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I figured out today that air from a fan or air conditioner directly blowing on me  triggers an anxiety attack.

This explains why when at a recent meeting I dissociated when the upright fan was continually blowing air my way. It was exactly the same fan we had at home when I was young.

Figuring out why this happens to me is the next piece of the puzzle.

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I know you are there;

I search deep within my soul;

To find another clue;

A smell, a piece of clothing, surroundings;

Anything to take me one step further to your face;

My eyes bore into nothingness;

Trying hard to draw a memory from my subconscious;

But I cannot;

Is it true that trauma has stopped me from remembering you, them or it?;

Or am I just clawing at something that is not there?;

It makes sense that you abused me as a child;

My behaviour today reflects the truth;

But my eyes and heart won’t let me see;

God, show me who you are and what you did;

So I can set myself free;

And heal my inner child.

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The information and opinions I have previously posted on the antipsychotic Zeldox (Ziprasidone) (also called Geodon) have been the most popular posts on my blog by far therefore I’ve decided to publish a link to all three posts so searchers can view the maximum amount of information and comments from other users of this drug to aid their research.  It is vital that the side effects and experiences of the users of Zeldox are made available for public viewing to educate users about the good and bad experiences of Zeldox use. 

I was recently reminded of some of the side effects I experienced while taking Zeldox when the usual lump in my throat started to form.  I can almost feel it protruding from the back of my neck.  I am certain that this lump was never present before my Zeldox use and it’s been around 24 months since I’ve been Zeldox free yet the lump in my throat regularly continues to be an ever-present pain in the neck!

I realise that a lump in the throat also referred to a choking or gagging sensation can be attributed to anxiety but my point is that I NEVER suffered such acute anxiety until I starting using Zeldox.

One thing I distinctly remember is when it drew close to the time  my next dose  of Zeldox was scheduled the lump would appear and it became increasingly prevalent UNTIL I swallowed that daily pill.

It would be easy for me to say that around 1.5 hours PRIOR TO  my scheduled Zeldox dose I would start to go into withdrawal.

The lump in my throat and just a general feeling of sickness would become noticeable to me whereupon waiting out the timeframe until my scheduled dose was due would become a constant struggle to ignore what was happening to my body. 

It would be easy to say that the side effects of Zeldox would have been one of the most difficult of medications for me to cope with.  I have heard it said many a time that the strength in mental illness sufferers lies in coping with the side effects of  their medications and for me and Zeldox, this rings true.

The tremors in my hands and legs together with slight head bobbing had me eventually diagnosed with probable tardive diskinesia – a condition arising from long-term anti-psychotic use (I was prescribed various antipsychotics over a two-year period before Zeldox was my final).  My tremors on Zeldox were so bad that I was shaking the whole bed when asleep.  I remember waking up one night thinking there was an earth quake before I realised it was only me! 

Some people have queried how long it took for the drug to leave my system.  Once I stopped the Zeldox the tremors DRAMATICALLY reduced however I still had mild  tremor issues for a good EIGHT MONTHS after ceasing this drug.

The problem with proving that medications cause permanent/long-term side effects in users is very difficult simply because there are not a lot of psychiatrists out there that will stand against the mental health system or each other.  Trying to prove that Zeldox caused my anxiety would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack not to mention the money tree I’d need to grow in the backyard to afford the legal fees.

Regardless, the best thing we can all do as consumers is make the world aware of how medications affect us.  Just because the side effect is not listed on the box, doesn’t mean it’s not a result of the drug you’re taking so please if you’re interested in reading more about Zeldox/Ziprasidone/Geodon then be sure to read my earlier posts on my experiences with the drug and the comments by readers are an ABSOLUTE MUST.

Here are the links to my other posts on my experiences with Zeldox/Geodon (Ziprasidone) for your ready reference:

  1. Zeldox & Anger
  2. Zeldox & After Effects
  3. Zeldox A Worker’s Antipsychotic – TOP POST 46 COMMENTS & CLIMBING
  4. WOW – I hate this drug

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I received an email yesterday and thought I’d share it with you together with my reply:

“Dear X,

My name is X. I am almost certain now that I was born with a mental illness. I was diagnosed when I was thirty-five I am now forty-one.

