Saturday, April 30, 2005

Cognitive constipation and Obsession

I ask myself this question, if no one else does, "Do I have nothing else to do other than generating all these blogs?"

Well, there are several reasons behind the blogging.

First, I want to share my experiences with those who go through similar struggle some time in their life or those who are lucky enough to never have to live through these experiences. If anyone every comes across my blogs, I hope you will learn something through them.

Second, I am more or less creating a documentary with text. I find it really interesting to share my everyday experiences with other people in real time. This feels more or less like a faceless reality show.

Of course, I am aware that there are so many blogs over the Internet and there is not much of a chance for anyone to really stop by and read my postings. However, so is life and it is similar to all productions.

I actually suggested to a friend of my who is a MRI specialist to document the progression of my brain through out the entire time-- from a state of semi-stabilization, to a state of psychosis, to a state of recovery, and, hopefully, to a state of partial remission, if not full remission. Well, he did not see any point of keeping track of how my brain might change through out the entire time because "n=1 and results are not generalizable." Well, good luck to him and his fellow researchers. I am not even sure whether they would ever to find a big enough n to successfully carry on the study.

Well, believe it or not, based on my clinical experiences, it is closed to impossible to find patients who could identify the entry point and all the points in-between for research purposes. It is essential to conduct research based on stringent methodology. However, if the purpose of research is all for publication but not for the sake of inquiry about the plausible truth, there is something fundamentally sad.

Third, via writings, I am attempting to find a channel for catharsis. I understand that, at a time when I am highly irritable, small things could turn into big issues. Since unresolved issues tend to have a detrimental effect on human psyche and, possibly, would resolve in maladjustment (lol), the least I could do is to help myself, on a daily basis, work through and think through the little things one at a time.

Fourth, the writing activities are a way of indulging myself in something I always want to do but never find the time to do.

Believe it or not, despite of my verbal diarrhea in blogging, I have gradually achieved the state of cognitive constipation.

What is cognitive constipation? It is the experiences of blocked thoughts. Sometimes, medications might block you thoughts so very well that you don't even feel the flow in your thinking. That could make you feel that you are becoming dumber and dumber. Sort of like the kind of experiences people encounter when they enter a new environment in which they need to communicate with a foreign language. This was what Zyprexa did to me.

With Seroquel, the experience of cognitive constipation is much different. I am completely capable of performing all analytical tasks and ordinary cognitive functioning. I could also form highly intelligent argument or bullshit (lol). However, I have difficulties with inductive reasoning.

The second time I encountered my full blown psychotic episode, I stayed away from Zyprexa and switched to Seroquel. It was because I was in the middle of running my experiment for my dissertation study and was about to begin analyzing my data. At that point, I felt that I could not withstand the block of cognitive flow.

I never really felt the total block in the flow of my thought after I started taking Seroquel (at least I do not recall). Moreover, after I got out from the hospital, I went directly back to work on my dissertation. I was able to analyze my data using all different kinds of higher level statistics methods and was totally capable of interpreting the results. Within one month after I was discharged from the hospital and while I was still in the dire of delusions, two of my papers were actually accepted to be presented in a conference. However, I eventually came to the realization much later that I was still cognitively constipated, just like how I feel now.

Under the treatment of the medication, I could do everything except for some specific type of inductive reasoning. In other words, I could not work on the discussion section. The dosage of Seroquel actually had to be reduced so that I could start working on the dicussion section (lol).

However, haven't I been providing all the discussions about all the events all these time? Yes, I have been. Yet, most of these discussions have originated from open topics. It appears to me that the difficulties I have are topics with constraints. For instance, given the results of the statistical analyses and provided the theories, what do we learn from the study? That I can't do.

Well, all these are good reasons for my blogging. However, I do see myself spending too much of my time lamenting about my experiences.

Since I am still relatively analytical and since I have a quiz next week in statistics, I am gonna switch now to do some other lower level cognitive tasks... preparing for the statistics exam!

By the way, I am forgetting the most important point of why I am keeping this line of blogs alive... It is a test for myself and a life experiment for my own case study. I am inching away conducting my own research about the impact of blogging as a vehicle of providing mental health intervention. lol

Friday, April 29, 2005

The Delusional Social Justice

Ok. I know I was forming a bit of delusion due to the inferential ideologies and auditory hallucinations.

