I like ranting. Here’s a rant.
Took my father to his doctor’s appointment, had to prevent a physical fight between them, walked out with nothing to gain and nothing to lose.
It started when the doctor asked him “what medications are you on? You say you’re taking four, but there’s five listed here, so which one aren’t you on?”
Obviously, my father can’t remember, he has short term memory loss. He asked the doctor to simply list all of the medications, and we’d tell him which one was the one he wasn’t on anymore.
The doctor said the first medication. Asked him if he was on it. My father asked him again to just list all of the medications. The doctor said the second medication. Asked him if he was on it.
The tension in the room expanded, so much it was squishing me against the fucking wall. My eyes were popping out of my head, that’s how powerful the tension was. Finally the doctor got up, got a printed copy, and we told him which medication he wasn’t on.
Then he assumed my father was still drinking daily. My father hasn’t had a drink in almost a year now. He told him drinking didn’t help his high blood pressure. He told him smoking didn’t either–all these things someone with an addiction knows. My father told him he knew that. The doctor kept pressing his advice. He also kept saying “I’m just paid to give advice man, you can listen to it or not”.
At one point, to scare my father, he said “You’re more likely at this point to die from a stroke than a heart attack.”
He said “We have two options. Either we add another medication to see if we can help your blood pressure, or we start to work on life changes”.
My father said “no medication”.
The doctor said “well, then let’s start by quitting the sauce”. (i.e, drinking).
Because that’s something someone wants to hear when they are obviously agitated, frustrated with their health problems, and not feeling like they’re getting the help they want. This shit continued. At one point I had to step in, because they were getting heated. The doctor wasn’t listening to my father and my father wouldn’t listen to him. At one point the doctor went to listen to his lungs and my father basically blew air hard in his face and got ready to hit him. I asked what was fueling his defensiveness, that something was going on (even though I already knew what) and my father gestured to the doctor angrily. He said he didn’t like his attitude and the way he was “stepping” to him.
I said “You’re feeling attacked.”
He said, “No, it’s not that, I’m not being listened to”.
The doctor said “well I am feeling attacked and I’m going to say I don’t want to see you anymore.”
That was the end of the appointment.
I have blamed my father for a lot of his doctor appointments going awry. And I am positive had I not just participated in Motivational Interviewing, I would have blamed him for this too.
Oh I was angry. I was so pissed off. So I removed myself and I thought for a moment and I went over it and on the way home my father and I had a very good conversation without one argument–that’s the first time, by the way. I didn’t blame him, I didn’t judge him, and I didn’t blame the doctor or judge the doctor either.
I used to think my father just hated doctors because he didn’t believe he had health problems. I thought he hated doctors because they were in an authority position. It’s odd I never thought to have a conversation around what he really felt towards them. He said he felt the guy was 1) telling him things he already knew 2) preaching too much 3) saying “it’s how I say it is (or how the medical team says it is), or it’s nothing at all” 4) not listening.
What made me realize I have been judging him for quite some time now was when I said “you weren’t getting the kind of help you really wanted” and he said “No. And I want help, I know I need to see a doctor, I know I need to get this under control. But I need someone who is going to listen and take time to understand”.
And that said a lot to me. Because I thought he was always in denial. He’s not in denial. That’s what I get for thinking instead of conversating.
It wasn’t really a matter of either person being in the wrong. But it would have made a difference had the doctor took a moment, stepped away from his “role” for a moment, and said, “I’m sensing a lot of discomfort/hostility/agitation/e.t.c; tell me about it.”
When we got home, my father said the same thing. He said “all he had to say was ‘hey man, let’s take a moment here because you’re really agitated, what’s going on?”.
My father got his G.E.D when he was in his thirties. He’s went to jail for a year on a robbery charge he didn’t do. He was stabbed 6 times in the back by a group of people, he’s done every drug except heroin, the mother of his first child (NOT ME) refused to let him see the child so he slit his wrists, he’s had a heart attack, multiple, multiple seizures, he was raised with 6 brothers and 1 sister, one of his brothers got murdered, he didn’t meet his father until he was 21 and his father passed from alcoholism at 56, his childhood wasn’t much of a childhood (abuse disguised as “discipline”) and I was raised how he was raised.
He has no college degrees, struggles reading and spelling, couldn’t do math to save his life, and isn’t very connected to the modern era. But it took him five seconds to realize all that doctor needed to do was take a moment, reflect some feelings, and connect on a human level.
I stand by the argument I’ve always had: having a medical degree, or college degree, means nothing. It’s how you use it.
Happy 4/20. Anyone celebrating? Dabbin’ it up? Tokin’? Post stories below.
