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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Slight Re-occurrence Of Extra Pyramidal Side Effects Can Bother Me Some Mornings
I still get the muscle contractions from my lower torso to mouth every now and again, they are called Extra Pyramidal Side Effects (EPSE) caused by prolong use of certain types of anti psychotic medications. It usually strikes in the morning, when I am waking up and having my first cigarette of the day along with my cup of tea, I am comfortable with just having the random bout of EPSE compared to what I went through in the past with EPSE. Just a little note about smoking, "Do Not Smoke cigarettes", they are a serious health hazard that I deal with! While working with the Research Psychiatrist at the Allan Memorial Institute, which is part of McGill Medical Services here in Montreal, I have learned more about the EPSE and how to try and prevent them from afflicting me randomly some days. Caffeine is the main culprit in our diet that has the tendency to enhance side effects of medication, thus I do my best to watch my caffeine intake. Having Coke and Pepsi in my diet was not helping me in any way at all, they are both high in caffeine. After having been advised to watch my consumption levels and try and wean myself away from the soft drinks as much as possible, I did some research myself on the Internet. Carbonated drinks can be more hazardous to our health than we realize, it is not good for our bones among other detemental side effects. Here I am a high volume consumer of fluids, that never drank much plain water, more water based drinks are consumed in my daily liquid consumption. At one point recently, when I had the EPSE really bad, I was drinking about 2 liters of Coke or Pepsi a day, while not knowing how bad it was for triggering the EPSE. With the Doctor's advise, I tried replacing the Coke and Pepsi with Ginger Ale or Spirite while trying to cut down on my overall carbonated drink consumption. With working from home as an Artist, it was too easy to refill a glass of a carbonated drink and I had to really work on myself to get out of the habit of drinking them. I do enjoy that glass of Coke or Pepsi every now and again but I am trying to stay away from it as much as possible to control my rare bouts of EPSE. What does one drink to try and stay away from caffeine? My much loved cup of orange peko tea has caffeine, so does coffee! It is like jumping from the pot into the fire trying to restrict caffeine consumption, especially as a high consumer of liquids like myself. Recently I have not being drinking coffee at home, for I do not have a taste for instant coffee like my room mate does. When I am out and around the City, I am first to buy my cup of flavoured coffee at one of Montreal's many coffee shops. I used to make ground coffee at home in a percolator or with a drip filter to make a single cup. My brother passed me his old coffee bean grinder and I got into grinding coffee beans to make that aromatic cup of coffee, which I have not done in a sometime but longing for again. So coffee and tea are next to impossible to get out of my diet, I do drink a green tea for a change every now and again. The caffeine is not as high but it still contains caffeine that I am trying to watch consumption levels of. Naturally my budget restraints hamper me from purchasing fruit punches and orange juice or lemon aid. The way I drink cold beverages lemon aid and orange juice can give me heart burn if I get into drinking too much of them in a short time period. The beverage that I can consume at the slowest rate seems to be beer at times but like the Psychiatrist said to me, "I do not want you to replace a Coke or Pepsi with beer". I will have a 1.18 liter bottle of beer or two at home on a Friday or Saturday night depending on my mood. A bottle can last me about three hours or so, while sipping on it when amusing myself with the computer or the arts, I used to drink quite a bit more than that when I was younger and partying more. Now it is just my end of the week bonus to have my beer during the evenings on the week ends. From taking beverages as I have mentioned, I feel I am reducing my caffeine consumption to some degree. Staying away from the Coke and Pepsi as much as possible is the largest cut in my daily caffeine levels and I am not missing it as much any more. I did not grow up on soft drinks and was not so prone to buying them when living alone, it became more of a bad habit drinking so much of the carbonated drinks when influenced by room mates. So here I am now, sticking to my guns and trying as much as possible not to take carbonated drinks for health reasons, while still having my high average daily liquid consumption.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Interacting In This Post With Two Readers, So Some Questions About Schizophrenia Are Answered, Along With Comment About Me Proving To Being Mis-leading While Writing
I have been in touch with two people that have been reading my blog, first a person that took an interest in my art, and second my cousin from the Southern United States of America. The first e-mail sent is Jan from Calgary, Canada, which is copied and pasted below:
E-Mail:

I read the latest entry in your blog and really enjoyed it. I admire you for your fighting spirit against all odds; and think you are very brave to speak out against the system. A system who's members/doctors/experts/practioners believe that years of book learning and lectures 'teaches' one about the workings of the human mind. If they are not open to listening/hearing and learning from people with the'condition', rather than from the words of tired professors and outdated textbooks, they can never accomplish 'helping' the people they call their patients. If they truly want to help improve people's lives they should realize they are not 'all knowing', and each person they treat can teach them something they never knew before. Treat the human being, not the unit sitting in a chair in front of them, so to speak. I think, more often than not, the people who seek improvement in a system are those whose lives are touched irevocably by the frustration of dealing with these medicos. Can their loved one get better? And if they can't, who stands up for them and protects them? Where do they turn to find out more? That's where you seem to be filling a void. You can't personally treat anyone, but you can help them 'maybe' understand -- and that's more than doctors seem able to do. People who have been touched by tragedy and pain, time and again watch their loved ones struggle, get worse, or go to their graves - with no one able to come up with a solution of any kind. The 'afflicted' suffer from neglect, worsened by indifference. They are allowed to slip away without a fight. Who will fight for them? I guess the fight is to the death, Doctor Goober. You have a lifetime to deal with this, and you are not alone. I can't say I know what you're going through, but I wish you could find someone who did. Are you eccentric? or is that another name for an individual with a unique point of view? In the mean time, keep moving forward - marching to the beat of your own drum.
