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Mad People just have to keep taking the tablets?
There's a misconception about mad people, that if they take antipsychotic drugs then they're suddenly OK and will remain OK so long as they keep taking the tablets. This assumption neglects the fact that antipsychotic drugs are in general debilitating, and also they often have serious side effects.
As a paranoid schizophrenic myself I am especially keen to AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE antipsychotic medicaments, although I do take a few nerve-calming pills when I choose to (when the situation is appropriate), and I also have a great many coping strategies to avoid some of the worst excesses of the madness. It is my opinion (as you might have guessed from the fact that I'm a paranoid) that I consider the compulsory administration of antipsychotic drugs to mental patients as a way of keeping them quiet and out of the way, a way of silencing dissidents, and maintaining control of an authoritarian state.
When you see vets on safari shooting tranquilliser darts at a rhinoceros, you can next see the drug soon stops the beast from bashing into their vehicle. When the rhino is on the ground, that's the level of functionality which some antipsychotics give to mental patients. But at least for the rhinoceros it's only temporary. It would be unacceptable if a zoo kept rhinos permanently doped on show to the public, and it is unacceptable to have humans doped, zombified, and incapacitated, just because they are NOT NORMAL!
The fact is: Madness is a talent. It's a special ability / special power, a bit like the X-Men! We the mad people are feared by the more ignorant of the normals, and some of them think it's acceptable to put us conveniently out of the way. Gas chambers went out of fashion, so they've come up with a more politically correct form of oppression, drugging the patient so they are incapacitated. Well I don't think that's acceptable either.
The authoritarian government would like to crush all dissent, and they are out to get us paranoids! The drugging of dissidents is a "convenient" way of governments getting rid of those who disagree with the authority-based rule. The persecution of paranoids, schizophrenics, and other brilliantly clever people who won't obey the evil government like sheep, is something to beware of, and to oppose! So, this gets a link to the freedom and liberty page!
What Madness IS: Imagine the mind/brain as a complex circuit, like a road map, with many crossing pathways and lots of interconnections. The more powerfully industrialised a country is, the more roads it gets, and the more traffic is in movement. If you could see this in a virtual reality model of the brain, it would have light flashing around as many different circuits were activated. But in a MAD person, such as a schizophrenic, there is a huge amount more connectivity, a vast amount more crossings, and the amount of flashing circuits in the virtual reality it dazzling. There was an oldfashioned statistic that said "we only use 10% of our brains". It's my guess that the schizophrenic brain has much more than 10% utilisation, and so there is a lot more going on, and a lot more connections. Now imagine being inside all that, so your thoughts are those of a mad person. Thought goes on at a level which is like being in a busy railway station in the rush-hour. That's what it's like. Mind energy springs to life and goes on with such activity that it can get confusing. It can also result in some clever things going on. Mind energy was the stuff that humans had that got them ahead of monkeys. So, it's generally a positive thing. The snag is, if your head is virtually lit up like a christmas tree, it can get a bit chaotic, and some rather odd things start to happen.
The best way to deal with it is to have coping strategies which allow the mental turmoil to go on, but not to let it be a problem. I noticed a while ago Niagara Falls has a hydro-electric power station attached, but fortunately they're not trying to extract ALL the power. Instead, it's carefully designed so as to generate plenty of useful electricity without overloading the generators and without spoiling the scenery. Even 2% of the power of Niagara Falls is quite a lot of power!
Anti-psychotic medication isn't the answer, as it dulls and dampens down all that thought. However, for some people, it's tricky to survive without the stuff. The solution there is to keep taking the stuff but to keep the dose as low as possible, to keep a balance between mental activity and coherence. Then to develop the coping strategies, which in some cases can allow the dose to be reduced further.
The myth that schizophrenia drugs are somehow a perfect solution is a dangerous idea, often perpetuated in cheap fiction, and in a way it's a bit like the way racial stereotypes were badly depicted in cheap fiction in the bad old days. Rethink is a mental health charity which does a lot of good in movie reviews. For example, Rethink campaigned against "Me Myself and Irene" which reinforces the negative stereotypes and the misconception about mad people having to keep taking the tablets, whereas "A Beautiful Mind" (in which madness is treated positively and sympathetically) was given plenty of positive kudos by Rethink.
Another myth about mad people is that they are unproductive. It's not true. Some of the great people who have furthered art and science in the past have been MAD! I run a quite prosperous business, which is this website (including the shopping portal), and it makes quite a lot of money, sufficient that I'm emigrating for tax purposes! Update on this: I have now emigrated, and I am now living in a tax haven.
