Guest Post: Guidance in Times of Turmoil by Patrick Bailey #guestpost #addiction #mentalhealth


Matt Collamar - Kindness_Homelessness_Unsplash
Credit: Matt Collamer via Unsplash

It’s been a long and winding road for me in the city where I was raised. The city has pulled me back after each venture away. This road has gone many places and resulted in something of an archeological dig into myself and humanity at large.

Overall, I’ve noticed a consistent thread for those in severe and notable distress in the community. It has continued for decades, having taken on various symptoms over the years.


When the Street People Were Dispatched.


I was in my early teens when the de-institutionalization of psychiatric hospitals first impacted my area of the city. The ‘street people,’ as we called them, appeared suddenly. They had been dispatched by the state mental hospital. Some had not been in the world outside for decades. I can’t imagine what that release into society was like for them. From their outward appearances, it seemed terrifying, upsetting, and disorganized.

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Credit: Provided by Author

The laws had changed. It wasn’t easy to put someone ‘away’ anymore. The world would have to deal with people more directly even if there was something seriously ‘off’ in a person’s thought, emotions, and (or) behavior. Even ‘mental patients’ had rights, and the state mental hospital had to open its doors. More inner-city areas also offered cheaper rent as ‘the dispatched’ arrived in large numbers to find their way in the world. I was an inner-city kid, so I was there to receive these ‘street people’ and many mental patients too.


A Kid Wonders How to Fix The System.


In youthful curiosity, I found the city streets enlivened by these folks. I was curious about them: how they lived, what they did, and why they suffered. I was fascinated by illness, and what caused it; how illness needed to be healed.

I’d seen more than a kid’s share of severe problems by the time the hospital discharged all its wards. Of course, I wanted to heal the suffering; I loved my family. My father’s alcoholism, and then his unnamed PTSD which needed remedying. We all needed a remedy. Undiagnosed depression and mania peppered my mother’s family, taking her off into highs and lows.

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Credit: Ben Hershey via Unsplash

Life wasn’t easy in my house, and it wasn’t easy for the people I saw in the streets. I read the paranoid scrawls on the bus stop bench. I listened to the lady who’d recite the wrongs of the world to everyone and to no one in particular. I worried about the ‘bike man’ who wore a woolen coat as he peddled through the summer heat.

Surely all this madness inside my house and outside of it could be fixed.


Talking Out the Turmoil and Walking Alongside It.


All of these things brought me towards obtaining several degrees and a career. I wanted to know more about how people living on the streets and dealing with mental illness worked and how these conditions could be fixed. I worked in the state hospital that at that time, kept patients for thirty days not thirty years. I specialized in addiction and PTSD. My father was long gone by then, but I found peace with him through my work.

I talked with hundreds of people who lived in turmoil, waking to it every day. I formed relationships with them and walked with them through the most intimate details of their struggles. They came to me for help and guidance; I did my best. Although I had personal turmoil and needed a great deal of help myself, somehow my patients and I did well more times than not.


My Take on the Addiction Epidemic:


My career wandered but no matter where it went, I’ve always come back to working in addiction and trauma. I’ve found these are conditions far more common than most people would ever imagine, and they are almost always constant companions. I believe that if we could heal trauma faster, we’d not have an addiction epidemic.

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Credit: Provided by Author

As many people, I’ve followed news on the addiction epidemic in the U.S. for years now. In particular, numerous persons have a deep concern about opioid use. America and my city have meandered these streets, as heroin addiction has caused a devastation of lives. In my city, we’ve never seen such a crisis, not in all my time in this world.

Heroin addiction is a costly tragedy among those who are addicted, their loved ones, and communities. The economic costs alone are staggering—an estimated 50 billion dollars a year, but the human costs are immeasurable and immense.


“How did we get here? How did my city get here? How does a person end up here?”


As time passes, I’ve watched subsequent addiction and a mental health epidemic arise for the entire city where I live. It has a direct trail back to prescription painkillers and their medical use. Pain management clinics sprung up in and around my city as the painkiller epidemic occurred. Many of those were ‘pill mills’, caused people an addiction to painkillers.

