Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Geodon Baby Blues

Train is on the radio now.

This is going to be a short blog entry. I did 30 minutes on the treadmill tonight.

I'm reminded of a woman I stopped being friends with who told me: "I hope you find what you're looking for." It sounded like she was quoting U2 lyrics.

I'm not looking anymore. If this is as good as it gets so be it. So be it.

A woman must leave the era before it leaves her. I only reluctantly moved on in my mid thirties. Looking back I see it was a long road I took.

What could I tell you?

The atypical I'm on is like a miracle drug.

I don't believe your brain can change its tune quickly or even in five years or 10 years after you have a breakdown. I remember everything because I have a photographic memory. So I can tell you to wait patiently to see lasting results. The change won't come easy however it will come. I can honestly tell you that the Geodon is as close to a cure as I could ever have. Legally: I'm required at this point to tell you that no drug company pays me money or compensates me otherwise to make this claim. I'm not a spokesperson for Pfizer. Only: I'm a person who had near-miraculous success with that drug as soon as I was placed on it and over two years later it has gotten even better.

You can't expect immediate results. Also: sometimes cognitive therapy could be of benefit in conjunction with the medication. You MUST give time time to work its wonders. Nothing worth having comes without effort. I cannot tell you to give up the hope that things can change. You have to ask yourself if you fear change because in some way you might be blocked. Standing still is not an option for anyone who seeks to recover.

Do you understand what I'm trying to say? You must move forward. You must let go of the past. You must have faith even when recovery feels like a long shot.

Recovery is possible.

You might rightly ask me how I can say it took me nearly two decades to get here. You would think it isn't fair that someone has to wait that long. You would be tempted to give up and I would tell you not to settle for the status quo. I would tell you to expect a better tomorrow in a realistic way and to keep hopeful that change is possible.

Years ago I interviewed a woman who said that one day out of the blue she realized things were better. You would understand my worldview if you had walked in my shoes all these years: you would remember everything too and the details would flood your memory.

So I could pinpoint when this happened for me: when I went on the atypical.

I told a friend on the phone tonight that most people don't realize that recovery from schizophrenia is not only possible it's probable and we should reach beyond what's merely acceptable and aim for the stars instead of settling for less.

Possibly only someone with a matching set of hangers would parrot this philosophy. More likely I believe this to be true because I know one thing: memories don't lie. You're left holding the truth of what happened in your mind.

Quite frankly I'm someone for whom good enough was never good enough and I doubt good enough will ever be good enough for me. I'm like that Uncle Ben's housewife who keeps striving to cook the perfect rice that I alluded to in a previous blog entry.

So you see this is why I say it took me 20 years to cook the perfect recovery: I can remember how the schizophrenia played out in my twenties and early thirties and I know it wasn't until recently that things simmered down.

I wanted to write this blog entry to give you some hope that it isn't over until we're no longer here. Also because people with schizophrenia fight some kind of battle every day and we deserve recognition for the effort it takes to be well.

Right now I can tell you this: it gets better with time. That's all I'm saying. You cannot speed the process. Also: we cannot use external measures of success as the tape measure of how far we've come [like a career or house or car]. For someone with schizophrenia I can say my true victory came with freedom of the mind-and the Geodon gave me that freedom.

It is why I will not go back in time and continue to listen to music like the Alternate Side.

It is why I will go to my grave championing immediate intervention with medication and therapy when someone is diagnosed with schizophrenia.

It is why living in the middle appeals to me now.

You do not know the memories that brought me to this point because the details I will not share. Only know this: I have spent all my adult life living with the schizophrenia. I turn 45 in the spring. I don't want to spend the rest of my life immured to resentment or fear or anger or worry.

I propose for all of us a better way to live: with compassion and forgiveness.

It nears midnight and I will go wind down now.

Trust me: I can't get a certain memory out of my head. You might think this is a minor thing however to me it is not. And true: as the years pass we become ourselves only better. So wisdom itself is like a drug that helps us heal. We gain the insight and a light bulb goes off in our head.

I think I'm going to have a huge electric bill this month.

Peace out.

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