Saturday, October 09, 2004

Benign Hallucinations

I'm of the belief that there are two kinds of hallucinations in this world: the scary, dangerous type and the benign, relatively amusing type.

My only experience with the first variety happened when I was withdrawing from Effexor (which I will NEVER take again after withdrawing from it!). I was so out of it, sick and just generally in pain and miserable. I kept feeling like there were bugs—beatles, cockroaches or fleas—crawling all over my skin. Not only is that sensation horrifying, but the truly scary part was that I wasn't entirely sure that I wasn't actually covered with insects. I mean, now I know that I wasn't, obviously, but at the time, it felt SO real.

That's why some hallucinations are so crappy. My friend Eric, another bipolar kid, totally lost it once when he stopped taking his meds and ended up spending 3 months in a psych ward doped up beyond comprehension. Combining hallucinations with delusions is no good. Poor Eric. He ended up being interviewed by the FBI because he honestly believed that he was a secret informant with information for Hilary Clinton. Can you imagine being sedated off your gord while simultaenously being interveiwed by the FBI!?!

Anyway, the second kind of hallucination is different because it doesn't really cause a problem. In talking with other bipolar people, I've found that a lot of us will tell each other about our benign hallucinations without feeling the need to tell our pdocs about it. Patients can be so strange, but I guess we all have our reasons.

Right now, muffled beneath the sound of my dishwasher but still clearly audible, I keep hearing a commentator announcing a football game. I'd imagine that I'd be hearing this because I watched far too much college football today, but still, usually when the TV is off, you stop hearing the sound!

I don't mind it though. It's not like hearing football commentary that isn't actually there is going to hurt me in some profound way. (Ha! There was just a holding call. lol!)

I also occasionally hear people call my name. Sometimes that will scare me a little because I'll be alone in my house and I'll hear someone whisper my name and dude, I totally grab Robbie (my beloved pooch) before I double check the locks on my doors. Not that Robbie is at all effective as a guard dog. He'd be much more likely to hurt someone with his boney tail than with his teeth.

Anyway, I have been hearing things a bit more often these days. I think it's because I'm under a lot of stress trying to write my thesis and do a halfway decent job at it so I can graduate in December. People keep telling me that I can delay my graduation, but I have my heart set on graduating this year.

In my mind, as crazy as that mind may be, hallucinations only become a problem when they actually interfere with your everyday life. They have to cross that threshold. It's like knowing the difference between being moody and being bipolar. If you're moody, why put yourself through the system and pay all that money to fix a problem that wasn't all that bad to being with?

On a completely unrelated note, a couple people have asked me about what meds I take. At the moment, I take 20mg lexapro, 450 mg wellbutrin and 900 mg of eskalith. I take xanax for anxiety once in a great while. I also take a multivitamin, a vitamin B6 supplement, a vitamin E supplement, chromium carbonate (which is rumored to help stabilize blood sugar) and a handy pill w/ my essential fatty acids in it.

I've been taking the lexapro and wellbutrin for over a year and the eskalith for about, uh, 3 weeks maybe. In a moment of manic retardation, I figured it would be a good idea to stop taking my lamictal, so I'm off that. Honestly, I still don't think it was doing much for me. Others have said that it has been like a miracle drug for them.

Hmmm. I suppose getting a wee bit of sleep every now and then will probably cut down on the voices too. :)