I realise I've neither blogged nor given a real update on how things are going with me for a while. Things have been a bit chaotic here but here's an update as to how I am.
At the beginning of the year, I was taken back into hospital after being discharged just before Christmas three weeks previously. I was under a massive amount of stress in hospital due to an 'event' and I asked for lorazepam to help. The stress became severe and the more I suffered, the more lorazepam I took. After three weeks of up to 4 mg of lorazepam a day, the event that was causing the stress was finally over. I stopped taking the lorazepam that night only to wake up the following morning with severe anxiety.
My worst fears about lorazepam were soon confirmed. I was dependent on the drug. My psychiatrist didn't believe me however, but fortunately he still prescribed it for me. I was allowed home on permanent leave the day after the event and a week later I was officially discharged. Despite being pleased that I was allowed home, the anxiety was still very bad. It took a week for the anxiety levels to come down.
I visited my GP to ask him about the lorazepam and fortunately he believed that I was dependent on it. He gave me some extremely helpful advice about reductions and he has been helping me ever since. I have a reduction starting tomorrow morning which I'm nervous about but reassurance about it came from an unlikely source.
Yesterday, I went to my CMHT to see my CPN. She emerged from a room next to the waiting room along with several people, my psychiatrist included. I was amazed that he stopped to chat with me. He was surprised that I was still on lorazepam but seemed more accepting that I was dependent on it. He asked me what dose I was on and what I was going down to, and he pointed out something that I hadn't thought of. I take half a milligram twice a day at the moment, and the reduction is going down to half a milligram once a day. Both doses are extremely small, so I probably won't feel much, if anything when I reduce. I couldn't believe that reassurance about the reduction could come from my "you're not addicted to lorazepam" psychiatrist!
I'm still nervous about the reduction but I'm hopeful that the anxiety won't be anywhere near as bad as when I first reduced. After all, I went from 4 mg a day to 1 mg a day overnight, which is a substantial reduction. Going from 1 mg to half a milligram is nowhere near as much. So hopefully I won't have really bad anxiety and maybe even no anxiety!
Apart from that, things are going quite well. The voices I was hearing have virtually stopped, the intrusive thoughts are much better and I haven't had a visual hallucination for months. I don't believe that I'm delusional at the moment either. I'm hoping that this relapse is coming to an end. All I need is to get off lorazepam and get my anxiety levels down, then I'll hopefully be back at a similar level to where I was at six months ago when things were going well.
Overall, despite a lot of negative things in the recent past, I'm now optimistic of a positive future. I see a support worker three times a week at the moment and I'm going to start attending social groups soon with them, which will hopefully give me some confidence back. Things are definitely starting to look up for me right now, after a very bad start to the year.
So that's how I am at the moment. Hopefully soon I'll be back blogging regularly again and doing more writing for other projects. Which reminds me, I'm having a short piece published in the American magazine SZ Magazine in May, and may be asked to write for them again! Fingers crossed there'll be more on my blog here in the very near future!