Lets talk about your meds?


ARC_Talk_About_Meds_Banner_Marie

Introduction

When I got an email from Judy Cohen of the American Recall Centre, I knew I was definitely doing a fine job with my mental health advocacy. I don’t follow statistics or evaluate the impact of my blog posts by likes/comments. Those sure motivate but I just don’t know how to follow them. I however feel elated when I get an email like Judy’s. It is an acknowledgment of a special order.

So, what do we read on the banner or the title of my post for this Monday morning? Huge, Judy asked me to talk about my meds. I told Judy I didn’t take any conventional meds but that I had a brother who took enough to last two generations of my family and who probably died ‘around those meds’. Judy urged that I could talk for him or better still give some advice…

The serene and reassuring doctor
The serene and reassuring doctor

Here are Judy’s guidelines

ADVICE FOR OTHERS:

Read the side effects very well. Please Caregivers, don’t have blind faith in ‘almighty psychiatry’. If you think there could be an alternative treatment or you have a combination of meds and others, please do the most you can to make it available for your loved one. If you are not so comfortable with the effect of the medication or the dosage, quantity and all: Please insist or shout out, there are so many advocacy groups out there. I have recently come across some and I do know that they exist because some medecine have caused unfathomable damages. My family (basically my mum), did all she could while it was in her power to do so. This is basically when my brother was in Cameroon and there the system isn’t as rigid, leaving a ‘leeway’ to the guardian or parent to get and be involved in their loved one’s treatment.

WHAT’S a GOOD QUESTION TO ASK their DOCTOR?

Doc, must I take so many meds? Those doctors are not gods: It is your right to ask them questions: You see, some of them may just be as clueless, they study, precribe and mark charts but if they had to be in your shoes and have your fired brain for just a day, they’ll think again!

Nothing to worry for heaven's sake, these luns drive me mad!
Nothing to worry for heaven’s sake, these luns drive me mad!

WHAT DRUG INTERACTIONS TO BE AWARE OF?

I will use only the most recent drug interaction my brother was on which from every indication were a very poor combination:

He was prescribed Risperdal, whose side effects include but are not limited to: Drowsiness, dizziness, drooling, nausea, increased appetite and weight gain;

He was prescribed Zyprexa whose side effects include but are not limited to: Constipation, dry mouth, increase appetite, weight gain and stomach upset;

And that Zyprexa taken in use with Benadryl could lead to a stroke or heart failure;

WHAT ARE THE RISKS AND BENEFITS?

I know only of risks. Well maybe because I lost my brother and that preceding his demise he was rushed to the ER at least twice for heart complications. As for benefits, probably only what the prescribing doctors would bother to tell you or as you can read on the notice/cum dream of in your countless hours lost to sleep.

WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU KNEW BEFORE TAKING?

I think if my brother knew he would literally become a simpleton, a ‘cabbage’ due those very meds, surely he wouldn’t have become as med compliant. If you would end up ‘addicted’ to the same meds which ‘ruin’ you, then you may not be that willing in taking them.

Conclusion

Judy told me the following: ” I know medication safety is a topic that often goes unnoticed and to get readers even thinking about their own medicine will make a tremendous difference!”

I wish it weren’t true that medication safety is a ‘feared’ subject – but that’s a lame wish maybe? So you dear and gentle readers/followers of mine, what do you think about all this? Is it worth talking about one’s meds? Is worth looking out for alternative treatments or a safe and affordable combination of the both? I have taken pain killers and anti-depressants before, heck I regularly take pills for cramps – but I don’t consider those MEDS enough to warrant my sharing any pale personal experiences. Thank you!

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Staying on top


Happy World Mental Health Day! I hope my poem resonates with the day and our effort to take care of our mental health in equal measures to our physical health. 

Is it that easy? Sometimes the brain threatens to blow off the top!
Is it that easy? Sometimes the brain threatens to blow off the top!

Were staying on top that easy,
none would ever below be!
It surely depends on you
what that top could ever mean!
I once thought it meant money
qnd other time it meant jolly,
But then l lost both
and my psyche really stayed below!

The colours could as well be ...whatever
The colours could as well be …whatever

I yet learnt to aim on top
But that the top was now a bed
and the most it meant was down to sleep
visited by bath, laundry and co!
Much later did some jolly resume
’cause l guess l ‘d really tried in staying on top!

I am trying as hard as maddie to stay on top of my melancholy
I am trying as hard as maddie to stay on top of my melancholy

p.s Poem’s Title inspired by the title of Henk’s blog recounting his difficult journey coping with depression. Visit his sites out of curiosity, especially this one, you will return out of much more 🙂

If I can stop one heart fom breaking….


