demons trying to hurt me and people hating me all the time, am I schizoprenic? I mean, my delusions take away my sleep and don't leave me alone and recently I start talking to myself but like if I wasn't me and having recurrent nightmares, I'm scared and I swear that I'm not faking anything, could you give me any advice?
Hi there. So sorry to hear that you’re struggling, you must be very frightened. It’s a good thing that you understand that they are delusions because sometimes if things get really bad you don’t see them as delusions at all, but complete reality. As for whether you are schizophrenic, I would doubt you would get that diagnosis straight away - if they think you are mentally unwell because of symptoms in line with psychosis it would most likely be called first episode psychosis. But considering your symptoms and how you are feeling I would definitely suggest seeing a doctor at least, who could refer you to a psychiatrist or some mental health help. Hope that helped :) feel free to ask another question after this and I will answer. Take care and virtual hugs.
I decided to write this because I’ve just started another course (call me crazy!) at a different university, which I can easily commute to, but I have begun it with medical limitations. At first I was ashamed of these but now I have realised that it’s a part of life and I can find ways to cope and navigate round them.
My schizophrenia isn’t such an issue at the moment, but I’m still on medication which makes me drowsy and generally just more tired. I never really feel physically 100%. What this means is that I can’t work for as long as the other students. I try to stick to a day where I only work or go into univiversity from 9 until 5, though I typically tend to leave from 4 onwards. I have to understand my limitations, as I know from experience if I work too hard for too long, I become wired but tired at the same time. I can’t switch off yet I’m struggling for breath. At first I was ashamed that the other students could stay in class and work into the evening. But I also have realised that it’s not my fault and my health and wellbeing comes first. I have realised my limitations.
The other problem I still have, which is a very large problem for me right now, is my overactive bladder. But I’ve found ways to cope with this at university. Firstly, the campus is large so I try and drive as close to where I need to be as possible. My fellow students walk, but this would be very uncomfortable for me as I need to be fairly near a toilet or I get panic attacks and worry I won’t be able to make it. I haven’t told the other students this as I can make excuses to ward off why I am not walking - I will say I need to go and get something from somewhere or make a phone call, then sneak into my car and drive. I also make sure that I can sit down for presentations as presentations make me nervous which makes my bladder play up and standing is awful because I feel like I will wet myself. So I manage to find ways to perch on the sides of desks or nearby chairs. I haven’t told my tutor this because I’m embarrassed, I probably will end up telling, but I can find ways around it. When I’m going to a new building, when I first arrive I immediately make myself aware of where the toilets are and I will usually use them right away. I plan to go before a lecture and then after one too, so that I am comfortable. To be honest I don’t really care anymore if people notice because I want to be comfortable. After all - everyone needs the toilet from time to time. I know my limitations and I plan around them.
So if you have limitations, try and find ways around them rather than full out quitting or thinking you can’t do something. There are ways around. Look after your health, as it should come first. If you can’t do something, don’t be afraid to throw your hands up and say you can’t do it. But try again. Never quit!
Take care, Skye.
Just a quick post today of some thoughts I was recently having.
So I went recently somewhere that had other people who were either interested in mental health or had mental health problems themselves. We got into a discussion about our own mental health problems, though not in great detail. Anyway I heard one guy say that he thought he wouldn’t take his mental health problems back as it has made him who he is today and another girl agreed. I didn’t say anything in response to this, because quite frankly I’m not sure if I agree with them.
Has my mental illness made me who I am today? My mental illness certainly doesn’t equal me; it is part of the way I can think sometimes but it isn’t part of my personality. Or is it?
There is this ongoing debate when it comes to labels. Some people say “I am bipolar” or “I am schizophrenic” which some people deem to be wrong since your illness isn’t actually who you are, it is just something that has latched onto you.
People don’t say “I am diabetes”. But would someone with diabetes think their illness makes them who they are today? Would they say that they wouldn’t take back their problem? I very much doubt it - I should think they would prefer not to have to inject themselves every day or limit their diets. So are physical problems less a part of you than mental problems?
In the same way as the diabetic might say, I would gladly get rid of my illness. I would rather it wasn’t any part of me and I certainly don’t look back at it and think it’s made me who I am today. Yes, it has made me more compassionate and more understanding in many ways; with my knowledge of mental illness and the systems surrounding it. But I’d rather I’d aquired these things without having to suffer a mental illness myself.
Some of you may disagree with me. I know that some of you will. But in my opinion, my mental illness hasn’t made me me. Who I am really is underneath, like you wouldn’t say clothes are part of you; but you would say that your skin is. My illness is like clothes sometimes, something that consumes and surrounds me and influences me; but it isn’t a physical part of me like my skin is.
Feel free to disagree or to discuss this on twitter or your blog. I’d be interested to hear other opinions on this.
Take care, Skye.