Saturday, July 25, 2009

This and That

Nothing major happening, just little signs of healing, I guess.

I did get two more nose bleeds after I posted, so that was 4 in the same 24 hour period. The last one woke me up at 5 in the morning, that was not pleasant. I stopped all my aspirin, Advil and gingko for 24 hours, but then my head was killing me and I had to try some aspirin again. It was not very fun worrying every time I took an aspirin. I did get a little seepage, but no more nose bleeds. I am being more careful with the aspirin and Advil, but at least I am able to take it again. I stopped the gingko.

I got my period, which is big news because in my last year on Risperdal I didn't have one at all, I was hoping for early menopause. But now it is back and I suppose that is good, my body is normalizing again. I had a short but vicious migraine to go with it, I am only grateful that it was gone the next day.

Sleep is still a problem. I went back and tried phosphatidyl choline again, this time 3 capsules, and I was asleep in 20 minutes. But I didn't feel well the next day, I was having depressed thoughts. I know some people get depressed from choline, so I haven't tried it again. I'm up to 12 of the Total Amino Solutions capsules at night, and they get me to sleep around 3. I've ordered some passion flower extract online, that was the last thing Truehope Support could recommend I try. I am trying not to worry about it, because that will just make it worse.

I am so grateful for the cool weather we are having this summer. It is about 3 degrees below normal so far they say, and that has been perfect for me. It is really nice.

I'm losing weight! The nausea is gone and I am eating normally, but I am still losing weight. I've lost 5 lbs so far, which is just nice, moderate weight loss.

So, I may not post as frequently, because not much seems to be going on right now. Just slow and steady healing. It's all good.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Nose Bleeds

Yes, my latest experience is two nose bleeds today. I have never had a nose bleed in my life before. I don't know if it's the Empowerplus or not. I searched the Truehope message boards for nose bleeds, and found one parent of a 6 year old who was having them frequently since coming off his meds. They do say to stop your Empowerplus before surgery to prevent excessive bleeding. It may be that I am getting too much gingko, the Empowerplus has gingko and so does another supplement I take. I should calculate just how much I'm getting. In any case, the nose bleed stops as soon as I put my head back for a couple of minutes, so I don't think it is anything to worry about.

I am back up to 15 Empowerplus capsules per day. I'd been feeling off, not hypomanic exactly but trending that way. Yesterday I decided to go back up to 15, and I felt so much better by the evening -- calm and even. I hoped I might get to sleep earlier, but I didn't, really.

I also added Holy Basil to the mix about a week ago. It is a great herb! It has totally eliminated the anxiety I was having. Every evening I used to start to feel anxious, and I could never figure out why. Now it is just gone! Fantastic.

So, I am still having trouble falling asleep at night, despite all the remedies. But overall, things are going very well. I do not think I have had a day of depression since starting Empowerplus. Sure, some of the physical symptoms have persisted, but I haven't felt down at all. That is really amazing, especially when you consider all the people who are depressed and anxious as part of their withdrawal. I am gradually getting my physical strength back too, so again, it is really going well!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I am the Queen of the Paradoxical Reactions. Just want to throw that out there.

I have not been sleeping. Well, I sleep, but not at the desired time. The past five nights now I have not fallen asleep until 4 or 5 am. I sleep until noon, so I'm still getting enough sleep, but it's getting old, lying awake in bed all night.

I know all the sleep remedies. I was using a lot of them before this problem, and they did help. L tryptophan, L theanine, melatonin, my antihistamine, they were getting me to sleep around 1 am. Hoping to get to sleep a little earlier, I tried adding phosphatidyl choline to the mix, and that was the first night I was up until 4. For the next 3 nights I didn't take the choline, but I was still up until 4 or 5. Last night I tried 2 choline, thinking maybe I wasn't taking enough, and I was definitely more alert after I took it.

So the choline is no good for me, but that doesn't explain why I was up on the nights I didn't take it. I made two other changes recently, I dropped down to 12 Empowerplus capsules from 15, and I added Holy Basil. The combined effect of these changes has been to make me more alert and a little more energetic during the day. I guess they are doing the same to me at night as well. But I'm not willing to give up the daytime benefit for more sleep, because I am sleeping, just not at the right time.

What I'm going to do is start shifting my wake up time earlier, and see if that will eventually be reflected in an earlier bedtime. I want to maintain my energy in the daytime, so the change will be gradual.

Really, despite this sleep problem I am getting better every day. I guess I am in the sweet spot now, between withdrawal and protracted withdrawal. My laundry has really piled up over the course of this withdrawal, maybe soon I'll be able to take care of that!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Still talking about coffee . . .

. . . I'm sorry to say. The decaf has a bitter aftertaste, and after giving it the old college try I've decided I just don't like it. After wrestling with my demons for a couple of hours, I went to the store to buy some regular coffee. Alas, they didn't have my usual brand, and I debated for a while whether I should take this as a sign that I shouldn't buy any coffee. But I bought it anyway. I had a cup this evening, and the sky hasn't fallen. If I can stick to just one cup a day I think I should be all right.

