Thursday, January 12, 2012

This is Me...This is My Brain on Psychiatric Drugs...Any Questions?

I think a big question that plagues many people who take antidepressants, antipsychotics, and other types of psychiatric drugs is, how much do these drugs change your personality?  And, how much does that matter?

Obviously, if you're taking some sort of mood-altering drug, it's because your mood is interfering with your life, presumably in a negative way.  You're depressed, psychotic, anxious, or have some other undesirable problem that you've sought treatment for.  The only problem is, often times, the drugs you get to help you through the original issue cause other undesirable issues that may or may not be worse than the original problem.  For example, I wrote a few weeks ago about the mountains of Seroquel I'm taking and how they make me blunted and tired.  Add that to my ECT treatment from yesterday, and I've slept the better part of the last day and a half.  I'm lucky I have a babysitter so that I can sleep as much as I need, but I still feel like the world's laziest person.

Another issue I've noticed being on a higher dose of Seroquel in addition to ECT treatments is that I just kind of feel stupid.  My reaction times are slower, I can't think of words or phrases as quickly as I usually do; I can't flesh out ideas like I usually can.  While I don't think I'm a particularly great artist or crafter, I feel like my normal pool of creativity is definitely shallower than it used to be.  When it comes down to it, those things are small prices to pay to be a functioning member of my family and society.  It's more irritating than anything, to have a half-formed idea hanging in your brain and lack the ability to give it structure and substance, but it's irritating, nonetheless.

One last complaint (let's face it, this is just one big rant) I have is that I just don't care about most things.  My weight, cleaning the house, getting out and doing stuff, setting up fun, structured activities for the kids -- I just can't be bothered.  It's as if my mantra is, "Whatever." I did manage to get my girls signed up for ballet and theater classes, and I made the giant step in managing my weight of buying a bunch of Lean Cuisines.  Maybe just the fact that they're in my freezer will rub off on my other food and make all of it low-cal, tasteless and cardboardlike.  I can only hope, because that's about as far as I've got.

Even entertainment-type stuff has less appeal.  I can hardly sit through a whole television show anymore; I just don't care.  I've been reading the same book for three weeks.  And it's a good book!  I just can't get that interested.  Even knitting and crocheting hold less appeal for me; I feel like just about everything I do turns out crappy and I just can't get excited about anything.  I flip through lists of projects in my head and nothing grabs me.  It's so frustrating.

So, to sum up, I'm going through that unavoidable existential crisis that most people who are on mood-altering drugs go through at some point.  If I think, therefore I am, what am I if I think slower, or less sharply?   If I think differently, or less?  If I think, but I just don't care?

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