Changing laws closed these clinics, and also resulted in the placement of monitoring systems. The prescribers of powerful pain-management drugs were closely watched. The consequences of this system? These prescriptions were harder to come by, despite countless people addicted to them. Pain pills available on the illegal market were terribly expensive and people suffered.


The Solution? Heroin.


Needles_Hush Naindo
Credit: Hush Naidoo via Unsplash

Heroin became, and still is, the affordable solution to painkiller scarcity.  For every dollar spent to obtain illegal painkillers, heroin packs the same punch at one-tenth the cost. Drug cartels met a need in the population when the prescription painkiller epidemic gained the attention of legislators and the medical boards. Their marketing strategies cut a path straight towards my area of expertise, and into my home city.

There’s more to a ‘painkilling’ addiction than chronic and debilitating physical pain needing to be managed. There is also psychological pain which people are seeking respite from. So, the drug and mental health epidemic is a pervasive one in people’s lives and the lives of their loved ones.

It’s traumatic to watch someone suffer from drug addiction. It’s more traumatic when medical ‘permission’ is taken out of the equation. The pure force of addiction became tangible when those addicted had no choice but to trade prescription painkillers for heroin. Heroin was the only reasonable alternative to prescriptions — if it can be seen as reasonable.


Heroin Addiction.


Moreover, Heroin addiction is a powerful and destructive force that most people can’t fathom unless they’ve experienced it in their daily life. I see it in the streets every day. The street people have changed. They seem to be dying faster, and I say prayers for them as I drive past them on the roads.

If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin or other drug addiction reach out. People can recover, but the right kind of help is crucial. Heroin is more powerful than anyones strongest willpower. Also, people can’t help others experiencing addiction when they can’t help themselves. Nonetheless, friends and family can aid those who can’t help the addicted people they love.

Don’t wait to act; the support of friends and family is crucial to stop the use of heroin and other lethal street drugs.


©Mandibelle16. (2018) All Rights Reserved.

Guest post: NonFiction – Health – Drug and Alcohol Addiction: Benefits of A Healthy Diet and Exercise by Sharon Torress #guestpost #nonfiction #health #exercise



Credit: Kimber Pine via Unsplash


‘You are what you eat.’ Many of us have heard this statement throughout our lives. The funny thing is, there’s a surprising amount of truth to these words. What we eat affects our health throughout our lives.

This truth is, especially, the case for recovering drug and alcohol addicts. People suffering from addiction deal with more than the effects of the drugs. Heavy drug and alcohol use can affect eating habits and nutrition. Addicts might:

— Abuse drugs that suppress their appetites.

— Become so involved in their drug use that they forget to eat.

— Eat junk food instead of healthy, nutritious food.

— Not be able to afford to buy food (or healthy food) because they’re spending all their money on drugs.

It’s not surprising, then, that some addicts (and recovering addicts) suffer from malnutrition. Some rehab centers employ nutritional counselors that teach former addicts how to eat well to regain their strength. However, one might wonder what happens after a person leaves rehab. Recovery can be a lifelong process that goes hand in hand with healthy eating.


Credit: Christian Stark via Unsplash


Eating well during addiction recovery can aid an addict in maintaining the strength they’ve regained in rehab. It’s a shame for a person to go through the work of rehab programs, only to become weak because they eat a ton of junk food. Sadly, this is a common phenomenon.

It turns out that some people recovering from alcohol abuse are also dependent on sugar. There is some debate about whether sugar is an addictive substance, but researcher, Jeffrey L. Fortuna, contends that many people who abuse drugs and alcohol have a preference for sweet foods. He notes that studies have shown that when these people consume sweet foods, their brains react similarly to if they had used drugs or alcohol.

