invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

a break January 19, 2007

Filed under: mental illness,stigma — clementine @ 8:21 pm
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i’m taking a break from this blog. i need to focus on a few things and step away from here. my grandmother is doing much better. unfortunately we found out yesterday morning that my sister requires another surgery and she’ll have it on february 2nd.

meanwhile, i’m not working. there is no work in the immediate future, and our state film commissioner “resigned”. and money is tight. which makes it difficult to pay the bills let alone fill my prescription that insurance barely covers. i’ve been a bit manic and depressed because i can’t afford to take my full dosage. it’s concerning me and yet i’m too exhausted to do anything about it. like, find a new doctor. or find a way to get sample pills, etc.

i was in the emergency room last weekend because of severe abdominal pain. after a catscan they suggested i see an OBGYN for a pelvic ultrasound. i was hoping the pain would go away and it didn’t. the demerol made me sick. and it pissed me off. 30 pills for $11.00. the going rate for my lamictal? i can get 2 pills for $11.00.

after numerous phone calls trying to get an OBGYN to see me immediately i had an appointment this morning. the ultrasound showed 2 cysts on my right ovary. at least i know the where this pain is coming from. i will wait it out and have another ultrasound in 6 weeks. hopefully they’ll disappear and no surgery will be required. i told her the demerol was making me sick, she prescribed lortab. 30 pills for $5.47.

that’s part of the mental illness stigma for you. i have great insurance. they cover pretty much everything BUT mental illness. so maybe it’s not so great.

anyway. that’s all. be well everyone.


zyprexa: a killer drug January 7, 2007

Filed under: antipsychotics,mental illness,stigma — clementine @ 8:22 pm
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most of the alex berenstein articles confirmed what i know to be true about the pharmaceutical companies. i nodded my head frequently while reading them, exclaiming frequently…hell yes, thank you, etc. my complaints and fears about the antipsychotics were finally right there on the front page of the new york times. i was excited.

until i read this article.

it deeply saddened me. and terrified me. i think most functioning people with a mental illness share the same fear- one day we will completely lose our mind. it’s a scary thought and yet you can’t deny the possibility. we’ve all had so many ups and downs and often wonder if that final breaking point is around the corner. one day, we’ll snap, just like that. and we’ll end up living with our parents, no longer able to function.

that is exactly what happened to john eric kauffman. unfortunately in his case, his mother outlived him. he died at the age of 41. his mother believes that the weight he gained while on zyprexa contributed to the heart disease that killed him.

zyprexa was taken by about two million people worldwide last year. the drug was approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. zyprexa’s side effects: severe weight gain, increased blood sugar and cholesterol. all risk factors for heart disease. a lawyer who represents mentally ill patients turned over documents that show eli lilly, which makes zyprexa, has sought for a decade to play down those side effects. even though its own clinical trials show the drug causes 16 percent of the patients who take zyprexa to gain more than 66 pounds after a year. (more…)


a new year January 5, 2007

Filed under: antipsychotics,big pharma,depression — clementine @ 1:50 pm
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i haven’t been around much. we’ve been busy working on the script, which is coming along well. i’m about to start the long, tedious project of organizing all of my days in the film business to submit to the union i’m joining. it’s a ton of paperwork and will require digging through 8 years of it. the payoff will be nice if i get there. better health insurance. a pension fund. bigger paychecks, etc. but, i’ve been putting it off for months.

meanwhile, my grandmother is still sick and they have put her on five different meds since she spent christmas day in the hospital. two of which were anticonvulsants for treatment of the pain from the shingles. that made me nervous and i called her doctor. he thinks they will work, but i asked him to stay away from prescribing antipsychotics and antidepressants (which they seem to do in some shingles cases). i was on the phone with my grandma most of new year’s eve and day. she’s 84 and has no family nearby to take care of her. she’s my only grandparent still alive, i lost one to colon cancer, one to lung cancer and the other to diabetes. i’m not ready to lose her.

and then there’s me. suddenly i’m depressed. (i think, i can’t even tell anymore…) the sign would be sleeping. and i’ve been doing a lot of it. i’ve always been nocturnal and always slept a lot. but since starting the lamictal last december, i’ve only needed 6-8 hours. i recently cut my dosage in half because i can’t afford it and i’m sleeping more. not sure if that’s the connection or not. but i hate the feeling of waking up, having had plenty of sleep and still feeling tired. kinda like my days of seroquel, although not as bad.

speaking of seroquel. so much has been going on in the world of antipsychotics (zyprexa, abilify, risperdal and seroquel). if you head over to the new york times, you will see alex berenson has been very busy. numerous articles on the eli lilly lawsuits. i might write about them later but for now, i’m letting it all settle in. if you click on his name above you will find all of the articles. and if you or a loved one is taking an antipsychotic, you should read every single one of them.

this alex guy is my new hero, along with jim gottstein and this former big pharma rep:
Zyprexa Drug Rep

oh, and, happy new year. i hope it’s a good one. for everyone.