Response:
Well am I eccentric? In some ways yes, it does not take a lot to make me happy and I can go off in my bumbling ways of creativity or how I take a stand on certain issues, I can be off the wall in another frame of approach to deal with a problem, this can make me come across as eccentric. The system is not always as cold as I may have portrayed it to be in my blog writings. I do have fond memories of the Staff that treated me, as they reached out in personalized ways. When I was in the Montreal General Hospital last and having to appear in Court for the "Court Ordered" injections, it was near the end of the month and I was going to spend my last $2.00 to get to Court, the attending Psychiatrist loaned me the return bus fare with a giving fatherly gaze of interest and tried for a year to get me an art grant for reproducing my apparitions/hallucinations. In the end, Birks House Artists seem to come out of it through the Montreal General Hospital's Out Patient Clinic, while the Hospital Staff are very out reaching, while supportive when I bump into them at my Music Sessions on the Ward. We very much grew as a unit, to get what was required for me to live a life that I deserve.
Part of second e-mail:
Now, for a list of numerous questions if you don't mind my asking. What sort of messages or purpose do you think your a/h are serving? How do you know they are of a religious nature? Are you aware when you are seeing an a/h that no-one else can see it, or do you have to inquire if anyone else sees it? If your meds don't stop the a/h, what do the meds help you with? Obviously some part of you believes you have schizophrenia, and some part of you doesn't? What part if any do you attribute to mental illness? Okay, that was a lot of questions, and I don't know if I have overstepped my boundaries, so I will close on that note and wait for your response.
Response:
The messages or purpose my apparitions/hallucinations seem to revolve around me maintaining a strong belief in my faith in a "Greater Power" or "Prime Mover", that has on occasion influenced human life. The a/h tends to make me somewhat mystical in nature and I view them as religious type apparitions because they seem to happen around items, buildings or people attached to Christianity. An example of this, is when I was uncomfortable in bed one night with my extra pyramidal side effects and got up to try and get some sleep on the sofa. While having the muscle contractions, a white light seemed to start glowing at the foot of the sofa where I was trying to rest. As I watched in my meditative fashion, the white light let it show me what it wanted to show me. Slowly but surely a ghostly image started to take shape. As it fully took it's form, in the out line and dept of shadow, it appeared to me as if the deceased Pope John Paul II was praying at the end of the sofa over me. While I was going through severe muscle contractions, I just tried to connect with the ghostly image and rested easy until I finally feel asleep. It was a type of religious experience at the time, as many of this type of thing is as it comes to me. I know that no one else is seeing what I am seeing due to the ghostly glowing type lights that I see. It is not like I will "hallucinate" a cigarette and go to reach for it when it is not there. When I was younger I have asked people on occasion if they see the ghostly light, when they could not I would drop the subject. What do the meds help me with? As my
Psychiatrist likes to put it, with the limited amount of medication that I take it, more or less takes the edge off so I stay relaxed when dealing with the subject matter. It also quelled emotions about the subject matter, when I was younger and did not have my place with it as of yet. It took time to evolve with the subject matter and the meds did help me from going into pyschotic states from trying to figure things out for myself too soon. As for believing that I am a person with schizophrenia and then part of me not believing. I now feel comfortable with the subject matter, even although I walk a picket fence between Science and God, thus I am now comfortable carrying the diagnosis at this stage in my life. I was not always easy with being referred to as a person with schizophrenia. The part of me that contributes to a mental illness is a mix between not being understood when I have taken part in my Shaman Antics, that semi psychotic state of discovery where a power of knowing a closeness to the spirit world comes alive. So my lovely cousin, I hope you got your answers to your questions and no you did not over step your boundaries, it was a pleasure finding the words to your keen interest in my condition and approach to it. I would like to thank the two readers I interacted with through my blog posting this time around, I hope it makes for good reading for interested parties.