We all have our daily battles. For some of us they are all-consuming and require every ounce of energy we have. Lately, I’ve been battling the effects of medication used to control the hallucinations I have.
I’ve had hallucinations in one form or another since age five. Initially, it was a boy I named simply “Little Boy.” Later, my mind would add other people, noises and voices. As the number and type grew, I adapted. By the time I was in my twenties I had a full selection of hallucinations to deal with. And I did okay. Of course, I couldn’t see how it all might be impacting my life – all I did know was I didn’t want to be diagnosed as “crazy,” or “insane.” So I battled them daily and kept it all to myself.
When my case originated I began to see a psychologist regularly and began working on me. I had to admit I had issues with hallucinations. I was 52 years old. At that time, the psychologist tried to convince me to go on medication but I said no. Why? Because I couldn’t imagine life without the hallucinations that had become part of me and colored my life – literally.
Then came prison.
Prison life in a low security institution is not at all like the TV shows portray. It’s more like a highly dysfunctional high school campus populated by criminals and the behaviors of most of them would convince you they were of high school age. Yet, there is occasional violence and there are drugs and addicts using them and there is pornography and people using it. Frankly, there was nothing in my life through my 52 years that prepared me for life inside. It’s hard living in here and I became emotionally and mentally overloaded. So I made a decision to step closer to the edge.
I decided to try medications to eliminate the hallucinations and allow myself to both survive the stimuli of prison and to see what life without the hallucinations was like.
Geodon is used to treat schizophrenia and its associated hallucinations. It eliminated almost all of my hallucinations leaving me with a few annoying ones but nothing of consequence. Life improved. That was a little over two years ago. But time on medications used to treat mental illness come with a price: short and long terms side effects; some of which can cause permanent changes in the body.
Recently, I’ve been battling severe dizziness and blood sugar issues. Both are debilitating, and for me, alarming. Of the two, the blood sugar issue was the greater concern. Iimagine my horror when I found out that Geodon can CAUSE diabetes!
I made a new decision: I stepped back from the edge.
I’m going off the Geodon. I’m ramping down now and I’m preparing myself for the likelihood that most, if not all, of the hallucinations will return. It’s an unknown and I have concerns and fears and chief among those is: will life with hallucinations, now that I’m acclimated to life in prison, be as challenging as it was upon my arrival here? I made this change because my body can’t be sacrificed in an attempt to live a “normal” life. The benefits no longer outweigh the risks and impacts
If you have experience with going off a psychometric medication I’d love to hear from you. Drop a note here.
As life changes again for me I’ll post updates. Maybe I, and you, can help someone reading this blog.
P.S. You can read my previous blog posts regarding psychometric medications here:
Better Living Through Chemistry and Better Living Through Chemistry, Phase 2