Friday, 16 March 2012

Officially 'Recovered'?

I have got an appointment with a psychiatrist after all - I will be interested to find out whether I am officially recovered!  The appointment is midway through April.  I am not dependent on the verdict now though - I know it will make no difference to who I am or how I feel.  I will just be interested to know whether I meet the criteria for recovery from schizophrenia, if indeed there are any (and there should be now that medical opinion says that recovery is possible). 

It doesn't actually matter to me, because I have decided (learned, actually) that psychiatry is a pseudo-science.  I am happier relying on my own opinion about my mental health.  Although I have been glad to hear that things are improving in the system - for example, I spoke to my friend the child psychiatrist on the phone last night and she says that she sees each of her patients for an hour, and that treatment does not always consist of medication.  I know this is not the rule in general psychiatry, but according to 'Kitkat' (see yesterday's comments on this blog) psychiatry is becoming more humane (at least in some hospitals).

Paul and I found ourselves alone with our elder son for a couple of hours this evening - a very rare occurence.  We took him out to dinner and he was in his element - it was lovely.  For pudding on the child's menu there was ice cream and a 'bambinochino' - a frothy milk with chocolate sprinkled on top.  He said, 'I am just going to call it a cappuchino' and I was so surprised - I had no idea he knew what a cappuchino was or what it looked like! 

I am putting the final touches to the paper copy of my book now and can say with near certainty that it will be available for sale from Monday.  I am excited!  And incidentally, the Kindle edition will be free tomorrow (or from midnight tonight in the USA, I think) so please do spread the word to anybody who might like to read it.


  1. Hi again!

    I sincerely hope that you move into the recovered group of people with schizophrenia diagnosis'. But I'm also glad to hear that you're not pinning your hopes on it. Whatever the outcome of this meeting, your life will not outwardly change. But I do hope that it goes the way you want it to!

    The second psych hospital I was in was much humane than the first one. The first hospital basically put everyone on Sertraline and/or Olanzapine. I was one of the 'lucky' ones who was on both! I was never told anything about Olanzapine except that it was an antipsychotic. I knew nothing about side effects until shortly after the needle left my skin. Second hospital - I got information leaflets and in-depth talks about different meds and the options available to me. And although there were the occasional patients who weren't coerced into taking meds, my Section 3 and my symptoms were enough for them to force drugs into me. I too learnt about the miracle of Procycladine! (Not sure if spelt right).

    But hospital 2 was a lot friendlier than the hospital you described. My named nurse (who coincidentally had the same name as my sister!) would talk to me on her first shift of her week and I actually still miss her! I can't say that about hospital 1 but apparently it has been shut down now.

    It's lovely to hear about your time with your eldest son. I'm sure he benefited greatly!!! Individual quality time is important when possible I've heard - but you're an expert unlike me!

    I started writing a bit today and think that I will also stay true to fact and may even use my real identity. I told my (now ex-) manager of my diagnosis and it felt so good to get it out! Plus certain people are sympathetic which he was!

    Thank you for giving me hope of a future. When I knew I had to quit my voluntary work I thought that my life was effectively over. But you've given me hope of a future and hope of eventually becoming a mother. For now though, I will write as long as my concentration lasts!

    Katy x

  2. Why do you need the psychiatrist to confirm you are well? Are you in doubt? Are there areas of your life that you are struggling with?

    If it doesn't actually matter, why put yourself through that experience?

  3. Hi Katy. I am so glad that you are writing. I will keep up with your blog, which I am enjoying, so thanks for pointing me to it. And yes, I have found too that most people are sympathetic - just trust your own judgmement as to whom you want to tell. I have had a few wobbles along the way, but found opening up an overwhelmingly positive experience - it is good to know that my friends accept me and everything about me. Take it slowly though (people have been telling me that recently and I find it really annoying, so sorry about that, but you do have a lot of time at your disposal, i.e you are young).

    Louise x

  4. Hi Eliza

    Good to hear from you again. I am not sure now why I want confirmation of my recovery - I surprised myself by being so upset when the GP said the psychiatrist was unlikely to see me, then I rationalised that and realised it didn't matter, and now that he is going to see me after all I am, like you, a bit baffled as to why I want to go!

    I am not exactly struggling with anything, I am very happy with my life, although I do have ups and downs (and the frustration at not being able to have my recovery documented when I decided I wanted it to be did cause a definite 'down'!). I suppose I am going partly because it would seem rude not to now that I have asked for an appointment, and the psychiatrist I am seeing is a nice guy and interesting to talk to. Paul is coming with me, he always likes a day out...

    Also because it will help me to feel that I can move on with my life in other directions - should I suddenly decide to become a teacher (a childhood ambition) or go back to Law School or get any sort of professional position there will be nothing to stop me - I won't have to declare anything on a medical form or feel bad that I lied (honesty is important to me).

    And thirdly, whatever the outcome of this meeting, it will be a learning experience, and will help me to put a tidy end to the book I am currently writing on recovery from serious mental health problems.

    I really won't be disappointed if the psychiatrist (and the 'team' behind him) say that 'remission' is as far as they are prepared to go. I am not sure that 'remission' is any different from 'recovery' in psychiatric terms. I am not sure there are any criteria to judge recovery by, or if any psychiatrist will be prepared to stick their neck out and say that I am officially better even if they think I am. But at least they are seeing me - which is the right thing to do - so I am pleased with them for that.

    And maybe my case will help them to focus more on recovery - because as doctors I am sure they do want to heal, so they should perhaps think more about the concept of recovery, what it means, how to help people to aim for it and to how to recognise when they get there. Maybe the nature of their profession, and the fact that it has helped them to become so drug-centred, has made them lose heart a bit, and lose sight of the human aspect to mental ill-health, and I hope my book will be a step towards putting that right, so I need to stand up and do what I can personally to reinforce its message.

    Thanks for making me think more clearly about the forthcoming meeting!

    Best wishes

  5. Ooops, I meant to say simply that the profession has become more drug-centred, but can't see how to edit my last comment, so please any readers, just take out the 'has helped them to' in the last sentence - that chahged the meaning to something I hadn't intended.

    1. Dear Louise, be prepared to be disappointed when you go and see that psychiatrist to talk things over and don't let anything get you down. Remember: you know better than anyone if you have recovered or not.I have yet to meet a psychiatrist who would agree that schizophrenia is curable. In my experience they all have been brain-washed by what they have been taught at medical school and are unable to think outside the box. I have yet to meet one able to say: Sorry, I got it wrong, the olazapine caused your psychosis. I hope the psychiatrist you are going to see will be an enlightened one. I'll be thinking of you and hoping you wont get hurt. You are a great person Louise!

  6. Thank you, I appreciate your kindness. Don't worry, I am strong now (notwithstanding the occasional wobble). And I don't expect any psychiatrist to agree that I am better, I am just interested to know their opinion. As I said, it will form the basis of the last chapter in my recovery book (which doesn't mean that I have written all the other chapters yet, but whichever way this meeting goes it should provide a tidy ending). Paul is coming with me, so I am highly unlikely to crumble on this occasion. Thanks again. Louise x