Schizophrenia.com

Working on your own to become healthier

Hello my sweet fellow sch brothers and sisters!

I would like to know how many of you think it’s their responsibility to become better as a diagnosed sch. I mean, it’s common sense, but I’d like to start a discussion on this topic. Here’s why:

I was diagnosed when I was 19 and went through hell and back to become healthy again. I would not accept the idea that Sch never gets cured. However, I found no therapy and no solution to my problem and, once every odd year I got a new hospitalisation with what they called acute transitory psychosis. Only after having a psychosis during my last term of pregnancy did I get the full blown diagnosys of Sch.

Now, having a child and a husband (and a dog and a cat) you might well imagine that I decided to stick to anything that made me feel better and could guarantee that I would not have a psychosis anymore. So I took Solian (amisulpride) for a few months and was extatic with the result: no more weird thoughts, nothing bad except some drowsiness that I could easily use coffee against. However it turned out that amisulpride pumped up my prolactine levels so I had to quit using that med, as I was lactating heavily and having no menses. So I got on abilify (aripripazole).

Now, for those of you who don’t know that already, abilify is not a dopamine antagonist as most antipsychotics are, it’s an agonist. From what I gather, instead of blocking per se the dopamine receptors, it acts as chemical version of dopamine and uses them up so the real dopamine is not used anymore.

In my terms, that means that instead of not having weird thoughts, I have my weird thoughts all the same, but I have also the time to realize that they are weird and act upon them so they won’t affect my behaviour in any way. It’s a conscious, exhausting everyday struggle. And, for the most part, I love it.

Because of my antipsychotics I cannot do a lot of things that I can do when I’m not medicated. I cannot have a strong argument because I forget my last 5 to seven sentences and lose the logic of it all. I cannot organize my stuff because of a similar reason: I don’t recall what my first intention was. I suffer from avolition and my dishes remain in the sink for a looong while, thing that doesn’t happen when I’m unmedicated. I documented a bit and realised that it’s part of the healing process, not having access to certain functions my brain does no longer elementary stuff like relying on memory to continue a process.

All of this makes me wonder: am I going to be ever able to sustain my arguments as I did when I was healthy/unmedicated? Am I ever going to be able to function like a normal person? My husband, having read all the available studies on the subject matter sais yes, only on one condition: I have to force my brain to compensate for all the things that the (needed!) medication does not allow it to do on its regular paths. I have to simply re-wire my brain, day by day, to do the right thing.

So I’ve decided yesterday, after a very bad time (some of you have seen the post) that I will smile when I’m depressed, I will talk more when my tongue refuses to move correctly, I will look everybody in the eye when my brain says I’m under siege and I have to run (as it often does). I will no longer drink coffee as it stimulates my dopamine secretion, no more synthetic sweetners either for the same reason. I will learn something all the time and stay focused as much as I can, not allowing my brain to take shortcuts through the paths it already knows (which are blocked). I will exercise to become more fit and more active. Most of these I already do.

Sorry for the long, intellectual post, but I would like to know if you have some resolutions of this sort. I tried to explain my situation because I’ve heard a lot of people saying they feel worse on Abilify. I think it’s true, Abilify demands a lot of self-discipline and will to function , and many a days I feel like quitting myself, and asking for an all-numbing pill instead, irrespective of the side effects.

Let me know what you think on this subject matter.

Love,

Zupa

2 Likes

Good for you @anon33673328. :purple_heart:

1 Like

To get my cognitive ability back, and get my memory back and get some of my flexibility in thinking back, I went through CBT and other therapies.

It’s not just sitting on a couch and talking about my Mom.

It’s a lot of work under guidance of how to get my brain up an moving, how to recognize my triggers, how to help my memory, how to get my social skills back. That has been a lot of work, but it’s getting there.

I still need my meds, but I have been working with a doc to drop the dose.

You can get your brain back in shape.

http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/schizophrenia/abcs-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-schizophrenia

When I first started, I was working with a therapist. But these days, I take out the books and do the work again on my own when I feel stuck or if I feel like I’m sliding back into some of my old ways.