I realised something was wrong when I was sixteen,and so began my personal war,I have fought with everything I have.But upon reaching the age of thirty-five it became worse, last year I had a nervous break down and at the same time lost my job my partner and my daughter moved to X  ,though my daughter now resides in X  again.They tell me I have a chronic depressive anxiety disorder but to me these are just words,words from doctors who cannot even begin to imagine what I have been through and continue to experience every night and day.There words don’t describe the hallucinations I have when my condition worsens the thousands of nightmares I’ve had since I was a child and continue to have, the living your life-like a frightened animal,the frustration and pain that never seems to leave,the unending list of things I could describe to you.Last year something changed inside me I got so sick I could never have imagined my illness could strike me so hard,I got worse,again.I went somewhere last year and parts of me didn’t come back and I know those parts,whatever they are,are not coming back.I am an alcoholic now,I have trouble going to work,some times I can’t go because the nightmares are so severe it’s like not sleeping at all I can’t go out, when I’m not at work I don’t leave my residence very much only when i have to.I am liked, I have family and friends without them and the fact I have lived with this thing for so long i probably wouldn’t be here.I havn’t slept well for nearly two years the thought of having a girlfriend again is unimaginable to me now,losing the last one,whom i loved with all my heart,to stand back and watch my beautiful girl change from the most wonderful woman I’ve ever known into an abusive blindly selfish hypocrite,along with my illness nearly destroyed me.But I fought it even when I felt I had no fight left in me,I survived something so disgusting within myself,but I don,t know how I did it.

My apologies for rambling on,the reason I contacted you is.I was wondering if you could tell me where i might go to find others like me in X. I live between X  and X .I think sometimes it may help because no one I know has any idea at all,this I have learned.I do realise I don’t do enough to help myself,partly because a part of me has given up and doesn,t care anymore I’m tired and I’m scared and I’m sick of fighting myself and having to hide from the world because I’m different and because I feel like I don’t belong.Would appreciate anything. X. ”

MY REPLY:

“Hi X,
 
Sounds like you have a lot of issues from childhood. My thoughts are that most issues we have as adults stem from childhood anyway – especially addictions.
 
I can suggest that if you are an alcoholic or you have issues with your drinking then you really need to join AA. There you will find a great bunch of people trying to stop their addiction (or their demons) and working on their issues that stem back to childhood. AA is a program that works if you work at it. I am in other 12 Step Programs and my life was always unmanageable and full of depression and anxiety every day until I joined a 12 Step Program and realised where my thought patterns (self-defeating) came from.
 
If you get your drinking under control you can focus more on your depression and anxiety. Alcohol is a depressant, it will make you worse and will hamper any other drugs from working that you are taking for your mental illnesses. You might also want to get some counselling in conjunction with AA. Find a counsellor or psychologist who understands mental illness and addiction for you are self medicating.
 
You will always be living in a hole until you decide it’s time to get out.
 
First things first, go to an AA meeting X – there you will find hope. AA will teach you healthy ways of behaving and dealing with your problems/worries. You can get a sponsor, someone to call when you feel like a drink or simply just feel like hell. 
 
Good luck with it all, I am confident it will work for you. ”

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I was reading some Twelve Step literature yesterday and related to a member’s share about wishing themselves away to another place or wishing they’d never wake up.

I remembered when I was young and had returned home from staying at my grandparents or my aunt’s house that I’d try and wish myself back to where I’d been. I’d dream of being in the room where I slept or being around the people I’d been with. I’d want to be anywhere but at home with my parents.

As an adult I did that too. I often dreamed/fantasized I was in a sanitarium taking a break from all the pain in my life or in hospital where I could just forget what was going on at home and take a break.

My memory made me wonder why as a child I would want to wish myself away from home so often. I must have hated it there so much and that troubles me as an adult today.

You see, I am like many other adult children, I can see some of my past but I can’t feel it. The memories are like a moving picture in my head with no emotion attached. Lack of feeling I believe is why many adult children say their childhood “wasn’t that bad”. They can’t remember the pain, they learned to stuff their feelings down inside themselves to cope, they minimised, denied or dissociated from their feelings/their reality.

There must have been a trigger in my readings last night for after I had finished sharing on Step 1 my partner and I went off to a new hotel that had just opened in our area. We did a little tour of the venue and as I walked into the pokie room I felt immediate anxiety. It was out of the blue, I am certain I was cool, calm and collected prior to entry for I would never had agreed to go out had I felt anxious.

My eyes averted from everyone in the room, my head went down, I felt a fear that someone would recognise me in that room but I had nothing to fear for if anyone did recognise me they would most certainly not be from my childhood nor a threat to me for I was on the opposite side of the city from where I grew up and it was now 26 years later!

The pokie room connected to the sports bar – uh oh! I could see all the men sitting at the table watching the various gambling results on TV, I could smell the beer in the air and I was terrified one of the men would gaze at me. Next stop was the bar – I couldn’t get away, I had to keep walking forward to get out as the hotel was circular.  The smell of beer was revolting and the eyes that looked my way drew a lump to my throat.

I drew a breath of air when we hit the bistro area and decided to sit down and have a cuppa. I was tense but I tried my best to hide it. A woman kept looking at me – did I know her? What was she gawking at! A man with his pants hanging down showing his crack walked past – a reminder of my father’s drunken days. I wanted to yell at him to sober up and pull his finger out!

My Bach Flower Remedy wasn’t working too well and I couldn’t get out of that place fast enough.

I tried to think of other things when I got home that night to calm my anxiety.

