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Reverse The Polarity

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  1. I wouldn't advocate being off meds to people. I'm just lucky in the sense I can get away without medication, and have had since 2013. Also, there's a bit of conjecture whether I am actually SZA...my therapist doesn't think it was a correct diagnosis considering how I am now, my pdoc thinks otherwise because when I was at my worst, my symptoms were best described as SZA. I used to wonder myself quite a bit, but now I realise it doesn't really matter, because it doesn't affect my life either way. The Australian welfare system is similar to the British system too - jobseekers are obliged to do x amount of job searches a week to maintain their payment and most times people are pushed into being under a job agency. In theory, job agencies are supposed to help job seekers, but in practice it is rarely the case. I feel a lot of these agencies are exploitative and the government is basically punishing the most vulnerable of society. Anyway, I do understand your situation to an extent.
  2. Old thread but thought I'd offer a counter to the pessimism... I work at a children's hospital. Started off in support services, moved into medical records and all up, I've been at the hospital for nearly 2 years. Been working full-time hours while studying a post-grad degree part-time. What works for me? In a nutshell - good time management, regular exercise and regular therapy sessions. I do go loopy [mostly depressed] from time to time when my schedule gets a bit hectic, but I'm learning to relax more and I have good workmates who remind me to back off with my work hours when they see I'm getting snowed under. Hope that helps. I'm sure there's others with SZ or SZA who currently hold down jobs.
  3. I use this a lot to help me get things done: http://pomodorotechnique.com/ Personally I think it's easier to be unwell than to be well, but I prefer being well.
  4. Re: the young woman in the audience. Sounds more like a general question, as in simply asking if you blogged? There are various privacy settings you can choose for your non-CB blogs, like you can set your tumblr and twitter to private. I think you can assign only certain people access to your tumblr through a password - not sure about that setting, I only ever dabbled in tumblr and haven't used my account in years.
  5. I've read a lot of articles that encourage people to stand up against stigma, that I shouldn't be ashamed of myself for having MI. While intellectually I understand their points and I know that I shouldn't be ashamed of something I didn't choose [who wants to be MI?!], emotionally I can't help being ashamed. I guess there are lots of negative connotations with having mental illness, especially anything that has anything remotely psychotic attached to it. It's terrifying for most people. Hell, anything psychiatric is "serious" and scary for most people. I have workmates who are very open about having anxiety - one workmate constantly remarks on having anxiety and needing medication [Lexapro] and I've been stunned by how open he is, and also how everyone else has taken it in their stride. I'm happy for him that others are supportive, but I also have seen some of the reactions people have given him when he mentioned psychiatric medication. "Wow, that's serious stuff..." So I don't talk about my MI to people IRL. I would definitely never out myself at the workplace. I don't want to be seen as "that crazy person" and I don't want people to make judgements on character and ability based on labels alone. I want to be judged on my merits, as a person.
  6. It sounds like you are pretty sheltered. One less person = one less person to complete the team's daily required tasks. Which means others have to pick up the slack, on top of doing their assigned tasks. It's very annoying when you suddenly have all these other tasks to do. Where I work, we notice if someone is taking 5mins extra break or turn up to work 5mins late and they get told. I've lost [paid] jobs from being late too often, this is how I learnt the hard way that people expect you to be punctual and to turn up when you are supposed to be around.
  7. If I understand what you mean correctly... I don't necessarily see it as 'censorship' as such, more like social rules that govern certain situations and places. There are things that would be highly inappropriate for my workplace that I would happily say outside of work [i.e. I'll swear like a trooper outside of work, I'm very clean-mouthed and polite in the workplace]. There are things I would say to adults but not children. There are behaviours that are fine at home but not in public.