Consuming large amounts of sugar isn’t the best solution for those recovering from drug or alcohol abuse (for anyone). But there are steps former addicts can take to improve their diet and maintain their sobriety. Even if you aren’t recovering from an addiction, many of these steps promote healthy nutrition and exercise.

To eat healthier, a former addict could consider finding help at Rehab centers, which have nutritional counselors — as do many hospitals. Enlisting the services of professionals such as dietitians, nutritionists, family doctors, (etc.) can help a person learn to how to eat more nutritiously. If a person’s received addiction treatment at rehab, why shouldn’t they seek help for nutritional needs?

Utilizing online resources is also a great idea, and can provide a wealth of useful information on nutrition and exercise. The internet also contains harmful information, so one must be careful about which sites they trust; be wary of sites that make grand promises. Instead, consider searching for healthy recipes on Pinterest or online food magazines.

Moreover, there are many fantastic blogs that discuss the role of nutrition and exercise for a sober lifestyle. Other blogs and pages provide awesome health tips. Online reviews and recipes can also give a person ideas about what might work — and what won’t work when creating an improved health plan.


Credit: Google


Eating more vegetables is essential to improving one’s diet. Nutritional diets aren’t only about avoiding unhealthy food, but adding foods that enhance a person’s general health. Eating more vegetables provides the body with several significant vitamins and minerals.

As well, vegetables can fill a person up without adding a lot of calories or fat to your diet. If you’re a person who hates vegetables, you might want to reconsider. More restaurants are encompassing varied types of vegetables and preparing them in unique and tasty ways that might appeal to more people when eating out.

Also, adding more protein to your diet is vital. A person doesn’t have to go on the Atkins diet or eat a side of beef to incorporate more protein. Eating a few nuts or some Greek yogurt can prevent a person from becoming ravenously hungry and making questionable food choices later in the day.


Credit: Cyril Saulnier via Unsplash


Also, if a person exercises they’re taking vital steps to improving their health. One also might be more inclined to eat healthier while exercising, since they won’t want to undo their improved physical appearance and sense of well-being caused by increased exercise. Physical activity also releases chemicals into the brain called endorphins.

Endorphins can create positive feelings and prevent stress and depression. Stress and depression both contribute to drug addiction and eating disorders. As a consequence, exercise can prevent addictions and eating issues from returning or occurring in the first place.

Taking small steps is key to improving one’s overall health. If a person can’t change their entire diet and exercise routine, there are small things one can do such as not ordering soft drinks and not choosing french fries as a side dish at a restaurant.


Credit: Raw Pixel via Unsplash


Moreover, people shouldn’t beat themselves up for not eating healthfully all of the time. Most of us eat birthday cake now and then, and sometimes binge on junk food. These behaviors happen, but dwelling on them does nothing. We’re all human and no one expects those around them to be perfect. Likewise, a person shouldn’t expect themselves to have perfect eating habits every day.

Finding ways to eat healthier and exercise is not difficult; although, implementing these habits can be trickier. This fact is, especially, true if people had poor diets and (or) were suffering from substance abuse.

However, former addicts and all people can consider incorporating a few of these steps into their diets little by little. Creating a healthy diet and exercise plan that works for overtime, is key. In general, those who focus on eating healthier diets and on increasing their physical activity, maintain their sobriety; they improve their health as a whole.


Sources:

Benefits of vegetables:  Better Health Channel, Victoria State Government, https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/fruit-and-vegetables

Exercise, endorphins, and addiction:  “Exercise and Depression,” WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression

Sugar, drugs, and alcohol:  Jeffrey L. Fortuna, “Sweet Preference, Sugar Addiction and the Familial History of Alcohol Dependence: Shared Neural Pathways and Genes,” posted on PubMed.gov, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20648910


©Mandibelle16. (2018) All Rights Reserved.

Sunday Photo Fiction: Mothers . . . #amwriting #flashfiction 


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF. 

——–

Credit: Alistair Forbes – A Mixed Bag

———

“Really this is disgusting, Michael. Buy yourself a new keyboard, they aren’t that expensive. This one’s beyond the reach of Mr. Clean or Lysol wipes. I don’t even think compressed air would move anything.”

