March 16, 2006

How I'm doing now...

I'm taking 5mg of Zyprexa now, no increase yet, and I hope you all can tell from yesterday's entry that it has already sharpened up my mind. The very fact that I could read that article, and reread and reread it until I both understood and found I disagreed with it, speaks volumes. Indeed, as far as magazines go, I am able to read most articles if they are no longer than 2-3 pp. Longer than that and I have to break them into two sittings. I have not yet attempted to read a book, nor felt any urge or spontaneous spark of interest in doing so, alas. I realize that it sounds rather self-indulgent to wait for a spontaneous spark instead of making myself slog through something I "ought" to read, like, say, a newspaper. And indeed, if I thought it would work, I would. But slogging and flogging myself into reading something doesn't accomplish anything. My mind simply shuts down. If I try to read I cannot get a line into my head and I'm completely distracted by any stray thought or sound. I might think I'm reading, get all the way to the end, only to realize I have not the slightest clue as to what it is I've just read. So much for that bit of self-punishment masquerading as an encouragement to self-discipline. Fie on you!

Anyhow, as I was saying, I am able to read a little. Also, I have motivation and interest enough to compose and send a snail mail letter to the editor about my contrasting opinion, a letter moreover that took me the better part of 2 hours to write. So the Zyprexa is helping in those areas.

On the other hand, I cannot shake the feeling that when I go outside people talk about me, think about me and mock me, makinng fun of the way I walk. I do understand that this is a delusion. That is, I understand it to the extent that I've been told so and have worked it through the aberrant-spark-of-fear-in-my-brain process to come to that conclusion...But you know, it still feels real and the fear is still there and the sense that I am being watched hasn't changed, so how do I reconcile the two: the thought process that tells me it is a delusion with the adamant and convincing feelings of paranoia? Rather, how do I get myself to go with the rational thought process and not with sensationss that are so much stronger? I confess I'm totally at a loss. Any ideas?

Posted by pamwagg at March 16, 2006 02:56 PM


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Posted by: domain internet name registration at May 20, 2006 09:22 AM

Pammy love,
Please, please remember that you had finally grasped Mary O'Malley's mantra,"The feeling is the key." (Or something to that effect.) Just because you FEEL or SENSE something, regardless of how real it is to you, does not make it real in an objective analysis. Your feelings are not necessarily REAL, even though they are so real to you. Ponder that again and again. I want you to come back, as I am beginning to come back to my own reality.
Such love, Paula

Posted by: Paula Kirkpatrick at March 24, 2006 12:05 AM

Hi Pam - I have been reading your blog for some time & I just wanted to say that I admire your strength & resilience in the face of this illness. As for being worried that people are talking about you, I think many people experience this type of anxiety from time to time, whether they suffer from schizophrenia or not. I don't have schizophrenia, but there are times when, for example, someone will look at me on the subway & I'll wonder if they're staring because they have some negative opinion of my appearance. This is just an indication of my tendency to be overly sensitive about what others think about me. One way to combat this anxiety is to be really diligent in responding to your concerns with reassuring thoughts. For example, you can keep saying to yourself, "Chances are these people aren't talking about me. But if they are, why should I care? I don't know them and I'm confident of my worth as a person, regardless of what they may think." If you keep repeating this to yourself, you may actually start to believe it, though it may be difficult to do so at first. Cognitive-behavioral therapists often use this technique with people. I don't know whether CBT is ever used for schizophrenia (I use it for anxiety), but in my inexpert opinion, positive self-talk can only help. It's easy to see how schizophrenia could produce anxiety as a secondary symptom, and I've found CBT to be very effective in treating anxiety.

Posted by: Christine at March 22, 2006 03:23 PM

I just sat down at the computer at the library. When I went to the desk to sign up the two librarians looked amused and stopped talking about what--me??? When I got in here I looked back through the glass window to where their desk is; they were still talking and laughing--probably about some library gossip.
I'm reminding myself that it shouldn't matter if they talk about me or not. I'll probably make it a point to stay home the next few days. At home there are no paranoia triggers, in other words people. I just have to be careful that I don't go overboard and not want to go out at all. That happens once in a while when I'm trying to do too much. It also happened when I was released from the hospital. That was different though. I felt like I didn't belong in the world; it was odd to leave the hospital world even after just five days.
As for the reading: I experience this much of the time--very, very, very frustrating. I think it is because being paranoid uses too much brain power. Everyone is paranoid to some extent. My sister mistrusts the car mechanic and her realtor, thinking that they charge too much. The difference is that her paranoia doesn't spiral into referential thinking and elaborate delusions.
Animals, including humans, need to be paranoid in order to survive. If you don't have some amount of caution you'll end up as another animal's appetizer.
The problem with paranoia is that your brain stays in that heightened state of awareness and it is exhausting and uses brain power that could be saved for enjoyable things like reading.
After I got stabilized on medication after 10 years of being totally delusional, I was surprized at how my brain was relaxed when riding on the bus. Except for the occsional paranoia I daydream or think about nothing at all on the bus. I was used to looking at all the billboards and every facial expression of every person to look for clues to add to my delusions. The brain is not meant to be on constant watch like that.
This is a long-winded way of saying that I haven't a clue what can be done about the reading and paranoia problems except to stay on my medication.

Posted by: Sarah R. at March 22, 2006 11:09 AM

I also struggle with thinking others are talking about me when in public places and have the same issue with reading. I find that reading something first aloud then going over the words that you may have missed (silently) helps. While reading aloud, I sometimes miss words due to the fact that I spent more energy on pronounciation and less on determining meaning. As for thinking people are talking about you, I have no idea. Let me know if you find anything.

Posted by: Michael S. at March 21, 2006 01:40 PM

"Rather, how do I get myself to go with the rational thought process and not with sensationss that are so much stronger? I confess I'm totally at a loss. Any ideas?"

I struggle with the same thing every day. I keep myself so busy that I can't spend much time dwelling on what's real and what I feel. Keeping busy also helps me take back the parts of my mind inhabited by the illness and reduces my need for the meds (I still take them, but in much lower doses than I used to).

Posted by: Sean at March 18, 2006 05:41 PM

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