5 Likes

@SurprisedJ I live in Romania and cognitivism is a little scarce here, so are therapists with experience in treating SZ. However, you were talking about “taking out the books”. Are you refering to any book in particular, or is it just a figure of speech?

I will have to train myself to do all this stuff until I have access to some kind of useful therapy. I just emailed the only cognitive therapist I could find in my area, but I’m afraid she will not have the experience needed to help me or that my husband will not agree to have me work with just anyone - she might be expensive and my insurance here does not cover therapy, from what I gather, we will not afford it for a while.

Aaaanyway, thank you for your insight. No one ever seems to talk about cognitive therapy these days, so, as always, it’s well received.

Yet again, I have a few more questions: did your therapist work with the pdoc too, or only with yourself? Did she/he do any kind of research as for your history, or did she just work with what she had in front of her/him, a.i. yourself?

This one helped me with my social skills and it available on Amazon

This one helps me with my catastrophic thinking and my constant worrying… and is also available on Amazon.

This was just a good over view to give you an idea what it’s all about.

6 Likes

Thank you so much… I feel like graduating to a new level of understanding my symptoms already. I found some of the books, or some similar ones, I will buy the social skills book, it seems pretty useful and I want it on paper.

My CBT and anger management classes were part of my outpatient therapy just after my last hospitalization. For a while I had two therapist.

I had my normal therapist who I’ve had for a long time and she helped reinforce some of the principles. But I also had classes with a different therapist through the vocational/ day hospital. That was through a Swedish hospital / University outreach and it was a group of therapist working with a group of us.

My long time and still current therapist has known me since I was 15-17 and knew my family. She was a family therapist first and then studied SZ because of me and then I’m told, reached out to other patients with this illness.

3 Likes

That’s pretty cool. Thanx to you others are getting more and better help :purple_heart:

2 Likes

Abilifry is a great drug for depression I think. My mood was significantly better. It didnt clear all the voices, but they were infrequent anyway. Just a little warning though. If your talking ability and memory starts to seriously detoriate, I would watch out. I wont go into details but it made me somewhat of a “retard”. Too bad because as I said, it really lifts the mood.

Every antipsychotic does make you somewhat a “retard” because it blocks the dopamine receptors in ways that affect long term memory. Abilify is no exception. However, there is training available to make you recover those functions. As I said, I am a firm believer in “rewiring the brain” if you will, in the treatment of SZ.

But please get into details, so I can see if it’s the same with me and talk it over with my pdoc if it’s the case.

1 Like

Well this probably wont happen for you, but I rapidly lost my memory during 6 months until I seriously couldnt read the newspaper. It has since come back after I switched to Invega. Abilify is worse for memory than other meds. Ive read about others who also experienced short term memory loss.

This is how I function to a certain extent. I have a lower level of background noise or “static” as I call it, a tendency for my thinking to try and bend on me. It takes a small amount of ongoing effort to mentally force it back onto a straight path. I find that this takes less from me than a higher dose of antipsychotic medication. The APs definitely can knock my symptoms out completely, but I have to live with even more debilitating side-effects in return. This is not a good bargain for me.

I take pretty much the lowest prescribed does of Geodon with some older APs kept on hand in case I’m having a bad day and need reinforcement before I can get in to see a PDoc easily. Doc is okay with this.

I think this applies to all members of society, not just those with our illness, or, indeed, an illness. We are all responsible for maximizing our potential and sharing that potential with others. My view, anyhow.

10-96


Edit: Had to fix some bad grammar as a matter of conscience.

2 Likes

There might be an explanation for that. SZ patients tend to memorize and pay attention to things when they are having bad moods and if they feel negative emotions towards those things. Being a good anxiolitic and antidepressant, Abilify does no longer give the medium for attention or memory, there is no anxiety to arise attention or blatantly negative emotions that will trigger memory. Again, it’s the case with the grand majority of SZ patients, that’s why our interests are not that variate compared to healthy , intelectually equal to us individuals.

I don’t know if this explaation is the best one, but it surely is credible. I believe that an effort to maximize attention will simply improve my memory also. Anyway, I’ll let you know.