I cannot pinpoint the exact problem behind my reaction in the hotel however it is possible it was something to do with when I was bullied as a child. I have determined this because when I walked into the pokie room it was the females I was fearful of being known to, not the males. It was a small group of females who bullied me at school when I was a young teenager and who also lived a few streets from my childhood home. I felt I could not even go out to the shops around the corner from my home because I would be spotted and taunted or beaten up. The fear of being seen by my bullies haunted me for years and still can from time to time. As an adult I looked over my shoulder  for years and even now I still don’t feel safe around the places where I grew up. I can drive through them but hell would freeze over before I got out of the car!

I am now living in the opposite side of the city from my old home.  I feel safe here and I feel safe in the fact that 26 or so years later my face and the faces of my bullies have changed and are most likely not recognisable.

Bullying not only cripples the child but goes on to affect them in adulthood too. I understand there is minimal research into this claim however when I was facilitating an adult mental health support group, a good portion of members had been bullied as children.

Schools have a lot to answer for however I do believe our coping mechanisms begin at home.

Thanks for reading 🙂 

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I was recently thinking about someone who I befriended on Facebook at  my last 12 Step meeting because we were talking about how people (me included) don’t commit to things until the last minute or we say NO “just incase” something bad will happen.

She invited me to her birthday party and she is such a lovely person and I am sure her and I would get on very well and I really wanted to go but I was too scared to commit just incase I would wake up on the morning of her party stressed or depressed or my partner would be in a difficult mood causing me to spiral down and I would have to ring up with my tail between my legs.

I made up a million reasons in my head why I simply could not attend even though I wanted to.

I have realised that “maybe” answers are not living my life.  By holding back “just incase” the day is sabotaged by a depressive or anxiety episode or someone in my life decides to act out or sabotage my day I am stopping myself from moving forward. I am also scared of letting  people down by “changing my mind” IF one of the above scenarios occurs so it is easier for me to make an excuse that I have something else on or half commit to something.

This has been my behaviour for a few years now and it has only been in the last week or so that I have recognised how damaging it can be to my life and moving forward.

My sister wants me to go wedding dress shopping with her over the other side of the city next Saturday but as usual I always tell her “let u know” etc etc as that side of town can cause me a lot of triggers and I never know if I’ll wake up in a confident mood or not.

One day I’ll have to find the courage to take the plunge and make a committment to something and not think the worst will happen.

I have just gotten honest with myself and admitted my problem with committing to things. Identifying the problem is the first step to recovery and realising you are repeating something over and over again is progress even though you have not rid yourself of your unwanted behaviour.

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I recently responded to a request for experience strength and hope in dealing with toxic families who have mental illnesses and possible personality disorders. This is what I said:
 
“I have a fair bit of experience with mental illness as it runs in my family of origin (depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia) plus I have depression and anxiety & mild agoraphobia and was wrongly treated for bipolar disorder for 2 years and my partner has depression and mild anxiety.
 
I also run a mental illness support group.
 
Firstly I don’t know how your husband’s family of origin act (if it is manipulative or aggressive for example) but I have found that dealing with people who are manipulative/aggressive,  I need to stay away for my own mental wellbeing. I have dealt with around 4-5 people in 2 years with Borderline Personality Disorder and I swore never to do it again for they have issues with anger and I would often be the butt of it. To me, those types of behaviours can be destructive to my mental wellbeing and I choose to distance myself from people who have personality disorders, especially ones who have not done D.B.T to help them control their emotions.
 
On the other hand depression, anxiety, agoraphobia and bipolar sufferers are somewhat “normal” and I find it easier to converse with them possibly because I understand how they feel and I can often make allowances for their behaviours if I know they are acting out of character.
 
My grandmother has schizophrenia and when she is not herself I feed sad for her and my mother helps her to ensure she gets the right medication to make her well again as the effects of her illness are apparent to my mother and her sisters and they accept it as part of life.
 
My counsellor on the other hand told me stay away from mentally ill people because they can “zap” me of my energy and serenity and are very needy however if I wanted to continue with the support group then I would need to learn to distance myself or not absorb the negative energy mentally ill people can give off. I chose the latter and being a “fixer”, it is very hard not to want to “fix” everyone who is sick and close myself off to their internal pain.
 
I do have a friend who is very negative when she emails me (she has bad depression/PTSD) and through this Program I learnt to stand back and let her go her on own journey for I was unable to convince her that I had already been there and done that and it became very frustrating for me. Now if she asks me questions I give her honest answers but I let her travel her own mental illness path. I also talk positive to her (and quite often repeat program talk to her) for I feel that is the best way I can keep encouraging her to move forward.
 
I have learnt that a lot of mental illness sufferers have their illness because of difficult experiences in their childhood and a lot sufferers would benefit greatly from 12 Step Programs. I don’t think it’s their fault (for it’s not mine that I was brought up in an alcoholic home) but understanding where it stems from helps me feel compassion for people who are in the same boat as me.”

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