“Mum, leave me alone. I’m playing games.”

“Oh, like Super Mario? And what’s that one? Oh, yeah, the one where the guys a pimp and kills all those hookers and sells drugs?” 

“It’s called —”

“I just want to play can I? I know you have that Guitar Hero one and I swear I bought you a dance one.”

“Oh, ah. It wasn’t my thing sold that dance one. And the one with the hookers was ‘Grand Theft Auto.’ I don’t think you’d like that one Mom.”

“Why not?”

“It’s pretty gory . . .”

“I heard all about it from my friend at work, Michael. She played it when she was sick a few days, at home. Took her a bit but she figured it out.”

“Mom, I don’t want you playing that game. Besides I’m playing Warcraft. . .”

“Who’s the Mom here? I want to play that game.”

“Okay Mom, I’ll buy a new keyboard. I’ll order one now. Please let me play Warcraft in peace?”

“Well. . . ”

Michael grumbled to himself and pushed his Mom gently out of his room before locking the door behind him. Mothers . . .

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

November Notes: Poem -Day 24 – Italian Sonnet – “The Blame”


This days song prompt is “Buses and Trains” by Bachelor Girls.


“Buses and Trains” – Bachelor Girls


woman-hiding
http://www.pinterest.com

Mom, you didn’t say, how cruel the world is,

I could blame you for it all, but I’m grown.

Teach me, I could’ve learned by your grace known.

Each day I’m run down by trains, it’s fun this–

Game; ears ringing from sound trains make hissing.

Or a bus in front of me is coming, near miss —

Only by seconds I’m safe, empty words moan.

Why do I being pulverized feel sewn

Together a quilt, with all pieces, its bliss.

How do I explain I needed guidance?

It hurts me, you decided, gave me up.

 Without your words, boys became as chocolate,

Choosing the worst, failing being grown-up.

Addicted, inhaling them, drug sate.

You could’ve taught me better, it’s too late.


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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

Music Prompt: Poem – Quatrains – “Constant Cravings” #taleweaver #amwriting #poetry


Thanks to MindLovesMisery’s Menagerie for hosting. This week’s prompt is the song: “Constant Craving” By KD Lang

——

——-

http://www.curejoy.com

——

Constant cravings not only for,

An addict or a pregnant gal.

Cravings that run deep, thus, inform–

Temptation in life, to resolve. 

—–

Find balm for cravings we adore,

The deadly; we’re not infallible.

What if they control us, and pour–

Salt on wounds, we’re delicate, fragile.

——

Some addictions, need be unformed,

Forget the drugs, the alcohol–

Constant craving beyond our core,

Craving affection, unappalled.

——

A deep urge, to have and to pour —

Water on our burns, all close calls.

But can you escape craving more? 

Never enough, always need salves. 

—-

Constant want and feeling so sore —

Need completion, a place to fall. 

Beyond bad cravings, wanting more.

Constantly seeking, peace enthralls.  

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Writing 101: Poem – Free Verse – “A Day is A Life Time.” #everydayinspiration


The prompt for Writing 101 today is to write about an event that takes place in a single day. Also, I will be including The Daily Post word prompts Phase, Dream, and Grain. I’m trying something with poetry and I hope the result isn’t tedious.

——

It started in the morning ending at —

Evening; children who were born with —

A scream on their lips, removed from —

The womb; swaddled in blankets.

——

Life is a day and each day we spend —

One single day, representing —

A lifetime; not knowing each day —

Could end in a moments glance. 

—–

Babe once born, phase into toddler, 

Sucking on bottles, weened off.

Already, personality —

Forming; individual who tantrums.

—–

Couldn’t get her way playing in her —

Pre-school; no hitting allowed there. 

Prepares her for kindergarten, 

Where she better know her typing.