I planned on reblogging this post once I read it two days ago but life oh life – distracted my plans. I do so today with all my gratitude to my fav granny in this bsphere. Aha, I beg to say the same, tis why I really do all I do for this MH Advocacy path I have so passionately embraced.

Jill's Experiences with Mental Health , Stigma, Alzheimer's Disease, Grief & Grieving & serenade2seniors

 

a sunsetThis poem, written by Emily Dickinson, comes to my mind at least once a day, so I am going to share it as it means so much to me.

 IF I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in vain.

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.

Almost every week I receive calls or mails from people in distress, people who have visited therapists, but who need contact with somebody who has experienced mental illness in a person who is near and dear to them, and it is at those times that this poem comes to mind. And of course I do what I can to ease their pain. There is not a lot that I can do, but simply by listening, really listening, and showing them…

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When your doctor says he weighs more than you…


Who is obese now?
Who is obese now?

Foreword

This post is inspired by two things. The first is another soulful post I read on the blog takingthemaskoff, entitled a tale of two physicians. I shouldn’t be saying more about Cortland’s work and all instead of just urging you to check for yourselves. But, I will briefly explain what about his post got me on. He narrates his personal ordeal and how while one doctor made him long for ‘death’, the second is his number one on his fabulous 5 list ( his list of those who saved him).

The second, is yet another of my mum’s desperate plea to even get some clarifications of her deceased son’s death. The struggle isn’t only to keep him alive it seems, now they delay in releasing his autopsy results too.

My Brother’s un-narrated tale with physicians

I can narrate it to near accuracy from what I gathered. His tale is the reverse of Cortland’s. He had a previous physician out there called Dr Daniel Gross, we all knew him.

The serene and reassuring doctor!
The serene and reassuring doctor!

My brother looked forward to their appointments. My mother talked with that doctor. Dr DG encouraged him on, he went to therapy both group and solo. He still did some ‘shaggy’ stuffs, but those were better than the total isolation in which he lived his last couple of months.

Bridgewater Saga interupts

The post I did on Bridgewater State Hospital, tells of what happened then and after. It was after Bridgewater that I started hearing about different doctors. All I heard about those doctors were the prescriptions they dished out. My brother was scared of them and didn’t want my mum to contact them. He had lost faith. They didn’t care about him and he didn’t trust them. I am sure he was by now dependent on those meds, mindful or mindless of the side effects thereof. That is when I concluded his shaggy life had been reduced to ‘call my meds’.

Almighty doctors?

These 'luns' are driving me crazy!!!
These ‘luns’ are driving me crazy!!!

Yes, they sometimes are. They can make or mare. They know they have that power. It is bestowed on them by the system and by your own ‘desperation and frustration’. As Cortland also states in his post, they are running on time, max is 15-20 minutes with one ‘damn lun’ and then a prescription. And so it came to pass, that after my family had voiced their concern about the drastic side effects of Gaby’s cocktail in May, that mum had complained through his nurses and his case manager in June (while on a two week visit with him), Gaby went for another ‘doctor’s appointment in July. Therapy had long been stopped of course!

Here is a recap of what Dr whoever said:

He told Gabriel that he was aware of his mother’s concern about his weight and that he weighed more than Gabriel;

This doctor put and kept him him on the following meds and knew what was going on:

  • That he was aware of side effect of Risperdal, that he prescribed, that included Drowsiness, dizziness, drooling, nausea, increased appetite and weight gain;
  • That he also prescribed Zyprexa and was aware that the side effects include: Constipation, dry mouth, increase appetite, weight gain and stomach upset;
  • That he was aware that Zyprexa is taken in use with Benadryl it could lead to a stroke or heart failure;
  • That Gabriel had been rushed to emergency more than once for complaints reflecting the side effects of the medication above. His colleague prescribed the following at the same time:
  • Benadryl, Anusol, Colace, Lactulose, pyridoxine and Senna; fully aware of the potential side effects and interaction between Benadryl and Zyprexa;

What was there to look forward to?

What hope do you have after your god tells you he is aware of the concerns but there is nothing to worry? How do you care further about your drastic weight gain, poor breathing and eating disorder when he brags that he weighs more than you? Is this doctor also bipolar or schrizophrenic or just clinically depressed? Are these the assurances to be gotten from so called professionals with all those abbreviations added to their names? This one is a RNP don’t ask me what it means!

  • That we sought a conference with his medical and care team in June that was never granted;

How many families have been halted in their futile search for healing for their loved ones by such attitude? How many more will go through this? That’s the system we say. You are a pauper when thanks to this cocktail of drugs and their debilitating side effects, you are reduced to a Simpleton and now live with the miser disability ‘pension’ of 92$ a month.

