Last night was my first Risperdal free night. I’m done with 15 years and 11 mg of Risperdal.
I’ve also come off of stimulants, anti-depressants, Seroquel and half my Lamictal dose. I have 3 mg of Klonopin and 200 mg Lamictal to go. It’s been three years since I started. I’m more than half way done. My tentative goal is to finish in the next 6 to 8 months.
I’m not celebrating about the end of the Risperdal yet, but I’m very optimistic. I slept four hours last night. The night before five hours with a couple of naps during the day. I don’t do well at all with less than 9 or 10 hours. I’m exhausted and fatigued and somewhat sick. I’ve had no appetite for the past couple of weeks and get nauseous when I eat. I’m not well. These are withdrawal symptoms.
On the other hand after two years of struggle I finally and truly cut out caffeine. It’s been a month now, save one day. My PMS/PMDD seems to be almost non-existent. This is truly amazing. Perhaps not surprising as I’ve known for a long time that caffeine is a great offender in all things mental health, but damn it was my last hold out. I just couldn’t do it for so long. I’m pretty damn pure now. I can pretty much say I have no vices. None that I put in my mouth in any case.
The dietary changes were easy for me. Not sure why. No sugar, no refined flours or grains, no processed foods. No alcohol came pretty easy as my body started refusing it—I didn’t choose to stop—it just started making me sick. No cigarettes finally came easy too. They progressively made me feel sick and it was obvious. I was off and on them once I started the withdrawals (I had quit for about 3 years before) and each time I started I felt much worse within a few days. Again in the end it wasn’t a choice. And finally the caffeine—just a month out now without it. I had one cup of green tea about 6 or 7 days ago and I paid for it for 2 days–with nasty ass PMS symptoms. It’s pretty easy to make a connection at this point. And now none of it is really a choice anymore. I can feel everything I put in my body. It’s a super sensitive machine. Now that I know what offends it, how can I willingly put any of it in my mouth anymore?
This has been an evolution. I did not do it over night. This is one of the reasons radical lifestyle changes are not truly encouraged. They may be mentioned, but they are not encouraged. It’s not easy. It takes time and commitment and if mental health professionals are clueless about it all and on top of it eat like shit themselves they are in no position to help a client make better choices. And because it’s an evolution everybody’s process has to be honored and respected. Bottom line not everyone can get where I am. It comes from something internal. It’s almost like faith. Religion. And like any other faith you can’t force it down anyone’s throat and it’s extremely important that everyone’s process is respected. I’d like the opportunity to help people make these choices some day—if they want to.
There is a new mental health organization in my town. It offers alternatives and does not expect people take drugs. I don’t know too much about it, but I occasionally fantasize working there as a social worker (or a nutritionist–if I go back to school), as in my past life and being “out” and helping people make healthy decisions if they choose to. Being part of a system that offers complete and total informed consent complete with alternatives which is usually missing when people are talking informed consent. In most people’s minds informed consent usually just means letting people know the dangers and limitations of drugs, but there is so much more. Alternatives abound. Without mention of alternatives it’s not informed consent. Without the real option to refuse drugs and make other choices for healing it’s not informed consent.
And my process is not complete. I still have meditation to add. I’m in process there too and I’m doing it. I’ve meditated off and on for years. I know how to do it. I know that ultimately I will do it regularly. I’ve started Qi Gong classes which is a movement meditation. Though I’ve just started, I can sense it’s power. I do both Qi Gong movement and meditation with my teacher. I will be patient with myself with this lifestyle change too. The discipline will come just as it did with all things dietary. It’s all a matter of intention. It comes with intention. I feel vaguely powerful.
My path is not for everyone. People achieve recovery in different ways. I know this and deeply respect it. I know, however, that my path is for some people and I hope to share it broadly beyond this blog someday. Even if beginning that only means working in a mental health clinic one person at a time.