I met with my psychiatrist early Monday morning. We mainly discussed the fact that I’ve stopped taking the anti-psychotic medications that he had been prescribing for me. I had been on 800mg of Seroquel XL and 9mg of Invega, both of which I stopped taking. He was definitely glad that I told him about the medication. He asked me why I hadn’t told him sooner. He said I could have just told him that I didn’t want to take the medication anymore because it wasn’t working for me. I think I was afraid of what my family would think if I told them that I didn’t want to take the medication anymore. My husband and my parents tend to worry quite a bit about the symptoms, and how they effect me as well as how they effect our marriage. After the past 10 years of taking both anti-depressants and anti-psychotics, I felt that the anti-psychotics were useless. The voices never really went away and I began to believe that my auditory hallucinations weren’t in any way related to whether or not I was taking medication.
My psychiatrist discussed an alternative anti-psychotic with me that I haven’t tried before and said that if my symptoms ever become worse, for me to call him and we can try something different. This sounded like a good idea to me. He also asked me how my symptoms were. I told him that they are about the same. I am doing better at not letting the voices that I hear intrude on my life and affect my mood like I used to do. I occasionally hear a girl’s voice whispering in my head, usually imitating my own thoughts, like an echo. If I’m making breakfast in the morning, I’ll think to myself, “Hmmm. Maybe I’ll have a bowl of cereal with some toast and a cup of coffee.” Then I’ll hear the girl’s voice in my head repeating almost exactly what I’ve just said to myself. “Hmmm. I’ll have a bowl of cereal with some toast and coffee.” This whispering voice isn’t frightening or loud, just irritating if I let it get to me.
When I hear voices yelling, however, it’s sometimes harder to ignore. I’m no longer afraid, but it’s still a little unnerving. Especially if I’m in a public place like a coffee shop and it sounds like the voice is coming from the parking lot outside. All the same, I’m constantly making every effort possible to distract my thoughts and ignore the voices that I hear in my head. I listen to music during the day, sometimes I turn up the volume pretty loud so I don’t hear any voices. I’ve learned to think about things other than the voices and what they’ve said to me in the past. I’ll think back to a funny part from a favorite movie or TV show or I’ll think of something funny John has said or a joke he’s told me that made me laugh. I also think of old childhood memories that I remember with fondness. It isn’t easy to keep my thoughts off the voices, often I feel that I tire too easily during the day. I think it is more of an emotional or mental tiredness, not so much physical, but it’s much better than listening to the voices or taking toxic amounts of medication. I chant at least an hour a day for my own happiness and for the happiness of everyone in my life. Every day I make the effort to leave the past behind and keep moving forward.