——

To write her name proudly with her,

Markers scribbling future —

Artist; parent’s dream but she’s holding —

Building blocks; then she’s finished–

—-

Being a kid, now screaming to —

Her brother, ‘stay out of my bed —

Room;’ texting her friends, their all —

Nearly sixteen, appearing twenty-one.

—–

She’s been drinking since thirteen-years, 

Not weird to her; she’s been there before.

Degree in engineering of —

Structures; dreams building stream-lined.

——

Caught the eye of a man where she works, 

He’s ten-years her senior at his —

Prime; another engineer, they’ve —

Two kids, girl and a boy, on their —

——

Own journeys; and she’s divorced.

Only thirty-five, raising teenagers, 

Tiring of her career; her daughter–

Pregnant; along comes grandchildren.

—–

She’s only forty and remarries, 

Her true soul mate she says, kids hate —

Him; replacing father they never see, 

Grandma raising baby of her daughter.

——-

Mom is forty-five; son marries girl,

A beautiful blond, into fine art.

Mom doesn’t like her; girl’s a phase.

Son has three kids and stays married.

——

Daughter won’t talk; sends home one more —

Squalling infant for Grandma to —

Care for and work too; step-Opa glad, 

Never had kids, he loves his grandbabies.

——

The grandbabies grow and she’s pushing —

Sixty-five-years; grandkids moving —

Out; hoping they do better than her —

Sweet daughter; dead, needle marks proof.

——

She wants to travel, she’s been all —

Over the world but only for work.

So Oma and Opa see the —

World divine; slowing down in life.

——

She teaches, a class or two for —

Dumb first-year engineer students, 

Doesn’t know how they’ll fill her shoes, 

But they’ve all this technology.

—–

Eighty-six and she’s alone; her soul —

Mate, he passed away; time speeds through, 

She has a dog that keeps her happy, 

But she out-lives the dog as well.

—–

Grains of sand sifting, her time comes, 

In hospital they can’t believe she’s, 

One-hundred-and-one; she dies with —

Great-grandkids crying for their Oma.

—-

This, is a lifetime you say not —

One single day, but you don’t see,

How with such quickness, a lifetime —

Is reduced to one significant —

One magnimounous little, 

Day before God; finally, wandering home.

—–

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

Sunday Photo Fiction: Purple Haze


A storm of this magnitude was a rare occurrence when the weather wasn’t boiling hot. The temperatures had been mild at best.

Albert had felt the temperature slowly decrease outside his truck where he ate his favourite chocolate bar. He had become cold enough to throw on his thin jacket. Albert adjusted the rim of the Blue Jays hat, as the first drops of rain fell methodically on his nose. 

Then the storm had arisen with tyranny. The unbiased cruelty of Mother Nature had thrown everything she had into the storm as Albert ducked back into his truck for cover.

Golf-ball sized hail pounded down, denting Albert’s beloved white pickup truck. Then the rain crashed in torrents of harsh unending water from the sky. The wind was blowing, howling it’s rage and rocking Albert’s truck.

Albert turned on the radio to comfort himself. He could hear thunder in the distance rumbling closer.

 The sky was a harsh grey with a small purple glow as lightening sparked across it. One lightening crack was so terrifyingly loud, Albert jumped. 

The destructive path of the lightening with thunderheads, made Albert think he was adrift in purple haze when deep booms were followed by flashes of brilliant purple.

Then, the radio was suddenly, blaringly loud to Albert as the thunder and lightening passed. The rain continued in sheets.

Jimi Hendrix was singing “Purple Haze,” crooning in his legendary voice on the radio:”Yeah, Purple Haze all in my eyes, don’t know if it’s day or night . . .” 

Albert could relate to those lines as he waited through the mid-afternoon in his truck, for the purple haze left in the rainy sky to pass. 

(Although, Albert knew Hendrix sung of a different kind of “Purple Haze. “)

—–

 

A Mixed Bag

—-

Thank you to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF
—–

Jimi Hendrix ” Purple Haze”

——

©Mandibelle16.All Rights Reserved. 

Poem: Etheree – “Close.” 