  8. In my case, I think at the moment it is considered a remission. I can see how I was seen as SZA when I was symptomatic. I remember having a conversation with my pdoc about this last year and he was of the view that SZA was the best description of my symptoms. Which, in a way, I understand. On the other hand, once I dealt with my PTSD, my SZA symptoms really abated. So who knows... I usually try to view my progress and current situation in a positive light - in the sense I've moved well beyond when I was most sick (and was described as having severe symptoms). However there are times when it does feel like I'm negatively judged for having said labels. So it's a bit hard to juggle these feelings.
  9. Sometimes I feel like mental health labels are like immovable objects. At least with mine, anyway. I wish I could put a block my record as well but I think my current GP has ask the info and is compelled to tell other doctors of said labels. which is unfortunate unless I go to a different GP and not transfer any records at all.
  10. I wonder if it's ever worth getting a re-assessment. Here are my current labels: SZA, ASD, ADHD. Sounds like a heavy mix, right? Except I've been symptom-free from SZA for three years and off medication for two. The only one I can really relate to at the moment is the ADHD. The ASD is fairly subtle but I know it's there in the background. while I know labels don't describe me as a person, they are still on my record...even though I don't relate to them. If I see another doctor, they get a list of said labels and suddenly assumptions are made of me. Also quite simply - it feels like I have to carry something that doesn't feel like it has any relevance in my life anymore. Of course, there's always the possibility of relapse and I'm very aware of this. On the other hand, it feels like to me that the possibility is becoming increasingly remote over time. Anyway, just wondering how people have dealt with labels that they don't relate to, because I certainly don't relate to the SZA component of my label list anymore.
  11. Your payment is DSP payment rates + clean energy supplement + something additional, which comes to about $806/fortnight or so if you're getting the full amount [i was on a partial DSP, so I can't tell you the exact number for the full payment.] As for getting it - there's lots of paperwork. Your doctor will have to fill out a form listing your diagnosis/diagnoses, the treatment you've had [medication history, any hospitalisations], what difficulties you experience, etc. It can be confronting to read but your doctor will be writing from the perspective of when you are at your worst. Then Centrelink will book you in for an assessment and to work out if you qualify according to their impairment table. Here is a possibly-outdated copy. If you are under 35 and you qualify for the DSP, you need to have regular meetings with someone from Centrelink to formulate an "activity plan". If you're already studying then that's okay, they like that. You can work up to 30hrs/week before your DSP is stopped. Theoretically they are meant to review you after every two years but that depends on their mood.
  12. I had a friend like that - would promise me xyz then backpedal with many excuses. He was basically too impulsive and had chronic time management issues. Basically someone who meant well but constantly overcommitted, so I learnt not to ask him for anything because inevitably I would be disappointed. The point about having different type of friends is a good one. Usually I try not to ask my friends for anything anyway, because it can complicate relationships.
  13. Sometimes not everything is psychiatric...do you agree with your co-worker that you are too dependent on your parents? Do you have a life outside them?
  14. As in, stay awake 60hrs consecutively? If so - pretty bad. It'll either affect your cognition to the point where you'll seem drunk, or you'll push yourself into a manic state. It's not uncommon to be able to get by with less sleep than the usual 8hrs/night but no matter how much you don't like sleep, your body does need it.
  15. I'm late to this topic but anyway. I work full-time, I study full-time. Hope to finish my studies in the middle of the year. It can get pretty tiring but I find having good time management and allowing myself a day or so where I can simply hang around at home all day in my PJs to be very beneficial.
  16. Personally I'm not completely convinced that a separate diagnostic assessment is worth it, mainly because they don't know a lot about you save for what they've got on paper. Which is not necessarily the entire picture. I'm in Australia too - I ended up getting my ASD diagnosed by my pdoc who'd seen me for several years, who eventually decided I had shown enough signs to make it highly suggestive I was on the spectrum.
