Between November 2007 and July 2008 I was first put onto Respirodol then taken off that and put on to Abilify then taken off that and put on to Zeldox- all anti-psychotic drugs, which were supposed to lessen the effects of too much dopamine in my brain. I ended up on the maximum allowable dose of Zeldox. The drugs didn’t really stop the voices- they just slowed them down and slowed me down. The good thing about the drugs was that they slowed me down enough to realize that I should not do what the voices told me to do…..I realized that I must not believe the voices.
I was suffering quite badly from the side effects of Zeldox – I had to keep moving all the time and I would just shuffle around.
We tried some different natural health practitioners- a naturopath, a homeopath, the Chinese doctor. It helped a little bit, but nothing significant at that time.
In July of 2008 my mother took me to India, to get treatment at a Meditation Health and Wellbeing Centre. When we arrived at the centre we were told that I may in fact get worse there and I may need to move out to a regular Indian hospital. We were at the Meditation Centre for about 3 weeks, by which time the voices were getting much worse- they were telling me to kill myself. It became unbearable so it was decided that I must go to the regular Indian hospital.
It was about midnight and I kept telling Mum that the voices were getting worse and worse she kept trying to calm me down, but in the end she had to go and wake up the doctor at the Centre so that she could arrange everything for me to go to the hospital. She immediately phoned the psychiatrist who said to give me 10 mg of Olanzapine. After lots of hustle and bustle and in a heavy monsoonal downpour we got into the rickshaw- Mum and me in the back seat, my case somewhere behind us and young boy who was our chaperone, behind the case, hanging onto the rickshaw for dear life. We travelled through the pouring rain and the Indian traffic – beeping horns and near misses until we got to the hospital- about 40 minutes away.
It was a private hospital….the best one in the district. We clambered up the old wooden stairs to the reception area- me, Mum and the saturated Indian boy. Reception was a little room where many staff members seemed to be taking a break. We filled out the paperwork feeling like we were under the close observation of many Indian hospital workers who had probably never seen a psychotic white woman with her mother getting admitted into their hospital, especially at 2am in the morning! The hospital didn’t provide food, the equipment was pretty basic, the air-conditioner rattled and stopped from time to time when the power went out, but being admitted into this hospital was a huge blessing.
I saw the psychiatrist the next morning. He was astounded at how much Zeldox I was taking and immediately began to reduce it and replace it with 10mg daily of Olanzapine, which is also known as Zyprexa.
I was in the hospital for about a week. I was made to feel very cared about. I was in a room of my own which had a little bed in it for my mother. The psychiatrist came to see me twice a day, the nurses came in and checked my blood pressure several times a day and weighed me once a day, the cleaners came in and sat on my bed and talked to me, I was also seen by an occupational therapist who couldn’t believe that we didn’t have any family looking after us in India. We had food delivered to us by the people from the Meditation Centre twice per day, despite the fact that it was a 30-40 minute ride in a rickshaw to get there. All in all we felt incredibly cared about.
After leaving the hospital we moved to a motel and went to the Meditation Centre on a daily basis as outpatients. One of the doctors at the Centre suggested that I try taking some Reishi mushroom capsules. I was happy to try anything at the time. I felt they had a positive effect on me almost immediately and I am very glad that I tried them because I have been taking them ever since and I really feel they are a cornerstone supplement for me.
(After we came back to Australia in September 2008, my mother was watching a program on TV about trauma in children and cortisol levels. She felt that I probably had high cortisol levels so she rang my GP who said that they had been tested in the recent past and they were at the high side of normal. She suggested that they be tested again. After the test I had a phone call from the doctor telling me to come in. She was very surprised because now my cortisol was below normal! Mum and I both suspected the same thing- perhaps I had been taking too many of the mushroom capsules? I reduced the dose, had my levels checked again and found that they were right in the middle of the normal range! If you are interested in finding out more about the Reishi mushroom please email me via my contact page and I will send on the information. I believe that anybody with mental health issues should at least try these capsules and see what effect they have on them)
While I was staying at the motel I continued to sleep about 18 hours per day, as I had been doing since I went onto the Olanzapine. I also caught a cold and when I was too sick to go to the Meditation Centre a doctor would come to us. The housekeeping manager at the motel kept dropping in to see how I was and talked about getting in touch with his mother to find out about a herb that grew in his “native place”, that he thought would help me. In India I seemed to get treated like a normal person who was sick, but in Australia when I am sick I feel like many people think there is no normal person underneath the sickness.
I am very glad I went to India in 2008. Everyone really seemed to have my best interests at heart. My psychiatrist was a lovely man, but he was also very strict. He told me that I was only allowed to have 10mg of Olanzapine- no more. He said that I had to try and distract myself from the voices, I had to control my eating so that I didn’t put on weight and I had to do some exercise as well. He gave me his mobile phone number so that I could ring him if I really needed to. One night the voices were pretty bad and I begged Mum to ring him so that I could take more drug. Mum kept refusing but finally I got so annoying that she caved and rang him. He said that I was definitely NOT to take any more drug. I had to distract myself anyway I knew how and I had to simply tell the voices to go away. I was annoyed but I respected him very much so I did what he told me to do.
We got home in September of 2008. I was still sleeping a lot. I had more blood tests and found that I had a very low thyroid. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. This is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. The normal way of treating it is to give people thyroxin, which is the hormone that the thyroid gland produces. The GP told me that I had lots of antibodies attacking my thyroid and was adamant that I needed the thyroxin- probably for the rest of my life.
My Mum didn’t want me to have thyroxin for the rest of my life. We had heard about a chiropractor who helped people with a method called “Nutrition Response Testing”. We went to see him and he started treating me with all kinds of herbs and supplements to clean up my thyroid gland. He suggested that my thyroid gland had heavy metals in it, which needed to be cleaned out. He prescribed the herbs and supplements using muscle testing. Initially I went to see him weekly, then fortnightly then monthly and each time he gave me a blister pack of herbs and supplements to last me till the next appointment. He was always incredibly positive and believed that if I did what he said I WOULD GET BETTER. He always praised me for tiny things, for example- taking my tablets. Blood tests done several months after the treatment began showed that my thyroid was back to normal!
The longer I went to the chiropractor the less and less voices I heard. I have now come to understand that my mental state and the state of my thyroid gland are very much linked. Gradually I weaned myself off the Zyprexa.- in the end it took many, many years to come off it completely.