  
——–

So

I go,

And I try,

Understanding,

You won’t give me up,

I’m an addiction — drugs,

Because I deflect questions,

You’ll return, again asking me,

To join in your slumber, these adult games,

To play until twilight and let love,

Breathe life into my hallow lungs, seduce.

—–

These twists and turns we tumble down, in a place,

You’d never remain if you only said,

Join me for a bite, break bread — taste,

Swallow, glasses of Malbec,

Wine with a bite, just right;

Dinner, and a walk.

Conversation.

Know me well

Before,

Bed.

—–

Few

Of You,

Know how to,

Liberate girls,

From thoughts that burn,

Making a woman’s mind,

A confusing place to be,

Relaxation and some talk,

Cease, winding of the wheels spinning; laugh.

Slow the pace, be merciful gent,

Appreciating, discovering, 

Not only for bodies, but minds must mingle well.

—–

Luxuriate in breathing in her soul, herself.

Listen well and inform about yourself,

Slide into stolen glances lost,

Powerful bonds caught, connect you.

Lips licked before a kiss sought,

Arms at length hold fast,

Minds connect so,

Enthralling,

Remain,

Close

——

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

Poem: David Bowie’s Obituary


  

http://www.facebook.com
 ——

David Bowie’s gone away, who knew it was going to be today.

Actually, it happened yesterday, when he passed away.

Surrounded by his loved ones, having lost the fight that many lose.

The battle with Cancer, a battle that took the man David Jones whose,

—–

 

Better known as David Bowie, a legend, who took “music, sexuality, fashion,”

And used them as his “playthings.” When he sang, he performed — it was his passion.

And if you remember Bowie’s  second album, and the song “Space Oddity.”

You’ll think of the story of a Major Tom abandoned in space, a bit of a morbidity.

—–

Bowie followed up his hit with: The Man Who Sold The World.

“Life on Mars” and “Oh You Pretty Things,” defined music in the 1970’s and Bowie was awhirl.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars had many well played songs.

“Starman,” “Suffragette City,” and “Rock’n’Roll Suicide, “people sang with Bowie in throngs.

—–

 

Looking at Bowie’s personal life there’s his first wife, Angie Barnett and a talented Hollywood producer son; he divorced Angie in nineteen-eighty.

Bowie was also enthralled with the Rock’n’roll lifestyle: “drink, drugs” and a “vigorous bisexuality.”

His first character was the “sexually ambiguous” Ziggy from his album in nineteen-seventy-two.

But he killed him off and became Aladdin Sane; became an American ‘whose who.’

—-

 

“Cracked Actor” and ” Jean Genie” were also major music hits; Bowie became more,

Not only a singer and songwriter but a producer for Lou Reed whose album soared.

Then came The Apocalyptic Diamond Dogs; an album for Bowie was usually a win,

And the songs, “Golden Years,” “Knock on Wood,” and especially “Fame,” brought him to the USA and fan’s grins.

—–

 

Mixing “electronic soul and avant-guard” Bowie changed direction in Berlin.

He acted in The Man Who Fell From Earth and updated Major Tom’s story in,

“Ashes to Ashes;” but Bowie also came into the nineteen-eighties with pulsing electronic dance.

“China girl,” “Modern Girl,” and  — a duet with Mick Jagger  –“Dancin’ in the Streets,” were popular songs by more than only chance.

——

 

Bowie’s band Tin Machine was into heavy metal and Bowie re-examined his,

Rock’n’Roll roots, producing two “questionable” albums and brought out this,

Heathen album in two-thousand-and-two; he acted as Nikola Tesla, as an illusionist, and in the movie The Prestige Bowie lived,

Sadly, we come near the end — Bowie released The Next Day, album in two-thousand-thirteen; it was wonderful music to give.

——

 

Bowie’s last album came, a beautiful present, Black Star, on his sixty-ninth Birthday, shortly before his death.

Now the performer has passed; an enigma gone to sleep; the actor, producer, performer, and writer at rest.