  17. It's hard to really put a prognosis on someone when it comes to mental health. It's remarkably variable.
  18. How were you as a child? That's important, because autism is a developmental condition. Personally I was seen as an 'aloof' child. I was quiet, didn't really interact with my peers [which was often noted by teachers]. When I did tried to interact, it was usually disastrous for me because I had no idea how to interact properly. I had no idea about body language or personal space, or even how to carry on a conversation. I was utterly obsessed with horse racing. I loved lists [how stereotypical]. All this was well before my SZA symptoms began. Anyway, SZA can cause social impairment as well, so it's worthwhile to talk to your treatment team and see how they view things such as your affect and how you interact with others. It can be part of the negative symptoms of SZA. This is why it can be hard to diagnose ASD in someone with SZA...you have to tease out what is what.
  19. Very much. My first pdoc didn't think I had SZA because I was 'too high functioning' - whatever that means. My second, and current, pdoc differed. I can understand this perspective, and if you'd asked me a few years back I would be saying something similar. However, after my last hospital stay...my personal experience was that having the SZA label led to more confusion amongst the staff than anything else. It also led to the assumption that my main issue was psychosis, when I would argue that it's not the psychosis that affected me the most, but the mood aspect. Again, just speaking for myself...I think if my SZA was instead described as two separate conditions - atypical schizophrenia and bipolar II - then the mood aspect would have been more adequately addressed.
  20. You can always have both...not an especially common combo, but it can happen [i guess I'll be an example of someone with both]. You don't need to hallucinate to have SZA; I have SZA and I also have never hallucinated. Delusions by the bucketloads when I was symptomatic, but no hallucinations. Be mindful that SZA can create issues with social communication and empathy as well, so it's important to tease out what can be explained via SZA and what doesn't really match. For me, I had issues in the social sphere as well as obsessions after my SZA symptoms were well under control, so that was eventually enough for my pdoc to twig that I was on the spectrum.
  21. Yes, that was a particular problem with the DSM IV version of SZA. The definition in the DSM IV was nebulous enough that it was hard to consistently apply to people over time. They have tried to mitigate that problem in the DSM V by applying more stringent criteria to the diagnosis [i believe one of them is increasing the amount of psychotic episodes from one to two]. However, there's still a lot of question as to whether it's worth having SZA as a stand-alone diagnosis, or whether it's better to diagnose someone as having two separate disorders [a psychotic disorder, and an affective disorder]. The Kraepelian dichotomy is somewhat to blame for this; it basically involves the belief that psychosis and affective disorders MUST be separated. So if you had SZ then you couldn't have a mood disorder, and vice versa. Current research is starting to show that such a belief isn't necessarily true, or helpful though. There's a lot of variation even amongst CB members with SZA; I recall there was a thread somewhere where people discussed their experiences with the condition and it was quite interesting to read through the responses. Personally I've had my SZA described as 'atypical schizophrenia with Bipolar II'. I actually think that description is more accurate than 'schizoaffective disorder - bipolar type'.
  22. I started having psychotic episodes when I was around 15 - I was having episodes of thought broadcasting. I had a rough time for over a decade but I seemed to have turned a corner at the moment.
  23. It can be hard to sever ties with parents. I think it comes down to the child's need of wanting their parent's love and affection. Unfortunately if you have abusive parents, then love and affection just simply doesn't happen and most likely never will. Boundaries are a good thing. If you want to go fully no contact with them - block their numbers, block their emails, block them from all social media. Move and don't give them an address [or if you can't move, return all letters to them]. Be careful whom you talk to so that information doesn't flow back to your mother.
  24. Probably the most sedating AAP I'd ever tried was Solian [otherwise known as amisulpride]. May not be available in your country, though. I also found Zyprexa fairly sedating, as well as Seroquel. Results may vary though, I tend to be fairly sensitive to medication... In terms of whether keeping yourself in a permanent zombie is a good idea - well, in the interim it might not be so bad. Long term? Not so sure about that myself but then again, we all have different perspectives on life.
  25. I can't give you an exact number but it was quite a few. I've been hospitalised three times - including twice in one year - for episodes, and my SZA was characterised as "severe".
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