Well, I was hanging out with this friend of mine today and, before we headed for dinner, he wanted to drop by the joint that I said I wouldn’t set my foot in again. On our way down the street, he kept on persisting that I should go hang out there with him and some other friends of mine who are the usual suspects. I told him “No” and “No” again and again. However, he kept on telling me it was irrational for me to not step in there.

I told him I wouldn’t because, at this point, I have to remove myself from any situation that reminds me of the triggering event. You see, hanging out drinking might not be the healthiest thing I could do to maintain my mental health. However, stepping my foot into an environment where negative associations have been formed is surely more detrimental than the drinks. One thing I learned from my life is that I choose the battle to fight and I sort of trust my instinct—to a certain degree.

I tried to explain but he would not listen. If anyone has been following my writing, you would have figured out that I am stubborn. This friend of mine is no less stubborn than me. But, he has no insight of himself being stubborn lol.

Sort of like what happened last weekend, he kept on pushing and telling me that I was being--- blab bla bla… It is an amazing thing that he works for the mental health institutions as a researcher. However, he really needs some empirical experiences to understand what mental health issues mean.

He was informed of my positive symptoms and the increased dosage in my medications. How rational would you expect me to be? However, it seems like he hears the sounds but not the music. It is difficult to explain to people what music is like if they can’t even hear it.

At some point, yours truly, the grumpy tiger, finally meowed. I told him in the face, “Shut up! Shut up!” He finally stopped. Thank, God, I had my voice today. However, he continued his pursuit to convince me about how irrational I was. I told him that, if he doesn’t understand, he should admit that he doesn’t understand.

Call me unstable or whatever you want to, I will admit them all without hesitance and I am working on them. And, believe it or not, I don’t recall in my life ever used the phrase “Shut up! Shut up!” in any argument. I did today.

Was that solely my fault? I was at fault because I was being impolite and I apologized to him later. However, I guess what really aggravated me this time was his detachment from real human experiences while claiming to be an expert, other than I couldn’t really take broken records nowadays. Well, a sense of anger was what I felt then but sadness is what I feel now.

Why such change? It is because it is the reality in life.

Apparently, being told to shut up did some damage to his ego and he started being passive aggressive towards me. He started saying small and negative thing about me again and again. It was amazing that I was able to totally block his either conscious or unconscious attacks (of course, that was just my perception). The matter of fact is that there was actually something more important in my mind.

After I told him to shut up, he finally went to the joint along while I was waiting downstairs. When he came back down, he told me the bartender was not at work. That made me worried. I could go on my life with my little struggles; however, the last thing I want is that my own little struggles would do anybody harm.

It would be my fault if that guy really lost his job. Miseries love companies but not in this way.

I told my friend that I wanted to stop by the deli downstairs to that joint to make sure that guy still has his job. I explained to him that, if because of me anyone has to suffer, I will try my best to right the wrongs.

I don’t know which part of the language he did not understand or maybe there were something else he failed to inform me about. However, one thing people don’t understand is that, at this point, there is nothing new under the sun. The power of creativity associated with delusional thoughts might have been underestimated lol. I was barred from the joint? Or, the entire neighborhood knows I am not normal? Do me a favor. There is nothing bigger than life. The only thing I care about now is that I struggle through the bumpy time and I do no harm along the road.

Because the deli was busy, I decided not to bother them. On my way home, I took a detour to stop by the deli. I bought a chocolate chip muffin and asked my question, “Is that guy still working upstairs?” “He works in the day time.” That was the reply. I was happy. I said, “Good! Good!” I smiled with a relief.

You might call me psycho and tell me that I was acting on my irrational thoughts. Let me put it this way, psycho or not psycho, I embrace it all. However, the “do no harm” principle could not be violated.

What about the symptoms? Well, they are getting to be sort of annoying and boring. I am trying to brush up the skill of ignoring… if only I could find it. At least, one lesson I learned today was that I could not stand broken records and I am much more easily irritated. Most important of all, I should stay away from my friends for a while before I lost them all lol.

The good thing is, Mother is coming on Monday and I would be a goodie-goodie girl. And my mother will always be my mother… lol

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Another day in Paradise

I have to admit to myself that some sort of delusion has been formed.