——

Based on David Bowie’s Obituary online at the BBC:

(http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-12494821)

——

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quitting Bad Health


Prompt: 

Tell us about something you’ve tried to quit. Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change? Did it stick?——

  
Have you ever been at a point in your life where you know your body isn’t healthy and in shape; more often then not you are snacking and eating food not good for you; and you are not even remotely trying to be physically active? 

For those of you that dont know I suffer from a depression (mood) illness that has made be chronically fatigued. I don’t have chronic fatigue the syndrome, but I have it due to my mood disorder and many of my symptoms are the same. I also have a sleep disorder probably more of you can relate to, insomnia. 

I have been on many psychiatric drugs since I first became ill about eight-years-ago now. Most of the time I can feel if a drug is helping me within the first couple weeks. Most drugs I cannot tolerate or I am allergic to. I was on a large cocktail of drugs especially because of my insomnia. Drugs that made me sleepy would effect the amount of energy I had in the day which isn’t much. So, my Doctor had me come into the hospital voluntarily for three weeks to start on a new drug called Clozapine. 

I was scared about this as I tried it once before and felt horrible for a day or two. But my doctor told me that because Clozapine can cause your heart rate to increase, cause dizziness at first, and create problems with blood pressure, I needed to be in hospital to give it a proper try. I went off my sleeping pills Gabepentine which were interfering with my ability to think and concentrate. I split the amount of my antidepressant in half and came off some other pills. I started Clozapine and it wasn’t an easy drug to work my way up to the right dose. I am pretty sensitive with medication so it only took about 37.5 mg. But I felt awful the second day after we would increase the drug each time. And it took months, even when I was out of hospital to get used to Clozapine. It acts as an anti-psychotic medication, an antidepressant, and as sleeping pill. 

The problen is I became used to the dose I was on and require another medication to make me fall asleep right now. Despite the fact that 50 mg of Clozapine was too much for me when I first went on the drug; I am going to up the dose at the end of January so I can sleep without another medication aiding me. It will take some time getting used to the new dose. It’s particularly difficult getting up in the mornings. I mostly sleep to 11:00 am or noon some days. But I do find I don’t sleep until 11:00 pm to 12:00 am. 

Something that is great about Clozapine is that I’m actually feeling better a bit more every month I take it. It helped with my concentration and ability to read and memorize notes for my last class in Reseidential Interiors. I have more energy in a normal day at home. For the first time in two and a half years I have the energy to exercise for anywhere from ten to thirty minutes depending on the exercise. I have been doing 7 minute circuit-training with an application on my phone. It’s hard to do each exercise with only ten seconds rest inbetween but I’m doing it. Before, I never could have dreamed about doing a high intensity workout. I can do longer yoga workouts now, from twenty to thirty minutes and I don’t feel tired afterward; I feel relaxed. I did 10 minutes of intense cardio on the elliptical today and it was good. Maybe, not much for someone else but for me it’s great.

So, I guess you can say I was granted  more energy and the ability to concentrate this year, so I could take better care of my body. I have stopped over-eating and am slowly working the portion sizes of my meals down through weight watchers as I would like to lose some weight. 

The bad thing about psychiatric drugs is that you often gain about 10 lbs from starting a new drug. I had hoped it wouldn’t happen this time but it did. I’m trying to loose about 25 lbs to start. Weight watchers is great because they have an application you can manage everything from and plan your eating day. There are even extra points for treats and points for working out.I drank too much pop such as Pepsi before. When you only have thirty some points to work with in a day, rarely, do you waste ten points on a can of Pepsi that is worth ten points of other things you could be eating more of to fill you up. Veggies and fruit are encouraged as you can eat as many as you want. 

So, I’m trying to stop not being healthy and to make my body the best it can be both physically and mentally. I’m taking some courses in creative writing online at U of Toronto starting in February. So, I am excited for those too. Things are working out as time goes by and I’m able to stop being a person who can’t help herself take better care of her body.