I need justice, I need justification for what my psychiatrist is doing to me, just give me one good reason why I should be put in the hospital again.
I was discharged because I promised to retake meds because while in the hospital the side effects were not as bad and I thought great, this time they got the medication right. I do believe in medicine, if not I wouldn’t have stayed on meds for so many years. I was misdiagnosed as schizophrenic when I walked into the psychiatric ward of the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney at the age of 21, feigning madness because I was paranoid thinking that I could get asylum there - I thought the communists were after me and my loved ones, an idea I tried to discard for 50 years. I had this vicious cycle - mania, paranoia then depression. But no psychiatrist had asked me about this vicious cycle of mine. This cycle repeated itself each time I had a relapse. They just put me on meds, and the side effects were horrendous - I was feeling afraid and I didn’t even have the confidence to cross the road. Then at the age of 30, I had another relapse, I was on meds. This time I did something terribly wrong, I attempted suicide because I could no longer stand those side effects. Luckily, I was saved but the repercussions stay with me all the time, but I decided then that I will never give up on myself again no matter how difficult things are. And I kept on taking those meds. So, I’m telling you I do believe in medications, I will take medications if they will bring me good health.
When I migrated here some thirty years ago, I kept on seeing a psychiatrist and it was he who told me I was not schizophrenic, I am bipolar. So have been taking other kinds of meds. I struggled for some time with the side effects until my psychiatrist decided to put me on Olanzapine. It was good, I could function. Then after some years, the side effects were apparent, what concerned me was I could not walk properly, I had the tendency to fall. The psychiatrist sent me to a neurologist twice within two years, who said it wasn’t bad enough as I didn’t fall while walking in the street!!! So I stayed on the meds diligently. Until I got a chance to know someone from Hong Kong who is bipolar as well and she has not been taking meds for years now and she is still ok, doing lots of voluntary work on mental health in Hong Kong. I remember clearly that in a talk I gave (invited by the Kowloon Hospital) I was asked that since I had recovered why should I still be taking meds? I clearly remember what I said, don’t stop taking the meds until the doctors have told you to. This was my belief.
Ever since I was involved in voluntary work on mental health I study about mental illness which was why I minor in psychology at Uni. I continue studying about mental health after I graduated in 2009. It took me 9 years to finish the BA but it had done me so much good I have goals in life and I have motivation and that year my depression left me for good. In 2016 I become a grandmother for the first time, the joy was immense. But the side effect of not being able to balance has gone worse, I was afraid to hold my grandson fearing that I would fall and hurt him. After a short trip to Hong Kong and a rest (my husband and I were helping out my daughter after she gave birth and it was quite tiring for me and I thought it was because I was tired so the balance was even worse). But my condition had not improved. I went to my ex-GP seeking help and she didn’t offer any constructive plan, so I began to cut down on the meds secretly. I had a plan. I monitored my well-being and documented my mood, my sleep during that whole period as I knew I had to seek guidance from a psychiatrist at the right time and my journal will be useful. I am not impulsive each time I decide to do things about my side effects, I plan it which is why I monitor my well-being each time I cut down on dosages and after I’ve stopped the meds. Anyway, what happened since then is a long story which I had put down in a long poem and I am not going to repeat it here. This time again I document my situation in my journal and I use facts to sustain my argument to make my stand on my mental health issues. I understand psychiatrists use facts too, but I am the one who experiences it all. I listen to messages sent from my body, these are facts too because they are based on my physical reactions. These should be considered. I am not using imagination, I am using facts, please have an open mind and not to use the ‘one-size-fits-all’ method to force me into a treatment that does not do anything to help except bring disaster to my life.
After stopping the meds most of the side effects have gone, but not all yet. It took me more than 8 weeks that time I stopped meds to have all the toxicity removed from my body and I could function perfectly. The blood tests after each stopping of the meds have always been good, everything goes back to normal, does that not mean something?
They said I won’t be able to take stress once I’ve stopped the meds. Well, do you think this is not stressful for me? It is much more serious stress than stress from doing anything else for me. This is a trauma for me and yet I handle it very well. I did not let it take me over. I am still living my life, doing all the things I love to do and keep working on my plans. I have come to the point when all these threats of putting me back in the hospital no longer frightened me. As I said I am prepared for the worst and life goes on. What I’m doing now and aim to do is very valuable. So I’ll be in the hospital, but I can still work from there; there’s this wonderful thing as the internet, I can practically carry on what I’m doing except I do not have a piano to work on my music, but I believe I still can compose music, I’ve got the app to do it. Let them bring on whatever, I am prepared!