On a more serious note . . .
I’d like to connect with all of you out there who have had some sort of trauma in your life, any kind. If anyone is willing to share their story (email or comment, I don’t care), I’d be really interested in hearing when you first really, really realized you were being/ had been mistreated or abused and how important that was in your journey onward.
From what I’ve experienced in the last few days is that it’s like having new eyes. It’s like bringing a half circle to a close.
Many of you are aware I’ve been writing for what seems like centuries. Many of you are aware I write more often than I speak. Many of you are not aware that when someone else reads my writing in front of me, I cringe a little. Many of you are not aware that when they read it out loud, I have to physically cover my ears and leave the room.
I always thought this was an anxiety thing. I’ve been anxious since I could form a conscious memory (about 5 years old), so everything is anxiety, right?
Oh how fucking wrong can I get?
Speaking to a stranger on the internet last night, I came to a very sudden realization that my writing is tied to freedom: freedom of ideas, of opinions.
When I was a child, I was inexplicably taught (verbally, physically, emotionally) that children–or at least, me–should be seen and never heard. I wasn’t allowed to voice an opinion. When I did, I was met with “you just think you know everything and you know nothing”. I was met with “I didn’t ask you.” I was ignored, I was talked/shouted over, I was bullied verbally and physically into silence. I still am met with that.
So when I’m in groups or class or even one-on-one with someone, I’m also met with that familiar anxiety “Symptom” of a blank mind. I was told when I was a child this was because I have an over-active amygdala. I was told that was due to high serotonin levels. So they gave me medications to lower the serotonin. That was before the study showed LOW levels of serotonin also contributed to anxiety. Pointless.
Anyway, I can confidently say now this is not the main cause of my blank mind.
Because even when I’m not anxious, my mind goes blank. Even among people I’m generally comfortable with, my mind goes blank. Why?
Well, it’s been taught not to begin a thought because that thought will only get shot down. I’m wrong all the time. No one will care what I have to say, so it’s not worth saying. Everyone else’s thoughts are greater than mine. Only speak when you’re spoken to. If someone “doesn’t ask you” about yourself, your life, your opinion, your anything, don’t talk about it because they don’t want to hear it.
I don’t consciously think those thoughts, I never have. But somewhere in this brain of mind it’s being thought the moment I’m put in a situation where analysis and opinion are encouraged. People can say “Feel free” to give input all they want: it’s not going to make me feel free because I haven’t been free–I haven’t been free because I didn’t recognize what I was taught, how I was treated, wasn’t what everyone else is taught or how they were treated.
I am 21 years old and I have never seen conflict resolved without violence, not until I started working at the respite house. Conflict, in my head, was always resolved through violence, arguments, and then never revisited again–apologies? What are those? Consensus? What does that even mean?
I subconsciously thought that was how things were supposed to be.
This has been a hard revelation for me. It’s been hard because it brings up a lot of things from the past and it makes me see many things in the present that are still the same. It’s been hard because I now realize how deep seeded this is and how much effort I will have to put in, not to mention courage, to step away from this kind of subconscious oppression of myself.
It won’t happen over night. I’m not going to be able to step into my next class or team meeting or training or practice group or conference and integrate into the crowd just because I’ve had a fucking revelation.
Does anyone else with a troubled childhood/ abusive childhood find themselves oppressing themselves without knowing it, just because it’s what you were used to? I have a feeling I’m not alone in this.
Back to the point. When people read my writing out loud, what they’re reading are the only free thoughts I’m allowed to have. Silent ones, but free nonetheless. When I hear them out-loud, I must be subconsciously expecting what happened in the past to happen in the present. I will walk away, snatch the words from them, make noise to overpower their voice, whatever I have to do not to hear my own thoughts out loud. This goes for fiction writing, non-fiction writing, any kind of writing.
I’m silencing myself.
That’s a hard thing to swallow. I’m not sure where I’m going to go from here. Within the last two days I’ve basically taken my entire life, cracked it open with a hammer, dumped all the contents out into a pile, and kicked them across the room.
If anyone out there has had a similar experience or major revelations regarding the traumas of their past, my email is list on this page. Please send one. You don’t have to share anything you don’t want to. Any stories, one-liners, comments, whatever, I just need to know this is the beginning of something that will better my life in the long run, and I need to know it’s a process we all have to go through at some point.
The FDA had approved Fanapt and Saphris four or five years before I did a post on them two years ago. Let’s recap. Please. Let’s.
You should sense some tension in that first sentence. If you don’t, then I’ll just tell you: there’s tension in that first sentence.
Treatment target: people labeled with schizophrenia.