Part of the problem with the mental health system is that it doesn't get it right, about what's really going on. So, when I've been hauled off to the lunatic asylum, and I try to explain what's gone wrong, they just don't seem to suss it. I know that seeing hallucinations and hearing voices in my head is mad, but I can cope with that! In contrast, I feel that having emotions which don't fit with the situation, is a problem. But do they understand that? NO! The "voices in the head" is noted on the psychiatrist's pad as a symptom and then the prescription is doled-out for that without consideration. Now imagine what it would be like if motor engineering was like that. Suppose you had a custom car and you took it to a garage to be mended. You say to the motor engineers "I'd like you to check the tappet noise because one of the sixteen cylinders is a bit off". You'd be less than pleased if their response was "It's got a non-standard engine and non-standard tyres, so we're going to replace all those and put it back to normal". The fact is, it's a high-performance machine which you've customised to your own design, and "normal" isn't what it's supposed to be! Besides, you're the customer. You decide what needs adjusting!
I know psychiatrists mean well. They try to further the science and to improve patient wellbeing. They are well-meaning. However, the technology is not up to it (2009) to make adjustments to a finely tuned machine. Prescribing drugs that result in zombification really isn't the answer.
Here are a few of the drugs I have been on:
Zuclopenthixol: This is something I was prescribed while I was in the mental hospital. Well I am reasonably open-minded about these things, and I'll take almost anything once. Unfortunately the results were a disaster. Playing chess against some of the other patients I noticed my game was not up to scratch at all. Mad people are typically very clever, and are sometimes members of Mensa. However, my chess-playing was so crippled by the mental dozification that it was far from obvious that I was going to win.
Stellazine: I was prescribed this as an outpatient, and let loose. I was reasonably happy about it at first, and I didn't notice much loss of mental acuity at first. But then things started to go wrong and I started to suffer some side-effects too, and also I found a drug specification leaflet that listed all of the side-effects. After that I packed up taking Stellazine. Now that WAS interesting, as the cold-turkey effects produced vivid hallucinations which I described lucidly at the time. Then it all settled down and I was back to my usual insane self!
I do not have an infestation of rats, but there was a time when I had A rat in the house, and it nibbled through quite a lot of stuff, but I noticed it did not eat any of the remaining Stellazine tablets. However the same rat DID eat soap, and I have also seen instances of mice eating painkilling tablets that were left in a car. Maybe antipsychotic medication is something which rats instinctively avoid? Or to put it another way: rats consider antipsychotic medication is a poison.
Zyprexa / Olanzapine: I was prescribed this by a psychiatrist on the basis that I had to take it otherwise I'd not get my paperwork filled in for various bureaucratic procedures. I thought this was a bit unethical at the time, but I still agreed to start taking the stuff. Now that's all very well, but I am a multiple entity, a collective of partials, and what happened was rather shocking: After starting to take Zyprexa / Olanzapine, some of the mind phases started shutting down. I could hear them shutting down, like a set of generators, running down one after another. After a while there was only one still running, and life had changed. I'd put water in the kettle but no-one else in my head was there to turn on the kettle, and there were no interrupt reminders coming in to check things had been done. It would be like being on the crew of a ship and finding everyone else had disappeared, and then it's difficult to run the ship. You just can't do things one at a time, doing everything single-handed. It's just DAFT. So, I packed up taking that stuff quite quickly. (It suits some people, but it didn't suit me, as I am optimised for being a multi-track mind).
Thioridazine: This produced some success, as I could get to sleep. The stuff worked in the lunatic asylum and later when taking the tablets at home. I didn't notice any side-effects at the time, and it was only later that I discovered the info about it. As in Helpful Hints and Tips by Zyra, if someone had asked me "Are you good in bed? ;-)" I'd have said "Ooh yes! Very good! I get an excellent night's sleep!". I've heard that not everyone has been so lucky with Thioridazine, and there have been some reported cases of seizures, fits, requiring emergency treatment. I have heard that Thioridazine has now been banned.
Prozac: It's an antidepressant, but it didn't seem to have any noticeable effect on me. You might think from all the hype that it might just cheer me up! However, Prozac didn't. Prozac also suffered from the much-toted propaganda/rumour that it was a miracle cure. However, from what happened to me, it might as well have been chalk.
There's a lot more first-hand stories about drugs prescribed for mental patients, and what the mental patients think about it at www.perceptionsforum.org.uk which is a site run by mad people for mad people!
Note: Some of the names of the drugs are also trademarks. If the owners of the trademarks would prefer me to include a generic variant of the name, please say. Also, as far as I know, people are allowed to mention things that are trademarks, in context, to refer to the items in question, otherwise it would get very difficult to talk about those things!
The reviews of these antipsychotic medications may not be very positive, but they are honest testimonials by a customer (a mental patient).
It has occurred to me that Stellazine could have an alternative use. If you are not a mad person, and you would like to experience what it's like to be mad, on a short-term basis, you might be able to put yourself on Stellazine for a week or two and experience being incapacitated, and then stop taking the stuff and experience a brief schizophrenic episode. I can't guarantee that's what would happen, but it's probably worth a try. In my opinion, I don't "suffer from schizophrenia", I have schizophrenia and I enjoy it! Schizophrenia is a positive thing which I am lucky enough to have, and it would be nice if the normal people could experience the madness even temporarily to see what it's like!