madcelt

madcelt
Location
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Birthday
May 18
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Life is good for the most part. If only I could win the damned lottery.

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SEPTEMBER 17, 2009 4:43AM

Should the Mentally Ill Have the Right to Euthanasia

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As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I suffer from Bipolar II mood disorder, which means I cycle in mood rapidly and suffer from extreme, crippling anxiety and depression if not medicated. I haven’t posted since last April (except for the past couple of days) as my drugs stopped working. I couldn’t focus, spent my time staring out my window with my leg jiggling up and down, or asleep with the help of tranqs.  

I have a good doctor who desperately tries new treatments and has even sent me to a psychopharmacologist who deals purely with the chemistry (and it is chemical) of mental illness. He sent on a few suggestions to my shrink, but I have been on so much ‘stuff’ that the options are limited. At present she has added in a new drug which is an anti-psychotic (mwahahaha) which I DO NOT use for psychosis, but it has the side effect of reducing bipolar cycling. Many atypical anti-psychotics do the same, but this is brand new so I am more than willing to give it a try. There’s a lot of fine tuning with this stuff.

At first it increased my anxiety (oh good), then we changed the time of day I took it (makes me sleep early and wake up early – I’ve been up since 3 a.m.). This looks more promising as I do not currently feel like flying over rooftops, crawling out of my skin or swimming out into the bay towards England. I suspect my body may get used to the drowsy factor. I am hopeful. 

This however, brings up the side effects of the cocktail of medications (anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, anti-manics, anti-anxieties, and yes I take all of these). I have no balance. I’m a wall hugger. I can’t even get on a pair of pants without sitting down. I suffer ataxia and stumble. If I am not suffering from acute anxiety, I sleep. And as mentioned I wake up at 3. What a productive life. My cognitive abilities have decreased to a frightening state. My memory is dubious.

My concern is with all of us suffering from some form of chemical mood disorder…what happens when the options run out? Are we expected to receive no pleasure from an otherwise good life because our brains will not produce the correct chemicals for the years to come? Anhedonism (inability to feel pleasure) is a common symptom. The anxiety can become so severe that the ability to focus on even reading becomes impossible. The depression can be overwhelming. So if doctors, despite their best efforts, have to shrug their shoulders, what are we to do?

To some, the prospect of living with these symptoms is not acceptable. I understand this.  Many brave cancer patients live each day as if it were their last, pulling in all the pleasure they can, despite their terrible circumstances. But at some point, if no pleasure, only pain is possible – I do believe in a dignified death. Why is this considered so horrifying when applied to mental illness? 

Do I feel sorry for myself? You bet. I feel ripped off. When my symptoms became severe I was finishing graduate school and had to stop. I look at my colleagues and see them now as accomplished college professors and I am not only jealous, but angry that this disease has stolen from me in so many ways.  

I still have hope for now, however – I am not out of options…yet. But I think of those who have nothing to help them anymore, nothing but the pain of mental illness for the years to come and there is no dignity in that. I know what my choice would be.

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I don't rollercoaster, I just flatline, but I hear you. If only the meds were good enough to really work instead of just wrapping wool around your senses. If only they sustained even that little for a longer time, before you have to switch them out and go through sleeping constantly during readjustment and looking like a complete and utter fuckup/slacker...if only...I could, if only. :/
I wish some genius would come along and create a breakthrough before I die. I am truly tired of being sick, and seeing other people like me having to deal with illnesses that are not given full consideration by society. Becoming a psych nurse is not enough- where is my wand, where are my teeth? The lack of real science around this makes me feel so helpless and blind.
Yes. Flatline. No pleasure. No feelings. Numbness. It is a disease that is finally gettting some attention - more and more people are being FINALLY diagnosed as Bipolar or Depressive rather than schizoprenic (that was a grand period in psychiatric history). Therefore, the pharmaceutical industry can make more money - you're breakththrough may come sooner than you think. Stick in there...it's hard...but you sound like a toughie.
"you're breakththrough may come sooner than you think" -your mouth to whoever's ears ;)

