Friday, February 06, 2009

Some Updates

After looking back through my posts I realise I haven't provided an update since July! Where does all the time go?

Back in July I had written that after nearly five years of taking Clozaril, Mr Man had stopped taking this medication suddenly and without warning, because he had had enough of the side effects. Once I realised what had happened he needed to have his Abilify increased and was also prescribed Quetiapine.

He remained on Quetiapine for about six weeks, until he finally decided he'd had enough of those side effects too. At least he made his intentions known this time, and actually, I thought it was good to see that he had a new found confidence and was taking control of how he wanted to be treated. His refusal to take these medications was in no way fuelled by any delusions, which is what distinguished these events from previous ones. He was able to reason logically and although recognising that he needed medication, he didn't want to take these particular ones.

He continued to do really well on Abilify alone, and the change in him was amazing. For all those years he had taken Clozaril, and we believed this was the best medication for him, and yet we didn't realise just how ill it was making him. Once he stopped taking the Clozaril the voices worsened slightly, but he felt - and still does - that the benefits far outweighed the slight worsening of symptoms. I will write more about this in depth next time, as I feel that people greatly underestimate just what mental health patients have to go through as regards these side effects, and then criticise them for ceasing medication.

Due to the worsening of the voices it was decided that now would be a good time to begin CBT, specifically to help Mr Man to cope with them. I think this was a good time for Mr Man, because although the voices had worsened, his insight was still good and he was thinking much clearer. I'm not sure if this would have benefited him when he was delusional as the focus is very much on questioning the voices and answering back.

He was still uncomfortable with the idea of having to see a psychologist, which of course would have been another new person involved in his care, so his Occupational Therapist, Sandra, has taken on the task. I must say, although we were unsure of her at the start, she has been very supportive of Mr Man over the past six months. Mr Man has felt able to open up to her and feels that she really understands - so rare, yet so important. She has also looked into things for him that he is interested in doing which he would never have been able to cope with before, such as taking exams for example.

So, that is the update so far. Although we have to continue to maintain a balance of what Mr Man can cope with, he is doing much better than previously, especially as he is more mentally alert and able to occupy himself. He even coped with going to a gathering of my family over the holidays, which he was actually looking forward to! I can't even remember how many years it has been since that has happened! Eight maybe? He was a little worried that the kids would be shy of him but they played with him as easily as if they had seen him every week.

So things are definitely looking up. And I have even begun watering my plants again, which apparently is a sign that my depression is lifting!

I will post more soon on side effects and other reasons why people stop taking their medications, and the huge changes in Mr Man since he stopped taking Clozaril.


Katherine said...

"I feel that people greatly underestimate just what mental health patients have to go through as regards these side effects, and then criticise them for ceasing medication."

Evermore the truth, I'd say. I look forward to reading more. It's always heartening to hear about others being able to learn to cope with things previously unthought of. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

thats great news MMW XX

Catherine said...

Thanks for the update. Good to know that things are currently going well for you.

Robert said...

What an enjoyable upbeat post!

Seratonin said...

Hi it's good to get an update from you.Even better that the news is so encouraging.I didn't realise that CBT could help with hearing voices.Hope things remain good for you both.

Take care

Sis xxx

Carol said...

I'm glad to hear that things are looking up for you two!!! I don't think that DH is at the "making informed choices about his meds" place yet, but one thing is new--my mom has lived in our area for 3+ years--and DH has never been able to visit her in the hospital or rehab when she has a crisis. This time is different, so that is kind of along the same lines as Mr. Man going to the family gathering!!! So I know that good (and a little bit scared) feeling that comes from that....You are such a conscientious wife, I don't think I could ever notice the things you do! Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing and updating! Congratulations! Sincerely,DianeG.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Thank you Katherine, Margery, Catherine, Robert and Diane.

Seratonin, I'm not sure exactly if the CBT is helping with the voices, but I feel Mr Man is benefiting from having a good relationship with his OT/Care Coordinator, and of course the CBT has meant regular visits and opening up more to her. It's certainly not doing any harm anyway!

Thanks for commenting.

Thank you Carol. That is good news for you too! I know it's hard for people to understand the significance of small changes like that, but a collection of small changes is quite a big change! It takes time, but it will come. I sometimes beat myself up over not noticing the things I think I should have noticed, and I fail in so many other areas. I'm sure you are a very conscientious wife in all respects.

Barbara K. said...

so glad to hear that things are moving in a good direction. I think the system sometimes tends to infantilize people with mental illness and ignores the insight they have into their own state of being.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Thank you Barbara. I agree - so often patients are treated like naughty children, when all they really want is for someone to listen to their concerns.

lorri said...

My husband is a paranoid schizophrenic, diagnosed only
a few years ago. I appreciate this
site and I ask if you would please
inform me if this site is still
running in May 2010, so I can participate in the ongoing conversation and sharing of information and insight.
thank you.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Hi there Lorri, welcome to my blog! I'm glad that you have enjoyed reading it.

I have no plans to take this blog down from the internet, but I can't say when or how often I will post in the future. I had to stop posting for a while because of my own health problems, although I did post again fairly recently. I hope to post more in the future, but my health has to be my priority, and of course posting brings back a lot of painful memories for me and effects me very badly.

In the mean time, there are many conversations in the comments section of older posts which you might find interesting and useful to read. I often say that some of the best parts of this blog are the parts written by other people in the comments section! And unfortunately these parts probably don't get read as much by new readers.

Thank you for reading and for commenting.

shipscatbooks said...

I read your blog with compassion and understanding. Not many people remain married to a schizophrenic. My father was schizophrenic and my mother spent nearly 50 years caring for him. I've recently published an e-book on Amazon Kindle, a fictional account about my mother's struggle to live with a schizophrenic and raise a family but the mental illness parts are authentic. A Devil Singing Small. You don't have to own a Kindle reader, but can download the kindle software from Amazon for free, then download it to a PC, etc.
I wish you would continue your blog. I'm sure it would help many people. I wish you serenity.


Anonymous said...

My son suffers from schizophernia. can any one tell me what C B T is Thank you

Mr Mans Wife said...

Hi Anonymous.

CBT stands for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and is useful in the treatment of all kinds of mental health problems. You'll probably be able to find more about it on the web, but your son's health provider should be able to explain what the treatment will involve and what they hope to achieve by using it.

I hope this helps.