Two clinical studies got this drug FDA approved. One was a six-week study, one was a four-week study.
In the six-week study (42 days) there were 706 people. Let’s keep in mind that the minimum amount of days for a clinical trial to be considered relevant is 30. Three long term efficacy trials were conducted at once (source). Each individual trial lasted ten weeks. That’s “long term”. I wonder how long those of you who have been put on Fanapt have been on it at this point. If my sarcasm hasn’t been evident yet, look harder.
Fanapt was concluded to have the same long term efficacy of HALOPERIDOL.
Fanapt is an atypical anti-psychotic, meant to have a lower risk of EPS and Tardive Dyskinesia (TD). Whether or not that’s true is up for debate. Haloperidol is a first generation anti-psychotic. It’s infamous for EPS and TD. Why? It’s been around longer.
Both are the same level of “effective” (whatever that means). How much between first-generation and second-generation has changed, then?
The four week study had 604 guinea pigs. This study was 28 days. They must have done it in February. A loop-hole? “We can’t control the days in the month, this should be an acceptation to the rule, waa, waa, waa, cry, cry, whine, whine until we get our way”. That’s what they do. Remember Alex Gorskey?
Fanapt had similar efficacy to the control antipsychotic used in the study.
Let’s move on.
Treatment target: People labeled with schizophrenia, in a manic episode, or a mixed bipolar 1 episode.
Oh this is rich.
This study agrees the effects are minimal, if they exist at all in terms of Saphris.
Three short-term studies got this approved for schizophrenia. Each 6 weeks. Listen . . . my laughter is making it impossible to type. Okay, okay listen to this:
- Controls: Haloperidol (the 2nd chemical lobotomy), Olanzapine (Zyprexa; Atypical), risperidone (Risperdal; Atypical).
- 174 lab rats
- Conclusion: Saphris was superior to the placebo (i.e, sugar pill). I think this deserves a standing ovation. Or should we wait until the end? Let’s wait until the end.
- 448 enslaved
- 5mg dosage twice a day was apparently superior to the placebo (let’s clap for this, fantastic, good job, amazing), but 10mg twice daily did not surpass the placebo. Something is weird about that.
- The drug could not in any way be distinguished from the placebo. One of the active-controls (probably ‘the chemical lobotomy’ again) was superior in every way. Whatever superior even means to these people.
Let’s breathe and, as promised, stand and clap and whistle if you can. Why am I bringing all of this up? Why am I digging up old news like it was your childhood kitty cat who’s been buried under the rosebush by the fence? Well, let’s think about it.
They put so much effort into pushing out antipsychotic after antipsychotic (i.e, Invega) and recycling the same drug labeled with a new name (Haldol vs Fanapt/Saphris) that they have to start creating drugs to fix their first mistakes: the lifetime effects of TD.
The FDA, this month, right now, approved the first drug for TD. It’s called : Ingrezza (valbenazine). I found this out, of all places, from NAMI’s twitter.
Let’s do this one more time, shall we?
- Side effects: So far, one: Somnolence (drowsiness). Let’s give it a few years.
- 234 unfortunate souls with TD and “underlying schizophrenia”, whatever that means.
- The group which took Ingrezza showed a “statistically significant change” in their TD symptoms versus the Placebo which is all they have to compare this to at this point.
I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again: it’s pretty much the motto of this website at this point; I’m not anti-medication. I’m not anti-psychiatry. I’m anti-stupidity. And this is stupid. It’s stupid because we all know very well when a drug is made to treat something, that drug–when coming off it–will exacerbate the something. That leaves you trapped, regardless of the side effects. And when you’re trapped, you feel helpless. And when you feel helpless, you’re reminded how sick you are even if you’re not sick. When you believe you’re sick, you limit yourself. When you limit yourself, these companies make billions and you make an indent in your couch.
You should be used to my bluntness by now. I shave it down for no one, and I never will.
If this drug does what it says it does, and it can “cure” the people who have been damaged by drugs like Haldol, wonderful. I’m going to count on that not being the case. I will count on it making a good 200 billion dollars though.
I’m looking for the logic here. So much effort into the production of antipsychotics, so little effort into the dynamics of the mental health system. I’m willing to take a huge, very educated guess and say that many people on anti-psychotics could, with proper support and belief and understanding of themselves, live without anti-psychotics as a daily ritual. Sometimes I don’t know how I do it, but I do. The more people who are able to do so, who are supported and not oppressed, the less TD there will be, the less need there will be for new TD drugs.
Neurocrine Biosciences, if you’d like a cure for TD, there you go. Need more information? Hit me up at 1-800-DELUDAMOL. I’m sure you’re familiar with the number.