I am incrementally better again today than I was yesterday, so I am starting to think I am out of the woods for this first round of withdrawal. We have had to cancel our summer vacation plans because there is no way I will be able to drive 4 hours up to the lodge, or do any hiking or other activities when we get there. So that is disappointing, for my parents as well as for me. But next year should be a whole different story, and they agree that ditching the drugs is the right way to go.

So I am thinking optimistically now about protracted withdrawal. Except for the anxiety, all my symptoms with the first round of withdrawal were physical. It is easy to discount the anxiety now that it is gone, but I don't think it was that bad. It didn't keep me up at night or anything. I am very lucky that I haven't had any depression with the withdrawal, because depressed has been my default state for these 10 years or more. So I can see that the Empowerplus is doing some good, even through the trials of withdrawal.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Patience is my word of the day. I felt a little better today, but it is going oh so slowly. I'm still having no luck with any of the withdrawal remedies that have been recommended. I think today was better because I didn't try anything new. Yesterday I went out to the mall with my mom to buy some whey protein. It's a good thing I had her along because I had to sit outside on a bench while she actually bought the stuff for me. It was too hot for me in there. I am still having this temperature problem, being hot and cold at the same time.

I tried the whey protein as soon as I got home, just a tablespoon in half a glass of water, and it seemed to help for about an hour. I had a second dose and soon my stomach was bloated and sore, and it stayed bloated and sore all night. I may try it again with some digestive enzymes at the same time, but I am not in any hurry. I know some people take rice protein powder, but having just bought one honking big plastic jar of stuff I am loathe to shell out for another.

It seems that when I resist the withdrawal, and try all these remedies, that I feel worse off than when I just let it take its course. I think I have to strive for acceptance, and go with the flow a little more. I talked to Truehope Support today, and beyond the inositol, Total Amino Solutions and whey powder they have nothing else for me to try. They did suggest that I lower my dose of Empowerplus to 12 capsules from 15, so we'll see if that helps at all. And like I said, it did seem slightly better today, so maybe the worst is over. The anxiety is pretty much gone, anyway.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Managing Expectations

Another wretched day today, followed by a good-feeling evening and positively hypomanic twinkle in my eye tonight. It is quite a roller coaster to be on. My phosphatidyl choline will arrive from it's cross country journey on Wednesday. It is quite ridiculous the way Truehope ships their packages -- from Salt Lake City west to the coast where they cross the border, then in a truck all the way back east across Canada to where I live.

I signed up for a course, Jeanette Maw's Money Mojo Magic, to improve my relationship with money, and the first exercise made me realize that I haven't been managing my expectations very well here. I started out looking for some profound changes in my mental health, but really that's been lost as I've been hunkered down going through this withdrawal. All I've had recently was a thin hope that my blood sugar would improve after I get these drugs out of my system.

So let's be clear about what I'm expecting in the long run here. I expect total mental health, enthusiasm and optimism about life, and lots of energy. I expect physical health, with the motivation to take care of myself properly. I expect to be a contributing member of society, with some kind of work I love. I expect a mind that runs clear and deep.

That sets the course properly.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I have been having some anxiety recently, but it seems the cure is worse than the complaint. I had a brutal reaction to some inositol today, which is recommended for anxiety and depression. I was really sick, and now I just have that wrung out feeling that you get after you've been sick. A lot of people on the Truehope message boards rely on inositol to control their moods, and they can take large quantities of the stuff, but some people find it "activating." If by activating they mean feeling miserable then I guess I find it activating too.

A couple of days ago I was feeling anxious also so I tried to take an extra capsule of L theanine. This is supposed to be non-drowsy but it really knocked me out. I was wiped out for most of the next day. So I am not having good luck with anxiety remedies.

I do not know why I am anxious, I have nothing to be anxious about. I think I just have to learn to wear it as best I can. Maybe when I stop making myself sick with anxiety remedies I will stop feeling so anxious.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rough Week

Well, I've had a rough week. I've been sleeping all day, I've been dizzy and nauseous, I've been totally off my food. When I was hoping to lose weight I wasn't thinking of constant nausea as the way to do it! I tried Gravol for the nausea, and it did help, but it put me back to sleep for a couple of hours.

All these symptoms started with the last reduction of the Risperdal to 0.375 mg. They spiked even higher when I went to 0 mg. I think Truehope has advised me to come off my drugs too quickly. They wanted me off everything in 3 weeks! I think 2 to 3 months would be more reasonable, more gentle. Plus, that article on benzo withdrawal in Wikipedia says that the protracted withdrawal is more severe when you come off your drugs too quickly. I hope I have not let myself in for it now.

Today at least is better. One consolation is that the withdrawal does not seem to be unrelenting, there are times when the symptoms subside and I can come up for air. Also, despite everything, my mood does not seem to be particularly suffering. It is just physical symptoms, I don't seem to be having any emotional problems.