You may or may not have noticed that I've been silent on the blog and Twitter front for a while. This has been for personal reasons but now I've decided to come back. A few people messaged me to ask me how I was during this time away and I'm really touched that some people noticed the absence and took the time to send me a message asking if I was OK. A huge thank you to those who did; it really meant a lot to me.
A few things have happened since I was last online. The biggest thing is that I've changed my medication. I was previously on risperidone but now I'm on quetiapine XL (Seroquel) for the third time in five years. Fortunately this time, I'm only on 600 mg rather than the 800 mg I was on last time. I made the switch because the risperidone was giving me bad anxiety. I asked my CPN to change my meds for several weeks, telling her that it was giving me anxiety, but she kept on telling me to stick with it. In the end, a blood test showed that my prolactin levels had gone back up so I put my foot down and demanded a med change. My prolactin levels had been high from amisulpride, then it decreased for a while when I came off it, but then they went higher again on risperidone. A consultation with my psychiatrist resulted in the change to quetiapine XL and ever since, my anxiety has gone.
The high anxiety had been making it extremely difficult for me to distract from what I've been going through so since the anxiety has gone, I've been able to distract and things have been much better. The frustrating thing is, on a visit to my GP, I saw him reading a letter from when I saw my psychiatrist for the med change. Being the nosey person I am, I had a quick read of it myself. I saw a part that went something along the lines of, "Katy shows no signs of anxiety but she attests..." and then my GP scrolled down the page. It made me really angry because everyone else had agreed with me that I was suffering from anxiety. My CPN, support workers, family and even my GP all believed me when I said I was suffering from anxiety. So I was really cross that my psychiatrist didn't believe me. This is the same psychiatrist who told me that I wasn't addicted to lorazepam when I was. I've no idea what my psychiatrist believed I was suffering from but I'd seen enough of the letter to know that he didn't believe I was suffering from depression or psychosis either. So what was I going through then?!
One of the most common side effects of quetiapine, a side effect I've always suffered with, is weight gain. A few weeks ago, I weighed myself and decided that I needed to start losing weight. So I started a diet that I've done a few times in the past, a diet that for me normally results in losing about 5 or 6 lbs in a fortnight. I stuck to the diet strictly but when I weighed myself I was devastated to see that I'd gained a pound. I couldn't believe it. Two weeks of strict dieting to gain a pound. I felt like coming off the quetiapine there and then.
I've also just started driving again. Despite the relapse and the recent blip I've been going through, my CPN and psychiatrist haven't asked me to surrender my licence. I've a three year medical driving licence, which expires this coming January. My CPN is satisfied that I would never drive when I didn't feel up to it, which is why I've been able to keep my licence. So last Friday when I decided I'd gotten over the worst of the initial quetiapine drowsiness, I got behind the wheel again.
So that's the main things that have happened since my last time online. I'm still seeing my support workers three times a week and my CPN once a week (except for this week as she's on annual leave). I'm still waiting for the interview I did with a journalist from the Sunday Express to be published; if that ever does get published, I'll post it on here. I also never heard back from the television company who interviewed me for a documentary so I'm assuming that it was a no.
I'm amazed that my blog hits have stayed at the level they're currently at, despite my absence. Since my last blog post, I've had over 8,000 hits despite the silence so thank you to all of you who keep reading this! I'll try to make sure that I don't neglect my blog for as long again!