I wonder why it still isn’t obvious that some patients out-rightly prefer to do the drugs on the streets (being junkies altogether) and at least still keep their merry!

Dear gentle readers and followers, if we continue to suffer in silence, no wind of change can blow our way. Although no amount of damages awarded can return a lost life and take away that everlasting grief, I think they would gradually nerve the system. That is the final hope we have. My mum and family now join the ranks of those families of small davids trying to take on Goliath. We can’t give up and I hope you don’t stop your advocacy either.

One of his last selfies, his stare tells it all!
One of his last selfies, his stare tells it all!

Do you know about Bridgewater State Hospital?


Bridgewater indeed
Bridgewater indeed

I read it named Bridgewater State Hospital but from the you tube clip ( published 15/02/2014) I watched and an earlier abc Nightline report ( published 31/03/2014) , it definitely is a prison (well maybe mild security?). You know the type where you conclude that so called psychiatric beds are actually cells and restrain beds? What they claim to be Intensive treament units are actually ‘punisment isolation cells? That particular one has had its horror stories on focus for over 20 years –  but well who gives a damn?

I can only guess my brother was a good patient/criminal? I don’t know which one – oh the ‘goo al system’. Don’t ask me what he did to find himself there. I wasn’t there but just heard that he was accused by the police of assaulting an officer. My kid sister who was present out there told me they had said on taking him away that they thought he could become a danger to himself or others. Is this what civil commitment is about out there? I am still so shaggily ignorant.

He was very ill at that point and my mum had flown out there to try to bring him back home. He was an adult however, and had some US status so couldn’t be brought back against his will. Initially, he agreed to come back home and I was assigned to zoom to and from Brussels airways co to purchase the air tickets.

It was then that he started changing his mind and became very agitated. And oh no, he dared dial 911 to come to his aid and convince mum to leave him alone. He f… called them twice on the same day? The second call earned him an arrest, handcuffs and some time in that infamous Bridgewater. The first call, the family had managed to sooth the officers, but the second call a few hours later – meant danger to them.

Maybe his ‘obedience’ at Badwater (whatever), saved him then because some other parents have been less fortunate. The parents of the 23 year old Joshua in the above you tube clip, are still grieving and pursuing a civil claim which may outlive them too. Of course the District Attorney or whomever, claims there isn’t sufficient evidence to bring  an action. Oh, all but one of those guards involved in that horrific incident still work there!

Poor Joshua's last minutes before the suffocation
Poor Joshua’s last minutes before the suffocation

I now share with you a desperate mother’s deaf pleas to that ‘almighty system’. Of course I talk of my mother, Gabriel’s mother who up till date never heard from them. I am sorry, so sorry and sad for my mum:

“Bibiana Mbuh Taku

Douala Cameroon

Central Africa

Tel # 237 77 78 56 44

March 17, 2010

The superintendent,

Bridge Water State Hospital

Massachusett

Cc:

  • Lisa Mitchell, Deputy Superintendent of Patient Services
  • Gabriel’s attorney –

Sir

Subject: Concerns about the health and life of my son: Gabriel Bebonbechem

I am the mother of Gabriel Bebonbechem who was brought to your institution for “evaluation to stand trial” by the legal services of your State.

I wish to state here that my son is a known epileptic and has been on treatment for some mental problems and epilepsy under the supervision/monitoring of Lynn Community Health Center.

Before he was charged to court on grounds of assault, I was in the process of taking him back home for family support and evaluation before we would decide on when he would be deemed fit to stay on his own and take care of himself while carrying out activities that would give him hopes, a future and independence.

This did not happen because the decision seemed to have been too abrupt and this resulted in a crisis that led him to try to recuperate his traveling documents that he had willingly given to his uncle, hence the charge brought against him.

What worries me right now is the fact that he seems to be deteriorating as per the account that I have received through your weekly report. The fact that my son who was brought to your institution looking clean and cut is now refusing to bathe worries me.

The worse part of the report is that he has requested for the same drug that was reported to have killed Michael Jackson!!!!. I wish to inform you that while on some antidepressants he may have suicidal tendencies as I observed some times ago.

Finally and most importantly, the last psychological report that was requested by his primary health care practitioner, Mr. Daniel Gross, suggested a referral to a neurologist. I had confirmed with Mr. Daniel Gross that I will get him to see a neurologist and in fact there was one on standby to get him from the airport when the unfortunate incident foiled the trip. Mr. Daniel Gross also informed me that irrespective of my commitment to have him see a neurologist in Cameroon, he will ensure he gets the referral upon his return.

