Symptoms, I have no medical terms for

Hi there,

I was diagnosed with drug induced Paranoid Schizophrenia in 2016, my symptoms are mostly paranoid thoughts, and I experience no hallucinations of any kind. Since 2021 I am on medication and currently changing Olanzapine for Aripiprazole (both 5 mg), since the former made me tired all day.

The reason I am writing you is that I am experiencing something repeatedly and although I am in therapy no one professional could describe in medical words what I was telling them. So I am turning to you, to ask you, if you are experiencing the same and if there are medical terms for it.

I will describe it in illustrating words, please see them as metaphors at all times. I am NOT describing any kind of delusion here.

Since 2017 it happened a couple of times, that I experienced a weird succession of stages.

My regular, day to day, state of being is that I am exhausted by things easily, am not the brightest (or at least don’t feel like it), am not exited about things and just try to make it through the day, without trouble (stage 1).
Then something changes. It usually starts with me having a good time, being more vocal and joyful than usual, being smart and eloquent, outgoing and feeling powerful, eager to do things I like.
This is when I notice something is off and I should be more careful with myself (stage 2).

Because if I continue it comes to a stage where my mind is moving very rapidly. I can’t stop my thoughts anymore and it feels like the normal threat of thoughts „jumped its banks“. I call it the stage of „the vulnerable plantlet“, even small things can be overwhelming, it is difficult to manoeuvre and little decisions can lead to the destruction of my mind, the plantlet (stage 3). Which leads to the next stage.

The next stage (4) is the „borderland“ a mighty force, drags me towards it, I should not pass because this border, because there lurks a point of no return. Meaning I will enter the last stage (5) where I will loose my ability to concentrate, even using screens will become difficult. I am only able to stare and lay in bed. I can have some psychotic thoughts now, but usually I am feeling fine. If it’s in its worst shape I am loosing the ability to speak (meaning I am able to say yes and no, but have a hard time with more than three sentences).
This state can last for a couple of weeks until I am feeling better again. Usually the first signs of improvement is when I can use my phone again to watch videos after about two weeks’ time (stage 6 or if you view it as a cycle, stage 1 again).

All of this is very frustrating to me, because I very rarely feel good and exited (very common in Schizophrenia I guess) and when I do it only lasts for a few days and leads, most times unshunnably, to this catatonic state (last stage).

Do you experience the same? Did you understand what I was trying to get across? What is it? Catatonia? Is there something to learn, how not being dragged into the last stage and to preserve the happy and exited second stage? And what is responsible for all of this?

Thank you for your attention!

M (nowyoudo)

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Welcome to the forum.

I’d just like to chime in and say that 10mg Abilify is the minimum dose for schizophrenia. You should ask your dictor why you’re only being prescribed 5mg.

Welcome to the forum.

I’m not a doctor, so I never feel comfortable doing this, but it sounds like you are going through (rapid) mood cycles of mania, then crashing into depression. That’s possible to have along with SZ – it’s schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar with psychosis.

You should definitely see your doctor about this and tell them. If you are, indeed, cycling moods, they can put you on a mood stabilizer along with your AP.

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Welcome to the forum!
Ok, there’s a lot to unpack here, and I assume your native language isn’t English. So stage 1 sounds like your experiencing some of the cognitive decline with this illness.
Stage 2 sounds like a bit of mania. You mention feeling powerful, smart eloquent, etc. That is definitely mania. Mania is where you feel on top of the world.

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Hi Pandy,

thanik you for your reply. I already brought the idea of (hypo)mania up to my psychiatrist, but the dismissed it… I will bring it up again though :slightly_smiling_face: It may be important to add that I usually exprience the above mentioned only once or twice a year and didn’t experience it at all the 10 months I was on Olanzapine.

Stage 3 is hard for me to figure out, but I’ll do my best. It sounds like you’re experiencing extreme anxiety, and you feel paralyzed in fear because of that anxiety. That’s my best interpretation of stage 3.
Stage 4, I can’t quite make out, but I presume it’s a shift in functioning between stage 3 and 5.
Stage 5, Sounds like you are experiencing the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. The losing your ability to speak sounds like Poverty of thought. And I think you’re right, what you’re experiencing in this stage is catatonia.

Hi Gecko,

yes my native language isn’t English, I was trying to hide that :wink:
Yes, stage 1 are my daily negative symptoms if thats the same as cognitive decline.
To stage 2: I don’t feel indistructable or so, more like capable and productive. As if my negative symptoms were wiped away…

Tip for the forum – if you want to respond to someone and have them see it/be alerted that you tagged them, type the @ sign in front of their name, like this: @nowyoudo

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Ok, I see. So yeah if I were to guess, in stage 2 you’re experiencing symptoms of hypomania or mania. They are two different things, so make sure you know the difference. Hypomania is mainly just a boost in energy levels, feeling motivated etc. Mania is the more reckless one, where you have out of proportion thoughts about yourself and the world. Where some people will even think they are god when they are having a manic phase.
Also, your English is very good, so don’t worry about that.

On stage 3: Yes, I am anxious, but not extremely. I just know that the next stages are immanent and it is extremely difficult to return to stage 2 or 1, whithout crossing 4 and 5.
4: yes, you are correct, its mostly a shift in funtioning.
5: Yes, but the negative symptoms on speed and in a way I don’t experience them if I haven’t lived through the previous stages.

Hmm, I’m having a little difficulty understanding what you’re saying, but it sounds like to me you are perfectly describing catatonia, which is basically being frozen, incapable of doing anything which is what you describe. Which if that’s the case, I’m sorry to hear that. That doesn’t sound fun to experience at all.

@nowyoudo If I were to guess, I would guess you have schizoaffective disorder. Which schizoaffective is a combination of the mood component of bipolar, and all the other symptoms that come along with schizophrenia, or something like that. I’m no psychiatrist though, so don’t take my word on it. I just like to think I’m well read up on these sorts of things.

@Gecko thank you it’s nice to hear my English ist good.
Sorry, it is difficult to get across what I am feeling. The little plantlet is just a methaphor on how vulnerable my state of mind is at that point…
I wonder why I only get catatonia if I lived through this hypomania before.
And would it be any kind of bipolar, if I experience these mood swings only once or twice a year?
I will ask my psychiatrist about this and schizoaffective disorder. I’ll see her on Monday :wink:

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Well I wouldn’t call it bipolar, since bipolar and schizoaffective are two different things, though they share similarities. But possibly, not sure why it happens to you once or twice a year. But yes, definitely talk to your psychiatrist about schizoaffective. Which honestly Aripiprazole treats schizoaffective since it is a mood stabilizer and an antipsychotic, but like everhopeful said, you will most likely need a higher dose than only 5 mg.

@Gecko 'll bring it up to her. Thank you!

@ all: if you experience the same, feel free to comment :blush:

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