• Tom Robinson

Trying to please others: a lesson in prioritising my own mental health!

It’s quite fitting that my last post was about ‘how journaling can help your mental health‘, because today I’m going to use it for exactly that reason!


I haven’t written anything about my moods or illness up until now because I’ve not been experiencing any significant problems, but this week there has been a bit of an issue which I am now going to explain so that I can get it clearer in my own mind and to let out the negative energy!


I’ve been trying to make the most of the opportunity to enjoy life now that the restrictions have been lifted (and that I am finally well enough to engage with everything), but I think I may have overdone it this week, and now I’m paying the price.






Learning to say no


I’ve always been rubbish at this and am disappointed in myself that I’ve not learned my lesson, but this week I tried fit in too much and am now suffering the consequences.


I had arranged to go and stay with a friend for a few days this week but then managed to get Wimbledon tickets last weekend through the ballot. There was no option but to go on Wednesday because that’s all that I was offered so I bought them and tried to rearrange my week.


I knew that trying to combine going to Gloucestershire, home, Wimbledon and back, plus trying to write blog posts, organise Covid passes, tickets, travel, French lessons, cottage renovations etc, etc, was going to be too much, but when I tried to get out of going to my friend’s house she said:



‘I will be very disappointed.’


So rather than prioritise my own schedule and health, I then tried to do too much, didn’t keep everyone happy, and then only suffered myself! It’s all culminated in me feeling very run down today!






Quetiapine and the horrific withdrawal problems


I’m going to write a detailed post about the dangers of antipsychotic drugs in a future post but thought I would mention it today because, as usual, the medications are in part to blame for my brain dysfunction this week.


In brief, I refused to take antipsychotics when they sectioned me after the horrific cock up with the ketamine infusions which backfired so spectacularly. I did this because I’d read the medical literature (terrifying side effects) and knew that these drugs would only cause me even more grief and suffering - I was right.


Not only had the ketamine infusions landed me in hospital, but all the other treatments I’d been given had made my condition so much worse and this time I wasn’t going to fall victim to more of the same, so I stood by my guns and rejected the meds.


The result of my doing this was that I was locked in the ward for months on end in an attempt to break me into submission, and when that didn’t work, I was bulldozed to the floor and injected with them instead.


The second bulldozing happened two days before I left (when I was presumably sane enough to be discharged) and the result of the whole thing was that it’s taken me years to get over the trauma and I am STILL trying to withdraw from the f***ing drug that they injected me with in hospital – why didn’t they listen to me?!!!









What happened with bloody quetiapine?


I’ve been cutting down the dose of quetiapine for nearly four years now in an attempt to rid myself of a drug that worsens my condition and carries horrifying risks for damage to my brain.


It makes you sleep like the dead, doesn’t lift depression in any way (mine anyway) and makes you feel hideously hungover and disgusting in the morning.


I knew it wasn’t for me the moment I started taking it but it was forced on me and once again – I trusted the doctors because I thought they knew best! Oh dear!!


So, if it’s not for me then why don’t I just stop taking it you might ask?! Well, once you’ve taken this drug you can’t ever sleep without it again – everyone I’ve spoken to has the same problem – it’s a (excuse my language but I’m furious) FUCKING NIGHTMARE to withdraw from.






What has that got to do with this week?


In rushing around to fit everything in, my sleep suffered a bit and that has had a knock-on effect on everything else this week.


When I was at my friend’s house I was continually trying to organise things and keep up with admin which made me stressed and meant that I struggled to sleep.


I am now only taking about 6mg of quetiapine at night (a ridiculously small dose) but if I don’t take that amount then I don’t sleep at all. Unfortunately, that dose wasn’t enough with the added stress of this week so things have been more difficult.


I refused to take any more of it on Sunday and Monday because I’m determined to finally get off it this year. Annoyingly though, by Tuesday night I was now exhausted and needed to sleep so I took a full 25mg tablet because I knew that a ‘quetiapine induced coma’ was actually preferable to no sleep when I had to get up at 6a.m for a full day at Wimbledon.


Anyway, I took more and slept quite deeply but only for about five hours (mind whirring re excitement of Wimbledon!). Woke up like a hungover zombie as predicted (thanks for that quetiapine) and went to London.


I had an amazing, amazing day. The quetiapine hangover wore off and I had a magical day at the tennis with my friend. However, it was a really long one and the Andy Murray match went on until 10.30pm which meant I didn’t get home until gone 1a.m because even though I sprinted to the tube, it was slow and I missed the 23.20 train.


Anyway, I was then SO EXHAUSTED that I got home and went straight to bed. But this is where I ****** up…..


I decided that I was so tired by now that this would be the perfect opportunity to get off quetiapine for good and I didn’t take it. I then slept immediately but only for about five hours and woke up yesterday feeling really really rubbish – low and headachy and just generally crappy.


Being ‘the expert of myself’, I decided to do a few jobs in the morning and then rest and work on the cottage later on, so when my sister came home and had a pop at me (not an unusual occurrence) the timing could not have been worse!


Unfortunately, the whole week got too much at this point and I (ashamed I suppose to admit this but I do have a severe mental illness), broke down into sobs, packed a bag and drove to my parents!


In the afternoon (now blood shot eyes, quetiapine hangover, and headache), I tried to sleep but because of the quetiapine cock up of course I couldn’t, so I had to forget ‘carpe diem’ and just survive the day instead.


Finally went to bed at 9pm, having turned phone off, been for a walk, cut out all caffeine, etc, etc, etc, read for an hour until my brain was zonked entirely, took 6mg of quetiapine and slept for eight hours exactly.


This morning I feel tired but fine in my mood and I am going to do whatever it takes now to stay on an even keel.






Conclusion


I have relearnt a very valuable lesson this week about prioritising my mental health above all else.


In future I am going to learn to say no to people and stop trying to please others all the time!


Unfortunately, everything I do at the moment is for other people (blog, book, cottage etc, etc) which means that I am constantly giving others my much-needed time and energy.


I don’t mind doing this at all, in fact, I would rather help others than do anything else, BUT, I can only do these things if I am being appreciated through gratitude –


For future reference - I don’t respond to being screamed at and nor does my mental illness!!


OK, rant over! I do feel so much better for getting that out this morning! Journaling is literally the best thing I do for my mental health, and I really think that everyone should give it a go!


Thanks for reading,


Speak to you soon,

TR

www.dyingtostayalive.com