June 05, 2006

Meds and miracles

Right now in terms of antipsychotics I am taking the following: Geodon 160mg, Haldol 7.5mg, Abilify 5mg and Zyprexa 2.5mg...Plus a number of other drugs including Effexor at a very low dose (75mg), and the anticonvulsants, Lamictal (200mg) and Topomax (100mg). I also take drugs for narcolepsy and migraines but those above are the relevant ones for now. The esteemed Frau Doktor O believes that this regimen of tiny doses of several APs (except the main one Geodon) targets more symptoms yet causes fewer side effects than using one large dose of one drug and so far she seems to be right on target as I have very few side effects from any of these drugs, despite their number.

BUT the problem remains that the Zyprexa continues to cause weight gain unless I rigidly starve myself and none of the above completely erase the voices and music, not at those doses at any rate. It might be, as it was last year, that at 15mg to 20mg of Haldol, I wouldn't hear anything, but I also know that for the entire year I didn't/couldn't read a thing, spent all year doing nothing but watching Home and Garden television. I didn't understand what was wrong, really. I thought I was bored. I couldn't even pay attention to public broadcasting. I thought I'd lost interest in all the things that used to fascinate me, and I figured this was just one of those things that happened, that interest in them had died and had done so naturally...

So while Haldol doesn't seem to cause actively unpleasant side effects, like akathisia (at least the inderal I take as a beta blocker treats that okay) it does lead to more passively disagreeable ones...Like increased apathy and passivity and lack of interest and motivation...In short, negative symptoms! Now, one might say that these are "me" not the drug, that the drug simply is not treating them adequately and so they are being unmasked. But to that I'd say, And so why do I NOT have these problems once I go off this dosage of Haldol and change nothing, only add Zyprexa at the minuscule amount of 2.5mg? Oh, I know, the same person would say, well, the Zyprexa actively alleviated your negative symptoms! But we know that Haldol is known to cause a deadening feeling; many have complained about it, and in my case this deadening means that I can no longer read or feel any enthusiasm for anything. Zyprexa does add something, yes, but it adds this ON TOP of the relief I experience from just gettiing off the Haldol.

What does Zyprexa add? What Zyprexa adds is magical, to me; it adds vitality, it adds the lifelike quality to life that is missing otherwise. What otherwise seems a technicolor version of the real thing, ie a movie made of life, on Zyprexa becomes, well, the Real Thing, and it is amazing. I become real, I come to life and so does everything else in my environment. No wonder it all fascinates me! It's as if it is all brand new to me, because I've only seen the movie version until now; until Zyprexa everything was filtered through the movie screen effect, the Hollywood censor so to speak, so that life came out in a kiind of weird 2-D projection...I even explained it as All-Sensurround, cosmic history and life memories projected onto the walls of the Supermetal canister (which I may talk about in a very early post) such that life seemed real without it being anything more than an illusion. Technicolor can only satisfy as long as you don't realize there is something better...Once you've tasted 3-D life, well, Virginia, yes there is a Santa Claus and I'm heading to the North Pole to find him and taste Real Snow!

When I started taking Zyprexa, well, that subtle screen-like sensation interposed between me and reality was lifted and suddenly I saw and experienced things -- life! -- first hand, for the first time since I could remember. That was the real miracle of Zyprexa, the movie version became real. It is only now that I have found a way to explain it, one that I think does the miracle justice and also gives a hint as to the nature of its "miraculousness." Do any of you understand it better now? Or appreciate what "before" was like?

Posted by pamwagg at June 5, 2006 09:36 PM


I congratulate you on your life improvements and wish you well. If you do continue on the medication, to save in your pocketbook check out I have used them for a number of years and saved a few bucks.

Posted by: Bob at June 16, 2006 02:31 PM

I can totally relate to the well-being feeling on Zyprexa. I have symptoms disappearing almost daily - symptoms I never thought I'd get rid off. I hope things continue to improve for you.

Posted by: Clare at June 16, 2006 09:55 AM

Pam, I have experienced much the same thing as you regarding Zyprexa. After I took it for a short period I walked out in the back yard one day and was totally amazed to find the sky was blue and the grass green and that there were separate blades of grass and separate leaves on the trees. Everything had been gray and muddled for so many years that I had forgotten about the colors of the natural world. I sat on the back porch for a long time looking at the way the tree limbs branched out from one another against the blue sky. I was fascinated! Yes, I gained 80+ lbs on it and hate that. Yes I spend much more time, night and day, sleeping my life away. But those hours I am awake and not stuffing my face with food, the new world is here and I feel like one of the Old World explorers having found a fantastic distant place they had not even dreamed about. I can read on Zyprexa! The constant music finally goes away when I am on Zyprexa!

Posted by: DCROY9633 at June 15, 2006 08:27 PM

Dear Pam,
It appears to me that we have had very similar experiences in the realm of how medication has affected our perceptions and our feeling of well being since you began writing about the subject. I can honestly say that I too lived in that "other worldly",watching, not really living state, until my panic disorder was finally diagnosed. When I began taking Xanax, I can describe it in no other way than to say that all of a sudden, the sun came out. The grass was truly green and it was really there. The sensation I had had for so many years when I was teaching, that I was not really actively doing it, but I was WATCHING myself do it, disappeared. Finally I was alive! I was really teaching. I heard my own words, I felt the chalk in my hand as I wrote on the board. I had come home to myself. I know exactly the feeling of exhilaration and REALITY that Zyprexa brought to you, because that is what the correct medication and dosage did to me. It gave me an opportunity to remember what life had been like before I had slowly drifted into nomansland. I have never had to return to that awful, dull void. I want so much for you to find the precise combination of meds that makes Pam herself once more and forever. It's amazing to me that this very significant similarity of experience between us might never have come out if you had not chosen to write your blog. You have inspired so many of your readers with your candor and eloquence. Today you have uncovered yet another bond between us. May I understate that you are quite special indeed?
Lovingly, Paula

Posted by: Paula Kirkpatrick at June 6, 2006 12:51 AM

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