My short film “SHIZO”. Published a year ago. It’s a simulation of sorts. Something to help the general public understand Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective. It highlights some of my experience with the disease. Be aware that this video could be triggering to someone who already experiences auditory hallucinations and to those who have a mental illness. And that by watching this short film you acknowledge this. I highly recommend you use headphones while watching, it greatly enhances the audio.
This video is meant to be educational.
Feel free to share.
There are eighteen lives between my two cats. Yet I feel that I’ve Iived more. When will reality and reincarnation disunite? For many lifetimes have been lived inside this body.
Nine lives apiece for each cat which naps placid in winter sun.
Yet I have lived one thousand more.
My bones, old skeletons, rattle when I walk like wind through frozen trees.
Count to five.
There is an ancient thing inside of me.
There is an ancient thing inside of me.
A tiger behind a wall of glass.
Power strongly veiled by fear.
I’ve mistaken sleep for death again.
A cold sun dips below cold hills.
A fistful of nighttime pills.
This ancient thing inside of me is of my own commitment.
And even as it whispers, “you are a but a vision, absent…”
I am stronger than you think.
I’ve lost my passion since starting Seroquel. The act of writing doesn’t fill me with energy like it used to. I’m not writing to free myself from that intangible thing. The intangible madness boiling over like a pot left on the stove unattended. The intangible Schizophrenia. The intangible Mania. The intangible Depression like a bundle of sheets, wet and heavy and cold, protecting me from the fire as it burned around me.
Or was it was another something that pushed me to write? Was it was writing itself? Either way, I’ve lost that fire now. I’m damp most days. Not depressed, not manic, not even happy sometimes. Unfeeling, tamed. And while it’s a good thing, it scares me. Medication has felt a lot like a tree being pruned. I know it’s good but it feels wrong. Sometimes I miss being caught in the throes of psychosis. So bright and bold I ended up in the Er with doctors trying to hold me down. Sticking needles in my arms and slipping my wrists into restraints. I miss the enticing delirium. I miss the sugar taste of psychosis and how it made my brain feel like a honeycomb with bees buzzing inside. It’s hard to enjoy being well when being sick was the only thing I ever knew.
Antipsychotics turn you into a picture of what you used to be. A string of metaphors, tangled up like an old bundle of wires. You move from being yourself to being yourself on antipsychotics. Trying to leave your illness behind you like a fog which really never recedes. Remission always haunting you. A fear of getting sick again always at the back of your mind. Because mental illness isn’t like other illnesses, or it is but nobody thinks so.
I remember what it was like to be in control, back before the voices started. Way back before the hallucinations. Before the menu of medications. Before these diagnoses and these labels that burn and burn and burn like hot coals on the soft soles of my feet. Schizoaffective Disorder is so stigmatized it feels like a death sentence. The awful combination of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder, two already highly stigmatized disorders, Schizoaffective Disorder is the diagnosis for the unlucky few. And while antipsychotics are a necessary treatment for such aggressive illness, and while I often complain about the side effects, the truth is antipsychotics saved my life. It’s been scary, becoming someone else. Not the person before Schizoaffective, and not the same person I was during my darkest days. I’m a new a person now. Someone who can think again, and sleep again, and breathe, and concentrate, and most importantly I’m someone how who can deny my hallucinations and delusions the power to control me.
Psychotic disorders can feel like a death sentence, but they don’t have to be.
But I’m talking in circles here.
484,000 Mainers (myself included), where left without power after a Monday windstorm. I am still without power four days later. I may be without power for two more. They haven’t even gotten to our road and there are still trees down on the lines nearest to us. I had some posts lined up that sort of got pushed to the side in the wake of the storm. I also plan on writing a post about how this experience was once we get our power back, but I just wanted to update my followers.
Science Daily, September 4th 2017: Scientists discover brain area which can be targeted for treatment in patients with Schizophrenia who ‘hear voices’.
“For the first time, scientists have precisely identified and targeted an area of the brain which is involved in “hearing voices,” experienced by many patients with schizophrenia. They have been able to show in a controlled trial that targeting this area with magnetic pulses can improve the condition in some patients.”
As a person who hears voices often (near constantly) despite medication intervention I’m always looking for new ways to cope with them (the voices). And although I don’t see myself receiving Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) anytime soon, I think it’s important to keep up with new treatments as they become possible or available.
So what is TMS and how might it help people with Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder? In a TMS session, an electric coil is placed against the head and a painless magnetic pulse stimulates nerve cells in certain regions of your brain. Right now it’s been used primarily for Major Depression Disorder but with this early research, it appears that TMS could be used to target regions of the brain associated with hearing voices.
“The French research team worked with 26 patients who received active TMS treatment, and 33 as a control group, who received sham (placebo) treatment. The researchers interviewed the patients using a standard protocol — the Auditory Hallucinations Rating Scale — which revealed most of the characteristic features of the voices which they were hearing. The treated patients received a series of 20 Hz high-frequency magnetic pulses over 2 sessions a day for 2 days. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the pulses were targeted at a specific brain area in the temporal lobe, which is associated with language (the exact area is the crossing of the projection of the ascending branch of the left lateral sulcus and the left superior temporal sulcus).
After 2 weeks, the patients were re-evaluated. The researchers found that 34.6% of the patients being treated by TMS showed a significant response, whereas only 9.1% of patients in the sham group responded (‘significant response’ was defined as a more than 30% decrease in the Total Auditory Hallucinations Rating Scale score).”
This is also highly promising for those people with Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder who are nonresponsive or resistant to medication and other traditional treatments. But I think what is most important about this is the finding of the anatomical area of the brain associated with auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia. And while these studies have a long way to go before TMS could/would be accepted as a conventional treatment for Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective the results of this study are certainly promising.
*I’m planning on doing a write up about new breakthroughs and scientific studies in the mental health/illness field once or twice a week*