Dave's Progress. Chapter 1: A Weighty Issue.

I have been asked recently by the Talkbank Action Group to keep a diary of my so-called "progress". They have told me that this diary will go onto a new blog, but just as a bit of practice I thought I would write something here for all of you out there in blogland.
As many of you will know from my previous blogs the illness I have is a chronic, long term one. That is to say it is not curable, but it is treatable. In this way there can be long periods of well-being as well as illness. Indeed, so long as medication is taken there seems to be no need why you cannot live an apparently "normal" existence. However, and it is a big however, medication, whilst being very good at reducing so-called "positive" symptoms (such as hallucinations, delusions and hearing voices), is not always as good at reducing "negative" symptoms of the disease (such as tiredness, lack of motivation and low mood). Indeed, many people put down these negative symptoms to actual side-effects of the medication. How true this is, to what extent these are either symptoms or side-effects I am unsure. It would seem then that my current state- sleeping up to 14 hours a day, feeling sluggish, unfit and unhealthy- could be due to one of three things: negative symptoms of the disease, side-effects of medication or simple terminal laziness and the continuance of bad habits on my behalf.
What is certain, though, is that medication does have the effect of making you put on weight, and boy, have I put on weight. Since I started to take my medication around two years ago, I have put on perhaps seven stones. Yes, I am what you might call a "big feller". I would like to say that I am simply big-boned or that it is my hormones, but according to blood tests there is nothing wrong with me physically (yet!). So, just how did I get so big. I'm sure that I eat normally, do not drink excessively and take what exercise I can get given my size and the droning tiredness I feel. It is true that I could do more, but as my levels of motivation are so low I find it extremely difficult. I am, therefore, at present, stuck in a bit of a rut.
What I find even more disturbing now is that my psychiatrist says I am a prime candidate for chronic physical disease, given my weight and nasty habits (e.g. smoking). But, would I even be in this situation if I hadn't started to take my medication? Indeed, surely, in this instance, I have not been in control of, nor do I see myself as wholly responsible for, my current state of physical health.
Having said that, the only thing that I can do seems to be to continue to eat as healthily as I can, really try to push myself in terms of exercise and see what happens. The statistics for people who take medications such as mine and who have illnesses such as mine dying early deaths due to heart disease are already, I am told, beginning to emerge. I do not particularly want to become another one of those statistics.
So, keep it here to see if I make any progress with all of this, because I am sure that medication and negative symptoms of disease remain a "weighty" issue for many like me.
That's all for now from your normal, average delusional and paranoid man.


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Well I must say it was good to read the open and honest points you made about both yourself and the drugs. I find it uplifting to not be alone in this plight and hope you find serenity in putting your feelings out there.

Hi Dave

Another great blog and thanks again for putting yourself out there, so to speak. It's funny the names they give to the symptoms, like 'positive' and 'negative'. Well, when I say funny..

I think you've made a great start and despite what you say about sleeping a lot, in my opinion, it sounds like you have plenty of get up and go, so to speak and I applaud you for continuing to have that fight in you, whether you're having a bad or good day. Each step is a positive one in the right direction.

I just wish you all the very best, and thanks so much for sharing this with us - I hope it inspires others. I know it's not an easy thing to do - ask Amanda (Did you saw her feature in the paper the other day?).

Good work!

klahanie said…
Greetings David. I can most certainly sense your frustration in your ongoing concerns.
This may be little consolation to you; however I do see positivity in your articulate blog. You continue to challenge your own personal situations. You want to, as much as you can, minimise your particular issues.
That is a most healthy attitude. You could of 'given up' and be overwhelmed by your symptoms. Instead you challenge yourself towards a more positve way. That in itself is optimistic progress.
I shall check in on your 'diary' as you move onwards to another chapter of hope. We are all here for you David. We cheer you on.
Thank you for your kind comments on my latest blog.
Stay positive, keep smiling. Warm wishes Gary. aka Klahanie
Domenica said…
Dear David,

Knowing you as I do, I think that the 'so called negative' symptoms that you mention, are more likely due to the side effects of the medication you are taking,than 'terminal laziness'and 'bad' habits' as you put it. Try to be a little more gentle with yourself, I'ts ok to be a little 'lazy' sometimes anyway, you could just give it another name, like 'chilling out' as for 'bad habits' we all have some of those!
You are one great guy! it is always a pleasure seeing you, and having our many stimulating conversations.
I look forward to seeing you again soon....until then my very best wishes Helen/(Domenica)X
Domenica said…
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