I am therefore, appealing to your services to ensure that he is not put on medication that may lead to side effects that could make him to have suicidal tendencies or any other such serious side effects and above all to ensure that the follow-up on his treatment is assured, namely, to see a neurologist as per the December 2009 psychological appraisal that was endorsed by his primary care giver and his family.

I look forward to hear from you and to be assured of my son’s health situation and safety.

Sincerely yours,”

Ha, she even received  a summon to appear in the court case brought against my brother thereafter: that calls for another post, I just can’t continue.

Dear gentle readers and followers, I know of Bridgewater not only because I researched about it, but because my brother’s violent refusal to talk about it made me see it was a harrowing episode for him. You really need to be beware of those “State Hospitals” or whatever meds they put you on. If you end up being reduced to calling meds, don’t say you weren’t informed. All cases are different and all I know is my brother’s.

Well, maybe just a more secured hospital after all
Well, maybe just a more secured hospital after all

Mental Health Awareness Week


Ignorance they say is no excuse to the law. I say ignorance is no excuse for life. I am doing my mite to sensitize and increase awareness, and in the process l am stigmatizing stigma by sharing my own personal challenges and using my real name.

Jill's Experiences with Mental Health , Stigma, Alzheimer's Disease, Grief & Grieving & serenade2seniors

mental health awareness 3

mental health awareness 2Four years ago, I started blogging in an effort to reduce the blame, shame, stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses. I have come a long way since then as the response has been tremendous. I was rather naive in thinking that one person could change anything, but today, I understand, that even if I have helped one person to feel better about themselves or their loved ones, I can call that success.

 I realize that even today, there are people in the world who are short of information on this subject. There are individuals out there who need to make contact with someone who has personal experience of living with an ill relative;  in my case, a son, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. I receive mails from people who are desperate for personal contact from someone who has been there and it saddens me that they cannot find help nearer to where they live. I sincerely…

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Why take me down that dark alley?


Dark, noisy alley with teens partying, all save those lights
Dark, noisy alley with teens partying, all save those lights

Why take me down that dark aley?

Then you will say I can’t cope?

But you sure know I can’t stand it there

and that it triggers my mood swings

now you hold I was way childish

overeacting and poorly behaved

Will you then wonder if I sulk?

If I prefer the solace of my isolation?

It’s hard enough for me like this

I don’t need all that smoke and noise

I really can’t cope in those alleys

and going there did ruin the evening out

I am sad and sorry it turned out so

I looked forward to this night

But never expected going through a dark alley

to see the manekin piss at 9’o pm

I had had a long day

A tough work out at the gym

I tried to be good but maybe it wasn’t good enough

Hopefully, we’ll all learn our lessons

and there’ll be no more dark alley walks

An open answer to why I …


fire-passion-desire

I have recently been asked a lot of questions on why I do, say or think about one thing or the other especially with regards to my near ‘ackward’ mental health advocacy. I gladly link two helpful posts from a blogging pal. Sure I have her permission to do.

The first is: Interpreting Silence, Mine and Maybe Yours. This is a post I came across on Timi’s blog entitle livelytwist. It is an interesting blog mainly on African, Naija and well livelytwist stuffs.

Anyway, the above post captures a lot of the why I do whatever I do in my advocacy for which ever cause I se out to. Currently, and for preferable the rest of my life, my number one passion is mental health advocacy. I don’t have to be a ‘seriously mentally ill’ or whatever, to speak out this voraciously (which I don’t even think I do yet).

And then, another person even asked me what was the point in doing all this research now when it can’t save my brother? I told him I did it for myself and with the hope that it saved someone’s brother or loved one.

And so another of Timi’s post equally helps me say more about my motivation. It is about fire, desire and passion or in any order. Read it, there is some to make you smile and ponder.

Gosh, I would have succumbed long ago if I didn’t read as much, get inspired by other’s stories, and now be very motivated to help others too as much as possible. I have done several post on my heros and heroines, and lots of stuffs which kept me afloat as I crossed the deserts and climbed the mountains in this life of mine.

With this, I wish you gentle readers and followers of mine a great weekend.

Gratitude all the way
Gratitude all the way

The Dark Lining


Dark lining

Not all silver linings are bright

I am afraid I can prove that so

Just like gold must be tested by fire

So too must silver be polished!

silver-lining

Is it the dark you fear?

Or the lining you don’t see well yet?

Just as precious is fragile and deserves care,

So do we have to look with a big stare !

It may both be dark and even darker

but its worth could be bright and even brighter

Maybe only your heart can feel it  now

Or still your mind be lone to assess!

silverlining_small

But to thy own self be true

And as night always eventually turns to day,

so too could that dark lining end up the brightest!

silver-lining-elma-green

mum, author, mental health advocate, therapist, inspires & motivates with personal experiences

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