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Re: Switching from Seroquel to Geodon (weight loss)

Posted by Athene on September 22, 2014, at 0:29:12

In reply to Re: Switching from Seroquel to Geodon (weight loss) Athene, posted by SLS on September 21, 2014, at 21:11:25

Hi Scott,

I would rather not be on any drugs, but I was forced onto them by being hospitalized for what was considered mania. It all started in 2002 and then 2004, when I got into extreme states - not sleeping, believing I was on mystical quests, thinking I would be able to stop wearing my glasses and not be near-sighted, talking to strangers about my ideas, talking a lot, wandering, believing I was in touch with the universe, solving the equations that would usher in a new era, etc. The first couple times were joyful and positive, although underneath that was a sadness/worry for the world, but after I was hospitalized for the first time in 2002 (forcibly secluded, held down and injected, drugged up to my eyeballs), my future "extreme" experiences (2005, 2007, several times between 2008 and 2010 that I can't even keep track of) started having more rage and terror, wanting to sleep but being unable to, being socially disruptive, having business ideas instead of mystical ideas, dissociating, feeling like I was about to die, etc. I was never dangerous to anyone, never suicidal or violent, but the Mental Health Act around here let me be hospitalized for "danger of deterioration".

From 2002 until 2007, I was only on drugs in the short times I was hospitalized. The rest of the time, I would feel numb and shut down, confused, blank-minded, and sometimes sad, though at times a good conversation or a certain relationship would lift my spirits for a few hours. I was especially messed up after my first (highly traumatic) hospitalization. Yet I could go to school and work at times. I graduated from a degree program while not on any medication. I also had more personality than after I was medicated.

After being placed on psych drugs permanently (and keeping me on them required them to hold me in the hospital until they broke my will), I didn't go to school anymore or work, for a long time. I tried several combinations of so-called "mood stabilizers"/"antipsychotics" and felt flat and dead all the time. Adding antidepressants never made me feel better, just hyper or unable to sleep. The years between 2007 and 2010 were the worst for number of hospitalizations, probably because I was still trying activating drugs like Wellbutrin and lamotrigine.

Then in 2011, I started taking more charge of my life again, despite feeling zombied out by Seroquel. I held down a professional job (software developer) for 15 or 16 months and volunteered a lot more, on gradually lowering Seroquel doses. But I still felt crappy and zombified.

I had a long stretch out of the hospital between Dec 2010 and July 2013, the longest stretch since being diagnosed in 2002, despite being on fewer psych drugs than in the past. Despite having troubles concentrating and apathy, I did some language courses at the university. I wanted to get off Seroquel then because although it kept me calmish (or zombified, however you look at it), the weight gain was already a big problem. When I tried going off of it gradually in 2012 and 2013, I re-experienced panic, rage, shame, isolation feelings, etc. Eventually I found myself in panic attacks that would last from night until morning, so I couldn't sleep and would hang out with people on the street just to feel safe (ironically, my bed scared me). I was also really worried about not having a career (I never enjoyed software development), so I was trying to make a go at selling at a flea market. At times I felt like a soldier in a war zone, trying to survive while parts of my brain were shutting down. It was not a case of not feeling like I needed sleep - I wanted it desperately, but was terrified. Then my behaviour became chaotic, they called me "manic" again, and I was again dragged to hospital. At other times in the past I have had episodes of stroke-like paralysis, which I now think were psychogenic from being terrified.

I don't have a PTSD diagnosis, but I believe that my problems stem from complex trauma growing up and subsequent attachment problems, which were then exacerbated by psychiatric hospitalization, seclusion, injection, and being put in the ghetto of mentally ill. I was bullied viciously all through elementary school, was very lonely, and at age 10 decided to shut down my feelings and be like Mr. Spock. Eventually I grew more and more lonely, but without anyone to talk to, I was like a desert island. I thought intellect could save me, but eventually the emotional storm came through. At least that's how I see it.

I know what my problems "look like" on the outside, though. I know I "look" like I have "bipolar", but none of the stuff that was supposed to work for "bipolar" actually helped. Lithium and divalproex were terrible, divalproex especially bad (terrible akathisia).

Last Sept (2013), after getting out of the hospital, I found my current therapist, and the work we are doing is the only thing that has really helped. From the very first time I saw her, I felt like someone finally saw me as a person. The work is very body-oriented, very intuitive, nothing at all like the CBT that never helped me. Sometimes I yawn, or sigh, or shake, or find my legs kicking, my mouth trembling, tears coming out. This is what Peter Levine (*Waking The Tiger*) considers to be trauma discharge - getting the body out of freeze, fight or flight. After my body has this discharge, I feel freer emotionally, and can actually experience happiness, connection, contentment, curiousity, relaxation, etc. I never had any of that for years and years. It used to be either on (overactivated/terror/rage) or off (frozen). I just learned to call that "mania" or "depression", but the labels never quite fit internally.

I have never asked to be formally diagnosed as having PTSD, and the doctors seem to want to just keep calling it "bipolar". Plus, the way I see trauma has more to do with the effects on one's physiology than definitions of severe and terrifying experiences, though I've certainly had plenty of those. That's why I just say "trauma", not PTSD.

I would only hope that another psych drug would make me feel about as yucky as I do on Seroquel, but let me lose weight. I don't have high expectations. My last year of therapy has helped me more than any drug ever did. I just don't want to rock the boat and end up in a spiral of freak-out/insomnia and back in the hospital.

Sorry for the length of this post; it's hard to boil down my situation to a few sentences.





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