I am still aware that it is a delusion since I have never gotten any confirmation about anyone I don’t know was talking about me. Ok. That’s called the grandiose delusion. What this means is that, reality is not yet too much away from earth. lol

To cut the story short, in my delusion, a huge percentage of the University has been informed in some way about my drama. This is either via word of mouth, email or some website that publicizes my case. This is not the first time when I incorporate the modern technologies in my scenarios. What this means is that the contents of delusions do catch up with the Zeitgeist.

Also, either the bartender got fired or he 86ed me so that I should never get back to the joint again. Some people are in my league while others think I am all bullshit (oops, pardon me for my French). Of course, when I walked down the street or sat on a bench, the usual suspects still picked on me… auditory hallucination, referential ideology, and the sense of distress.

I believe the medication is doing its work, just taking its time. Since my mother is arriving next Monday and I intend to get much more stabilized by then, I am starting to have the feeling that maybe I should talk with my psychiatrist about upping my dosage even more. However, this is just a though. Believe me I am no fan of medications.

I started my day at 9:00 all energetic and, by 2:00 o’clock, I started feeling sleepy. By the time I got off work, believe me, I could not stop yarning for the entire 10 blocks home. I observed some new side effects today. I went right into bed as I stepped into my door. However, even though I was really tired and sort of sleepy, I just could not fall asleep.

I eventually got up and decided to take a walk outside. As you might guess, I also aimed to test my condition again.

I walked down the street aimlessly until I finally stopped at the Statue of the Alma Mater. I sat on the bench for a while, reminiscing what happened before my last hospitalization. This was one of the last stop before the emergency room last time. At that time, I was worried about the life and death of all the people I knew. It is still painful revisiting the old delusions.

However, when rethinking my past and comparing it to the present, I realized, maybe not the first time, that the bottom line is that I long for recognition. I want people to recognize the quality of my research, my work as well as recognize my struggles. This is why I perceived that people were talking about me. Ya, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure this out. However, it is difficult to admit to it, the sense of grandiosity.

Well, for me, it is actually getting a bit boring reporting my symptoms. It was just like I actually got bored about complaining when I was sliding into the dire of depression. For the sake of documentation, today, I started perceiving some degree of memory loss. I forgot what I wanted to do and, within a conversation, I forgot what I wanted to say more frequently. My affect has also turned much flatten. Worst of all, I could not stop thinking about food and eating. Moreover, meat has been in my mind, especially beef… No wonder they provide 6 meals in the coo-coo’s nest and didn’t I mention in one of my previous posting that I would gain a few ponds? lol

As you could see, at this point, the triggering event is no longer anything significant to my current condition. One thing I learned all these years is that, if the system should crash, any event could be that triggering event.

Monday, April 25, 2005

The end of a new beginning

It might sound ridiculous. However, it has been the dream of my life to capture my experiences in real time, with a wishful thinking that it might be of some help to someone else going through the same thing.

It was a long way home. Only 10 blocks but it felt like eternality.

Coming out of the school, there was this guy and this girl laughing at me. Of course, I was unable to capture anything they said exactly. Walking down the block, people recognizing me and they knew I was the girl who caused all the troubles.

When I walked by one of the neighborhood bar, the bouncer was sort of make fun of me behind my back.

Then there were these three guys. They did not look happy at the sight of me, and, when walking passing by me, I overheard one of them said, "he was just doing his job." That comment made me feel worried.

This feeling of being watched and criticized started to make me feel an increasing sense of anxiety. Walked inside of my building, the security guard did not seem to be to enthusiastic in greeting me.

Worst of all, I started to have the feeling that the bartender’s job might be in a state of insecurity. That makes the sense of anxiety become even stronger. I have the feeling that I might be at fault for somebody else’s suffering, while do no harm is the principle of my life.

One thing people with paranoid do is that they have the feeling that each every of their step is watched. For me this translate into the perception that people are getting information about me through my blogs. In other words, this is starting to feel like the real thing. I am starting to feel that people knows the real identify of Ratprincess and they could actually associate my postings with me.

This thought leads me to write out this posting before Seroquel knocks me down.

With this posting, I want to tell people that the bartender just did not know what to do with me and no harm should be done to him in the name of social justice--- words spoken on behalf of my delusional self. At the same time, this is a challenge to the common symptom of broadcasting thoughts—I will do the service myself over the Internet.

I am pretty sure now that Zoloft has finally taken control over the symptoms of depression. What I have to deal with next is to make sure the adjustment of serotonin level does not go over board and push me higher up to the reign of psychosis.