In the midst of a psychotic episode, whether the result of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, one of the main motivating factors in our jilted decisions is the imagined symbolism in meaningless circumstances or objects.
I can remember when I was out on the streets of New York and Boston, deep in the midst of a major psychotic episode. I was convinced I had a mission to bring peace to the world, and though I was destitute, I wandered around following signs and colors and motions of passersby convinced there was some deeper symbolism or meaning in these insignificant things.
When I was diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago, the first medication I took was called Abilify. It was a new drug, one that was supposed to protect against metabolic issues like gaining weight.
It would’ve been fine but it had a nasty side effect no one told me about — the constant, restless feeling of needing to move. I couldn’t sit still and I was so uncomfortable that I’d take miles-long walks every day just to ease the feeling. I felt like I was about to jump out of my skin.
Nobody has ever donated so much money dedicated to better understanding the foundations of mental illness.
The gift, announced earlier this week, is being made by Ted Stanley to his Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute to support its ongoing — and new — research into the genetic and molecular basis of psychiatric disorders.
When I was diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago it was like walking in a fog. I was lost in my delusions, I was confused about what was happening to me and I was trying to grapple with what exactly reality was.
My family was suffering too.
They had no background with mental illness and no frame of reference about what to expect with it.
I had asked for help a few times but they just thought my skewed thinking was a result of smoking marijuana and that once I stopped everything I would be fine. It didn’t click for them until after my first major episode, when they took me to the hospital and I was finally diagnosed.
In the eight years that I’ve lived with schizophrenia, I’ve seen good days and horrible days, I’ve had successes and I’ve had failures. But nothing can compare to the despair I felt in the first few months and years of living with the illness.
They say there are five stages of grief when you lose a loved one. I can tell you from personal experience that those five stages also exist and are just as intense when you’re told you’re crazy.
A delusion is defined as a firmly held belief or impression which is contradicted by reality or rational argument.
As a person with schizophrenia, I’m more than familiar with delusional thinking. A major part of my experience living with the illness has taught me to be wary of any thought I have which doesn’t seem entirely real.
People and professionals have long wondered whether there was a downside to giving away free samples of prescription drugs. Pharmaceutical companies keep doctors’ offices well-stocked on such free samples, so they obviously suspected it was a way to introduce patients to their brand and get them to come back for more. As paying customers.
Now a new study puts the matter to rest and explains why that “free” sample actually results in higher costs — for everyone.
I’ve long scratched my head at one of the arbitrary political lines drawn in the sand in the world of mental health and mental illness advocacy — “serious mental illness.” (Some people refer to it as “severe mental illness,” but the correct term is “serious.”)
Focusing on this division is a lie. It is a lie told to Congress and to the public with earnest testimonials. But also with little evidence that it represents a valid — or meaningful — scientific distinction.
So it goes with a small study of 28 patients in the UK who had severe clinical depression that didn’t respond to any previous treatments. Only 8 of them responded to ketamine infusions. Of those 8, only 4 actually remitted — meaning they had no depression at the end of the study.
Those are not great statistics for any treatment to hail as a success. Why the disconnect?
Part of his recovery involves helping people build their resilience and mental fitness as the Director of R U OK? In his book, Back From the Brink: True Stories and Practical Help for Overcoming Depression and Bipolar Disorder, he offers advice gleaned from interviews with 4,064 people who live with mood disorders.
He asked the respondents to rate the treatments they had tried and how much each had contributed to their recovery. Here’s what he found.