I want to tell the following story with humor, but I’m really not a humorist. Just know the humor is not lost to me even though it was anything but funny when I was dealing with it.
I’ve been on .45 mg of Risperdal lately. That’s down from .75 mg when I started working with my new doc about three months ago. In addition to that I’ve cut down the Lamictal from 125 mg to 90 mg. As you all know I’m doing much, much better in spite of cutting down the meds extremely quickly. We did not start to taper meds immediately when I started working with her—what I’ve just said may not seem quick, but if you follow standard protocol as laid out by Breggin, for example, I’m moving extremely quickly. Remember, I’ve been on these meds for 20 years and going extremely slowly is in general very important. The difference here is that I’ve found an incredibly gifted physician who knows a whole lot more than anyone I’ve met about healing the body and so I’m moving a bit more quickly.
In any case a couple of days ago my doctor recommended that I cut the Risperdal an additional .01 mg every other day for a total of .05 mg in 6 days. As you might imagine, if you bother thinking about it, I have all sorts of equipment to allow for making minute tapers. I’ve been using a syringe without a needle to measure the liquid Risperdal. It’s a dual use syringe. One side has cubic centimeters and the other has milliliters. It’s intended to be used with a needle which I’ve removed. I’ve been using that instead of the syringe made for the Risperdal because it has much smaller increments and I believed it was easier to measure tiny amounts.
In any case I was supposed to be taking .45 ml as one milliliter is equal to one milligram.
Yesterday I asked my husband to help me make a mixture of the Risperdal liquid with water so that I could easily measure the tiny .01 mg amount. As we began figuring out the math involved in doing such I realized that I had been using the wrong side of the syringe—the cc side rather than the ml side. At first this led me to believe that I was actually taking .725 mg of Risperdal rather than the .45 mg.
As this slowly sunk in and my husband tried to reassure me and figure out what to do next I slowly had a panic rise inside of me. I had switched to liquid when I got to .75 mg with pills so what I was facing was the thought that I had actually switched to a higher dose and that after taking two months to make tapers I was actually now on approximately the same dose I had switched to when starting the liquid. I actually got hysterical.
I’ve been doing very well and I’m busy every day now and I go out and I feel good. But, alas, I still suffer from horrible PMS and yesterday my PMS symptoms had kicked in. The whole day had been difficult, though I was still very active and got a lot done I was irritable and feeling mildly helpless because I simply can’t figure out how to deal with the PMS. It gets extremely frustrating. I’m figuring it will probably have to wait until I’m off all meds as the meds mess with hormones along with all the rest of their bad effects.
Anyway, I had a rising panic in me. There are no words for what I was feeling, but slowly the realization that I was on a lot more Risperdal than I had thought sunk in. I felt as though I had been tricked in a cruel way. It was like a vampire was upon me or that I had just ingested a large quantity of poison. I worked so hard to get to this point and now I was back where I was three months ago. Considering I’ve been withdrawing from meds for 4 years and it feels like forever and that I have the unfortunate attitude that my life will begin once I’m off the drugs I was devestated. I balled like a baby. My husband held me and when I had done I asked him if I could scream. He left the room and I let out a huge scream. Just one but that felt better.
We called my doctor and she said not to worry that this is the sort of thing that it’s very easy to mess up on. She asked us to figure out exactly what I was taking in milligrams. Paul pulled out my multiple syringes and started working with water to determine what I was taking.
I’m not sure I can explain exactly what we discovered, but the syringe that comes with the Risperdal works differently than a syringe with a needle that I’ve been using. Syringes with needles create a bubble of air that when using a needle you shoot out and lose a bit of the drug. I haven’t been able to do this so I’ve been ignoring the bubble. This means I’ve actually been taking less than the .45 cc mark. But in addition to that when my husband started measuring the quantities with three different syringes I have it turns out that the one I was using wasn’t accurate and low and behold I”ve been taking .4 mg of Risperdal!!
All my hysteria was for not.
I see the humor in that, but I don’t know how to write with humor. I am, of course, greatly relieved. I have lost no ground and in fact gained a bit. But even if I had lost ground, the fact that I was so ill equipped to deal with what would have been a relatively small set back gives me pause. Again I have to visit the idea I so often talk about. Acceptance. It would have been okay had I messed up. Had I had to cut down to .4 mg again.
Sometimes I’m so delicate.
I asked my doc the other day about the PMS. Years ago when I was first treated nutritionally for PMS, before I got on my drug odyssey diet and nutrition cured me. But then I went down the road I’m still on and I lost all the gain I’d made on the psychiatric meds. My doc said the longest standing problems are usually the last to go. I’m on a diet and nutritional regime that should help my PMS, but chances are the meds have wreaked additional havoc on my hormones, adrenal system and all. I’ve had bad PMS since I was 16 years old. The PMS may very well pass as I continue my healing journey with this doc.
And if it does not, once off all the meds I will seek out traditional Chinese Medicine because I have several friends and acquaintances that have had great outcomes with hormonal issues with that modality. For now I’m stuck with feeling crappy for the next week and a half. At least I’m still up and about, driving and being productive.
It’s still a rocky journey, but I’m extremely optimistic. I don’t know if it shows when I write a post like this. I am getting better and better. It’s just I still get frustrated a lot. Acceptance. Acceptance. Acceptance.