Not a toughie, but most days I've got some resilience to me- it's just maddening that medicine moves so slow and seems to only be able to invent slegehammers for mental illness. :D but you are right, compared to past centuries... it has gotten better.
I have hope in the greed of the pharmaceutical industry. They now know we're out there...finally the side effects of drugs not meant for which are effective are being recognized as 'and also's in the medical journals. Oh, they'll keep working. SOOOO much money.
You sound tough to me.
I also feel sorry for myself a lot, because I don't know why this is happening to me. It always seems like the others are so happy and healthy and I am lost somewhere inside my own head. I am trying to fight, because I don't want to finish it all on an Amsco table. Although it is hard, something inside me doesn't want to let go.
Hey I'm bipolar too, and it ruined my life, I'm in opinion that Euthanasia should be accessable to mental ill people too, why we should be exlcluded. Our suffering is no less than people who suffer from physical illness and it's also terminal, without any hope of fully recover. Also drugs are destroying our brains making us feel stupid. Many of bipolars does'nt have a job, certainly a satisfying one.
I would like add something In Poland where I live as we consider suicide, I'm almost sure we all tried this solution, and I'm damn sure we think of killing ourself many many times - it's the disease. The society in our country - Poland looks at a suicide as something very wrong - get an ambulance, police etc. I think people should have the right to choose without a shame, and those who doesn't have knowledge should be assisted instead of restrained.
if you aren't enjoying being alive, being dead is presumably better. it's the transition that scares us, usually, as it tends to be painful. quick, or doped up, will help there.

but are there people whose lives will be less if you're not there?
What wiseness from you all -and thank you October 10 posters. I'm glad this blog has not become totally lost. Mental illness as we have now been told is more of a plague on the world than cancer. Bipolar 11s (which is what I am) have the highest rate of suicide among all mental illnesses. It is not a weakness. It is a choice to live your life either with quality or dignity, or to suffer a slow, paralyzing, painful death. Euthenasia for the mentally ill is stigmatized (hey, you just have the blues, right?). When your mind and body become totally ahedonistic, there is not much point. No this is NOT a suicide note - I am simply looking to my future. I am still trying, but it is very tiring. Both my psychiatrist and I know the eventual outcome be it a year or ten years. She tries to be optimistic with new meds coming out, but I have developed a resistance to many medications due to so many years on a variety of drugs. It's always just a maybe.

Anyway, thank you for your wise words - it is good to know that other people understand.
What wiseness from you all -and thank you October 10 posters. I'm glad this blog has not become totally lost. Mental illness as we have now been told is more of a plague on the world than cancer. Bipolar 11s (which is what I am) have the highest rate of suicide among all mental illnesses. It is not a weakness. It is a choice to live your life either with quality or dignity, or to suffer a slow, paralyzing, painful death. Euthenasia for the mentally ill is stigmatized (hey, you just have the blues, right?). When your mind and body become totally ahedonistic, there is not much point. No this is NOT a suicide note - I am simply looking to my future. I am still trying, but it is very tiring. Both my psychiatrist and I know the eventual outcome be it a year or ten years. She tries to be optimistic with new meds coming out, but I have developed a resistance to many medications due to so many years on a variety of drugs. It's always just a maybe.

Anyway, thank you for your wise words - it is good to know that other people understand.
At a young age my mom you to say to me "You are lucky,you wake up happy everyday". Not saying I don't have dark moments but, I have good friends that live on varying dots on the spectrum far to the right of where I reside as a norm.
I have one friend I talk to every week about his battles. He tells me I am the only one who truly understands him so there is a part of him that thinks I am in denial about my pain. I can honestly say that 98% of the time I love being alive and that is a gift.
So if I thought everyone was wired as I am, I would say suicide was terrible as these bad moments/events will pass. I wish all could hang in there as I do think there will be cures/improvements in the near future. I do not share your pain but, I do empathize with it and wish everyone a strength I fortunately do not have to muster. Have faith in yourself, great research,the greed of big pharma and that love is around the corner.
Thank you, Jay. I am trying and have not given up yet. I admire your fortitude.
That's just it though, I have a wonderful spouse, freedom in my life, a home and dogs I love, good family - I only wish I could enjoy them more.
Again, thank you for your thoughts and keep on going.